Conservative radio host and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham made good on her promise to primary any Republican candidate who didn't share her anti-immigrant views, actively campaigning against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) by endorsing his victorious opponent Dave Brat and making appearances at rallies to support him.
Fox News host Megyn Kelly endorsed the canard that President George W. Bush never negotiated with terrorists, an attempt to criticize Obama for negotiations that led to the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity. The reality is that Obama's negotiation is fully consistent with recent American history, including negotiations conducted by President Bush during the Iraq War.
On the June 2 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, host Kelly asked former Vice President Dick Cheney whether the U.S. negotiated with terrorists in order to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban in an exchange for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Kelly used a 2008 speech from former President Bush in Israel where she claimed he "shared this powerful history lesson on the danger of trying to deal with the devil":
KELLY: America doesn't normally negotiate with terrorists. Did we just do that? Back in 2008 President Bush was speaking in Israel when he shared his powerful history lesson on the danger in trying to deal with the devil.
Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes accused President Obama of attacking a "straw man" after the president argued that his foreign policy critics believe "military intervention is the only way to avoid looking weak" -- a somewhat ironic characterization, given that Hayes has loudly accused Obama of being weak and "dithering" in his approach to foreign affairs.
In a May 28 commencement address at West Point, Obama outlined his foreign policy goals and addressed his critics:
And I would betray my duty to you, and to the country we love, if I sent you into harm's way simply because I saw a problem somewhere in the world that needed fixing, or because I was worried about critics who think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak.
Here's my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership. But U.S. military action cannot be the only - or even primary - component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. And because the costs associated with military action are so high, you should expect every civilian leader - and especially your Commander-in-Chief - to be clear about how that awesome power should be used.
Hayes took to Twitter to accuse Obama of attacking a "straw man" and claimed nobody believes that "military intervention is the only way to avoid looking weak":
Within minutes of the tweet, Hayes criticized Obama's lack of leadership on Ukraine, a foreign policy issue Hayes has said demands military action:
Hayes's tweets make for a striking juxtaposition when placed in the context of his recent critiques of Obama's foreign policy. For example, on the April 23 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Hayes accused Obama of "dithering" in his response to Russia's invasion of Crimea and claimed military intervention would have made him appear "resolute" (via Nexis):
HAYES: [If] we had said when Russia first invaded Crimea, if we had sent troops, hopefully more than 150, to our NATO allies at that time, it would have suggested that the president was resolute, that he was determined not to let Russia push our allies around. Instead what he did was dither for weeks and weeks and weeks on end. And now he does it almost grudgingly and because is he being badgered in part by members of Congress suggesting is he not doing enough, that he sends something that everybody recognizes. The United States, the Obama administration basically has to concede, members of Congress are calling him out on this. Our allies are saying this is just a symbol. This is basically just a symbol.
And on the March 19 edition of the show, Hayes mocked the president for what Hayes perceived to be a reluctance to intervene militarily against Putin in Ukraine.
HAYES: I think the overriding objective for the Obama administration on a number of different fronts, whether you're talking ability Iran, Syria, or Russia, is to avoid military confrontation. We can all understand why he wants to avoid it. Everybody would like to avoid it. But there comes a time where that can't be your leading objective. When you have one of the world's great powers invading other countries or annexing other sovereign states, you have to take that seriously.
While mainstream media coverage of the serious allegations of improper practices at certain Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health clinics has been extensive in recent weeks, a bill to expand health care for veterans that was blocked by Senate Republicans in February received little attention.
Fox News repeatedly spun the words of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to suggest she had finally acknowledged the importance of the select committee on Benghazi, when in fact Pelosi had stressed her objections to the committee and called it an unnecessary "partisan exercise."
Right-wing media equated sensitivity training to "re-education camp" after an NFL player was disciplined for homophobic tweets.
On May 10, University of Missouri football player Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, becoming the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. ESPN aired footage of Sam sharing a celebratory kiss with his boyfriend. Following the kiss, Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones reacted by tweeting "omg" and "horrible." The Dolphins fined Jones and barred him from team activities until he undergoes sensitivity training.
The conservative media took the opportunity to liken the sensitivity training requirement to being forced into a re-education camp. Fox personalities and guests alike proclaimed that Jones was being sent to a re-education camp, a claim The Washington Times echoed, calling the sensitivity training "modern-day equivalent of a re-education camp." Predictably, Rush Limbaugh joined conservatives decrying Jones "going to re-education camp" as "just creepy."
Real re-education camps are known for their vast human rights violations and still exist in countries like North Korea and China. A report on North Korea's camps in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the inhumane conditions at the camps:
North Koreans can end up in re-education camps for such crimes as listening to foreign radio broadcasts, secretly practicing a religion, or crossing the border to China in search of food. Inmates are subjected to forced labor and are required to memorize political tracts. They receive little food, no medical care and sometimes serve multiyear terms wearing the clothes in which they arrived at camp. I interviewed a woman who had been wearing high heels when she was arrested and had to bind her feet in rags when those wore out. Many prisoners die of abuse or malnutrition.
The New York Times described the conditions in China's "Re-education Through Labor" camps:
Conditions in re-education camps are dire: Physical abuse by guards and the criminal elements they entrust to enforce "order" is common, as are long hours of arduous work with no rest day; institutionalized corruption; deficient health care; and what the Justice Ministry refers to as "abnormal deaths."
Sensitivity training is nothing new in the NFL. In August 2013, Philadelphia Eagles receiver Riley Cooper attended sensitivity training after he used a racial slur. A typical training session lasts between two and four hours.
It should be obvious that comparing sensitivity training for a player's bigoted, anti-gay comments to brutal re-education camps in oppressive regimes are ridiculous, but right-wing media continue to embrace hyperbole in their opposition to gay rights.
As the Obama administration prioritizes efforts to curb sexual violence on college campuses, National Review Online responded by spending the week victim-blaming and dismissing the epidemic of sexual assault.
Fox News' "Medical A-Team" member Dr. Keith Ablow claimed that girls can "certainly provoke" harassment by wearing leggings to school.
On the May 9 edition of Fox's Outnumbered, Ablow and his fellow co-hosts discussed a school that is allegedly telling its female students that wearing leggings to school is inappropriate and distracting to the male students. Ablow said any harassment the girls might experience while wearing leggings "was certainly provoked" (emphasis added):
ABLOW: You cannot come in with leggings. Because my son wants to learn and the truth is it is distracting. And it is kind of inappropriate because when did we decide as a culture that tights would become an overgarment instead of an undergarment. The reason we're doing that is because girls are in a panic to be more and more sexual because we've taken all the restraint away from femininity. We've made girls into boys.
ABLOW: I don't know that we can restrain boys from being boys. So the long stare, the offhand comment, you have to -- what do you do, excuse it? Because it was certainly provoked. And I think girls put themselves in the line of fire that way.
Ablow has a history of wildly sexist remarks on Fox News. He has previously said that allowing women to serve in combat roles is "narcissism," that a parent who bought dolls for her son was "nuts" for "gender-bending," and that Newt Gingrich's three marriages would make him a strong president.
As media outlets focus on Republicans' select committee to investigate Benghazi, attention has centered on chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Throughout the right-wing campaign to scandalize the tragedy in Benghazi, Gowdy has used the media to push dishonest claims about the administration's response to the attack.
The New York Post continued its history of dismissing the epidemic of sexual assault by blaming assault victims' "bad judgment" for their "regrettable sex."
New York Post columnist Naomi Schaeffer Riley penned a May 6 op-ed denouncing national efforts to curb sexual assault on college campuses. Riley denied the existence of the widespread sexual assault epidemic, instead dismissing them as "sexual encounters fueled by bad judgment and free-flowing alcohol" (emphasis added):
The White House task force says at least one in five women will be sexually assaulted during their college careers.
Looking back, we can conclude that one of two things occurred.
In one scenario, the task force has its numbers right -- in which case our campuses have been overrun by thugs. What was needed was a good dose of law and order -- more likely to be doled out by, let's face it, conservatives.
Sexual assault is a serious crime. If campuses are really seeing these rates of violence, then nothing less than an overwhelming police presence is called for.
Not the keystone campus cops, either, but gun-wielding officers protecting women as they walk to classes, parties and club meetings, even escorting them home from dates. Maybe Ray Kelly would be up to the job; then again, even New York's worst neighborhoods don't report these rates of violence against women.
In the second (more likely) scenario, there's been no epidemic of assault but instead a preponderance of sexual encounters fueled by bad judgment and free-flowing alcohol.
Riley also disputed the fact that 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault on campus. But a report on sexual violence by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that "in a study of undergraduate women, 19% experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college."
The New York Post's unwillingness to acknowledge the epidemic of sexual assault both on and off college campuses is well-documented. Last year the Post's editorial board called a homeless shelter criticized for reports of sexual assaults "too generous" and columnist Arthur Herman labeled military sexual assault reports a "bogus epidemic."