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How Fox and Friends Pimped Paladino “Cuomo Affair” Smear

Reported by Alex - October 1, 2010 -

Some Fox News bias is easy to detect and is laughed off by most people with even half a brain. But the real danger lies in the more subtle bias which was on display yesterday (9/30/10) when Fox and Friends pimped Carl Paladino’s “Cuomo extramarital affairs” smear in the guise of reporting on the dust-up between Paladino and a NY Post editor. With video.

Most of us can point to blatant examples of biased reporting from Fox News; for example, the unequivocal cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq, the blatant promotion of the early Tea Party events, or the fawning over Sarah Palin (who now works for Fox) during the 2008 campaign. And if anyone doubts where Fox News loyalties lie, they need only tune in to the sneering Sean Hannity or weepy hysteric Glenn Beck to be reminded that Evil Secular Progressives are hiding under your bed, ready to grab you by the ankles and drag you to a netherworld where hard-working, white Christian male capitalists are the slaves of lazy welfare queens and illegal immigrants who want to marry your daughter for a green card.

But where Fox News is really dangerous is in their expertise at editing video and cherry-picking facts in such a way that their slanted reporting is harder for the unsuspecting to detect.

In a headline segment during yesterday’s Fox and Friends Gretchen Carlson reported on a nasty confrontation between Carl Paladino, Republican/Tea Party candidate for Governor of NY, and New York Post State Editor Fred Dicker, outside a meeting of the Business Council in Bolton Landing, NY on Wednesday. Watch:

Here is the audio we heard in this segment:

Gretchen: An angry fight in NY’s race for Governor - but not between the candidates! Watch as Tea party conservative Carl Paladino confronts a New York Post reporter who he claims unfairly targeted his ten-year-old daughter for a story.

Paladino: I wanna know why you sent your goons after my daughter. You send another goon to my daughter’s house and I’ll take ya out, buddy

Gretchen: The argument almost comes to blows, as you can see, as Paladino’s campaign manager steps in to break it all up:

Caputo(campaign manager): That’s it

Dicker: Stay away from me

Caputo: You’re so outta line


Caputo: Well I’m telling ya what,

Dicker: Get outta my face, step back

Gretchen: Meanwhile Paladino claims he will soon produce evidence that his Democratic rival, Andrew Cuomo, cheated on his ex-wife Kerry Kennedy when they were married.

To be fair the show did air a lengthier, somewhat more critical-of-Paladino discussion on the same show. But remember, this is Fox and Friends, which is on early in the morning while people are getting ready for work, getting kids ready for school, or snoring over a cup of coffee. Most likely, they only watch part of the show. Most likely, they have the TV on in the background and are soaking up information without thinking too much about it. Here is the message they most likely received from this segment:

- The NY Post sent “goons” after Paladinos daughter

- Fred Dicker is out of line

- Dicker is on the defensive

- Andrew Cuomo cheated on his ex-wife while he was married to her.

Nicely done, eh? All that was missing were Cavuto Marks reading “Andrew Cuomo: Adulterer?” and “Did NY Post Stalk Paladino’s Daughter?” - though the banners came pretty close. The message was reinforced, before and after, with gushing about how angry Paladino was (oooohhh, they sure do love them some anger on Fox News) and Steve Doocy’s remark that the “proof” of Cuomo's cheating would come "all in due time."

Now watch an extended of the encounter between candidate and reporter, caught by Capital Tonight reporter Kaitlyn Ross on her cell phone video (poor audio but you can catch the gist if you listen carefully):

And here's the backstory:

Paladino had already publicly accused Cuomo of cheating on his wife without providing any evidence to back up his allegation, despite repeated requests.

Dicker stopped Paladino on the way in to the Business Council meeting to ask him if he had any proof of Cuomo’s alleged affairs. Paladino didn’t like that question very much, and with good reason: he has no proof, as he finally admitted the next day, saying that he just wants the media to look into Cuomo’s private life the way they look into his.

Paladino laid into Dicker verbally, accusing him of sending photographers to stalk his 10-year-old daughter - conceived as the result of an extramarital affair with a former employee - whom he kept hidden from the media until just before he entered the race for Governor. Paladino apparently ‘fessed up about his paramour and hidden daughter in anticipation of the inevitable muckraking and exposure that would have occurred. (Interesting side note: he chose to tell his wife of his daughter's existence on the day their son Patrick died in a car crash; their other children already knew about her.)

Paladino has never provided any proof that the alleged stalking by a NY Post photographer actually took place, nor that, if it did, Fred Dicker had anything to do with it. The NY Post have unequivocally denied that the paper or any of its employees were involved in such an incident.

Now, isn’t that just a teensy bit different from the take-away message presented as “news” by Gretchen?

This is where Fox News is at its dangerous worst. By careful video editing and choice of words they can claim, to those who don’t know any better (or don't want to know), to have presented “both sides” of the story. They lie by omission in such a way that they and their cheerleaders can say, truthfully, that Fox News “didn’t lie”. Presenting such biased reporting masquerading as “news headlines” is even worse, since the assumption of many viewers – and the perennial Fox claim - is that the “news” is factual. Add to that the likelihood that the Fox and Friends audience is likely to be preoccupied with other things first thing in the morning, and you have a nice formula for political propaganda hitting the emotional centers of the brain unnoticed, and unfiltered by any rational process. It’s classic Goebbels meets Madison Avenue.

Fear and anger bring in the viewers and money, so pimping an adulterous, racist, sexist, porn-consuming, controlling, lying, bully who is supposedly a “values” candidate is all good on Fox News - as long as everyone stays “mad as hell.”

"Mad" has multiple meanings, of course...