Saturday's dispatch from Obama's health care town hall forum held in Montana yesterday was telling in terms of how the press continues to prop up angry health care opponents as being inherently newsworthy, while bascially dismissing those who support reform.
Here's the key passage fom the Times article:
...participants otherwise seemed overwhelmingly supportive of the president.
Obama held a forum on health care, and in this case, the crowd was "overwhelmingly supportive." So how many supporters did the Times article quote? Zero. In the article, the Times was only intersted in detailing what a small number of town hall critics had to say. Those were the only voices the Times reporter thought were important to the coverage.
On his program today, Glenn Beck told the life story of scientist Stephen Hawking (a recent recepient of the Presidential Medal Of Freedom) from an interesting perspective. In Beck's version of history, Hawking dealt with his illness (ALS) without any handouts, pulling himself up via his own bootstraps and apparently without the sort of health care system Beck claimed was a form of goose-stepping.
The British physisist spoke out after Republican politicians lambasted the NHS as "evil" in their effort to stop President Barack Obama's reforms of US health care which will widen availability of treatment but at a cost to higher earners who will pay higher insurance premiums.
"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS," he said. "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."
Recent attacks on the integrity of the NHS were protested via a campaign by British users of Twitter.
One almost has to admire Matthew Vadum, senior editor at the right-wing Capital Research Center, for the sheer audacity of admitting that he doesn't have the facts to support his smear of President Obama, yet going ahead with the smear anyway.
In an Aug. 13 Newsmax article suggesting that an advertiser boycott campaign of Glenn Beck's Fox News show spearheaded by the group Color for Change, co-founded by current Obama administration official Van Jones, is "being orchestrated with some high level help from the Obama White House," reporter David A. Patten quotes Vadum as saying, "I don't have proof that the White House asked Color of Change to help it fight back against Glenn Beck ... But I wouldn't be surprised to learn it had. Van Jones has the president's ear. It's a few hundred feet from his office at the Council on Environmental Quality to the Oval Office."
That's it. The relative proximity of Jones' and Obama's offices -- a mere football field length away from each other! -- plus Vadum's baseless speculation are all the evidence Patten offers of this purported scheme.
It's hard to tell who's more foolish here -- Vadum for making such a boldly empty claim or Patten for building an article around it.
Apparently panicked over ColorOfChange.org's increasingly successful efforts to hold Glenn Beck and Fox News accountable for Beck's race-baiting, right-wing websites have gone into full attack mode. At Redstate, for example, Erick Erickson defends Beck's assertion that President Obama is a "racist," claiming that "it's not a stretch to say it." Erickson goes on to call for a boycott of companies that have pulled out of Beck's show and who, according to Erickson, are "kowtowing to Barack Obama's worshippers, brownshirts, goons, and thugs." He writes:
We need to strike back and boycott these groups for ditching Beck. If they are going to fold so easily in the face of Obama brownshirts, we must push back. If not, who'll be next?
Here's the list of the groups that have boycotted Glenn Beck. Let them know you disagree. Let them know you will boycott them for kowtowing to Barack Obama's worshippers, brownshirts, goons, and thugs.
Fisk Johnson Chairman & CEO
Senior Global Public Affairs Manager
Phone: (262) 260-2114
Glenn Renwick, President & CEO- (440)461-5000
Linda Harris, Advertising & Sponsorships
Chairman, President & CEO, Insurance Operations
Chris Tasher, GEICO Media Relations
From an August 14 post by Washington Post Co. blogger Greg Sargent:
If you're a top prospective GOP Senate candidate who's introducing herself to voters in preparation for a nationally watched Senate race, it's probably not great form to spend any time hangin' with the anchor-woman who described Obama and Michelle's fist bump as a "terrorist fist jab."
That, at any rate, is what national Dems are charging, now that Kelly Ayotte, the national GOP's top choice for Senate in New Hampshire, is set to speak at a local event being keynoted by E.D. Hill, the former Fox anchor who sparked a big controversy when she offered up the aformentioned "terrorist fist jab" line.
Ayotte is set to attend the Nashua Area Republican City Committee's annual "Steakout" fundraiser on September 12th with keynote speaker Hill, according to the local party's calendar.
Sayeth DSCC spokesperson Eric Schultz: "With Kelly Ayotte surrounding herself with Washington insiders, lobbyists, and now this - it raises a lot of questions about what she stands for and what she's all about." Ayotte's campaign didn't immediately return a request for comment.
In 2003, Hill told USA Today that she's a "primary-voting Democrat." Hill later said on Bill O'Reilly's now-departed radio show in October 2008 that she had a "transformation" and changed her affiliation to Republican.
From the Fox Nation, accessed on August 14:
Just out of curiosity, are we going to be reading these conservatives-still-trail-liberals-online articles in 2012? 2015? 2020? It's just astonishing to me that nearly seven years (which is what, 70 years in Internet time?), the conservative blogosphere still badly trails the left online, and even more incredibly, it appears to be making no serious gains.
How is it that a major major political movement in this country has managed to be caught so off-guard for so long about a media revolution that everyone else seems to have picked up by now?
Here's my take from Bloggers On The Bus:
In truth, the two blogospheres had distinctly different DNA's because they were born into different political environments. In the late 1990's and early 2000's conservatives had already established their own alternative, movement-based media (aka the Republican Noise Machine.) Built around talk radio, Fox News and partisan print outlets, they were part of a political movement first, and part of the media landscape second. Meaning, they had a clear allegiance to the GOP and they eagerly embraced propaganda; endlessly repeating ideas, phrases, and images.
So when the Internet began to emerge as a political force at the turn of the decade, it wasn't as if a vacuum existed among conservatives in terms of political discourse. They already had an abundance of established outlets where their voices could be heard and promoted. That's one reason they were slower to embrace the Internet.
Consequently, when the conservative blogosphere matured, it did so within the framework of the established, GOP-friendly alternative media system. Right-wing bloggers like Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt simply joined in the same conversations that were already being heard on talk radio, and on Fox News and in the pages of the Weekly Standard. Bloggers brought another microphone to an already crowded GOP media table and became an appendage of talk radio. They represented another lineup of pundits and commentators. They embraced the old fashion model of experts dispensing wisdom to their loyal readers.
For years, many of the major conservative blogs didn't even allow readers to post comments, which meant the conversation flowed from the blogger (i.e. from the pundit) to the reader. The interaction remained limited, as was the sense of shared community. Consequently, because lots of prominent conservative bloggers showed no interest in leading a larger movement that meant comparatively little organizing, fundraising or policy initiatives sprang from the conservative blogs. After all, that's what well-funded conservative think tanks were for.
Of course, there's another reason the Rightroots movement remains stagnant: It's led by dopes.
ColorOfChange.org this week received confirmation from four more companies – ConAgra (maker of Healthy Choice products), Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, and RadioShack – pledging to pull their ads from Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck show. These new defections come on the heels of reports that Men's Wearhouse, State Farm and Sargento also pulled their ads in recent days. They join LexisNexis-owned Lawyers.com, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, SC Johnson and GEICO, who all pulled their ads from Glenn Beck after the news host called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people," on "Fox and Friends."
"…Upon review of this particular program, we have discontinued our advertising for all ConAgra Foods products during its airing," said Stephanie Childs, spokesperson for ConAgra Foods, in an email to ColorOfChange.org. "We share your commitment to diversity in all areas of life and appreciate you sharing your concerns with us."
"We have specified that our ads will no longer run on Mr. Beck's show," said Sean Connor, Manager of Media Services and Purchasing for Sanofi-Aventis, in an e-mail to ColorOfChange.org. "We have included this show on a list of programming that should not be utilized within the Fox network buys. Thank you for drawing our attention to this matter."
"This confirms that there is no advertising we (RadioShack) [are] buying on the Glen Beck Show or anywhere on the Fox News Channel," said Dave Hamlin, Director of Media Services for RadioShack, in an email to ColorOfChange.org. "What viewers are seeing on FNC and Glen Beck is manufacturer advertising that has tagged their messages with "RadioShack" as the retail destination to purchase their product(s). In this most recent instance, it is most likely the product called magicJack that has tagged our name throughout their commercial."
"We've asked magicJack to immediately cease and desist running all commercials with our name tagged in the spot on FNC," Hamlin continued. "In fact, I just received verification from one our merchants that magicJack has confirmed the commercial will be pulled from the Fox News Channel rotation ASAP."
A spokesperson for Roche confirmed the company's decision to pull its ads during a phone conversation with ColorOfChange.org Tuesday, but the company has not issued a written statement.
"We are proud of all the companies who have stepped forward to pull their ads from Glenn Beck," said James Rucker, executive director of ColorOfChange.org. "It's becoming clear that many people feel the same outrage we feel and we applaud those companies who are taking a stand against Beck's hatred. We won't stop here – we're going to continue our fight to see that as many of Beck's advertisers pull their support as possible."
Two weeks ago, ColorOfChange.org called on its 600,000-plus members to sign a petition urging companies who advertise on Glenn Beck to cut off their advertising support of his work. Since then, more than 125,000 members have responded to the call by signing a petition directed at advertisers.
The ColorOfChange.org email urged members to go visit http://www.colorofchange.org/beck/, where they could send letters to executives of target companies. With more than 600,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the largest African-American online political organization in the country.
From his latest column:
The Nazi comparisons from Rush Limbaugh; broadcaster Mark Levin asserting that President Obama is "literally at war with the American people"; former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin claiming that the president was planning "death panels" to extirpate the aged and disabled; the charges that the president is a fascist, a socialist, a Marxist, an illegitimate Kenyan fraud, that he "harbors a deep resentment of America," that he feels a "deep-seated hatred of white people," that his government is preparing concentration camps, that it is operating snitch lines, that it is planning to wipe away American liberties": All this hysterical and provocative talk invites, incites, and prepares a prefabricated justification for violence...
It's not enough for conservatives to repudiate violence, as some are belatedly beginning to do. We have to tone down the militant and accusatory rhetoric.
Or does he just get paid to peddle partisan information? I'm leaning toward the latter.
From his WashTimes column this week [emphasis added]:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is having a hard time these days explaining the president's Israel policy to her Jewish constituents, blatantly lied and said that the protesters were wielding "swastikas and symbols like that."
Didn't we already go through this routine, and didn't NRO's Jonah Goldberg already sufficiently embarrass himself when he claimed Pelosi was "lying" about the swastika claim?
Guess Breitbart didn't get the memo:
And a bonus for Breitbart, from the Wall Street Journal:
Diane Campbell of Kingston, N.H., held a sign with Mr. Obama's face superimposed on a Nazi storm trooper, a sign, she said, that was made by her chronically ill mother..."Adolf Hitler was for exterminating the weak, not just the Jews and stuff, and socialism -- that's what's going to happen."