From Rush Limbaugh's October 16 Wall Street Journal op-ed, headlined "The Race Card, Football and Me: My critics would have you believe no conservative meets NFL 'standards.' ":
The sports media elicited comments from a handful of players, none of whom I can recall ever meeting. Among other things, at least one said he would never play for a team I was involved in given my racial views. My racial views? You mean, my belief in a colorblind society where every individual is treated as a precious human being without regard to his race? Where football players should earn as much as they can and keep as much as they can, regardless of race? Those controversial racial views?
The NFL players union boss, DeMaurice Smith, jumped in. A Washington criminal defense lawyer, Democratic Party supporter and Barack Obama donor, he sent a much publicized email to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying that it was important for the league to reject discrimination and hatred.
When Mr. Goodell was asked about me, he suggested that my 2003 comment criticizing the media's coverage of Donovan McNabb -- in which I said the media was cheerleading Mr. McNabb because they wanted a successful black quarterback -- fell short of the NFL's "high standard." High standard? Half a decade later, the media would behave the same way about the presidential candidacy of Mr. Obama.
The talker takes to the friendly pages of the WSJ today to explain why being rejected by the NFL reflects poorly on everyone else but him and the brand of hate speech he's perfected.
And get this, it's all Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson's fault! They totally hypnotized NFL owners, players (both current and former) and union reps into rejecting the Limbaugh offer. I mean, who knew? Sharpton and Jackson, who both belatedly wrote letters to the NFL's commissioner's office in opposition to Limbaugh, apparently have super-human powers over not only African-American NFL players, but the all white, country club owners of the NFL.
Is there nothing Sharpton and Jackson can't accomplish?
And of course Limbaugh's still steamed about a couple race-baiting quotes that were attributed to him and which he claims he never said. Limbaugh conveniently believes they're the entire reason the NFL told him to get lost and frankly, Rush is dismayed:
I never said I supported slavery and I never praised James Earl Ray. How sick would that be?
How sick would that be? It would be about as sick as making this comment, which Limbaugh quite clearly did:
"We are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles ... because his father was black."
Rush wanted to be an NFL owner. He wanted to be part of that super-exclusive, Masters of the Universe club, but the NFL said no. In fact, his own investor partners threw him under the bus. Now Limbaugh's in permanent pout mode and he, of course, is completely blameless.
Hey Rush, enjoy the rest of the NFL season.
Over at Daily Beast, Conor Friedersdorft has a good piece examining why it's impossible to take seriously Rush Limbaugh's whining about how the 'other side' always injects race into the debate, when Limbaugh himself has spent 2009 pretty much doing nothing but that:
It is also understandable that a professional sports league wouldn't want to associate itself with someone who so frequently plays the race card. That doesn't mean Mr. Limbaugh is a racist. I take him at his word that he isn't. He is merely a racial provocateur whose ire at being called a racist doesn't prevent him from affixing the label to others with stunning frequency.
Limbaugh's defense is part of the emerging, albeit bizarre, right-wing view that conservatives are allowed to do and say whatever they want under the guise of political debate, but nobody--nobody--is allowed to hold those words against them. Suddenly, in the far-right corners of the political spectrum, "free speech" means never being held responsible for anything you say.
So when Limbaugh spends the first eight months of Obama's first term relentlessly, and divisively, injecting race into every day's debate, he can never be labeled a race-baiter. That's an attack on his right to free speech.
The NFL (and the real world) begs to differ.
So much for that experiment.
In August, I gave Bill O'Reilly credit for having the guts (since almost nobody else at FNC will) to put an smart, persuasive, articulate liberal on his show. At the time he invited Fox News contributor, and Columbia University professor, Marc Lamont Hill to discuss the right-wing's unhinged response to Obama's presidency. Hill, as the old saying goes, made mince meat out of O'Reilly.
Well, no more awkward moments for the over-matched O'Reilly, because Hill, one of Fox News' few liberal contributors, has been fired for his political views. Apparently, right-wing purifiers were calling for his head, so Roger Ailes showed Hill the door.
More conservative political correctness run amok. (Quick, somebody alert Rush Limbaugh!)
P.S. Why on earth would Mediaite.com think Fox News' decision to fire Hill was "surprising"? Because Fox News is such a bastion of diversity? Please, the move is utterly predictable as the RNC's cable outlet continues to narrow its sanctioned talking point between far-right and really far-right.
Should we start the Geraldo countdown now?
UPDATED: News Hounds nicely captures the stench of hypocrisy that surrounds Hill's firing:
Despite repeated whining on Fox News that Rush Limbaugh was punished for his political views, the "fair and balanced" network seems to have done the same thing to one of its own.
NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd sneaks in right before the deadline with the runaway winner for "Worst Example of Purported Liberal Media Bias of the Week." His latest blockbuster scoop is headlined: MSNBC Promo Narrator Also Does Work for Pro-ObamaCare Group. Take it away, Ken:
But it's not just the on-camera talent that has all the fun cheerleading liberal policies. It seems a promotional ad narrator for MSNBC also does voiceover work for a pro-ObamaCare group, Health Care for America Now (HCAN).
I noticed the HCAN ad at 11:20 a.m. EDT today and worked up a mashup featuring excerpts of the HCAN ad and a promo for tonight's MSNBC programming.
You can watch for yourself, but a quick note for Shepherd: when your video hinges on the premise of people being disturbed by a narrator saying things like "What's MSNBC talking about tonight?" and "MSNBC: The Place for Politics," you probably don't have much of an argument. Though in Shepherd's defense, I could definitely detect the narrator subliminally encouraging a public option in the way he pronounced "tonight."
Helpfully, Shepherd does most of the work demolishing the entire point of his post with his final paragraph:
NBC Universal's Alana Russo informed NewsBusters via e-mail that MSNBC's announcers are freelancers, "not in-house staff employees." Asked if there were any "contractual limitations" barring those freelancers from "doing political ads while under contract with MSNBC," Russo answered that "[t]hey do not have exclusive contracts with MSNBC."
I have spent the better part of an hour trying to determine how Shepherd thought this was worth posting after receiving a perfectly reasonable response from MSNBC. The narrator is a freelancer. Let's hope Shepherd doesn't hear the same narrator in a promo for Dan Brown's latest DC-based thriller -- he'll be connecting those dots for weeks.
Here at County Fair, we have made it a bit of a cottage industry mocking the blog commonly seen as our counterpart on the right, and with good reason. By comparison, let's have a look at what an actual conflict of interest surrounding health care reform coverage at a major news outlet looks like, courtesy of fellow County Fair blogger Matt Gertz:
Media Matters for America has obtained evidence that CNN contributor Alex Castellanos' political consulting firm, National Media, is the ad buyer for the insurance industry group America's Health Insurance Plan's (AHIP) new ad blitz attacking Democratic health reform plans. CNN has a responsibility to insure that Castellanos' obvious conflict of interest does not tarnish their future coverage of the health care debate.
One of these things is not like the other.
Beck (!) says McCarthy was a "nightmare" because he "made cries of communism a joke"
Given Glenn Beck's one-man crusade to root out communism in the Obama administration, a crusade which most recently led him to spend a whole show attacking Anita Dunn because she once cited Mao has a "favorite political philosopher," and which targeted Van Jones, and which led him to claim that "the president has an agenda that is radical, revolutionary, and in some cases, Marxist," and which most amusingly has led him to look for signs of Marxism and fascism in the artwork of Rockefeller Center (which also houses Fox News)...
Given this long history fomenting fear about communism, one might expect Beck to idolize or romanticize trailblazer Joseph McCarthy.
But in his 2003 book The Real America, Beck writes:
One of the worst things that ever happened to America was Joseph McCarthy-and not for the reasons that everybody else thinks that Joseph McCarthy was a nightmare. I give you that Joseph McCarthy was an out-and-out nightmare for all the reasons everybody thinks, but it goes much deeper than that.
Joseph McCarthy made cries of communism a joke. He makes the cries of socialism a joke. Nowadays when you say, "Um, you know, So-and-So is a Socialist," everybody laughs. It's like calling someone a witch, or a pirate. It just doesn't have any meaning anymore. "Oh no, he's a Socialist! So what?"
In the same way, Al Sharpton makes cries of racism a joke.
Keep it up, Al. You really want to hurt the cause of the African-Americans? Keep crying racism, because nobody will pay attention to you.
When they hear it, it will become a joke, and they will laugh. Quite honestly, Al, the way they're laughing at your hair now.
So Joseph McCarthy had his witch-hunt in the 1950s, and he tried to find all the Socialists, all the commies, all the pinkos, and you know what? Some of them really existed. But the lasting repercussion of this is that nobody is afraid of socialism, nobody thinks communism is a bad thing. (pp. 114-115)
Beck is accusing McCarthy of making the "cries" of communism and socialism a "joke."
Moreover, Beck says that the "lasting repercussion" of McCarthy's "witch-hunt" is that "nobody is afraid of socialism, nobody thinks communism is a bad thing."
Ugh. Here's the Post headline, about how Obama's supposedly moving way to slow on judicial nominations:
Obama Criticized as Too Cautious, Slow on Judicial Posts
And the lede:
President Obama has not made significant progress in his plan to infuse federal courts with a new cadre of judges, and liberal activists are beginning to blame his administration for moving too tentatively on what they consider a key priority.
Interesting, right? Liberal activists are really upset with the Obama White House because it's moving too slowly in filling vacancies on the federal bench. Well, that would be interesting if the Post could find any truth to the premise. It can't, but that doesn't stop Micheal Fletcher from typing it up anyway.
In truth, so few judges have been confirmed because, as the Post concedes, Republicans are placing holds on the nominations and doing everything they can to block the confirmation process. To most readers, that would seem to be the story. But the Post wants to spotlight those supposed angry "liberal activists" who are annoyed with Obama re: judges. The problem is, the Post can't find any to quote.
In the entire article, the Post does not include a single quote from any "liberal activists" who "are beginning to blame," or who have "criticized," the White House for "moving too tentatively" of judges, or anything remotely like that. The Post just invented that news angle, even though it couldn't substantiate it.
Here's The New Republic's Jonathan Chait:
In my field, we have something called the National Magazine Awards. Magazine writers tend to be both obsessed with who wins and convinced the process is a pathetic joke. This isn't just sour grapes, either. The last time The New Republic won a National Magazine Award, it was for publishing Betsy McCaughey's infamous anti-Clintoncare screed "No Exit," which is probably the worst article in the history of TNR. It's as if the last American to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Timothy McVeigh.
Which, of course, raises the question of why TNR hasn't given back the award -- and why its editor claims the magazine has "recanted" and "apologized" for "No Exit," even though it has done nothing of the kind.