From The Fox Nation, accessed on August 24:
Fox Nation links to a WorldNetDaily article which claims that Hannity "would make a formidable candidate, with the likability of Reagan, good looks and strong convictions." From the article:
Talk-show host Sean Hannity, a vocal opponent of Barack Obama's policies, said today he would not rule out a bid for the presidency in 2012.
Egged on by radio colleague Bill Cunningham, Hannity said he would consider entering the front lines of the political fray if God directs him.
"I've never made a decision in my life without - whatever destiny God has you've got to fulfill it," he said. "I'm not sure that's my destiny."
Hannity would make a formidable candidate, with the likability of Reagan, good looks and strong convictions. He's also a polished communicator and knows the issues inside out.
And he can debate.
The fringe pub just posted a name-calling screed about Obama and 9/11. After reading it a couple times I still have no idea what the Spectator is talking about, other than according to the Spectator's anonymous sources, Obama plans to completely desecrate the memory of 9/11.
Or something like that.
But this passage I got:
Color of Change is the extremist racial grievance group that isn't happy that TV's Glenn Beck did several news packages on Van Jones, the self-described "communist" and "rowdy black nationalist" who became the president's green jobs czar after jumping on the environmentalist bandwagon. The White House may be behind a push to destroy Beck by convincing advertisers to stop buying time on his show.
Read that again. According to AS's Matthew Vadum, Color of Change is leading a advertising boycott Glenn Beck because his show aired some nasty reports about a Color of Change ally, Van Jones.
Talk about living in a parallel universe. The boycott, of course, came in response to Beck's hateful smear that Obama is a "racist" who suffers from a "deep seated hatred of white people." That's why nearly three dozen companies have recently walked away from Beck's show.
But in Spectator's la-la land, Beck never called the President of the United States a racist. The episode simply does not exist.
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell:
Meanwhile, the president is on vacation. He is on a 25 acre estate in Martha's Vineyard. We understand a $35,000 rental for the week. His personal expense, his family's expense. Communications for the President, as always, and security, provided by the taxpayer. No one begrudges him the vacation.
Really? Then why do you keep talking about the expense?
Writing about the sweeping, and still-growing, advertising boycott of Glenn Beck's show, Howard Kurtz stresses that while companies are fleeing Beck, they're not leaving Fox News. No advertisers have completely yanked their ads from Fox.
Writes Kurtz [emphasis added]:
Beck's charge was so incendiary -- and bizarre, considering that Obama's mother was white -- that even some conservatives winced. But boycotts rarely succeed in forcing anyone off the air, and indeed, Fox hasn't forfeited a dime. A Fox spokeswoman pointed to the network's statement: "The advertisers referenced have all moved their spots from Beck to other day parts on the network, so there has been no revenue lost."
But that does not appear to be the case. From the Associated Press:
"This is a good illustration of that conundrum," said Rich Hallabran, spokesman for UPS Stores, which he said has temporarily halted buying ads on Fox News Channel as a whole.
FYI, Kurtz reported that "about 20 companies" had pulled their ads from Beck's program. The AP pegs the number at nearly three dozen.
From then-White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives director Jim Towey's November 26, 2003, "Ask the White House" online chat:
Colby, from Centralia MO writes:
Do you feel that Pagan faith based groups should be given the same considerations as any other group that seeks aid?
I haven't run into a pagan faith-based group yet, much less a pagan group that cares for the poor! Once you make it clear to any applicant that public money must go to public purposes and can't be used to promote ideology, the fringe groups lose interest. Helping the poor is tough work and only those with loving hearts seem drawn to it.
Buried in the middle of Robin Givhan's remarkably defensive screed against Michelle Obama's "jarring" and "common" decision to wear shorts on a recent outing at the Grand Canyon is this throwaway line:
Obama's thigh-skimming shorts speak to body confidence and athleticism rather than fashion, sex appeal or coquettishness.
It's a shame Givhan chose not to elaborate on that. If we stipulate to Givhan's contention that what the First Lady wears matters, we might well come to the conclusion that Michelle Obama's "body confidence" is something to be applauded, particularly in a society that has long done everything possible to undermine the confidence women have in their bodies. We might well conclude that a First Lady who demonstrates to millions of American women that you don't have to be a size zero to be comfortable and confident is doing something remarkably positive and important.
But instead of exploring that possibility, Givhan sniffs that Michelle Obama's outfit was insufficiently "polished" and "aesthetically respectful." And that's a shame. Givhan had an opportunity to say something important, if only she had seen it.
Earlier this month, I noted that Washington Post/CNN media critic Howard Kurtz has repeatedly failed to disclose his financial relationship with CNN when writing about the cable channel, even after assuring Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander that one such failure was an "oversight" that "won't be repeated."
Well, look what appears at the bottom of Kurtz' column today, in which he mentions CNN:
Howard Kurtz is a CNN contributor and hosts its media program "Reliable Sources" hour, which is part of "State of the Union."
Good to see Kurtz disclosing the tie again, but it's woefully inadequate. Kurtz has the biggest conflict-of-interest going, and it isn't a theoretical one: it has clearly affected his coverage of CNN and Lou Dobbs this summer. Someone at the Post owes it to readers to address this comment publicly.
Kurtz is doing an online discussion at this very moment if you'd like to ask him about it.
From the Fox Nation on August 24:
In an online discussion today, Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon equates current Republican claims that President Obama wants to cut Medicare with mid-1990s Democratic criticism of Republicans for trying to do so. But the situations are far different: Multiple independent observers have made clear that current health care reform efforts wouldn't cut Medicare benefits or increase out-of-pocket costs, while the GOP's mid-1990s cuts would have done so.
Las Cruces, NM: Much of the angst about the Health Care reform is voiced by seniors worried about changes to Medicare (Obama has repeatedly said that savings must come from Medicare). If you recall, in the '80's and '90's Republicans wanted to cut the rise in Medicare costs and were vilified (sometimes with very obvious lies, for instance - calling a reduction in increased funding "funding cuts") Is there any irony that Obama is now being vilified for the same reasons? I remember some pretty irresponsible t.v. ads, especially during the Reagan/Bush years.
Perry Bacon Jr.: Yes, the way this issue has flipped is interesting. I wrote a piece about the Republicans that ran Sunday and I quoted ex-Bush aide David Frum complaining about how his party is making the kinds of attacks on Medicare that Democrats once did. Michael Steele has an op-ed in our paper attacking Obama on this issue, much as President Clinton did of Dole in the 1996 campaign. I do think the president's team has a major problem with seniors and has to get them behind the reform effort.
Here's FactCheck.org: "The claim that Obama and Congress are cutting seniors' Medicare benefits to pay for the health care overhaul is outright false, though that doesn't keep it from being repeated ad infinitum."
And AARP: "Fact: None of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services.:
By contrast, here's a New York Times description of the Republicans' 1995 efforts to cut hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare:
The Senate and House bills seek to save the same amount of money, cutting projected Medicare spending by $270 billion, or 14 percent, over seven years.
Senate Republicans would impose more of a burden on Medicare beneficiaries, increasing the annual deductible for doctors' fees as well as the monthly premium that beneficiaries pay for coverage of doctors' and outpatient services. House Republicans have said they will increase only the premium, not the deductible.
Under current law, Medicare beneficiaries must pay the first $100 of costs incurred each year for doctors' services. The Senate would increase the annual deductible to $150 in 1996 and would raise it by $10 in each of the following six years. The deductible, set originally at $50, has been increased only three times in the history of Medicare. The last increase, to $100 from $75, occurred in 1991.
Senate Republican aides said the $270 billion of savings would be achieved in these ways: Beneficiaries would contribute $70 billion, through higher premiums and deductibles. About $150 billion would be extracted from hospitals, doctors, nursing homes and other providers of health care.
Another key difference? Bob Dole, who helped lead the GOP's effort to cut $270 billion from Medicare, had voted against creating Medicare in 1965, and had bragged about that vote in 1995: "I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare -- one of twelve -- because we knew it wouldn't work in 1965."
Howard Kurtz is bewildered that people believe falsehoods about health care reform, despite the fact that news organizations like the Washington Post have debunked them:
In the 10 days after Palin warned on Facebook of an America "in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel,' " The Washington Post mentioned the phrase 18 times, the New York Times 16 times, and network and cable news at least 154 times (many daytime news shows are not transcribed).
While there is legitimate debate about the legislation's funding for voluntary end-of-life counseling sessions, the former Alaska governor's claim that government panels would make euthanasia decisions was clearly debunked. Yet an NBC poll last week found that 45 percent of those surveyed believe the measure would allow the government to make decisions about cutting off care to the elderly -- a figure that rose to 75 percent among Fox News viewers.
On Aug. 9, Post reporter Ceci Connolly said flatly in an A-section story: "There are no such 'death panels' mentioned in any of the House bills."
Ok, let's take a look at that Connolly article:
Conservative talk-radio shows have raised the prospect of euthanasia based on a provision to reimburse doctors through Medicare for counseling sessions about end-of-life directives.
And comments posted on former Alaska Republican governor Sarah Palin's Facebook page Friday said that people would have to "stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."
There are no such "death panels" mentioned in any of the House bills.
That is not a particularly effective debunking, for several reasons, including:
1) Connolly repeats the false claims for two paragraphs before indicating their falsity.
2) Connolly doesn't explain their falsity in any way -- doesn't explain that the counseling sessions are optional, or that they would not impose outcomes on patients, doesn't indicate that the falsehood comes from people who have a pattern of lying about health care. Connolly's debunking comes down to "Trust me, not Sarah Palin or talk show hosts." Obviously, many of Connolly's conservative readers are unlikely to do so.
3) Connolly's debunking sentence appears narrowly crafted: It can be read to apply only to the phrase "death panels," not to the euthanasia in the first paragraph, and it refers specifically to the "House bills," rather than making clear that nobody is proposing anything like Death Panels.
4) Connolly's article privileges the lie.
If this is what Kurtz holds up as a shining example of the media debunking the false claims, it isn't at all difficult to see why so many people believe them.
Meanwhile, Kurtz has finally discovered the fact that television has done a lousy job of covering the substance of health care reform:
The eruption of anger at town-hall meetings on health care, while real and palpable, became an endless loop on television. The louder the voices, the fiercer the confrontation, the more it became video wallpaper, obscuring the substantive arguments in favor of what producers love most: conflict.