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 March 11 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
In an effort to critically analyze another piece of pop music, Glenn Beck and his sidekicks reached the conclusion that Bruce Springsteen's 1984 hit "Born in the U.S.A." is critical of America and, therefore, unpatriotic. In fact, the song was deemed so unpatriotic by the former shock jock's crew that co-host Pat Gray declared it to be "anti-American." This simplistic version of patriotism appears to leave little room for any criticism of America, its policy, or the behavior of its people.
After Gray revisited Beck's earlier deconstruction of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," the gang turned its collective attention to Springsteen, with Gray getting the ball rolling by noting that Fourth of July fireworks displays often include "Born in the U.S.A." in the musical medley. Beck then broke into a spoken word version of the song:
Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up
Born in the U.S.A.
I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go kill the yellow man
Born in the U.S.A.
Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said, son if it were up to me
I go down to see the VA man
He said, son you don't understand
This went on for some time, until Beck concluded, "Where are the fireworks?"
Now, in a 2008 interview with CBS' Scott Pelley, Springsteen actually addressed the notion that his music and its message are somehow unpatriotic because they challenge America and its citizens to live up to their ideals, stating, "It's unpatriotic at any given moment to sit back and let things pass that are damaging to some place that you love so dearly." Springsteen added, "There's a part of the singer going way back in American history that is of course the canary in the coalmine. When it gets dark, you're supposed to be singing."
Just don't sing an anti-American tune.
The Washington Post gushes over the House GOP's announcement that they won't seek any earmarks this year:
Touting a largely symbolic move as a "key step in demonstrating fiscal restraint" is, in fact, a key step in delaying actual fiscal restraint.
From a March 11 post on the NY Times' The Caucus blog:
Last week, the conservative Fox television host Glenn Beck called on Christians to leave their churches if they hear any preaching about social or economic justice because, he claimed, those are slogans affiliated with Nazism and Communism.
This week, the Rev. Jim Wallis, a liberal evangelical leader in Washington. D.C., called on Christians to leave Glenn Beck.
"What he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show," wrote Mr. Wallis, who heads the anti-poverty group Sojourners, on his "God's Politics" blog. "His show should now be in the same category as Howard Stern."
Mr. Beck, in vilifying churches that promote "social justice," managed to insult just about every mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, African American, Hispanic and Asian congregation in the country - not to mention plenty of evangelical ones.
Even Mormon scholars in Mr. Beck's own church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in interviews that Mr. Beck seems ignorant of just how central social justice teaching is to Mormonism.
From a March 10 WorldNetDaily video by Molotov Mitchell:
A New York Post column this week expressed grave concerned about the "ruthless" Obama administration and its willingness to use "every trick" in the book to get health care reform passed. The mob-like tactics remind the (fragile) Post of The Sopranos.
That's certainly been a GOP Noise Machine favorite in recent week and months; that the WH is using extraordinary arm-twisting measures, including illegal maneuvers, to get its own members of Congress to sign off on a high-profile and controversial bill. Conservative partisans express outrage and gasp that they're certain they've never seen anything like the horse-trading now on display inside the Beltway.
Except we have. And worse.
I noted this a couple month ago, but with the incessant right-wing rhetoric about the supposedly corrupt health care vote, it's worth repeating: In 2004, a conservative member of Congress accused Republican colleagues of trying to bribe him by offering a six-figure campaign donation in exchange for his 'yes' vote on the controversial (and costly) Bush Medicare bill.
Funny, back then I don't remember hearing much caterwauling from the Post opinion page, or from Michelle Malkin, who appears to be working her way through the alphabet and denouncing every member of the Obama administration as corrupt. She's never seen this kind twisted vote-getting, she insists.
Except, of course, when it reportedly happened in plain sight in 2003.
From CBS/AP, at the time [emphasis added]:
The House ethics committee said Wednesday it will begin an investigation to determine whether Rep. Nick Smith, R-Mich., was offered a bribe to vote for the Medicare drug bill.
Smith was among several lawmakers lobbied heavily by GOP leaders last November to vote for the measure. It narrowly passed but Smith voted against it because he said it was too expensive.
After the vote, Smith told a radio station that Republican colleagues had offered $100,000 in campaign cash for his son, Brad, if he voted for the bill. The younger Smith is running to replace his father, who is retiring.
And what was the GOP's reaction to the allegations?
And Republicans were mounting a defense, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich telling C-SPAN on Friday that Smith was "a disgruntled retiring member" who was the victim of nothing more than the usual treatment in a close vote.
"I just think this is one of those occasional Washington mountains that's being built out of less than a molehill," Gingrich said.
Who says bipartisan cooperation is dead? Apparently there are scores of conservatives willing to give Democrats all kinds of heartfelt advice about passing health care reform.
As Washington Monthly's Steve Benen noted this week:
You know who's really looking out for congressional Democrats' electoral fortunes? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). While you and I might think, "Wait, isn't that the guy trying to destroy Democrats as part of his drive for power?" it seems McConnell is awfully anxious to give Democrats campaign advice, which he expects Dems to take seriously.
Not surprisingly, the transparent trend is spreading into the conservative media. in today's WSJ column, pundit Rove also warns Dems about the grave political consequences of passing health care reform: They're going to be punished at the polls!!
The polling landscape is littered with warning signs for Democrats. A Newsweek poll this week found that 62% of independents oppose Barack Obama's health-care plan. A Rasmussen poll, also out this week, found strong opposition to the president's health-care reform was twice as intense as strong support.
Passage of the Senate health-care bill will make a GOP takeover of the House more likely this fall, especially if all Republican candidates pledge to make pushing for repeal their first order of business next year.
That's all very well and good. But considering Rove is a professional partisan whose job for the last several decades has been to try to make sure Democrats get punished at the polls, why is Rove urging Democrats to avoid making a costly mistake? If passing health care is such a disaster-in-the-making for the Democratic Party, wouldn't Rove want Dems to pass the bill? Wouldn't he be gleeful at the prospect, and be doing everything he could now to make sure health care reform becomes law?
UPDATED: Meanwhile does anyone else think it's strange to watch journalists gather at Rove's knee as he launches his book tour and explains to them how the White House works, and details all the mistakes the Obama adminstration is making? Rove, after all, is the guy who helped guide the Bush presidency into a deepest ditch in modern American history. Bush left office with an approval rating that's basically half of what Obama's is today.
So why do journalists care what Rove has to say? He's the guy with all the answers?
As the Washington Post reported:
But Tuesday, U.S. District Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth tossed the case. "After years of litigation, endless depositions, the fictionalized portrayal of this lawsuit and its litigants on television," Lamberth concluded in a 28-page opinion, "this court is left to conclude that with the lawsuit, to quote Gertrude Stein, 'there's no there there.' "
The plaintiffs, he wrote, "after ample opportunity . . . have not produced any evidence of the far-reaching conspiracy that sought to use intimate details from FBI files for political assassinations that they alleged.
"The only thing that they have demonstrated is that this unfortunate episode -- about which they do have cause to complain -- was exactly what the defendants claimed: nothing more than a bureaucratic snafu."
But 'Filegate' didn't just happen. It wasn't able to maintain a decade-plus shelf life on its own. It was concocted and nurtured by partisan forces, both on Capitol Hill and in the media. And if there were any justice today, they'd have pay the mountainous legal fees that were wasted on 'Filegate' and similarly hollow Clinton-era scandals.
Writes Joe Conason at Salon:
Googling the term "Filegate" brings up stories that should embarrass the Wall Street Journal editorial page; the Media Research Center, whose chief wingnut Brent Bozell continued to flog this discredited fake as late as November 2007; National Review Online; WorldNetDaily; Fox News Channel, then in its noisome infancy; and indeed, nearly every other organ-grinder and kazoo-blower of the Republican noise machine.'
Unfortunately, the GOP Noise Machine appears to immune to embarrassments stemming from factual errors and conspiracy theories gone awry. And the Beltway press has made a tradition out of ignoring right-wing crusades that crash and burn.
So what's the unfortunate 'Filegate' legacy? There's still no political downside to launching fanciful, unglued attacks against Democrats. And it's a lesson that today's right-wing blogosphere, AM radio, and Fox News crew has taken to heart.
The Post's media critic today in his column highlights Rep. Patrick Kennedy's recent rant against the "despicable" national press corps for paying more attention this week to the Massa saga than a Congressional debate about the Afghanistan war.
Here's the Kennedy clip. (He addresses the news media in the first 45 seconds):
Here is Kurtz's take [emphasis added]:
I enjoy a good anti-media rant as much as the next guy, but let's get real. This was a vote on a symbolic resolution, pushed by Dennis Kucinich, to pull all troops out of Afghanistan by year's end. It went down 356 to 65. The news business has devoted considerable resources to this war and many correspondents have risked their lives to cover it. The House did not conduct a serious debate yesterday on ending the war, and therefore it wasn't covered seriously.
First of all, Kennedy wasn't referring to overseas war coverage. He was talking about that fact that inside the Beltway the debate over the Afghanistan war --the policy story -- is being ignored. So Kurtz's reference to overseas correspondents risking their lives misses the point.
Second of all, as Kennedy noted in his tirade, only two reporters, he claimed, showed up to cover the Congressional debate. According to Kurtz that wasn't a big deal because the debate was not "serious." But how did journalists know that before they decided not to show up to cover the debate?
Contrary to Kurtz's suggestion that the lack of coverage reflected the non-serious nature of the debate, it appears that journalists were going to skip the debate no matter what the content turned out to be.
In other words, it was just a (liberal) Kucinich resolution.