Following the release of reportedly stolen emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, numerous right-wing media figures have attempted to undermine the case for action against global climate change by comparing the scientific consensus that human activity is driving global warming to a "cult." However, as the Union of Concerned Scientists has stated, the scientific understanding of climate change is "based on the work of thousands of scientists from hundreds of research institutions" and "[t]he e-mails provide no information that would affect" this understanding.
As part of their smear campaign against Obama Education Department official Kevin Jennings, conservative media figures including Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter have compared Jennings to film director Roman Polanski, stating -- in the words of Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers -- that "there needs to be zero tolerance for this kind of stuff," specifically citing Jennings and "the Roman Polanski stuff." Thus, media conservatives are smearing Jennings -- who counseled someone who was of age at the time and who has said he did not have a sexual relationship -- with the outrageous suggestion that he is comparable to Polanski, who was charged with rape and pleaded guilty to having sex with a girl who was 13 at the time after allegedly plying her with drugs and alcohol.
In a July 22 post, headlined, "Shame on Rush," The American Spectator's Philip Klein writes that while "I'd like to continue to ignore this [Obama birth certificate] story entirely, it's hard to do when a figure like Rush Limbaugh is giving it credence. ... I've lost a ton of respect for Limbaugh this week." From his post:
While I'd like to continue to ignore this story entirely, it's hard to do when a figure like Rush Limbaugh is giving it credence, declaring this week that, "Barack Obama has yet to have to prove that he's a citizen. All he has to do is show a birth certificate. He has yet to have to prove he's a citizen." If he addresses the issue at all, Limbaugh should be using his perch to explain why this story is complete nonsense. Doing so would help to keep these citizenship conspiracy theorists in the fringe, where they belong. Instead, he's just encouraging them. I've lost a ton of respect for Limbaugh this week.
Meanwhile, Florida Rep. Bill Posey has also added cover to the lunatic conspiracy mongers by offering a House bill aimed at having future presidential candidates produce birth certificates. It has 9 Republican co-sponsors so far, and all of them should be embarrassed: Marsha Blackburn, Dan Burton, John Campbell, John Carter, John Abney Culberson, Bob Goodlatte, Kenny Merchant, Rander Neugebauer, and Ted Poe.
Some who attempt to take neutral ground on this issue ask, why doesn't Obama just release his original birth certificate and put this matter to rest? There are two reasons. The first is that it would obviously not put the issue to rest, because the conspiracy theorists have demonstrated that they do not care about facts. At this point, anybody who questions whether Obama is a citizen will not be convinced otherwise because of a document released by the White House. But beyond that, there's absolutely no reason for Obama to cave into these people. Doing so would set a standard in the future so that people can start whatever insane rumors they want about an elected official, and then the burden is on the official to dispute them. It's no different than those calling for an investigation of whether 9/11 was an inside job.
This is the last thing that I intend to write on the issue, because I'd prefer to concentrate my energy on laying out why Obama's ideas and actual policy proposals will have disastrous consequences for the nation, just one American criticizing another.
In his latest column, George F. Will distorted his own newspaper's reporting by leaving out a key part of an exchange between President Bush and Sen.-elect James Webb in order to attack Webb's "calculated rudeness toward another human being."
Despite the clear risks undertaken by journalists covering the Iraq war, some conservatives in the media have repeatedly questioned the courage of journalists in Iraq, alleging that journalists covering the war fail to report "good news" because they are afraid to leave the heavily fortified Baghdad "Green Zone" to speak with Iraqis and coalition troops elsewhere in the country. Additionally, some conservatives have claimed that journalists' coverage of the Iraq war is distorted by their alleged hostility to President Bush and the war.