NY Post writer Abby W. Schachter attempts to conjure controversy out of thin air by describing a program that provides internet access to low-income families as some sort of political payoff to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Schachter even goes to News Corp.'s race-baiting well by complaining that "poor blacks in Chicago" are the beneficiaries of this supposed payoff:
Who is getting nearly free internet from Comcast? President Obama's neediest of course -- poor Chicago black kids.
Back in January we pointed that in order to buy NBC Universal the government had forced Comcast to start its own welfare program. According to an FFC letter at the time, Comcast promised to provide "2.5 million low income households: (i) high-speed Internet access service for less than $10 per month; (ii) personal computers, netbooks, or other computer equipment at a purchase price below $150; and (iii) an array of digital-literacy education opportunities."
Poor blacks in Chicago are the ones getting Comcast's sweet deal , because who needs the Internet more than voters in the President's home town, which is now run by his former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel? As the mayor explained, "This will ensure that every part of this city has a chance to grow in the new economy. And Chicago will lead the country in dealing with this economic and social divide issue," Emanuel told reporters at the Woodson Regional Library.
Would Comcast have refused to install internet access at locations in Roseland and Washington Heights before its NBC deal? If so, the government just endorsed a business engaged in racist discrimination. Hardly seems likely. What seems much more likely is that Comcast would have installed internet service anywhere people ordered it but that poorer communities want cable TV not the Internet. Apparently poor folks are too stupid to make their own choices about how to spend their money.
In the last two years of the Bush administration, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division was engulfed by allegations that political appointees had illegally and inappropriately hired career attorneys because they were conservatives or Republicans, culminating with a blistering report from DOJ's Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility savaging the activity as a "violat[ion] of federal law." Ever since, the right-wing media has been desperately trying to prove that the Obama DOJ is just as unethically partisan as was the Bush DOJ.
In the latest salvo, the conservative Pajamas Media -- media home of New Black Panther Party fabulist J. Christian Adams, who was hired during the period of illegal hiring -- has published the first of what it promises will be many attacks on the division's hiring, based on a Freedom of Information Act request for the resumes of new hires.
According to Pajamas Media, the resumes "reveal a rogue's gallery of militant civil rights lawyers" with "so many aggressive attorneys who previously worked at the ACLU, NAACP, Legal Aid, or at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights that it is a wonder these organizations have anyone left on their staffs."
In other words, Pajamas Media is angry that the Civil Rights Division has hired so many attorneys who actually have experience and interest in civil rights law. This argument makes about as much sense as complaining that the DOJ's Tax Division is hiring too many tax lawyers; these are specialized areas of law, so prior experience is crucial.
Pajamas Media goes on to claim that "the Obama administration appears to have engaged in packing the Department with partisans -- and that it is worse than anything the Bush administration was alleged to have done." Either Pajamas Media has no idea what the Bush administration was actually doing (unlikely since they employ one of its beneficiaries) or they're willing to ignore it to push their attacks.
From the May 27 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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In a May 25 editorial, The Washington Times wrote that Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) "introduced legislation to protect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner production plant in his South Carolina district from the outrageous complaint filed by pro-union thugs at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)." In fact, as Media Matters has noted, labor law experts say that if the allegations against Boeing are true, the NLRB has presented a "classic case" of labor law violations.
From the Times editorial, headlined, "Obama versus Boeing; House GOP takes aim at job-killing regulators":
House Republicans are fighting back against President Obama's misuse of administrative power to punish right-to-work states. On Tuesday, Rep. Tim Scott introduced legislation to protect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner production plant in his South Carolina district from the outrageous complaint filed by pro-union thugs at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The agency wants to force the airline manufacturer to close up operations in Charleston and move the jobs to Puget Sound, where the labor bosses reign, because setting up in South Carolina was allegedly an example of "unfair labor practices."
From the May 17 edition of Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto:
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FoxNews.com reported the unsurprising news that now that the federal government has reached its debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is taking measures to ensure that the government meets its obligations for the short-term while the White House and lawmakers attempt to reach a deal for raising that ceiling. In Geithner's words, he is taking those measures to "avoid catastrophic economic consequences for citizens."
According to FoxNews.com, those measures include "a plan to suspend investments to two government employee retirement funds, while borrowing from one of them." FoxNews.com also reported that "the move will not affect federal workers and retirees and that the accounts will be 'made whole' once the debt limit is increased."
But FoxNews.com's companion website, Fox Nation, used Geithner's responsible move to stave off economic collapse to issue an unhinged attack on the Treasury Secretary with a headline stating: "Turbo Tim Raids Pension Plans." As of 9:30 pm ET, this was the lead story on the Fox Nation and had been so for more than two hours.
Fox News White House Correspondent Wendell Goler promoted the false claim that unions are exempt from a draft executive order that would require federal contractors to disclose more information about their political contributions. In fact, the order would apply to unions that have federal contracts, such as the AFL-CIO.
Earlier today, we pointed out that Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy had provided Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) with a forum to accuse the Obama administration of creating a "Nixonian type enemies list" based on their draft executive order to require federal contractors to be more transparent with their political donations. Now Fox's "news" shows are running with the smear.
In a segment on America Live, Alisyn Camerota and Mike Emanuel pushed claims that under the proposal, "if you've given to Republican candidates, well maybe you won't get a federal contract."
Later in the hour, NDN's Simon Rosenberg pointed out that this claim is ridiculous, since much of the information the draft order deals with is already disclosed, with the order extending the disclosure to new, currently undisclosed political contribution streams:
CAMEROTA: Even if it isn't intended to be a blacklist, couldn't it somehow be abused where if you find, "Oh, interesting, this contractor has given to Republican candidates, perhaps I'm not interested"?
ROSENBERG: All of that information is already publicly available. If these companies have political action committees, then the money that they already give out to federal officeholders has been publicly available for generations.
Indeed, information on companies' political action committee donations and contributions from their officers is already publicly available online. If the Obama administration wanted to find out who those companies were giving to and use that information to inform their contracting decisions, they could do so currently through publicly available information. Note that neither Issa nor Fox has uncovered any instances of this actually occurring.
Indeed, one company, KBR, held more than $4.5 billion in federal contracts last year, seventh in the country, while giving 93 percent of its PAC's donations to Republicans. And Congressional Quartely Weekly reported in February that KBR is continuing to get government contracts during the Obama administration: "[T]he Army told reporters last year that the company, now called KBR, would have no competition and would get another extension worth $568 million to support U.S. forces in Iraq through the end of this year" (retrieved via Nexis).
As to former Bush White House aide Brad Blakeman's complaint that the information shouldn't be disclosed as part of the bidding process, the draft order makes clear that the information is being collected from bidders and distributed on the Internet precisely so that taxpayers can see it and have information on the degree to which contracting decisions are being influenced by corporate money.
As Rosenberg points out, it's curious that conservatives don't want this information out there if they don't have something to hide.
Yesterday on Fox & Friends, network "attack poodle" and possible Bin Laden deather Steve Doocy put on an absolute clinic on how to interview a GOP congressman - if you're a Republican shill whose goal is to help him levy attacks on the Obama administration.
This is not particularly surprising; Fox & Friends is famous for conducting Charmin-soft interviews of Republican officeholders and candidates. But it's worth taking a look at just how Doocy uses his position to bolster, rather than challenge, his guest, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Doocy opened the interview with a statement, not a question, noting that "some lawmakers" are blaming "industry regulations" for high gas prices because they restrict U.S. drilling. Of course, this is a faulty premise; energy experts and Fox's own Stuart Varney have said that those lawmakers are wrong and that gas prices would be high regardless of U.S. drilling.
But rather than challenge Issa with those facts, Doocy simply set up the premise that Issa agreed with, introduced him, and let him tee off on the administration.
Doocy responded to Issa's attack by agreeing it was true, then asked the congressman if he believed "this administration wants lower gas prices," or if they want gas prices to rise to reduce consumption. Issa replied, "I think you hit it right on the head," agreeing that Obama wants gas to be expensive.
Doocy then moved on to another topic Issa wanted to talk about, raising the issue of a draft executive order to increase transparency in the political donations of federal contractors that the congressman will be attacking in a hearing this week. Doocy asked Issa, "you feel that this could be a way to punish the enemies of the White House. Right?" Issa replied, "absolutely," before claiming that if the order was implemented, there "could be a Nixonian type enemies list in the making."
You would think that Doocy would pause at the invocation of President Nixon, especially since Issa was discussing what "could" happen while citing absolutely nothing to support the idea that it "would" happen. Nope! Instead, he replied, "And the thing about an executive order, and I don't have to tell you, Congressman, is the fact that when the president issues something like that, then he does an end run around the will of the Congress."
Issa responded "absolutely," then accused the Obama administration of compiling an "enemies list" a few more times. Doocy again declined to take issue with the characterization, bringing the interview to a close and adding, "Didn't know about some of that."
It's hard to imagine how that's possible, since he was the one setting up every statement Issa made.
Conservative media figures have claimed that the National Labor Relations Board is seeking to ban companies from moving to states with lax labor laws by filing a complaint against Boeing's decision to move the production facility for its new 787 Dreamliner to South Carolina. In fact, the NLRB's general counsel has alleged that Boeing moved its 787 production line in retaliation for strikes by Boeing workers at its Seattle-area plant, which, if proven true, constitutes a clear violation of federal labor laws.
From the May 9 edition of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the May 9 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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John Stossel -- who believes that private businesses should have the right to engage in racial discrimination -- devoted another segment of his Fox Business show to attacking the Pigford lawsuit that provided recompense to black farmers who were victims of systemic discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Stossel set the segment up as a debate between Al Pires, a lawyer who represented the black farmers, and serial liar Andrew Breitbart, who has attacked Pigford as part of his eight-month smear campaign against former USDA official Shirley Sherrod, who first came to prominence after Breitbart posted a deceptively-edited video of a speech she gave that falsely portrayed her as a racist.
Stossel and Breitbart didn't make any new claims about Pigford. Rather, they rehashed the same tired distortions that we've previously debunked -- that the case is a "scam" and the claimants don't deserve their money.
But the segment was notable for Stossel's refusal to acknowledge that there was real, systematic discrimination against black people by the USDA. Recall that back when Stossel argued that "private businesses ought to get to discriminate" on the basis of race and called for the repeal of part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he at least acknowledged that the government should not discriminate.
In this case, there is clear evidence that the government discriminated against black farmers. As the Congressional Research Service found, a report commissioned by USDA revealed that "from 1990 to 1995, ... minorities received less than their fair share of USDA money for crop payments, disaster payments, and loans." Furthermore, the federal judge overseeing the Pigford case also found that there was systemic discrimination against black farmers.
But just like the last time he did a segment on Pigford, Stossel refused to acknowledge that discrimination had occurred, preferring instead to attack the people claiming discrimination and their attorneys.
From the May 5 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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A couple of months ago, J. Christian Adams put up the following breathless headline on the Pajamas Media blog: "Bombshell: Justice Department Only Selectively Complies with Freedom of Information Act (PJM Exclusive)." In the post, Adams claimed that the Obama Justice Department has "politicized compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. According to documents I have obtained, FOIA requests from liberals or politically connected civil rights groups are often given same day turn-around by the DOJ. But requests from conservatives or Republicans face long delays, if they are fulfilled at all."
If anyone had asked us, we would have warned them not to take the bait without closely double-checking Adams' claims. After all, Adams is a long-time Republican activist who appears to be willing to promote any falsehood in order to attack President Obama's Justice Department. However, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee did fall for Adams' claims, pressing DOJ on whether it has politicized FOIA responses.
As we've noted, Attorney General Eric Holder has already testified that he looked into the issues raised by Adams' blog post and "I can assure you there is no ideological component with regard to how we can respond to FOIA requests." Now, the Justice Department has sent a detailed response to a letter from Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) answering Adams' claims, and the response shows that the "bombshell" Adams touted was actually a total dud.
It turns out that Adams' claims are based on falsehoods and apples-to-oranges comparisons. In fact, the letter shows that Adams even lied about the FOIA request made by his own organization, Pajamas Media, in his original post.