Softballs And Beanballs

Fox News has gotten a lot of praise for the moderators of the debate last night, particularly Megyn Kelly. And overall, it was better then some of the obsessive bullshit asked about by other networks in prior debates, especially CNN. Some legitimately tough questions were asked, such as those put to Donald Trump and Scott Walkwer. But some questions were clearly nicer than others. Talking Points Memo catalogued some of the questions put to Marco Rubio.

WALLACE: All right, well, Senator Rubio, let me see if I can do better with you. Is it as simple as our leaders are stupid, their leaders are smart, and all of these illegals coming over are criminals?

WALLACE: Senator Rubio, when Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for presidency, he said this: “There’s no passing off responsibility when you’re a governor, no blending into the legislative crowd.”
Could you please address Governor Bush across the stage here, and explain to him why you, someone who has never held executive office, are better prepared to be president than he is, a man who you say did a great job running your state of Florida for eight years.
BAIER: Senator Rubio, why is Governor Bush wrong on Common Core?
WALLACE: Senator Rubio, more than 3,000 people sent us questions about the economy and jobs on Facebook. And here is a video question from Tania Cioloko from Philadelphia. Here she is. (begins video clip) “Please describe one action you would do to make the economic environment more favorable for small businesses and entrepreneurs and anyone dreaming of opening their own business.”
KELLY: Senator Rubio, I want to ask you the same question. But I do want to mention, a woman just came here to the stage and asked, what about the veterans? I want to hear more about what these candidates are going to do for our nation’s veterans. So I put the question to you about God and the veterans, which you may find to be related.

TPM assesses the quality of the Rubio questions:

Rubio wasn’t so much thrown softballs as he was given softballs set up on a tee with 10 strikes and the defensive team told to leave the field. (When Kelly asked the last question, I expected her to ask Rubio his position on motherhood and apple pie too.)

The questioning, in other words, was much less fair than it might have seemed on the surface. Donald Trump, who isn’t going to win the nomination but has a toxic effect on the party as long as he’s in the race, was treated to a brutal inquisition. Rubio, who is arguably the most appealing general election candidate in the field but whose campaign is floundering, was thrown one life preserver after another. John Kasich and Jeb Bush were also treated more gently than the other candidates.
In other words, as Ed Kilgore noticed last night, the candidates who Republican elites would most like to see get traction were given much easier questions than the candidates Republican elites would prefer pack up and go away. Ultimately, Fox News gotta Fox News.


Only On Fox News

could a mass shooting by a white guy wearing apartheid-era Afrikaner and Rhodesian flag patches in a black church in South Carolina be described as a “crime against Christians.” And a bonus - did you know that if the dead pastor had been armed, all of this could have been avoided? No links from me, go find it yourself if you have the stomach for it. I don’t.

President Obama’s speech, on the other hand, is appropriately heartfelt and angry. Watch.

And not for the first or last time, Chris Cillizza of the Post is a freaking moron. He seems appalled that Barack Obama recognizes that nothing is going to happen on gun control - perhaps because it hasn’t up til now, so why think differently? And he repeatedly seems shocked that “the most powerful politician in the country” can’t just get what he wants. You’d think that there was no such thing as the National Rifle Association or the Republican Party involved in making policy. Just a president who has “so little to show” for his efforts after so long in office. Somebody get Cillizza into a remedial civics class, please.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is your elite Washington media. Even in the face of death and tragedy perpetrated by a white guy armed to the teeth, somehow, some way, this must be the black guy’s fault.

Fox Screws the Pooch

Wow, this one is mind-boggling. First, Fox New reports, via reporter Mike Tobin, that he personally saw a police officer “draw his weapon” and shoot a fleeing young black man, and that there was a “revolver lying on the ground.” Here’s the video.

The Baltimore City Police Department then denied there had been any kind of shooting at all, and that no one was injured. However, there is video on UStream that clearly suggests that some kind of incident took place: a man was on the ground, being attended to by police officers, and a crowd gathered, with many claiming that the man had been shot.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

The police claimed, and continue to maintain, that no one was injured, only that a suspect was apprehended for possessing a gun, and that it discharged when he dropped it.

Then the shocker - it turns out that Tobin, the Fox News reporter, never actually saw what he reported he saw. He backtracked and said he just heard that it had happened, and he went on the air with it. First, Tobin acknowledged that while he heard a gunshot, he never saw a gunshot, in fact he never saw anything, as there was a row of cars between him and the incident. Then a “Frustrated and stunned” Shep Smith of Fox News went on the air to give an “apology” for the inaccurate reporting - more correctly, lying - of Tobin. Mediaite has the transcript.

Sounds like what happened is we screwed up…. Mike Tobin thought he saw somebody get shot. And there was a gun and a patient on a stretcher and there is would a woman who said she saw the cop gun him down and there’s going to be violence and all the rest of that. And what we have is nothing. And the truth is, according to police, there is no gunshot victim. […] These are not normal environs to most people — places where there are transactions on the street, as the woman put it. That’s not how everybody lives everyday. That’s not how Mike Tobin lives; and that’s not how Leland Vittert lives; and that’s not how our security guard lives. But from everything we’ve learned from that scene, over the past weeks, that is part of life there. And that’s part of the problem there. And a bunch of people who are trained at this sort of thing, saw it, and it wasn’t real. And now something has been created there that is wrong, and unnecessary. We were wrong. Our people on scene were wrong. Theirs was an error that was honest and straightforward and our duty as journalists is not to make mistakes and when we make mistakes we are duty-bound to correct them immediately and as clearly as possible. So I’m now in correction mode and we apparently were wrong. Unless there’s new information that comes forward, all the information now points to there was a guy running down the street, gun fell in the street, gun went off; guy was taken into custody. He complained that he was injured or something. They put him in an ambulance and, out of an an abundance of caution, the police are now telling us, they took him to the hospital. Nobody has been shot. No police officer has pulled the trigger. And on behalf of Mike Tobin and the rest of our crew there and he rest of us at Fox News, I am very sorry for the error and glad we were able to correct it quickly.

Video here.

So what actually happened? Was somebody shot? Did Fox News change its story only when it heard that the police were denying someone was shot? Did Mike Tobin lie the first time, or is he still lying? No idea. But I know this much: Fox News not only displayed its usual level of utter and complete rank incompetence, but it has managed to fan the flames of unrest in Baltimore in the process. Way to go, assholes.