Chris Plante

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  • VIDEO: Heritage Foundation's Benghazi Panelists Mock Muslim Student

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Saba AhmedSpeakers at a Heritage Foundation panel mocked a Muslim student who pointed out that Muslim Americans were not represented at the forum and stated that conservative rhetoric on Islam is often starkly negative.

    On June 17, Heritage held an event to discuss the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The event was led by Andrew McCarthy, a conservative commentator and former federal prosecutor who recently released a book claiming that President Obama's response to the Benghazi attacks constitutes an impeachable offense. Several panelists at the forum have long records of inflammatory rhetoric about Islam.

    Dana Milbank detailed the event in his June 16 Washington Post column:

    The session, as usual, quickly moved beyond the specifics of the assaults that left four Americans dead to accusations about the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating the Obama administration, President Obama funding jihadists in their quest to destroy the United States, Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton attempting to impose Sharia blasphemy laws on Americans and Al Jazeera America being an organ of "enemy propaganda."

    Then Saba Ahmed, an American University law student, stood in the back of the room and asked a question in a soft voice. "We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there's 1.8 billion followers of Islam," she told them. "We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don't see them represented here."

    Panelist Brigitte Gabriel of a group called ACT! for America pounced. She said "180 million to 300 million" Muslims are "dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization." She told Ahmed that the "peaceful majority were irrelevant" in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and she drew a Hitler comparison: "Most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million died."

    "Are you an American?" Gabriel demanded of Ahmed, after accusing her of taking "the limelight" and before informing her that her "political correctness" belongs "in the garbage."

    "Where are the others speaking out?" Ahmed was asked. This drew an extended standing ovation from the nearly 150 people in the room, complete with cheers.

    The panel's moderator, conservative radio host Chris Plante, grinned and joined in the assault. "Can you tell me who the head of the Muslim peace movement is?" he demanded of Ahmed.

    "Yeah," audience members taunted, "yeah."

    Ahmed answered quietly, as before. "I guess it's me right now," she said.

    Below is video of the exchange recorded from Heritage's livestream of the event. Gabriel's comments begin at 4:15.

  • Heritage Hosts Birthers, Islamophobes For Benghazi "Accountability" Panel

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Benghazi HeritageA coalition of Islamophobes, birthers, and conspiracy theorists led by a prominent supporter of impeaching President Obama will assemble at the Heritage Foundation this afternoon to discuss the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

    The event, titled "Benghazi: The Difference It Makes Is Accountability!" will be co-hosted by the Benghazi Accountability Coalition. In a post at National Review Online, Andrew McCarthy, a conservative commentator and former federal prosecutor, identifies himself as the chairman of that new "volunteer organization."

    McCarthy is the author of a new book that seeks to build "the political case" for President Obama's impeachment. The book includes a draft Articles of Impeachment detailing "The Benghazi Fraud." According to McCarthy, the talking points used by former Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to discuss the terrorist attacks on Sunday morning political talk shows constituted a deliberate effort "to defraud the American people in connection with matters of great public importance, in violation of [President Obama's] duty to execute the laws faithfully and his fiduciary duty to be truthful in his statements to the American people."

    At National Review Online, McCarthy promises that today's forum will "feature some speakers with tremendous insights into the relevant issues about the Benghazi Massacre." James Jay Carafano, Heritage's vice present of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, will participate, lending the organization's imprimatur to the proceedings. Here are some of those notables who will appear alongside him:

    • Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, who is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "the anti-Muslim movement's most paranoid propagandist." Gaffney was banned from participating at the Conservative Political Action Conference after accusing prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist and former Bush aide Suhail Khan of being Muslim Brotherhood operatives. In October 2008 he claimed that Obama's eligibility to be president was "unresolved," citing "evidence Mr. Obama was born in Kenya rather than, as he claims, Hawaii."
    • Lt. General Thomas G. McInerney, USAF (Ret.), a Fox News military analyst who submitted court documents challenging Obama's eligibility to be president based on the conspiracy theory that he was not born in the United States.
    • Lt. General W.G. "Jerry" Boykin, USA (Ret.), who was criticized by President Bush and the Defense Department for portraying the fight against Islamic extremists as a religious war between a "Christian nation" and the "idol" of Islam. He has also termed Islam "evil" and a "totalitarian way of life."
    • Clare Lopez, who is a prominent member of Gaffney's Center for Security Policy and the similarly anti-Muslim Clarion Project. Lopez has claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood has "infiltrated and suborned the U.S. government to actively assist... the mission of its grand jihad." Earlier this month, Fox News contributor Allen West reported that Lopez had emailed him a "very poignant analysis" of Bob Bergdahl's use of Arabic during a White House event with President Obama to announce the return of his son, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: according to Lopez, "by uttering these words on the grounds of the WH, Bergdahl (the father) sanctified the WH and claimed it for Islam."
    • Brigitte Gabriel, the founder and CEO of the anti-Islam group ACT! for America, was described by The New York Times as "one of the most visible personalities on a circuit of self-appointed terrorism detectors who warn that Muslims pose an enormous danger within United States borders" who "presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion."
    • Chris Plante, who is a right-wing talk radio host on Washington, DC's WMAL. Last year he generated the false accusation that President Obama omitted the words "under God" from his recitation of the Gettysburg Address and suggested that the president would not have cut the words "under Allah" if they had appeared in the speech.
    • Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, married Republican activist law partners who have spent decades pushing smears of Democrats in the press. They played a key role in pushing debunked claims that the Obama administration was threatening Benghazi "whistleblowers."  
  • Fox Regular Asked If Obama Would Have Omitted Allah From Gettysburg Address

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Chris Plante

    The Fox News regular broadly credited with creating the false accusation that President Obama omitted the words "under God" from the Gettysburg Address used the same false attack to ask whether Obama would have cut out the words "under Allah" if they had appeared in President Lincoln's famous speech.

    Conservative media outlets were forced to issue embarrassing corrections Tuesday after running with the false accusation that President Obama excised the phrase "under God" when reciting the Gettysburg Address for a project organized by filmmaker Ken Burns. Burns has said that he asked Obama to read an early draft of the address, a draft that did not contain the phrase "under God."

    Chris Plante, who hosts a morning radio show on Washington, D.C.-based WMAL, actually acknowledged at one point during his November 19 broadcast that an early version of the Gettysburg Address did not contain that phrase. But he still accused the president of plotting to "scratch out the phrase," after emphasizing that Obama was "the first black president." Plante then speculated that Obama would not have scratched out the phrase "under Allah" if it had been in the Gettysburg Address:

    PLANTE: What? Barack Obama and his people have the Gettysburg Address in front of them and they're sitting up in leather-winged chairs at the White House with a red pencil going through the speech and they scratch out "under God" and then pass it to Barack Obama and he reads it that way? I mean, how does something like this happen? How stupid are these people? How dishonest are - how fundamentally corrupt, morally and otherwise corrupt, are these people? It is astonishing to me, and it just plays into the stereotype of these people being hostile. If it said "under Allah" would he have still scratched it out? 

    Earlier in the program, Plante invoked Obama's middle name, Hussein, while opining that it was "kind of peculiar" and "a head-scratcher" that Obama did not say "under God" while reciting the Gettysburg Address: 

  • Right-Wing Noise Machine Fabricates Gettysburg Address Omission To Attack Obama

    Obama Was Asked To Recite Lincoln's Original Draft, Which Did Not Contain Phrase "Under God"

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER HANSEN

    Official White House PhotoPresident Obama's recitation of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is sparking hysteria from the right-wing media who slammed the president for omitting the phrase "under God." But ironically, in their hurry to attack the president, they omitted the fact that Obama was reading the first draft of the speech -- a draft that did not include "under God" -- at the request of filmmaker Ken Burns.

    To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, filmmaker Ken Burns compiled footage of important national figures -- including Obama and all the living former presidents -- reciting portions of the speech.

    On November 19, right-wing radio host Chris Plante accused Obama of omitting the phrase "under God" from his recitation of the Gettysburg Address. Other conservative media outlets like the Drudge Report, The Daily Caller, and National Review Online's The Corner promptly ran with the story. WMAL, which hosts The Chris Plante Show, remarked about the news:

    One nation under God?  Under President Obama, maybe not so much.

     As first reported on WMAL's Chris Plante Show Tuesday, the Commander-in-Chief joined a cast of 61 other noted lawmakers, politicians, news anchors and celebrities, including every living President, in reciting the Gettysburg Address, which President Abraham Lincoln delivered on November 19, 1863.

    The dignitaries all delivered the address as Lincoln had written it, including the phrase, "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom." (Click to listen).  Curiously, however, in his version of the address, President Obama omitted the words "under God."

    Obama's recitation was not 'curious,' it was accurate -- Burns requested that President Obama read the 'Nicolay Version' of the Address, which was Lincoln's first draft of the Address and does not contain the phrase "under God." The relevant text of the Nicolay version, which Obama recites, reads (emphasis added):

    It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    The right-wing media's rush to hysteria and ignorance of the facts in this case is ironic: Burns' project is called Learn the Address.

    UPDATE: After this post's publication, the Daily Caller acknowledged the error in an update to its original post:

    The "Learn the Address" website notes that "We asked President Obama to read ... the 'Nicolay Version'" of the Gettsyburg Address, which omits the words "under God." That disclosure does not appear alongside Obama's video on the site.

    UPDATE 2: National Review Online's The Corner also published an update to its original post:

    During today's White House press briefing, press secretary Jay Carney claimed that President Obama had read from the version of the Gettysburg Address given to him by documentarian Ken Burns. This appears to be the case. As Mediaite notes, the website for Burns' upcoming project, Learn the Address, says that there are five manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address and that Obama read from the "Nicolay Version." This version of the manuscript is believed to be the earliest of the copies of the Address, and it does omit the phrase "under God." Three of the five manuscripts do include the phrase.

  • Fox Guest Chris Plante Claims Obama Not Interested In Lowering Deficit After He Lowered The Deficit

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP & SOPHIA TESFAYE

    Frequent Fox guest Chris Plante falsely claimed that President Obama isn't interested in working with Republicans to reduce the deficit, ignoring Obama's efforts to reduce the budget through bipartisan efforts like the Budget Control Act of 2011.

    On the September 12 edition of America Live, host Martha MacCallum discussed the upcoming budget debate in Congress with conservative radio host Chris Plante. After MacCallum asked whether the debate will lead to a government shutdown, Plante said that "the president claims he wants to cut spending, the man with the trillion dollar deficits," and blame Republicans.  Plante added that Obama "doesn't want to do anything reasonable to get our spending under control":

    But, Obama has worked with congressional members of both parties to decrease the deficit. President Obama signed the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) explained  will reduce discretionary spending by "more than $1 trillion over the ten years from 2012 through 2021." 

  • Fox Pushes Ohio Governor's Plan To Limit Food Stamp Access

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    KasichAs food insecurity remains high, Fox News touted a plan by Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich to impose work requirements on food stamp recipients, despite concerns that Ohio does not have enough jobs to accommodate those who would have their benefits put in jeopardy.

    On the September 10 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Martha MacCallum and guest Chris Plante expressed support for Kasich's proposal to require some food stamp recipients to spend 20 hours a week working or engaging in work-related activities such as job training. MacCallum likened the program to college work-study programs, saying, "Nobody thinks that that model is an inappropriate model or an unfair or mean model, so what's wrong with it?" Plante called the program "a reasonable and honest and decent approach to getting people back to work," claiming, "we live in a world now where Democrats, the Democrat party has put themselves in the unfortunate position where they are now incentivized as a political party to keep as many people on the public dole as possible":

    But according to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio officials point out that the availability of jobs and qualifying activities is lower than the number of people who fall under the new requirement:

  • The "Tea Party" Wrestler Glenn Beck Hates Echoes The Anti-Immigrant Message Conservative Media Built

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Zeb Colter, an anti-immigrant character from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) that has recently drawn the ire of right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck, would be right at home in the conservative media.   Many of Colter's bigoted and flawed arguments have been the right's stock-in-trade for years. 

    Beck targeted the Colter character on his radio show, arguing that Colter is "demonizing the Tea Party." Beck also accused the WWE of "mocking me for standing up for the Constitution." Beck's co-host Stu Burguiere complained: "It seems that the villain, the guy you're supposed to hate, is this stereotype of a conservative that I've never met."

    Colter currently appears on WWE programming alongside wrestler Jack Swagger, spouting a lot of heated anti-immigrant rhetoric in the middle of a scripted feud with Mexican-born wrestler Alberto Del Rio. According to WWE, Colter's rhetoric is intended to "to build the Mexican American character Del Rio into a hero given WWE's large Latino base."

    WWE explains that in order "to create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines."