Yet another column on the Fox News feud, and yet another (zzzz) Beltway pundit insisting it was a very, very bad thing for the White House to label the channel a propaganda arm of the GOP. (Doesn't the White House know Democrats are never allowed to push back on the press?)
USA Today's Chuck Raasch, offering up his tsk-tsk appraisal of the situation, deftly repeats what's already been said many, many times for the last week, which, of course, means Raasch never even hints that Fox News routinely traffics in blatant lies and misinformation. But Raasch actually breaks new ground when he claims the White House attacked Fox News' viewers, which is a shockingly dumb reading of the recent dust-up.
Here's Raasch [emphasis added]:
Attacking whole segments of the population belies Obama's promise of bringing people together.
There is still a thing called presidential decorum. Sending out a taxpayer-paid partisan to attack a network, and by extension, its viewers, is not presidential.
Set aside the idiocy of suggesting administrations aren't allowed to criticize unfair press, and that Democratic administrations are simply supposed to roll over and allow Fox News air as many lies has possible without ever hearing a peep of protest. More importantly though is this: Where, exactly, is Raasch's proof that Obama or anyone else at the White ever, ever, ever attacked Fox News viewers; that anyone attacked "whole segments of the population" when it recently criticized the purposeful misinformation produced by Fox News?
If the Obama White House wanted, for whatever foolish reason, to attack Fox News viewers, they would have. But the White House didn't, so why did Raasch concoct the claim that it did? Why is Raasch criticizing Obama for doing something he never did?
From an October 16 Washington Times editorial:
Fifty-three Republican congressmen yesterday demanded that President Obama fire his embattled "safe schools czar," Kevin Jennings. Mr. Jennings' bizarre sexual agenda for American grade schools is one reason the president should dump this dangerous radical.
Mr. Jennings wrote the foreword to a 1998 book titled, "Queering Elementary Education." The book he endorsed was a collection of essays by different authors who supported teaching young children about homosexuality. Mr. Jennings' foreword explains why he thinks it is important to start educating children about homosexuality as early as activist-educators can get away with doing so. "Ask any elementary-school teachers you know and - if they're honest - they'll tell you they start hearing [anti-homosexual prejudice] as soon as kindergarten." And "As one third-grader put it plainly when asked by her teacher what 'gay' meant: 'I don't know. It's just a bad thing.' "
As another author in the book notes: "Any grade is 'old' enough [for the proper education] because even five-year-olds are calling each other 'gay' and 'faggot.' " Other writers claim there apparently is no problem getting into these discussions because, "The belief that children are not sexual beings is not substantiated by research."
The authors of "Queering Elementary Education" don't seem to be bothered by the dearth of evidence to justify their position in favor of teaching children about homosexual relationships. Because they do not provide the names of teachers who told various anecdotes included in the book, there's no way to check how many of the stories are secondhand exaggerations or even pure fiction.
One author in the book attacks the conservative notion that "artificial insemination, transient relationships, same-sex marriages and tangled family structures are not issues children should have to know about." Others contributors advocate that "sexual-diversity issues are central to multicultural education" and that schoolchildren should sing songs such as "In some families we have two Moms." Mind you, the authors don't provide scientific evidence that their policies accomplish the strange goals they push.
"Queering Elementary Education" argues consistently that children should be taught that same-sex-parent families are as normal and common as the traditional two-parent family or single-parent families. But it is one thing to argue certain behavior is acceptable; it is quite another to distort basic facts in an effort to change the worldview of children.
Mr. Jennings is one who claims that homosexual couples are more common than they actually are. One of his books titled "One Teacher in Ten" claims that 10 percent of people are homosexuals. Almost no one defends the old Alfred Kinsey survey that Mr. Jennings relied on to make this claim. That 1948 survey interviewed a high percentage of prison inmates and known sex offenders. There's plenty of more objective studies out there. For example, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago found that the number of homosexuals in America was less than 1 percent.
Advocating the indoctrination of kindergarten children based on anecdotal evidence or flawed science isn't Mr. Jennings' worst offense. But it's certainly not what Americans expect from a White House "safe schools czar" who is responsible for making policy decisions that impact children's safety.
Given his 60-minute rant attacking White House communications director Anita Dunn for pointing to Mao Zedong as one of her favorite political philosophers, it's worth asking: Does Glenn Beck know what his own guests have previously said?
A May 1995 Roll Call profile of then-Speaker of the House and current Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich reported:
While Gingrich, who made his reputation by attacking the ethics of fellow Members, did call the House a "personable place" where colleagues use "friendship to minimize friction," the overall theme of his remarks was downright martial.
Schools do a bad job of teaching students about Congress, said the former college history professor, because they emphasize lessons about how things get done, rather than how Members fight. The two houses of Congress, said Gingrich, are "arenas for conflict" where "we sublimate civil war to bring people together."
Gingrich even quoted a political leader not previously known to be one of his influences. "War is politics with blood; politics is war without blood," said the Speaker, citing the late Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung. [Roll Call, 5/29/95 (accessed via Nexis)]
Gingrich regularly appears on Fox News' Hannity, The O'Reilly Factor, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, and Fox News Sunday, and according to a search of the Nexis news database, he appeared on the February 3 edition of Beck's Fox News show.
The Times has a big article today which stresses the connections between ACORN and Democrats. (Headline: "Acorn's Woes Strain Its Ties to Democrats.") The daily emphasizes that Dems "have been put on the defensive over past relationships with the group."
Yet look at who makes a cameo appearances right in the lede [emphasis added]:
Last December, in one of his last acts as New York City's top urban development official — and just days before President Obama nominated him as the federal housing secretary — Shaun Donovan attended a groundbreaking ceremony in the South Bronx.
A complex of 125 apartments had fallen into such disrepair that Bush administration housing officials had foreclosed on the building and transferred it to a group they and Mr. Donovan had come to trust: the New York Acorn Housing Company.
Readers quickly learn that Obama cabinet member Donovan served "five years as [Republican] Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's housing development commissioner."
And oh yeah, this:
Even Bush administration HUD officials came to view some Acorn divisions as credible, awarding more than $40 million to national affiliates.
Under its leader, Ismene Speliotis, New York Acorn Housing Company Inc. developed an expertise that even officials in the Republican administration of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani — no fan of the group — grew to respect during the 1990s.
Yet despite the cross-party ties, the Times article shows no interest in examining the political ramifications of ACORN's Republican or Bush-era connections. The Times writes ominously that Donovan "is unwilling to speak publicly about that project or any other work with Acorn." But did the Times ever try to talk to those "Bush administration housing officials" about their dealings with the group?
Following the lead of "conservatives," the Times is only interested in the narrative of whether Dems are on the "defensive" regarding ACORN. The Bush administration "had come to trust" ACORN (it was "credible"), but the org today is cast only as a thorn for Democrats.
The Times sees no contradiction whatsoever.
Still convinced that millionaire players and owners in the NFL summarily rejected Rush Limbaugh's ownership bid because of a couple of disputed race-baiting quotes, even thought Limbaugh has a whole library of verifiable ones (see here), right-wing bloggers are now lecturing everyone about how unfair and sloppy journalists are who use disputed facts and quotes. (Oh, the irony.)
The Weekly Standard embarrassed itself by claiming CNN was guilty of "libel." Oh my. And now Hot Air jumps in and plays dumb about CNN's Rick Sanchez, whose program aired one of the quotes earlier in the week.
Hot Air claims Sanchez, when notified about the quotes, "kinda sorta apologiz[ed] — on Twitter." Gee, that doesn't sound fair. Sanchez aired the disputed quote on national television, then only "kinda sorta" apologized "on Twitter." Liberal bias!
Well, actually that's not accurate. When CNN's Sanchez heard about Limbaugh's denial regarding the quote, Sanchez returned to the airwaves and informed CNN viewers:
Among the news organizations that reported that [quote] yesterday was our show at 3:00. Limbaugh's response to this is -- and I -- we want to be fair to Rush -- he says: "We have gone back. We have looked at everything else, and there is not even an inkling that any of the words in that quote are accurate. It's outrageous." So, Rush Limbaugh is denying that that quote has come from him.
Uh-oh. Sanchez did exactly what any responsible journalist would do in his situation. But that doesn't fit the 'liberal bias' narrative, so Hot Air shoves that part down the memory hole and pretends Sanchez only "kinda, sorta" apologized online.
On with the pity party!
UPDATED: If right-wing bloggers really can't sleep at night knowing that falsehoods might have been used in a pitched political battle, than they ought to start an online petition today urging Glenn Beck to emphatically apologize for falsely claiming Van Jones "is a convicted felon."
Discussing Rush Limbaugh's failed bid to be part owner of the St. Louis Rams, the Wall Street Journal printed this laughable bit in an op-ed:
By contrast, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who fires off his own brand of high-velocity, left-wing political commentary but lacks Mr. Limbaugh's sense of humor, appears weekly as co-host of NBC's "Football Night in America." We haven't heard anyone on the right say Mr. Olbermann's nightly ad-hominem rants should disqualify him from hanging around the NFL. (empasis added)
This is, quite simply, not true.
Justin Quinn, of About.com's US Conservative Blog (January 4, 2009):
Olbermann is an arrogant pig and his presence on NBC's "Football Night in America" is a constant affront to conservatives everywhere who watch the NFL.
Human Events (Sep. 2, 2009):
Because such duplicitous and hysterical attacks are the norm for Olbermann, whose MSNBC show includes segments with classy titles like "WTF?" and "Worst Person in the World," it's hard to grasp why NBC Sports is keeping him on board for a third season as host of "Football Night in America."
Media Research Center's Newsbusters.org (April 16, 2007):
Will the Post and other liberal media organizations decry Olbermann's selection?
Conservative blogger Ace of Spades (Sept. 14, 2009):
Olbermann is not funny anymore and he is such a partisan scumbag that it is an insult to football fans to have him anywhere near the greatest sport there is. So let's get him booted off.
Next time, Wall Street Journal, listen harder.
Unsurprisingly, Pat Buchanan took to Hardball to defend Rush Limbaugh in the wake of Limbaugh's abrupt firing -- as Limbaugh put it this afternoon -- from his ownership bid for the St. Louis Rams. Buchanan predictably failed to grasp that Limbaugh was not entitled to be an owner of an NFL team and it was his own partners who ran him off. Instead, Buchanan claimed that Limbaugh was the victim of "blacklisting" "just like they used to do out in Hollywood to communists."
But where he really showed his true colors was when he made this statement about Limbaugh's previous firing from ESPN:
He was wrong about McNabb. McNabb had a great season that year. So he made a wrong statement.
So according to Buchanan, Limbaugh was fired because his analysis of McNabb was faulty because McNabb actually had a great season that year...
Here's what Limbaugh said of McNabb on Sunday NFL Countdown in September 2003:
Sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go ... I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.
Buchanan fails to grasp that Limbaugh's analysis actually had nothing to do with whether or not McNabb had a great season. Limbaugh's point was that the media wanted a black quarterback to succeed and gave him undue credit. Limbaugh needlessly saw the situation of the Eagles through a racial prism, as he does with much of his social and political commentary.
It is a prism Buchanan himself often uses and which should have gotten him fired from MSNBC long ago.
During his defense of Limbaugh on Hardball, Buchanan used the opportunity to defend another radio host who was fired for his racially charged comments -- Don Imus. During a back and forth with Rev. Al Sharpton in which Sharpton said no one was calling for Limbaugh to be fired, Buchanan suddenly yelled at Sharpton: "What did you say about Don Imus? Didn't you say he ought to be taken off the air?" After Sharpton stated that they asked sponsors not to underwrite his show, Buchanan stated:
Look, you ran a campaign to get this guy dropped off the air for two words at 6:15 in the morning.
Buchanan was presumably referring to the words "nappy-headed hos." (Imus' partner producer Bernard McGuirk called them "hard-core hos" and "Jigaboos.")
Of course, those two words are a lot more than two words. Imus was fired because of what was behind those words, what they represented. And Buchanan completely ignores the context in which those words came, as well as Imus' long history of bigoted remarks.
Buchanan has long defended Imus, claiming among other things that "the court of elite opinion," which was "pandering to the mob, lynched him. Yet, for all his sins, he was a better man than the lot of them rejoicing at the foot of the cottonwood tree."
Great analogy, Pat.
Buchanan's latest defense of Rush Limbaugh is no different than his defense of Don Imus -- and ultimately, it is a defense of Pat Buchanan.
In the 1950s, GOP activist Stephen Shadegg explicitly followed Mao Zedong's "cell group" model. Just as Mao's cells would lay the basis for guerrilla warfare, so Shadegg's cells would quietly build support for his candidates apart from formal political organizations. "The individuals we enlisted became a secret weapon possessing strength, mobility and real impact," Shadegg wrote. "They were able to infiltrate centers of opposition support, keep us informed of opposition tactics, disseminate information, enlist other supporters and to do all these things completely unnoticed by the opposition. In the early 1990s, local affiliates of the Christian Coalition sometimes backed "stealth candidates" for local office who would downplay their affiliations in order to attract broader support. Ralph Reed, longtime director of the Christian Coalition, once summed up the value of the quiet approach: "It's like guerrilla warfare. If you reveal your location, all it does is allow your opponent to improve his artillery bearings. It's better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night. ... It comes down to whether you want to be the British army in the Revolutionary War or the Viet Cong. History tells us which tactic was more effective.
According to a search of the Nexis database, Reed last appeared on Fox on the May 17 edition of Hannity.
Reed reportedly cited Mao approvingly
Reed reportedly cited Mao approvingly
From an October 25, 1992, Seattle Times article (accessed from the Nexis database):
Televangelist Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition plans to distribute in Washington state an estimated 500,000 copies of its 1992 Voter Guide - a move one news report describes as part of a long-term plan for conservative Christians to control U.S. politics by the end of the century.
But Ralph Reed Jr., executive director of the Chesapeake, Va.-based coalition, called The Phoenix Gazette story "stupid" and said the Christian Coalition's guide was nonpartisan, laying out where candidates for the White House, Congress and the statehouse stand on issues ranging from abortion and gay rights to educational vouchers and a balanced-budget amendment.
In a recent phone interview with The Phoenix Gazette, Reed said that the war metaphor is apt.
"Mao Tse-Tung said politics is war without bloodshed," he said. "Clearly, there are some metaphors that sit nicely with politics."
2005: LA Times cited 1983 CATO Journal article as "the groundwork" for Bush's Social Security reform push
Back in 1997, proponents of overhauling Social Security met with the man who would become their most powerful convert: Texas Gov. George W. Bush, whose presidential ambitions were beginning to gel.
The governor dined with Jose Piñera, architect of Chile's 1981 shift from government pensions to worker-owned retirement accounts, in a meeting that helped bring Bush a big step closer to embracing a similar plan for Social Security in his emerging presidential platform.
"I think he wanted to support the idea but needed to be convinced," said Edward H. Crane, president of the libertarian Cato Institute, who was at the dinner. "I really think Jose convinced him."
This week, President Bush's plan to allow younger workers to divert Social Security taxes into personal investment accounts will be a centerpiece of his State of the Union address and a barnstorming tour of the country. It is a tough sell to an uncertain public, but Bush has a secret weapon: A generation of free-market conservatives like Crane and Piñera has been laying the groundwork for this debate.
"It could be many years before the conditions are such that a radical reform of Social Security is possible," wrote Stuart Butler and Peter Germanis, Heritage Foundation analysts, in a 1983 article in the Cato Journal. "But then, as Lenin well knew, to be a successful revolutionary, one must also be patient and consistently plan for real reform."
Now, Bush is drawing on a deep reservoir of resources - including policy research, ready-to-hire experts and polling on how to discuss the issue - that conservatives have created over the last 20 years.
Heritage Foundation scholars Butler and Germanis' article headlined "Achieving a 'Leninist' Strategy."
In their 1983 article, Butler and Germanis write:
As we contemplate basic reform of the Social Security system, we would do well to draw a few lessons from the Leninist strategy. Many critics of the present system believe, as Marx and Lenin did of capitalism, that the system's days are numbered because of its contradictory objectives or attempting to provide both welfare and insurance. All that really needs to be done, they contend, is to point out these inherent flaws to the taxpayers and to show them that Social Security would be vastly improved if it were restructure into a predominantly private system. Convinced by the undeniable facts and logic, individuals supposedly would then rise up and demand that their representatives make the appropriate reforms.
Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation experts frequently appear on Beck's show.
According to a Nexis search, Cato and Heritage experts have appeared on Beck's show at least seven times apiece in the last six months. Beck is hosting people that work for organizations that employed or published people who called for the use of a Leninist strategy. That's only five degrees of separation between Beck and Lenin!
In the wake of Glenn Beck's rather bizarre one hour rant, in which he played a clip of White House communications director Anita Dunn calling Mao Tse-Tung one of her two "favorite political philosophers," along with Mother Theresa, the following excerpt from a December 2008 Karl Rove column in the Wall Street Journal seems relevant:
Rove: President Bush "encouraged me to read a Mao biography."
With only five days left, my lead is insurmountable. The competition can't catch up. And for the third year in a row, I'll triumph. In second place will be the president of the United States. Our contest is not about sports or politics. It's about books.
It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, "I'm on my second. Where are you?" Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.
By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals." The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages -- its "Total Lateral Area."
We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction's unhappy end). We discussed the books and wrote thank-you notes to some authors.
Goldwater adviser: "in all ... campaigns where I have served as consultant I have followed the advice of Mao Tse-tung."
Here's another relevant passage, from Richard Hofstadter's 1964 essay The Paranoid Style in American Politics:
In his recent book, How to Win an Election, Stephen C. Shadegg cites a statement attributed to Mao Tse-tung: "Give me just two or three men in a village and I will take the village." Shadegg comments: " In the Goldwater campaigns of 1952 and 1958 and in all other campaigns where I have served as consultant I have followed the advice of Mao Tse-tung." "I would suggest," writes senator Goldwater in Why Not Victory? "that we analyze and copy the strategy of the enemy; theirs has worked and ours has not.