Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 22, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... As part of the opposition to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) union-busting efforts, thousands of Wisconsin school teachers called in "sick" last week, forcing several local districts to close temporarily. A handful of news outlets reported that some local physicians, sympathetic to the teachers' plight, wrote doctors' notes for educators who weren't actually sick.

I haven't seen independent confirmation of this, and I have no idea how widespread the practice may or may not have been. But as one might imagine, it has Fox News pretty worked up.

In fact, the Republican network is apparently outraged on multiple levels. Not only are they accusing the doctors involved of "fraud," Fox News personalities are incensed that CNN reported on the story this way: "We have been told that doctors are writing notes for some of those teachers so they won't be penalized by staying away from school. So, they are helping out the teachers."

Last night, Bill O'Reilly asked Juan Williams to comment, not just on the physicians' efforts, but on the two sentences CNN viewers heard.

"Well, let me just say, it's important I think Bill just to establish: what's the truth? What's the fact? The fact is that's outright fraud. Doctors are not supposed to make up an excuse for someone who is not sick. That's just fraud. I mean, what's next? You know, writing prescription drugs for people because you want to support their right to party? It's just totally wrong when doctors do that. [...]

"What it makes me think is that CNN may be reacting to Fox coverage or CNN just pandering and saying, 'You know what, we think we are going to just side with the unions here.' I don't know. It's puzzling to me. It hurts me to see a news organization get involved in politics to that level." [emphasis added]

Look, I don't know what happened with those doctors. If they wrote notes for folks who weren't sick, claiming they were, it would appear to be unprofessional, at a minimum.

But to hear a Fox News personality complain on the air about a "news organization getting involved in politics" is just remarkable.

As Juan Williams read the Sammon memos? Does he remember the Tea Party rallies Fox News helped organize and promote, only to have Fox News staffers gin up the right-wing crowds for the cameras?

Fox News exists to "get involved in politics" at "that level." That's the point of the network.

Steve Benen 3:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Steve Benen: "Fox News exists to 'get involved in politics to that level.' That's the point of the network."

And the point of Juan Williams is to be a partisan Republican propagandist who pretends to be a "journalist" on Fox News.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 22, 2011 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

what's next? You know, writing prescription drugs for people because you want to support their right to party?

What's next? Large financial engaging in fraud to make more money at our expense?

Posted by: Todd for VT House on February 22, 2011 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Fox points the finger at CNN so that people like my wife's wingnut grandfather will believe that CNN, not Fox, is playing politics. He will believe that until the day he dies.

They always accuse their opponents this way. Remember how Bush was in a Champagne Unit during Viet Nam and yet the decorated veteran Kerry was a liar, commie, and a traitor?

Posted by: Nobody Important on February 22, 2011 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

"I mean, what's next? You know, writing prescription drugs for people because you want to support their right to party?"

I dunno. Maybe we should ask Rush Limbaugh about that one.

Posted by: WSP on February 22, 2011 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Juan Williams lost his soul a long time ago. While NPR bungled his firing from a public relations perspective I refused to care one wit.

Posted by: Camus on February 22, 2011 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

OMG! This is the worstest fraud ever! A fake note to get out of school? Was it signed "My Mom" or "My Doctor"?

Posted by: Tom Allen on February 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yeah, but you’re forgetting the other qualifying term: "News organization". Fox is not a "news organization", it’s a propaganda organ. So it isn’t hypocritical at all!

Posted by: simplx on February 22, 2011 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

It is highly unlikely that a physician is writing a note that he or she knows to be false. There is no state in our nation that does not forbid that under their administrative codes and the punishment is quite severe.
Did not happen.
Dr. L

Posted by: Richard on February 22, 2011 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I've read this article a few times, and I still don't think Williams' reaction makes sense (let alone is honest, or a valid point). How is CNN reporting that doctors are writing excuse notes HELPING the protestors? It seems to me it serves to malign them. not support them.

Posted by: demtom on February 22, 2011 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

It might be interesting to follow up on the career of that Fox employee who was stirring up the teabaggers for their video. Following your link:

"Fox's Washington bureau chief Bryan Boughton told Huffington Post that "the employee is a young, relatively inexperienced associate producer who realizes she made a mistake and has been disciplined."

Very disciplined, perhaps, in following orders?

Posted by: Hank Roberts on February 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Can't verify the content here, but worth checking:

Rortybomb
The Less Discussed Part of Walker’s Wisconsin Plan: No-Bid Energy Assets Firesales.
Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on February 21, 2011

Have you heard about 16.896?

The fight in Wisconsin is over Governor Walker’s 144-page Budget Repair Bill. The parts everyone is focusing on have to do with the right to collectively bargain being stripped from public sector unions (except for the unions thatsupported Walker running for Governor). Focusing on this misses a large part of what the bill would do. Check out this language, from the same bill (my bold):

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

The bill would allow for the selling of state-owned heating/cooling/power plants without bids and without concern for the legally-defined public interest. This excellent catch is from Ed at ginandtacos.com . . .

Posted by: Frank on February 22, 2011 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jane Addams said it best, when she noted, "The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself."

Posted by: Out & About in The Castro on February 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK
Fox News exists to "get involved in politics" at "that level."
No, no, no. Fox is upset because CNN got involved at the level of real people helping real people. They didn't keep it in the rarefied atmosphere of "some people say mebulous Others are trying to take your jobs and eat your babies." And that -- as far as Fox "News" is concerned -- is unprofessional. Posted by: Bernard Gilroy on February 22, 2011 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

I don't usually watch FOXNEWS or its personalities as I'm not enrapt with morally indignant, self-rightous judgemental nastiness the way they all are over there on FOX!

Hey Bill, done any luffa exercises lately? -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Fox is not a news organization. It is a fascist propoganda outlet, therefore it can sink to any depth it deems necessary. As such, how can Juanie pass judgement on CNN? NPR did us proud by dumping that rotten bastard.

Posted by: me4texas on February 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

I have it on excellent authority that more than 400,000 liberal doctors from around the country are writing fake sick notes for these lazy punks.

Outrageous. These so called physicians should be stripped of their medical licenses, like I was for refusing to sign off on a single workers' comp application. All those people still had some limbs. They just didn't want to work and somebody had to stand between them and their free ride at the state's expense.

Posted by: Mlke K on February 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

perhaps i'm dense but i don't see how reporting "We have been told that doctors are writing notes for some of those teachers so they won't be penalized by staying away from school. So, they are helping out the teachers," in any way suggests approval of what the doctors are doing, let alone injecting politics into the discussion.

Posted by: dj spellchecka on February 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

"We have been told that doctors are writing notes for some of those teachers so they won't be penalized by staying away from school. So, they are helping out the teachers."

I agree with demtom. If anything, CNN is exposing the fraud FOX complains about, trying to get doctors in trouble.

Posted by: Grumpy on February 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't funny that tea baggers, who named their little astroturf outfit after an historic act of civil disobedience, are outraged if someone actually, you know, engages in it?

Posted by: JoeW on February 22, 2011 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

The point is that not one person who watches Fox is even capable of perceiving the irony. To them, Fox is fair and balanced and nonpartisan. Seriously. They really believe that.

Posted by: Another Steve on February 22, 2011 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I stopped reading at Last night, Bill O'Reilly asked Juan Williams.

Life's too short for this bullshit.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on February 22, 2011 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Don't be pickin' on poor ol' Juan. He's probably still in shock that he lost his job at NPR.

And in greater shock at the paycheck he gets from FOXNEWS ...

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on February 22, 2011 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Heck, I have a vet write me a note when I have an eye problem and can't see going to work.

He writes that I am "sick as a dog", something he should know all about.

Heh, heh.

Posted by: IntelVet on February 22, 2011 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Where does Rush get his drugs if not from a righty sympathizer?

Posted by: mlm on February 22, 2011 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is another Breitbart hack job. Karoli over at Crooks and Liars covered it a few days ago. Fake doctors, fake witness. The usual. http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/wisconsin-protesters-breitbarted-over-bogus

Posted by: ComradeAnon on February 22, 2011 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Why even give the claim of fake doctors' notes credibility by talking about it? Unless they can show proof that it happened, it's just another Fox News fantasies, like Obama's Kenyan birth certificate and James OKeefes journalistic integrity.

Posted by: Freddie on February 22, 2011 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

As a doctor who has written thousands of these fucking excuses in my career, it is entirely a waste of my time and of the resources of the medical world to write work excuses. If you're sick, and you say you're sick, so be it. If you have sick leave, you're using it up. If you don't, you don't get paid. Let's actually use our medical resources for useful things. I can't tell when people feel lousy. I can estimate when they're infectious, but how can I say who should go to work? It's a pretty subjective issue anyway.

Posted by: joebdoc on February 22, 2011 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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