Saturday, September 04, 2010


Will Glenn Beck's The Blaze follow Breitbart's trail?

Glenn Beck has a three-hour radio show, a one-hour television show, regular guest slots on Fox News and Fox Business, and a subscription website. Still, he doesn't have enough hours in the day for some of the "stories that matter most."

"I hired some journalists because there are stories I don't have enough broadcast hours in a day to cover them and somebody has got to cover them," Beck told viewers on September 1 while discussing his new online media site, The Blaze.

Anyone remotely familiar with Beck knows he's notoriously thin-skinned, resulting in copious amounts of time defending himself and his brand. So it's little surprise that the topic most important to Glenn Beck's The Blaze is Glenn Beck.

Within several days after launching, some of the site's stories include such page-scrollers as "NY Times Columnist on Beck: 'I Underestimated the Man,'" "Columnist: Sharpton, Not Beck, Distorts MLK's Legacy," and "Slideshow: Newspaper Coverage of 8/28."

If Beck confines his website to "Glenn is great" stories, then there's ultimately no harm, no foul. But in an "exclusive" press release -- or what Mediaite refers to as an "article" -- about the site, Beck said he envisions The Blaze as having "reporting, insightful opinions and engaging videos about the stories that matter most ... I look forward to keeping [editor] Scott [Baker] and his team busy by sending countless ideas at 3am every morning." (So far, "insight" and "reporting" have been lacking.)

As Media Matters has documented, the conservative web has tried its hand at "reporting, insightful opinions, and engaging videos" -- and done it badly.

Exhibit A comes in the form of Andrew Breitbart, who -- in the words of Shep Smith -- runs a "widely discredited website" that posts "inaccurate" and "edited" videos. Breitbart, of course, was widely criticized for posting misleading videos about ACORN, and then came back for an encore by posting another deceptive tape, this time wrongly accusing former USDA official Shirley Sherrod of racism. Those two incidents are the most high-profile of a long rap sheet against Breitbart.

How does Glenn Beck feel about Andrew Breitbart? You don't have to read between any lines to see that Beck views him as an inspiration -- one of the "great journalists of our time" and a future chapter in history books:

"You [Andrew Breitbart] are in instrumental in changing America. I think the history books will - I mean, assuming that our side wins - the history book will reflect your service to the country." (February 12, Fox News)
"Thank goodness, and Andrew Breitbart are always watching, as are we." (December 7, 2009, Fox News)
"You know where the great journalists of our time are? Andrew Breitbart. I was just thinking when I was listening to this, I mean this Andrew. You are the only one -- you were the only one, besides watchdogs, that were really aggressively working behind the scenes with us on Van Jones." (September 10, radio)
"Andrew Breitbart brought this to my attention. He called me the other day. And I wanted to bring it to your attention - the National People's Action group. This action group - this is yet another community organizing group that makes ACORN look like a Sunday morning, you know, knitting clutch." (May 4, Fox News)
"Well, Andrew Breitbart from brought this video to my attention, and I've got to show it to you. We'll show it all tomorrow. But this is SEIU's president Andy Stern on the real motives of the unions." (March 2, Fox News)
As Media Matters has documented, Beck has frequently turned to Breitbart for stories and inspiration. Indeed, Beck was perhaps the media figure most responsible for pushing the ACORN story into the mainstream.

So when it came to launching his own site, Beck turned to one of Breitbart's top lieutenants, Scott Baker, who co-founded and served as vice president for business development at Under Baker, launched a litany of false and misleading videos and stories against progressives, such as smearing Department of Education staffer Kevin Jennings and posting a doctored video falsely claiming community organizers were "praying" to Obama.

Breitbart also hired Pam Key who, as Terry Krepel noted, is the activist behind the Breitbart-promoted operation Naked Emperor News. Key's videos are notorious for attacking the Obama administration while omitting necessary context (a la Breitbart).

After the Sherrod fiasco blew up in Breitbart's face,'s First Read blog wrote, "you would have thought that all of us in the ACTUAL news business would have learned this lesson about Andrew Breitbart and his protégés: They're not out for the truth; they're out for scalps."

Similarly, if Glenn Beck's track record on television and radio isn't enough to disqualify his new website as anything other than a dubious exercise in new media, surely his Breitbart-infused vision of "great" new media journalism is.

Dick Morris: Fox News' traveling GOP salesman
Fox News "political analyst" Dick Morris is a busy man. According to The Hill, Morris plans "to campaign for some 40 Republican congressional candidates in 2010."

Last month, for instance, Morris hit the campaign trail for Ohio congressional candidates Bill Johnson, Bob Gibbs, and Tom Ganley. The event reportedly featured a 5 p.m. "private reception and roundtable discussion with Morris, costing $2,400 a person. The cost also includes a photo with Morris and an autographed copy of his latest book, '2010: Take Back America.' It costs $500 a person for a private reception, photo and book signing at 5:45 p.m."

Morris also headlined a fundraiser for congressional candidate Scott Tipton, costing a minimum of $50 per person, with a "special VIP reception" at $500 per person.

None of the GOP fundraising and advocacy would be possible -- or even relevant -- if not for one important party: Fox News.

Consider, for instance, how Morris' appearance at an event for West Virginia congressional candidate David McKinley was described this week at the very top of a local TV station's 6 p.m. newscast:

"A Fox News commentator is here in the mid-Ohio valley for a local candidate."

The station then aired video of McKinley explaining why he brought in Morris: "I think people that have followed Fox News and get a lot of their news that way, maybe this is something that they can relate to. But this man has a national voice that understands this economy."

Indeed, throughout events across the country, Morris is often sold by touting his Fox News affiliation.

Morris' off-air boosterism is only compounded by the fact that he continues it on-air. Recently, Morris suggested that viewers donate to the anti-Harry Reid group Americans for New Leadership -- a group for which Morris is currently fundraising and helping with ad strategy. In February, the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania paid Morris $10,000 for speaking at its 2010 Lincoln Day Dinner. Following the payment, Morris repeatedly appeared on Fox News to discuss Pennsylvania politics and shill for Pennsylvania Republicans and causes. And Morris appeared on Fox News twice to tout then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum -- after hosting a pricey fundraiser for him. In none of the previously mentioned incidents did Morris disclose his ties.

Still, Fox News doesn't appear to care about any of Morris' GOP activism despite the fact that he's one of the channel's most frequent on-air commentators. According to a Nexis search of available Fox News programs -- this typically excludes Fox & Friends and daytime programming -- Morris has appeared on Fox News a whopping 110 times in the past year.

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Media Matters research fellow Eric Hananoki.

IF YOU NEED A REASON! Why Do People Have Sex?

Why Do People Have Sex?

Sexual motives greatly surpass the 'Big Three'
-- love, pleasure, and making babies.
Your partner may come up with a dozen excuses to say "Not tonight, dear, I have a ____," but how many reasons can the two of you name for seeking sex?

One? Two? Twenty? How about 200? Some college students have cited as many as 237 different reasons for having sex.

From pleasure to procreation, insecurity to inquisitiveness -- today's reasons for taking a roll in the hay seem to vary as much as the terms for the deed itself. A 2010 Sexuality & Culture review of sex motivation studies states that people are offering "far more reasons for choosing to engage in sexual activity than in former times." And we're doing it more often, too. It is a stark contrast from historical assumptions, which tend to cite only three sexual motivators: To make babies, to feel good, or because you're in love.

Today, sexual behaviors seem to have taken on many different psychological, social, cultural, even religious meanings. Yet, some sexologists say, at the most basic level, there is only one true reason people seek sex.

Wired for Sex
"We are programmed to do so. Asking why people have sex is akin to asking why we eat. Our brains are designed to motivate us toward that behavior," says Richard A. Carroll, PhD, a sex therapist and associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The idea that humans are hard-wired for sex reflects an evolutionary perspective, says Elaine Hatfield, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii and author of that 2010 review examining sexual motives from cross-cultural, historical, and evolutionary viewpoints.

"Evolutionary theorists point out that a desire for sexual relations is 'wired in' in order to promote species survival," she tells WebMD in an email. "Cultural theorists tend to focus on the cultural and personal reasons people have (or avoid) sex. Cultures differ markedly in what are considered to be 'appropriate' reasons for having or avoiding sex."

What's Your Motive?
Why do you seek sex? Motivations generally fall into four main categories, according to psychologists at UT-Austin, who asked more than 1,500 undergraduate college students about their sexual attitudes and experiences.

Physical reasons: Pleasure, stress relief, exercise, sexual curiosity, or attraction to a person.
Goal-based reasons: To make a baby, improve social status (for example, to become popular), or seek revenge.
Emotional reasons: Love, commitment, and gratitude.
Insecurity reasons: To boost self-esteem, keep a partner from seeking sex elsewhere, or because of a feeling of duty or pressure (for example, a partner insists on having sex).
The Difference Between the Sexes
Generally speaking, men seek sex because they like how it feels. Women, although they very well may also derive pleasure from the act, are generally more interested in the relationship enhancement aspects of sex. Researchers describe these differences as body-centered versus person-centered sex.

Body-centered sex is when you have sex because you like the way it makes your body feel. You are not really caring about the emotions of your partner.
Person-centered sex is when you have sex to connect with the other person. You care about the emotions involved and the relationship.
The Difference Between the Sexes continued...
"Men often start out being body centered," says Janell Carroll, PhD, adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Hartford and author of a human sexuality textbook (no relation to Richard Carroll). "But that changes later on. As men reach their 40s, 50s, and 60s, their relationship becomes more important."

Richard Carroll has been counseling couples with sexual issues for more than two decades. "Women actually become more like men over time, in the sense that often early on, sex is about initiating, developing, strengthening, and maintaining relationships, but in a long-term relationship they can actually begin to focus on the pleasure of it."

Despite the generalities, research suggests that there has been a big convergence in sexual attitudes among men and women in recent years. In 1985, Janell Carroll and colleagues found that most college-aged males had casual sex for physical reasons, without emotional attachments. She repeated many of the same study questions to a new audience in 2006, and is working toward publishing her results.

"Instead of men and women being at opposite ends of the sexual spectrum, they are now coming together," she tells WebMD. "More women might be having sex for physical reasons, but many more men were more likely to say they had sex for emotional reasons."

20 Reasons People Have Sex
Stressed out? Have sex. Stress reduction is one of the leading reasons Americans, particularly men, say they have sex, says Richard Caroll. The review, published online in Sexuality & Culture, shows other most frequently cited reasons for having sex include:

Boosting mood and relieving depression
Enhancement of power
Enhancement of self-concept
Experiencing the power of one’s partner
Feeling loved by your partner
Fostering jealousy
Improve reputation or social status
Making money
Making babies (procreation)
Need for affection
Partner novelty
Peer pressure or pressure from partner
Reduce sex drive
Sexual curiosity
Showing love to your partner
Spiritual transcendence

Why Study Sex?
Understanding why people seek sex is not always a simple task. Most studies have involved college undergraduates, a "sample of convenience" for university researchers, but one that is often very limiting. Such young men and women typically haven't been in very committed relationships and are in the process of discovering their sexuality. Their answers to "why do you have sex" are often greatly tied to the image of themselves and their social relationships, says Richard Carroll. This can change over time.

But such knowledge can improve a couple's sex life.

"Understanding these differences in motivations is very important. It helps us understand what's going on in the sexual relationship and treat sexual disorders. Very often you find the source of the problem can be traced to the particular motivation," says Richard Carroll.

If you need help, you can find a qualified sex therapist in your area through organizations such as the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapist (AASECT) or The Society for Sex Therapy and Research.