In the wake of the controversy that erupted when Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Party's nominee for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, claimed it was "really rare" for victims of "legitimate rape" to become pregnant from the assault, CNN earned an unfortunate media distinction: Among the very few pundits I've seen defending, or trying to excuse, Akin's outrageous comments are Dana Loesch and Erick Erickson.
Both work for CNN.
This is the price CNN continues to pay for wanting so badly to be connected with representative of the right-wing press. Perhaps in search of shields to protect itself from the incessant whines about "liberal media bias," CNN's decision to legitimize the strange views of Loesch and Erickson remains a deeply misguided one.
Akin's comments about women not really being in danger of becoming pregnant during a rape because their bodies instinctively "shut that whole thing down" were so outrageous that many conservative commentators quickly condemned him, even demanding Akin step down as the Republican candidate challenging Democrat Claire McCaskill.
But not Loesch and Erickson. The CNN bloggers defiantly came to Akin's side, with Loesch claiming he had simply "failed a soundbite" trying to express a "medical statement about rape." And besides, Erickson argued Democrats are guilty of far worse crimes, like passing health care reform.
From Erickson last night:
That kind of yeah-but spin is not only juvenile, but it's completely irrelevant and embarrassing to watch. (Erickson even tried reviving an old falsehood about Obama supporting "infanticide" in order to advance his Akin spin.)
CNN contributor Erick Erickson jumped to deflect criticism from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) after Akin said that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancies. In his response, Erickson used a discredited criticism of President Obama.
Asked during a local television interview whether he would keep abortion legal in the case of rape, Akin said:
AKIN: First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work, or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
Akin has subsequently said: "In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."
Erickson responded to Akin's comments by writing:
Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, made an inarticulate and rather dumb statement about rape and abortion on television in Missouri. He subsequently clarified his remarks. Congressman Akin, like many devout Christians, does not believe in a rape exception for abortion.
Erickson later added that he'd "take Todd Akin's inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week":
Todd Akin was inarticulate. Some are now accusing him of being pro-rape. The people horrid by Todd Akin's remarks are, I'm sure, thrilled to have a President who defended infanticide. I'll take Todd Akin's inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week.
And no, this is not hyperbole. President Obama was the only member of the Illinois State Senate to speak in favor of the position that a child who survives an abortion and fully exits the womb can still be killed by the abortionist.
By using the term "infanticide supporter," Erickson was referencing a long-discredited claim that President Obama once took a pro-infanticide position.
CNN's Dana Loesch excused Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) inflammatory remarks that it's "really rare" for women subjected to "legitimate rape" to become pregnant. In a series of posts on her Twitter account, Loesch dismissed those comments, writing that "Akin was trying to fit medical explanation into a soundbite," and that he "failed a soundbite."
AKIN: First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work, or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
While discussing those comments on Twitter today, Loesch repeatedly tried to downplay Akin's remarks, accusing Akin's critics of "hypocritical overreactions," and claiming that Akin was recounting "medical explanation."
In contrast, as CNN.com reported*:
Statistics on pregnancies that result from rape are difficult to produce, since rape is a crime that often goes unreported. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, along with Planned Parenthood, each estimate that 5% of rapes lead to pregnancy. A 1996 study from the Medical University of South Carolina found the same percentage, adding that 32,101 pregnancies occurred annually from rape.
Loesch also tried to compare Akin's comments to remarks made earlier this year by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).
Right-wing media are acting as de facto political advisers for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, offering the candidate an array of advice that includes replacing his staffers, finding "his inner pit bull," and talking more about his faith.
From the August 6 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
Loading the player ...
ABC again invited CNN contributor and conservative pundit Dana Loesch to be part of its This Week roundtable, even though she has promoted a conspiracy theory that her CNN co-workers described as "McCarthy-like."
On her radio show earlier this week, Loesch promoted the fringe idea that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin "is essentially a member of the female version of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood." The comment was the subject of a letter circulated by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacking Abedin.
From the July 29 edition of ABC's This Week:
Loading the player ...
Conservative media are defending charges leveled by Representative Michele Bachmann that the Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to infiltrate the U.S. government. However, Bachmann's attacks, including one directed at Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, have received significant bipartisan condemnation.
Last week, CNN contributor Dana Loesch claimed a State Department official has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood -- even as her CNN co-workers Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper dismissed such charges as "McCarthy-like."
On her July 19 radio show, Loesch was discussing charges initially brought by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who in June sent a series of letters to federal agencies claiming that "individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood" are influencing State Department policies. Bachmann singled out Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin -- who is also married to former Rep. Anthony Weiner -- and claimed that Abedin's family has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood; she later openly wondered how Abedin "was able to avoid being disqualified for a security clearance."
Loesch discussed Bachmann's Brotherhood infiltration theory with anti-Islam activist Brigitte Gabriel. When Gabriel said that it was "about time our government begins an investigation into the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government," Loesch agreed, saying, "Absolutely," then added:
LOESCH: Looking especially at how some of our foreign policy has been handled, Hillary Clinton essentially siding with the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt, and then it was discovered that her top aide -- Huma Abedin -- is essentially a member of the female version of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood. All of this -- it seems enough to me to pose questions as to why our government is becoming so close with a group that has been so hostile to the United States, has fought against the United States, has sided with terrorists, and is a very oppressive regime that believes in Sharia law.
Bachmann's letters have received bipartisan condemnation -- Sen. John McCain even blasted the accusations from the floor of the Senate -- for failing to support her charges with concrete evidence. Indeed, Loesch's colleagues at CNN also criticized Bachmann's charges.
On his July 17 show, host Anderson Cooper said that Bachmann's evidence was "questionable at best." He laid out her guilt-by-association claims in a graphic and said:
COOPER: So that's how many degrees of separation Bachmann's claim is based on. Huma Abedin's deceased father, who started an organization decades ago, had the support of a guy who had another organization that might have had the support of another organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. And because of that, Huma Abedin might be some sort of spy or infiltrator and deserves to be investigated.
Wolf Blitzer also dismissed Bachmann's claims, calling her charges "McCarthy-like" on the July 19 broadcast of his show. After a heated back-and-forth with Democratic lobbyist Hilary Rosen about Bachmann and her letters, Blitzer finally said, "It's an outrageous, McCarthy-like charge, to be sure, and she does owe Huma -- who I know well -- an apology."
This is not the first time Loesch has been at odds with her CNN colleagues -- in January, a number of CNN journalists criticized Loesch for praising U.S. Marines who allegedly urinated on the dead bodies of Taliban members.
Research intern Ausan Al-Eryani contributed to this item.
From the June 5 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
Loading the player ...
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.
From the May 21 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
Loading the player ...
From the May 17 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
Loading the player ...
In the wake of a recent Washington Post article that details Mitt Romney's alleged bullying of a classmate in high school, CNN contributor Dana Loesch and conservative blogger Jim Hoft have responded by breathing new life into the zombie lie that President Obama voted in support of infanticide.
On his blog Gateway Pundit, Hoft reacted to the Washington Post article with a headline saying that "Mitt Romney Picked On a Kid in High School -- Obama voted to Smother the Life Out of Live Babies."
CNN contributor Dana Loesch enthusiastically endorsed Hoft's statement in a tweet and later on her radio show, where she said that The Washington Post article disclosed Romney had "cut some boy's hair because he doesn't like it." She then contrasted Romney to Obama who, according to Loesch's fevered imagination, "voted four times to support infanticide."
For those who think it's completely false that Obama ever voted in favor of infanticide. You're exactly right.
After President Obama's historic announcement that he is in favor of marriage equality, many in the right-wing media are refusing to debate the substance of same-sex marriage. Instead, they are casting about for ways to attack Obama's position on marriage that ignore the actual debate.