Political Animal


January 30, 2013 10:43 AM The Powers Project

By Ed Kilgore

Yesterday I did a post reacting to a column by Fox News “personality” and Daily Beast columnist Kirstin Powers accusing the president of trying illegally to shut down Fox because it “won’t treat him like an emperor.” Having read similar fare from Powers over the years, I compared her to other faux-Democrats who make a living from providing bipartisan cover to conservative media, in one of the older games in Washington.

The post provoked protestations from Powers herself on Twitter that I didn’t know what I was talking about in doubting her “Democratic” or “liberal” self-identification, and a lot more communications from her conservative fans accusing me of being an agent of Media Matters or the White House or whatever. I then published an “update” apologizing for extrapolating a general impression of Powers from her writing without having watched more than a tiny, accidental sampling of her appearances on Fox News.

But that’s apparently not enough. I’m still getting private communications from rational people telling me I was unfair to poor Powers, who is fighting the good Democratic fight at Fox, or at least exhibiting a genuine independence.

So all right, I’ll do something I’d dislike just as much if we were talking about some MSNBC “personality”: I’ll make a point of trying to watch Kirstin Powers when I can at least through the weekend, and then make a fresh assessment of her basic journalistic orientation. I’ll need the moral support of readers in doing this, since the Powers Project will involve a considerable exposure to other Fox fare, and it’s not that clear when she’ll appear.

After this, I will vow never to comment on the politics of people who primarily work on television, because I’m just not going to watch enough of the stuff to make any judgments.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • fess on January 30, 2013 10:55 AM:

    I would think that the comment, ...wont treat him like an emperor. was pretty substantive all by itself. That is such a classic Fox take. Actually, so is crying about being called out.

  • Arachnae on January 30, 2013 10:58 AM:

    you were judging a columnist on the content of a column. I don't see how their on-air opinionating one way or the other can change that.

  • trex on January 30, 2013 11:00 AM:

    Don't let her fool you, Ed. I'm just going to repost my comment from yesterday.

    Kirsten Powers is a "liberal Democrat" like I'm Mussolini. Here is just a sampling of her articles at the Daily Beast:

    She is a Benghazi truther, alleging Obama tried to cover up a terrorist threat by attacking Romney.

    She touted Paul Ryan's economic plan prior to the election.

    She pushed the line that the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare was a "threat to religous freedom." [Hint: it's not]

    She wrote an article attacking Planned Parenthood's claim that access to contraception reduced abortions as false. It was pointed out to her that her use of statistics was deeply flawed and she was forced to recant [You think anybody dug up that article and read the recant?]

    She wrote a numbers of glowing pieces on insane Michele Bachman during the primaries, ignoring the insanity and just focusing on her gender.

    When she isn't directly attacking liberal policies, the Democratic Party, or the Obama Administration directly she concern trolls them, damning with faint praise or resorting to terms like "arrogrant" to describe Obama. And that's just a sampling, and that's just from the Daily Beast. Who knows what ridiculous shit her position as Trojan Horse liberal forces her to spew on the air at Fox News.

    Sorry Kirsten, the jig is up. You may pretend to be one of us andyou may have found a way to monetize that pretension - but you're not. No matter how you slice it, you're just another right-wing tool.

  • c u n d gulag on January 30, 2013 11:00 AM:

    You do realize, I hope, that for every hour of FUX NOISE that you watch, your blood pressure rises, your digestion slows, your bile builds up, your sphincter contracts, and you drop about 10 or so IQ points.

    Do yourself and your readers a favor, and use a DVR to fast-forward to when she's on, and extend your life.

    Btw - based on past regular "Democratic" (DINO) contributors, I'd say you were probably pretty accurate in your assessment.
    If they don't eventually get to the point Rupe and Rog want them to make, and are too provocative, then their stays at FUX are usually short.
    And something tells me, those who criticized you, or contacted you, "Methinks they do protest too much." Meaning that they, too, are DINO's - if not outright trolls and plants.

    Propaganda doesn't allow for differing points of view.

    Oh, and FUX's ratings took a rather dramatic dip after the follies and fiasco's leading up to, and including, Election Night.

  • kindness on January 30, 2013 11:04 AM:

    Powers isn't a liberal. Powers is simply an ass. Those that say otherwise are purposefully ignorant or liars or both.

  • Calcixeroll on January 30, 2013 11:04 AM:

    Don't be a sucker Ed. It is just the whining game - it won't let up until they see something else shiny.

  • angler on January 30, 2013 11:06 AM:

    I agree with c u n d gulag. Ed, your health is too valuable. This is like deciding to ride a motorcycle without a helmet to see if it's really unsafe. Wait, more like going into a room full mosquitoes clad only in swim trunks. No, pouring 1,000 fire ants into a wet suit and then climbing in after them . . . . That is, you know this unpleasantness will only confirm your first impression. As for the Foxies, they won't be persuaded.

  • Sue on January 30, 2013 11:06 AM:

    I wouldn't bother.
    I think you have her pretty well summed up already.

  • Jon on January 30, 2013 11:07 AM:

    I have not read her article nor do I watch Fox News....but if she asserted that Mr Obama is trying to shut down Fox News (illegal or otherwise) what does she cite as her proof? His refusal to acknowledge them as a legitimate news organization? Is there something in the job description of the President that he must appear on Fox News? What am I missing?

  • Mudge on January 30, 2013 11:09 AM:

    Trex says all that needs to be said. Bipartisan cover is the key phrase. But this is America, she can call herself anything she wants. And we can call her whatever we want.

  • nerd on January 30, 2013 11:09 AM:

    The fact that you have struck such a sensitive nerve is telling all by itself. For me it is hard to be objective when looking at something so obviously (to me at least) biased as Fox News.

    Fox provides a particular point of view. For them to pretend otherwise is important to maintain credibility with their intended audience, but if you are willing to listen outside of the echo chamber it is hard not to recognize the bias.

    Do what you must to be objective and watch Fox so that you can speak authoritatively about them, but when watching Fox please take breaks and remember the world is not the scary place Fox wants you to believe it is.


  • Lifelong Dem on January 30, 2013 11:10 AM:

    Man up, Ed. Don't take the bait. Refuse to play their game.

    After skimming some of Kirsten Powers' writings, I could see that she's just another pretty blonde who spouts RNC talking points on FoxNews and other right-wing outlets. She gets the gig because she's technically a Democrat, and those people just love finding "Democrats" who will attack actual Democrats.

    Your original post was dead-on accurate. Don't give in to their pressure.

  • monoceros4 on January 30, 2013 11:14 AM:

    "I would think that the comment, '...won't treat him like an emperor.' was pretty substantive all by itself."

    It's weird, this obsessive Republican notion that Pres. Obama wants obeisance and worship, as though he were Diocletian or a stuck-up rock star. I thought right-wingers loved themselves a powerful "unitary executive".

  • davidp on January 30, 2013 11:16 AM:

    There's a pattern here. The GOP lose the election, and so Boehner comes out and says that Obama wants to obliterate them. Now Obama responds mildly to some Fox criticism, and we get this ridiculous meltdown from Powers. This is all from the Rove playbook: accuse your opponents of doing unto us those things that we are actually trying to do unto them.

  • liam foote on January 30, 2013 11:26 AM:

    Safe journey, Ed.

  • matt on January 30, 2013 11:28 AM:

    so I guess browbeating works. I'd just tell her to pound sand and go work for someone who does something for liberal causes if she wants to be considered a real liberal.

  • sharculese on January 30, 2013 11:31 AM:

    Don't dignify her tantrum with a response.

  • R on January 30, 2013 11:35 AM:

    Ed, do any of those "rational people" have specific citations, to counter the ones from trex above? If not, then I'm with c u n d gulag and angler (especially the fire ants part). There was nothing rational about Ryan's economic "plan," and Michelle Bachmann is an embarrassment to womankind.

  • LAC on January 30, 2013 11:39 AM:

    Why you want to waste your time appeasing some thin skinned twit who can't handle being called out on her statements and the twitter idiots is beyond me. Her dumb hyperbole about Fox being hurt because it doesn't treat the President as "emperor" were all I need to give the appropriate weight to her complaints. That, and googling her name. Don't waste your time or health on her. The fact that she is bitching about it is a sign that she knows that criticism of her has some justification. And "fighting the good fight" at Fox is like using a croissant as a dildo. It doesn't work and makes a mess.(credit to "VEEP")

    Ignore her...

  • c u n d gulag on January 30, 2013 11:41 AM:

    "It's weird, this obsessive Republican notion that Pres. Obama wants obeisance and worship..."

    Because, remember, after 9/11, and in the approach to Bush's Follies in Afghanistan and Iraq, that's what they demanded for their tinpot Churchill wanna-be.

    It's ALWAYS all about projection!!!
    Don't ever, ever doubt that!

  • Mad_nVt on January 30, 2013 11:42 AM:

    Yo Ed,

    1. Get tapes of her last five or ten shows. If necessary, ask Powers to send them to you. Sample them. That should clear up any confusion.

    2. Why stop commenting on the politics of people who work in television? That's crazy. TV talking heads are key piece of the political dynamic.

    3. Don't be harassed into silence. That's poison.

  • Cal State Disneyland on January 30, 2013 11:42 AM:

    In the law, there is the concept of res ipsa loquitor - "the thing speaks for itself." Here, that Powers identifies Obama as demanding he be treated like an "emperor" talking to Fox News is sufficient to show what a hack she is.

  • Don SinFalta on January 30, 2013 11:55 AM:

    I don't see why you'd subject yourself to a weekend of Fox IQ damping just because of the whining of Kirsten Powers and her conservative supporters. What do you care about the opinions of any of those people?

  • Th on January 30, 2013 11:59 AM:

    I'm with Mad_nVt, make her prove it. If she won't send links to past performances, have her send you her schedule so you will only need to watch when she is on.

    Fox isn't about proving anything, it's throwing crap out there and challenging people to prove otherwise.

  • Lolly on January 30, 2013 11:59 AM:

    Didn't somebody appropriate the phrase "Even-the-liberal" as an adjective for the nominally liberal/Democratic concern trolls whose sole purpose is to provide the appearance of "balance" while parroting right-wing points? Powers seems to be one of those, providing the outrage manufacturers to point to "Even the Liberal Kristin Powers says that Obama is trying to destroy liberals/Obamacare will bankrupt the county/Planned Parenthood just wants to make money off of abortions/etc. etc."

    So instead of calling her a liberal, I would call her an Even-the-Liberal.

  • Gandalf on January 30, 2013 12:03 PM:

    Many great comments here. If you were a kid Ed and you were playing a pickup game of whatever sport and someone repeatedly whined like a stuck pig at every opportunity would you continue playing with that person/ Hell no. Besides that I defy any rational person to watch fox news for a half an hour straight without their head exploding.

  • Peter C on January 30, 2013 12:05 PM:

    FOX went to court and won the right to lie their collective asses off. Since then, they've never looked back.

    If she wants me to believe that she's a liberal, she'll have to resign her job at FOX (for a start). That goes for Juan Williams and Cokie Roberts too. I have no intention of listening to her (or anyone else) on FOX. I'd rather scan Media Matters; they're pretty good at providing clips to document FOX's hackery.

  • evodevo on January 30, 2013 12:10 PM:

    Better you than me. I can't watch ANY thing on Fox Noise for longer than 60 seconds before I am throwing objects at the teevee.
    I'll contribute to your health insurance before I would jump into their fantasyland.

  • Perspecticus on January 30, 2013 12:14 PM:

    Seriously, save yourself the aggravation and contact Jason Linkins or Charles Pierce. They'll have plenty of evidence supporting your opinion. I am certain Kristin Poers has all the belief in the world in her "independence". And she is, in the same way that Blue Dog Democrats are "moderates". That is, it's horseshit.

    And, I will bet dollars against donuts the majority of her defenders are wingnuts who have found a "Democrat" that says all the things they themselves like to believe about Democrats. This, as you are certainly know, makes her one of the "good ones".

  • jeri on January 30, 2013 12:16 PM:

    "Ill make a point of trying to watch Kirstin Powers when I can at least through the weekend.........."

    Ed, you have my sympathy.

  • PeakVT on January 30, 2013 12:22 PM:

    Powers provided you with a perfect demonstration of how conservatives work the refs, Kilgore. And you let yourself be bullied by her. For shame

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 30, 2013 12:33 PM:

    The only time that I have ever WANTED to watch Fox News was on November 6, 2012 at approximately 11:15PM. Just sayin'...

  • Rick B on January 30, 2013 12:35 PM:


    Kirsten is a conservative FOX News personality with a strong repertiore of techniques for attacking progressives who call her out on her politics. She is using your innate sense of fairness against you.

    Do you think she bothers to find evidence to support her own idiocies? Her stuff is totally out of the conservative angst, with no connection to evidence or reality. But she'll use your training to get solid and reliable evidence to support your opinions against you in a heartbeat.

    Well, trex gave you the evidence you need. Your impression of Kirsten is dead on. Trust your impression. Don't let her cause you to ignore your social recognition of her as a poseur and conservative-paid-liar. For all her protestations she is not Democratic or liberal.

    It's really not necessary to have a carefully researched and independently vetted resume of the history of a snake-oil salesman in your hand and ready for court review to recognize the character of an individual who is not to be trusted. In Kirsten's case you can tell by who she associates with and who pays her.

  • max on January 30, 2013 12:46 PM:

    Ill need the moral support of readers in doing this, since the Powers Project will involve a considerable exposure to other Fox fare, and its not that clear when shell appear.

    Um, better you that me! No that's not right. God go with ye, you poor sad sod.

    After this, I will vow never to comment on the politics of people who primarily work on television, because Im just not going to watch enough of the stuff to make any judgments.

    I still have no idea who she is, and I am planning on keeping it that way.

    ['There was a Bloom County cartoon about this...']

  • rdale on January 30, 2013 12:53 PM:

    I always turn to Wonkette for all news about Fox, since they are about the only ones who can give Fox the ridicule it really deserves:


    January 29, 2013
    THE BUTTHURT LOCKER 1:37 pm January 29, 2013
    Fox News Victim Of Obama Campaign To Destroy Fox News, Says Fox News

    Read more at http://wonkette.com/498932/fox-news-victim-of-obama-campaign-to-destroy-fox-news-says-fox-news#e4oQLs8sWE660wSK.99

    "Foxs token liberal Kirsten Powers has composed a magnificent cri de butthurt..." Perfect description.

  • OKDem on January 30, 2013 12:57 PM:

    Powers works for Faux Noise; therefore the following applies:
    She: What kind of woman do you think I am?

    He: Weve already established that. Now were just haggling over the price.

  • exlibra on January 30, 2013 1:56 PM:

    They only want your eyeballs on the Faux, because their ratings have tanked. I wouldn't fall for it, *even if* it were healthy to watch them (there are studies saying it's not).

  • Richard on January 30, 2013 2:01 PM:

    I am not sure I see why you feel the need to back off. The woman said that "Obama was trying to illegally shut down FOX" which is a lie. It doesn't matter what political sentiments she holds she was willing to advance a rank GOP'er lie and that single example ( she is basing her claim on a single remark made by Obama ) is more than enough to condemn her. If her remark skirted around the edge of GOP'erdom where there might be some overlap with conservadem sentiments you might want to cut her the slack you are. But, the remark was made from the Capitol of Wing-Nuto'sphere and is so egregiously FOXified that alone it is sufficient to condemn her.

    Let me add..it is damn near impossible to post in here due to the captcha's

  • Russell aboard M/V Sunshine on January 30, 2013 2:11 PM:

    Stick to your guns, Ed. Ms. Powers is a professional shill.

  • MuddyLee on January 30, 2013 2:43 PM:

    I don't think anybody who works for Fox News in any capacity can play the "fairness" card. Or the "balanced" card. Or the "sane" card. Fox News is a joke - the people who work for Fox News deserve whatever ridicule liberal writers heap on them. I have never heard or seen Ms Powers - I don't need to, because I know she works for Fox News. I don't usually make appearance related comments about women in politics or in the media - BUT - Powers even LOOKS like she works for Fox News (thanks Google Images). She should go get a real job - if she can pass a lie detector test.

  • jimmy on January 30, 2013 3:12 PM:

    Kristen Powers, Democrat?


    The very first sentence in Powers' latest screed is: "There is no war on terror for the Obama White House, but there is one on Fox News."

    This sort of nonsense is perfect evidence of why BHO should ignore Fox.

  • smartalek on January 30, 2013 3:53 PM:

    For obvious reasons (sanity, decency, humanity, 3-digit IQ -- albeit just barely -- testosterone levels well short of overdose), I try to avoid any temptations to throw sexist terminology and/or stereotyping even at those (Palin, Bachmann, et al) who seem to go out of their way to trigger same.
    But I'm sorry. If you look up "Faux'News' Bimbette" or "Publican Pundette" or "Media Ho" in the dictionary, this is the pic you'll find to illustrate the terms:


    That pic was clearly promulgated by Ms Powers and/or her agents. She has no ground whatsoever for complaint.

  • pjcamp on January 30, 2013 10:38 PM:

    Wrap rubber bands round your head so it doesn't 'splode.

  • RobW on January 31, 2013 12:12 AM:

    I think the best advice here is, "do not feed the troll."

    Seriously, Ed, what do think is going to happen here? She'll retract her statement about the Obama war on Fox? Or whatever she's said about you? You think she'll apologize? Or any of her readers or viewers will write in to point out to her how wrong she is, that Ed Kilgore is really totes fair and balanced?

    Do you expect her, her readers, or anyone else at Fox to do anything other than either ignore you or double down on the stupid?

    Care to make a wager on it?