Alex Fitzsimmons

Latest from Alex Fitzsimmons

What do oil refineries and rental cars have in common? They will probably kill you, at least according to ABC's Brian Ross.

Ross is either bored with his job or just doesn't seem to care about frightening his viewers with exaggerated reports. But either way, ABC's chief investigative correspondent is breathing new life into the term yellow journalism.

Those who are familiar with Ross's work might notice an emerging pattern of sensationalism. The latest case studies concern oil refineries in Texas, which Ross's colleague described as the "toxic threat next door," and rental cars, which Ross himself cautioned are like "a consumer's version of Russian roulette."

On the February 22 edition of "American Morning," CNN's Carol Costello framed the ongoing budget debate in Wisconsin as a struggle between embattled middle class workers and corporatist Republicans with ulterior motives, parroting SEIU President Mary Kay Henry to warn viewers that "corporate America is about to win big time."

"Henry says corporate America save themselves money in wages by lining the pockets of Republicans running for statewide offices," regurgitated Costello. "According to, in the 2009-2010 election cycle, business interests donated $878 million to candidates running for governor and other statewide offices across the country, that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio."

While those figures are not in dispute, Costello failed to hold Democrats and their Big Labor financiers to a similar standard: "And Democrats say there is another reason Republicans want to gut unions. Organized labor donates hundreds of millions of dollars to candidates like Barack Obama. So if you weaken the unions, you weaken a traditional moneyed supporter of the Democratic Party."

Interviewing Donald Trump this morning, MSNBC's Chris Jansing put on her Democratic strategist hat to press the Republican real estate mogul with liberal talking points.

After Trump, responding to Jansing's question about what he would do to fix the economy, suggested cutting taxes to spur economic growth, the host of Jansing & Co. groused: "A lot of people sitting out there, with all due respect, saying spoken like a true businessman but not about the little guy. Tax breaks for the rich, not for the middle class."

Not missing a beat, Trump retorted: "But Chris we're the highest-taxed nation in the world, as it stands right now. And that's a pretty bad statement when you think of it."

Jay Carney just assumed his new post as White House press secretary yesterday, but he already finds himself embroiled in controversy.

Despite leaving Time magazine shortly after the 2008 election to work for the Obama administration, Carney continued collecting payments from his former employer in 2009, Politico reported today.

According to newly released financial disclosure forms, Carney was paid $270,000 by Time while serving as Vice President Joe Biden's communications director, consisting of a $58,000 bonus for work during the 2008 presidential campaign and a $212,000 severance payment.

With the unveiling of Obama's 2012 budget today, some newspapers around the country framed the $3.7 trillion proposal as a serious attempt to slash the federal deficit.

The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the Daily Herald, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the DC Express, couched the administration's massive budget as a fiscally responsible plan that makes "deep" and "big" cuts to "rein in deficits."

Civility was in short supply yesterday on "The Dylan Ratigan Show," as the MSNBC anchor after which the show is named used words and phrases such as "moronic" and "dog's ass" to demagogue the GOP's proposal to trim the federal budget.

"How can you be serious about cutting spending when your spending proposals are truly a flea on a dog's ass?" howled Ratigan, who went on to demonize Republicans as "nasty" frauds who want to "get rid of all the food for poor people."

Ratigan's spurious logic that cutting federal subsidies for food stamps is akin to letting poor people starve to death on the streets is reminiscent of Alan Grayon's mischaracterization of the GOP health care plan, which the former Florida congressman said was to "die quickly."

On the February 8 edition of MSNBC's "Last Word," left-wing comedian Bill Maher disparaged Bill O'Reilly as "unpatriotic" for the way in which the veteran Fox News anchor conducted his interview with President Barack Obama on Super Bowl Sunday.

"And Bill O'Reilly, who claims he's such a patriot, how unpatriotic in my view to treat a president that way," railed Maher. "How does that look to other countries when you're interrupting and belittling? I just find it astounding."

Somewhere in the bowels of the MSNBC newsroom, a decision was made today to devote considerable coverage to getting to the bottom of a disconcerting juvenile epidemic: car surfing.

That's right, the "fearless gamble" that is "all the rage" among American teenagers, according to NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders, is an important enough story for a national cable news network to send one of its intrepid reporters to give live reports throughout the morning and into the mid-afternoon.

While the topic of car surfing received substantial coverage on "Jansing & Co." with Chris Jansing, "News Live" with Contessa Brewer, and "News Nation" with Tamron Hall, the recent sting operation that uncovered employees at a New York City Planned Parenthood office offering advice to a man posing as a pimp who admitted to exploiting minors as sex slaves received but a scant 30-second news brief during the 10 a.m. hour of "Jansing & Co."

"He's shameless, isn't he?" asked FNC's Steve Doocy, co-host of "Fox & Friends, about MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews, who recently compared the Muslim Brotherhood to the Tea Party.

"Chris Matthews is not a journalist," replied MRC President Brent Bozell. "He's a parody of himself."

On the February 4 "Fox & Friends," the NewsBusters publisher acknowledged that while most of the coverage surrounding the crisis in Egypt has been relatively "fair and honest," there have been a few notable "blips."

As pro-Mubarak forces continue to clash with democratic protesters in the streets of Cairo and the situation in Egypt remains volatile and uncertain, NBC's David Gregory confidently declared that the Muslim Brotherhood has no interest in turning Egypt into an Islamist state.

On the February 4 edition of MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," the moderator of "Meet the Press" blithely dismissed concerns that the Brotherhood might exploit the power vacuum created by outgoing President Hosni Mubarak to codify Islamic law in Egypt.

"It was pointed out by one of the experts on the panel that [the Muslim Brotherhood] will also be aware of their position internationally," announced Gregory, referring to a recent panel he moderated at the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank. "They don't want to overstep that. They don't want to turn it into an Islamist state. They have matured politically in that sense and are rather sophisticated."

As it turns out, mainstream media outlets that lauded President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech as "downright Reaganesque" might be on to something.

While ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC exalted the commander-in-chief, at least one observer charged the Democratic president with crafting a speech that was "tantamount to plagiarism."

In a column on the U.S. News site, presidential scholar Alvin Felzenberg accused Obama of borrowing lines and ideas from other speeches and claiming them as his own.

Every so often, MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan goes on a rhetorical bender that stupefies his guests and defies logic.

On his eponymous program today, Ratigan latched onto conflicting reports concerning the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested under suspicion of illegally downloading classified military documents and funneling them to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, to assert that the American justice system is akin to that of the Communist Chinese.

"Think about that in the context of 243 days in confinement, 23 hour-a-day lockdown, sleep deprivation," bemoaned Ratigan. "And you think China's bad?"

Ratigan also made repeated references to Guantanamo Bay, implying that Manning is being treated like an enemy combatant.

Editor's Note: The initial post included an incorrect video embed. The correct video has now been inserted. We apologize for the error.

While mainstream media outlets repeatedly fail to question flawed health care cost estimates, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell exposed the biased coverage on the January 21 "Fox & Friends."

"This proves why they're not the mainstream media," asserted Bozell, referring to journalists such as ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who claimed that since the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is "the only game in town," that makes them the "referees" on all budgetary matters. "If they were the mainstream media they would be reporting the story accurately."

The founder and president of the Media Research Center revealed what Stephanopoulos and other liberal journalists ignored: "All the CBO can do is crunch the numbers they're given. If the numbers they're given are faulty, then the report is going to be faulty. And guess what? When you look at the numbers that were given, they are a joke."

NBC's failure to cover the Democratic congressman who compared Republicans to Nazis on the House floor trickled down to MSNBC yesterday, as anchor Lawrence O'Donnell neglected the story in favor of smearing House Speaker John Boehner and syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh.

After spending more than six minutes railing against House Republicans for repealing Obama's health care overhaul in a segment dubbed "Repeal & Misplaced," O'Donnell, a self-described socialist, omitted Rep. Steve Cohen's (D-Tenn.) remarks likening Republicans to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

At the top of his prime time program, O'Donnell took a partisan pot shot at Boehner (R-Ohio) for skipping the lavish state dinner for Chinese President Hu to fulfill his campaign promise to repeal the unpopular health care law.

Guests on Hannity's "Great American Panel" referenced NewsBusters yesterday as a leading watchdog of the liberal media.

Democratic strategist Julie Roginsky likened NewsBusters to liberal blogs that attempt to, as Fox News anchor Sean Hannity put it, monitor conservative shows for phrases that "they can take out of context and target advertisers to try to silence opposition or get them fired directly."

The veteran FNC anchor defended NewsBusters against Roginsky's comparison, forcing her to admit that she has "no idea what they do."

On MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." today, anchor Chris Jansing and liberal columnist Karen Hunter took turns ripping apart Sarah Palin's call for civility in an Internet video posted yesterday morning in the wake of the Tucson shooting.

The morning after President Barack Obama delivered a well-received speech at a memorial service for the victims of a rampage that left six dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) critically injured, Jansing recited a quote from Joan Walsh, editor of the left-wing, to criticize Palin.

"You know, Mark, times of tragedy are times when we judge our leaders," remarked Jansing. "And Joan Walsh writes on, about Sarah Palin, 'Having watched her atrocious, tone-deaf, all-about-me video: Sarah Palin will never be president of the United States.'"

Calling out Jansing's liberal spin, conservative columnist Mark Tapscott deftly quipped, "I would never expect Joan Walsh to have anything positive to say about anything Sarah Palin does or says."

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell continued her crusade against Sarah Palin today, reiterating the fallacious contention that the former Alaska governor is at least partly responsible for the shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona that left six dead and a congresswoman critically injured.

On her eponymous afternoon program, Mitchell criticized Palin's "campaign tactics" in an interview with former Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, who was targeted in the 2010 election by SarahPAC, Palin's political action committee, as a vulnerable incumbent.

"Ann Kirkpatrick was also targeted by Palin's campaign and lost her reelection bid after also experiencing a number of threats while she was in office," reported Mitchell, who attempted conflate political opposition to Kirkpatrick with personal threats made by extremists. "Let's talk, first of all, about what it felt like going through that campaign and what were the specific threats? Was anything ever verified? How did you deal with it?"

The morning after a contentious vote in which over 100 House Democrats revolted against the Democratic president's proposed tax package, NBC congressional correspondent Kelly O'Donnell chose to frame the debate as a resounding victory for the White House.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" today, O'Donnell was only willing to admit "some" Democratic opposition to the extension of current tax rates for all Americans, which will prevent an across-the-board tax increase in January.

Instead of reporting that 112 Democrats turned against President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, O'Donnell emphasized that the votes were evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, 138 to 139, respectively. For O'Donnell, 45 percent of the president's party defecting represents only "some" opposition.

MSNBC's Contessa Brewer thinks the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell is a national "priority" that needs to be passed during the lame duck session.

While the Senate considers stand-alone repeal of the ban against openly gay service members today, the MSNBC daytime anchor pressed Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.): "What do you make of the people who say there might not be enough time to do this during the lame duck session? Why not? Shouldn't this be a priority?"

Lieberman, who supports repeal, insisted that repealing the controversial measure now "must be a priority," despite a recent poll showing that only 32 percent of Americans think that taking up the issue is "very important." In fact, 56 percent of the public believes that "passing legislation that would keep the estate tax from increasing significantly" is "very important," and 50 percent believe that extending at least "some form" of the Bush tax cuts is "very important."

Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) ranked second only to the DREAM Act, which would grant a pathway to citizenship for minors, as the least important issue to address during the closing days of the 111th Congress.

For Chrystia Freeland, the thought of only taxing wealthy estates 35 percent is "destructive to the fabric of America." The Reuters global editor-at-large went on a ear-piercing tear this afternoon on MSNBC's "Dylan Ratigan Show," stoking the flames of class warfare.

"[The wealthy] were just born–it's the lucky sperm club, right?" screeched Freeland. "I don't think American wealth should be determined by that."

Politics Daily contributor Matt Lewis, for his part, tried to maintain a civil discourse, but Freeland repeatedly interrupted him to interject her inflammatory rhetoric.

"I thought the philosophy was against a landed gentry," asserted an indignant Freeland. "I thought the philosophy was against an aristocracy. I thought the American way was you build it yourself and everyone was born equal."