Or, welcome to the 'Global Warming Games'!
I've been having fun recently mocking the normally weather-obsessed Matt Drudge, as well as the rest of the right-wing media, for having refused to acknowledge the big pre-Winter Olympics story out of Vancouver: The Canadian outpost has a shortage of snow thanks to an historic January heat wave [emphasis added]:
it comes as little surprise that this January will go down as the warmest in Vancouver history. The 44.8-degree 31-day average easily eclipsed the previous mark of 43.3, set in 2006. Since record-keeping began in 1937, the January average had been 37.9.
But of course, that's bad news for Drudge and his anti-reason friends at Fox, because this winter's meme has been that, OMG, it's been snowing a lot (in some place) in January and February, which means (duh!) global warming, or climate change, must be bunk, right? Because if it's snowing today, that means the atmosphere won't warm decades from now, right? (Makes perfect sense.)
So naturally, Drudge and Fox News mostly ignore the Vancouver heat wave story. (It does not exist!) But if you had to select the Vancouver Winter Olympics headlines that Drudge will never, ever link to, here they are:
UPDATED: I'll even throw in a Media Matters trucker hat as a prize if Drudge gets up the nerve to acknowledge today, amidst right-wing blizzard giggles, the biggest story of the Olympics so far -- the Canadian winter heat wave!!
UPDATED: Good for Drudge! He recently did acknowledge the Vancouver-has-no snow story. (That only took weeks of prodding from Media Matters.) But now, will he link to any articles that specifically connect the snow-less Olympics to climate change? And what about Fox News?
UPDATED: Another key headline from today that the GOP Noise Machine must absolutely ignore:
Apparently, neither does O'Reilly. Tonight, his show promises us a special report on "sexy snow angels," which apparently consists of "sultry skiers" and "steamy snowboarders," aka female Olympic athletes, who posed in, you guessed it, bikinis for Sports Illustrated. Take a look:
Flashback to 2007: Laura Ingraham was a guest on O'Reilly, and she really took O'Reilly and Fox News to task for its penchant of gratuitously airing video of half-naked women. Ingraham rightly argued: "I don't know if there's a rampant midlife crisis going on on this network among the male anchors, but I can tell you that my female listeners are saying ... what is the purpose? ... You can talk about cultural issues and cultural debates without running the constant loop of this video." The segment concluded with O'Reilly vowing, "No more bikinis! They're over," and promising to "[n]ever again" air images of, in Ingraham's words, women with "hands over the boobs."
Not surprisingly, this was a promise O'Reilly had absolutely no intention of keeping.
From the Fox Nation:
From a February 9 post on The Hill's Twitter Room blog:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Tuesday used the D.C. snowstorm to make a political jab, saying that it provides evidence for global warming skeptics.
The conservative senator took to Twitter on Tuesday amid reports that the area is due to receive another 10 to 20 inches of snow this week:
It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries "uncle"
Some conservatives have echoed DeMint's sentiments that the snowstorm should poke holes in evidence backing global warming.
DeMint took direct aim at the former vice president, who is one of the foremost proponents of government action to counter global warming.
Reports of more snow caused the House of Representatives to call off the rest of its votes scheduled for this week. The Washington, D.C. area was blanketed with about two feet of snow last week, causing the Senate to adjourn earlier than expected on Thursday.
The South Carolina senator was not the first Republican to use the snowstorm to make a political point. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) said that absence of votes in the House is a plus for taxpayers.
In order to attack progressive income tax rates, Glenn Beck tried his darndest to educate his followers about the Laffer curve, arguing that higher tax rates necessarily lead to reduced revenues:
BECK: It's called the Laffer curve. The higher the income tax, the less you pay.
He even attempted to illustrate what the Laffer curve would look like graphically:
The curve Beck drew would illustrate a relationship where, as tax rates increased, revenue would also increase approaching an undefined level represented by the Y axis. But since that graphic would completely undermine Beck's words, I'll assume he inverted the variables on either the X or the Y axis in order to show an inverse relationship between tax rates and revenue. But the logical outcome of that relationship would be that maximum revenue is obtained when income is taxed at a rate of zero percent.
The Laffer curve takes its name from economist Arthur Laffer, who reportedly illustrated the relationship between tax rates and revenue on a napkin:
Time's Justin Fox reported:
It's a saga that began in a bar near the White House on a December afternoon in 1974. Huddled at a meeting arranged by Wall Street Journal editorial writer Jude Wanniski were [Dick] Cheney, then the deputy chief of staff to Republican President Gerald Ford, and Laffer, who was teaching at the University of Chicago's business school after a stint in the Nixon White House. In trying to explain to Cheney why a tax hike mooted by the President might not be such a great idea, Laffer drew a chart on a napkin that showed government revenues increasing as the tax rate moved up from 0% but then turning around and heading back toward zero as it neared 100%.
So Laffer's original curve showed revenues increasing along with tax rates up to a certain point of maximum revenue, not -- as Beck indicated -- a more unidirectional relationship. A traditional representation of the Laffer curve is not the curve Beck drew, but rather a parabola:
It should be noted that economists have criticized references to the Laffer curve as a justification for reducing income tax rates in the United States. In Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations, Paul Krugman wrote, "Nobody questions that something like the Laffer curve exists; but even the supply-siders are skeptical about whether the U.S. economy is really in the 'backward-sloping' section."
At this point, I guess we have surpassed the information-maximizing point on the Glenn Beck show.
On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck stated, "I read a lot." That may be, but if his interpretation of a recent New York Times editorial is any indication, his reading comprehension leaves a bit to be desired.
Launching an attack on progressive income tax rates, Beck claimed, "The New York Times is doing their best to cover the spending tracks left by President Obama." Beck explained:
BECK: The Times claims that the deficit is a result of cutting taxes on the wealthy. And they offer this stern warning to us little people: "The last thing that government should do is slash spending." Wow. I wish I wasn't such a little person and I could understand that. History tells us taxing the rich and slashing government spending are both progressive lies. But you have to know history. You know, a lot of people will say, "That Glenn Beck, he's just a big, dumb dummy." Well, maybe I am. You can disagree with me all you want. But I read a lot. I read a lot of in-depth history.
The article, Beck said, could win "the gold medal in mental gymnastics" since the Times "will bend, twist, and contort all of the facts into a pretty, little, grimy, little ball of blame-Bush."
The thing is, I also read that New York Times editorial. Even the parts Beck omitted to fit into a pretty little ball:
The deficit numbers -- a projected $1.3 trillion in fiscal 2011 alone -- are breathtaking. What is even more breathtaking is the Republicans' cynical refusal to acknowledge that the country would never have gotten into so deep a hole if President George W. Bush and the Republican-led Congress had not spent years slashing taxes -- mainly on the wealthy -- and spending with far too little restraint. Unfortunately, the problem does not stop there.
See, the Times did not claim that "the deficit is a result of cutting taxes on the wealthy," as Beck claimed. The editorial stated that a combination of cutting taxes largely on wealthy taxpayers and reckless spending under Republican economic stewardship facilitated the current fiscal situation.
Further, when Beck said he couldn't understand the Times' warning that "[t]he last thing government should do is slash spending," this likely was due to his omission of the comments immediately preceding those he quoted:
At a time of high unemployment and fragile growth, the last thing the government should do is to slash spending. That will only drive the economy into deeper trouble.
As it turns out, in reading, context matters.
At least eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his February 9 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Here's the lede of the Washington Post's report on its new poll:
Americans spread the blame when it comes to the lack of cooperation in Washington, and, in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, most want the two sides to keep working to pass comprehensive health-care reform.
But if you scroll all the way to the end, you'll find that the poll actually paints a rather different picture: A plurality of Americans think President Obama is doing "about the right amount to compromise with Republicans." A majority think Obama is either doing the "about the right amount" or "too much" to compromise. Meanwhile, 58 percent of Americans think Republicans are doing too little to compromise.
I'll say that again: According to the Post poll, 54 percent of Americans think Barack Obama is doing either the right amount or too much to compromise with Republicans, while 58 percent think Republicans are doing too little to compromise with Obama.
And yet the Post writes that up as "Americans spread the blame when it comes to the lack of cooperation in Washington." That may be consistent with the Post's both-sides-are-equally-guilty approach to the lack of bipartisanship, but it isn't an accurate reflection of the poll.
Go read the BradBlog for a truly eye-opneing encounter the blogger had with a Times standards editor after the blogger pressed for an ACORN/O'Keefe-related correction. Specifically, Brad Friedman urged the paper to correct its erroneous reports that suggested O'Keefe, when making his undercover ACORN clips, entered the ACORN offices dressed outlandishly as a pimp.
According to an independent investigation into the ACORN matter, that claim is not true. (i.e. "He was dressed like a college student - in slacks and a button down shirt.") But the Times, like lots of news outlets, has made that dressed-as-a-pimp assertion again and again.
Not only did the Times inform Friedman that no correction would be forthcoming, but a newspaper "Standards" editor, Greg Brock, explained it was because the newspaper believed O'Keefe's claim that he was dressed up as a pimp inside the all ACORN offices he visited. (Good luck finding the video to back up that claim.)
Incredibly, Brock originally cited claims by Fox News and O'Keefe himself as sources for why the New York Times stood by their apparently unverified and apparently incorrect report. "We believe him," Brock wrote, because he said as much on Fox News, apparently.
Fox News has provided yet another launching pad for an aspiring GOP office-holder: Former Fox News "political analyst" turned Mississippi congressional candidate Angela McGlowan.
Back in May 2008, McGlowan announced on-air that she's going back to Mississippi to "beat" Rep. Travis Childers, stating: "That's all right, sweetie, that's my district, and I'm going there soon to beat your Democrat colleague, honey. I'm going soon. 2010 is my year. Announcing it right here."
Despite her announcement, Fox News still employed McGlowan until her contract reportedly expired this month and she officially announced her congressional bid. McGlowan's first campaign release references her former Fox News employment in its first line.
Since announcing her intentions in 2008, McGlowan used her Fox position as an opportunity to appeal to Mississippi voters, and curry favor among conservative activists.
McGlowan is a frequent speaker at tea parties in Mississippi and elsewhere, most recently appearing at last weekend's National Tea Party Convention, where she was identified as "ANGELA McGLOWAN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR." During her speech, McGlowan bogusly claimed that the 9-12 march had "about two million" protestors -- a change from September when she baselessly claimed that there "was about 400,000 people." McGlowan was apparently so impressive that birther advocate Joseph Farah endorsed her candidacy.
Following her speech, McGlowan appeared on the February 6 edition of America's News HQ -- as a Fox News employee -- where she defended the tea party movement and fished for Mississippi voters, stating: "What I'm doing in essence is I'm concerned about Mississippi and the issues."
Looking for Mississippi votes while getting paid by Fox was nothing new for McGlowan:
MCGLOWAN: Charles, I've worked in Washington D.C. for over a decade. I've talked to veterans in Mississippi. I've talked to (INAUDIBLE) already parties where the American people are tired of being taxed.
PAYNE: Every American probably would agree on that but let's just talk now about people who were saying we have already spent so much on this war to begin with, over $230 billion. In Mississippi that money could have gone to pay for let's say head start for 150,000 kids, for health care for 200,000 people. The person in Mississippi who is struggling right now, wouldn't they say let the rich pay for this because we need to, we can't afford it?
MCGLOWAN: I'm from that state and I know that state. You have true patriots and true Americans there. In essence, you do have the rich and you have the poor, but you have people that want to see a country where we are not taxed. And once you start, where does it end?
Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich have also used their Fox News employment to stay in the public eye while contemplating bids for office. Former Fox News host John Kasich is currently a candidate for Ohio governor.