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  • Suddenly The Weekly Standard is in favor of identity politics?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Coming in the wake of the Sotomayor hearings this development is especially confusing. Conservative media outlets have been emphatic that identity politics, especially when practiced by African-Americans and Hispanics, is abhorrent and should be avoided at all costs.

    Yet when a pro-business African-American appeared before Congress and called a prominent Democrat a racist, The Weekly Standard, as well as the rest of the right-wing blogosphere, cheered. They seemed to want to see more identity politics like that.

    Suddenly it's a good thing for a minority, when pressed with tough questions, to complain that his questioner is being "racial." It's a good thing when Harry Alford, CEO of the pro-business National Black Chamber of Commerce, who was invited by Republicans to testify against environment legislation, exploded during a rather pedestrian give-and-take with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

    Confusing times, indeed.

    UPDATED: Did we mention how Bizarro World this sudden love of minority identity politics is from the right-wing during a week when we saw attacks on Sotomayor that didn't even try to mask ugly racial stereotypes?

    Justice Malaprop? [Ed Whelan]

    Judge Sotomayor says "eminent" when she means "imminent," "providence" instead of "province," "story of knowledge" instead of "store of knowledge," and so on. Does the fact that she is a Latina immunize her from attention to that sort of (admittedly not uncommon) foible?

    UPDATED: RedState, of all places, is suddenly deeply concerned about "racism" in politics. Who knew?

    UPDATED: State classy Jawa Report, that bastion of racial sensitivity:

    Senator Assmaggot Gets Bitchslapped

  • O'Reilly claims media using Goebbels tactics to push "propaganda," left trying to "knock out Judeo-Christian traditions"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From Bill O'Reilly's July 16 column, headlined "Marginalizing Sarah Palin":

    With Barack Obama in the White House, the country is facing profound change. America is already on the verge of bankruptcy and federal intrusion into private business, health care, and the environment is unprecedented. The far left is trying to create a huge federal apparatus that will promote income redistribution and "social justice." Also, the left sees a major opportunity to knock out Judeo-Christian traditions, replacing them with a secular philosophy.

    In order to accomplish this, the left-wing media is marginalizing people like Sarah Palin who oppose the strategy. Under the guise of hard news reporting, the media is pushing rank propaganda on the citizenry. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, successfully developed this tactic in the 1930's.

  • The Red Scare Index: 13

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Here is today's daily Red Scare Index -- our search of CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and CNBC for uses of the following terms: Socialism, Socialist, Socialists, Socialistic, Communism, Communist, Communists, Communistic, Marxism, Marxist, Marxists, Marxistic, Fascism, Fascist, Fascists and Fascistic.

    Here are the numbers for yesterday, Wednesday, July 15, 2009:

    TOTAL: 13
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 8
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 3
    Marxism/Marxist: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 2

    By Network:

    CNN: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNN Headline News: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    Fox News Channel: 6
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 3
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 3
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    Fox Business Network: 4
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 2
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 2

    MSNBC: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNBC: 3
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 3
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    The above numbers are the result of a TVeyes.com power search for these terms on these networks.

  • UPDATED: From where is the AP getting $1.5 trillion?

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Yesterday's article which announced that the cost of the Democratic-backed health care reform was $1.5 trillion caused big waves since a) the CBO hasn't officially announced how much it thinks the plan will cost (and its preliminary tab was $1 trillion) and b) the AP's only source was an anonymous Hill staffer, which seems rather thin for such a controversial claim.

    As CF noted:

    Where is the extra $500 billion coming from on top of the CBO score? What provisions did the CBO not score? Why does this anonymous aide think those provisions cost half a trillion dollars? Does anyone else agree with him or her? Readers wouldn't know from the AP article.

    The AP has a new piece up that at least tries to detail where the costs come from. But didn't the AP get the chronology wrong? Meaning, shouldn't the details have been offered up first?

  • Palin's tweets about grizzlies are news?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    At Politico they are:

    Following a visit with wildlife biologists in Alaska on Wednesday, GOP Gov. Sarah Palin typed out a quick tribute to mama bears on her Twitter account.

    The stand-alone Politico news article then goes on for several paragraphs quoting Palin's grizzly-themed updates.

  • When is the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti going to correct his Palin valentine?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Continetti's actually in the process of writing a Palin book right now, so of course he wants to try to prop Palin back up. And to nobody's surprise his recent glorification of Palin in the pages of The Weekly Standard read like it was written by a Palin staffer. (Or Bill Kristol.)

    But note this passage, in which Continetti throws a pity party for Palin (actually, the entire article's a pity party) and how no-good Alaskans are filing frivolous ethics complaints against her, which were making it impossible to govern!

    Here it is:

    The state personnel board has dismissed the complaints, one after the other. According to the governor, however, when all is said and done--when one factors in all the wasted time and resources--the cost to Alaska amounts to some $2 million.

    As readers of the Anchorage Daily News, as well as Alaska bloggers, now know, the official cost for the "frivolous" ethics complaints to the state of Alaska stands at approximately $300,000, not $2 million. It might be nice if in the next issue Continetti points that fact out to readers.

    He might also want to point out that by far the biggest cost to the state of Alaska regarding the ethics complaints was an investigation that Palin herself requested. (It was for Troopergate.) Does The Weekly Standard not think that fact merits attention? Or is Continetti not working on that kind of book?

  • Why conservatives make such bad media critics, cont'd

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    They don't read too good. Or they read fine but then they ignore the parts that don't fit their critique.

    Michael Moynihan at the Reason blog is our latest example. Riffing on a blog post over at NRO by Mark Hemingway, Moynihan took a swipe at Media Matters for an item we did on the coverage of Sen. Jeff Sessions' opening day statement at the Judge Sonia Sotomayor hearings. We noted that five major newspapers all failed to report on the fact that in 1986, Sessions' nomination as a U.S. district court judge was rejected following allegations that Sessions had a history of making racially charged comments.

    Meaning, Sessions spent a lot of the day talking about race in the context of Sotomayor's nomination, but lots of important press outlets never connected the dots back to Sessions' own failed confirmation.

    Moynihan scoffed at the Media Matters claim, noting that it was "incorrect, seeing as many publications have mentioned Sessions' 1986 district court nomination."

    Those many links took readers to items from US News & World Report, NPR, Huffington Post, MSNBC.com, and blog items from the LA Times and WSJ.com which all mentioned Sessions' own brush with the issue of race during his confirmation hearing. Reason also linked to a New York Times article from July 7.

    Busted, right? Reason found a ton of media references that noted exactly what Media Matters complained the press ignored. One problem. In our item we specifically noted that in newspaper articles from July 14 published by the The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, the newspapers failed to provide proper context. Meaning, Media Matters didn't claim the press never mentioned Sessions' past confirmation woes. Media Matters noted that these five newspapers, in articles published on July 14, failed to mention Session's past confirmation woes.

    Simple, right?

    So what does Moynihan do to prove the claim was "incorrect"? He finds other media outlets never cited by Media Matters. Or in the case of the New York Times, he finds an article not published on July 14, which was the date we scrutinized the articles.

    Sometimes I think it's hopeless.

    Remember that scene from Annie Hall when the Alvy Singer character remembers his Brooklyn school days and sitting next to clueless Ivan Ackerman who always had the wrong answer? ("Seven and three is nine," drones Ivan as Alvy smacks the palm of his hand into his forehead in amazement.)

    That's how I usually feel reading conservative media criticism.

  • The consequences of bad AP reporting

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    It allows politicians and pundits, like Newt Gingrich, to spread misinformation.

    Yesterday the AP reported that the House Democrats' tri-committee health-care reform proposal would cost "$1.5 trillion," which is $500 billion more than what the Congressional Budget Office has estimated. So were did the AP numbers come from? From an anonymous Democratic Hill staffer.

    As CF noted:

    Where is the extra $500 billion coming from on top of the CBO score? What provisions did the CBO not score? Why does this anonymous aide think those provisions cost half a trillion dollars? Does anyone else agree with him or her? Readers wouldn't know from the AP article.

    So conservatives have been plastering the misleading article everywhere, and when called on it they just say, well that's what the AP reported.

    Here's Gingrich's Tweet from this morning:

    A blog challenged my tweet that house democratic health bill would cost $1.5 trillion.that was associated press report of democratic staffer

    Must be nice to have one of the world's largest news organizations do your oppo research for you.

  • Fox Nation turns to WND for reporting on "Obama's Citizenship"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Obama Citizenship Fox Nation

    The Fox Nation headline, "Soldier Who Challenged Obama's Citizenship Fired From Job," links to a July 15 WorldNetDaily article which includes the following promotions for WND's "Where's the [Obama] birth certificate?" campaign:

    "Join the petition campaign to make President Obama reveal his long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate!"

    "Want to turn up the pressure to learn the facts? Get your signs and postcards asking for the president's birth certificate documentation here."

    "Send a contribution to support the national billboard campaign that asks a simple question: "Where's the birth certificate?""

    In addition to advancing the birth certificate conspiracy theory, the Fox Nation-promoted article also raises claims that Obama was born in Kenya.

    Media Matters for America has documented Fox Nation's obsession with Obama's birth certificate.

    FactCheck.org: Born in the U.S.A.: The truth about Obama's birth certificate.