October 23rd, 2009

GOT; Sansa

How the Media Treat Murder

How the Media Treat Murder

Why isn't the story of several missing women in North Carolina getting attention?

By Krista Gesaman | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Oct 21, 2009

Ten women have been found slain or have been declared missing in Rocky Mount, N.C., in recent years. But the rest of the country hasn't heard about a possible serial killer stalking the young women in this Southern town of 60,000. The latest victim, Elizabeth Jane Smallwood, was identified on Oct. 12. Why have the Rocky Mount homicides been largely ignored?

"When you think about the famous missing-person cases over the last few years it's Chandra Levy, Natalee Holloway, and Laci Peterson," notes Sam Sommers, associate professor of psychology at Tufts University. All these women had a few things in common—they were white, educated, and came from middle-class families. The victims in Rocky Mount—which residents describe as a "typical Southern town," and is about 40 percent white and more than 50 percent black—were different. They were all African-American, many were poor, and some had criminal histories including drug abuse and prostitution.

"If it was someone of a different race, things would have been dealt with the first time around; it wouldn't have taken the fifth or sixth person to be murdered," says Andre Knight, a city-council member and president of the local NAACP chapter. "All these women knew each other and lived in the same neighborhood; this is the sign of a potential serial killer. When it didn't get the kind of attention it needed, it made the African-American community frustrated."

Police have not officially linked all the murders and disappearances, but community members claim the similarities among the women, their lifestyles, and the location of their bodies make a connection all too obvious. "If you find two bodies in the same location, this could be the work of the same person or people," says Rocky Mount Police Chief John Manley, who would not comment on a connection, but implied the possibility.

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I really hate Nancy Grace.
MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

More about Rape as a Pre-Existing Condition

Rape Victim's Choice: Risk AIDS or Health Insurance?
By Danielle Ivory

Christina Turner feared that she might have been sexually assaulted after two men slipped her a knockout drug. She thought she was taking proper precautions when her doctor prescribed a month's worth of anti-AIDS medicine.

Only later did she learn that she had made herself all but uninsurable.

Turner had let the men buy her drinks at a bar in Fort Lauderdale. The next thing she knew, she said, she was lying on a roadside with cuts and bruises that indicated she had been raped. She never developed an HIV infection. But months later, when she lost her health insurance and sought new coverage, she ran into a problem.

Turner, 45, who used to be a health insurance underwriter herself, said the insurance companies examined her health records. Even after she explained the assault, the insurers would not sell her a policy because the HIV medication raised too many health questions. They told her they might reconsider in three or more years if she could prove that she was still AIDS-free.

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This article was linked earlier, but it looks like HuffPost changed it around and added some more info. It's long, but very much worth the (infuriating and depressing) read.
K-Box cartoon

Miller the neo-con: Comics news that should surprise no one who's read the man's work

Frank Miller, conservative comment-thread commentator | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Frank Miller and Eva Mendes (photo by UGO.com's Dr. Know)

He's one of the most influential comics creators of all time (and my personal favorite, might I add), but Frank Miller has kept a pretty low profile since the critical and box-office failure of his adaptation of Will Eisner's The Spirit last Christmas. He's reportedly continued to work on scripts for his Jim Lee collaboration All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder and the sequel to the Sin City film adaptation he co-directed with Robert Rodriguez; and of course there's his long-gestating graphic novel that may or may not be about Batman fighting al Qaeda and may or may not be called Holy Terror, Batman! But whatever he's been up to, he's been up to it incommunicado, turning down requests for interviews.

That's why you may be surprised to discover where he has been publicly speaking, albeit in brief snippets: the blog of neoconservative pundit and military historian Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson and Miller have been friendly for years, with Miller using Hanson's work on ancient Greece as a reference for his Eisner-winning comic 300 and Hanson returning the favor by providing an introduction for 300: The Art of the Film.

Miller's comments at Hanson's online hangout were first widely noticed this week, when the cartoonist and director responded to a Hanson post complaining that pervasive liberal influence and cultural decadence had driven him away from the bulk of American popular entertainment. Miller's comment-thread response encouraged Hanson to take heart, noting the talents of several Sin City, 300, and The Spirit stars, as well as action-franchise leads like Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, and Harrison Ford. Miller went on to invite Hanson to a get-together with the Friends of Abe, a group founded by actor Gary Sinise as a sort of support system for conservatively inclined Hollywood talent.

Doing a little detective work, Comics Commentary's Rodrigo Baeza dug up several more comments from Miller at Hanson's blog. The topics range from the casting of Gabriel Macht in The Spirit's lead role to how "horrible for my country [the then-pending election of Barack Obama] will be" to later asking that people at least give Obama a chance before freaking out to railing against anonymous commenters. (Click over to Baeza's blog for a best-of collection.)

Agree or disagree, Miller's comments (and indeed his very choice of venue) provide an interesting insight into the current state of mind of a comics giant who's been working at more and more of a remove from the ebb and flow of comics culture.

To what extent should a writer be allowed - or, conversely, to what extent should a writer be obligated - to inject their personal politics into their stories? To what degrees should this differ depending upon the nature of the stories that they're writing? And to what differing degrees should readers censure, condone or even support such stories from writers whose personal politics differ from their own?
Ashlyn Daube - Demon&#39;s Test
  • mykaa

Puerto Rico wraps up bad week with a boom

Explosion hits Gulf facility in Puerto Rico

An explosion at a Gulf gasoline facility Friday rocked a neighborhood outside Puerto Rico's capital, causing minor injuries and forcing evacuations as firefighters raced to prevent additional blasts.

Several columns of black smoke and flames were rising from the Caribbean Petroleum Corp., a gasoline warehouse and distribution center on San Juan's bay that owns the Gulf brand in this U.S. Caribbean territory.

FBI agents on the scene were among those investigating what caused the blast, which struck around 12:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), according to police chief Jose Figueroa Sancha.

A police helicopter that flew over the area confirmed that 11 of more than 30 tanks had exploded, Figueroa Sancha said. Firefighters were planning to chill the remaining tanks in an effort to keep them from exploding. Dozens of fuel trucks were also being moved from the area.

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Source (Spanish)

The blast registered as a 3.1 earthquake in some areas. This scared the crap out of me when the windows started shaking and the cars all went nuts. For a sec I dove under a table and my cousin thought it was a burglar...
franklin sherman

Follow-up to chicago cop DUI-killer fundraiser.

After the cop got out, they decided to arrest one of the friends of the victims, who was vocally angry when leaving the courthouse.

Off-duty Chicago Police detective Joseph Frugoli is accused of killing two men when he allegedly plowed into a disabled car in a drunken-driving crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway early Friday walked out of court Sunday afternoon after posting $50,000 10 percent of his $500,000 bond. Friends of the victims are upset.

Among those present at the Sunday bond hearing was Mario Lopez, the friend of one of the victims killed in the fiery Friday morning crash on the Dan Ryan. Lopez was inconsolable after hearing a judge announce the $500,000 bond for Frugoli. He screamed profanities and allegedly made threats of violence.

As Lopez fumed, Cook County Sheriff’s Police officers charged out of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, at 2600 S. California Ave., and ran after him as he went across the street. Lopez put his hands behind his head. Officers brought Lopez to the ground and cuffed him. He was later released without charge.

After Lopez’s arrest, friends of both Cazares and Manzera said they were furious Frugoli’s bond was so low. “If they were your kids, we’d be in prison. No bond at all,” said one friend.

Sarah Palin's Endorsement to Doug Hoffman Could Backfire

Palin Endorses Hoffman, Snubs GOP Candidate In New York House Race

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has gone rogue again, endorsing a third-party candidate in a House race in New York over the Republican nominee.

On her Facebook page Thursday night, Palin endorsed Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, over Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava in the 23rd Congressional District's special election. Scozzofava was selected for the nomination by state Republican leaders. Wrote Palin:
The votes of every member of Congress affect every American, so it's important for all of us to pay attention to this important Congressional campaign in upstate New York. I am very pleased to announce my support for Doug Hoffman in his fight to be the next Representative from New York's 23rd Congressional district. It's my honor to endorse Doug and to do what I can to help him win, including having my political action committee, SarahPAC, donate to his campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law. Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of "blurring the lines" between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections. Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party's ticket.
The race has bitterly divided Republicans, many of whom see Scozzafava as too liberal.

In the moderate district formerly held by Rep. John McHugh (now President Obama's army secretary), a third-party conservative candidate has a slim chance of winning. More likely, Hoffman will divide the Republican vote and give the seat to Democrat Bill Owens.

Palin has been notably absent from high-profile gubernatorial races this year, her offers of campaign help ignored. When she left office, the governor pledged to work for candidates she believed in, regardless of their party affiliation.
Obama - Pie

Fox News Is the Story

Fox News Channel is twisting American politics in an unprecedented way, and too many members of the press still aren't getting it.

The White House has exposed Fox News for what it is: not a news organization, but a partisan political entity that is waging a war aimed at destroying the Obama administration and its progressive agenda. Fox's Glenn Beck said so himself last Friday, predicting that he would soon "take the administration down."

Despite such unambiguous proclamations and the truths about Fox that they reveal, many mainstream reporters and commentators, and even some progressive ones, have spent their time effectively circling the wagons around Fox by focusing their attention not on the network, but on the Administration's comments about it. The entire matter has largely been treated as a political game -- should the White House have so bluntly criticized the press, or will the tactic backfire?

"The Obama administration’s war on Fox News is dumb on multiple levels," wrote Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post. "The Obama administration really needs to get over itself," added John Nichols of The Nation. "[T]he motivations of the White House are clear," wrote Politico's Josh Gerstein and Mike Allen. "Fire up a liberal base disillusioned with Obama by attacking the hated Fox. Try to keep a critical news outlet off-balance." That same article quoted Project for Excellence in Journalism director Tom Rosenstiel: “You should beware of politicians playing press critic."

All of this completely misses the point. The issue is not whether it was a good idea politically for the White House to say that the emperor has no clothes. The issue is that the emperor actually has no clothes. In other words, the administration's comments about Fox News aren't the story. Fox News is the story.

And yet, during a recent press conference, ABC's Jake Tapper asked Robert Gibbs how Fox News -- "one of our sister organizations," as he put it -- is different from any other network. His question indicates the pervasive unwillingness among members of the media to officially kick Fox News to the curb of the press club. By legitimizing Fox News as a news organization, reporters and commentators are enabling the network to continue conducting a massive conservative political campaign under the guise of journalism. In the process, they are permitting Fox News to dominate the national discussion by spreading smears and lies -- smears and lies that become conventional wisdom. They are also defending an organization that has nothing but contempt for journalistic standards -- hence undermining their own profession and the public interest at the same time.

Criticizing Fox News has nothing to do with criticizing the press. Fox News is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it was treated as such by our nation's media.

The evidence supporting such a reality is overwhelming. To begin with, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has described his station's confrontation with the Obama administration as "the Alamo." Fox News senior vice president Bill Shine said Fox was "the voice of opposition." In other words, the entire operation has an explicit political agenda, not just a few hosts. There is no separation between Fox News’ "opinion" programming and its "news" programs. Bret Baier's Special Report, the closest show Fox News has to a straight newscast, portrays Obama in a negative light 77 percent of the time, according to a recent study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

But the story goes well beyond the conservative bias Fox News has historically reflected. Like all major political entities, Fox News is now coordinating grassroots (or, more accurately, astroturf) political activities, lobbying for or against legislation, and fundraising for conservative causes. The network called April's protests "Fox News Tea Parties." It encouraged people to attend town halls last summer and then broadcast only the statements of those who opposed Democratic health care proposals. The 9/12 rally in Washington was the work of Beck, who claimed that 1.7 million people showed up (it was actually closer to 70,000). A video soon emerged of one of the station's producers coaching marchers before a live "report" from the scene.

Fox news routinely implores its audience to call Congress and oppose progressive legislation. Fox's Dick Morris and Mike Huckabee have both used Fox News airtime to encourage donations to conservative political action committees.

Again, these are unambiguous campaign activities, not the work of a news organization. It is no wonder that Fox's new website, FoxNation.com, has repeatedly cheered legislative developments it favors as a "Fox Nation Victory!"


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Obama&#39;s - Love and fireworks

Obama Family Photo By Annie Leibovitz Released

On Friday, the White House released the official (and wonderful!) Obama family photograph. Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz photographed the family on September 1st, sitting in the Green Room of the White House. This isn't the first time Leibovitz has taken photos of the president -- she followed him on the campaign trail, took a series of portraits for Vanity Fair, and was most recently spotted on October 1st, trailing Obama around the White House. View the portrait below, and a high res. version of the picture from the White House Flickr stream here.





Your Halloween Costume: A Bigot

The offensive costume is a Halloween staple. Because some people, you just can't reach teach. Combine a need for attention with alcohol and some markers and duct tape and sometimes you get something great. Sometimes you get something else. But we do expect businesses to know better. Read on for this year's most bigoted, misogynistic, racist costumes. All available from legitimate retailers. Including Amazon.com.

Teen Asian Dragon Lady
The world of Suzie Wong includes registering as a sex offender, apparently.

"Fee Ling"
It's even cheap. Just like all Chinese stuff.

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franklin sherman

I couldnt even make this stuff up.... (2 for 1)

Minn. court: Bong water can count as illegal drug

MINNEAPOLIS — In Minnesota, bong water can count as an illegal drug.
More Nation & World stories »

That decision from Minnesota's Supreme Court on Thursday raises the threat of longer sentences for drug smokers in that state who fail to dump the water out of bong — a type of water pipe often used to smoke drugs
The court said a person can be prosecuted for a first-degree drug crime for 25 grams or more of bong water that tests positive for a controlled substance.
Lower courts had held that bong water is drug paraphernalia. Possession of that is a misdemeanor crime.
The case involved a woman whose bong had about 2½ tablespoons of liquid that tested positive for methamphetamine. A narcotics officer had testified that drug users sometimes keep bong water to drink or inject later.




OVERLAND PARK, KAN - It may not be language that you'd want to your mother to hear you say, but is an angry burst of potty-mouth worth 30 days in jail? (Caution: potentially offensive and altogether naughty material ahead.)

Mike Shahrokhi, 43, of Leawood faces disorderly conduct charges that he says stem from a case of road rage along 135th Street in Overland Park. Shahrokhi admits dropping an F-bomb during an argument with another driver, but he says that it's ridiculous that he could be facing jail time over it.
"They want to put me in the Johnson County Jail for 30 days over dropping the F-bomb," said Shahrokhi. He says the incident began at 135th and Metcalf, and continued all the way to a convenience store at 135th and Nieman.
Shahrokhi says that when he stopped at the convenience store for a drink, the other driver continued jawing with him. So he says he shot back with some decidedly NC-17 words of his own.
"I pull up along side him, and essentially told him that I had intercourse with his daughter from behind, and she liked it," said Shahrokhi. "And he was on the phone with police."
Overland Park Police ticketed Shahrokhi for disorderly conduct, which includes using offensive, obscene or abusive language to arouse alarm, anger or resentment in others.
"It wasn't just one word," said Jim Weaver of the Overland Park Police Department. "It was a string of things that brought this victim to where he wanted to sign a complaint."
"Because I admitted using the F-bomb is the reason I'm in trouble," said Shahrokhi.
Shahrokhi says that the other driver in the case, Mike Nolen, wasn't charged because he denied using vulgar language. But when FOX 4 caught up with Nolan in court, he admitted letting a few choice words slip out.
"After what he said about my mother and my daughter, it got me a little outraged," said Nolen.
Shahrokhi says that when it became clear that prosecutors made it clear that they were seeking jail time, he got a continuance so he could hire an attorney. The case has now been continued five times, and both Shahrokhi and Nolen will be back in court on December 16th.
Nolen says that it's worth the time and effort.
"If somebody doesn't stop it, he'll continue to do it," said Nolen.
"I can't imagine the F-bomb warrants 30 days but I don't know," said Shahrokhi. "It's Overland Park."



Small town killing puts focus on crimes against Latinos


updated 1:11 p.m. EDT, Thu October 22, 2009

By Jacinth Planer


SHENANDOAH, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Crystal Dillman says she will never understand why a group of teenage boys beat her fiancé to death.


She says she will spend the rest of her life seeking answers -- and justice -- for the man she has lost as she struggles alone to raise her three young children.


"My life is forever destroyed," said Dillman, who was 24 at the time of her fiancé's death. "My family is forever destroyed."

Her fiancé, Luis Ramirez, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, was walking down the street in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, on July 12, 2008, with Dillman's half-sister, who is white.

A fight broke out between him and a group of white high school football players. He died from his injuries two days later, leaving a small community stunned at the brutality of the crime.

A central issue in the case is race in a town with a reputation for being an ethnic melting pot.

Witness Eileen Burke said she heard the group call Ramirez a "spic."

One of the boys who was charged as a juvenile, Brian Scully, admitted telling Ramirez to "go home, you Mexican motherf---er."

Scully was charged with ethnic intimidation.

Another teen pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations in a plea deal. But two teens who faced a local jury were acquitted of charges of ethnic intimidation.



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  • siyence

Film on Racism Under Fire in Germany

German Journalist Faces Criticism After Going Undercover as a Black Man in Germany

German journalist Günter Wallraff has accomplished a lot in his career. He has revealed to the German public how so-called "guest workers," immigrants from Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and other countries who came here in the 1950s and 60s and stayed, are discriminated against in this country, the questionable working methods of Bild, the country's top-selling tabloid newspaper, and how call-center employees are exploited. His latest project also seems like a noble one. "I want to find out," he says, "what it's like to be black in Germany."

The project involves both a book, "Aus der schönen neuen Welt" ("Out of the Beautiful New World"), and a film, "Schwarz auf Weiss" ("Black on White"), which will be released in theaters in Germany on Thursday. As part of the film, Wallraff has a makeup artist cover him in dark brown makeup, he wears brown contact lenses and he dons an afro wig. Then, using the alias Kwami Ogonno, he takes a trip across Germany. He goes to a soccer game in the eastern city of Cottbus, attends a city festival in Magdeburg, tries to secure a place to pitch a tent in campground in the Teutoburg Forest and takes his German shepherd to dog training in Cologne.

The film reveals the frightening degree of both blatant and latent racism in Germany. When he goes to festivals, people refuse to drink beer on the same bench. Landlords refuse to rent apartments to him. People seem to have no compunction about calling him the German word for "negro." And hooligans in Eastern Germany even threaten him with physical violence.

There's just one odd thing about the movie: If Wallraff really wanted to find out what it's like to live as a black in Germany, why didn't he take the time to let any blacks living in Germany answer the question?

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I didn't post it all because it's very lengthy but worth a read if you have the chance.
¤ i know bitch i was watching
  • schmiss

This is just ridiculous!

Sources: White House Pushing Back Against Senate Public Option Opt Out Compromise

Multiple sources tell TPMDC that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is very close to rounding up 60 members in support of a public option with an opt out clause, and are continuing to push skeptical members. But they also say that the White House is pushing back against the idea, in a bid to retain the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

"They're skeptical of opt out and are generally deferential to the Snowe strategy that involves the trigger," said one source close to negotiations between the Senate and the White House. "they're certainly not calming moderates' concerns on opt out."

This new development, which casts the White House as an opponent of all but the most watered down form of public option, is likely to yield backlash from progressives, especially those in the House who have been pushing for a more maximal version of reform.

It also suggests for perhaps the first time that the White House's supposed hands off approach that ostensibly allowed the two chambers in Congress to craft their own bill has been discarded.

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Keep the pressure on Reid and your senators! As Alan Grayson said, we did not elect Olympia Snowe president.

See also potential ONTD boyfriend Ezra Klein's guide to the various public option compromises currently circulating through the Senate, which Nate "TNHTF" Silver elaborated on here.
The Thick of It; Malcolm Tucker

Bonk-Eye needs a butthurt report form

BNP leader Nick Griffin is to complain to the BBC over his controversial appearance on Question Time, saying he had faced a "lynch mob".

Mr Griffin claims the normal format of Thursday's programme was changed and it should not have been held in London.

The fallout from the show - watched by eight million people - has intensified, with Mr Griffin's fellow panellists saying he had been "shown up".

But critics said the show had given the BNP huge publicity.

The BNP claimed 3,000 people had registered to join the party during and after the broadcast.

The BBC has defended the show, which was watched by four times its normal audience but also attracted a large number of complaints, saying it had a duty to be impartial and that audience members had selected the questions which set the programme's agenda.

More than 240 complainants felt the show was biased against the BNP, while more than 100 of the complaints were about Mr Griffin being allowed to appear on Question Time.

In addition, more than 50 people contacted the BBC to show their appreciation for the programme.

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Climate Change Treaty Craziness

"On October 14th 2009, Lord Christopher Monckton, a noted climate change expert (Actually, not really...), gave a presentation at Bethel College in St. Paul, MN in which he issued a dire warning regarding the United Nations Climate Change Treaty which is scheduled to be signed in Copenhagen in December 2009."


Guys, I know this sounds ridiculous but I just wanted to see if there was ANY merit to it whatsoever. I've been internet-arguing with a douchebag about it all day (I know, I know...), and wanted to crosscheck with you lovely people. I know you won't let me down!
LOLitics | \o/

Michelle Obama endorses healthy eating, hula-hooping, jumping double-dutch and squee'ing.

Hula hooping it up for health,
first lady swivels

2 days ago | WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama hooped it up for health — hula hooped, that is — managing to get in an impressive 142 swivels before her hula hoop hit the ground. Jumping rope double dutch? Not so much.

It was all for a good cause — encouraging kids to get more physical activity and eat better.

The first lady hosted a "healthy kids fair" on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday and invited about 100 children and parents from local elementary schools. Chefs demonstrated how to make healthy-but-yummy snacks. And the first lady delivered a pep talk about eating right.

Full article @ source: The Associated Press.

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Frankly, yall's First Lady warrants her own theme song.

( song link )

Some nice news for ONTD_P

A man who was awarded £10,000 for helping police to track down a violent rapist has given the money to the victim.

The woman was left for dead under a truck after being attacked by Jakub Tomczak. She spent weeks in a coma and is still confined to a wheelchair more than three years after the attack. Tomczak was later given a double life sentence.

Lloyd Gardner, 22, came forward in response to a Crimestoppers appeal broadcast after the woman was found naked and unconscious. Her attacker had been caught earlier on a closed-circuit television camera as he chatted to two women in the street in Exeter.

Mr Gardner, a restaurant manager, recognised the two Polish women and put them in touch with the police, which led to Tomczak’s identification. He said: “I thought what I told police was quite minor but they told me it was what they needed and had been a vital part of the case.”

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BTVS Tara desert

Why is the White House fighting back against Fox News?

Some have criticized the White House for pushing back at Fox News in recent weeks. However, the White House did not start this, Fox did with its "journalism" and "reporting" of President Obama.

Mediamatter's collected clips of Faux News's war on the White House:

I don't blame the Administration one bit for their recent actions. Fox is nothing more than a political outlet for the farthest fringes of the Republican Party.