Maggie Thurber tease

FOX News Pretending to Report News

Always be wary of FOX News.

Okay, right. But, still, you know … sometimes people need reminding. That is, sure, the crazy uncle who wrecks every holiday dinner with his newsletter nitwitting is a lost cause, but the younger relatives might need the occasional reminder.

So, Maggie Thurber aptly demonstrates what FOX News is all about with a spectacular lede:

Using a cell phone in a school or construction zone may soon be illegal in Ohio.

Oh, dear Christ, what are those sneaky liberals doing in Ohio?

A bill introduced by Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, would prohibit the use of any electronic wireless device when in a construction zone during actual work hours.

Right. First point: A Republican bill.

But neither is this the problem. Go back and read those two sentences, which also constitute two paragraphs from the article.

The third paragraph is no better.

It would also make it illegal to use such devices in a school zone during hours when children are present — and that includes when they are at recess, not just during opening and closing times.

No, seriously, does nothing seem amiss, here?

It is, however, the fourth paragraph that finally starts leaning back toward reality:

"Ex-Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber helped Thomas Noe launder $45,000 to George Bush’s campaign and ended up with a slap on the wrist $1000 fine." (Cleveland Challenger, 22 February 2013)House Bill 637 also makes the illegal use of cell phones for texting – writing, sending and reading – a primary offense for adults. Currently, drivers 18 years and older can only be cited for such infractions if it’s in conjunction with another traffic violation.

A-ha! Did you catch that? Actually, we hope so, since it isn’t especially clever. Thurber goes on to point out that the apparent problem with the law as it is in Ohio has something to do with the police not writing enough tickets. And while that is its own question, to be certain, it is worth noting that only two sentences make any mention of driving at all, and at no point does Thurber actually come right out and say, “Using a cell phone while driving in a school or construction zone may soon be illegal in Ohio.”

And, you know, for many of us, that sort of thing might seem obvious. But we all have that person in our lives who seems to adore tinfoil, who might listen to Michele Bachmann, cornered, explaining that if only someone had provided this birth certificate before, then Obama could have saved us the trouble of the racist Birther conspiracy, and all the while not seeming to recognize that it was the actual document we had the whole time. And we all know the potsherds ran around reciting that one, too.

And it should also be noted that the FOX News article is nothing more than an advocacy tease; you can find out the real details if only you click through to the fanatical right-wing political website.

So, you know, print and save that article for Uncle Bumbles, next time he comes around, and see how quickly he bites.

Meanwhile, as a point of fair disclosure, we at This Is are currently scratching our heads after a friend inquired about some bizarre question of the federal government trying to force elementary school children in a rural Washington state county to use transgender bathrooms. And we’re always dubious of such stories when we hear them, because nobody can actually tell us what’s going on. So apparently this is happening, because someone said that someone else told someone, and then somebody asked us to find the federal regulation involved. Because, you know, reading a widely-published judicial opinion currently circulating in the news is no different from digging through the various regulations within any given cabinet department like Education or Labor.

Still, though, that is what people like Thurber, a disgraced former county commissioner whose reputation crumbled in a campaign financing scandal, are banking on, that potential allies won’t read the detail, and potential opponents just can’t be bothered with such tripe.

And while we know FOX News is excrement, it sometimes behooves us to tread the plopped pastures and take a look at just how such crap is spread.

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Thurber, Maggie. “Proposed Ohio cell phone law raises many questions”. FOX News. 20 October 2014.