When The Washington Times announced it would be laying off 40 percent of the staff, reports of the move stated that the paper desired to focus on its "core strengths," which included "cultural coverage based on traditional values." Apparently, that includes the continuity of the paper's relentless anti-gay crusade.
Readers of this site are certainly familiar with The Washington Times' history of anti-gay rhetoric. This is, after all, a paper that repeatedly warned of a gay "assault upon traditional norms and values" and whose former editor-in-chief defended the ban on gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military by arguing that it prevents violence against "a randy gay caballero" who "starts making eyes at a straight." They use scare quotes around "partners" and gay "marriage," a practice that was reportedly banned by former editor John Solomon, but was quickly reinstated upon his departure from the paper.
Most recently, The Washington Times has been waging an anti-gay war on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, an openly gay former educator who has worked tirelessly to increase awareness of gay and lesbian issues in the education system. A gay man responsible for education policy focused on keeping kids safe? Obviously, the Times could not let this stand. So, they've invested incredible interest and editorial page space to smearing Jennings as an "extremist" who promoted a "bizarre sexual agenda" and supports "homosexual pedophiles" who prey on children.
In its most recent Jennings attack, The Washington Times dubbed Jennings "Obama's buggery czar," attempted to link him to NAMBLA, and accused Jennings of promoting relationships between children and "homosexual pedophiles." Media Matters has extensively documented the lengths to which the paper has gone to distort Jennings' past in what appears to be a less-than-subtle attempt to play on small-minded fears that gay men and women prey on children that they could then recruit to their homosexual lifestyle. And, despite the massive shake-ups at the flailing paper, its obsessive focus on Jennings remains undeterred. I, for one, am not surprised that one of the Times' "core strengths" on which the paper will focus is gay bashing.
How would, say, Sean Hannity react if Al Gore's Current TV referred to the World Council on Churches as a "circus sideshow"?
And who are these "critics," anyway? One is "Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank."
The Competitive Enterprise Institute has enjoyed funding from, among others, Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, Texaco, General Motors, Richard Mellon Scaife's foundations, and the Koch family foundations (Koch Industries is the nation's largest privately-held energy company and a record-setting polluter. Oh, and they use the fortune the accumulated in part by stealing oil from US taxpayers and Indian lands to provide millions of dollars in funding for the conservative movement.)
Later, Fox quotes another "critic" -- "Roger Bate, the Legatum Fellow in Global Prosperity at the American Enterprise Institute." Like CEI, AEI has taken a flood of energy company money, including nearly $2 million from Exxon since 2001.
Naturally, Fox forgot to mention that AEI and CEI might not exist but for the generous funding of some of the nation's biggest polluters.
This is ironic. It turns out the right-wing Noise Machine's rhetoric about global warming (i.e. that it's a hoax and those who embrace it are "terrorists" and "Stalinists") would likely find lots of followers in China, according to a new Gallup poll.
The worldwide survey set out to determine in which of the countries responsible for the most of the world's greenhouse emissions do people view global warming as "serious threat." And what do you know, people in China agree with Beck and Limbaugh; it's not a serious threat at all! Only 21 percent of Chinese think global warming is a big deal.
According to Gallup, American right-wing claims about global warming would also find a following in Russia and India, where skeptics outnumber the believers.
Washington Post reporter Ed O'Keefe defends the inclusion of two Arkansas Senators in the so-called "Gang of 10" health care negotiations:
Washington, D.C.: Is it just me, or is Arkansas a bit overrepresented in the "Gang of 10"?
Ed O'Keefe: It's a moderate state with moderate lawmakers, so it makes sense to me!
Arkansas is a "moderate state"? Really?
Let's use the 2008 presidential election returns as a proxy, shall we?
Nationally, Barack Obama won about 53 percent of the vote, to John McCain's 46 percent.
In Arkansas, Obama won 39 percent to McCain's 59 percent. Wow, that sure looks like Arkansas was pretty far out of the mainstream, doesn't it?
Let's compare that to a few other states, shall we? In California, Obama took 61 percent of the vote to McCain's 37 percent. In New York, Obama won 63 percent to McCain's 36 percent. And in Massachusetts, Obama won 62 percent to McCain's 36 percent. All of those totals are closer to the national totals than Arkansas' results are. Now: How often do you see reporters refer to California, New York and Massachusetts as "moderate states"? Not very often.
So what states did deviate from the national results by roughly the same amount as Arkansas? In Alabama, Obama won 39 percent of the vote to McCain's 60 percent. In Mississippi, Obama won 43 percent and McCain 56 percent. So Arkansas was more anti-Obama than Mississippi, and about the same as Alabama.
Are Alabama and Mississippi your idea of "moderate" states?
Howard Kurtz is still going on about what he claims is a double-standard in which the media pays more attention to Republican sex scandals than those involving Democrats. And he's still doing so without addressing the fact that -- to pick just one of many examples -- media coverage of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign often focused on her husband's decade-old infidelity, but Rudy Giuliani got a pass for his own history of infidelity. Or the fact that Kurtz's own newspapers covered allegations of affairs involving Bill Clinton, but spiked a story during the 1996 presidential campaign about Clinton's Republican opponent, Bob Dole, having an affair. Or the media's code of silence about John McCain's history of infidelity. Or ...
From a December 7 DailyFinance article, headlined "Thar's gold in them shills! Fox raps Glenn Beck's endorsement deal":
Glenn Beck's dual embrace of gold -- as an investment vehicle for his listeners and a personal moneymaking opportunity for himself -- has drawn boos from various journalism watchdogs. And now it looks like the talk-show host's close relationship with one purveyor of gold coins has gotten him in a bit of trouble with his employer Fox News.
Beck is prominently featured on the website of Goldline International, a vendor of "gold, silver, and platinum coins and bars as well as rare and collectible numismatic coins." According to the site, Beck is a "paid spokesman" for the company. "This is a top notch organization," a thumbnail photo of Beck's head declares.
Beck regularly does "live reads," or live commercials, for Goldline on his syndicated radio show, and has even interviewed Mark Albarian, Goldline's president and CEO, twice on the show, most recently on Nov. 12, 2009.
Critics including Media Matters say it's a major conflict of interest for Beck, who has often advised the viewers of his Fox News program to buy gold to protect themselves against the collapse of the dollar -- and of Western civilization -- without informing them of his Goldline deal.
Like other news organizations, Fox News prohibits its on-air personalities from making paid product endorsements. But it makes an exception for its commentators who are also radio hosts, who are allowed to perform live reads, says Joel Cheatwood, senior vice president for development.
"When we hired Glenn at Fox News, we hired him with the understanding that he had a well-established, burgeoning radio business, and we had to be accepting of certain elements of that," Cheatwood tells DailyFinance, noting that Beck's relationship with Goldline dates back to his time at HLN, CNN's sister network.
The same understanding applies to Don Imus, who recently started simulcasting his radio show on Fox Business Network. (An MSNBC spokesman says his network has a similar policy in place, while a spokeswoman for CNN said only, "CNN/US anchors and correspondents are prohibited from participating in any paid endorsements of products and services.")
But the exemption is meant only to apply to live reads, not to the kind of broader spokesmanship Beck, to all appearances, provides Goldline. In particular, Beck's ubiquity on the Goldline website is not in keeping with Fox's rules. A Fox spokeswoman said the network's legal department is taking up the matter with Beck's agent, George Hiltzik.
In her December 8 Washington Examiner column, Barbara Hollingsworth writes of the tea party movement:
The growing grass-roots movement will indeed destroy the political careers of many politicians who fail to heed the warning it delivered Sept. 12, when 1.7 million angry voters (according to a crowd estimate by Zac Moilanen of Indiana University) descended on Washington to say they were totally fed up with bailouts and stimulus packages, and want the country to return to its constitutional, limited-government roots.
But as Media Matters has detailed, Moilanen's estimate is somewhat less than authoritative. Moilanen, an undergrad studying East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana, cited such not-quite-unimpeachable sources as a Free Republic post and a message board to arrive at his crowd estimate.
On the Right, it seems, a good falsehood never dies -- even after it's been repeatedly proven wrong, and especially when a deep-pocketed billionaire's money is financing it.
From Bret Stephens' December 8 Wall Street Journal column:
[T]he really interesting question is less about the facts than it is about the psychology. Last week, I suggested that funding flows had much to do with climate alarmism. But deeper things are at work as well.
One of those things, I suspect, is what I would call the totalitarian impulse. This is not to say that global warming true believers are closet Stalinists. But their intellectual methods are instructively similar. Consider:
[...]• Monocausalism: For the anti-Semite, the problems of the world can invariably be ascribed to the Jews; for the Communist, to the capitalists. And as the list above suggests, global warming has become the fill-in-the-blank explanation for whatever happens to be the problem.
Yikes, talk about veering off-message from the right-wing ACORN crusade.
Monday's agreed response to the internal investigation released by ACORN, which found no pattern of intentional lawbreaking in the wake of the pimp-and-prostitute ring, was to openly mock it as being absurd. ACORN obsessed Andrew Breirtbart (aka, Capt. Ahab) once again declared that, "ACORN is a corrupt and criminal organization, and anyone with open eyes can see this."
But check out this from Big Government's Michael Volpe [emphasis added]:
ACORN did in fact engage in no criminal wrongdoing by offering advice to a "pimp" and "prostitute" about how to hide assets and their business practices. Simply offering such advice is not illegal.
I'm glad Breitbart's Big Government finally agrees that ACORN broke no laws in the pimp-and-prostitute videos. Now that that's been settled, maybe Breirtbart can remind us what all the right-wing hysteria is about.
UPDATED: Very interesting note from TPM's Josh Marshall:
You may have heard that an independent report found that there was "no pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN." But what they also found was that not only were the videos substantially edited but that the editing also involved substitute voiceovers of the faux pimp and hooker who made the videos. So it's not really possible to see what the ACORN staffers were responding to.
Question: Why won't Breitbart, in the name of transparency and full disclosure, force his undercover video makers to post all their ACORN film online, unedited? What is Breitbart hiding? And why won't he detail how much of the ACORN tapes were edited and doctored?