The argument by conservative media that former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other survivors of gun violence who supported a failed Senate compromise to expand background checks on firearms sales are "props" of the Obama administration is both hypocritically partisan and logically flawed.
Right-wing media are unable to acknowledge that President Obama's gun violence prevention agenda mirrors the priorities of gun violence survivors, who are not mere "props," to pass stronger gun laws. As Greg Sargent of The Washington Post notes, "the families want to stand with the President at events for a fairly obvious reason: Obama is fighting for the same things they want":
All of this aside, the "props" line is actually an insult to the families, posing as a defense of them. It implies that the families, in lobbying on these issues, are not thinking for themselves. In reality, the families want to stand with the President at events for a fairly obvious reason: Obama is fighting for the same things they want. Indeed, one of the family members, Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel in the shooting, voluntarily stood with the president at the White House yesterday as Obama reacted to news of the Senate vote, and thanked Obama for his leadership. Needless to say, if Barden felt like he was being exploited or used as a prop, he wouldn't be thanking the president. [emphasis in original]
Logical flaws aside, those who would call Newtown families and other gun violence survivors "props" fail to acknowledge that presidents routinely evoke the experiences of victims in advocating for policies that would prevent future tragedies.
In 1991, former President Ronald Reagan evoked his own experience of being shot by a would-be assassin, as well as the experiences of others wounded in the 1981 attack in order to advocate for background checks on gun sales. In a New York Times op-ed Reagan wrote about his press secretary, Jim Brady, who was grievously wounded in the attack by a man who acquired a gun despite a lengthy history of serious mental illness. Brady would go on to lend his name to the legislation -- the Brady bill -- that mandated a background check for gun sales conducted by licensed dealers:
Right-wing media have attacked the Department of Justice's decision to send personnel to Milwaukee to monitor the Wisconsin recall election for violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But Congress authorized DOJ to monitor elections for violations of citizens' voting rights, and the Bush administration DOJ often exercised this power.
David Limbaugh, the brother of Rush Limbaugh, falsely claimed that Media Matters for America tweeted a version of the following: "Did Rush Limbaugh's mother beat this man as a child? Brother David does not seem to be of the same pedigree."
The claim was also picked up by conservative blogger Dan Riehl, who responded to David Limbaugh by tweeting: "Damn, I didn't realize neanderthals came with pedigrees. You learn so much from mmfa."
In fact, the tweet in question came from Twitter user @DarienLimon1, who tweeted "@thinkprogress @mmfa Did Rush Limbaugh's mother beat this man as a child? Brother David Limbaugh does not seem to be of the same pedigree":
Media Matters has never written such a tweet.
UPDATE: David Limbaugh has corrected the record, stating:
After a week in which the conservative media have defended Herman Cain against sexual harassment allegations by alleging that progressives are racist, conservative blogger Dan Riehl has shown what a racial attack really looks like. Riehl called Cain a "jive talking huckster."
From a post on Riehl World View:
It's been clear that Conservatism has lacked for strong political leadership for some years. Fortunately, there are several bright young stars coming up that offer hope for Conservatism's future. I'm by no means writing it off completely as a movement. But that so many conservatives, driven by nothing more than negative emotions, would allow themselves to be drawn in by a jive talking huckster with silly cobbled together at the last minute plans designed more for pizza box sloganeering, than governing a great nation, is embarrassing.
The right-wing media is claiming that Rep. Keith Ellison made up a "phony Islamophobic story" that a Muslim first responder who died in the September 11 attacks had been subject to dark rumors that he may have been involved in the attack. In fact, numerous media outlets reported on such "unfounded speculation" from authorities and others, and that those rumors were ended for good when his body was found.
In the run-up to Delaware's Republican Senate primary, conservative media figures noticed that their colleagues are "lazy and unfair" "idiot[s]" and "mouthpieces for the Republican establishment" who engage in "ranting, not serious arguments" and whose commentary consists of "smear tactics," "mischaracterizations," "exaggerated claims," "slander," and "attributing sinister or corrupt motives to those who disagree with them."
Right-wing media figures are attacking Fox News' Karl Rove for "trashing" Christine O'Donnell after her victory in the Delaware GOP Senate primary, stating that his comments were "disgraceful" and that Rove "came across as an effete sore loser."
Following Christine O'Donnell's victory over Republican Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Senate Republican primary, right-wing media have taken up O'Donnell's cause, attacking the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for reportedly deciding not to support O'Donnell.
A mini-war broke out in the right-wing blogosphere yesterday, as bloggers Jim Hoft and Dan Riehl laughably claimed that Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), who is running for the GOP Senate nomination in Delaware, "voted to impeach" President Bush in 2008.
It doesn't take a lot of Googling to figure out that this claim is absurdly wrong. Castle never "voted to impeach" Bush. In fact, he voted -- along with 23 other Republicans and 227 Democrats -- to send Rep. Dennis Kucinich's impeachment resolution to the House Judiciary Committee where the measure faced "certain death" in order to "avoid having to debate and vote on impeaching" Bush, according to The Boston Globe. The Globe further said that the vote "scuttled" Kucinich's impeachment proposal. And The Washington Post reported prior to the vote that Democrats "expect[ed] to table the resolution by referring it to the Judiciary Committee, where they expect it to die." Here's what CNN reported at the time*:
An attempt by Rep. Dennis Kucinich to impeach President Bush was kicked into legislative no-man's land by members of his own party Wednesday.
The House voted 251-166 to send the Ohio Democrat's impeachment resolution to committee, a maneuver that allows the Democratic leadership to freeze the measure indefinitely.
The vote largely followed partisan lines, with 225 Democrats voting on Kucinich's request to send the measure to committee for consideration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said she would not support a resolution calling for Bush's impeachment, saying such a move was unlikely to succeed and would be divisive.
All 166 votes in favor of opening up a House impeachment debate came from Republicans, apparently eager to bring up the vote immediately and paint Democrats as political creatures in a time of serious issues.
It's plainly clear what Castle and 23 of his Republican colleagues voted for -- to the let the measure die in the Judiciary Committee. Their votes actually did the opposite of what Hoft and Riehl claimed -- they "scuttled" the impeachment resolution.
Also - and this seems painfully obvious - but if this really was an overwhelming vote to impeach Bush, wouldn't there have been an impeachment trial in the Senate?
But that hasn't stopped Riehl and Hoft from ludicrously claiming otherwise. So how did this insanity start? It's a little unclear where the claim originated, but here's a quick summary. On Monday, Hoft - citing a commenter on his site - wrote that Castle "voted to impeach George W. Bush for "high crimes and misdemeanors" in 2008." Later, Riehl wrote a post titled, "Yes, Castle Voted To Impeach Bush."
Right-wing radio host Mark Levin also said that Castle "voted to allow the House Judiciary Committee under the commie John Conyers ... I think he voted to allow that committee to investigate possible impeachment of Bush over lying about Iraq." Of course, that's not really what happened; Castle obviously knew that the committee had no plans to act on the resolution.
Later on Monday, right-wing blogger John Hinderaker actually stepped in to call out Riehl on his ridiculous claim, noting that "Mike Castle never voted to impeach President Bush; no such vote ever occurred on the floor of the House." But despite this and all other evidence to the contrary, Riehl responded to Hinderaker by doubling down on his original claim.
* Text added
The right-wing media has attacked President Obama for "mocking average citizens"after he said "you'd think [the tea partiers] would be saying thank you," because he has lowered taxes. Indeed, absent from the right-wing media's outrage is the fact that Obama is correct; as the AP wrote, "[y]ou wouldn't know it by the Tax Day rhetoric, but Americans are paying lower taxes this year."
Right-wing blogs have responded to reported threats against Democrats who voted for the health care reform bill by trivializing the threats or suggesting that the reports are false, condemning the threats but making excuses for them, suggesting that Democrats themselves are to blame for receiving the threats, or suggesting other acts of violence that people could commit against their congressional representative.