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FOX, using McCain POW torture to excuse computer illiteracy, insults disabled Americans

Reported by Chrish - September 15, 2008 -

FOX and Friends this morning 9/15/08 started the ball rolling (as they always do) about the storylines that we'll see pushed through the day. It's the same old "Election2008" coverage we've come to expect: attack a minor incident as evidence of media bias (conspiracy, even) and distort Obama ads to make McCain look victimized.
With video.

Today's big diversion ("a major controversy") features photographer Jill Greenberg, hired by Atlantic Monthly magazine to shoot John McCain's cover photo; while doing so she also "tricked him" into posing for a shot that makes him look "like a villain," found at her website Manipulator.com. The magazine did not use that photo but rather another
which the FOX crews are complaining about - his red eyes were not cleared and his skin looks bad. AM is not apologizing for that "respectful" photo (we are at a new level of propaganda when a "news" outlet complains that their candidate's cover shots are NOT being retouched to make him look better - "maybe they hired her on purpose," smeared Gretchen Carlson) but they are apologizing to McCain for the photographer's unprofessional behavior. Of course, now FOX wants magazines and other media outlets to censor vet photographers and contributors to make sure everyone is properly politically neutral - like them. Too funny.

I don't want to give this "major controversy" fluff diversion any more attention, though suffice to say it's getting plenty of play on FOX.

A more serious case of advocacy for John McCain is making the rounds on FOX. In response to Barack Obama's recent ad that cites McCain's lack of computer knowledge as one indicator of how out of touch he is with everyday Americans, FOX is on full blown defense. They are insisting that his lack of Internet use stems from his torture (their emphasis) at the Hanoi Hilton and his resulting disability to raise his arms above his head, and add that arthritis has set in and made it worse. The chyrons say that Obama ad "mocks" McCain's "inability" to email.

Comment: They've said as much that Obama's ad may cause some "blowback" among people with disabilities, but the people I'm familiar with in the disabled community would be more incensed that he is ostensibly using his challenges as an excuse. (FOX Friends are insinuating that McCain is too humble to invoke the injuries, so they are doing it for him.) As many have already pointed out, there is a plethora of aid available to people with disabilities, many of them much more severe than McCain's.

Additionally, according to McCain himself,

“I am an illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance that I can get,” and more recently “I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need — including going to my daughter’s blog first, before anything else.”

Although McCain has never blamed injuries suffered as a Vietnam POW for his lack of computer skills, articles in the Boston Globe and Forbes in 2000 noted that those injuries make it difficult for him to use a keyboard.

According to Forbes: "McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. 'She's a whiz on the keyboard, and I'm so laborious,' McCain admits."

Still, McCain admits that he just isn’t much of a technology user.

Two years ago, McCain told CNN, “I read my e-mails, but I don't write any. I'm a Neanderthal--I don't even type. I do have rudimentary capabilities to call up some websites, like the New York Times online, that sort of stuff. No laptop. No PalmPilot. I prefer my schedule on notecards, which I keep in my jacket pocket."

The above is from PolitiFact.com, which finds Obama's "Still" ad "mostly true" and makes this addendum today:

Update: On Sept. 15, 2008, we updated this story with information about how injuries sustained by McCain as a POW make it difficult for him to use a keyboard. However, given McCain's acknowledgment that he is learning to get online, this additional information did not change our ruling.

Additionally, FOX Friends are saying that McCain appeals to reliable senior citizen voters, many of whom don't get on-line either - but the ad is not targeted to them, it is meant to impact younger and more plugged in voters - the majority of Americans.

Watch just a few of the clips where FOX advocates for and defends McCain:

Note how in the last segment Bill Hemmer interrupts and overtalks the Obama spokesman, repeatedly trying to put him on defense over McCain's war injuries and brushing aside the serious message the Obama camp is addressing. Megyn Kelly gave him an attaboy, "fairandbalanced" after the segment.