Ann Coulter has drawn criticism in recent days over a so-called joke she made about killing Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Coulter's remarks follow a pattern of invoking murder against her political opponents.
In an April 10 column, Coulter wrote, "MSNBC's Martin Bashir suggested that Republican senators need to have a member of their families killed for them to support the Democrats' gun proposals. (Let's start with Meghan McCain!)" The column drew harsh criticism from Cindy and Meghan McCain, who accused Coulter of only living "to spread hate and negativity." Coulter subsequently defended her comments on the April 11 edition of Fox News' Hannity, claiming "everyone laughed" when they read the joke.
Coulter's remarks should come as no surprise. Coulter has routinely resorted to violent rhetoric against those with whom she disagrees:
In a June 2011 appearance on Hannity, Coulter said of the massacre at Kent State: "That's what you do with a mob."
In June 2009, Coulter said she "didn't really like to think of" the murder of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller as murder, adding: "It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester."
In September 2001, Coulter wrote of Muslims: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
In August 2002, Coulter said, "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
In an August 2009 interview on Hannity, Coulter said that Zeke Emanuel, the brother of Chicago mayor and former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, "is on my death list."
In January 2006, Coulter said, "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." She added: "That's just a joke, for you in the media."
Fox News hyped a letter from a group with birther ties to renew conspiracy theories about the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, last September.
On April 8, a group of Special Operations veterans released a letter calling for an investigation on the Benghazi attack and posed various questions stemming from long-debunked conspiracy theories, many of which have been pushed by Fox News figures. That same day, several Fox News programs including Fox & Friends, America's Newsroom, Happening Now, and America Live devoted entire segments to the letter. From Happening Now:
The group that penned the letter, Special Operations Speaks, was founded by Larry Bailey, a former Navy SEAL who has admitted to being a birther and has touted the conspiracy theory that President Obama's real father was actually the late communist writer Frank Marshall Davis:
"In his books, Obama said his mentor was a fellow named Frank Marshall Davis. Frank Marshall Davis was a member of Communist Party USA, he wrote for the communist party's Hawaii newsletter, he was a close friend of Obama's mother, and there's a strong case that Frank Marshall Davis rather than Barack Obama, Sr. was Barack Obama, Jr.'s father and that Barack Obama, Sr. was just an administrative father of convenience," Bailey said.
Bailey has also referred to the president as "one of the most unlikeable and unprepared politicians we've ever had," and in a fundraising email for Special Operations Speaks announced, "We are in a war with Barack Obama ... We absolutely MUST remove that anti-American machine from power."
In reporting on the letter, none of the Fox News programs made any mention of Bailey's birther background or his admitted personal dislike of the president.
One of Scott Brown's first acts as a Fox News host was to build a segment entirely around a GOP press release, a continuation of Fox's long history of using Republican talking points to build their news.
Brown, a Republican former Senator, served as guest host on the April 1 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, where he immediately focused on the National Republican Congressional Committee's "waste list," meant to detail areas of government's continued wasteful spending despite recent spending cuts and the closing of White House tours. Brown complained about a "dancing iPhone with robots," "snail sex research," and $1 million worth of puppet shows for kids.
Much of the spending detailed in the release was actually spent before the sequestration cuts went into effect, but that fact didn't make it into the No Spin Zone under Brown's watch.
Esquire's Charles P. Pierce has criticized Breitbart.com for reporting the specific location where President Obama's teenage daughters are vacationing for spring break, warning that such actions by the "'rightwing entertainment complex' are going to get someone killed."
On Monday, Breitbart.com's Matthew Boyle published the location and the name of the resort where the Obama daughters are staying for spring break, ignoring the long-standing journalistic tradition that media outlets should not report on a president's minor children when they are not attending "official and semi-official events."
Pierce responded to Breitbart.com in a blog post, arguing that there was "no possible news value" to the report other than to incite readers and that "[s]ooner or later" the "'rightwing entertainment complex' are going to get someone killed":
What possible interest does this serve, except to titillate the dark and envious nether parts of Boyle's 22 readers? (No link, because fk that pudgy little monster.) There is no possible news value to this. Sooner or later, the frolicks of what my pal Boehlert calls the "rightwing entertainment complex" are going to get someone killed.
Right-wing blogger Jim Hoft will reportedly receive an award from Accuracy in Media at the Conservative Political Action Conference, despite his track record of dishonesty and incompetence.
At the annual CPAC gathering, Hoft, who founded the Gateway Pundit blog, will receive the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award. According to the press release from Accuracy in Media, Hoft is being recognized for his "groundbreaking contributions to New Media," and the fact that his blog has become "one of the country's top resources for right-of-center news and commentary."
What makes the choice of Hoft for an award presented by a group billing itself "Accuracy in Media" so surprising is the consistent lack of accuracy, fact-checking and the general incompetence displayed in his writings:
Fox & Friends questioned the authenticity of President Obama's most recent outreach to Republicans while ignoring GOP leaders' numerous rebukes of the president's past attempts to reach across the aisle.
In a widely publicized March 12 article, The National Journal's Ron Fournier questioned the sincerity of Obama's current outreach to Congressional Republicans, including dining with GOP senators and visiting Capitol Hill. Fournier quoted an anonymous senior White House official as describing the president's efforts as a "joke" and a waste of time.
On March 13, Fox & Friends seized on the article to question whether Obama was sincere in his efforts to reach out to Republicans. Co-host Steve Doocy came to the conclusion that Obama isn't actually serious about this latest bipartisan effort:
DOOCY: We've been speculating, what was the motivation for this charm offensive? Well now, thanks to Ron Fournier of National Journal, we know that it is simply a tactic. The president of the United States is not serious about actually reaching across the aisle, but he saw that his poll numbers were imploding thanks to the sequester.
In the same segment, guest co-host Alisyn Camerota emphasized the importance of outreach that the president has supposedly neglected:
CAMEROTA: That's what you're supposed to do! You're supposed to go and meet with your adversaries so that you can work out some sort of bargain.
But Fox made no mention of the fact that this is not the first time that Obama has reached out to -- and been rebuffed by -- Republican leaders: