In his latest attack against Attorney General Eric Holder, Rush Limbaugh took issue with Holder's comments before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the "tragic shootings at Fort Hood." The offensive comments being "tragic shootings at Fort Hood":
LIMBAUGH: Now some of what Holder said today. He called the shooting at Fort Hood "tragic." No. It was a jihadist massacre. It was a terrorist attack. It was not a tragedy.
So Limbaugh makes clear that a distinction exists between terrorism and tragedy. The circles apparently are not concentric.
That established, let's take a walk down memory lane:
Just five months ago, Limbaugh addressed the Holocaust museum shooting and said:
LIMBAUGH: Very predictably, ladies and gentlemen, the media, the American left is trying to score some political points as a result of this tragedy at the Holocaust Museum in Washington yesterday, and as predictable, they are trying to blame this on me, other conservatives and right-wingers. It's the traditional approach taken by the American left.
The facts of the case, however, are such that if we want start assigning blame for this beyond this nutcase Jew hater, and notice that very few people actually want to do that. They want to claim this guy didn't have the ability to act on his own. He only could act if he was inspired by somebody. Well, who did he hate? He hated both Bushes. He hated neocons. He hated John McCain. He hated Republicans. He hated Jews as well. He believes in an inside job conspiracy of 9-11.
This guy is a leftist, if anything. This guy's beliefs, this guy's hate stems from influence that you find on the left, not on the right.
You almost get the feeling that Limbaugh's distinctions have more to do with how the words can be used to attack the Obama administration and "the American left."
At least the right-wing, Obama-hating site is consistent; it spreads lies on an almost daily basis. But I have to say, today's edition is particularly stunning in its brash disregard for the truth. It also provides a nice window into the world of conservative bloggers, where it seems people are actually encouraged to make stuff up.
Today's Obama-hating headline [emphasis added]:
Barack Obama: "I've Restored America's Standing in the World" (Video)
Gateway Pundit includes a video of Obama sitting down with CNN's Ed Henry, so readers can watch Obama proclaim, "I've restored America's standing in the world." And then readers are supposed to howl in disgust and mock the president's runaway ego. ("The Arrogant One," writes Gateway Pundit.)
The only problem is that at the 1:10 mark in the interview, here's what Obama actually says:
We've restored America's standing in the world.
To make this a thing, Gateway Pundit simply falsified the Obama quote. "We've" was replaced with "I've." Gateway Pundit doctored what Obama said in order to make it seem controversial. Like I said, another day, another Gateway Pundit falsehood. But here's the kicker, as of right now, nobody in the Gateway Pundit comment section has even bothered to watch the video and then point out that the item is built on a doctored quote. Readers there apparently like being fed a daily diet of manufactured misinformation.
Behold the right-wing blogosphere.
UPDATED: Incredibly, even though this Gateway Pundit falsehood has now been exposed, there's a very good chance it will not be fixed and that no correction or apology will be posted. (Gateway Pundit doesn't do the real world.) We'll keep you posted.
UPDATED: Even more bizarre is the fact that the Gateway Pundit item actually includes the written, and accurate, transcript of Obama's comments about how "we've" restored America's standing in the world. But for some reason Gateway Pundit decided to change Obama's quote for the eye-catching "I've" headline as well as the lede of the item.
Is this what happens when Obama Derangement Syndrome sets in?
UPDATED: Like the sun rising in the east, Gateway Pundit always delivers. It's been seven hours since we highlighted the manufactured Obama quote that Gateway Pundit is pushing today. And it's been many, many hours since CF readers pointed out the distortion in GP's comment section. Yet still no correction or update.
Gateway Pundit stands by its manufactured quote! Good to know.
"This was a production error in which the copy editor changed a script and didn't alert the control room to update the video,'' Michael Clemente, senior vice president of news at FOX, sad this evening. "There will be an on-air explanation during Happening Now on Thursday."
From Coulter's November 18 column, headlined "At the End of the Day, Diversity has Jumped the Shark":
It cannot be said often enough that the chief of staff of the United States Army, Gen. George Casey, responded to a massacre of 13 Americans in which the suspect is a Muslim by saying: "Our diversity ... is a strength."
As long as the general has brought it up: Never in recorded history has diversity been anything but a problem. Look at Ireland with its Protestant and Catholic populations, Canada with its French and English populations, Israel with its Jewish and Palestinian populations.
Or consider the warring factions in India, Sri Lanka, China, Iraq, Czechoslovakia (until it happily split up), the Balkans and Chechnya. Also look at the festering hotbeds of tribal warfare -- I mean the beautiful mosaics -- in Third World hellholes like Afghanistan, Rwanda and South Central, L.A.
"Diversity" is a difficulty to be overcome, not an advantage to be sought. True, America does a better job than most at accommodating a diverse population. We also do a better job at curing cancer and containing pollution. But no one goes around mindlessly exclaiming: "Cancer is a strength!" "Pollution is our greatest asset!"
Eighty 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 of white people." Here are his November 18 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Earlier, Think Progress caught Fox News showing what was clearly footage of a 2008 Sarah Palin campaign rally but claiming that it was video of "huge crowds" attending Palin's book tour.
But in case the McCain-Palin campaign signs and tee-shirts clearly visible in the footage Fox aired aren't enough to make Fox apologize, here's further proof.
Here's a screenshot of the footage of one of the rallies that Fox's Gregg Jarrett showed today and claimed was "just coming into us" as part of the book tour:
And here's a video of that same rally that TPM posted way back in 2008 -- when it actually happened.
UPDATE: For photographic proof that one of the rallies Fox News presented as being from Palin's book tour actually took place last year on the campaign trail, go here.
As the folks over at Think Progress note, Fox News's Gregg Jarrett today used old stock footage of a McCain-Palin rally from last year to illustrate how Sarah Palin is "continuing to draw huge crowds" during her book tour. He was apparently not tipped off by the McCain campaign "Country First" sign in one of the shots, nor did he wonder why Palin would be using a teleprompter to plug her book.
This is the second time in ten days Fox News has been caught deceptively using video to advance a misleading storyline - and that's just the tip of Fox News' video-doctoring iceberg. Maybe now Howard Kurtz will admit that there's a larger cultural problem with Fox News?
In late August, the Washington Post's Style section featured a friendly profile of National Organization for Marriage executive director Brian Brown. The profile, by Post writer Monica Hesse, portrayed Brown and NOM as a "rational" "sane" "mainstream" organization, and their critics as shrill and vitriolic. In order to portray Brown in such a friendly light, Hesse omitted evidence of their history of gay-bashing, and excluded any criticism of the organization.
Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander agreed with complaints that the piece was one-sided, as did Style editor Lynn Medford:
[I]t deprived readers of hearing from others who have battled Brown and find him uncivil and bigoted. To them, he represents injustice. They should have been heard, at length.
In retrospect, Style editor Lynn Medford agrees. "The lesson is to always, in some way, represent the other side," she said.
Compounding the story's problems were passages like: "He takes nothing personally. He means nothing personal. He is never accusatory or belittling."
These types of unattributed characterizations are not uncommon in feature writing. But many readers thought Hesse was offering her opinion of who Brown is, as opposed to portraying how he comes across.
Finally, the headline: "Opposing Gay Unions With Sanity & a Smile." To many readers, The Post was saying Brown's views are sane. The headline, written by editors, not Hesse, should have been neutral.
Apparently that lesson didn't take.
Today's Washington Post Style section features a profile of another anti-gay activist, Bishop Harry Jackson.
For 2,200 words, Post writer Wil Haygood tells readers about Jackson's faith, and about his childhood. Haygood tells us Jackson "found himself" in the Bible after his "Daddy died." We learn that during his working-class childhood, his parents scraped together money for tuition for private-school, where Jackson was, as he puts it, "the black kid at Country Day who stayed in the houses of wealthy white people." We learn that he got into Harvard Business school, and was "smitten" when he ran into a childhood acquaintance, who he later married.
And we learn that Jackson's critics are dangerous, angry people:
His admirers have multiplied, and so have his critics. More than once, police have stopped by his Southeast Washington apartment to check on his safety.
"I was in line someplace recently," Jackson says, "and a woman who obviously opposes what I'm doing looked at me and said, 'You better go back to Maryland.'"
His wife says: "We have been verbally abused by the best."
Some of his appearances unleashed vitriol, even threats.
But we never really hear from Jackson's critics. Not in any meaningful way. One is quoted saying Jackson is on TV a lot and is "fighting for political ideas in the religious arena." Another is quoted saying "It's an unfortunate reality ... that one can't preach discrimination without inciting homophobia."
And that's it.
Haygood reports that Jackson has won favorable reception for his writing about black families, but makes no mention of Jackson's claims that black people are more prone to "physical intimacy with a nonspouse or enjoyment of pornographic materials" than white people.
Haygood doesn't mention Jackson's claim that God told him to work for George W. Bush's re-election. Or that Jackson has been, as People for The American Way put it, "somewhat of an all-purpose activist and pundit for right-wing causes - everything from judicial nominations to immigration and oil drilling."
And the Post mentions nothing of Jackson's association with far-right gay-bashers:
While Jackson personally avoids venomous language, he has allied himself with some of the hardest line anti-gay activists on the white Christian Right. One of them is Ohio-based Rod Parsley, the evangelical mega-church preacher whose book, Silent No More, sells three for $10 in the front lobby of Hope Christian's 3,000-member church. A chapter entitled "The Unhappy Gay Agenda" argues that gay people are much given to depression and deviance, including their "substantially higher participation in sadomasochism, fisting, bestiality, ingestion of feces, orgies ... obscene phone calls ... shoplifting, and tax cheating."
"Homosexuality is not just sick," writes Parsley, "it is sin."
Jackson works with Parsley and a number of other Christian fundamentalists through his High Impact Leadership Coalition (HILC), a collection of black and white evangelical mega-church leaders who've banded together to fight same-sex union rights and campaign for conservative candidates. Standing next to Jackson at the HILC's coming-out press conference in February 2005 was the Rev. Lou Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition, an anti-gay organization so hard-line that it is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
And the Post couldn't find space among those 2,200 words to mention Jackson's opposition to the Matthew Shepard hate crimes legislation -- or the disturbing language Jackson used in opposing the bill:
"God's getting ready to shake us up," roared the Harvard MBA-turned preacher, rousing the audience to divinely ordained political action. With the crowd cheering, applauding, and speaking in tongues, Jackson shouted, "God's looking for a SWAT team ... he's looking for a team of Holy Ghost terrorists!"
Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander may as well just take the rest of the week off, and re-run his September 6 column about Monica Hesse's profile of Brian Brown. Apparently there are some people at the paper's Style section who missed it the first time.
UPDATE: Just to bring things full-circle: Guess who Hesse quoted saying Brown and NOM are "not gay bashers"? Yep: Harry Jackson.
Dems alarmed as independents bolt
Number of Dems quoted in article who say they're alarmed: 0
I really wish Newsweek writer Katie Connolly had named names in her brief online article headlined, "Outrage Over Obama's Bow Is Contrived and Unhelpful."
In it, Connolly wrote [emphasis added]:
I've been a little hesitant to weigh in on the debate about what it means that President Obama bowed when he met Japanese Emperor Akihito. It seems that the folks who are outraged by the bow are just seizing on it as yet another outlet for an increasingly unhinged disdain for anything and everything the president does.
I thought her take on the bow non-story was dead-on, but I wished she said more than "the folks who are outraged by the bow." I wish she had been more specific about whose those "folks" were. (Answer: Right-wing, Obama-hating loons. What, you have a better description?) It's important for Connolly and other journalists to start naming names and move beyond acknowledging in vague, cryptic ways, the type of tell-tale idiocy that Obama's dedicated haters shovel in and out everyday.
Journalists get what's going on. They understand that the almost daily contrived 'controversies' dreamt up nowadays by the GOP Noise machine are often just too dumb for words. (i.e. The bow.) They realize that Obama haters will try to push virtually any half-assed attack into the mainstream conversation. Journalist who take their jobs and who take politics seriously understand that the right-wing loons are using lies and smears and are slowly but successfully making a mockery out what used to be considered a serious pursuit in this country and inside the Beltway.
Journalists get all that. (How could savvy, serious people not get it?) And every now and then some of them, such as Connolly, call the BS out. They stand up and say that today's menu of Obama hate is "contrived and unhelpful." And that's good. It's important that journalists take that step and at least occasionally express that outrage at what now passes for 'news' and 'controversy.'
What's almost always missing from those efforts though, is the naming of the names. Too many Beltway journalists are still not comfortable being specific about which loud right-wing voices are trafficking in lies and nonsense on any given day. And so Connolly, for instance, settles for "the folks."
Who are "the folks"? In this case, they're Charles Krauthammer, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and the morning crew of Fox & Friends, just to name a few. And oh yeah, the entire right-wing blogosphere. That's who hatched the utterly irrelevant 'controversy' about whether Obama made an unspeakable error in bowing before Japan's Emperor Akihito. (I have not seen or read of a single expert in Japanese culture who thinks Obama did.)
As I noted earlier this year, collectively the right-wing press, including Fox News, is becoming the story. Fox, for instance, no longer operates as a news organization. Instead, it has transformed itself into the Opposition Party of the Obama White House, which means that real journalists need to treat Fox News as the political entity that it is. So when it launches a phony story like the "bow" controversy, and hammers it relentlessly, journalists like Connolly ought to state clearly who's pushing the partisan attack. Time and again this year, the Beltway press has politely refused to call out Fox News' new political role.
See, it's not just "folks" who are trying everyday to undermine the president. It's the staff at Fox News, and their allies in the right-wing media. Real journalists need to start pointing that out. They need to start naming names.