Several media figures are promoting the notion of division among Obama supporters, asserting that "the left" is or should be disappointed with the president-elect's Cabinet selections. But the idea of significant disappointment with Obama runs counter to a USA Today/Gallup poll finding that 94 percent of Democrats "approve of the way Obama is handling his presidential transition."
Radio host Bill Cunningham compared the Cincinnati Zoo to Eugene "Bull" Connor, the Birmingham Public Safety commissioner infamous for using dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s. Cunningham made the remark while criticizing the zoo's decision to pull out of a promotional partnership with the Creation Museum, which seeks to "affirm the truth of the biblical record of the real origin and history of the world and mankind" and reportedly contains a display featuring "a triceratops with a saddle on its back."
In recent weeks, several conservative media figures, echoed by Republican lawmakers, have responded to comparisons in the media of President-elect Barack Obama to FDR, or assertions in the media that a New Deal-level of government intervention will be necessary to resolve the current economic crisis, by asserting that the New Deal was a dismal failure, plunging the 1930s economy into a depression, an assertion that prominent progressive economists flatly reject.
Lars Larson responded to a November 22 Media Matters item by misrepresenting what he had said five days before about autoworkers' hourly compensation. Larson claimed on November 24, "[T]hey [Media Matters] were saying that if you count just what is being paid to the worker and to his pension and for his medical care, that it doesn't add up to $73 an hour and they're right, but that's not what I said. I said that the total cost of having that worker on the assembly line is over $73 an hour." In fact, as Media Matters documented, Larson falsely claimed on November 19 that American automakers are "paying $73.73 an hour to those people with salary and benefits."
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.
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."
On his Cincinnati-based radio show, Bill Cunningham asked a fictional Jewish character voiced by a fellow WLW-AM host: "Did you hear about this Khalidi tape where Obama is toasting a guy who wants to gas and fry Jews? ... This Obama guy loves the PLO. Can't you figure that out?" Cunningham later added, "Jews for [Sen. John] McCain because Obama wants to gas the Jews, like the PLO wants to gas the Jews, like the Nazis gassed the Jews."
Since October 16, numerous media figures -- among them Jerome Corsi, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, and Bill Cunningham -- have compared Sen. Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis.
Bill Cunningham asserted on his radio show that "people are poor in America ... not because they lack money," but "because they lack values, morals, and ethics." He also said that "unlike many countries in the world ... we have fat poor people. We don't have skinny poor people. Ours are fat and flatulent."
Bill Cunningham claimed that "[a]mong the so-called noble poor in America ... [b]irth control is not used so illegitimate children can be brought into the world, so the mom can get more checks in the mail from the government." Cunningham then added: "And then once the child is born, that is the key to financial riches in the poor communities -- white and black -- in America."
Referencing an article in The Hill, radio host Bill Cunningham falsely attributed to a "police chief" the claim that "[i]f [Sen. Barack] Obama is elected, like with sports championships, people may go out and riot. If, on the other hand, Barack loses, there will be another larger group of people who will assume the election was stolen from him." In fact, the quote that Cunningham read from the article was not attributed to a "police chief" or any other law enforcement officer, but was from Bob Parks, whom The Hill described as "an online columnist and black Republican candidate for state representative in Massachusetts."
On his radio show, Bill Cunningham asked Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, "[I]f Obama was white as chalk, do you think that [Colin] Powell would be endorsing the Democrat? He didn't endorse Gore, he didn't endorse Kerry. I think color trumps everything in his mind." Peterson responded: "That's right, because if it was about what Barack Obama stood for, then he would have endorsed Gore and all those guys, but he did not. You know, it's so sad, my friend, that most black people today are racist. Not all, not all -- but most of them are racist."
Stating that 666,000 new voters have registered in Ohio, Bill Cunningham said on October 10: "Six, six, six. The mark of the beast. The great majority, of course, are registered by ACORN. ... Who conducted ACORN seminars to tell ACORN employees and others how to cheat the system? Barack Hussein Obama. I may declare him to be the beast. Six, six, six. It could be the end of all days." On the October 13 edition of Cunningham's show, a caller said of Obama, "He may be the Antichrist."
Radio host Bill Cunningham stated: "I think there will be 100 cities burning if Barack loses. Yeah, that's what the black intelligentsia says." Cunningham also asserted that "Flavor Flav, 50 Cent, and Diddy" are "really in charge of the [Obama] Inaugural [Ball]."