Ann Althouse has been observing the revolution in Madison (brought to you by PEU™) and correctly observes that the Wisconsin protesters are losing their grip on reality.

It’s not just the protesters.

The supporters of the Wisconsin protesters in the left-blogosphere also are losing their grip on reality.

Witness the BREAKING NEWS and SHOCKING story which hit yesterday that Fox News was using fake footage to portray the union protesters as intimidating and violent.  Here is a video posted by TPM purporting to show that Fox News misleadingly portrayed footage from California as footage from Madison:

Here is how TPM described it (emphasis mine):

“In an alternative universe concocted by Fox News, Andrew Breitbart, and TCOT (top conservatives on twitter), the Madison capitol has become the island in Lord of the Flies, except the savages in this case are union “thugs.” The mob has taken over, thick with radicals, and Republicans are likely to be attacked as a matter of course….

Notice the B-roll footage in the background at the end of the clip, complete with the calming backdrop of palm trees and….wait there are palm trees in Madison, Wisconsin?


No there are not. But that’s because the footage comes from a solidarity protest in Sacramento, CA.

Here’s how Steve Benen describes the conclusion to be drawn from this video proof that Fox News lies (emphasis mine):

“Why are there palm trees in the background? Why are some of the people in the video wearing t-shirts?

The answer is, at the very moment Fox News was accusing labor groups of bringing in outsiders for protests in Madison, the network was showing footage of a protest in California held a week earlier, passing it off as evidence of something that never happened in Wisconsin.

This is the same Mike Tobin, by the way, who claims he was “punched” by a protester in Madison, despite video evidence that suggests he’s lying.

There’s a reason Fox News viewers are so confused — they’re the victims of a con.”

TPM and Benen are not alone, the “Fox News Lies” meme arising from the use of palm tree video has spread far and wide in the left-blogosphere.

The reality is that the footage was not misleading, as Mediaite explains (emphasis mine):

“The Internet is abuzz this morning with a story that Fox News has “lied” in showing a video of an angry union protester from California while claiming its from Wisconsin. The “Palm Tree lie” (described as such because the tropical trees in the background of the protest video are used as proof of the deception) was the top two stories on Reddit’s Politics board this morning. They needn’t have tried so hard. While, in the 43-second clip that’s being linked to on YouTube, it does look like Fox News lied, but watching the entire segment for context makes it clear that they did not.

The segment in question occurred during The O’Reilly Factor as Bill O’Reilly was discussing the anger in the union protests. At the top of the piece, he rolled footage of a number of the “union thug” videos that have become so popular on Right Wing news sites in the past few weeks. O’Reilly clearly identified the videos as collectively coming from “all over the country.” As many shows do, this B-roll footage was replayed again during the rest of the segment, including during an interview with Mike Tobin, Fox News’ reporter who’s been on the ground in Wisconsin.

Here’s where the problem occurred. Tobin was discussing Wisconsin (since that where he’s been) while the general footage played in the background. Taken out of context, these few seconds would seem deceptive. But, if you’d already seen the full segment, you’d recognize what the footage was (besides, this same clip has aired on other Fox News programs like Glenn Beck and been identified as coming from California). Further, the protest footage from Wisconsin is clearly labeled “Madison” as well as date and time stamped, while the “palm tree footage” is labeled “Union Protests.”

Confusing? Not really, though if one were to simply see the 43-second clip on YouTube, one could reasonably raise their eyebrows. A reminder of the importance of context.”

Here’s the full clip from Mediaite which shows the context of the palm tree footage:

It is not just the Wisconsin protesters who are losing their grip on reality.

The supporters of the Wisconsin protesters in the left-blogosphere are so desperate to find a conspiracy that they are befooling themselves with their paranoid style of politics.

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