Another year, another concerted effort by conservative leaders to play catch-up with liberals and to finally launch effective media and messaging tools online. They can keep trying, but until conservatives change their behavior, their goals will remain elusive and their established trend of failure will continue indefinitely.
The news this week came in the form of a Politico article announcing the launch an outpost called Center for American Freedom, which will house a conservative news outlet called the Washington Free Beacon. Its founders are touting the launch as an effort to match the impressive gains progressives have made at places like Center for American Progress, the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo. The founders are also candid about how their side has been getting lapped by progressives for years in this arena.
The reason remains simple: Partisan conservatives have routinely shown they have neither an interest in genuine journalism, nor the skills to practice it. Conversely, progressives over the last decade have put in the hard work, held themselves to professional standards of conduct, and have reaped the rewards. So it's no surprise that year after year conservatives moan that progressives have built a new media infrastructure and are outclassing them, especially online.
Sometimes you can learn all you need to know about the precarious state of the right-wing media by looking at who they select as opponents for public scraps in their never-ending cultural war battles. Sometimes by examining the unsuspecting adversaries, you learn more about the confused far-right players than you do by paying attention to their diluted arguments.
I'd suggest now is one of those helpful, crystallizing moments as the right-wing media, supposedly led by adults, have recently whipped themselves into various states of frenzy while calling out the evil forces behind The Muppets, the Girl Scouts of America, and a song sung by third graders in Virginia. (For the absurd sets of circumstances, see here, here and here.)
Talk about a Murderer's Row.
Now, anyone who regularly reads Media Matters as we monitor the dim stars of the conservative Noise Machine understands that being robotically, systematically unserious remains a prerequisite for a leadership role in that community. So the notion that misguided conservative media outlets waste their time concocting nonsense isn't exactly news. And I guarantee you that as 2012 unfolds, we will uncover countless instances of head-scratching ineptitude that will replace the current meltdowns that seem so defining.
But it's worth noting, I think, this current trilogy of insipidness disguised as political commentary, and to pay particular attention to the targets of of the burning right-wing wrath. I repeat, The Muppets, the Girl Scouts of America, and a song performed by third graders.
The right-wing media closed out 2011 by attacking the Girl Scouts of America for, in the words of Glenn Beck website The Blaze, publishing a book that "refers young readers to Media Matters for America as one of the primary sources for debunking lies and deceit." Fox News led the charge, devoting more than 15 minutes over two days and three programs to the GSA's "liberal ideology," including its purported ties to Planned Parenthood.
From the October 18 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
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CNN contributor and Andrew Breitbart editor in chief Dana Loesch has taken the editorial position that it is "laughable" for CNN to claim it is "the most trusted name in news."
CNN is even worse than PolitiFact, because they're the ones using them. Obviously, CNN doesn't want to damage their laughable reputation as the "most trusted name in news," but they do want to help Barack Obama get reelected. Therefore, they hire outside mercenaries like PolitiFact to come on the air disguised as objective do-gooders.
Note the awkward banner atop Nolte's post blasting CNN:
Loesch joined "the most trusted name in news" in February.
(h/t St. Louis Activist Hub)
Following a post by Slate's Dave Weigel in which Weigel pointed out that CNN contributor Dana Loesch's criticism of liberal journalists' coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests is hypocritical given her coverage of the tea parties, Loesch complained that the media has "been mostly hostile to the [tea party] movement." Loesch went on to claim, "The media did not 'aid' the tea party; the tea party grew in spite of it."
But Loesch is ignoring the fact that the tea party had a dedicated cable news network in Fox News devoted to aggressively promoting and providing uniformly positive coverage of the events and protests. Fox even branded 2009 tea party protests as "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties":
In fact, the Tea Party Express highlighted Fox's positive coverage numerous times, even using Fox's friendly coverage to raise money and later admitting that "there would not have been a tea party without Fox." And not only did the Tea Party Express praise Fox's tea party coverage, but it also cited the "great television news coverage" from CNN -- now Loesch's cable news home -- as well.
Attorney General Eric Holder hadn't even stepped away from the podium of his press conference about an alleged Iranian terror plot before right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, CNN contributor Dana Loesch, and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin began politicizing the announcement.
Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller took to the microphone this afternoon to deliver details about an alleged terror plot in which, according to a Justice Department press release, two individuals were "directed by elements of the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States with explosives while the Ambassador was in the United States." One of the plotters allegedly attempted to hire what he thought were members of a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the murder.
Limbaugh started smearing the event before the conference even began, telling his audience that Holder's announcement was "a great way to sidestep the fact that he's being delivered a subpoena on Fast and Furious," the failed ATF operation that is currently under DOJ and congressional investigation. Limbaugh added that the announcement was "all about" trying to give Holder "something to distract everybody away from Fast and Furious."
The press conference ended at 2:29 p.m. EST, but by 2:22 p.m., Loesch, too, was already politicizing Holder's comments on Twitter, trying to tie the alleged terrorists to Fast and Furious.
Sadly, this kind of rapid-reaction politicization of grave, apolitical events is well-worn territory for commenters on the right. Right-wing media rushed to attack the Obama administration in 2010 after an attempted New York City car bombing and reports of an attempted shoe bombing on a domestic flight over Denver. And in January 2010, Limbaugh said that President Obama wanted to use the devastating Haiti earthquake to boost credibility with the "light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country."
Tea party darling and CNN contributor Dana Loesch has decided to engage in some audacious revisionism in order to defend conservatives from criticism over the booing of a gay soldier at a Republican presidential debate.
Loesch's re-imagining concerned the Fox News-Google debate during which a question given by Stephen Hill, a gay soldier serving in Iraq, elicited audible booing from the audience. Media figures and even some Republican presidential candidates have condemned the booing.
At a fundraiser yesterday, President Obama also condemned the booing while criticizing aspects of the modern-day Republican Party:
Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republicans but are puzzled by what's happened to that party, are puzzled by what's happening to that party. I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately? You've got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change, it's true. You've got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don't have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they're gay.
Loesch responded on Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism, claiming that President Obama had deliberately lied about the booing.
As evidence that Obama was lying, Loesch linked to a previous blog post she had written, claiming that she had "thoroughly debunked" the booing story.
But her previous blog actually confirms the fact that the soldier was booed at the debate.
Right-wing media have continued to claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme." However, experts say that people who make this claim "are very wrong."
From the September 11 edition of CNN Newsroom:
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After Fox News aired a doctored version of Teamsters president James Hoffa's Labor Day speech, the right-wing media pointed to the clearly edited video to accuse Hoffa of encouraging violence against conservatives. In fact, unaltered video -- video aired by Fox hours after the clearly edited version had been heavily promoted throughout the conservative media -- shows that Hoffa was encouraging the crowd to vote against Republicans in the 2012 election.
This morning Andrew Breitbart, Dana Loesch and Mike Flynn dropped by Media Matters asking for a copy of our IRS 990 form.
Right-wing bloggers misled by dishonest Fox News video editing are attacking Teamsters President James Hoffa for supposedly urging violence against Tea Party activists during a Labor Day speech. Conservatives are also attacking President Obama, who appeared at the event, for "sanctioning violence against fellow Americans" by failing to denounce Hoffa. But fuller context included in other Fox segments makes clear that Hoffa wasn't calling for violence but was actually urging the crowd to vote out Republican members of Congress.
During the segment that the bloggers have latched onto, Fox edited out the bolded portion of Hoffa's comments:
HOFFA: Everybody here's got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much!
In an initial report on Hoffa's speech at 1 p.m. on Fox News, Ed Henry reported that Hoffa said that "we'll remember in November who's with the working people" and "said of the Tea Party and of Republicans, 'let's take these sons of bitches out.'"
Henry made clear during that segment that Hoffa's comments were references to voting out Republican members of Congress, not to violence. And roughly 20 minutes later, he explained on Twitter that the "full quote" of the "take these son of a bitches out" comment is "Everybody here's got to vote. If we go back & keep the eye on the prize, let's take these sons of bitches out":
But in a second segment that ran at roughly the same time as Henry's tweet, Fox News dishonestly edited the speech in the manner seen above. Andrew Breitbart's Big sites, Real Clear Politics, The Daily Caller, the Media Research Center, and the Drudge Report have all highlighted that footage, using it to condemn "the violence emanating from union thug bosses" and demand that Obama "denounce" the comments.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly open to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines that President Obama laid out in May in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that called for a peace agreement based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon swaps. However, when Obama made the proposal, the conservative media decried it as "potential suicide" and "the destruction of Israel."
Days before Pam Geller came under fire for "attacking the victims" of the recent Oslo attacks, radio host Dana Loesch championed Geller's "good fight" against "the jihadi mindset."
Geller, the Atlas Shrugs blogger and frequent Fox News guest, has been under the microscope since the attacks, as commenters noted that accused killer Anders Behring Breivik frequently cited fringe Islamophobic bloggers, including Geller, in his manifesto.
Geller now faces widespread condemnation after a weekend blog post in which she called the Norwegian youth camp where dozens of young people were massacred an "anti-Semitic indoctrination training center" and posted a picture of the targeted children with the caption:
Note the faces which are more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian.
Geller has subsequently scrubbed the caption from her blog post.
Salon's Glenn Greenwald has rightly called on media to stop giving Geller a platform to spew her Islamophobic hate speech in light of her most recent comments.
Indeed, despite a long history of outrageous, Islamophobic comments, Geller has long benefited from media exposure that soft-pedals or defends her hate speech - which was on full display throughout the summer of 2010 as Geller helped gin up outrage over the Park51 Islamic Community Center.
Just last week, in fact, Geller called into The Dana Show, where host Dana Loesch defended Geller, saying criticism of her hate speech and was nothing more than "extreme, baseless, bigoted, partisan attacks." Geller, Loesch claimed, was under attack and being "defamed" because she "posed such a threat to people who have supported the jihadi mindset."