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Fox Hosts Talk Unaffordable American Dream -- Without Saying the Word ‘Inflation’



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In a wide-ranging, six-minute conversation on Fox News Channel’s Outnumbered, five news personalities Monday explored a range of explanations for a recent study showing the “American Dream” had become unaffordable for most Americans — without ever once saying the word “inflation.”

The five Fox regulars were responding to a recent USA Today analysis “Price tag for the American dream: $130K a year.” The article has been getting attention because the figure McPaper came up with for a comfortable life is nearly triple the annual median income of $51,000. The Outnumbered gang considered a range of effects — including soaring education costs and poor lending practices in the government-supported real estate market. They also pointed to important deadweight losses for Americans, including high taxes and surging energy costs as a result of global warming initiatives.

But at no point did anybody refer to the monetary phenomenon by which the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States incessantly expands the supply of money, and as a direct result you end up paying more for less of everything until the day you die — and beyond. (Funeral costs are also skyrocketing.)

Inflation is widely claimed to be “moderate” or too low, even though inflation itself is an artificial creation of government, and the natural progression of prices against even a semi-reliable store of value is deflationary. (As was seen during the first 137 years of the U.S. economy, during which the dollar gradually increased in value while the economy experienced levels of growth and social mobility never seen before or since in human history.) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI inflation calculator, the dollar has lost 18 percent of its value since the beginning of the 2006 collapse in real estate prices — a severe and very unusual period of economic stagnation during which prices would have been expected to fall in a society governed by common sense. Over that period, the U.S. monetary base has increased more than tenfold, according to the St. Louis Fed.

The Outnumbered team did come close to acknowledging that inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. “You’ve got food prices that are back on the rise right now. The devaluing of the U.S. dollar. The buck doesn’t go as far these days,” said host Sandra Smith. “Everything is more expensive,” said #OneLucky Guy Brian Kilmeade.

The hosts were responding to an article in which the word “inflation” is also strikingly absent. And it should be noted that the quality of the Fox economic discussion was on a par with The Wealth of Nations compared with a similar segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, in which the hyper-expensiveness of daily life in America was blamed on factors including the Wall Street boom, corporate profits, a too-low minimum wage, capitalism, and lack of a “moral imperative for shareholders” to make the American Dream more affordable.

But it is stunning proof of how deeply Keynesian mythology is embedded in American thought that (even though polls invariably list “rising prices” or some variation of that phrase as the first or second most important economic concern of Americans) the topic of inflation never comes up, even when people talk about how prices are increasing.

Tags: Inflation , Media , Fox News

Brookings Survey: The Most Trusted Name in Television News Is . . . Fox News!



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Media analysts frequently describe Fox News Channel and MSNBC as mirror images of each other, one a conservative news channel and the other a liberal one. A Pew study contended the comparison wasn’t quite accurate, as commentary and opinion made up 85 percent of the programming on MSNBC, and only 55 percent on Fox News.

This new report on views on immigration from Brookings and the Public Religion Research Institute includes some fascinating figures on trust in particular media institutions:

MSNBC is “trusted to provide accurate information about politics and current events” by only 5 percent of respondents, while 25 percent feel the same about Fox News. CNN is in the middle at 17 percent. Obviously, Republicans and conservatives trust Fox News the most, and Democrats and liberals trust it the least. But what’s kind of fascinating is that only 10 percent of Democrats and only 10 percent of self-identified liberals trust MSNBC.

Self-described independents trust Fox News more than any other network, but self-described moderates trust it less than broadcast news, CNN, and public television.

Tags: Media , Fox News , MSNBC , CNN

Ahem. Fox Television Studios Is Not ‘Fox News Channel.’



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Barring a dramatic turn of events, today Republican National Committee members will vote to bar CNN and NBC News from sponsoring GOP presidential debates in 2016, in response to a planned CNN documentary and an NBC docudrama on Hillary Clinton. RNC chair Reince Priebus charges that the two works amount to free advertising for the widely expected Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.

This morning Joe Scarborough scoffed, noting that Fox Television Studios is in talks to produce the Hillary mini-series.

But the issue, of course, is not who’s producing it; the issue is the content. A better defense from the networks would be that the documentary and docudrama are still being written and produced, and will aim to represent a broad range of aspects of Clinton’s career in the public eye, and not amount to airbrushed propaganda. Both works could, conceivably, be even-handed — although most directors wouldn’t cast good-looking, glamorous, warm and relatable Diane Lane to play a villainess character like Lady Macbeth.

The notion that Fox Television Studios’ involvement in the production absolves the film of a pro-Hillary bias is pretty laughable. Fox Television Studios’ purpose is entertainment, not journalism. (Note that Fox Television Studios is a distinct entity from Fox Broadcasting Company, the network that airs The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.; both are part of Fox Entertainment Group, which was formerly part of News Corporation.) Fox Television Studios can be called many things, but it can safely be ruled out as part of the vast right-wing conspiracy, with such works as The Shield, Burn Notice, White Collar, the Playboy-affiliated series The Girls Next Door and its spin-offs, the Howard Stern–produced Son of the Beach . . . 

Someone out there will probably insist, “Yeah, but Rupert Murdoch controls the whole thing” — a mischaracterization of him being the chairman and CEO of publicly traded company. It’s obvious that Murdoch’s politics don’t influence Fox’s entertainment programming, seen when The Simpsons mocks Fox News . . . 

 . . . and when Family Guy depicted Nazis walking around with McCain-Palin buttons in an October 2008 episode.

Tags: Fox News , Hillary Clinton , RNC

Reporters Should Just CC Eric Holder on
All E-Mails From Now On



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The last Morning Jolt of the week features a look at Lois Lerner, and the cowboy hero that President Obama seeks to emulate, and . . . 

Eric Holder: Sure, I’m Cool With Snooping Around in James Rosen’s E-Mails

Remember how Attorney General Eric Holder recused himself from the decision to seize the phone records of more than 20 office, home and cell phone lines of Associated Press reporters? (Holder never wrote down his formal recusal, of course, so we have to take his word for it.) The recusal was because the Attorney General was conceivably a suspect of leaking the classified information and was at one point interviewed by the FBI.

His recusal also seemed to suggest he realized the Justice Department looking through reporters’ phone records represented a dramatic expansion of government investigation into how reporters do their work, and that maybe some political survival instinct wanted to keep that controversial move a degree separated from him.

Thursday we learned that Holder doesn’t really have any objection to the government looking around in a reporter’s phone records or e-mails.

Michael Isikoff: “Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a ‘possible co-conspirator’ in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News on Thursday.”

Lest you think this controversy just represents privileged members of the national news media thinking of themselves as special, a quick refresher: Of course it is often wrong to leak classified information. (I say “often” because our government considers a lot of information “classified,” and one way government officials can keep embarrassing information away from a public that has a right to know is to declare it classified.) But even going back to the Pentagon Papers, the crime was committed by the leaker, not by the reporter who received the information and published it. Judges have put injunctions on publishing information, but there has never been an implication that a reporter commits a crime by publishing classified information.

Until now, with Rosen. And while the DOJ hasn’t pursued charges yet, by naming James Rosen a co-conspirator in their affidavit, Eric Holder and company are leaving the door open to charge Rosen with conspiracy, a federal crime with a penalty of up to five years in jail and $250,000 fine. This is why it’s a big deal — even if Rosen never faces charges, the door has now been opened for some future prosecutor to charge reporters with a fairly serious crime, just for reporting information to the public. This is why most journalists you know are freaking out.

Kristina Ribali: “Will Holder punish Holder with administrative leave?”

John Stanton, the DC bureau chief of BuzzFeed: “So Eric Holder, who signed off on spying on media outfits, is going to head up the Obama administration’s review of its media spying rules.”

Eric Holder, second from left, at a ceremony earlier this year formally burying the traditional legal understanding of the First Amendment.

Tags: Eric Holder , Department of Justice , James Rosen , Fox News

Kurtz: Enough Whining, President Obama



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Howard Kurtz notices that no matter how much President Obama and his allies and friends win elections, pass legislation, or win news cycles, they always complain about the power of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News:

Now it’s true that Fox or Rush can boost or batter any lawmaker, and that they can help drive a controversy into the broader mainstream media. But we’re talking here about the president of the United States. He has an army, a navy and a bunch of nuclear weapons, not to mention an ability to command the airwaves at a moment’s notice. And he’s complaining about a cable channel and a radio talk show host?

Gee, it’s almost as if the complaints about Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc. are not really based on how much power these media entities have, and instead driven by an outrage that they dissent from the narrative of other media, that Obama, Al Gore, and the rest of the progressives are right and virtuous and wonderful and the greatest in every way…

Tags: Barack Obama , Fox News , Howard Kurtz , Rush Limbaugh

Yes, He’s the Wrong Talking Head to Complain About Fox News Contributors



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Friend of NR Will Cain guest-hosted Parker-Spitzer last night. There’s been quite a bit of discussion on CNN of the notion that by their count, five Republican presidential candidates are under contract to Fox News Channel: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and John Bolton.

“Never before in our history, that I can think of, has one media outlet with one coherent ideology had . . . access to half the presidential nominees and controlled one political party this way,” lamented Spitzer.

Yeah, it’s terrible to watch those politicians jump into cable-news jobs, huh, Spitzer?

The show’s guest, Dan Abrams, formerly of MSNBC, raised the irony of the complaint coming from Spitzer and also wondered whether the gripe is overstated, asking whether Bolton or some of the others are serious contenders or simply names being mentioned.

It’s odd to see potential GOP nominees clustered around one news channel, but that probably says more about the hiring mentality at the other networks than at Fox News. CNN could have signed any of the above, or Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush, or tried to line up a deal with outgoing Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Instead, they signed Number Nine and a columnist best known for trashing Sarah Palin to anchor their prime-time lineup. And we know no serious potential Republican president will ever collect a paycheck from MSNBC.

UPDATE: Hmmm. Where was Parker that evening? “Eliot Spitzer’s TV sidekick is so fed up with playing second fiddle to the hooker-loving ex-gov that she’s threatening to walk, sources told The Post yesterday.”

Tags: Eliot Spitzer , Fox News , Newt Gingrich , Sarah Palin

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