Media Matters Action Network, our partner organization, has unearthed a 1987 American Spectator article (available here) in which Lord Christopher Monckton -- one of the right's favorite global warming deniers -- advocates requiring the entire population to undergo monthly HIV tests and forcibly quarantining "for life" those who test positive.
You would think that such views would have made Monckton a marginal figure. But apparently there are no views too extreme for the right-wing media.
On October 23, for instance, Glenn Beck said on his Fox News show that Monckton is "one of the world's foremost authorities on what the global warming hoax is really all about and what they are about to sign over in Copenhagen."
Monckton appeared as a guest throughout Beck's October 30 Fox show. Beck introduced Monckton by saying: "With me now, Lord Christopher Monckton, former adviser to British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher and climate change expert."
On October 19, Rush Limbaugh described Monckton as "a voice of sanity," saying, "The hysteria on the left on virtually everything is all over the place. So you got to hear a voice of sanity in this. Last Wednesday, St. Paul, Minnesota, during a presentation at Bethel University, a portion of remarks made by Lord Christopher Monckton regarding the United Nations' climate change treaty."
From columnist Burt Prelutsky's December 11 column posted on WorldNetDaily:
Back in 1990, the police raided Barney Frank's home because his gay lover, Steve Gobie, was running a male prostitution ring out of his condo. In 2007, the police raided the home of James Ready and arrested him for possession of marijuana. Ready, who is Barney's main squeeze these days, didn't just smoke the weed; Farmer Ready was growing the stuff. The congressman was there at the time of the raid, but denied he had any idea that those plants in the backyard weren't rhododendrons. I believe he told the police that he was perfectly clueless when it came to plant life. I guess, like Clinton, he never inhaled, either.
Because I am always prepared to grant a liberal politician the benefit of the doubt, I'm sure it's only a coincidence that Barney has long led the fight to decriminalize the use and sale of the narcotic.
On the other hand, considering his sorry track record when it comes to romance, don't you think it's high time Rep. Frank, who'll be 70 years old in a few months, should start using a reputable dating service and stop phoning every number he finds scrawled on bathroom walls?
Apparently, the anti-gay natives are restless over at Hot Air - Ed Morrissey today claims that he has gotten "a lot of email asking why I haven't written about" the right-wing's trumped-up witch hunt against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, and explains: "To be honest, the story is so shocking that I haven't quite grasped how to approach it." Rather than leave it at that, Morrissey goes on to demonstrate that he lacks even the shakiest grasp of the claims that the right has been making about Jennings.
Morrissey claims that throughout Jennings' 13-year tenure as head of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the organization "offered sex education seminars to young teenagers within the framework of public education" that included explicit sexual discussion. What the rest of Morrissey's ilk have been alleging is that at one GLSEN conference in 2000, such a discussion happened during a workshop.
Morrissey claims that "Margot Abels, who got fired by GLSEN after the content of the seminars became known, says Jennings and others at GLSEN knew the content of their curriculum and approved it." A couple of problems:
1) Even Jennings' most fervent opponents have acknowledged that Abels worked for the Massachusetts Department of Education, not GLSEN. Jennings didn't fire her, though he did criticize the content of her seminar when he became aware of it.
2) While the right has claimed that Abels said that Jennings "knew" in advance about the content of her seminar, the statements they have pointed to only show that she said her immediate superiors at the Department of Education were aware, not that Jennings or GLSEN were.
Morrissey then purports to provide the explicit "handout material GLSEN provided for these classes." But the image that he shows is from the booklet conservative activists have claimed was passed out to students at a separate GLSEN conference - in 2005.
Oh, and in reality, a community health group -- not GLSEN itself -- reportedly said that it had mistakenly "left about 10 copies" of the booklet on an informational table it rented at the conference; the group reportedly apologized for doing so; GLSEN stated that if it had known the booklets had been at the conference, it would have demanded they be removed; and the local school superintendent reportedly said he believed no students had actually taken the book.
But other than that, Morrissey's "approach" to Jennings is worth the wait.
UPDATE: Newsbusters' John Stephenson is offering up Morrissey's post to those "unfamiliar" with Jennings "outrageous background." Boy, will they be surprised when they find that even the rest of the right-wing nuthouse isn't on board with Morrissey's take.
Better conservative media critics, please.
Accuracy in Media regrets the publication of a blog entry accusing Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, a homosexual activist, of being a pedophile and personally teaching perverted sexual practices to young people. We have no evidence to support those specific charges. The blog entry was posted by an intern without permission, and has been taken down.
But AIM seems to have learned nothing from getting caught spreading outrageous lies about Jennings, for it continues by hurling more smears:
We continue to urge the media to vigorously investigate Jennings' background, which includes praise for homosexual activist and communist Harry Hay, a supporter of the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Jennings' role in promoting the homosexual agenda and exposing children to discussions of dangerous sexual practices through his organization, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), should also continue to be investigated. For the facts on Jennings, we suggest three important websites: www.missionamerica.com, where Linda Harvey has broken many stories about Jennings and GLSEN; www.AmericansforTruth.com, where Peter LaBarbera writes regularly about the controversy; and www.massresistance.com, where Brian Camenker has covered the scandal of Obama's appointment of Jennings in much detail.
Linking Jennings to Hays is nothing more than a guilt-by-association smear -- Jennings has never praised NAMBLA. If that's a game AIM wants to play, then it's fair to note AIM's appreciation for convicted felon and unrepentant domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy.
As we've detailed, MassResistance is an anti-gay organization declared a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center that has been the springboard for numerous instances of right-wing falsehoods and misinformation about Jennings, and Camenker has not only likened the gay-rights movement to Nazis, he has denied that gays and lesbians were a target of the Holocaust.
The other two organizations AIM cites are no better.
How anti-gay is Mission America's Linda Harvey? She has advocated (in her column located, naturally, at WorldNetDaily) that parents remove Harry Potter books from their children's collections because author J.K. Rowling revealed that Dumbledore is gay, asserted that "Open or suspected homosexuals should never be elected" because they are involved in "[w]eird sex, public displays of "affection" and nudity, and sex with youth," and complained that activists who opposed a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Maine weren't anti-gay enough. Mission America's attacks on Jennings and GLSEN are little more than warmed-over smears from other right-wing groups -- i.e., repeating claims about the explicitness of GLSEN's list of recommended books without noting that GLSEN also recommends that "adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability."
Peter LaBarbera, head of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, has been unambiguous in declaring that his attacks on Jennings (also based on recycled smears) are rooted in hatred of homosexuality:
One more point: it is now common for conservatives - especially non-religiously-affiliated media leaders like Sean Hannity (who should be applauded for his yeoman's work exposing Jennings) -- to make the odd disclaimer that the GLSEN/Jennings controversy (or whatever "gay"-related culture-war story they are discussing) "is not about homosexuality." Baloney. This is all about homosexuality and the "gay" activist agenda whose singular goal is to normalize homosexuality as a "civil right."
The politically correct "not-about-gays" caveat is about as illogical as claiming that the effort to expose systematic human rights abuses in China and North Korea "has nothing to with Communism." Anyone who calls himself "conservative" should know better. Besides, true conservatives should not be ashamed of enthusiastically conserving the age-old Judeo-Christian sexual/marriage ethic -- which has served mankind well and which rejects all efforts to approve of unnatural and destructive sexual behaviors condemned by God.
These are the people from whom AIM believes you can get "the facts on Jennings." Is it any wonder that an AIM intern felt comfortable enough with spreading falsehoods and smears about him to post them on the AIM website?
ABC News' insider Beltway tip sheet today prominently highlights this passage from A-list liberal blogger Jane Hamsher at her site FDL. It's part of The Note's larger overview of where the health care reform debate currently stands:
Unless it isn't: "If your progressive Democratic member of Congress decides to support the corporatist agenda and vote for a health care bill that makes the insurance companies say 'we won,' they probably need to be challenged," Jane Hamsher writes at FireDogLake.com.
On the one hand, it's good to see liberal bloggers like Hamsher on the radar of the often elitist editors at The Note. There's no question that Hamsher today represents a key voice among progressive, as activists continue to push for a public option in the health care debate. And Hamsher's voice most definitely should be featured by The Note, as should other netroot players.
On the other hand, I can't help but notice the irony of The Note only now discovering the FDL voice; of only now deciding Hamsher is an important voice in the pundit pool when the liberal blogger is battling a Democratic administration from the left. It's ironic because Hamsher and the FDL community, of course, was born during the Bush years and served as an outlet for angry liberals and Democrats who railed against the Bush administration policy. The netroots exploded as a political and media movement precisely because Beltway insiders like the ones who run The Note refused to speak the truth about the Bush White House.
And back then, Hamsher, as well as the rest of the emerging liberal blogosphere, was definitely not part of the ABC in crowd. Instead, liberal bloggers who attacked the Republican administration were dismissed as shrill and un-serious and radical. For instance, I checked the online archives at ABC's The Note and I could not find a single example during the Bush years when the insider editors at ABC News linked to a Hamsher post that knocked down the Bush White House.
But today, as Hamsher and FDL often give a Democratic president fits from the left, suddenly The Note is very interested in that point of view and the Note has been regularly highlighting Hamsher's work. But when Hamsher and others gave Bush fits from the left, those voices were uniformly ignored.
Like I said, the fact that The Note if featuring Hamsher as part of the influential Beltway mix is a good thing. It's just that The Note is about five years late to the game.
As we've previously noted, lies simply don't die in the right-wing media -- they keep coming back for more.
Yet another example of this is WorldNetDaily columnist Robert Ringer, who dusts off an oldie-but-goodie to smear President Obama:
And, clearly, Obama had a dysfunctional life growing up -- a white Marxist mother, a black African Muslim father who was a drunk and a philanderer, then, of all things, an Indonesian Muslim stepfather. And, of course, there were the years he spent in a Wahabbi Muslim school in Indonesia (Wahabbi schools being most famous for teaching students hatred of Western countries).
The idea that Obama attended a radical madrassa in Indonesia, of course, was disproved almost as soon as it was first made nearly three years ago. That's right -- three years later, this zombie lie is still roaming the Earth (or, at least, WorldNetDaily, which has problems telling the truth about Obama and his administration).
Ringer's hatred of Obama shines through in the rest of his column as well -- he declares he will never call Obama president and claims that Obama isn't evil but merely "a man without a soul. And, as soulless individual, his actions are not hampered by trivial moral considerations."
Talk about a long slide for out.
The supposed brains behind the right-wing blogosphere went bonkers this week hyping the latest chapter in its wild hate campaign against Kevin Jennings, the openly gay "Safe Schools Czar" currently serving in the Obama administration. The latest charges, which highlighted the creepy right-wing fascination with gay sex, were rolled over days and presented as the ultimate take-down of Jennings. But alas, the serious press has been singularly uninterested in the story. A check of Nexis shows not one serious national news outlet picked up the story this week, despite the fact that right-wingers, led by Andrew Breitbart, hailed it as a sensational blockbuster.
Then again, Breitbart recently claimed the misdemeanor charges surrounding the Kenneth Gladney incident constituted a massive political cover-up. There as well, the press couldn't have cared less about the story and rightfully ignored Breitbart's wildly inaccurate rhetoric.
It's true that the chronic debunking that Media Matters has done on the Jennings and Gladney stories (to name just two) may have convinced journalists not to touch the right-wing productions. But I also think that in the case of the Jennings 'story,' it was blindingly obvious that the far-right hate brigade just didn't have the goods. And worse, when it didn't have the goods, `wingers made stuff up instead.
Take this Gateway Pundit 'scoop' from yesterday:
Fistgate V: Youth Fisting Instructor Claims Kevin Jennings Knew About Class Content in Advance
In fact, when you read the breathless/hysterical post, nowhere was there any evidence (i.e. y'know, facts) to support the claim that the instructor in question ever claimed Jennings knew beforehand about the controversial content. None. Zero. But to make for a better headline Gateway Pundit just manufactured a claim. And honestly, that's what the right-wing blogosphere has been reduced to; just making shit up.
But bloggers can't very well spend their days and nights making stuff up and then turn around and act surprised and offended when actual journalists don't follow up the nonsensical 'scoops' they post. (Liberal bias!) The endless stream of hollow allegations the right-wing traffics in has now largely become background noise, albeit unpleasant and unwanted noise. They represent a cacophony of endless allegations that virtually never pan out. So can you blame journalists for simply tuning it out?
For instance, what exactly, after a couple hundred ACORN-related posts on Breitbart's site Big Government, have bloggers in recent weeks added to that thoroughly played-out story? Answer: Zilch, which is why the story is officially dormant in most newsrooms. Of course, right-wingers claim it's all part of a liberal media campaign to ignore the all-important ACORN saga. But the fact is when Breitbart actually had an ACORN story, when he actually uncovered some nuggets of news via undercover videos. the press did pay attention. In fact, the press flooded the story with attention, thereby proving it's not liberal bias that now keeps the press at bay. The reason the press isn't' writing about ACORN today is because there is not story to tell.
Just like the Jennings story today is a non-story. Or more accurately, it's a rehash of a nine-year-old story that was (surprise!) thoroughly covered by the local mainstream media at the time.
But you can start to see the right-wing frustration bubbling up. With the launch of 'Fistgate,' this was supposed to be the week that the White House had to scramble to contain its Jennings controversy, as it spread like wild fire. Instead, it's Friday and it's crickets regarding Jennings beyond the secluded world of right-wing media.
On his show earlier this week, Glenn Beck whined on national television that the press wasn't following up on his (truly idiotic) campaign against progressive activist Robert Creamer. And he was right; not a single news org bothered to follow Beck's lead.
Note to Beck: the press ignored the loopy Creamer story for the same reason it's ignored the latest right-wing Jennings hysteria. Because it's not news.
UPDATED: Like I said, the frustration over how the debunked Jennings smear has flopped is now bubbling to the surface. Responding to my post, Gateway Pundit claims the press is covering the Jennings attacks, and points to the Washington Times and Fox News as examples. Of course, as I noted above, no "serious" news orgs have touched the Jennings story this week, so my point still stands.
From R. Emmett Tyrrell's December 11 Washington Times column:
Do my eyes deceive me? Did I really see President Obama this week calling for a vast increase in government spending?
He is promising to "spend our way out of this recession." He plans to build highways and bridges. There will be tax cuts for small businesses. There will be tax incentives for making our homes more energy-efficient. Economic stimulus will be extended for unemployment insurance. Checks for $250 will be sent to senior citizens and veterans. More money will be sent to state and local governments so they will not have to lay off teachers, firefighters and police. It is estimated that the president's eruption of generosity will cost an additional $170 billion, perhaps more.
About the time the president announced that this nation, which is "out of money," is going to "spend our way out of this recession," the Gallup Poll spoke. According to the poll, the president's approval rating is lower than that of any of his predecessors at this point in their presidencies, and few came in with Mr. Obama's high favorable ratings. Today he polls at 47 percent, down from 53 percent last month. A wit at the Los Angeles Times notes that the pulchritudinous former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is within a point of the president in popularity.