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October 4, 2006

The Big Lie, Fox News Style
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 05:54 PM *

Fox News, to what should be no one’s surprise, and the AP, to what I wish were everyone’s surprise, have been identifying busted pedophile Mark Foley (R-FLA) as a Democrat:

FOX

FOX

Associated Press

Yes, they really do think we’re stupid.

Comments on The Big Lie, Fox News Style:
#1 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 05:58 PM:

So that's who Rupert Murdoch reminds me of - Josef Goebbels!

And yes, I do know he doesn't own Fox or AP . . . yet.

#2 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:08 PM:

Makes me wish the Democrats could sue for libel.

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:17 PM:

The AP (and CNN) have been tilting toward the Republican party's view of the world for some time. They're just less obvious about it than Fox. Look at their reporting on Lamont and Lieberman, for example.

#4 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:18 PM:

Saw that mentioned on Boing Boing too. When I pointed it out to my boyfriend, he was extremely irritated, and said:
Wow, that's vile. It could be an accident ... um, maybe ... I don't imagine this sort of thing happens very often, especially on a pundit's show where presumably one's party affiliation is important data. But it's vile, because it can easily be explained as an accident, simple human error, while informing a number of stupid people who now believe he's a Democrat but will miss the retraction.

It's a lie without real consequences.

#5 ::: cap ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:19 PM:

Some day, we will look back on this and laugh.

Some day soon.

#6 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:20 PM:

Actually, Murdoch does own Fox. Associated Press is still a cooperative, the last time I checked.

#7 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:20 PM:

So, what, the guys at Fox didn't think that non-Republicans would notice? They didn't think that this wouldn't end up on the internet in a few seconds? How stupid are they?

I can't wait for the Daily Show's take on this.

I wonder. Maybe the person putting the text on the screen is so deep in the dogma that he or she might have inadvertently put the wrong letter in the caption. It might not be a conspiracy, just stupidity... probably a conspiracy.

#8 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:20 PM:

PJ@3: I've been griping about CNN for the last week. I meant to take screenshots of the day Congress voted on that thar torture "compromise"...because I sure as hell didn't find out about the vote from them. They were busier reporting all the salacious details they could about the Colorado school shooting.

#9 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:24 PM:

Joe - the people who will see it on the internet aren't their target audience anyway.

#10 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:25 PM:

Joe J: I don't know that the Daily Show has covered this "typo" yet, but you can see everything they have to say about "Foley Erect" by going to this url:

www.comedycentral.com/motherload/index.jhtml?ml_video=76137


Like you, I hope they'll take notice of this mislabelling.

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:25 PM:

It might not be a conspiracy, just stupidity...

That's what we in the trade used to call "plausible deniability."

#12 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:26 PM:

Some day, we will look back on this and laugh.

And then rearend the car in front of us. (rimshot)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

#13 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:28 PM:

My thought is that it ends up on the internet, and then major news organizations pick up on it and call Fox on it. This ought to be in the NY Times or on CNN. If it has happened more than once, you have a hard time calling it a mistake. It's an outright lie.

#14 ::: Matt D ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:29 PM:

You guys missed one.

#15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:40 PM:

Breaking News: Chocolate ration raised to 20 grammes.

#16 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 06:57 PM:

I doubt Fox News intends to convince us that Foley is a Democrat. This is a proofreading error.

Construing it as part of an evil plot is a mistake. Never attribute to malice, etc., etc.

#17 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 07:25 PM:

Yeah, right, Bill. Like more like Faux News just doesn't have any graphics for "bad Republican."

Do you really think it's BENEATH them to try to convince their drooling viewers that Foley is a Democrat? Nothing, and I mean nothing, is beneath them.

#18 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 07:25 PM:

How many times do Fox and AP have to make the "mistake" before we get to attribute the error to malice/self-interest?
It's not only a proof-reading error. It's also a writing error. That's two mistakes at least for each occurence.
I'm not willing to cut them, what, 6? independent mistakes.

#19 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 07:25 PM:

Once is maybe an honest proofreading mistake. (Even if Fox doesn't exactly deserve the benefit of the doubt on anything like this.) Multiple times, though...?

#20 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 07:52 PM:

A quick Google of "Foley, D-FL" shows that this mistake has been made a handful of times before, although none of the ones I turned up was in connection of this scandal, and all seem to pre-date the last week.

For example, we have Mark Foley (D-FL) talking to Miss Kellie Clarkson:

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/ss/events/en/011806kellyclarkson

So, it is possible it was a slip at the keyboard, or somebody made a mistake. However, for it to go on, three separate times at least, for several minutes at a go....I mean, somebody has to be watching these monitors. And as evidenced by the disappeared text on later broadcasts, somebody did. But for them to issue no retraction, or to iterate in later newscasts that Foley was mistakenly labelled, that's not just a mistake...that's a deliberate omission.

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 08:19 PM:

To quote a novel written by two departed friends:'Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time a man takes notice.'

#22 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 08:23 PM:

The Fox news caption "DID DEMS IGNORE FOLEY EMAILS TO PRESERVE SEAT?" doesn't look like a plausible honest mistake to me.

#23 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 08:33 PM:

They're after the audience that's certain that things can't be shown on television or printed in newspapers unless they're true.

That audience will only readily believe something in a news outlet is false if it believes the entire content of that outlet is false, which isn't quite as good but is still a net win from the point of view of the folks doing Republican propaganda.

How anyone could possibly postulate the absence of malice at this juncture is just beyond me. It's not like the intention to create a one party state is a secret, or that a large swathe of the moneyed interests backing that aren't going after politicans as a class, or that the large media companies don't have their own agendas.

#24 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 09:04 PM:

Graydon @23 et al.,

Riffing on my post regarding the malleability of Flashbulb Memories.

If memories made during extremely emotional (but personally distant) events are extremely unreliable, yet feel unusually solid,(1) then what about memories made during unusually emotional events? Will they feel somewhat more solid than ordinary memory?

Take, for instance, news shows where the host uses inflamatory language. Will a piece of false info be stickier there than if it came during an ordinary show?

No wonder those shows stay angry.

If I was rich, I think I'd pay for a poll right now (2) to find out how many people think Foley is a Dem, and to see how that changes.

(1) As said in the other thread, I know directly how strong a flashbulb memory is compared to the usual. I've got the 'saw WTC1 hit on 9/11 itself, not later' memory even though I know I didn't. It's hard to undo- I haven't been able to, and I want to.

(2) There ought to be a escrow poll service, where if enough people ante up to pay-pal then a poll gets done. CNN never asks the good questions on valid polls. How much does a 1000 person national poll cost? [Wanders off to find out.]

#25 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 09:12 PM:

Kathyrn --

Fear and pain, for sure; I don't know about anger. I can certainly think of good Darwinian reasons for memories to be especially vivid in cases of fear or pain, and point to examples of this apparently being the case in other species, too.

I think the angry might have more to do with a feedback cycle with helplessness; if you can get people oscillating between feeling helpless and feeling angry, they're not going to be doing much effective thinking.

#26 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 09:30 PM:

I'm also seeing Mark Foley being referred to as Tom Foley, who was the last Democratic Speaker of the House. Not on Fox (yet), but in blogs.

#27 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 09:34 PM:

I thought three times was enemy action?

#28 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 09:53 PM:

Labeling Foley a "D" is a little jab, a bit of spite and malice, done for grins and giggles.

I can't imagine anyone so oblivious, brain dead, whatever, who'd actually believe he is a Democrat.

I mean, even assuming a hypothetical Fox viewer (or AP reader) who believes it just because Fox/AP said so... then how do they explain to themselves why it's the GOP leadership undergoing meltdown, GOP pollsters throwing their hands up in despair, and (not all but some) RW bloggers/commentators yelling for Hastert's scalp?

#29 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 09:58 PM:

Presumably, Bill O'Reilly and the other hosts never verbally said that Foley is a Democrat, and in fact they could hardly have avoided saying that he was a Republican and mentioning Republican leadership. You just can't tell this story without saying that.

But Fox News is on in a lot of places where the sound isn't necessarily audible, such as airports and waiting rooms and restaurants. That gives them a chance to put this falsehood in front of a lot of people while being able to claim that they just made a couple of typos. I would imagine that the goal is to simply confuse the "low-information voters" and thus try to keep them from noticing that there is a sex scandal involving the Republicans, so that they don't stay home in disgust on Nov. 7.

I deeply resent the way Fox News makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist, etc. But I don't put it past them.

#30 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 09:59 PM:

Graydon,

I also see the evolutionary reason for memories to be especially vivid. But the problem is that they're also especially bad- Niesser's paper shows how off people got in just 3 years.

Niesser later tests if personal involvement- events where people were in the event, rather than just watching the event- changes the quality of memory. It does, for the better, in his study of people who felt the '89 Loma Prieta quake. He hypothesizes that talking about it (to the point where folks had 'no, I don't want to hear about the earthquake' shirts. I think I remember those) keeps people from mixing up imagination and video with reality.

Say, notice how many of those angry talk-shows don't have opposition guests, and how many of those angry websites don't have comments? They are being clever about it, no?* Assuming my 'Flashlight Memory' hypothesis has any legs.

* ...there's a tickle in the back of my brain about nutbars... nutbars... what is it? I think I need to go to the store for some chocolate covered almond sticks.

#31 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 10:08 PM:

I would imagine that the goal is to simply confuse the "low-information voters" and thus try to keep them from noticing that there is a sex scandal involving the Republicans, so that they don't stay home in disgust on Nov. 7.

Right, that's my feeling. It's like insinuating belief into a reader, not by explicitly stating a falsehood, but by assuming the falsehood when asking questions, etc. Even if you'd ask many people, "What party is having troubles?" and they'd say, "Well, Hastert and the Republicans" -- still, five weeks from now when they're at the polls, there will be that residual association with Democrats as icky sex fiends, and that will have a statistical effect. Fox can redirect that ickiness from the Rs to the Ds in a few people, and that's money well spent for a couple of keystrokes.

#32 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 10:11 PM:

Isn't it interesting how quickly proofreading and transcription errors are caught and corrected when they damage the ruling party instead of when they serve to deflect blame from it onto the opposition?

#33 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 10:28 PM:

I don't think you have to be a conspiracy theorist to think that Fox news is willing to act dishonestly to improve the Republicans' chances in November.

Foley's scandal looks to have been being kept under wraps by the Republican leadership, probably to keep the safe seat. And presumably it was pushed into the public eye now by Democrats wanting to take the safe seat away. (Of course, Republicans' deep commitment to family-friendly principles would never allow them to tolerate a gay congressman, unless they really needed the seat. And certainly not a gay congressman hitting on the pages. Unless they really, really needed the seat.)

#34 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 10:40 PM:

albatross writes: "Foley's scandal looks to have been being kept under wraps by the Republican leadership, probably to keep the safe seat."

That's the euphemistic way to avoid talking about what you should be concerned might really have been going on, i.e. blackmail. How do you think the GOP House Leadership gets such remarkable party unity for critical votes?

Think back to those wonderful days of yore when we were treated to lurid tales about how the House leadership kept the voting window open so the Medicare Part D overhaul could be wrangled into something that resembled passage. How many stories did you hear about arm twisting. Which part of Congressman Foley's anatomy do you think got twisted that night?

#35 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 10:51 PM:

re polls: There was a group, a while back (I want to say before the last elections) which commissioned a private poll.

I forget how much it was, but it wasn't as much as one might think.

They then published the results, on the web, and went through the internals.

It was interesting, and worth repeating, though this might be a bit tight to use it to guide campaign politics.

#36 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 10:59 PM:

Bill, I very much doubted that "(D-FL)" was an innocent error, given that Fox News and the Associated Press made the same "mistake" the same day, but it was at least deniable. To have both those things happen, and then have Fox News top it with run a headline saying "REID: DID DEMS IGNORE FOLEY E-MAILS TO PRESERVE SEAT?" takes it out of the range of plausible deniability.

I wish they'd kept it deniable. It disheartens me to see them so carelessly confident that they'll get away with this crap.

#37 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 11:16 PM:

New news on Foley tonight -- some years ago he tried to get into the page dormitory at night and the Capitol Police kicked him out.

#38 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2006, 11:26 PM:

More news:

The whistleblower who clued in ABC was a Republican.

This spikes the current winger excuse, that releasing the news now was a conspiracy to muck up the election.

Jeeze. Deep, deep denial from the right wing. They're spiraling in smoking.

#39 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:02 AM:

TNH writes:

Bill, I very much doubted that "(D-FL)" was an innocent error, given that Fox News and the Associated Press made the same "mistake" the same day, but it was at least deniable. To have both those things happen, and then have Fox News top it with run a headline saying "REID: DID DEMS IGNORE FOLEY E-MAILS TO PRESERVE SEAT?" takes it out of the range of plausible deniability.

I wish they'd kept it deniable. It disheartens me to see them so carelessly confident that they'll get away with this crap.

Why, Teresa, you sound like a nutbar conspiracy theorist.

#40 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:05 AM:

Maybe it wasn't a conspiracy, but was meant to muck up the election.

I have a friend, much to the right of me, and his comments today were, "Sigh, the problem with this years senate race is Feinstien, you know who's running against her."

I responded, "A republican" and he agreed.

Later, as I was passing along the (Foley D-Fla) shit, he said that what we needed was the "complete destruction of the Republican Party."

There's a lot of quiet disaffection. He might vote for Arnie, because he dislikes Angelidies, but he's also not happy with Arnies treatment of the teachers, and nurses, so he might cast a vote for a third party.

I have some hopes.

#41 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:18 AM:

One of the problems with trying to play 'blame the Democrats' is that the democrats are sitting there quietly watching this whole thing. (The comment I've seen in at least one blog is 'pass the popcorn'.)

It keeps getting worse for the GOP: Fordham got fired, and when they tried pinning it on him, he said he'd told the leadership two years ago, and he'll tell the FBI everything.

The LA Times had a story wherein a former page said they'd been warned about Foley in 1995. That's right after he entered congress, so shouldn't someone have noticed this stuff officially between then and now?

#42 ::: Eric Scharf ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:53 AM:

The only thing that most people know about "Mark Foley" is that he is a gay Congressman who used the Internets to send racy e-mails to minors. If you don't bother to investigate further, does that more plausibly sound like the behavior of a Republican or Democrat?

#43 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 12:59 AM:

One of the problems with trying to play 'blame the Democrats' is that the democrats are sitting there quietly watching this whole thing.

Finally, a situation suited for the Democrats' one and only political tactic!

(Possibly I'm still bitter over the detainee bill.)

#44 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:11 AM:

We're missing a bet here. Fox has done something very stupid. We should make sure everyone knows this - that Fox can't be trusted to get the most basic facts straight.

Conversations that need to be heard around every water cooler in the US tomorrow.

'You won't believe how bad Fox is - they can't get anything straight! Why all yesterday they were saying Mark Foley's a Democrat - and if there's anyone everyone knows is a Republican, it's him."

"No, I don't think it's a conspiracy - it's just Fox being Fox - can't get anything right. I'm surprised they get the sports scores straight."

"It doesn't matter whether you support Bush or not - this was stoopid."

People do not listen to people they don't respect. We should be dissing Fox to everyone we see on this matter tomorrow as being unreliable and too stupid to catch an obvious mistake - two qualities a news organization can't afford to be associated with.

This isn't a disagreement about interpretation or a sound bite - this is Fox being stupid. They should be called on it - and perhaps people will view them a little more critically next time when it's more subtle.

#45 ::: keith k ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 04:40 AM:

Stephan Jones #38:
The whistleblower who clued in ABC was a Republican.

The ultra-cynic in me suspects that this is a carefully timed destraction from worse actions by the rest of Congress. Which would you rather try to defend in the national discourse: one pedophile (who you can distance yourself from), or an entire Congress that just authorized Bush to torture US citizens without charge?

Granted, it would be a pretty stupid conspiracy, but if FOX is just going to turn it back on the Democrats anyway...

#46 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 07:18 AM:

Sadly, they (insert your -they- here) don't care what we think, it's what your average newswatcher picks up and then disseminates to their friends.

Oh and once again we get to have pederasty and homosexuality lumped together in the nightly news as though they are two sides of the same coin. Just delightful.

#47 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 08:29 AM:

Terry, they've got away with so *much* shit so far, what makes you think this is any different? The only people who'll notice, and switch votes because it switched votes 10 scandals back. Other news stations won't call them on it. Olbermann might, but whth the myriad Limbaughs and Hannitys out there, he's a lone voice in the wilderness.

I have some vague hope that John Stewart will have some ultra funny material about this that might change a few minds, but that's all.

#48 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 08:55 AM:

Apparently Foley did start out as a Democrat. Although that's not an excuse. Or even a reason.

#49 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 10:21 AM:

Laurence at 48; So did Ronald Reagan. And your point is..?

#50 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 10:46 AM:

Every scandal catches more people. This one should be significant. Maybe it is my imagination or wishful thinking, but I get the sense that the tide is really turning against the Republicans at last. I'm looking to do my part to help change things.

I'll be out protesting this afternoon in Chicago. Later this month, I'm going to be helping out the Democrats with campaigning. I don't know what kind of difference it will make, but it will make me feel better at least. (Six years of misery is much too much.)

#51 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 10:55 AM:

And your point is..?

I can see someone arguing that if he started out as a Democrat, plus the fact that according to Wikipedia he is (horrors!) pro-choice, then he's not a "real" Republican.

Kind of like discovering that Lieberman started out as Republican, and thinking that he's not really much like a Democrat.

#52 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 11:01 AM:

But . . . Fox viewers are ”dumb as doorknobs”, ”have to wear bibs to catch their drool so their sofas won't be stained by the tobacco juice, and that's just the women”, ”trailer park trash and idiots”.
Rupert Murdoch Calls Fox News Viewers Morons & White Trash

#53 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 11:35 AM:

keith k: I've heard that theory a lot, but quite frankly, I don't think Congress needed to distract people from their abridgment of the Geneva Conventions. It wasn't getting nearly the kind of coverage or generating nearly the kind of outrage it should have anyway. They would have gotten away with it.

Laurence: Aw, but there are so many better reasons to think that Lieberman isn't much of a Democrat.

#54 ::: Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:28 PM:

I have some vague hope that John Stewart will have some ultra funny material about this that might change a few minds, but that's all.
Jon just picked up on the same "we're at war with Eurasia" bit everyone else did. It was funny, but the large majority of The Daily Show audience is already anti-Republican; I don't see it having much effect, other than the typical mindboggling that comes along with such carelessness on Fox's part.

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:46 PM:

New news on Foley tonight -- some years ago he tried to get into the page dormitory at night and the Capitol Police kicked him out.

Wow, the fox really was guarding the henhouse. Fortunately there were some hound dogs too. I wonder what he thought he was going to do when he got into the pages' dorm? The mind fairly boggles (and writes twink-porn scripts, if it's a really nasty mind).

#56 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 03:50 PM:

Rupert Murdoch Calls Fox News Viewers Morons & White Trash

(BOGGLES!)

Good grief. How much would it cost to get a copy of this in audio format? Were there any cameras that happened to be pointing in the right direction as the microphone picked this up?

#57 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 04:01 PM:

Greg, I'm pretty sure that was a spoof.

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 04:02 PM:

Aaaaaaargh!!!! Chickenhouse!!!! I should have called it a chickenhouse!

I hate when I miss an opportunity for a good pun.

#59 ::: Janice Gelb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 05:55 PM:

The Columbia Journalism Review Daily has a story on this incident at http://www.cjrdaily.org/politics/theres_no_conspiracy_behind_an.php

"As it turns out, over the past several days, commentators and correspondents for Fox have time and again correctly pointed out Foley's GOP affiliation." [followed by quotes from Fox's news shows]

"Finally, anyone still clinging to a Fox conspiracy might want to go back and watch the section of the O'Reilly Factor in which the mislabeling occurred.

""In the 'Personal Story' segment tonight, the conservative Washington Times today called for the resignation of House Speaker Dennis Hastert over the Foley scandal," reported O'Reilly. "The issue, it seems, is dividing conservatives.""

#60 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 05:58 PM:

#6 Claude Muncey - sorry, I didn't realise that Fox was Rupe's American alias. Over here he's Sky and News International.

The fact remains, he's a cancer in the body politic.

#61 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2006, 06:19 PM:

Greg, I'm pretty sure that was a spoof.

Ah. I'm quite certain it is within the realm of realistic possibilities. But... Oh well. I guess I just wanted it to be true.

You know what it is? I keep thinking the last six years has been one very long painful version of Riders of the Storm", and I keep waiting for the point where the footage of Bush in drag having sex with Cheney is broadcast on the air, ending this nightmare.

I really liked that movie. I guess this is just one of those times where fiction and reality don't line up.

#62 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:10 AM:

Greg, the original version of Riders on the Storm is long and painful.

At least the first half is. Someday, I will watch the second half. Intriguing idea for a movie, questionably executed.

#63 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:24 AM:

I saw the gastro today (he thinks I had the wrong tests so now I get a CAT scan) and when he saw me coming in with the newspaper, he commented on the Foley bit and I told him I was more worried that we'd lost habeus corpus. He had to think about that.

#64 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 01:53 AM:

At least the first half is.

They got me on the opening scene. One of the engines konks out, and some guy climbs out with a carabiner to tie him to the fuselage to fix it, in flight, and it was just so outrageous that I was smitten.

It slowed down in some spots, but not enough to break the infatuation. Then again, "Buckaroo Bonzai" is my Favorite Movie of All Time(sm), so, I'm into weird. Two actors I'd like to meet: Peter Weller and Christopher Walken.

#65 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 04:19 AM:

Greg London @ 61: Look at some of the previous articles on that site:
Britney Spears Auctions Placenta On eBay
Media Heads Meet With Rove To Coordinate Campaign Strategy
Teeth Whitening Fad Exposed As Terrorist Plot

It's a spoof.

#66 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 05:04 AM:

myself @24,

for anyone else interested in the cost of a statistically valid* national poll:
$6,000 to $10,000 for a basic "what do you know and what are you" survey.

So do all the other Making Light readers want to go in for 50 cents each to ask what party the public thinks Foley is in? All we need is a escrowed micropayments system attached to a moderation system to get the best question, and we're 90% of the way there. I can help with survey design, if someone else wants to do the micropayment system and all that.

* for an invalid poll- just about free if you know people who code the front pages of large websites.

#67 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 05:12 AM:

#64: That bit about climbing out on the wing has been done. It was just to put a fire out, and Sergeant James Ward (RNZAF) was awarded the VC.

And the Sergeant Norman Jackson did the same in 1944, and was also awarded the VC.

#68 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 11:51 AM:

Greg (and Dave, I didn't know it had happened twice):

The first occaision is the only one I know details of.

Bombing raid, over France (at the time) a Wellington (mid-sized bomber, about the size of a He. 111), was hit. There was an engine fire.

The fire extinguisher in the engine didn't do the trick; because the engine cover had been knocked off, and the airflow was feeding the flames.

The crew had a spare cover (or perhaps just a piece of sheet metal, I am recalling the details from much reading about WW2, starting in grammar school, and contiuing to the present, but there's a lot of detail, and things get blurred).

So, the guy take the sheet of metal/engine cover, and, kicking holes in the skin as he goes (the Wellington was a geodesic frame, with a fabric skin) climbs out, down, and over; and smothers the fire.

At which point he crawls back to the fuselage and climbs back in.

Here's the kicker (and why he got a VC), to manage the task, he had to leave his chute behind. It was too big to clear the door, with the sheet of metal.

#69 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 02:34 PM:

That bit about climbing out on the wing has been done.

I didn't know that, and that's some cool history. But the difference is that the movie guy had a toolkit and fixed an engine, in flight. The entire premise for the movie "Riders of the Storm" is that they were a B-29 crew in vietnam flying psychops, and after the war, they came back to america to prevent such a war from ever happening again, by flying psychops across the US, and here's the kicker: they never land the plane. ever. The US government hates them because they keep thwarting their plans for stupid and useless wars. But since they never land the plane, they are never arrested, and the government hasn't gotten to the point to be willing to shoot them down.

Not surprisingly, some logistical problems, such as fuel, spare parts, metal fatigue, and other issues, are never addressed. But it was a cool idea, so I went with it.

#70 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2006, 06:00 PM:

Airships could stay up for months at a time, airplanes with jet or turboprop or prop engines, it's a maximum of X number of hours where X is far far far less than a month (I could be considerably more precise. I am not going to where it's on record direct from me.)

Yes, here are airliners that spent up to 23 hours a day in service flying around day after day after day, but that hour on the ground and service time was critical to keep the plane functioning.

#71 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 03:21 AM:

To this day, I occaisionally fantasize about an airship that never lands, that's big enough to live on with only intermittent resupply for food, water, fuel. It would be too expensive for me.

Unless I could somehow get gambling legalized on such a thing, so it could pay for itself. But then that makes it a bit harder to be simultaneously broadcasting the anti war message

I'm still selling inventory for my bake sale...

#72 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 04:17 AM:

Grettt @71,

When you're next in Idaho, driving through the valley of nuclear research (current primary mission: decontamination), stop by the First Nuclear Plant Built for Peaceful Purposes (EBRI).

There, in the parking lot, you'll see the beautiful prototype nuclear aircraft engines. Folks thought they could make 5 year flights, but then the issue of landings came up.

Worth the side trip between Craters of the Moon Nat'l Park (fun iff [if and only if] you've never been to real volcanos) and Grand Tetons / Yellowstone (a must see for many reasons, only one of which is it's a supervolcano caldera overdue for covering the US in a meter of ash.)

#73 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 06:10 AM:

What you need to do is get the control codes for a TV satellite, and "steal" it from the operators, so that all the people watching something like Fox News get your version of the story.

Most of the time they get the original, but every so often you throw in the truth.

"In other news, the Department of Defense has announced that the shortage of body armour for American troops in Iraq will be rectified in 2007."

#74 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 03:42 PM:

Paula @70 --

I grew up in SAC and my father flew B-52's. At that time airborne alert (often referred to as Chrome Dome or hardhat) missions generally lasted ~24 hours, with actual combat plans routinely calling for 36 hour missions with multiple aerial refuelings -- something they did during the strikes on Serbia. Allowing for the usual kinds of safety margins, I would guess you could do about three days in a properly maintained BUFF before engine lubrication issues would be a major concern. Public reports claim that the E-4B NAOC (otherwise known as the Flying Fuehrerbunker) can stay aloft for five days, but there may be special modifications to allow that.

Lubrication really is the issue when looking at flight edurance, with aerial refueling a reality for military aircraft and assuming you can work out the crew rest and relief issues. (The 52's used to have a couple of fairly crude bunks to allow for some sleep on long missions -- they also carried stimulants if that wasn't enough.) It is easier to add oil to a piston engine than relube a turbine in flight. Endurance records set by, for example, the Flying Key Brothers in the 30's required fitting a single engine plane with a catwalk along the side from the cabin to the engine cowling so that someone could climb out and add oil to the engine while it was still running. (While I have no particular problems with heights, I'll take a pass on doing that, thank you.) Modern aerial refueling was invented to make the Key's flight possible and they stayed up continuously more than 650 hours in 1935, orbiting a airfield in Mississippi.

(Side note: Several sources list the 1935 flight as still holding the intra-atmosphere endurance record, while Smithsonian Air&Space mentions a much later Cessna flight that lasted more than 50 days. Anyone know the real story here?)

Airships had their own answer for this. There were catwalks/ladders out to the engines and inflight maintenance was possible -- I have no idea how routine it was. As for B-29/B-50's (many of the "B-29" aircraft used after the late 40's actually were the later B-50's which are hard to tell apart) I have no evidence that there was direct human access to the engines in flight (some other models of aircraft did), which would have been difficult as the '29 had a pressurized cabin.

#75 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2006, 07:27 PM:

Greg London:

You need to get a copy of "The Inventions of Daedalus" by Jones. He describes a twin-walled transparent balloon with bacteria between the walls that produce hydrogen: it can stay up forever. The sequel has how to use shaped charges to make legal ivory from cow teeth...

#76 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 06:16 AM:

#73, Dave Bell: "It cannot be traced, it cannot be stopped and it is the only free voice left in the city."?

#77 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 04:15 PM:

The B-52s in the air during the Cuban Missile Crisis started falling out of the sky due to pilot error from fatigue, the effective limit was the people more than the planes in that particulary type of aircraft. (They weren't idly referred to as BUFs, and part of the ugliness was the unpleasant flying characteristics of vibration and noise etc. Lots of pilots did NOT enjoy flying them.

#78 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 04:24 PM:

There is a term for the category of sexual predator that Foley is, it's called "chickenhawk"--adult male who goes after underage/adolescent males.

The PSP spinmeisters and slime bucket brigade, however, are out claiming he is "homosexual" not a chickenhawk preying upon young males in a sociopolitically inferior lacking power positing, who don't appreciate his pursuit of them.

Note that Faux News et al have not mentioned "Jeff Gannon/whatever-his-legal-name-is-Guckert, male-male porn business "companion" who was given White House Press Corps special privileging and made dozens and dozens of visits to the White House.... or asked why there are so many homosexuals coming out of the PSP closet to join in condemning themselves to deflect attention off of Foley and those who protected Foley's Congressional tenure....

#79 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 06:57 PM:

According to my dad, you didn't fly a '52, you administered it. They were never intended to be nimble. They are loud and the designers ignored human factors in some key areas, such as the height of the upper deck. (Too short.)

But a lot of the problems in the 60's parallel similar issues in the other services: ignoring sleep needs. There was a macho tradition in most of the military of acting as if sleep did not really matter -- real men can just shrug it off. There have been issues with this for some time, and while policy has changed, there are still problems. The AF often scheduled people for Chrome Dome missions with little regard for sleep patterns or needs, even though sleep problems have long been identified as a cause of flying accidents. In the end, they stopped airborne alert, as it was no longer needed once Polaris systems were operational.

The darker side of this was the official practice of amphetamine use by military pilots on some missions. This was supposedly stopped during the first Gulf War but there are reports that Dexedrine is back for pilots.

#80 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 08:47 PM:

Greg, the bomber-based videobloggers in Riders on the Storm have real-life antecedents.

In the world before satellite television, imagine educational programs raining gently down on schools across the Midwest.

The MPATI transmitters, KS2XGA and KS2XGD, were located inside a propeller-driven DC6 aircraft, which when not on the air (or in the air as the case may be), could be found at the Purdue University Airport... Cruising roughly four and one half miles above Montpelier Indiana in a basic figure-8 pattern, the flying television stations transmitted two broadcast signals of separate programs on different channels simultaneously. One 24-foot antenna extending from the belly of the plane beamed the signal across a 200-mile radius covering Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky.

#81 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2006, 11:27 PM:

#79 Harry Schmidt and William Umbach (F16s) were on amphetamines - I don't know which ones? anybody? - when Schmidt bombed part of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group killing 4, wounding several more about the third week of April 2002. Testimony was that amphetamine use was routine at about the 8 hour mark.

Notice also the B2 used improvised rest areas - lawn chairs IIRC - the composite construction makes the airplane stiffer and so much more immediately responsive than the B52. Obs SF Dr. Pournelle worked on the B52 when they moved the tail gunner up front.

#82 ::: [ spam deleted ] ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 04:46 PM:

[ Spam from IP 78.37.45.203 deleted ]

#83 ::: fidelio suspects spam, spam, spamitty spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2010, 01:51 PM:

Although it's a haunting phrase, it just doesn't fit either the post of the resulting comments. Plus that whole link-in-the-name thing. Oh, and the name.

#84 ::: Serge Broom sees Gladys SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 07:39 AM:

Glad to see us, Gladys? Begone.

#85 ::: Serge Broom sees Gladys SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 07:40 AM:

Glad to see us, Gladys? Begone.

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