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Tuesday 2 March 2010

The Republican Wrong – In The Retelling

Yesterday, I mentioned the comments made by Berkshire Hathaway head Warren Buffett on the cost of health care in the USA. Buffett made two important points, which you can see in the video clip signposted: that, although he’d rather have a bill that explicitly tackled costs, he’d back the Senate bill over no bill, and that the cost of health care was “like an economic tape worm”.

Following the Buffett intervention, this morning, Rupe’s stooges over at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) demonstrated superbly why the USA needs groups like Media Matters For America (MMFA) to highlight the blatant bias and shockingly bad standards of right-wing media outlets. In the network’s morning show Fox And Friends, which routinely passes off misinformation as fact, Buffett’s comments were deliberately, and wrongly, misrepresented.

Fox And Friends has a standard format of three presenters: in the middle of the sofa – that reassuring prop that no good early show should be without – is Gretchen Carlson, who is not even remotely as daft as she all too often portrays herself. Flanking Ms Carlson are Steve Doocy, the tall and goofy one, and Brian Kilmeade, the rodent faced one, both easily identifiable to anyone brought up with Sesame Street.

But the game for both Doocy and Kilmeade is deadly serious, and it is simply to slip deliberate misinformation into each and every broadcast without letting on that they are telling a variety of whoppers. Without the intervention of bodies like MMFA, they might accomplish this task unchallenged.

In the case of the Buffett interview the previous day, goofy Doocy changed Buffett’s choice of the Senate bill over no bill to “he simply cannot go along with this particular health care bill”, while the gerbil-like Kilmeade declared that Buffett “called health care reform a tape worm that is basically sucking the life out of the economy”, substituting “reform” for “costs” to fit the Fox and Murdoch agenda.

MMFA has summarised this typical slice of slanted Fox reporting, along with a video, so you can see the trio that is Fox And Friends at work.

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