Fred Klonsky’s 10-minute drawing: What Megyn Kelly really meant

December 15, 2013

Ten minute drawing. Megyn Kelly’s Santa Claus. Drawing by Fred Klonsky

Ten minute drawing. Megyn Kelly’s Santa Claus. Drawing by Fred Klonsky

If you’re not following Fred Klonsky for his education issue updates, follow him for his drawings.

Gun nuts at Fox pull a bait and switch; Obama already outflanks them

February 26, 2013

President Obama visits with survivors of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. July 22, 2012

President Obama visits with survivors of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. July 22, 2012 – White House photo. Click image to go to White House site, with more information on reducing gun violence.

Yeah, I know: Someone has sent you a post on Facebook claiming there are more murders from hammers than guns, and they quote Fox.

If they’re not complete nuts, they were careful and noted it was rifles being compared, and not all guns.

Here’s the Fox headline:

January 03, 2013

FBI: More People Killed with Hammers, Clubs Each Year Than Rifles

Then, just to rub it in, that person who sent you the link said something like, ‘so you propose hammer control, too?’

The best debaters in college learn to listen to what their opponents say, and not what they think their opponents should have said.  Good lawyers listen like that, too, in court, and in depositions.

See that last word in the headline?  “Rifles.”

Yeah, it’s a limited part of the total population of guns.

Total gun deaths in 2011 were 8,583 — continuing a five-year trend downward, thanks for small blessings.  Homicides only, not counting suicides — according to figures compiled by the FBI.

Did more than 8,500 people die from hammer assaults in 2011?

No, the same tally shows 496 people were murdered by use of  “Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.).”

496 is 8,087 fewer than the 8,583 gun deaths.  But rifles?  Oh, yeah.

323 people died from rifle fire.  356 died from shotgun wounds.  6,220 died from handguns, 97 from “other guns,” and 1,587 died from gunshots where the type of gun was not recorded on the report to the FBI.  Add them up, you get 8,583 dead, murdered by gunfire.

Now, the gun advocates nuts say that it’s fair to compare rifle deaths only, since only the AR-15 is being questioned, and is the target for “taking guns away.”

That’s inaccurate.  President Obama laid out a plan of more than a score of actions, but only two refer to assault rifles, and only one refers to assault rifles directly:

Reinstate and strengthen the ban on assault weapons:  The shooters in Aurora and Newtown used the type of semiautomatic rifles that were the target of the assault weapons ban that was in place from 1994 to 2004. That ban was an important step, but manufacturers were able to circumvent the prohibition with cosmetic modifications to their weapons. Congress must reinstate and strengthen the prohibition on assault weapons.


Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds:  The case for prohibiting high-capacity magazines has been proven over and over; the shooters at Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Newtown all used magazines holding more than 10 rounds, which would have been prohibited under the 1994 law. These magazines enable any semiautomatic weapon to be used as an instrument of mass violence, yet they are once again legal and now come standard with many handguns and rifles. Congress needs to reinstate the prohibition on magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

President Obama laid out a plan that will make it substantially more difficult for people who shouldn’t have guns suitable for mass killings, to have them.  More important, however, the President’s plan steps up the non-gun means available to stop mass shootings before a shooter gets to a campus armed and ready to kill.

The “discussion” will get more ugly, I predict, before it gets better.


Fox News, still geographically challenged (Arkansas? What’s that?)

September 15, 2012

Bret Corum calls our attention to another Fox News remaking of the map of the world:

Fox News lost Arkansas, moved Missouri

Misreporting the news is bad enough — but changing the map? Nations go to war over such things . . .

It appears that, in the Fox News view of the world, Missouri conquered Arkansas, and Alabama and Mississippi either swapped spouses and houses, or are in the middle of some geographic square dance, and the satellite caught them in the middle of a do-si-do into each other’s old territory.

Look on the bright side — so far they only screwed up 8% of the United States with their mapping errors.  On the other hand, they named nine states, and made four errors — 55% correct.  That’s probably not a passing score even under No Child Left Behind rules.

One gets the sinking feeling that such sloppiness with the facts infects everything Fox does, though.

I wonder what kinds of errors and screw-ups one could find, if one seriously paid attention to what Fox claims.


  • Why Fox News – yet again – needs a copy editor (  (Charles Apple’s column on news design is always a good read — but this piece lists several, maybe a hundred, other instances of copy editor-less screw-ups on the news and other places.  God bless copy editors, and let’s hope these errors were all caused by a lack of one.)

Tip of the old scrub brush to the ever-vigilant, accuracy stickler Bret Corum.

Fox News needs to rein in Steven Milloy

March 10, 2011

The stuff NPR’s money guy said is rather pale by comparison.  Fox News needs to act, and apologize and retract for their commentator Steven Milloy’s errors and rash claims, if their commentator won’t.

I get e-mail: Media Matters calls bluffs of climate change “skeptics”

July 10, 2010

Media Matters may be a site worth tracking more closely, not only on climate issues:

Media Matters: The greatest science “scandal” “in the history of man” predictably falls apart

In their never-ending quest to prove that they understand the intricacies of climate science better than actual climate scientists, conservative media figures routinely promote any ridiculous “evidence” they think undermines the scientific consensus about climate change.

This is a group that repeatedly points to snowstorms in February as proof that global warming is not real; claims that CO2 can’t be a pollutant because “we breathe” it; and ignores actual temperature data to baselessly claim that the Earth is really “cooling.”

Last year, conservative climate change skeptics, in the words of Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel, thought they had found a “gold mine.” Conservative media figures seized on emails stolen from climate scientists and proceeded to completely distort their contents. As we pointed out repeatedly at the time, this “scandal” relied on outrageous misrepresentations of the stolen emails and did not in any way undermine the scientific consensus about climate change.

Nevertheless, conservative media figures incessantly hyped the non-scandal with their usual overblown rhetoric:

  • Glenn Beck — who says he is not a conspiracy theorist, remember — suggested in the wake of “Climategate” that climate change is a “scam.” He also said that if the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report “had been done by Japanese scientists, there is not enough knives on planet Earth for hara-kiri.”
  • Noted climatologist Rush Limbaugh, who frequently decries the supposed global warming “hoax,” proposed that all of the scientists involved in “Climategate” should be “named and fired, drawn and quartered, or whatever it is.”
  • Andrew Breitbart called for “capital punishment” for NASA scientist James Hansen, because “Climategate” was supposedly “high treason.”
  • The Washington Times, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Investor’s Business Daily, The American Spectator’s Robert Stacy McCain, Rich Lowry, Newsmax’s James Hirsen, and Michael Ledeen all joined forces to smear the scientific consensus on climate change as a “cult.”
  • Fox News’ Mike Huckabee explained that “Jesus would be a truthseeker” while discussing the “revelation” that scientists had “cooked” climate change data.

The crew at Fox & Friends spent this year’s Earth Day promoting an important cause. No, not encouraging environmental consciousness — they devoted the show to pushing “Climategate” falsehoods in order to falsely claim that “scientists held back data that discredits theories on global warming.” They were joined by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, who was there to complain about non-Fox networks “dismiss[ing]” and “ignor[ing]” the story.

Last December, Bozell told Lou Dobbs that “Climategate” is the “biggest scandal in terms of science, finance, and politics … in the history of man.” After Bozell compared the climate science “cover-up” to “the craziness” of Dan Brown’s fiction, he actually managed to draw laughter from Dobbs. Unfortunately, contrary to Bozell’s suggestion that media outlets ignored the story, numerous non-Fox “Climategate” stories adopted conservatives’ dishonest framing of the non-story.

And now for the inevitable conclusion of this manufactured controversy.

As reported by The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin — who, by the way, Rush Limbaugh thinks should “just go kill” himself — the Independent Climate Change Email Review “cleared climate scientists and administrators” involved in “Climategate” of “malfeasance.” This follows several other exonerations of the scientists involved in the phony scandal. In response, Media Matters, joined by numerous progressive and clean energy groups, called on all outlets that reported on the original “Climategate” controversy to set the record straight.

So this leaves us where we were before the “Climategate” freakout: There is still overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the theory of global warming.

And once again conservative media proved that they don’t hesitate to rely on blatant distortions, outright falsehoods, and a complete disregard for reality to advance their political causes.

Mainstream media outlets would be doing everyone a service if they remembered that the next time they decide to report on whatever Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fox News, and the perpetual conservative outrage machine are yelling about.

Conservatives’ phony scandal of the week: The Obama Justice Department and the New Black Panther Party

While we’re on the subject of manufactured scandals that respectable media outlets shouldn’t take seriously, Fox News and its friends in the conservative echo chamber spent much of the week promoting phony, trumped-up allegations against the Justice Department.

In short, conservative media outlets have been aggressively promoting the charge by GOP activist J. Christian Adams that President Obama’s Justice Department engaged in racially charged “corruption” when it partially dismissed a case against members of the New Black Panther Party for allegedly engaging in voter intimidation outside of a Philadelphia polling center on Election Day in 2008.

As we have documented extensively, Adams should not be trusted. He is a long-time right-wing activist with extensive ties to the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department. Adams himself has admitted that he lacks first-hand knowledge to support his accusations. Additionally, Adams’ charge that the DOJ’s action in the New Black Panther case shows unprecedented, racially motivated corruption is undermined by the fact that the Obama DOJ obtained judgment against one of the defendants, and that the Bush DOJ declined to pursue similar allegations against a group of Minutemen — one of whom was carrying a gun — in 2006.

Even the Republican vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights called the New Black Panthers case “very small potatoes” and said an investigation into the DOJ’s decision is full of “overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges.”

And yet again, the fact that this is a completely manufactured scandal didn’t stop conservative media figures from engaging in one of their time-honored traditions: attempting to obscure their own problems with race by accusing others of racism.

Radio host Jim Quinn — who once told “race-baiting” African-American “ingrates” to “get on your knees” and “kiss the American dirt” because slavery brought them to the U.S. — hyped the New Black Panther story by calling the civil rights community “race-baiting poverty pimps.”

Rush Limbaugh — who earlier this week announced that if Obama wasn’t black he’d be a “tour guide in Honolulu” and claimed Obama is using the office of the presidency to seek “payback” for the country’s history of racism — forwarded Adams’ charge that the case was dropped because of racially charged corruption.

Beck, who infamously called President Obama a “racist” with a “deep seated hatred for white people or the white culture,” declared that the Obama administration is “full” of “people that will excuse” the “hatred” of the New Black Panthers. He also relied on falsehoods to try to connect Obama to the New Black Panthers, and claimed today that the New Black Panthers are part of Obama’s “army of thugs.”

Of course, the New Black Panthers are a fringe hate group, and only a cynical race-baiter like Glenn Beck would claim they are somehow part of Barack Obama’s imaginary “army of thugs.”

But I’m sure they appreciate all of the publicity, courtesy of Glenn Beck and Fox News.

Bek Younuhvercity

This week also marked the launch of Beck’s latest attempt to grab money from “educate” his audience: Beck University.

As Beck described it, the online Beck University is an “academic program” that would be a “unique experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history, and economics.” At the outset of the first “course” — Faith 101, with frequent Beck guest/promoter of historical misinformation David Barton — Beck announced that viewers “will learn more in the next hour than you’ve probably learned in your entire life about American history.”

Laughable hyperbole aside, as we pointed out this week, Glenn Beck is uniquely unqualified to found a university, considering he regularly traffics in bizarre conspiracy theories, distortions, and downright falsehoods on a wide variety of subjects.

The day after the first “course” at Beck University, Beck stood in front of his blackboard and labeled various historical figures “heros” or “villians.”

And lastly, by my count, between his TV show last night and his radio program today, Beck launched no fewer than four baseless charges that, by his standards, should get him fired.

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Media Matters’ Ben Dimiero.

Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad, Euripides said (paraphrased).  With that ancient wisdom in hand, one might be well advised not to stand next to Glenn Beck or Fox News.

If Glenn Beck wishes to know the evils of Woodrow Wilson or Theodore Roosevelt, I can point him to sources.  In spite of those evils, however, they remain heroes of American history for the good things they did.  Beck criticizes them for those good things, however, and not for their failures (including Wilson’s patent racism, and Roosevelt’s failure to push for integration at opportune times — to Beck, those would be virtues, I fear).

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