From the February 27 edition of Fox News' Bulls & Bears:
Ha! Not even the tech press escapes County Fair's all-seeing eye.
And actually, if you study your media misinformation, it was a tech outlet, Wired News, that first put the Al-Gore-invented-the-Internet meme into play. So it's kind of fitting that Gore again is at the center of this bout of bad journalism.
Here's the dreadful CNET headline, which has ricocheted around the right-wing blogosphere as a way to mock Gore. The bloggers used the item to show that even at liberal Apple, Gore was coming under fire for his supposedly bogus climate change push:
Al Gore a lightning rod at Apple shareholder meeting
Here's the only real proof of the lightning rod angle [emphasis added]:
At the first opportunity for audience participation just several minutes into the proceeding, a longtime and well-known Apple shareholder--some would say gadfly--who introduced himself as Shelton Ehrlich, stood at the microphone and urged against Gore's re-election to the board. Gore "has become a laughingstock. The glaciers have not melted," Ehrlich said, referring to Gore's views on global warming. "If his advice he gives to Apple is as faulty as his views on the environment then he doesn't need to be re-elected."
Another shareholder immediately got up to defend Gore and endorse his presence as an Apple director.
So, a single climate change denier took advantage of an open mic at a shareholder meeting to insult Gore, and CNET typed it up as news; as Gore being a "lightening rod."
Seems pretty weak.
UPDATED: From non-CNET news sources, you can learn that Ehrlich's attack on Gore was, in the man's own words, "politically motivated." You can also learn that he lashed out at Obama, calling him a socialist, and that Ehrlich rambled on about a criminal conspiracy Gore was involved in.
CNET left that part out, though.
From The Fox Nation:
At least 80 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 26 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
In a February 26 email to subscribers for DickMorris.com, Fox News "political analyst" Dick Morris writes that the League of American Voters has "raised $200,000 in the past three days" to run ads in the districts of "marginal Democrats who voted for healthcare last time":
1. Go to dickmorris.com and see a list of marginal Democrats who voted for healthcare last time. The list includes their local and Washington office phone numbers. Pick up the phone and call them. Even if you don't live in the district, call them. If you live in the same state, tell them. If not, call them anyway. Call your friends or family that might live in their states or even their districts (the list on our web site says where their district is located) and ask them to call the Congressmen. Keep those lines busy all weekend!
2. Please give the League of American Voters funds immediately to run ads in each of these districts. They have created a very effective ad for each of these marginal members and will run it in their districts if you give us the funding. They have raised $200,000 in the past three days but need more to blanket these swing districts.
CLICK HERE to donate.
CLICK HERE to see a sample ad.
Even if you have already given the League money, do it again. Your donations have brought us to the edge of victory on health care and if you give again we can put it to a final end.
Remember what is at stake! If Obama loses this fight, his entire momentum will be crippled.
In the past several days, Morris has repeatedly urged Fox News viewers to visit his website for information on how to oppose health care reform. Morris' website contains numerous fund solicitations for the League of American Voters, a conservative group which employs Morris as a chief strategist.
In order to defend his aggressive embrace of the false notion that health care reform would create "death panels" -- 2009's lie of the year -- Glenn Beck engaged in a bit of revisionist history, claiming that death panels were not related to consultations with physicians about end-of-life care. Beck's latest effort to push the completely discredited notion came during a particularly vicious attack on Keith Olbermann, who, in a recent "special comment" on his MSNBC show, cited his own experience with his hospitalized father to debunk the death panel falsehood. At one point, Beck stated, "Here's a guy -- he's either so twisted inside that he really, truly doesn't get it." Beck further stated that under death panels, Olbermann's father would already be dead.
But I digress. After repeatedly noting Olbermann's special comment, Beck purported to refute the connection between death panels and end-of-life consultations:
OLBERMANN [audio clip]: And as I left the hospital that night, the full impact of these last six months washed over me. What I had done -- conferring with the resident in ICU, the conversation about my father's panicky, not-in-complete-control-of-his faculties demand that all treatment now stop, about the options and the consequences and the compromise, the sedation, the help for a brave man who just needed a break.
That conversation, that one, was what these ghouls who are walking into Blair House tomorrow morning decided to call death panels. Your right to have that conversation with a doctor, not the government, but a doctor, and your right to have insurance pay for his expertise on what your options are when Dad says "kill me" -- or what your options are when Dad is in a coma and can't tell you a damn thing.
BECK: No, that's not --
OLBERMANN: Or what your options are when everybody is healthy --
BECK: That is not what a death panel is, Keith Olbermann. You have the right right now to do that. You just did it. What a death panel is, is not allowing your father to have the access to health care that your father just had. A death panel picks and chooses based on their age, based on, "Well, we just need to -- we just need to be able to -- your father has had a good life. He was 25 once, now we've got 25-year-olds that need this medical attention, and your father, he's had a good life." That's what a death panel is -- not being able to conference with his doctor.
In fact, that's exactly what a "death panel" was, as it was originally conceptualized by Sarah Palin, who coined the phrase on her Facebook page with the statement that under Democratic health care reform, "my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel.' " Palin's spokeswoman later clarified that Palin was specifically referring to the House bill's "Advance Care Planning Consultation" provision. Her spokesperson issued that clarification days before Beck adopted the claim:
A death panel for her son Trig. That's quite a statement. I believe it to be true, but that's quite a statement.
Now, Beck either knew what a death panel was, or he aggressively promoted its existence out of ignorance. Either way, he's completely wrong on the substance of his latest attack -- death panels were directly connected to end-of-life counseling from the outset.
In his special comment, Olbermann went into great detail about the conservative effort to portray a Democratic proposal that would have reimbursed doctors for periodically discussing treatment options with their patients and creating living wills and treatment plans (transcript from Nexis):
OLBERMANN: Your right to have that conversation with a doctor, not the government, but a doctor and your right to have insurance pay for his expertise on what your options are when Dad says "kill me" or what your options are when Dad is in a coma and can't tell you a damn thing, or what your options are when everybody is healthy and happy and coherent and you're just planning ahead your right to have the guidance and the reassurance of a professional who can lay that out for you that's a quote "death panel."
That, right now, is the legacy of the protests of these sub-humans who get paid by the insurance companies, who say these things for their own political gain or like that one fiend or money. For money Betsy McCaughey told people that this conversation about life and death and relief and release, and also about no, keep treating him no matter what happens, until the nation runs out of medicine, she told people it's a death panel and she did that for money.
It's a life panel. A life panel, it can save the pain of the patient and the family it is the difference between you guessing what happens next, and you being informed about what probably will, and that's the difference between you sleeping at night or second-guessing and third-guessing and thirtieth-guessing. And it can also be the place where the family says 'we want you to keep him alive no matter what, we believe in miracles' and the doctor saying yes.
No matter how hard conservatives try to change its meaning, that provision is exactly what brought forth the "death panels" smear.
At yesterday's health care summit, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY-28) related this story from one of her constituents:
I even have one constituent -- you will not believe this, and I know you won't, it's true. Her sister died, this poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister's teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit. Do you believe that in America that that's where we would be?
What was the reaction from leading members of the conservative media?
What Michelle Obama has overlooked, thus far, is the potential of poorly fitted teeth. Children, as well as adults, could benefit greatly by a few extra teeth pulled, fillings that fall out, or dentures from the dead.
When criticized for such comments, media conservatives always claim they were joking and chastise their detractors for lacking a sense of humor. But they aren't kidding. Leading conservatives, especially those in the media, don't believe that the United States faces a health care crisis. And in one sense, they are right: their America doesn't.
Conservative media leaders have made fortunes peddling such blatant callousness. Consider the fact that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck have all vehemently denied the urgent need for health care reform. Unsurprisingly, all three are inordinately rich and can afford the best health care money can buy.
And so, when Rush had a heart scare in Hawaii, he simply paid his emergency room bills out-of-pocket. As to the cost, he wasn't phased, describing it casually as less than half the "average SUV" of the "average American family."
He then shuts his eyes to the uninsured and under-insured Americans driven to bankruptcy by illness and injury. And he closes his ears to the estimated 45,000 Americans who die needlessly each year because they can't afford access to reliable care. After all, this is not the America that people like Limbaugh, Ingraham, Beck, and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes live in. Limbaugh makes an estimated $50 million per year. Beck made $23 million in 2009.
Politics aside, the real question is this: Why do ordinary Americans continue to listen to conservatives who don't even pretend to care about the senseless indignities and horrors experienced by countless citizens of this country?
In a February 26 post on Andrew Breitbart's BigJournalism.com, titled, "Palin v. Obama: 'Real' American v. the 'Citizen of the World,'" Kyle-Anne Shiver bashes President Obama for proclaiming himself a "citizen of the world":
Barack Obama, in keeping with international socialists throughout the last century, has proclaimed himself loudly-and-clearly a "citizen of the world." He conducted his entire campaign as a lecture to greedy, over-consuming Americans on the necessity of propping up the lagging third world and the inherent goodness of his redistributive plans for government.
At present, with a "post-American" president at the helm, Sarah Palin carries the torch of liberty and American exceptionalism in the palm of her lovely hand. She is the surviving embodiment of the spirit of 1776 and the Reagan reformation.
Who else "has proclaimed himself loudly-and-clearly a 'citizen of the world'"? None other than Shiver's hero and apparent international socialist Ronald Reagan:
In a July 2008 speech in Berlin, Germany, Obama described himself as "a citizen -- a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world." In a June 17, 1982, speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Reagan similarly said, "I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world."
From the Fox Nation (accessed on February 26):
Whenever a Democratic Senator runs for president, National Journal comes along with a deeply flawed scheme purporting to rank members of congress. In both 2004 and 2008, National Journal just happened to announce that a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination was the "most liberal" member of the Senate. In order to call Barack Obama the "most liberal" in 2008, National Journal changed the system they had previously used. Nothing suspicious there!
Worse, National Journal's PR operation then sent out promotional materials hyping the findings by touting the impact the 2004 rankings had on that year's presidential campaign -- conveniently ignoring the fact that, according to National Journal itself, the system used to declare John Kerry the "most liberal" Senator in 2004 was flawed.
And it's pretty obvious what happens next: Republicans start shouting the results from the rooftops, and the media eat it up with a spoon.
The important thing to know about the National Journal ratings -- the only important thing to know about them -- is that they are pretty much worthless. A 2007 vote in favor of implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations, for example, was counted as a "liberal" vote. Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute -- certainly nobody's idea of a liberal -- called NJ's ranking "pretty ridiculous."
National Journal's just-released new rankings should remove any lingering suspicion that they might have some validity. That's because the magazine has concluded that Dennis Kucinich is the 160th most liberal member of the House of Representatives. 160! Kucinich's rating is presumably a result of votes he cast against legislation that he didn't think was liberal enough -- among NJ's "key votes" is the passage of the House health care bill, which Kucinich voted against.
So, basically: National Journal vote ratings should not be taken seriously. Unless you think Dennis Kucinich is really the 160 most liberal member of Congress and that opposing legislation from the left makes you less liberal and that implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations makes you liberal.
If media absolutely must refer to ideological rankings of members of Congress*, they would do well to take a look at the rank ordering done by political scientists Jeff Lewis & Keith Poole. Unlike National Journal, they don't cherry-pick a handful of votes; they looked at 694 votes for their current House rankings. And they conclude that Kucinich had the 7th most liberal voting record in 2009.
That seems a bit more reasonable than National Journal's rankings, doesn't it?
* Which, weirdly, they only seem to want to do when discussing Democrats. Maybe because if they actually looked at reasonable ranking systems, they wouldn't be able to call Lindsey Graham a "moderate."