The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Faux News

It’s hard to imagine two attorneys who have been more harmful to the United States of America than Rudy “New York’s Nosferatu” Giuliani and Faux News’ Victoria Toensing. Between the two of them, they have helped Republicans perpetrate numerous and deadly crimes against this country.

Let’s start with Rudy. As we have talked about for years at TW, Rudy was THE CAUSE of the terrible fallout of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Countless first responders died on that day, and became ill and died later, because he moved the city’s Disaster Response Center out of Brooklyn and into the WTC. He, of course, did this because he wanted to be closer to his mistress when he was doing the serious business of Mayorin’. And since then, this goo-oozing sycophant has done nothing but dive head down into the muck of wingnuttery and just keep swimming. He’s been the mover and shaker behind so much evil:

The faux Hunter Biden story (now being used to justify his FBI-raided apartment)

The Big Lie that Drumpf won in 2021

Weird Hillary lies about 9/11

Corrupt Ukraine lobbying

Collusion with Russia in 2019 and 2020

Four Seasons Total Landscaping (okay, that one was just funny)

Yes, Rudy is a well-known and well-recognized goon for the Republican Crime Syndicate. But Victoria Toensing – she’s flown a bit more under the radar. Here are some of her (and her husband’s!) greatest hits. (Wonder what hubby’s up to these days?)

You might not know them well, but without Toensing and diGenova, the most outlandish theories might not have found their way into the ether. Toensing’s client and longtime friend John Solomon is the one who spread the rumor that Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, hated Trump; so-called “documentary evidence” of Joe Biden firing a Ukrainian prosecutor to protect his son had emerged in a case that both Toensing and diGenova are working on; and the couple have also alluded to the conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine — and not Russia — that meddled in the 2016 election by seeking to help Hillary Clinton. Often lording over the whole spectacle, in their telling, was Soros — the billionaire who has become a bogeyman for the right. (The line that he is seeking to run Ukraine, for one, could have come straight out of the mouth of Vladimir Putin.)


Toensing and diGenova fortified their conservative bonafides throughout the Bush and Obama years, with Toensing particularly active. She penned op-eds in favor of the Patriot Act and in defense of the reporter who outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. She lobbied for the MEK, a violent fringe Iranian group, just as Giuliani has, as it sought to get off the US list of terrorist groups. She represented “whistleblowers” in the Benghazi hearings who accused Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, of refusing to let them testify, as well as an informant who claimed to have information that Clinton had orchestrated the sale of part of Uranium One to a Russian company in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation (she didn’t). She picked up Erik Prince as a client and took part in numerous Judicial Watch panels devoted to the subject of Clinton’s missing emails. As the Trump era approached, both Toensing and diGenova found themselves more and more on Fox News, regulars on Sean Hannity (another Toensing and diGenova client) and Lou Dobbs.

I’ll tell you, I am absolutely over the moon that these two traitorous morons are finally getting investigated by the FBI, now overseen at DOJ by the brilliant and most importantly, honest, Merrick Garland. Now all the crimes they were committing in plain sight will be thoroughly investigated.

Let’s have the last Drumpf attorney who was investigated by the FBI, Michael Cohen, give the last word.

Open thread, as always.

My oh my. Looks like the Murdochs are gettin’ sued! And they’re preparing for a big fight. Apparently ousting Trish Regan for saying exactly what everyone else on the network said, miraculously didn’t cause people to think Fox News didn’t mislead and bamboozle the public into behaving dangerously. And although the first lawsuit didn’t seem to worry those malignant assholes, they do appear to be circling the wagons, gathering the troops, going to the mattresses, or whatever other hoary cliche you prefer.

This time, however, might be very different from the Rich case. During a Sunday appearance on MSNBC, my colleague Gabriel Sherman said Fox insiders had expressed “real concern…that their early downplaying of the coronavirus actually exposes Fox News to potential legal action by viewers who maybe were misled and actually have died from this.” He went on to say that while the Murdochs are “privately taking coronavirus seriously”—Rupert Murdoch quietly cancelled his 89th birthday party on March 11—top hosts like Regan and Sean Hannity were actively “telling viewers that it’s a hoax…If it actually winds up being proved that people died because of it, this is a new terrain in terms of Fox being possibly held liable for their actions.”


A [similar] poll from YouGov and The Economist conducted in mid-March showed that, compared to consumers of other types of news media, Fox News viewers are the least likely to express concern about coronavirus. That poll was cited in a disapprobation letter cowritten by Todd Gitlin, a Columbia Journalism School professor, addressed to Murdoch and his son, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch. The letter has now been cosigned by over 100 professors, including from top journalism programs at Northwestern, UC Berkeley, and Columbia. “The misinformation that reaches the Fox News audience is a danger to public health. Indeed, it is not an overstatement to say that your misreporting endangers your own viewers—and not only them, for in a pandemic, individual behavior affects significant numbers of other people as well,” states the letter, enumerating misleading coverage.

This is a very interesting development, isn’t it? It’s been a very long time since there has been any accountability for those hatemongering sh*tbirds. But when you’re actually misleading people into dying, and killing other people too – now that could be a bit hard to defend in court.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

Tawk amongst yerselves!


Morning Widdershin friends. Is there anything better than a crisp, crystal blue-skied Fall morning? Here’s hoping your morning is as glorious as the one I’m enjoying.

Decepticon Cruz shortly before his performance art...

Decepticon Cruz shortly before his performance art…

Not since the Decepticons and Autobots declared war on one another has there been anything approaching what we’ve seen this week from the Republican Party. Quite inconveniently, the great Transformer War was fought on Earth. If only we could export this uncivil Republican war to Cybertron, but alas such good fortune is only possible in comic books.

We all witnessed the first salvo this week as Ted Cruz’ “fool-o-bluster” spilled out into open warfare. Warfare ostensibly directed at Obamacare, but really directed against those Cruz declared as “Republican squishes” as his sexually ambiguous preening played itself out in front of C-Span viewers. As conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin observed, it was business as usual in Democratic senate offices, but Republican offices were being pilloried by angry constituents.

The Cruz faux “full-o-bluster” was merely the public face of the battle. A much more insidious battle was being waged by the Heritage Action PAC courtesy of the grim Brothers Koch and Jim DeMint. This chinchilla warfare is being waged through sponsoring ads against less than pure Republican Senators as measured by this holy trinity.

After his self-parody performance art, Cruz scurried to call one of the other generals in this internecine war, Jabba the Limbaugh. Jabba, along with Roger Fails of Faux News, are the leaders of what seems to be the most potent force in this Republican war — the misinformation infotainment forces.

The force is strong with the misinformation infotainment droids. In the face of official reports on the positive premium effects of Obamacare, there was no shortage of one-off anecdotal stories portending the apocalyptic end of humankind on the main misinformation infotainment channels, Faux News and its cable siblings.

The beginning of these scorched earth tactics emanated from the inimitable Newt the Terrible back in the mid-1990s. President Clinton reminded us of the cynical depth of the Gingrich Creed during one of his CGI interviews.

Newt Gingrich told my Deputy Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, “The difference between us is that we’ll do whatever we can, and you won’t do that. You think there are things you shouldn’t do.”

Republican WarIt is against this background that the progeny of Cruz and the House Tea Partiers have sprung. Their’s isn’t a fact-based warfare, it is anything but.

Their make-it-up-as-you-go tactics have led them to laughably incongruent positions like championing the rights of free-riding moochers by opposing the Affordable Care Act. Or their deficit raising tactic of shutting down the government. Or the cataclysmic economy-killing catastrophe of monkeying with the debt ceiling.

This last one — using the debt ceiling as a vehicle for a right-wing wet dream wish list — is the brightly plumed drum major in the Parade of Horribles. Breaching the debt ceiling could throw the world economy, not just the U.S. economy, into a major economic upheaval.

The last time this tactic was used in 2011, the U.S. credit rating was lowered causing higher borrowing rates and ultimately costing us more. Costing the government more means less for discretionary spending resulting in the inevitable contraction of the country’s social safety net, but it fulfills the words of Newt the Terrible, “We’ll do anything we can.” Just guessing here, but I assume that includes an apocalyptic world economic collapse.

The fear fulminated by the misinformation infotainment complex arises from a fatalistic, nihilistic low-road philosophy. The reason? Being negative is easy. Finding fault is easy because the last refuge of the unenlightened is the darkness of negativism.

This week we have seen the first act of this philosophy play itself out. The pundits like to say, “The conservatives love to hate (fill in the blank), be it Obamacare, Medicare, Meals-on-Wheels, Social Security or whatever.” I don’t agree. The fatalistic philosophy so financially lucrative to the conservative infotainment complex is based not on loving to hate, but hating to love.

Finding the darkest, most negative position from which to pander has bred a general distaste for anything good and elevated the pitiful self-loathing of the disgruntled power-hungry. When it comes to these soldiers of this holy Republican war, I will only say, “Loving to hate might offer you a reason for living, but hating to love is living for no reason.“ We need neither.

This is an open thread.

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