As we've documented extensively, Jim Hoft's pathological hatred for President Obama and all things liberal leads him to regularly make a fool out of himself. He often posts images that not only don't support his argument -- Obama "flipping off" John Boehner with two fingers comes immediately to mind -- but raise questions about how someone who is so intellectually bankrupt can manage to wield such influence in conservative media circles.
We have another embarrassment to add to the pile.
Last night, Hoft posted a story under the headline "BUMMER. Kid Dresses Up as Obama Joker For White House Halloween Party." He shows this picture (and embeds video) as evidence:
Hoft adds that "the kid forgot to write 'Socialist' on his T-shirt."
You know why he didn't write "Socialist" on his shirt, Jim? Because he isn't dressed as the "Obama Joker." He's just wearing what looks like Joker makeup. As far as I can tell, the only reason Hoft assumed he was dressed as the "Obama Joker" is because he is black.
Hoft also claims that the "president pushed the poor child on his way." If you watch the embedded video at Hoft's site, you'll see that Obama did nothing of the sort, unless you think placing your hand on a child's shoulder amounts to "pushing."
This staggering bit of idiocy -- which is entirely in character -- will not prevent Hoft from continuing to help lead the conversation in the conservative media. And of course, this being the conservative blogosphere, Hoft wasn't the only person to run with the "story." Weasel Zippers also posted the image and said it "[m]ust be like looking in the mirror, eh Barack?"
Fox Nation is now pushing this as well. Can one of these sites please explain in detail how they reached the conclusion that this kid was dressed as the "Obama Joker"? I'll wait.
Over the course of the past month, while promoting his new book that may "change the course of human events," radio host Michael Savage has announced that he has not only "saved talk radio" but is also the "foremost conservative intellectual."
Where does such a sharp mind get his information? Apparently, from Iranian state-owned TV.
Currently on the homepage of Michael Savage's website - underneath the giant ad for his new book - is the following story about how Obama is "unlikely to last 1st term":
This links to a story by Press TV, which is "sponsored by Iran's state-run television operation, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting."
As an added bonus, the story consists of quotes from Edward Spannus of the Executive Intelligence Review about people in the "Democratic Party who are seriously considering how to remove Obama from presidency." The Executive Intelligence Review is the weekly newsmagazine founded by fringe conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche.
Yet again, conservatives' vetting process for the stories they pick up seem to be: "Does this reflect poorly on the president? Print it!"
The last third of Glenn Beck's new book, Broke, is devoted to his "plan" to fix our supposedly broken country. (Spoiler alert: stop spending money, implement a flat tax, and privatize everything -- all while praying.)
Here's a rule of thumb: If you can Google something and find a private company to do that task, then that's probably where the responsibility for it should be. Profit motive has a funny way of making companies act efficiently. In fact, giving some tasks to companies can often run an expense item into a revenue item. [Broke, pg 308]
Beck proceeds to argue that we should consider privatizing, among other things, military arsenal production, ports, and air traffic control. After a brief, apparently irony-free section about rising health care costs -- remember folks, "profit motive has a funny way of making companies act efficiently" -- Beck announces a "War on Defense Dollars." As Beck explains it, "we must break free of this perpetual cycle of military operations that is helping to bankrupt us."
After announcing that he is "not an expert in this area," Beck turns to someone with more experience: Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater (now known as "Xe."). Beck repeats several of Prince's suggestions under the guise of Prince telling people "how to make the military more efficient."
Leaving aside the numerous other ethical scandals Blackwater has been involved in over the years, if Prince really wanted to help combat Pentagon waste, one of his first steps would have been to propose better-regulating companies like the one he founded.
In the lead-up to Glenn Beck's 8-28 rally in Washington D.C., Beck repeatedly tried to co-opt the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Beck's motivation was clear: by cloaking himself and his band of small government rabble-rousers with King's legacy, he hoped to inflate the historical significance of their gathering while hiding behind the shield of the civil rights movement's moral authority.
As I documented at the time, Beck's co-opting of King was a complete farce:
King forcefully advocated for drastic action by the federal government to combat poverty; supported "social justice"; called for an "economic bill of rights" that would "guarantee a job to all people who want to work"; and stated that we must address whether we need to "restructure the whole of American society" -- all ideas that Beck has vilified.
After his rally, Beck was pressed by Fox News' Chris Wallace about how the "civil rights movement was always about an economic agenda." Beck responded by saying that "that's a part of it that I don't agree with." This represented a major backtrack for Beck, who had accused progressives of "perverting" King's legacy by tying it to economic issues. Apparently Beck hasn't learned his lesson.
In his new book, Broke, in a section about how "entitlements like Social Security and Medicare are murdering our finances," Beck has the audacity to quote Martin Luther King Jr. to make his point. He writes:
As Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "No lie can live forever" -- well, these programs are based on the biggest lie of all: that money can be shuffled from person to person, from states to Washington and from trust fund to trust fund without consequence. It's time for that way of thinking (or, in this case, not thinking) to finally end. Progressive thought has brought us straight to the brink -- only an equal but opposite force can move us away from it. [Broke, pg 203-204]
Beck's invocation of King in this context is gratuitous and shameless.
This morning, the New York Times and Think Progress broke news that Koch Industries, the conservative/libertarian manufacturing conglomerate headed up by billionaires Charles and David Koch, is planning a meeting in January to "develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity."
As reported by the Times, the "Koch network meets twice a year to plan and expand its efforts." Their most recent meeting took place in Aspen, Colorado, in June of this year to strategize about the upcoming elections, and featured none other than Fox News' own Glenn Beck, who gave a talk about whether America is on the "Road to Serfdom."
The Aspen meeting took place the weekend of June 26-27. On Tuesday, June 29, Beck attacked Al Gore and his film An Inconvenient Truth on his Fox News program. In the middle of his screed about climate science and GDP, Beck said: "I want to thank Charles Koch for this information."
Beck did not explain to his audience who Charles Koch is. As we noted at the time, Koch Industries is heavily involved in the petroleum, chemicals and energy sectors. Charles Koch and other people affiliated with his organization spoke at the June meeting.
In the letter posted by Think Progress inviting people to the upcoming January meeting, Charles Koch explains that "this is a gathering of doers who are willing to engage in the hard work necessary to advance our shared principles." [emphasis in original] They've apparently found a helpful ally in Glenn Beck, who is willing to advance their "shared principles" on his Fox News show.
While Fox News has countless ethically dubious relationships with GOP candidates - Christine O'Donnell saying she has Hannity in her "back pocket" springs to mind - the network's promotion of Ohio gubernatorial candidate John Kasich stands out as uniquely absurd.
As we've documented, Kasich is the former Fox News host that is currently the GOP candidate for governor in Ohio. In addition to repeatedly using his platform as a Fox host to position himself for a run, Kasich continued to appear regularly - in at least 123 segments* - on-air as a Fox contributor from the time he announced that he was paving the way for a gubernatorial run in March of 2008 until he officially declared his candidacy on June 1, 2009. Since declaring his candidacy, Kasich has continued to reap benefits from his cozy relationship with the network, with several hosts campaigning for him and openly rooting for him.
As we noted earlier, Sean Hannity is currently under fire for allowing Kasich to promote his website and fundraise on Hannity's show on Thursday night. But Kasich's appearance on Hannity wasn't his only appearance on the network in the past few days.
On Saturday, Fox News host Mike Huckabee invited Kasich onto his show to field softballs about his modest upbringing and conservative bona fides. During the intro for the segment, Huckabee noted "in the interest of full disclosure" that he is "a friend of John and his wife Karen." He added that "as someone who has endorsed him, I am not the least bit objective." You don't say.
Tonight, Glenn Beck endeavored to teach his audience about the evils of environmentalists and environmental science with Wallbuilders Founder David Barton and Calvin Beisner, the Founder of the Cornwall Alliance.
As we've noted, as Beck has attempted to transform himself into a spiritual leader, he has surrounded himself with religious and secular figures that share a hatred for the "homosexual agenda." We can add Beisner to that list.
As reported by DeSmog Blog, in 1990, Beisner wrote an article arguing against the "militant homosexuals" that were calling for an increase in federal spending on AIDS research, treatment and education. Beisner asked if it was "rational" to increase funding to "fight a disease that is almost 100 percent self-inflicted by people intent on immoral and irrational behavior?"
Beisner was joined on Beck's show by David Barton, whom Beck has labeled "the most important man in America." Barton has written about "Why Should Homosexuality Concern a Society?" and once buttressed an argument against open service by homosexuals in our military by writing that homosexuality "was long considered too morally abhorrent and reprehensible to openly discuss." Barton also reportedly spoke at an event to promote and anti-gay marriage amendment, and his WallBuilders group published an election guide in 2008 fearmongering about Obama's supposed support for a "curriculum that promotes homosexuality."
Nice friends you have there, Glenn.
Have you heard about how Michael Savage "saved talked radio" and how his latest book could "change the course of human events"? If not, then you haven't been listening to Michael Savage lately.
Among the upper echelons of conservative media, there are a lot of big egos. Rush Limbaugh frequently proclaims that he is over 99 percent accurate (he isn't even close.) Glenn Beck thinks God arranged the date of his 8-28 rally so that it coincided with the anniversary of MLK's landmark "I Have a Dream" speech, and said the rally would mark a "turning point" in American history.
Savage has been giving both of them a run for their money this week with his effusive praise for himself and his new book, which, if he is to be believed, will soon take it's place alongside The Republic, The Communist Manifesto, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and other historic sociopolitical tracts.
It should be noted that Savage isn't alone in praising Trickle Up Poverty. This morning Ted Nugent reviewed the book in The Washington Times:
Michael Savage swings a literary crowbar of truth and writes with a sledgehammer style. He pulls no punches and goes right for the jugular with facts, not vacuous hyperbole like "hope and change." Mr. Savage is my kind of radio host and my kind of writer. I crave all things bold, unapologetic, defiant, witty and smart. "Trickle Up Poverty" satisfies my cravings and then some. Read it and then dance naked around the campfire of truth.
Michael Savage couldn't have said it better himself...though he'll certainly try.
Apparently Glenn Beck isn't the only Fox News figure that thinks God speaks through them. According to a report by The New Republic's Bradford Plumer on Ralph Reed's return to prominence after being linked to con man Jack Abramoff, Reed told a gathering in Washington, D.C. that Fox News' Sean Hannity convinced him to come back to the political fray. Considering Hannity's long history of GOP boosterism, this is not particularly notable. What is notable how Reed claims Hannity accomplished this:
"Broken" was once the perfect word to describe Reed's career. In 2006, his campaign for Georgia's lieutenant governorship imploded after investigators revealed his work with con man Jack Abramoff. Reed, the choirboy-faced moralist, had been secretly lobbying on behalf of an Indian casino, and the press was quick to write his political obituary. But after Barack Obama swept into the White House on the strength of a high-tech political organizing juggernaut, friends implored Reed--the former executive director of the Christian Coalition and one of the key architects of the GOP congressional takeover in 1994--to get back in the game. As Reed tells his audience at the Mayflower, a phone call from Sean Hannity persuaded him. "I wanted to know that this was not me," Reed says, "that this was not any ambition of mine. I wanted to know that this was the Lord." Reed breaks into a sly grin as he recounts Hannity's response: "Ralph, God is speaking through this phone line right now, and he's using me to deliver the message."
Apparently, after Reed returned to politics, he chose to help Hannity's Fox News colleague (and self-proclaimed fellow vessel for God) Glenn Beck assist with the founding of the Black Robe Regiment. Beck has since invited his "friend" Reed onto his radio show to thank him for his role in the 8-28 rally.
Reed was actually not the only Abramoff-linked figure involved with Beck's 8-28 rally. Black Robe Regiment member and repeated Beck guest Rabbi Daniel Lapin is the man whom Abramoff reportedly "credits" with "introducing him to" Tom DeLay.
To recap: God is supposedly speaking through Fox News hosts, and he's telling them to help rehabilitate the political prospects of people linked to convicted felon Jack Abramoff.
In politics, hyperbolic language is the rule, not the exception.
Since Obama has taken office, conservative media figures have taken things to a ridiculous level. Civil war! Revolution! Death panels! Shariah law! Streets on fire!
The constant drumbeat of over-the-top rhetoric is exhausting, and it can be difficult to pinpoint comments deserving of closer attention. However, prominent conservative media figures -- including two who double as putative candidates for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination -- have taken to invoking Armageddon. And I don't mean "Armageddon" in the metaphorical "the world is going to end if we pass health care" sense -- they are invoking actual Biblical Armageddon.
Yesterday, during a conversation with the conservative publication Newsmax, Sarah Palin engaged in the favorite conservative pastime of pushing for war with Middle Eastern countries and warned that allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons "is not just Israel's problem or America's problem, it is the world's problem. It could lead to an Armageddon. It could lead to that World War III that could decimate so much of this planet."
Clearly, Palin's invocation of "Armageddon" did not bother Fox News -- quite the opposite, in fact. They promoted her interview with Newsmax on Fox Nation, using her comment as the headline:
If you are unfamiliar with Iran and Israel's role in the (always) impending Armageddon, Pastor John Hagee can help explain. Back in June, Glenn Beck hosted Hagee on his Fox News show and labeled him one of the "brave preachers" that "need to start standing up." During that show, Beck plugged Hagee's "excellent" new book, Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are The Terminal Generation, saying that he "just started to read last night."