The following is a statement obtained by Media Matters for America from NAACP president and chief executive Benjamin Jealous:
"It is outrageous that while Americans of all races, genders and ethnicities throughout our country are focused on addressing the challenges our nation is besieged with, such as unemployment, healthcare reform, the home ownership crisis, education, and war
Mr.. Dobbs cannot get past his extremist fixation with President Obama's citizenship. We have all seen President Obama's birth certificate on the internet. He was born in Hawaii to his U.S. mother, a U.S. citizen born in Kansas. This makes him a citizen that, along with being over 35 years of age, makes him legally eligible to be elected the President of the United States. Any ethical journalist would not spread unfounded and clearly mendacious rumors that fan the flames of racial hatred and division. We urge Mr. Dobbs to adhere to journalistic standards and assure that the stories he perpetuates are based in fact. We ask Mr. Dobbs to focus on the crucial social and economic issues that affect so many Americans and are truly worthy of CNN's air time, rather than the tabloid journalism he seems to have embraced."
Last week, Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza filmed a "Mouthpiece Theater" video in which Milbank called Hillary Clinton a "mad bitch" and Cillizza called Rep. Chip Pickering's wife a "bitter woman from hell" (Her crime? She says her husband cheated on her. So, clearly, she is from hell.)
The Post pulled the video after hours of outrage, and Cillizza Tweeted about the controversy: "Folks, know a lot of you were upset about Mouthpiece,. We've apologized and the video has been pulled. Thanks for the feedback."
In fact, they hadn't apologized. A Post spokesperson said the video was "satire" that "went too far." But that isn't an apology -- not to Hillary Clinton, not to Chip Pickering's wife, and not to Washington Post readers. It's a "OK, we give, please stop hitting us."
And it hides behind the absurd notion that Milbank and Cillizza were simply engaging in satire that went a bit too far. Oh yeah? What were they satirizing when they called Clinton a "bitch" and Pickering a "bitter woman from hell"? That wasn't satire, that was simply two smug men calling women bitches and bitter women.
Yesterday, the Post's Howard Kurtz wrote in an online discussion "Chris apologized on his Twitter feed." No. Cillizza did not apologize in his Twitter feed. Saying "We've apologized" is not apologizing.
And today, Cillizza and Milbank made clear that they are not at all sorry. They posted a new "Mouthpiece Theater" in which they suggest they were "censored," pretend that Milbank's comment about Clinton was the only problem -- ignoring Cillizza's cruel attack on Chip Pickering's wife -- and generally treat the whole thing as a big joke.
Except, as usual, there's nothing funny about "Mouthpiece Theater."
This, by the way, is satire:
(Hat-tip to Americablog for the video, by Andy Cobb.)
UPDATE: CJR's Megan Garber on the new "Mouthpiece Theater":
[T]here's really very little to say about the video, because, as usual, there's really very little substance within it. Except that it's remarkable how, like one of those movie aliens that feeds off the life force of humans, the series's inflated sense of its own jocularity seems only to have expanded since Friday's debacle. As if "Mouthpiece Theater" feasts on widespread indignation itself.
From Burt Prelutsky's August 3 Townhall.com column:
When it comes to our national security, keeping the likes of Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank and John Kerry in the loop would be the height of insanity. The only loop appropriate for most of the ninnies in Congress is one hanging from the branch of a very tall tree.
So far as I can tell, the only real difference between members of Congress and cockroaches is that one of the two species has a few more legs than the other.
Lots of outlets are treating as news the mashup poster with the blaring "Socialist" banner printed under a white-faced Obama, which has been spotted at a single outdoor location Los Angeles. But as I read the dispatches I'm hard pressed to figure out why hateful propaganda is considered newsworthy.
I don't recall the news media dropping whatever they were doing in order to report whenever (anonymous) critics created anti-Bush posters. And if posters of Bush in blackface, or dressed up at Hitler, had sprouted up on a city street, would the press have treated that as breaking news?
This is as close as ABC News gets to justifying its coverage [emphasis added]
The Obama-Joker poster, with the word "socialism" in bold, dark letters printed under the image of his face, has caused a stir on the Web and was linked prominently on the Drudge Report.
Behold your liberal media.
If you're a media critic with unlimited space, and one of the biggest media stories for going on three weeks has been a cable news host promoting phony racial conspiracy theories about the president, and a media watchdog organization has released an ad it plans to run during that host's show criticizing his promotion of those conspiracy theories, doesn't it look pretty strange if you don't cover the ad?
Now how does it look if you've steadfastly refused to criticize that cable news channel's president despite his false and misleading support for that host's conspiracy theorizing?
Now, how does it look if you get a paycheck from that cable news channel?
It looks like you're ducking your responsibilities as the Washington Post's media critic for fear of offending your bosses at CNN, that's how it looks.
UPDATE: That ad Howard Kurtz is ignoring? Youtube viewers aren't ignoring it:
Chris Matthews spends much of each Hardball broadcast spouting off about things he doesn't understand, and making pronouncements about The Way Things Are that just don't make sense. Here he is talking about federal funding for abortion, for example:
The Hyde Amendment, which we all know about, says no federal dollar can pay for anybody's abortion, for the obvious reason: people who are opposed to abortion don't want to have to pay for it, directly or indirectly, as taxpayers.
No. No, that is obviously not the reason.
Plenty of people are opposed to the death penalty and wars of choice, and the Department of Agriculture, and studies about the mating habits of fruit flies and incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders and membership in the UN -- and they don't want to have to pay for those things, directly or indirectly, as taxpayers.
And yet they do pay for them. There is no "Hyde Amendment" preventing the government from paying for any of those things.
The Hyde Amendment's ban on federal funding of abortion does not exist -- cannot logically exist -- simply because people who oppose abortion don't want to pay for it. If that were the way things worked, we literally would not have a government.
No, the Hyde Amendment exists because the political and media establishment privilege opposition to abortion over countless other things that millions of Americans oppose. Like Chris Matthews just did, and like he has done in the past.
And yet Matthews sits there and insists that federal funding of abortion is not allowed simply because "people who are opposed to abortion don't want to have to pay for it," apparently not grasping the obvious implications of the silly notion that the government doesn't fund things some people don't want to pay for.
If you think this is all just semantics, take a look at the following two passages:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Hyde Amendment, which we all know about, says no federal dollar can pay for anybody's abortion, for the obvious reason: people who are opposed to abortion don't want to have to pay for it, directly or indirectly, as taxpayers.
BIZARRO CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Hyde Amendment, which we all know about, says no federal dollar can pay for anybody's abortion, even though it is a legal medical procedure, and even though collective funding for things individual taxpayers may oppose is inherent in the very concept of government.
Is there any doubt whatsoever that the second version would give people a clearer understanding of the situation? Is there any doubt at all that the first version is slanted in favor of the anti-abortion position?
From Chuck Norris' August 4 Creators Syndicate column:
Believe it or not, I'm not writing you to challenge whether or not you were born in America, though I see nothing wrong with the American public's voicing that constitutionally based grievance with someone in your esteemed position. As one blogger wrote, after all, "We aren't talking about a 12-year-old qualifying to play Little League here." Or as Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust but verify."
I must admit that I find it a bit of a groundless stretch not to believe in the birth announcements in two major Hawaiian newspapers in August 1961, in which Hawaii's Health Department would have been required to post information it received directly from hospitals: "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Hwy., son, Aug. 4." Nevertheless, that proof doesn't answer why you refuse to reveal your original birth certificate and end the growing tides of controversy.
I'm writing you because this is no longer a matter merely about proving you meet a presidential prerequisite in the Constitution. Refusing to post your original birth certificate is an unwise political and leadership decision that is enabling the "birther" controversy. The nation you are called to lead is experiencing a growing swell of conspirators who are convinced that you are covering up something. So why not just prove them wrong and shut them up?
I agree with CNN's Lou Dobbs, who was chastised by his own media outlet for demanding the release of your original birth certificate. Why was that such a bad request? We certainly know why Jon Klein, the president of CNN/U.S., thought it was a bad idea. He previously declared that CNN researchers had determined that your 1961 birth certificate no longer exists. But Hawaii officials confirmed again last week that they indeed have your original birth certificate on file.
Mr. President, as more and more people realize that you are refusing to release your original birth certificate, further questions will fuel the fires of debate or at least hinder the embers from ever being snuffed out. Questions such as, "Does it really contain the Hawaiian physician's name?" "Does it disclose something other than his birthplace that he wishes others not to see?"
From Robinson's August 4 Washington Post column:
There are probably people out there who think the world is flat, and they're not worth writing about. The "birthers" wouldn't be either unless you believe a poll released last week by Research 2000 revealing that an astounding 28 percent of Republicans actually think that Obama was not born in the United States and another 30 percent are "not sure." GOP officials need to order more tinfoil.
The survey, commissioned by the liberal Web site Daily Kos, found that 93 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of independents have no doubt - duh - that Obama was born in the United States. That only 42 percent of Republicans are similarly convinced is a fascinating indicator of just how far the Republican Party has drifted from the mainstream.
Also beyond the outer limits of sanity is CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, who has been giving prime-time exposure to the "birther" lunacy - even while denying that he believes in it. Dobbs' obsession with the "story" has become an embarrassment to the network, which has tried to position itself as untainted by political bias. CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein has pronounced the story "dead," but insists that it's legitimate for Dobbs to examine the alleged controversy, though in fact no controversy exists.
The "birther" thing is only Dobbs' latest detour from objective reality. For years, he has crusaded against illegal immigration by citing facts and figures that often turn out to be wrong. Television can confer a kind of pseudo-reality on any manner of nonsense.
Is this an orchestrated campaign to somehow delegitimize Obama's presidency? Is the fact that he is the first African American president a factor? Is it that some people can't or won't accept that he won the election and serves as commander in chief?
Maybe, maybe not. Trying to analyze the "birther" phenomenon would mean taking it seriously, and taking it seriously would be like arguing about the color of unicorns. About all that can be said is that a bunch of lost, confused and frightened people have decided to seek refuge in conspiratorial make-believe. I hope they're harmless. And I hope they seek help.
Chris Matthews, talking about opposition to health care reform (while, by the way, ignoring the fact that the demonstrations he's talking about are phony):
How much does this thing is about people coming to you talking about end of life decisions spook people, Michael? This thing, this provision, that talks about you get to talk about a living will. But it sounds to some people like, you're getting a little ill, all of a sudden somebody shows up at your door like they're a missionary and says "lets talk about how you're going to save the government money and your family the burden of continuing to live." that's the way it hits some people.
No, it doesn't hit some people that way. It doesn't sound that way to anybody. I'm quite confident that nobody, upon reading any health care proposal, has sincerely concluded that it would result in someone showing up at your door and telling you to save the government some money and just die already.
No, the idea that there is any such provision is a flat-out lie, made up by opponents of reform in an attempt to kill it. And Chris Matthews just helped spread that lie to the entire nation. Heckuva job, Chris.
On Hardball, moments ago:
PAT BUCHANAN: Global Warming is now a hoax--
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think Global Warming is a hoax?
BUCHANAN: I do think it's a hoax.
MATTHEWS: It's a hoax?
BUCHANAN: I think it goes up and down. The idea this is grave--
MATTHEWS: -- CO2 emissions, greenhouse gases, doesn't exist?
BUCHANAN: No, it does, of course it exists. The idea we're all gonna die of this is utter nonsense. It's a power transfer to governments here, and governments abroad.
MATTHEWS: And the motivation is what?
BUCHANAN: And the motivation is power. It always is in government.
MATTHEWS: So people like Al Gore have cooked this up to get what?
BUCHANAN: No, I think he believes it, Chris, like the Birthers believe it. He's just like they are. It's a religious belief with them.
Remind me again why this guy is on TV?
UPDATE: Here's the video.