Last night, during a 10-minute tirade smearing George Soros with distortions and misrepresentations, Glenn Beck failed to grasp the simple concept of an Australian newspaper converting U.S. dollars to the local currency. The data Beck completely mangled were then used to accuse Soros of wanting to implement "failed socialist or Marxist policies."
Claiming that Soros "summed it up like this," Beck quoted Soros saying:
The trouble is that the winners do not compensate the losers either within states or between states. The welfare state as we know it has become unsustainable, and international income redistribution is practically nonexistent. Total international assistance amounted to $56.5 billion from the U.S. and 74.4 billion worldwide in 2002. Now, I just want you to know, this amount represents only 0.18 percent of global GDP. As a result, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow.
Beck concluded, "[T]he selfishness of this country only represented 75 percent of all international giving. Man, how do you live with yourself, America? Thank you for pointing out, Mr. Spooky Dude, how pathetic we really are. This is the argument, though, for scrapping the free market in favor failed socialist or Marxist policies. Just take it from us instead of having us willingly, from our heart, give 75 percent of all of the world's giving. Oh, that's brilliant. Spooky Dude, maybe you can control that money."
Except Soros didn't write that.
Glenn Beck distorted comments by philanthropist George Soros in order to attack him as a "radical." Before misrepresenting Soros' actual words, Beck claimed he was going "use their own words" to "decide who the real radical is."
Fox News' William La Jeunesse touted Sharron Angle for what he portrayed as her relative lack of PAC donations. In doing so, he left out one big special interest donor: FoxPAC.
In fact, Angle actually bragged about fundraising from "friendly" outlets like Fox News. That very fundraising has allowed her the small donors that La Jeunesse touts. In addition to allowing Angle to fundraise on Fox News, groups supported by Fox News and its contributors have spent over $3 million dollars on the race:
Fox Nation rehashed a ridiculous and relentless right-wing attack, labeling Chris Coons a "Bearded Marxist"-- an attack that Fox News candidate Christine O'Donnell pushed in her recent debate against Democrat Chris Coons, her opponent in the Delaware Senate race.
As Media Matters documented, Fox News has aggressively hyped the false claim that Coons called himself a "bearded Marxist" in a college newspaper article. In fact, this false claim is based entirely on a joke that Coons recounted in the article, as Coons himself pointed out in the debate. Observers such as Fox News' Greta Van Susteren and CNN's Howard Kurtz have agreed that this is a "cheap shot" and "bogus."
Right-wing media figures have attacked recent comments by Michelle Obama in which she thanked people for their prayers, calling her words "spooky" and accusing her of "feeling entitled to America's pride and prayers."
On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh mentioned that he "saw a statistic doing show prep today that more people in the country right now are getting food stamps than are getting paychecks. More people are getting food stamps than are getting paychecks. Yeah, yeah."
He wasn't even close.
Fox Nation is promoting a video under its "culture" section of a New Black Panther Party member saying, "Let's talk about the little black babies that you use as alligator bait," continuing Fox News' documented pattern of promoting the designated hate group.
From Fox Nation, accessed Sept. 29:
Fox News has aggressively hyped the discredited allegations that the Justice Department did not pursue additional voter-intimidation charges against New Black Panther Party members because the DOJ is hostile to enforcing voting-rights laws when the alleged violator is a minority.
Glenn Beck cited a litany of cases as examples of how "choice architects have changed your life" through supposedly excessive regulation. But Beck misleadingly or falsely described the nature of many of the examples he cited.
After Politico reported that Chris Coons, the Democratic candidate for Senate running against Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, had written an opinion piece for his college newspaper titled "Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist," right-wing media figures jumped on the story to attack Coons. What they failed to mention was that the title was a play off what Coons called a joke that his friends* made; the right wing gleefully and ludicrously declared that Coons had called himself a Marxist.
The article behind the controversy is an opinion piece that Coons wrote over 20 years ago, which Politico first covered in May this year. In the May 23, 1985, article for his college newspaper, The Amherst Student, Coons wrote (PDF):
I spent the spring of my junior year in Africa on the St. Lawrence Kenya Study Program. Going to Kenya was one of the few real decisions I have made; my friends, family, and professors all advised against it, but I went anyway. My friends now joke that something about Kenya, maybe the strange diet, or the tropical sun, changed my personality; Africa to them seems a catalytic converter that takes in clean-shaven, clear-thinking Americans and sends back bearded Marxists.
The point that others ignore is that I was ready to change. Experiences at Amherst my first two years made me skeptical and uncomfortable with Republicanism, enough so that I wanted to see the Third World for myself to get some perspective on my beliefs.
When I returned last summer, I traveled all over the East Coast and saw in many ways a different America. Upon arriving at Amherst this fall, I felt like a freshman at an unfamiliar school all over again. Many of the questions raised by my experiences of the last year remain unanswered. I have spent my senior year reexamining my ideas and have returned to loving America, but in the way of one who has realized its faults and failures and still believes in its promise. The greatest value of Amherst for me, then, has been the role it played in allowing me to question, and to think. I had to see the slums of Nairobi before the slums of New York meant anything at all, but without the experiences of Amherst, I never would have seen either.
Coons never called himself a Marxist, and Politico never claimed that he did; the title is a play off of what Coons said was a joke by his friends.*
Once again, the right-wing media has found a way to criticize basically anything Obama does or says. This time, they're attacking Obama for omitting the words "the Creator" when quoting from the Declaration of Independence. You see, to them, this is just further evidence that Obama is a godless, heathen, secret Muslim, anti-colonial Kenyan...or whatever.
On September 15 at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's Annual Awards Gala, President Barack Obama said:
So let me close by saying this. Long before America was even an idea, this land of plenty was home to many peoples. To British and French, to Dutch and Spanish, to Mexican -- to countless Indian tribes. We all shared the same land. We didn't always get along. But over the centuries, what eventually bound us together -- what made us all Americans -- was not a matter of blood, it wasn't a matter of birth. It was faith and fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That's what makes us unique. That's what makes us strong. The ability to recognize our common humanity; to remember that in this country, equality and opportunity are not just words on a piece of paper, they're not just words in the mouths of politicians -- they are promises to be kept. And that is our calling now -- to keep those promises for the next generation. No matter which way the political winds shift, I will stand with you for that better future. And if you stand with me, and if we remember that fundamental truth -- that divided we fall, but united we are strong, and out of many, we are one -- then you and I will finish what we have started. We will make sure that America forever remains an idea and a place that's big enough and bold enough and brave enough to accommodate the dreams of all our children and all our people for years to come. Si, se puede. Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you.