On his February 23 show, Sean Hannity devoted the entire hour of his show to airing and discussing Generation Zero, a film produced by conservative activists about the financial crisis. In the segment below Hannity and the filmmakers lay blame for the crisis on baby boomers (or "'60's hippies," in the words of producer David Bossie) moving away from conservative ideas by taking advantage of corporate personhood in order to avoid personal responsibility for the risks they took with the funds their banks controlled:
This denies reality. It is in fact the conservative movement that has regularly supported the power of personhood for corporations, and the resulting dissolution of personal responsibility for corporate decisions. In fact, one of the producers of this very film is David Bossie. Bossie is behind Citizens United, the conservative activist group who recently won a Supreme Court case that affirmed the power of political speech for coporations like Citizens United (the case was decided 5-4 with the justices regularly categorized as conservative voting in the affirmative).
It might be possible, maybe, that Bossie is secretly one of those corporate loving hippies in disguise. But I'm doubtful.
A couple of days ago, Media Matters for America senior fellow Karl Frisch described his notes from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as "Postcards from the edge." If CPAC is the edge, then here are my notes from the edge of the edge, better known as "Jihad: The Political Third Rail;" an event created by Atlas Shrugs' Pam Geller and Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer.
Geller's and Spencer's event was so controversial in fact, that CPAC organizers made sure to tell Fox News that the event was "unofficial," and "sponsored by outside groups." However, it was official enough to be listed on CPAC's agenda.
In announcing the event, Geller stated that she found it "most distressing that the largest gathering of conservatives in America does nothing to address the single greatest threat to our national security, our Constitution, our very way of life." Indeed she and Spencer both expressed dismay that CPAC did not more fully embrace their point of view, which Spencer summed up by saying that "[i]t's absurd" to think that "Islam is a religion of peace that's been hijacked by a small minority of extremists:"
So what was the goal of this "unofficial," yet coordinated event at CPAC? Geller previously noted that the event was "designed to educate Americans about the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration at the highest levels of the U.S. government, as well as its war on free speech." A pretty heavy goal to be sure, but it wasn't all serious. Geller kicked it off by displaying her trademark humor:
After that brief introduction it was time to get down to business, with a non-stop parade of anti-Islam rhetoric.
The first speaker was former Muslim Wafa Sultan, who declared that "Islam is a not merely a religion, but an agressive and dangerous political ideology which aspires to world domination":
Then came Austrian Elisabeth Wolff, who told the audience that she has been indicted in Austria for anti-Muslim hate speech. In decribing the incident, Wolff explained that whatever words she used, she was simply trying to convey the message that "Islam is supremacist, it is against women's rights, it's against human rights, it's against everything you and I believe in" (transcript available here):
Next up was a speaker who has said things that even Geller apparently thinks are too extreme. Despite having put what she says is the "full video" of the event on her site, Geller actually cut out several comments made by Anders Gravers, the Danish Leader for the Stop the Islamisation of Europe. For instance, Geller's video edits out Graver's assertion that "[r]ape is also a part of" Muslims' efforts to convert non-Muslims in Europe, and that "[d]emocracy is being deliberately removed" from the European Union by "incorporating Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the European Union." Gravers went on to explain (in a portion of the speech that Geller did include) that the purpose was to gain "some European control of oil resources" at the cost of the "introduction of Sharia law and removal of democracy" in Europe. No, really. Check out this exclusively un-edited portion of his remarks (transcript available here):
With a panel like that, CPAC probably should have worked harder to separate itself from Geller and Spencer's event.
I don't think Congress could or would censure King for something he said at a political rally, but I agree with you that his comments and others like them probably deserve more attention from the media. They are striking remarks.
Yet, over 28 hours after Talking Points Memo reported King's remarks, the Post hasn't written any stories on the comments. But don't worry. The Post did spend seven paragraphs on singer Shakira's visit to Washington.
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 23 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
There are several disturbing things found in a recent email thread that Newsweek published, in which top staffers debated the definition of a terrorist. Specifically, the question they tried to hash out among themselves was whether last week's Austin suicide pilot, Joseph Stack, was a terrorist the same way the Christmas Day bomber was. And why the latter was treated as a much, much bigger deal.
The general (and yes, disturbing) newsroom consensus seemed to be that Stark, a white American, wasn't really quite a terrorist, even though he flew his plane into a federal building in an apparent attempt to kill as many people as possible, and he did it to make an anti-IRS political statement.
Hmm, if a Middle Eastern immigrant with a similar unhinged, anti-government beef had taken the same lethal steps, would Newsweek be so reluctant to label that an act of terror? I'm doubtful. (Glenn Greenwald has a thorough dissection of that point, here.)
But was really struck me as astonishing was that not one person on the Newsweek staff mentioned, or even seemed to be aware of the fact, that the reason the Christmas bomber became a big news deal and Austin's Stack did not is because the GOP Noise Machine made the Christmas Day bomber a big deal (and the press eagerly followed), and the GOP Noise Machine had every incentive to play down the anti-government suicide bombing in Austin (and the press eagerly followed.).
In other words, Newsweek editors and reporters engaged in a debate about public perception and news coverage, yet remain oblivious to the forces that actually drive the coverage of this issue, and so many Beltway issues: the GOP Nose Machine.
Because, let's face it, when it says jump, the media say how high?
The drill has become so routine (GOP outrage = news), I don't think reporters and editors even recognize it anymore, which is why Newsweek staffers scratch their head and wonder why a political news story the GOP loved got big news coverage (i.e. foreign terrorist), vs. a political news story the GOP hated, which did not (domestic terrorist).
UPDATED: The closest any Newsweek staffer came to addressing this issue was editor Devin Gordon [emphasis added]:
One thing that could've stretched out this Austin Wacko story out quite a bit longer is if the mainstream media had been bolder about connecting it to the larger anti-tax political phenomenon in this country today: the Tea Party. But most of us weren't willing to go there. Why? Because we are perceived as being dismissive and condescending toward the movement — OK, we *are* dismissive and condescending toward the movement. In short, we tend to treat them like wackos and we are gun-shy about going the full Monty and suggesting they are this close to being *violent* wackos. The FBI is skittish about that blurry line, and so is the media. Better to leave it alone and move onto Tiger Woods.
Interesting. The mainstream media could have connected Austin's anti-government suicide bomber with the anti-government Tea Party movement. But the Tea Party wouldn't have liked that, so journalists didn't do it. They "weren't willing to go there."
Behold your liberal media.
My colleague Eric Boehlert and Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog have been all over the New York Times' failure to correct its erroneous reporting that James O'Keefe was dressed in an outlandish pimp costume while meeting with ACORN community organizers. I just want to jump in for a second to spell something out.
New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt has told Friedman that, going forward, "I am recommending to Times editors that they avoid language that says or suggests that O'Keefe was dressed as a pimp when he captured the ACORN employees on camera."
Obviously, Hoyt would have no reason to make such a recommendation if the Times had any proof that O'Keefe was dressed in his over-the-top pimp costume while meeting with the ACORN employees.
But Hoyt also told Friedman "I still don't see that a correction is in order, because that would require conclusive evidence that The Times was wrong, which I haven't seen."
Therefore, it seems the New York Times requires a higher standard of proof for retracting claims than for making them.
Washington Post reporter Ben Pershing gives the Tea Party movement and Ron Paul too much credit:
Ben Pershing: So far Ron Paul has given no indication that he wants to form a third party. If he did, it would have a pretty obvious name -- the Libertarian Party. Unlike the Tea Party groups, which combine elements from a variety of different ideologies (and also have plenty of disagreements amongst themselves), Paul has a long-developed and clear Libertarian philosophy. But he hasn't done anything to suggest he wants to form a third party rather than just try to move the GOP in his direction. Note that's what his son, Rand Paul, is doing in the Kentucky Senate primary.
First, I'm not sure how many different ideologies are actually represented by "the Tea Party groups." There's conservatism, and some libertarianism. What else? Liberalism? No, not really. (Worth keeping in mind: Tea Party folks are very, very Republican.) Socialism? Anarchism?
Second: Ron Paul's "clear Libertarian philosophy" doesn't include abortion. He opposes abortion rights. The Libertarian Party (like Ayn Rand, among other libertarian heros) says "we believe that government should be kept out of the matter." And Paul calls the Defense of Marriage Act "proper," while the Libertarian Party platform says "Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships." So, basically, Paul's "clear Libertarian philosophy" is that he opposes government intervention in people's lives -- except when he supports it.
Newsbuster Jack Coleman rushes to the defense of the John Birch Society:
Upset that members of the media sought "anything potentially embarrassing to fling at conservatives" (the digging wouldn't be hard if this were true) in its coverage of CPAC's annual gathering in Washington last week, Newsbusters' Candance Moore is up with a post attempting to make the case that the press ignored the "left-wing tone of Netroots Nation in 2009."
Moore's examples of loony-left-wing panels the media failed to cover is quite absurd:
The archive section of the official site of Netroots Nation revealed shocking material largely ignored by the national media. Below is a list of some of the ridiculous discussions that took place:
- Tearing down the wall between church and state to advance "faith based" progressive agendas.
- Stacking SCOTUS with progressive judges to circumvent the Constitution.
- Why Democrats are not pro-abortion enough.
- A panel sponsored by the United Nations Foundation to criticize America for taking the world's food supply.
- Using the EPA to bypass Congress.
- Coaching teens on how to educate their parents.
- Fighting "science denial" on the right.
Did you hear about any of those topics last year from the mainstream media.
All of the above subjects were covered in official panel discussions, not just obscure information booths from fringe attendees. Readers are encouraged to watch the archive footage to see how rationally such things were being discussed.
Wow, how did I not hear about these discussions last year? And when did Netroots Nation start letting Jason Mattera and the XPAC brigade name its panels with such colorfully nutty right-wing rhetoric?
It would be funny if it weren't so sad and intellectually dishonest. Moore's framing of these discussions don't appear to bear any resemblance to what actually transpired because -- I assume from reading her post -- she didn't actually attend Netroots Nation.
Mark Leon Goldberg points out the way Moore portrays one panel in particular - a panel that he actually moderated:
For the record, I moderated the panel sponsored by the United Nations Foundation. Needless to say, the panel did not "criticize America for taking the world's food supply" (whatever that means). Rather, the panel was called Global Solutions for Global Poverty and was a discussion of ways the United States and the world can come together to fight extreme global poverty. At no point did any panelist criticize American for taking the world's food supply. Candance Moore seems to have made that up out of thin air.
Making things up "out of thin air" is nothing new for the folks at Newsbusters and this one misses the mark entirely like many of its other sloppy attacks.