Fox News has done their best to create a mountain out of a molehill regarding discussions between the Obama administration and prospective Senate candidates in Pennsylvania and Colorado. While legal and political experts and historians have overwhelmingly stated that the White House's conversations with Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff are not at all unusual, Fox News reporters, anchors and pundits have insisted that something improper occurred, with some like Sean Hannity and Dick Morris discussing possible criminal charges and even the commission of an "impeachable offense."
Now along comes a poll from Rasmussen that shows that only 19 percent of respondents believe that the discussions (which Rasmussen characterizes as "job offers" despite the contrary evidence) were anything unusual in politics. Furthermore, the poll's respondents found the issue far less important than any of the ten issues Rasmussen typically asks if respondents find important.
Scott Rasmussen himself says of the results, "While politicians profess to be shocked at the job offers, voters see business as usual."
Fox News has a habit of picking up and repeating Rasmussen polls ad nauesaum, even though they often reinforce conservative framing of the issue at hand. Considering that this poll seems to give a contrary response to what Fox News has been promoting, it will be interesting to see if this result gets the traditional hype.
It becomes clearer each day that Glenn Beck's grasp on how the world works is quite tenuous. He simply doesn't understand things, and reaches out for theories, no matter how harebrained they might be. When he latches on to something, it becomes his guiding principle until he becomes distracted by a new theory. He's like a cat with a new ball of yarn. One day it's a faulty "history" book, the next it's the writings of a virulent anti-semite, then it's a Robin Hood movie. The underlying facts don't matter, just whether the theory tickles Beck's fancy or not.
It's possible that Glenn Beck is insecure about his fans, or just that he's actually silly enough to take Newsbusters seriously. Either way, he's totally off the mark in this clip from today's show:
Reacting to a Washington Post story about conservatives attending conservative classes on the U.S. Constitution, Beck claims that the Post said you were only studying constitutional studies if "you're a fringy Glenn Beck fan." But the story didn't say that at all. Not even close.
Two years ago, Taylor, who is president of the National Center for Constitutional Studies, made about 35 trips to speak to small church groups and political gatherings. This year, he has received so many requests that he enlisted 15 volunteer instructors, who are on pace to hold more than 180 sessions reaching thousands of people.
"We're trying to flood the nation . . . and it's happening," said Taylor, 63, a charter school principal.
If a "tea party" event is where the disaffected go to protest the present, his classes are where they go to ponder the past. Participants include members of "9.12" groups inspired by conservative commentator Glenn Beck, Republicans, home-school groups and people affiliated with militias.
Now, while some may believe - with reason - that some of the groups listed are "fringy," the Post did not characterize them that way. Newsbusters, however, wrote "Students in Constitution Class Are Probably Fringy Militia Types, WaPo Implies." As we've shown time and again, Newsbusters often imputes thoughts on to the writers of journalism they disagree with and -- as in this case -- often neglect to cite any hard facts to make their point. It's lousy media criticism, and when Beck just appears to regurgitate it, the result is an accusation without basis in reality.
Even worse, Beck made it sound as if the article was discussing just standard-issue constitutional studies, when in fact the classes in question clearly share Beck's inclination towards a mangled version of American history (it's unclear if they, like Beck, recommend the writings of anti-semites or not). But even then, the article didn't make the value judgement Beck and Newsbusters accuse it of.
This is Beck (and Newsbusters) getting something completely wrong. Again.
On today's edition of Happening Now on Fox News Channel, the following chyron appeared:
The caption reads "9/11/09: WH Offers Romanoff 3 Jobs To Drop Primary Challenge." The chyron aired during an interview with RNC chairman Michael Steele, who was discussing conservative-generated controversy relating to the Senate candidacy of Andrew Romanoff in Colorado.
The problem is, the chyron adds a new false element to the story - both Romanoff and the White House have denied that any job offer was made, let alone 3. Romanoff said that three job descriptions were presented to him should he decide not to make a run for the senate seat, but "at no time was I promised a job," and in fact, the White House aide who contacted him said he "could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions." Similarly, a White House statement said "there was no offer of a job."
So where did Fox come up with this idea that there was any "offer" made? No other reporting supports this allegation, and the chyron isn't repeating a charge anyone made. Furthermore, in a later appearance on that same program Romanoff denied being offered a program. Based on all that contrary evidence, my best guess would be that this is just the latest from Fox's chyron writers doing their best to cast the Obama administration in a negative light.
At least the spelling was right this time.
On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck proclaimed that he doesn't "know why we're not having real conversations" in America. During the same show, Beck compared the current state of our country to the biblical story of Moses and the films Star Wars and Robin Hood and cited a national division between supporters of Woodstock and the Apollo Project.
On his show Tuesday, Beck created a conflict that seems to exist in his own mind, between those who were fans of the Apollo moon landing and those who went to Woodstock later in the summer of 1969. Apparently Beck doesn't think it's possible that there's an overlap between Neil Armstrong fans and Jimi Hendrix fans, though common sense would indicate that Woodstock wasn't a protest against the moon landing.
Until now, it seems.
What Beck is siding with happens to be what was a large, multi-billion dollar government program. The Apollo project cost about $25 billion in the '60s (around $186 billion in modern dollars). That's the sort of large government investment that Beck generally spends a lot of chalk attacking and wrapping up in the conspiracy du jour. It's possible Beck has carved out an exception for what was (and is) considered one of the seminal achievements of mankind, let alone America. But it is just as likely based on his track record of being incorrect on issue after issue that Beck just doesn't know that the Apollo program was a government expenditure.
Just one more small step towards inconsistency for Beck.
From the May 30 edition of ABC's This Week:
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If you were to believe Dick Morris (and his track record clearly indicates you'd be better off if you didn't) every time someone voted for the health care bill in Congress, they did so as a result of some sort of bribe from the Obama administration. Here's Morris on tonight's edition of Hannity:
Morris claims that the White House favored incumbent Colorado Senator Michael Bennet over his challenger within the Democratic Party, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, because Bennet had Obama "buy his vote" on health care reform. Morris (as usual) doesn't cite any sort of evidence to support his very serious accusation. The only case he makes is that, for some unspecified reason, Romanoff "would be a stronger candidate," and thus there must have been some reason for the Obama administration to act against their own purported best interest by supporting Bennet.
This isn't the first time Morris has made this type of accusation. In March, Morris claimed that the brother of Rep. Scott Matheson had been appointed a judge in exchange for his health care vote, which might have made sense except that Matheson ended up voting against the bill, while a Bush-appointed judge debunked the appointment side of the story.
Morris went to the well again, when he claimed that the ethics investigation into Rep. Eric Massa was some form of retaliation against Massa since he didn't vote for the health care bill. The Washington Post later reported that Massa was being investigated for allegedly groping staffers.
Based on that track record, there's clearly no reason to believe that Morris is any closer to the truth with his most recent allegation. In fact, you would be far better off not trusting a thing Dick Morris says.
Right-wing media have claimed Obama administration counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's statement that jihad is a "legitimate tenet of Islam" is "absurd" and frightening" and indicates Brennan is "deranged." But former President George W. Bush similarly stated that extremists "distort the idea of jihad" to support their terrorist acts.
Glenn Beck devoted much of his May 26 show to renewing his attacks against Obama administration official Cass Sunstein. Beck claimed that Sunstein is "the man who controls everything", "a geek" who has "more power than the Fed" and with the passage of financial reform would "control your every move."