Cult Of Personality At Root Of Michael Nugent’s Obsessive PZ Myers Feud

created image of both Michael Nugent and PZ Myers
The one sided feud between Michael Nugent (L) and PZ Myers (R)

The atheist community recently erupted when Atheist Ireland publicly issued a letter of dissociation from atheist blogger PZ Myers over some comments he recently made concerning a speech by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The real issue is the cult of personality that seems to infect people like Atheist Ireland chair Michael Nugent who is more interested in being a fanboy of some famous atheists and protecting them when they are called out for doing or saying stupid stuff.

I’m not going to rehash the entire history of the feud between Myers and Nugent here. Ashley Miller does a good job of summarizing the past couple of years. Check out her post and follow the links she provides:

Continue reading “Cult Of Personality At Root Of Michael Nugent’s Obsessive PZ Myers Feud”

So-called “war” between Fox News and White House is war in name only

Any rational human knows that Fox News isn’t a real news network. They blur the line between opinion and news reporting to the point that it all seems the same to them. The White House was only expressing the consensus of the rational people in pointing it out in public and on the record. Like any other right wing group Fox now claims to be a victim. The facts just don’t support Fox News.

Those of us who watch mainstream news programs and the cable networks have known for years that Fox News has been the mouth piece of the Republican Party. The media watch dog site Media Matters even has a video clip showing how Fox opinion bleeds into its news reports:

Fox and other conservatives have come back and said well President Obama and the Democrats have MSNBC as their official voice. The problem with that false equivalency is that a rational person can see a distinct difference between MSNBC’s news reports and their opinion programs. The other proof against such a charge by Fox is that on some of the shows like Hardball and Countdown the hosts and guests disagree with the current administration and say so but that doesn’t get passed on in the news reports like we see time and time again with Fox News.

A more recent dust up involved a reported exclusion of Fox to interview a Treasury official. Fox was crying all day about censorship and then claiming the other networks came to its defense and refused to interview the guy unless Fox was included.

Like most everything coming out the mouths at Fox, the incident didn’t happen the way it claims.

The version Fox has pushed all day is that the network was excluded from an interview roundtable with Feinberg yesterday, and that bureau chiefs from ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN came to Fox’s defense.

TPMDC dug into it, and here’s what happened.

Feinberg did a pen and pad with reporters to brief them on cutting executive compensation. TV correspondents, as they do with everything, asked to get the comments on camera. Treasury officials agreed and made a list of the networks who asked (Fox was not among them).

But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who’d asked for the interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn’t on the list, was told that they hadn’t asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox’s Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we’re told, and the networks don’t want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

WH: We’re Happy To Exclude Fox, But Didn’t Yesterday With Feinberg Interview

But this is also why a news network with only about 3 million viewers can have an effect, good or bad, on a national discussion. 

The other networks live inside the same beltway bubble and so when Fox harps a story for many days the others think there is a story there and end up picking it up too – even when it is false or not what it seems.

Take the above incident with the Feinberg interview. Even though it wasn’t a case of the White House saying “No Fox” the CBS Evening News had a story about the non-story and used Fox’s view of it.

(CBS) After months of taking incoming fire from the prime-time stars of Fox News, the Obama White House is firing back, charging that FOX News is different from all other news.

FOX News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican party,” said Anita Dunn, White House communications director.

“If media is operating basically as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing, and if it’s operating as a news outlet, then that’s another,” Mr. Obama said.

And the White House has gone beyond words, reports CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield. Last Sept. 20, the president went on every Sunday news show – except Chris Wallace’s show on FOX. And on Thursday, the Treasury Department tried to exclude FOX News from pool coverage of interviews with a key official. It backed down after strong protests from the press.

“All the networks said, that’s it, you’ve crossed the line,” said CBS News White House correspondent Chip Reid. 

President Obama’s Feud with FOX News 

It also needs to be pointed out that the White House has never tried to censor Fox or prevent it from covering the White House, it just hasn’t favored it on equal footing to NBC, CBS, or ABC.

Its not like an administration has never tried to freeze out or isolate a network before. In the last administration the Bush Whit House went after MSNBC and NBC while holding meetings with only right wing talk show hosts:

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Again the problem with Fox is that it is more a talk radio style program rather than a real journalistic news organization. They pass off lies, rumors, and smears as facts and it bleeds into their “news” reports. The other news programs thinking they are missing a story then report on those lies, rumors, and smears which give them a “creditability” it couldn’t gain on its own just by being “reported” by Fox.

That’s what Fox does – blow up lies, rumors, and smears into stories that don’t deserve to be stories and wouldn’t be if real journalism was being practiced in this country.