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Tilting at Windmills

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March 3, 2009

THE HSR LIE GETS A FOX NEWS TWIST.... Republicans and their adjunct outlets have been touting one specific lie above all others lately. As the argument goes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) inserted an $8 billion earmark in the stimulus package to build a high-speed rail connector between Las Vegas and Disneyland. The claim is completely wrong, and there is no such spending project.

Yesterday, Fox News gave the story a twist, changing the details of the already-bogus claim to make a brand new lie. Check out this exchange between Fox News's Megyn Kelly and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) on the omnibus spending bill pending in the Senate:

KELLY: It's a super railroad, of sorts -- a line that will deliver customers straight from Disney, we kid you not, to the doorstep of the moonlight bunny ranch brothel in Nevada. I say, to the moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel in Nevada. So should your tax dollars be paying for these kinds of projects? [...]

FRANKS: The majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid has fought for this publicly and is committed to this project, even in the face of criticism.... If this is something that is truly the priority of the majority leader of the US senate, it's pretty late in the day, Megyn.

I love the way Megyn Kelly adds "we kid you not" while blatantly lying to a national television audience.

But notice the evolution of the lie. First, the non-existent project was in the stimulus bill; now it's the omnibus. First, the HSR was headed to Vegas; now it's Carson City. First, Reid was quietly sneaking this non-existent spending into law; now he's fighting for it publicly in the face of criticism.

Republican hacks like Kelly and Franks aren't just lying, they're getting their own lie wrong, screwing up the manufactured controversy that they helped create.

In an apparent attempt to win some kind of irony award, Kelly asked Franks about how to hold lawmakers accountable for made-up earmarks that don't exist outside Republican talking points and the GOP's cable news channel. Ali Frick noted Frank's unintentionally hilarious response: "Fortunately, people like yourself and Fox News are a tremendous help in that regard because they tell the people -- you know, sunlight has a way of being an accountability all by itself."

Once in a while, I feel sorry for Fox News' audience.

Steve Benen 3:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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Comments

I know the legal standard for bringing a defamation/libel/slander claim against a public figure is quite high (actual malice), but for these lying hacks to STILL be pushing this nonsense, in the face of repeated demonstrations of the falsity of their statements, has to meet the standard or show a reckless disregard for the truth that is sufficient.

Reid or the Dems or somebody should really consider filing a lawsuit. I know the optics might look bad and play into the wingnuts' bogeymen fears -- OMG! Herr Reid trying to silence beloved truth-tellers at Fox News!1!! with lawsuit & evil trial lawyers!!1! -- but this has got to stop. They just cannot lie with impunity. Perhaps he could request only nominal damages ($1), and simply request a forum to get a court of law to enter a judgment noting that they are liars who are making false statements against him with malice against or reckless disregard for the truth. Then we can forever talk about Megyn Kelly & Fox News as "proven liars."

Posted by: J on March 3, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's not even feel sorry, you have think the Fox News audience won't even KNOW it's a lie since many exlusively watch Fox for their news. Scary.

Disclosure: I watch CNN, MSNBC, and Headline News.

Posted by: r_m on March 3, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid should sue them.

This more than meets the bar for defamation or slander of a public person.

Posted by: alan on March 3, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously these two missed Sharon Stone's explanation of "suspension of disbelief" in Basic Instinct. If you're going to make something up, it has to be believable.

Posted by: Matt on March 3, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many times on any given day Fox News lies to its viewers.

Posted by: Chris on March 3, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

a line that will deliver customers straight from Disney... to the ...moonlight bunny ranch brothel

It would certainly give new meaning to the word quickie.

Posted by: Danp on March 3, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

"a line that will deliver customers straight from Disney, we kid you not, to the doorstep of the moonlight bunny ranch brothel in Nevada."

...And don't forget that it also stops at an abortion clinic in San Bernardino and a crack house in Henderson, NV that takes food stamps. Screw believability, go for the biggest lie being the most plausible.

Posted by: petorado on March 3, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Did the Foxbots explain why there would be ridership for this Disneyland-Bunny Ranch Express? Are there a whole lot of families who want to take little Caden and Brooklyn to Disneyland, and then zip off Nevada so Dad can get his rocks off? What are Mom, Brooklyn and Caden supposed to be doing in the middle of nowhere in Nevada while Daddy is partying with Candee?

Posted by: Cardinal Fang on March 3, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

It's a small world after all!

Posted by: Chris S. on March 3, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Kelly and Franks aren't just lying, they're getting their own lie wrong"- Steve Benen

What a tangled web we weave, when we first practive to deceive. - Sir Walter Scott Marmion

Posted by: palinoscopy on March 3, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Oh heck! Even Chris Matthews thinks the story is mostly right. The only detail that he thinks the republicans are making up is the Disneyland endpoint. He thinks it is North LA (probably closer to Universal Studios and Six Flags).

But when you think about it, except for a few mountain passes along the way, a high speed rail line from Las Vegas to LA would be pretty cheap per mile of track. If you could do it for $8 billion, that would be cheap! (We're look at a one mile long highway tunnel in Seattle for about $3 billion, just a hole in the ground.)

Posted by: tomj on March 3, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think the bunny ranch is just Disney's expansion of Fantasyland. Ironically, that is where Fox gets mot of their news stories.

Posted by: Gridlock on March 3, 2009 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to imagine a more ludicrous idea than "delivering" people from Disneyland to the Bunny Ranch, just look at the lack of reasoning at Fox News. Anybody looking to make money would run the train from DC and Wall St. to the Bunny Ranch. David Vitter could even play "Conductor Diaper". Larry Craig could block the aisle to the lavatory with his wide stance. Returning Blackwater personnel would have the ideal venue to celebrate their next career moves.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on March 3, 2009 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen quoted Megyn Kelly: "I say, to the moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel in Nevada."

Ms. Kelly seems awfully familiar with that specific brothel. Perhaps she used to work there, before she went to work for the cable TV brothel known as "Fox News"?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 3, 2009 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

It's like they WANT to lose all credibility. Sure, this one lie isn't going to send all the Fox News viewers elsewhere, but there's got to be at least a few who realize how bogus this is.

Or more likely, they'll try using these bogus facts in a debate and have their butts handed to them by their liberal opponent. And that's the worst thing about these absurd lies: They are completely useless as ammo in a debate. And this stuff was easy back before the internet made things so checkable, but these days, they really need better lies. They don't have to tell the whole truth, but there needs to be SOME sort of fact backing up the story. But this story not only has no factual basis, it doesn't even SOUND plausible. A brothel?? That sounds too stupid even for parody.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on March 3, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

But what will the kiddies do when, after an exhausting day at the Happiest Place on Earth, they get off the train at the, er, other happiest place on earth?

Posted by: zadig on March 3, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a line that might come in handy:

"Are Fox News commentators lying or are they merely androids repeating whatever comes from Rush Limbaugh's fax machine?"

Use it anytime. You're welcome.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on March 3, 2009 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I've written here before that 1) a high speed train between the greater Los Angeles area and Las Vegas would be a pretty darn good idea (one that has been discussed in Los Angeles for years now), saving on gas, road wear, traffic, air pollution, etc. 2) that there is already a major Amtrak station in Anaheim, near Anaheim Stadium and maybe three miles from Disneyland, making it a logical terminus if such a train line were to be built (existing infrastructure, great freeway access, etc).

That said... Carson City!?! Have you ever been to Carson City? There's not much "there" there. Yes, it's the capital of Nevada. But even with that, the population is only 50K to 60K. If I'm not mistaken, Nevada has a "part-time" legislature, so even that as a reason for a train line to Carson City is stupid.

(MAYBE - but probably not - if you continued on to Reno, and then linked up to a Reno-to-Sacramento-SF line.)

Only a crazy person, or a moron, or a liar, would push for a high speed train to Carson City.

Keep talking, FOX, you're only showing how dishonest you can be.

Posted by: Robert Earle on March 3, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

"I say, to the moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel in Nevada."

The Republican's natural association of Disneyland with a brothel reminds me of the recent article where scientists have demonstrated that Republicans are the most avid consumers of pornography.

Without Republicans there would be no porn industry.

Posted by: alan on March 3, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Cardinal Fang@3.15p, that's pretty funny.

I say, what the fuck, SUE the bastards at Fox news.
Even if the payout is $1.00. Particularly if the payout is $1.00.

Posted by: phoebes in santa fe on March 3, 2009 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Cardinal Fang: I'm howling.

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Republicans didn't believe in evolution.

Posted by: ckelly on March 3, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Or maybe Faux news could interview Ried for a couple of minutes so he could clairify the language for them.

Naw. That will confuse the lie even further. What to do, what to do.

Aw heck, just as petorado said, just make up some more unbelieveable stopping points along the way.

Posted by: Kevin on March 3, 2009 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I have never understood why a high speed rail line between LA and Las Vegas is a bad thing. Have any of these wonks crying about the HSR link ever driven on I-15 in standstill bumper-to-bumper traffic between LA and Las Vegas? It's not like there isn't demand on that route!

Posted by: Stevious on March 3, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

SO the plan is to get the folks that visit Disneyland to visit hookers as fast as humanly possible. Fox News viewers can not be this stupid, seriously, from kid themed park to a whore house via high speed rail ?

If their viewers are this gullible, fuck it, push it and see them rally over this non-sense. Then we get real projects up and running w/o interference. They will be so proud they stopped the kiddie/hooker express.

Posted by: ScottW on March 3, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

MSM, bought and paid for by the Rethugs. They lie, MSM picks it up, and it becomes the truth for the ignorant.

Posted by: SteveA on March 3, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Carson City is the mailing address. It's actually in a city called Mound House in a different county where prostitution is legal. It probably has a population of 1000 (and a few dozen wild horses).

Posted by: asdf on March 3, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Megyn Kelly does indeed appear to be one of the stupidest people on TV. I actually live in Carson City, so I am quite familiar with the location of the Bunny Ranch, as it is only about 5 miles from my home. I often see their corporate car driving around town. It is decorated with advertisements for the ranch and the HBO show so it is hard to miss. I see it at my neighborhood Kinkos' quite often.

But the reason I called Megyn stupid is that the Moonlight Bunny Ranch is much further from Las Vegas (by almost 200 miles) then Disneyland is. Get a clue Megyn, Nevada is a big state. The idea that a rail line could serve both Las Vegas and Carson City is ludicrous. Even Harry Reid knows this.

Posted by: The Bobs on March 3, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we're all going about this the wrong way. We should have a contest to see who can make up the most outrageous lie that gets onto fox. You know, start posting tips on red state or drudge saying we have proof that the Democrats have slipped a line into the omnibus that will force all evangelical Christians to put their children in the public school system, and to ban home schooling or something like that. See who can get their story on the air. :)

Posted by: Liam J on March 3, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

ScottW has the best line

The Kiddie/Hooker Express

I am going to start using that as a smack down of Rethugs. As in they are so stupid they believe in The Kiddie/Hooker Express.

Posted by: cjfromwi on March 3, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

One car on the train will feature a clinic that performs abortions. Really! I saw it in the bill! The train will also make a stop at a notorious homosexual hangout, El Gayo, in Nevada.

Posted by: GOPer on March 3, 2009 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Republican hacks like Kelly and Franks aren't just lying, they're getting their own lie wrong

I disagree -- they're just making their lie bigger.

In a way, their embiggening their lie is encouraging, as it suggests they weren't getting much traction with the old one (perhaps because people regard a HSR rail link between Las Vegas and Disneyland as a good idea?).

Posted by: Gregory on March 3, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"First, the HSR was headed to Vegas; now it's Carson City."

In order to realize how absurd this claim is, the Foxdroids would have to have some grasp of the geography involved (as noted by your commenter, the Bunny Ranch is nowhere near Las Vegas).

Geography is for the reality-based community.

Posted by: retr2327 on March 3, 2009 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

The train will also make a stop at a notorious homosexual hangout, El Gayo, in Nevada.

That's hardly necessary when we all know what a gay-loving company Disney is! Did not all protectors of the real American family once boycott the parks for a full five minutes?

Wait. I may have hit on something. Is the real FOX message supposed to be hookers and homos? Is the right still after Disneyland/World for having LGBT Day once a year?

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

@ The Bobs 4:18
"Megyn Kelly does indeed appear to be one of the stupidest people on TV"
Well fer sure, cain't even spell her own name right.
Seriously - didn't the cutsy spelling disappear sometime in the late 80's. I am sometimes exposed to Faux at the gym and it immediately causes my brain to atrophy.

Posted by: John R on March 3, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

At least with the moonlight bunny ranch brothel at the end of the line, the right wing can't say it won't add to the stimulus.

Posted by: qwerty on March 3, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

In a way, their embiggening their lie is encouraging, as it suggests they weren't getting much traction with the old one (perhaps because people regard a HSR rail link between Las Vegas and Disneyland as a good idea?).

That's what I think -- the idea of HSR between the two biggest tourist areas in the western US didn't sound like a bad idea to most people, so now they have to try and figure out a way to make it bad. "Your kids will see Mickey Mouse in the morning and lose their virginity to a prostitute that same night! Fear! Panic!"

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 3, 2009 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Your kids will see Mickey Mouse in the morning and lose their virginity to a prostitute that same night! Fear! Panic!"

You forgot "Profit!"

Posted by: Gregory on March 3, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Liam J -

There was an old, old SNL bit like that. Buck Henry is the host of a radio call-in show, but the phone just won't ring. He gets more and more desperate to get callers. Finally he says "We're talking about federal money to bus Nazis into your neighborhood to kill your dog...I'm for it!!"

Posted by: Robert Earle on March 3, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, every FOX personality spells his/her name the same - m i s c r e a n t! -The lot of 'em! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 3, 2009 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Republican hacks like Kelly and Franks aren't just lying, they're getting their own lie wrong, screwing up the manufactured controversy that they helped create.

Not quite, because at this point they're not lying, they're bullshitting. Remember what Franks said: while the liar cares about the truth (he has to, because a lie only exists in relation to the truth) the bullshitter doesn't -- he floats free of any notion of truth or untruth. They can pivot on a dime because they simply don't care. After all, who are you gonna believe, Megyn Kelly or your lyin' ears?

Posted by: Stefan on March 3, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

I really want to see Reid go on television and say, "All right, all right, we're giving up. The pressure from Fox News viewers has been too intense. We're going to remove the high speed rail line from Disneyland to the Bunny Ranch from the spending bill. In fact, your political pressure has been so effective, we've decided to go back in time and retroactively take all references to the project out of the bill in the first place... there, it's done. Reality has been changed. You can actually go look at the bill and see that as of now, there never was a high speed rail project from Disneyland to the Bunny Ranch, or even from anywhere in California to anywhere in Nevada. We're sorry, Fox News viewers, and we'll never do it again."

Posted by: Evan on March 3, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Kelly just playing it for laughs? She can't really believe that crap, can she? I think she's doing Colbert in drag...

Posted by: buddy66 on March 3, 2009 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

I want to know at what point the lie included "maglev": was that Jindal's invention? In a week, it's going to be a magic railway powered by unicorn farts, offering gay marriage and late-term abortion in the buffet car.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc on March 3, 2009 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, making false statements about someone's plans, bills, expenditures etc. in a humiliating way should be considered slander. It should be subject to prosecution accordingly. Otherwise, denies equal protection of the law.

tyrannogenius

Posted by: Neil B ◙ on March 3, 2009 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

What! You mean there's not going be a high speed rail line between Disneyland and the Bunny Ranch. What will I tell my 8 and 10 year kids? They're going to be crushed! They were so looking forward to going to the Bunny Ranch after we visited Disneyland. What am I going to do with all these condoms now?

Posted by: LeeBurl on March 3, 2009 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

There's no excuse for this. Sean Hannity, for one, knows where the Bunny Ranch is. (Photo is SFW, but not the rest of the site.)

Posted by: Origuy on March 3, 2009 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, the link didn't work in my last post. Here it is:
http://www.bunnyranch.com/phpAlbum/main.php?cmd=imageview&var1=Dennis_Hannity_AFA.jpg&var2=0

Posted by: OriGuy on March 3, 2009 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

The point the audience here is missing is this:

It doesn't matter that FOX lies and that it's points can be easily dismissed or argued against.

What matters is that the FOX audience listens and is motivated to rally for easily repeated talking points that can be readily agreed to by like-thinking people (ie republicans, nazi's, etc). The points don't have to be true, or even make sense logically, as long as they are able to knit together the masses and keep them agitated. In such an agitated state, the Republican leaders can then assure and rescue/protect the masses from those that would harm/tax/take-away rights, whatever.

The people on this website are also seemingly caught up in the genius that is the Rights MO, which is throw out outrageous claims and keep the left fighting the details that the masses could care less about at the end of the day.

Both sides are agitated and the leaders walk away with the spoils. I haven't figured out where the Left's leaders fit in yet, but will update you when I do.

karl rove is a smart man.

Posted by: Sayyid9000 on March 4, 2009 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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