These domesticated foxes came from a famous Russian experiment

In the 1950s, Soviet zoologist Dmitry Belyayev began selectively breeding wild foxes based on how friendly they were. The result is a semi-domesticated red fox, five of which now live in California. Read the rest

Modern NDAs are unbelievably dirty, and the same handful of sleazy lawyers is behind most of them

Non-disclosure agreements were designed to protect trade-secrets, but they've morphed into a system for covering up misdeeds, silencing whistleblowers, and suborning perjury -- often at taxpayer expense. Read the rest

Fox News explains why Mr. Rogers was an "evil, evil man"

Fred Rogers is the subject of a documentary and a biopic starring Tom Hanks, both out later this year. Though most Americans assume he's a national treasure, he's widely loathed by conservatives who center him in their myth of "participation trophy" culture.

I remember one columnist describing him as a saccharine man whose job was to help the education industry tell stupid children they were special—one of the more enduring impressions I got of American conservatives after moving here in the 2000s. (Another: turning on the radio to hear someone muttering, barely in control of his rage, about how much be hates bisexuals, intoning the word "hate" over and over. At first I thought it was a theatrical performance, a character in a radio play, but it turned out to be The Michael Reagan Show.)

Anyway, here's Fox and Friends complaining that young people are entitled and useless because Fred Rogers stressed the importance of love and its absense in their lives. The veneer of mirth makes it seem ironic, humorous even, but even that has a stone-cold purpose, as explained here by a less moderate right-winger, Andrew Anglin:

Read the rest

Fox retracts hoax story about Seth Rich murder

While the world was agog at the news that President Trump had leaked sensitive, classified information to a Russian diplomat, the rightosphere was going bonkers over an old, dumb conspiracy theory that Seth Rich, a young DNC staffer who was murdered in DC, had been assassinated in retaliation for leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks. Read the rest

Roger Ailes is Donald Trump's new campaign advisor, reports say. Oh, what a pair.

Former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, kicked out last month over sexual harassment charges, has been advising GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump, as the self-described billionaire candidate prepares for the fall presidential debates. Read the rest

'Sassy Donald Trump meets Bill O'Reilly,' a crazy Peter Serafinowicz voice dub

Peter Serafinowicz does another hilariously femme Donald Trump dub. Remember, these are always Trump's own words. Read the rest

Fox News chief Roger Ailes resigns after sexual harassment claims, Murdoch takes over

Content warning: sexual assault. 20th Century Fox put out a brief today that Roger Ailes has resigned as CEO of Fox News Channel. Ailes departs the conservative television news empire after multiple women accused him of sexual assault.

Twenty-First Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch will take over as chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network until a suitably demonic, bulldog-jowled, elderly white male replacement with testicles that look like hamburger meat can be found. Read the rest

Fox confirmed to The Daily Beast that Roger Ailes is getting canned, then retracted

For days, Fox insiders have been leaking that boss Roger Ailes is out, then Fox promptly denies it. The Daily Beast says that it briefly got Fox to "confirm Drudge's report"—that's he's getting $40m to piss off—but Fox called back to walk it back. Soon! Sooooon! Read the rest

Which photos of Alton Sterling did the media use?

There's something different about Fox News's coverage of Alton Sterling, killed by Baton Rouge cops who held him down and shot him in the back.

Can't quite put my finger on it. Read the rest

Sean Hannity unaware of hero Buckley's best line

Like many right-wing commentators, Sean Hannity likes to invoke conservative legends such as William Buckley. But he doesn't actually know much about them, as demonstrated by this exchange on Twitter:

The "sock" line is, of course, Buckley's own. Here he is promising to plaster Gore Vidal after the latter mocked him as a "crypto-nazi":

"Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-nazi or I'll sock you in the goddamn face, and you'll stay plastered," said Buckley.

Hannity's a bit like Trump, in this respect: strangely, blithely ignorant of conservatism except as abstraction and ideal. Buckley, here, becomes a prop for Hannity's own dumb and joyless narcissism; far too boring to have ever been enjoyed alone.

Also, someone should introduce Hannity to punctuation.

Read the rest

Climate change denier Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic, which gives grants to scientists

The National Geographic magazine has been a nonprofit publication since inception in 1888, but that ends today. The long-running American publication becomes very much for-profit under a $725 million dollar deal announced today with 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch is a notorious climate change denier, and his family's Fox media empire is the world's primary source of global warming misinformation. Which would be no big deal here, I guess, were it not for the fact that the National Geographic Society's mission includes giving grants to scientists. Read the rest

National Geographic sold to Rupert Murdoch

The $750m deal places the legendary nonprofit under 21st Century Fox's control.

The first edition of National Geographic was published in 1888, the same year that the National Geographic Society was founded. An note in the first issue said the publication would help spread the research of others, “so that we may all know more of the world upon which we live.”

But things have changed since 1888, and the Society said Wednesday that selling its publications to 21st Century Fox, which has partnered with the non-profit in owning and operating its television channels for almost 20 years, was the best bet for survival in the modern media market.

Read the rest

Fox News's astroturfers who defend the network online with armies of fake identities

In his new book Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires, NPR's David Folkenflik details how Fox News employees maintain dozens (and, in at least one case, over 100) different message-board accounts that they use to flood the comments of blogs that criticize Fox. Read the rest

NewsCorp shareholders make another bid to democratize the Murdoch family empire

The traditional shareholder revolt at NewsCorp (owner of Fox, Fox News, Sky, Harper Collins, the NY Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Sun) is back for another run, and this time it's gathering steam and may indeed make it. Rupert Murdoch and his family own a minority of the shares in NewsCorp, but their shares are in a special class of voting stock that means that they effectively get to do whatever they want with the majority investors' money. Effectively, Murdoch's initial pitch to investors was, "I'll take your money, but I'm not interested in your advice -- just cough up, shut up, and let me run this thing and I'll pay you some fat dividends."

But it's all gone rather wrong. Murdoch's ideological projects and nepotism have cost the business millions -- between a sweetheart deal that saw the company buying his daughter Elisabeth's startup Shine for £413M of the shareholders' money, and his son James's presiding over a phone-hacking scandal that destroyed News of the World, the bestselling newspaper (sic) in Britain, the investors are getting a bit tired of Murdoch running NewsCorp like his own personal fiefdom. It's one thing to play Colonel Kurtz in the jungle when it's making the shareholders rich, but when you start frittering away titanic assets like the NotW because you need to give your idiot son a job, well, that's another story.

As I said, this isn't the first time the shareholders have taken a swing at Rupert and his spawn, but this is a bigger, more multi-pronged, and better coordinated approach that any to date. Read the rest

Fox's talking heads bear uncanny resemblance to Kids in the Hall

From Backdrops R Us, a grid of Fox News talking heads alongside classic shots of scenes from Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall (particularly members of the troupe in drag). The resemblances are uncanny.

FOX News Figures Strangely Resemble Kids In The Hall Characters

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

More plagiarism from Glee

Last weekend, I blogged about Jonathan Coulton's discovery that the TV show Glee had plagiarized his arrangement for "Baby's Got Back."

Now, the magnificent DJ Earworm writes, "This is my call-out tweet from last February, expressing surprise at the similarities between Glee's arrangement and my own which had aired just a few months previously. I didn't think much about it, but I read that Jonathan Coulton story, and it seemed so similar to my own experience, I thought I'd share."

@AfroBlueDC sang MY mashup on NBC last Nov. … Now I find out @GLEEonFOX aired/sells SAME combo?!

(Thanks, DJ Earworm) Read the rest

Fox News broadcasts a live suicide

Yesterday, Fox News aired live footage of a man in Phoenix shooting himself in the head. According to the Times of India Fox got so excited about following a carjacking suspect in a high-speed chase that they forgot to cut the feed (which ran on a five-second delay) when he got out of his car, ran a short distance, pulled out a pistol, put it to his temple, and committed suicide.

"He's looking kind of erratic, isn't he?... It's always possible the guy could be on something," said Smith in a running commentary, unaware of what was about to happen.

Turning into some bushes, the suspect then pulled out a handgun, put it to his right temple and collapsed.

On air, Smith shouted "get off it! get off it!" in a plea to his studio colleagues to halt the live feed.

In the hours that followed, YouTube scrambled to delete the video almost as quickly as its users were posting it, saying it violated its terms of service.

US carjacking suspect shoots self in head... live on TV Read the rest

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