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Fox News Gets Punked By Breitbart Pal?

Reported by Priscilla - February 20, 2011 -

Fox News prides itself on its "real journalism, fair & balanced." Thus, one would think that as "real journalism," they would attempt to use real journalism tools to investigate the source of allegations before going public with the allegations and inferring that these allegations could constitute criminal misconduct on the part of teacher's unions.Yesterday afternoon, around 4:30, Fox flack Greg Jarrett (whose "news" program is nowhere near as much fun as when Julie Banderas was his co-host. Julie Banderas, whose acerbic wit livened up the show, has been replaced by a robotic blonde) started braying about some important breaking news from Wisconsin. I smelled a rat when the Fox correspondent, at the Wisconsin union rally, announced that Fox was privy to some important news about fake doctors notes being given to teachers so that they could be excused from work while they attend the rally. It got even smellier when two anti-union women, who weren't teachers, claimed that they went up to a "doctor" and got these notes. Jarrett was aghast and snarled that this, if it were true, could result in charges of criminal misconduct being filed against the teachers union. Ten minutes later, he did another announcement of "breaking news" and reported on this possibly criminal allegation without going to the live feed. So there you have it. Fox reports that a "doctor" is handing out notes; but doesn't actually speak to this person and verify that they were legit. Hmmm... Interestingly, according to Crooks & Liars, Fox broke this story around 3. As our dinner guests were arriving, I shut off the TV and didn't DVR the rest so I don't know how long they ran with it; but it certainly is making the rounds of all the right wing websites. It turns out that the plot sickens.

As noted on Crooks & Liars, this whole ball of shit started with a video from the "MacIver Institute" - a right wing think tank that has lately been video stalking Wisconsin legislators in order to further its right wing agenda. The videographers have actually posed as reporters from a local media outlet. On its board is Mark Block, Wisconsin head of teabagging pimps, "Americans for Prosperity" which is funded by the Koch brothers who contributed big bucks to GOP Governor Walker and whose polluting business interests have benefited from Walker's efforts to cut back environmental regulations. Another board member is Scott Jensen who has some ethics problems. So now they have produced a video in which people, claiming to be doctors, are stating that they're giving out bogus sick notes for teachers. The videographer even got himself a note from somebody wearing a white lab coat. But wait - the videographer is Christian Hartstock, a pal of Andrew Breitbart who is featured on Breitart's "Big Journalism" (LOL) website. Among other acheivements, Hartstock has "directed the undercover investigation video Teachers Unions Gone Wild which exposed sleaze and corruption in the New Jersey Education Association, earning the accolades of Governor Chris Christie, produced B-roll for James O'Keefe's and Hannah Giles' investigation videos that brought down ACORN." So no bias here nosirree.

A check was done of the "doctor's" name on the sick leave "authorization." The only information that Crooks & Liars got was that he contributed to Russ Feingold. But Michelle Malkin has identified James H. Shropshire as an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Wisconsin School of Medicine - something that she could have gleaned from the internet. The name that I saw, on the doctor's "excuse," was Kathy Orton. I could find no Kathy Orton listed as a Wisconsin doctor. The other interesting thing was that the contact listing on the doctors notes was Badgerdoctors@gmail.com. Thing is that there doesn't seem to be any listing for "Badgerdoctors" which, one assumes, is the name of the medical association that these "doctors" are from.

Comment: So "fair & balanced" Fox News runs with a video done by a partisan hack and which includes notes done by "doctors" whose identities can't be verified. And color me skeptical; but I don't think that real doctors would risk their professional credentials and prestige by admitting to handing out fake doctors notes at a union rally. (If Dr. Shropshire's name is being used, without his permission, things could get really interesting.) If it were street theater, it was amusing - as a way to push a political agenda, it was disturbing. If this turns out to be legit, well shame on me. But if Fox thinks that their reporting of this bizarre scenario is "real journalism," shame on them!

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"MacIver" Video