Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Debunking Media Matters - Can we have a little context please?

Doing the work MediaMatters for America claims to be doing...Can we please have a little context with all those wonderful quotations?

Media Matter for America had been compiling a list of obvious bias that is within the news shows on FNC. The list is exhaustive and can be found at

On Media Matters for America’s homepage, its stated mission is fighting conservative misinformation. This is a very leftwing blog. It is known by conservatives as the kingpin of the “out of context” quotation. Essentially, I would be very skeptical of anything on this website, and I will show why with the analysis that follows.

It seems as if bias is alive on FNC. Here is a sampling of the bias.America’s Newsroom (8-10 am Central Time)During the October 1 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer joined his network's smears against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings by claiming that Jennings knew of a "statutory rape" case involving a student but "never reported it." In fact, as Media Matters has confirmed, the student in question was of legal age of consent at the time he was counseled by Jennings.

Scott, this is a link to THE AUDIO of Kevin Jennings admitting he learned of this statutory rape, of a “high school sophomore, 15 years old”. Jennings said those things. His advice was to hope that the boy had known to use a condom. This is not Republican bias, this is a HUGE news story that all the other media (State run media) covered up because they are carrying Obama’s water.

On May 6, America's Newsroom pushed the falsehood that Democrats attempted to "protect" pedophiles in voting in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Hemmer teased a segment by stating that Democrats had reportedly "voted to give special protection to pedophiles." During the segment, America's Newsroom ran on-screen text that read, "House Dems vote to protect pedophiles, but not veterans"

Scott, here is the link to the full 6 minute segment Megan Kelly did with Rep. Steve King R-Iowa. If you watch the full segment, you’ll see that Kelly challenged King with counterpoints from what the Democrats were saying. The context of this statement, for the reader, is that during debate of the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act, King added an amendment to specifically prohibit pedophiles from any “hate crime” protection. He claimed, and cited the American Psychological Association for backup, that pedophilia was among many different “philias” that would be technically protected by the new law. The Democrats all voted against the specific protection. They claimed that since pedophilia would never be consensual, it would not be protected. That is a debate in and of itself. On the same day, for the same bill, Democrats stripped out special protections for American Veterans from hate crimes because they are apparently not historically treated badly enough to warrant protection. I think its all crap, the bill is totally unnecessary. If you beat somebody up, and you meant to do it, it doesn’t make any difference if you did it because they are gay or because they said “Cubs suck!” Stop with the thought crime legislation and trying to protect all the special little groups that liberals want to partition America up into.

During the April 29 edition of America's Newsroom, correspondent Molly Henneberg repeated the right-wing myth that under the proposed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, religious groups "may be prosecuted for their religious beliefs if they believe that homosexuality is a sin," and the disputed claim that the legislation "could gag ministers who preach that [homosexuality is a sin], or even if a church may not want to marry a gay couple."

I couldn’t find Molly Henneberg’s bit, but this is a link from the same show about 30 minutes later. The news anchor does not “repeat a myth”, he interviews a Steve King again about the statement that ministers would feel intimidation from the vague language of the bill. I defy you to watch this full clip and tell me you think that the Fox anchor was just blandly repeating something a Republican said. In fact, by the end of the clip, its pretty clear that the anchor is highly skeptical of the claim being made. Again, this is just an example of Fox giving Republicans some air time; something that CNN, MSNBC, CBS, or HLN does not do hardly ever.America's Newsroom encouraged viewers to get involved with April 15 "tea party" protests across the country, which Fox News had described as primarily a response to President Obama's fiscal policies. The program frequently hosted tea party organizers, and posted on-screen organizing information, such as protest dates and locations. America's Newsroom also repeatedly directed viewers to its website, which featured a list of tea party protests.

Quite frankly, this was one of the biggest news stories of 2009 and continues to be to this day. This grassroots ground swell of emotion, organization, and outrage culminated on April 15th with the single largest protest in American history, taking place in over 500 cities across the country all simultaneously. In Saint Louis alone, we had attendance of well over 6,000 people and by my rough count it was closer to 10,000. Fox news was THE ONLY news network to cover this protest with anything more than vulgar jokes about “tea-baggers” (Anderson Cooper 360). Their description of the movement as a response to Obama’s fiscal policies was spot on accurate. It appears they actually interviewed a few of the organizers and asked them why they were upset. This is hardly any evidence whatsoever of Republican bias on the part of Fox News…Fox was just the only news network to report the story accurately.

On the April 3 edition of America's Newsroom, on-screen text falsely claimed that Obama's $3.6 trillion FY 2010 budget is "4x bigger than Bush's costliest plan." In fact, President Bush submitted a $3.1 trillion budget for FY 2009 and a $2.9 trillion budget for FY 2008.

To be fair, here is a link to this video segment as well. The on screen text does rotate to what you’ve got there a few times and that is clearly a mistake. I don’t have time to try and find a retraction or correction, but I’ll let this one go. It’s hard to believe Fox would on-purpose write something so blatantly false, but it’s out there.

Happening Now (10am-12 Central Time)During the February 10 edition of Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott purported to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew." In doing so, Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release. The following day, Scott apologized -- for running the typo. Scott's apology was criticized by Washington Post media critic and CNN host Howard Kurtz, who said: "We sometimes jab at the pundits for using talking points, but in the case of Fox News anchor Jon Scott, it was literally true this week. ... You should be apologizing for using partisan propaganda from the GOP without telling your viewers where it came from. Talk about missing the point."

I can’t find this video clip to vet it.

On June 2, Scott asked if "the president's upcoming trip [to Europe and the Middle East will] be what conservatives might call another apology tour," and both Scott and co-host Jane Skinner aired cropped clips of Obama's remarks from an April 3 speech in France to falsely suggest that Obama only criticized the United States. In doing so, Happening Now joined conservative commentators and Fox News hosts who have cropped or misrepresented Obama's overseas remarks to falsely suggest, in the words of host Sean Hannity, that Obama was "blam[ing] America first" and, more broadly, that Obama's earlier overseas trip constituted an "apology tour."

I found this clip from the same day as the one referred to in Media Matters. Its about the same topic. Watch the clip for yourself, the host is simply repeating a quote that some republican said as a jumping off point for the rest of the discussion. To claim that simply having a host on Fox say the words “apology tour” constitutes right wing radicalism from Fox is as closed minded as mediamatters claims conservatives to be.

Live Desk (12-2 pm Central Time)On March 16, Live Desk co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that "after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend." Live Desk then aired clips of administration officials purportedly giving an optimistic view of the economy, which included video of Vice President Joe Biden stating, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." However, Biden did not make those remarks during an "interview" that weekend; he made them at a September 2008 campaign event in which he criticized statements by Sen. John McCain. MacCallum apologized the next day.

On July 30, guest co-host Gregg Jarrett suggested that the Obama Department of Justice "thinks it's OK to intimidate white people, not OK to intimidate black people at the polls."

I don’t need a clip for this. The reason Jarrett suggested this statement was because Eric Holder dropped the charges against the Black Panthers in Philadelphia of voter intimidation, which was filmed on video. Again, Scott, mediamatters takes things totally out of context and just throws up random quotes as evidence of bias. You need to do a bit more research.

On September 30, guest co-host Alisyn Camerota pushed the bogus stat that cap-and-trade would cost "every American family $1,761 annually." has labeled the statistic false and noted that the talking point has been pushed by Republicans

You’re right, that stat is false. It’s actually closer to $3,000 per family per year in higher energy costs, $393 BN in lost GDP per year, and over a million net job losses.

Fox News SundayOn the August 23 edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to discuss his Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Death Book for Veterans," and in doing so promoted numerous distortions about an end-of-life educational booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In addition to forwarding the smear that the booklet is a "death book," Wallace promoted Towey's distortion that the booklet encourages veterans to "pull the plug" -- it doesn't; Wallace and Towey both suggested that the Bush administration suspended use of the booklet -- it didn't; and Wallace claimed that a VHA document requires doctors to direct veterans to the booklet -- it doesn't.

On August 16, Wallace repeatedly advanced the conservative talking point that Democrats' health care reform proposals would create a system of rationing care, omitting the fact that rationing already happens under the current system. Indeed, Wallace did not acknowledge that rationing already occurs, even after his guest, American Medical Association president J. James Rohack, said, "[T]here's a myth that rationing doesn't occur right now. ... That's why this bill's important. It gets rid of some of the rationing that's occurring right now."

It’s not a “conservative talking point” it’s the truth. There can be no other way. Rationing is in the bill by virtue of setting arbitrary guidelines for who qualifies and who doesn’t. How on earth are we supposed to be allowed to discuss things on a news show without saying what we’re talking about.On February 22, Wallace claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder "got into office by the skin of his teeth." However, Holder was confirmed by the Senate in a 75-21 vote, and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 in favor of reporting his nomination to the full Senate.These “news” stories from FNC are blatantly biased towards the Republican Party. I’m frankly getting tired of doing the work MediaMatters claims to be doing. For the clips I haven’t linked to, its not very hard to go on and search for yourself. I think I did enough to demonstrate that you have to take context into consideration when you use quotations. I’m not going to talk about your section on analysts except to point out that these analysts show up on the opinion shows…which was my point from the outset.

It seems to me that MM is just a bit peeved at the success of an organization like Fox, which has so perfectly blended news and analysis with entertaining and informative opinion that it just annihilates the other State Run Media combined in viewers. Although in reality, even Fox pales in comparison to the reach of talk radio. I think O’Reilly has the best viewership, at close to 900,000 on a good night. Limbaugh claims an average of 20,000,000 every day.

As I pointed out in the previous post, when you compare a news organization that reports news as evenly as Fox (albeit with some bias depending on who is the anchor - as SJ has pointed out, it is really tough to completely remove your own personal biases), with "news" organizations who seek only to provide cover for Obama, Fox is certainly going to come out looking fairly right wing. However, when you actually watch Fox instead of just reading what mediamatters says they said, you find out that context is everything.


  1. Scott I wanted to talk about the statement of $3000 per year cost per family of the cap and trade bill that you talked about. I know this is supposed to be a discussion about the Fox News so I apologize for going off topic. Also I want to point out that I am not at all trying to side one way or another with the merits of the bill. So on with my thought.

    I saw the stat about $3000 per family per year and I said to myself there is no way in hell that capital improvements to our national fleet of power generation facilities cost that much. And I say that knowing some of the carbon emission reduction measures they are already implementing. So I did a little research.

    I checked out the Heritage link and scanned through that article and on to other links associated witht the cost per household per year until I got to the source, the report by the Congressional Budget Office. While the CBO report suggests that the GROSS cost per year per household in the year 2020 is $890 after 30 percent of the funds from the allowances go back to the consumers through tax credits and government directives, 50 percent goes back to US businesses to offset their increased expenses, and 10 percent goes to the federal and local governments to spend within the US then the NET cost per household per year in 2020 ends up being $145. So you can choose to believe a report generated by government workers, who likely have worked under several different administrations throughout their employment and are held accountable by their superiors for the quality of their work, or you can trust statistics created by the Heritage Foundation whose mission is "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense." I personally feel that the CBO is less biased then the Heritage Foundation but thats just me.

    An I know your probably not a big Jon Stewart fan but I am curious if it is a coincidence or not that this blog came the same night that the Daily Show did about 7 or 8 minutes on the bias of Fox News

  2. Scott, funny how you see the same way I see Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc

    Wait, I forgot something...I forgot in the post to include how you believe everything spoken by the "conservative media" to be ordained by Christ himself. At the same time, you believe everythingfrom the "liberal media" to spoken directly from the script written by Lucifer himself.

    I am sorry Scott, but based on your inability to ever see any other side besides the side spoken from the brass EIB microphone, you have no credibilty here.

    You want the readers to see past the bias in media by spewing out this unbelievably biased post. Fight bias with bias. Hmmm...

    My point with the post is that the "conservative media" that you worship gets it wrong just as often as the "liberal media," but I understand you can't see that, because you can't speak against the orthodoxy.

    I see it this way...

    CNN needs Fox Media to keep it honest and vice versa...The country benefits.

    Sean Hannity needs Keith Olberman to keep him honest and vice versa...The country benefits.

    Rush Limbaugh needs Media Matter for America to keep him honest and vice versa..The country benefits.

    For someone who disagrees with unaninamity on issues, you seem to think the "liberal media" has some type of machine to keep conservatives down. You might refute some of the Media Matters stuff (I looked at the stuff as well (including the links that you posted) and came to a different conclusion), but the numbers from Neilson are irrefutable.

    PLEASE STOP WITH THE POOR CONSERVATIVE BEING ATTACKED BY THE MEAN OLD LIBERAL MEDIA. Seems the number of viewers/listeners tell a different story.

  3. SJ,

    Haha, very funny. That's pretty good about relating the conservative media to Christ.

    In all seriousness here, I know that people on my side get things wrong just as I'm sure you know that people on your side get things wrong as well. My point in the response to the media matters post was in demonstrating their lack of credibility in the matter, the same as you claim I have no credibility.

    Obviously we see things differently and that's great. I wanted to show that Fox is not this demon of conservative-talking points. DO they have pretty much 75-85% conservative opinion hosts? Yup. Does CNN, MSNBC, HLN, or CBS have any? Well, occasionally Jim Kramer unleashes a bit of free market capitalism from the stock market floor, but for the vast majority, all of those networks do not.

    Fox IS the balance of time.

    I fully agree that we need both sides to keep ourselves honest. I know that in my attacking of what I call the State Run Media, I am being a bit over the top, but that too serves a purpose. People don't respond to wishy washy commentary, they want to have something to get excited about. Either you agree with me or you say "WTF" and you check out the links i post. In any case, you are then exposed to both sides a bit more.

    If anything comes of this back and forth on the media, I really hope its more people getting a more diverse exposure to various sources of news and opinion.

    As to Neilson, I'm really not upset that the media attacks Rush or Sean. I think its funny that they have to fill their airtime talking about him just to scrape by with a few percent of the audience he has.

    About six months ago, Rush challenged the media to go one week without mentioning him. Actually, I believe it was specifically MSNBC. Impossible. Rush IS the showprep for people like Chris Matthews (in large part,...actually its mediamatters "fact-checking" Rush that serves as showprep for Hardball).

    One thing I will commend the SRM on...they finally got leery of this Obama administration demonization of Fox. And they have run a few stories questioning The One (see the AP story about the fraud with reporting stimulus jobs "Created or "SAVED""). So maybe there's hope.

    Remember, this whole post started with the two huge cases of media malpractice, one with running lies about Rush with no fact checking, the other with believing and running with a story about the Chamber of Commerce again, with no fact checking.

  4. Scott - Thanks for getting the tongue-in-cheek reference...After I posted it, I was worried it wouldn't come across as planned (something a Limbaugh supporter would understand). I was hoping that long with the brass microphone comment, the humor could be seen.

    Since our conversations concerning Rush and the fact I've been listening at least twice per week since, I would challenge Rush to not mention CNN or MSNBC on his show like his challenge to them.

    BTW, did you see that CBS News also ran a fact-checking story about the stimulus claim and was even harsher than the AP.

    My thing has always been that conservatives cry too much about the media, when they have their own outlets to choose from. I'm glad for the conservative media (and the Republican Party) to keep this one-party system in check just as I was thankful that W had the same thing. It does keep things honest.

    The scary thing, however, is the number I posted about 69% of conservatives only getting their news from "conservative outlets." I don't know the number on the liberal side, but it has to be close to the same. THAT IS A PROBLEM FOR BOTH SIDES!!!!

    If you were to go to my MyYahoo Front Page, you'd see that I subscribe to columns from George Will, Charles Krauthammer and David Brooks to go along with Leonard Pitts, David Broder and Paul Krugman.

    If it comes out of this conversation that neither side has a monopoly on the truth and solutions, then it is a conversation I am proud to be a part.