Following the Obama campaign's ad highlighting Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, right-wing media are hysterically calling the ad an attack on private equity and even "an attack on capitalism" itself. But the ad clearly and specifically targets Romney's own work at Bain Capital -- which Romney and his campaign have repeatedly touted as crucial experience for dealing with the economy -- not private equity or capitalism as a whole.
Fox News is questioning a $5.9 million grant awarded to a University of Chicago health initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that the White House is the reason the Chicago initiative received the grant. Fox anchor Bill Hemmer described the program as "run by President Obama's longtime friend and frequent golf buddy, Eric Whitaker" adding:
HEMMER: This initiative is connected to the University of Chicago medical center. Michelle Obama has a connection there; Valerie Jarrett has a connection there; David Axelrod has a history as well.
Fox contributor Alfonse D'Amato took it even further, saying, "They'd have you believe that out of the thousands of applicants ... that they won this on the merits. That's a lot of nonsense." He continued: "It really cries out to be investigated. If you really believe that they won this grant without the White House," then "you'd have to believe in the tooth fairy." He later stated that this "cries out to be investigated and really, Congressman [Daryl] Issa investigations subcommittee, they should really have a hearing on this."
Rush Limbaugh today dismissed a Washington Post report detailing "pranks" and "troubling incidents" Mitt Romney engaged in as a high school student, saying: "You had long hair in 1965, you were gonna get razzed. It didn't matter. They weren't gonna think you were in the Beatles. If you had long hair in 1965, you were gonna get made fun of." Limbaugh added: "See, 1965's a great year; bullying was legal."
Limbaugh blamed a "pro-Obama media" for making this a story, saying, "The Washington Post can find out what Romney was doing in high school but they can't be bothered to find out what Obama's transcripts -- even some of his writings from college and law school." He continued:
LIMBAUGH: This is the campaign. This is exactly -- you've been warned. You knew. You don't need to be warned. You know this kind of stuff's coming. This is what the drive-by media does in conjunction with the Democrat in the White House. When I saw this, I just -- I started laughing.
LIMBAUGH: Now maybe I'm wrong, but I think most people are gonna laugh at this. It's so obvious now -- it is so pathetically transparently transparent what this is. Media ganging up on Romney -- a pro-Obama media ganging up on Romney. 1965 -- probably a stretch to say it had anything to do with the kid being presumed gay. You had long hair in 1965, you were gonna get razzed. It didn't matter.
They weren't gonna think you were in the Beatles. If you had long hair in 1965, you were gonna get made fun of. See, 1965's a great year; bullying was legal.
Limbaugh added: "Watch that be a quote that shows up at Media Matters: 'Limbaugh praising bullying while defending Romney.' "
In an ABC News interview today, President Obama announced his support for marriage equality, saying, "I think same sex couples should be able to get married." Conservative media figures immediately accused Obama of declaring a "war on marriage" and the Catholic Church.
Only two short months after his sustained verbal assault on Georgetown Law school student Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh announced the launch of a Facebook fan page named after one of his favorite sexist pejoratives, "Rush Babes for America."
Announcing the page, Limbaugh claimed the fan page is for conservative women who are "not being told by faux feminist groups how to think."
Limbaugh scoffed at the idea that his program "laughs at, impugns [or] makes fun of women," but Rush routinely refers to women as:
Limbaugh also christened the launch of his new page with his brand of sexism, using the terms "feminazis" and "NAGs," in his announcement.
Limbaugh's go-to pejorative for women from first ladies, to congresswomen, reporters to academic and historical figures is "babe." He's used the term describe at least 61 prominent women including Supreme Court Justices, Senators, economists, and astronauts. After all of this, Limbaugh laughably called himself a "defender and protector" of women in September 2010.
Rush Limbaugh today breathed new life into the inflammatory lie that President Obama's Social Security number is illegitimate. In response to a caller who cast doubt on Obama's birth certificate, Limbaugh asked, "What are your thoughts on the fact that Obama's Social Security number is from Connecticut, and he's never been there?" This is only the latest long-debunked smear conservative talk radio hosts are re-injecting into the mainstream in this election year.
The point that Limbaugh and other Social Security-obsessed birthers have seized on is that the first three digits of Obama's Social Security number would only be assigned to someone whose request was processed in Connecticut. But as the Social Security Administration explained:
Prior to 1972, cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country and the Area Number [the first three digits of an SSN] represented the State in which the card was issued. This did not necessarily have to be the State where the applicant lived, since a person could apply for their card in any Social Security office. Since 1972, when SSA began assigning SSNs and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, the area number assigned has been based on the ZIP code in the mailing address provided on the application for the original Social Security card. The applicant's mailing address does not have to be the same as their place of residence. Thus, the Area Number does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant, either prior to 1972 or since.
As the urban legends website Snopes noted, the ZIP code for the Honolulu area, 96814, is very similar to the ZIP code of Danbury, Connecticut, 06814:
Why Barack Obama's Social Security card application might have included a Connecticut mailing address is something of a curiosity, as he had no known connection to that state at the time, but by itself that quirk is no indicator of fraud. The most likely explanation for the discrepancy is a simple clerical or typographical error: the ZIP code in the area of Honolulu where Barack Obama lived is 96814, while the ZIP code for Danbury, Connecticut, is 06814. Since '0' and '9' are similarly shaped numbers and are adjacent on typewriter keyboards, it's not uncommon for handwritten examples to be mistaken for each other, or for one to be mistyped as the other (thereby potentially resulting in a Hawaiian resident's application mistakenly being routed as if it had originated from Connecticut).
Limbaugh's nod to the fringe birther movement comes only two weeks after radio host and CNN contributor Dana Loesch revived the smear that Obama was educated in a "madrassa." CNN -- Loesch's own employer -- debunked the claim five years ago.
Loesch defined a "madrassa" as "kind of like the equivalent in Islam of a Catholic school in Catholicism." However, this is problematic since the American media have primarily applied the word to radical schools that sprang up following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, many of which engage in anti-Western "political indoctrination." The term madrassa in this context is often purposefully used to stoke fears about Muslims.
Limbaugh has repeatedly entertained and promoted the notion that Obama is not a U.S. citizen. At the same time, he has also warned his listeners to be wary of birther theories, cautioning them against going down that "dead end street" and claiming he's "not going to be distracted" by such claims.
Fox News is once again pushing the myth that President Obama "apologized" for the United States, following a speech by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in which he vowed to "never again apologize for America." In fact, Obama has never made such an apology.
Fox News military analysts, retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney and retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, today dismissed recently published photos of soldiers posing with Afghan corpses as an incident that "did not even rise to the level of a fraternity prank," and "young people blowing off testosterone," as Peters put it. Peters and McInerney also attacked the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper that first published the photos, and Peters went after the anonymous soldier who reportedly provided the photos, suggesting the soldier was "a misfit who couldn't measure up to the very high standards of the 82nd Airborne."
The photos have been widely condemned by the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and the senior allied commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. Army spokesman Col. Tomas W. Collins was quoted as saying: "[T]hese photos are probably a manifestation of the soldiers' relief that this insurgent no longer posed a threat to them or their fellow soldiers. That cannot excuse what they did. We are the United States Army, and the world rightly has very high expectations that our soldiers will do what's right. Clearly, that didn't happen in this case." Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called the photos "inhumane and provocative."
Appearing on Fox News' America Live to talk about the controversy the photos have generated, Peters said that "the LA Times editors are liars" and that they published the photos "because their paper is on the rocks and they're trying to push up circulation." He added: "I think there really is maybe a scandal out there at the LA Times." McInerney added that the Times "is the problem" and "they should be condemned."
Peters also took the opportunity to attack the unnamed soldier, saying: "If it is a soldier, why wait two years to enforce good order and discipline? Was the soldier really in the unit? Was the soldier present at any of these events? Was the soldier a misfit who couldn't measure up to the very high standards of the 82nd Airborne?"
Fox is again attempting to redefine fairness, this time by pushing the GOP-favored flat tax in the midst of debate over the Buffett Rule, which would set a minimum effective tax rate for millionaires. The flat tax is a plan Republicans have been trying to establish as far back as the 1990s.
Following the release of President Obama's tax returns, Fox jumpstarted its push for the flat tax, insisting that it would be a fairer tax system. But this is just the latest attempt by Fox to redefine "fairness" as a tax system that experts contend is designed to favor wealthier taxpayers.
Prior to an interview with Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, "straight news" anchor, Martha MacCallum asked her Twitter followers, "Should Mitt Romney go further with tax reform?" She then added: "Flat tax anyone?"
Fox is reinforcing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attacks on the Obama administration by parroting his misleading claim that since President Obama took office, "92.3 percent of the job losses ... has been women who've lost those jobs." In fact, this indicator is meaningless in understanding how Obama's policies have impacted working women as it ignores several important factors, including when the recession began and the fact that more women are in the workforce today than in January 2008.