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FOX News Insider: "Stuff Is Just Made Up"

FOX News TV screen
© Fox News
Asked what most viewers and observers of Fox News would be surprised to learn about the controversial cable channel, a former insider from the world of Rupert Murdoch was quick with a response: "I don't think people would believe it's as concocted as it is; that stuff is just made up."

Indeed, a former Fox News employee who recently agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed what critics have been saying for years about Murdoch's cable channel. Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking.

"It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats," says the source. "They're a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news."

And that's the word from inside Fox News.

Eye 1

Unidentified Gunmen Attack Police near Egypt's Gaza border

Unidentified assailants attacked security force barracks in the Egyptian border town of Rafah, following president Hosni Mubarak's speech confirming he will cling to the presidency until elections in September.

The attackers opened fire with guns and used rocket-propelled grenades, sources and eyewitnesses said.

Rafah is near Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip.

The attack came after Mr Mubarak defied predictions that he would resign and instead pledged to stay on as president, in a televised speech to the nation.

Arrow Down

Nearly 30 percent of US homeowners now "underwater"

Total value of homes fell $2 trillion last year

Home prices in the US dropped 2.6 percent in the final quarter of 2010, the largest drop since the first three months of 2009, according to Zillow Inc's quarterly real estate survey. Year over year, home values were down 5.9 percent nationally, and have fallen 27 percent since their peak in June 2006.

The total value of US single-family homes fell a staggering $798 billion in 2010's fourth quarter, and for the entire year, more than $2 trillion.

The Obama administration has essentially washed its hands of the problems; its HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) has helped a fraction of those in need.

The number of US homeowners "underwater," i.e., owing more than their homes were worth, at the end of 2010, reports Zillow, jumped to 27 percent, up from 23.2 percent in the third quarter.

Furthermore, the report notes, "The rate of homes selling for a loss reached a new peak in December, with more than one-third (34.1 percent) selling for a loss. The rate of homes sold for a loss has increased steadily for the past six months."

Pistol

Somali pirates capture supertanker, $150M of oil

Image
© Punit Paranjpe/AFP
Suspected Somali pirates sit with their faces covered during a media interaction on board an Indian Coast Guard ship off the coast of Mumbai. India on Thursday warned of an increased threat to shipping off its southwest coast, as Somali pirates hunt targets beyond African waters to evade the clutches of an international naval force.
Nairobi, Kenya - Somali pirates captured a Greek-flagged supertanker carrying an estimated $150 million worth of oil to the Gulf of Mexico, the second successful attack against an oil tanker by sea bandits in two days, officials said.

Such vessels can command higher ransoms because of the value of the crude on board. Owners of the oil may want to resolve hostage situations quickly, particularly if oil prices are dropping, a situation that can cost owners millions of dollars more than the pirate ransom will.

Still, ransom prices are on the rise. One last year reached $9.5 million, and the increasing prizes have provided even more incentive for pirates to launch attacks despite stepped-up patrols by an international flotilla of warships.

Pirates hold 29 ships and roughly 660 hostages.

The Irene SL was sailing 200 nautical miles (360 kilometers) east of Oman with a cargo of 266,000 tons of crude oil and a crew of seven Greeks, 17 Filipinos and one Georgian when it was attacked on Wednesday, Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry said. The Associated Press estimated the value of the oil at more than $150 million, based on the amount being carried and a price of $87 a barrel.

Heart - Black

US Troops Fight Banks, Fraudclosure

Captain Jonathon and Julia Rowles, along with their lawyer Bill Harvey, join The Dylan Ratigan Show to talk about their experience with JPMorgan Chase, who illegally foreclosed on 14 military families, overcharging $4,000 more for their mortgages. .


Che Guevara

ElBaradei warns Egypt will 'explode'

el baradei
© Unknown

Cairo- Leading Egyptian dissident Mohamed ElBaradei warned on Thursday that Egypt was about to "explode" and called on the army to intervene after President Hosni Mubarak refused to step down, AFP reports.

"Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now," he wrote on the Twitter website shortly after Mubarak handed power over to his deputy but said the transition to end his three-decade rule would last until September.

Some 200,000 Egyptians who had filled Cairo's Tahrir Square hoping to hear Mubarak step down reacted to the announcement with fury and dismay as they vowed to mount the largest protests yet on Friday's "day of rage."

Che Guevara

Egypt's hope turns to fury as Mubarak clings to power

Image
© Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators in Tahrir Square. President Mubarak had seemed on the verge of giving in to demands to resign.
President hands some powers to vice-president Suleiman but will remain in control until September elections

President Hosni Mubarak dashed the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians celebrating what they expected would be his resignation speech by defiantly telling them he would not bow to domestic or foreign pressure to quit.

Mubarak said he would hand some powers to his vice-president, Omar Suleiman, but would remain in overall control until September to oversee what he called an orderly transition to an elected government. He repeated a pledge not to seek re-election.

He also said that there would be no going back on a commitment of long-term political reform after the two weeks of growing protests to demand his resignation. However, he ominously referred to the army playing a role in ensuring an orderly transfer of power.

Health

Mutant cholera of the 21st century

Image
© EPA
A female cholera victim at a hospital in Port au Prince (Haiti).
The Russian hygiene service is ready to send its specialists to cholera-hit Haiti alongside an international expert group. The epidemic has claimed the lives of over 4,000 people since it began in October last year. At present, the dangerous disease is reported to be spreading across neighboring Caribbean countries.

Having first appeared as far back as the 16th century, cholera outbreaks turned into a global challenge some 300 years later, in the early 19th century. The epidemic started in India and was then brought by merchant caravans to Russia, Europe and Africa. The world survived at least seven cholera pandemics which hit absolutely every continent.

Fighting the disease in Haiti today are a total of 36 health centers staffed by both local and foreign doctors. The trouble is that the epidemic may break those national boundaries as the warm season approaches, independent epidemiology and vaccination consultant Sergei Romanchuk says.

The disease is spreading throughout Caribbean Basin countries. In Venezuela, the number of ill people exceeded 100 - all of them got infected at a wedding in the neighboring Dominican Republic. Three fatalities were reported yesterday alone. Moreover, four people from the US, who attended the same wedding, fell sick upon their return home, Sergei Romanchuk said.

Vader

Mubarak not going anywhere, Egypt on a knife edge


Comment: The Guardian's latest video of the reaction in Tahrir Square to Mubarak's speech:




Hosni Mubarak, the embattled Egyptian president, has refused to step down from his post, saying that he will not bow to "foreign pressure" in a televised address to the nation on Thursday evening.

Putting to rest widespread speculations that he will quit, Mubarak announced that he was delegating some authorities to his new vice-president, Omar Suleiman, a close confidante.

In a much anticipated speech, Mubarak said he had put into place a framework that would lead to the amendment of six constitutional articles (including articles 77, 88, 93 and 189, and the annulment of article 179).

"I can not and will not accept to be dictated orders from outside, no matter what the source is," Mubarak said.

He said he was addressing his people with a "speech from the heart".

Che Guevara

Can an Egypt-style uprising happen in the U.S.?

Egypt
© The New York Times
The Tahrir Square uprising "has nothing to do with left or right," said Dina Shehata, a researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "It is about young people rebelling against a regime that has stifled all channels for their upward mobility. They want to shape their own destiny, and they want social justice" from a system in which a few people have gotten fantastically rich, in giant villas, and everyone else has stagnated. Thomas Friedman - NYT

We have an inequality index that can go head to head with Egypt's. Of course food's cheaper here, so no one's in the streets. Thomas Geoghegan, Chicago labor lawyer - NYT

No matter how sympathetic we are with their struggle, most of us following the events in Egypt probably see it as something very foreign: an exotically attired, dark skinned people, speaking heavily accented English in a far off land, rebelling against the corrupt regime of an aging dictator, something to which we can only identify with by an intensely imaginative use of our powers of empathy, seeing few similarities with our own lives and condition. Wrong. Thomas Friedman, of all people, brought it all closer to home for me.