In a Newsweek article headlined "Is Obama the Antichrist?" senior editor Lisa Miller treated as newsworthy purported debate among some "conservative Christians" over whether President-elect Barack Obama is "the Antichrist." In doing so, she gave credibility to the views of RaptureReady.com editor and founder Todd Strandberg, who has, among other things, smeared gays and lesbians, Islam, progressives, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity and Hugh Hewitt rehashed the discredited claim that President-elect Barack Obama is to blame for recent declines in the stock market. In fact, analysts have cited economic data on dropping retail sales, increasing unemployment, and other significant factors to explain recent stock-market declines.
Discussing purported "questions about" President-elect Barack Obama "that the media won't answer," Michael Savage revived discredited rumors about Obama's birth certificate and asked: "Why in the world did he take time off from the campaign to visit the grandmother who then suddenly and suspiciously died virtually the night before the election?" Additionally, after a caller said that "[h]omosexuals and homosexual marriage is a choice," Savage declared: "[I]t's a lifestyle or a death-style choice, depending upon how you look at it."
Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh continue to suggest that President-elect Barack Obama is to blame for the decline in the stock market, referring to the state of the stock market as an "Obama recession." In fact, analysts have refuted the proposition that the market decline has anything to do with anticipation of Obama's presidency.
Conservative commentators have asserted that President-elect Barack Obama is to blame for the decline of the stock market since the election. But several analysts disagree, citing weak corporate reports and the release of unemployment statistics.
On America's Newsroom, Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III claimed that President-elect Barack Obama "ran as a Reaganite" and "won over ... the public as a fiscal conservative." But less than two weeks earlier, Bozell accused Obama of espousing "socialism" throughout the "entirety of the campaign."
Reporting on the appointment of Rep. Rahm Emanuel as President-elect Barack Obama's White House chief of staff, Reuters quoted RNC spokesman Alex Conant's assertion that Obama's choice of Emanuel "undermines his promise to 'heal the divides.' " But Reuters did not note that Republicans have reportedly praised Emanuel, including Sen. Lindsey Graham who said that he is "a wise choice" and that he "understands the need to work together."
On World News, Jake Tapper quoted House Minority Leader John Boehner's statement that Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who has agreed to be President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, "is an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center." However, Tapper did not note that Sen. Lindsey Graham praised Emanuel as "a wise choice," saying Emanuel "understands the need to work together."
On Bob Grant's radio show, Ann Coulter suggested that President-elect Barack Obama's "civilian national security force" would lead to "a lot more Waco raids, Elian Gonzalez snatchings." In fact, Obama's comments about the necessity of a "civilian national security force" referred to expanding the Foreign Service, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps.
Sean Hannity asserted that Barack Obama's new White House chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, is "one of the hardest left-wing ... radicals" and stated that the choice of Emanuel shows that Obama is "hard, hard left." But contrary to Hannity's assertion, a study using every non-unanimous vote cast in the House in 2007 to determine relative ideology placed Emanuel in a tie for the ranking of 126th most liberal Democratic congressman, and news reports have labeled Emanuel as "a centrist," who has "worked at good relations with Republicans."
Beyond the echelon of widely known conservative radio hosts with national audiences lies a vast network of lesser-known syndicated and regional radio hosts who have become key components of an echo chamber for conservative talking points and falsehoods. Like their better-known counterparts, these syndicated and regional radio hosts have played active roles this election season in promoting falsehoods and smears in an all-out effort to foment hate and distrust among their listeners for President-elect Barack Obama. While the hosts vary in the degree of vitriol they spew and in their ratio of rebuttable falsehoods to unbridled smears, Media Matters for America and Colorado Media Matters have identified common themes that many, if not all, have promoted over the past year.
President Bush was re-elected in 2004 with 286 electoral votes, the smallest popular-vote margin since 1976 (excluding the 2000 election) and the lowest electoral vote count for an incumbent president's re-election since 1916. Nevertheless, many in the media were quick to echo Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that "the nation" gave Bush "a mandate." It remains to be seen whether the media will apply the same standard in assessing the results of the 2008 election.
Media critics have recently postulated that while Matt Drudge may have once set the media's agenda, his influence has waned and his efforts to inject himself in the media's coverage of the presidential election have largely fallen flat. This election season, Drudge has posted a long series of items that were false on their face or turned out to be false, making the strong case that, if his influence is not in fact waning, it should be.
Radio host Bill Cunningham compared Sen. Barack Obama to dictators such as Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, and Adolf Hitler, and also stated: "Obama now is poised ... to seize power in America, and I hope to be a bloodless coup."