Today, Neil Cavuto hosted Bob Newman -- a Colorado radio host who Cavuto presented as a "terror expert" -- to discuss the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. During the segment, Newman raised questions about whether President Obama's recent visit to a concentration camp or his statement about Israeli settlements were factors in the shooting:
CAVUTO: But Bob, normally when you're in tough economic times, it does bring out the sort of -- the home-grown loonies. And I wonder whether that's what we have to worry about, or we should be not forgetting. What do you think?
NEWMAN: That is oftentimes one of what is called the lead-up catalyst -- what led to this particular act that was mentioned just a few moments ago? What was the president of the United States doing last week? He was visiting a Holocaust site in Germany with Chancellor Merkel. And a day or two before that, he was mentioning some things about the Jews in regards to the settlements in the West Bank. Were those factors here? Well, we don't know. That's what the investigation is for. Remember, simply because something might seem obvious upfront -- this has to be it -- not necessarily. And that's where the FBI will come in. They'll get to the bottom of it.
Cavuto didn't say anything else about Newman's background, so here are a couple highlights from his radio show, The Gunny Bob Show.
Newman called for all Muslim immigrants to the U.S. "to be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times":
NEWMAN: I want -- tell me if I'm wrong or tell me if I'm right. I want every Muslim immigrant to America who holds a green card, a visa, or who is a naturalized citizen to be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times. And the FBI and the NSA should monitor their phones and their emails, all communications -- electronic -- at all times, as well as bug their places of work and their residences. If they don't like the idea, or if they refuse, throw their asses out of this country. All mosques and community centers as well as Muslim organizations must be monitored. We know with the arrests today that the Muslim terrorists are absolutely, positively here -- and we invited them to our country! And I think maybe it's time that we should stop doing that. Call me kooky, but I think maybe it's time for a little moratorium on Muslim visas, period. Hey, I'm sorry, guys -- I know that a lot of you are great people. I know you just like to do business here or become a U.S. citizens and be a peaceful person. I know that. But you know what? You better get control of your own people. Once you get control of them, then come see us again and we'll think about -- however many decades down the road it is -- we'll think about maybe opening our doors to you again. But you are doing absolutely freaking nothing to help, to, to help this nation. And that's that. [5/8/07]
Newman said of "terrorist-hugging" Obama: "What are you gonna do, Obama, come to Denver and try ... to whip my white ass?"
NEWMAN: Barack Obama goes off on the patriotic right and says he's a tough guy, and if ya challenge his wife, you better be careful. Oh, really? Barack Obama is threatening those who challenge his vile wife. Saying that conservatives better, quote, "lay off my wife," close quote, or else. He says those who take his wife to task, quote, "should be careful," close quote, because his wife's comments, his wife's beliefs, and his wife's complaints about this country are off-limits to public debate and scrutiny if it comes from, apparently, white conservatives. What is this clown now, some sort of a bad ass? What are you gonna do, Obama, come to Denver and try, key word try, to whip my white ass? Son, you are not some sort of macho tough guy, trust me. You are just another blowhard, make-believe thug who wants to be the most powerful man on Earth. You're a far-left, terrorist-hugging politician, not the bad-boy gangsta you want people to believe you are. Listen, sonny, why don't you grow a spine, and at least one cojone, and accept one of the many invitations I have extended for you to appear on The Gunny Bob Show, heard in 38 states, many of which are rather important to your election plan? Oh, and if you ever do muster the courage to do so, we will definitely be talking about your wife and her myriad personal problems. [5/19/08]
Well, they sure will be busy.
Via the Associated Press:
News Corp. has agreed to form an external diversity council after meeting with civil rights groups about a New York Post cartoon that critics said likened President Barack Obama to a dead chimpanzee.
The company will form a "diversity community council" in New York City that will meet with senior company executives twice a year, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said Wednesday. It also will include a statement of commitment to diversity in its annual report.
So, this is a council for ALL of News Corp., and it will be meeting twice a year. Even if Fox News (owned by News Corp.) alone had daily meetings, I'm not sure it would result in much of an improvement.
After all, Rupert Murdoch launched the News Corp. green initiative two years ago, and Fox News personalities still have trouble accepting the reality of climate change science.
I'm happy the NAACP and other civil rights leaders have brought about some form of change at News Corp. It remains to be seen, though, if News Corp.'s commitment on the issue is anything more than another PR stunt.
From Politico's Michael Calderone (emphasis added):
While it's already been noted that CNN's prime-time audience has dropped sharply in recent months, less viewers are tuning in at 7 p.m., too. Compared with May 2008, The Observer reports that Lou Dobbs has dropped 29 percent in total viewers and 27 percent in the key 25-54 demo.
I wonder if there is a helpless scapegoat that Dobbs can blame for this. Hmmm, I just can't put my finger on it.
Following up on my post this morning about combating misinformation by eliminating the incentives for lying, another stumbling block is that a lot of reporters and news organizations seem to think it is adequate to tell the truth once.
That is, if a politician runs around saying something that isn't true -- like that she said "thanks but no thanks" to "bridge to nowhere" funding -- many news organizations will debunk the false claim once. But then they'll go right on quoting the false claim when it is made again and again, without bothering to point out that it is false. And when challenged on this, they'll point out that they did debunk it, three weeks ago.
That isn't good enough, for reasons that should be incredibly obvious. It isn't good enough to tell the truth once.
Today, for example, the New York Times' David Leonhardt explains that "President Obama's agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying."
That's great -- really, it is. But it will mean very little if the Times does not include that fact in every subsequent story in which it quotes Republicans blaming Obama for running up deficits.
The Times told the truth today -- and many other news organizations quoted it. Now let's see if they're satisfied telling the truth once, or if they are committed to telling the truth every time.
In light of the Holocaust Museum shooting, where the suspect is reportedly a far-right white supremacist, will Malkin and her army of online bullies, who denounced the Department of Homeland Security for having the audacity to single out right-wing extremists for being potential terrorists, now concede that they were wrong?
Will Malkin and company concede that perhaps the DHS knows more than partisan conservative bloggers do about home-grown "lone wolf extremists" and the danger they pose to America? (Malkin dismissed the report as a "piece of crap.")
We're waiting, Michelle.
Washington, DC: [T]he nuclear option wasn't about Roberts or Scalia. It was about the Dems filibustering qualified appeals court nominees..such as Miguel Estrada. Who, we know from memos leaked from Durbin's office, was held up because left-wing interests groups considered him a threat for the SC because he was Latino.
Robert Barnes: Interesting that Estrada held up because of Democratic concerns he could become first Hispanic justice, and Sotomayor's nomination to the 2nd Circuit held up by Republicans for just the same reason. Seems to reinforce the perceived political potency of such an appointment.
Estrada's qualifications are subject to some debate: he had no judicial experience, and refused to make available materials he wrote while working for the Solicitor General. Democrats also objected to his refusal to answer questions about his judicial philosophy. So Barnes probably shouldn't have agreed that Estrada was "held up because of Democratic concerns he could become first Hispanic justice."
Further, Barnes probably shouldn't have accepted the description of the memos as having been "leaked." Evidence suggests they were stolen by GOP aides.
Jonah Goldberg explains why college admissions offices shouldn't consider the race of applicants, but should be free to consider whether the applicants' parents have given money to the school:
People say, 'well, why should we be neutral on race when people aren't neutral about whose family gave more money to a school and all the rest?' And there's a longer answer, but a short answer is simply that, you know, we fought a civil war over race. We amended the constitution a couple of times because of race. We had the civil rights act because of race. Seems to me that race is different, and that we've learned from bitter experience with lots of dead people that government getting in the business of picking winners and losers by race is a bad way to go.
Got that? Because African Americans used to be enslaved, because they used to be denied voting rights, because they used to be prevented from using "white" facilities, Goldberg thinks it would be inappropriate for a college to accept a qualified black applicant over a white kid. But, by all means, keep giving such advantages to legacy children of wealthy (and, probably, white) parents.
I'll just go ahead and lay the odds at 2:1 that the suspect's name will be something like Joe Smith, but then in 48 hours we'll learn that he recently changed his name to Ahmed al-Jihad. Yet we'll also be told that that authorities are perplexed at what possibly could have motivated him.
Right-wing bloggers always fantasize about domestic Muslim terrorists. Turns out they might want to spend a little more time worrying about home-grown white supremacists instead.
In his Playbook today, Politico's Mike Allen tells me "IF YOU READ ONLY ONE STORY," make sure it's David Leonhardt's "Economic Scene" column, which lays out the "basic truth" that "President Obama's agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying." An excellent recommendation, to be sure:
IF YOU READ ONLY ONE STORY - David Leonhardt's "Economic Scene" column, col. 5 at top of N.Y. Times A1, "Sea of Red Ink: How It Spread from a Puddle - Bush, Obama and a Long-Gone Surplus": "There are two basic truths about the enormous deficits that the federal government will run in the coming years. The first is that President Obama's agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying. The second is that Mr. Obama does not have a realistic plan for eliminating the deficit, despite what his advisers have suggested. The New York Times analyzed Congressional Budget Office reports going back almost a decade, with the aim of understanding how the federal government came to be far deeper in debt than it has been since the years just after World War II. This debt will constrain the country's choices for years and could end up doing serious economic damage if foreign lenders become unwilling to finance it. ... The story of today's deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years. You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush's policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama."
But when will the Politico grasp this same "basic truth"? A Politico article published yesterday - with the headline "GOP: Debt will bring Obama down" - was entirely devoted to quoting those claims by "Republican critics," yet simply presented the issue as a he-said, she-said:
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told POLITICO that GOP candidates in 2010 will almost certainly use the deficit to argue that Democrats own a Washington mess.
"This was not an inherited situation. This was a matter entirely of this administration's and this Democratic leadership's making," Cornyn said. "In large part, I believe, 2010 will be a referendum on their performance."
When President George W. Bush left office, he left behind a $10.6 trillion national debt, which refers to the cumulative amount of money the government owes. That number now stands at $11.4 trillion, according to the Treasury Department.
The Congressional Budget Office projects that the annual deficit will grow to $984 billion for the first eight months of the current fiscal year, compared with a $319 billion shortfall for the same time period last year. In 2012, under Obama's budget, the CBO estimates that the deficit will fall to $658 billion.
Democrats argue that Bush left them with an economic mess and two wars, and they say that the country needs to spend money to get its way out of financial calamity. Eventually, they say, the government will see increased tax revenues as the economy improves, and it will be repaid by the banks and auto companies that have secured massive loans to stay afloat.
(As Eric noted earlier, the Politico is certainly racking up the numbers this week when it comes to regurgitating GOP talking points.)