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 of white people." Here are his December 2 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
WorldNetDaily video-maker Molotov Mitchell -- best known for smearing Sonia Sotomayor as an "anti-American racist" and the National Council of La Raza as "the tan Klan" -- peddles revisionist history on the Matthew Shepard case in his latest video.
First of all, like Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard was not killed for being gay. After being robbed and beaten to death, his killer went on to try the exact same thing only on a straight guy 20 minutes later. The only reason he survived was because he had a bat and a friend with him. The liberals aren't interested in those facts. They didn't even care when Shepard's killers told ABC News that his murder had nothing to do with his lifestyle. And why would the killers lie? They had nothing to gain.
In fact, as blogger David Neiwert detailed at the time of the 2004 ABC interview, one of the killers, Aaron McKinney, mounted a "gay panic" defense at his trial -- which would seem to contradict the story Mitchell wants to hear -- and has changed his story multiple times. As the Matthew Shepard Foundation has stated, the ABC report omitted the contents of McKinney's in-custody interview a few days after Shepard's death. That transcript shows "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence," according to the foundation.
Further, as retired Laramie Police Chief Dave O'Malley told a Laramie newspaper: "Only three people know what really happened that night ... One of them is dead and the other two are known liars and convicted felons -- murderers."
Why would the killers lie, Mitchell asks? Because they're convicted murderers and known liars. And what do they have to gain? Sympathy from anti-gay activists like Mitchell.
Mitchell then goes into full anti-gay freak-out mode that the name of lynching victim James Byrd joined Shepard's in the name of the bill that added federal hate-crime protection to gays. The crimes that resulted in Byrd's death was "for real," Mitchell insists, "not some made-up Laramie Project stunt for political gain." Crank up that faux outrage, Molotov:
To exploit a modern-day lynching to score points with the gay lobby, to equate the true horror of Byrd's murder to their phony gay passion play, is unforgivable. Gay activists, how dare you cheapen his sacrifice? For that alone, you are unnatural. For that alone, you are deviant. For James Byrd alone, you are an abomination.
Oh, and he also sneeringly refers to President Obama as a "weak-kneed metrosexual."
Molotov has some issues. And this is merely the first of a two-part video.
Here's MSNBC's Chris Matthews, moments ago:
Willie Horton comes to mind. It was Al Gore that first dug up that little sugar plum, on, on, uh, Mike Dukakis and sort of worked that against him. And then of course the Republicans really lashed him with that issue back in '88 and helped George H Walker Bush get elected president. Is this guy going to be Willie Hortoned, Mike Huckabee?
This did not happen. During the 1988 presidential primaries, Al Gore criticized Dukakis for furloughs generally; he did not mention Horton's name, his crimes, or his race.
During the general election, Republicans attacked Dukakis over Horton's crimes, emphasizing his race in the process.
When people talk about someone being "Willie Hortoned," they aren't referring to what Al Gore did -- again, Gore didn't even mention Horton. They're referring to the GOP's use of Horton, which had deeply racist undertones.
But for years, conservatives and some media figures have been trying to blame all of this on Al Gore, despite the fact -- one more time -- that Al Gore never mentioned Horton's name, his crimes, or his race.
From The Fox Nation accessed December 2:
This morning, Politico published a story, the premise of which appears to be that Republican senators are mad at Al Franken for having proposed an amendment - which passed two months ago - banning federal contracts from being awarded to companies who require their employees to use their firms arbitration process - rather than the courts - for workplace discrimination claims. Why was this article published? I have no idea.
A Franken press release sent out after the amendment passed stated that Franken had been "inspired" to offer the amendment by the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, "a 19-yr-old employee of defense contractor KBR (formerly a Halliburton subsidiary) stationed in Iraq who was gang raped by her co-workers and imprisoned in a shipping container when she tried to report the crime" who subsequently "learned a fine-print clause in her KBR contract banned her from taking her case to court, instead forcing her into an "arbitration" process that would be run by KBR itself."
According to the Politico article, the amendment has - horror of horrors! - "spawned attacks like the satirical website RepublicansforRape.org." And so, the Republican senators in the article are complaining that Franken has been excessively partisan, demanding that he come out and say that opponents of his amendment are not effectively pro-rape, and claiming that until that happens, Franken's ability to work with Republicans in the future will be undermined.
Why has the Politico decided to let Republicans like John Cornyn - the head of the Republican National Senate Committee, i.e., the chief Republican partisan in the Senate - decide what constitutes excessive partisanship? No idea.
Does the Politico think it's somewhat unusual for Senators to be criticized for the votes they cast, and respond by complaining? Sure looks like it.
Why is the article running now, two months after Franken's amendment passed? Dunno.
But I'm sure it has nothing to do with this blog post, in which a different Politico reporter complains that Franken won't talk to him in the halls.
Rep. Ed Markey, the chief sponsor of the House cap-and-trade bill and a leading environmental advocate, is a full participant in the open, on-the-record discussion with no control by API over the questions or flow. Dem Sen Byron Dorgan is also participating and will reflect various views in Dem caucus. Rep Fred Upton, who opposed the House bill, will also participate. I see nothing wrong with an open, on-the-record balanced discussion like this. Newsweek has a long tradition of enviro reporting, including our annual green issue.
Seriously? The "discussion" featured the president of the American Petroleum Institute -- which just happens to fund Newsweek -- but no representatives of environmental organizations ... and Howard Fineman calls that a "balanced discussion"?
Apparently to Newsweek, "balance" means "Industry representatives who fund us and--Hey! Look over there!"
On Monday I highlighted how Harris, quite anxious to push the GOP's favorite anti-Obama talking points in Politico, ignored the age-old newsroom rule that it takes three to make a trend. Instead, he cut corners and announced that because he found two example of insider pundits referring to President Obama as "Star Trek's" Mr. Spock, that the negative narrative was "gaining momentum."
Well what do you know, the AP, perhaps seeing the jam Harris was in, has jumped in and added its voice (Obama is just like Mr. Spock!) to officially confirm the blessed trend.
Here's the AP story. Warning: It's beyond awful. A sample:
Barack Obama is Washington's Mr. Spock, the chief science officer for the ship of state.
Told you so.
It's nothing short of surreal to watch Glenn Beck wax philosophical on the origins and dangers of conspiracy theories. The man who believes in one-world governments, the 100-year progressive campaign for socialist utopias, and the Fannie Mae land-for-dollars switcharoo spent a large portion of his Fox News show yesterday afternoon explaining "how a conspiracy theory grows" and what can be done to stop them.
In Beck's eyes, the default setting for the average Americans is to veer towards conspiracy theories, and it's the obligation of the media to "demand answers" to prevent that from happening. According to Beck, conspiracy theories arise when "we don't have honesty, we don't have facts." He elaborated: "How do we stop conspiracy theories? We do not bury our heads in the sand, and the media demands answers. It's called the Internet. People will come up with these if you in the media don't do your job. I mean, it can all go away if you're honest, you give us answers and facts and it makes common sense."
It's amusing that someone so practiced in conspiracy theorism could demonstrate such ignorance of how conspiracy theories work. It's true that conspiracy theories thrive in an absence of information, but by their very nature they defy facts and "common sense." Pick any popular conspiracy theory -- 9/11 was an inside job, President Obama was born outside the U.S., JFK was assassinated by the CIA/mafia/Cubans, the moon landing was staged, whatever. You could fill several warehouses several times over with the reams and reams of documentation and evidence demonstrating each one of these ridiculous theories to be completely false, but that still doesn't satisfy the true believers, who continue to insist that the real facts are being covered up and "common sense" proves them right.
People tend to believe conspiracy theories not because there isn't enough information to convince them otherwise, but because they want to believe them. That belief can arise from a sense of powerlessness or a desire to ascribe a sort of order to the daunting randomness of everyday life or an inherent distrust of the available facts. It doesn't help that there are popular cable news personalities out there who devote their programs to strengthening those delusions while hiding behind the "I'm just asking questions" fig leaf.
No one questions the media's obligation to debunk conspiratorial and inaccurate accusations, but they are certainly not the sole determining factor in whether a conspiracy theory lives or dies. What's more, their failure to live up to that obligation certainly does not excuse rank conspiracy-mongering of the sort that Beck engages in on a daily basis. I'm all for holding the media accountable, but a better way to end conspiracy theorism would be to stop listening to Glenn Beck.
It seems like whenever Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen writes about war, he ends up making himself look like a fool, either by writing something foolish in its own right, or by reminding us of his previous foolishness.
Cohen, "A novel way to argue for war," last night:
I hope Obama succeeds. But if he does nothing else, he showed that it is possible to urge a nation to war by using reason and logic, facts and figures -- and not by waving the bloody shirt of patriotic fibs. George Bush had faith in his war but not in the American people. Obama seems to have faith in both. [Emphasis added]
Funny, I seem to remember Cohen endorsing George Bush's case for "his war" not because of logic, facts and figures, but because Bush had Colin Powell on his side.
Cohen, "A Winning Hand For Powell," February 6, 2003:
The evidence [Colin Powell] presented to the United Nations-some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail-had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool-or, possibly, a Frenchman-could conclude otherwise.
The clincher, as it had to be, was not a single satellite photo or the intercept of one Iraqi official talking to another. And it was not, as it never could be, the assertion that some spy or Iraqi deserter had made this or that charge -- because, of course, who can prove any of that? It was the totality of the material and the fact that Powell himself had presented it. In this case, the messenger may have been more important than the message. [Emphasis added]
And Cohen didn't always think it was George Bush who failed to use "reason and logic" in the Iraq war debate.
Cohen, "Antiwar And Illogical," February 25, 2003:
[S]omething truly awful has happened. The looming war has already become deeply and biliously ideological. By that I mean that the extremes on both sides -- but particularly the war's opponents -- no longer feel compelled to prove a case or stick to the facts. As with Vietnam, this is becoming an emotional battle between ideologues who, as usual, don't give a damn about the truth. [Emphasis added]
Covering the all-important White House crasher story, Politico and the AP come to drastically different conclusions even though both are working off the same set of facts. It seems Politico just wanted to improve its version of the story.
From the AP, headline:
WH gate-crashers went without confirmed invitation
Copies of e-mails between the White House party crashers and a Pentagon official undermine their claims that they were invited to President Barack Obama's .
Seems pretty straight forward, right? The party crashers, contrary to their public claims, had no invitation and nobody associated with the WH told them they did. In fact, the AP confirmed that the WH liaison called the party crashers hours before the state dinner and confirmed that they did not have invites:
Now look at how Politico spins that very same AP report. Headline:
W.H. Liaison Implicated in the E-mails?
Note the use of the question mark. Politico, basing its report solely on the AP article, cannot even remotely suggest the WH emails implicated the liaison--the facts simply don't support the claim--so Politico does the next best Drudgy thing and poses it as a question.