As we proceed deeper into the Obama presidency, we're getting a clearer picture of just how radical some of the president's far-right adversaries are. We're starting to understand the depths to which the partisan extremists in the media will stoop, to the point where many this week seemed incapable of celebrating the execution of Osama bin Laden or extending a job well done to the White House.
That's pretty low.
The bin Laden story has provided a useful filter, or a demarcation line, within the right-wing media and has helped illustrate which strident Obama critics are still in touch with some strands of common sense and common decency, and which ones are not.
The bin Laden story has provided the minimal bar for irrational Obama haters to hop over: Toast the news that bin Laden had been killed and toast the administration for being able to accomplish the long overdue task. But it's a low bar that lots of dead-enders can't clear. (Thankfully, some conservative pundits were willing to leap over it.)
Led by Rush Limbaugh, the Washington Times, portions of Fox News, and bloggers who write for Andrew Breitbart, the dead-enders have spent this week not only refusing to credit Obama, but have been parading their contempt around in full view. The dead-enders have been attacking Obama in every way possible, from relentlessly critiquing his bin-Laden-is-dead declaration, to raising hysterical objections to the president's wreath-laying visit to Ground Zero.
A wreath-laying visit.
Phrases like 'inappropriate' barely begin to describe the oddity of watching the nasty Obama attacks unfold in response to the wonderful news about bin Laden's death.
In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death, numerous right-wing media figures have insisted that the United States would never have found him without information obtained through torture. However, there is considerable dispute among experts over whether torture played a role in developing critical intelligence that led officials to bin Laden's whereabouts.
Right-wing media continue to attack President Obama over his speech announcing that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a firefight. These attacks even include people saying that Obama should not have made the announcement himself.
Immediately following President Obama's announcement that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan, right-wing media took every opportunity to attack the president for his actions and remarks regarding the mission that led to bin Laden's death. Conservative media outlets and personalities have declared that the death of the world's most famous terrorist was just another opportunity for the president to "strut like [a] peacock" and make it all about himself.
CNN contributor Dana Loesch is helping to promote Andrew Breitbart's latest big deception by saying that a series of chopped up videos of labor studies courses "absolutely" shows college instructors in Missouri engaged in terrorism.
But in the process, Loesch criticized the very deceptive editing practices that went into producing the tape.
Loesch hosted Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder on her radio show to discuss the selectively edited videos. After the videos had already been promoted to local and national media outlets, the editors themselves acknowledged that they excised content from the tapes.
During her interview, Loesch proclaimed:
The only way that that any of this, sir, would be - that they could take this out of context is if, at the very end of all of this, at the very end of all their statements, and their discussion, and telling their students that, "Oh yeah, we love to screwdriver by, oh you know, whatever, just to kind of scare people, and we followed them around - we showed up at this baseball game where they were," is if at the very end of it they said, "Not," and then that was cut off though in the editing.
That is precisely what happened.
Last night, Glenn Beck's website streamed a video that it billed as a "a special prime time broadcast celebrating the 1-year anniversary of Insider Extreme," Beck's $75-a-year Web subscription service. Beck's site described the video as "an exclusive glimpse inside Glenn's New York City home as he hosts a very special dinner" with four guests to "tackle the issues the mainstream media just won't talk about."
Beck promoted the special on his Fox News show yesterday as well, encouraging viewers to visit GlennBeck.com to see "a conversation with four experts that I had the other night on what is coming in the next 12 months. It is a conversation that America must have. And not one that I expected, actually, to have when we started. It's amazing."
He was right -- it was amazing. In the course of the video, Beck and CNN's Dana Loesch expressed a baffling sympathy for anarchism. Loesch said, "I'm two steps above anarchy conservatism, just as it was intended by the Founding Fathers. I mean, really, that's really what we're supposed to be." In response, Beck said, "[W]hen you say we're two steps -- you're two steps above an anarchist -- and I think I am, too. I mean, I'm really closer to Washington than any president, even Reagan. They really were organized, controlled anarchists."
Beck also returned to drawing parallels between current conditions and the conditions that led to the Holocaust. While discussing the "better natural side of man" and the "dark side of natural man," Beck said, "[T]hey don't co-exist. I mean, there is a time when you do have to say enough is enough. And we always bury our head in the sand. We're doing -- mark my words. We are doing what we did with Nazi Germany right now. And the trains will return someplace on the earth. It will happen again. All the same seeds are here."
From the March 16 Insider Extreme anniversary webcast on GlennBeck.com:
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I'm so disappointed.
Over the weekend one of Andrew Breitbart's over-excited sites posted a breathless account about how a California Tea Party activist had been "assaulted" by a union thug and how the poor man was "forced" to go to the hospital for "x-rays and treatment for the injuries sustained." It's all part of the right-wing's dubious union = thugs campaign.
In fact, here's how the activist described the frightening encounter to a local reporter [emphasis added]:
"He bum rushed across the street, came right at us, swung his bullhorn at me, hit me in the hand and then put his hand around my throat and started choking me," Rodney Stanhope of Placerville said.
And the Breitbart blogger who originally posted on the incident excitedly promised additional reporting at the time, declaring, "Stay tuned for an in-depth write up from an eyewitness on the scene." Personally, I was very interested to see the follow-up reporting if only because much of the retelling of the "assault" appeared to have been concocted by the Tea Party activist.
Here's the clip of the encounter.
If Breitbart or his deputy Dana Loesch can please post in comments below and explain exactly at what point the Tea Party activist in the white shirt was hit with the bullhorn and then choked by the union member that would be helpful because I'm just not seeing it. And that's why I was so looking forward to the follow-up reporting that Breitbart's intrepid blogger had promised.
But for some reason it hasn't materialized.
For some reason after I highlighted how the Tea Party activist clearly exaggerated reports of his hospital "injuries" from the very brief rally encounter, and after I highighted how he seemed to have lied to the local media about being choked by a union member and hit by a bullhorn, Breitbart's site suddenly stopped hysterically hyping the tale of woe and declined to post an "in-depth write up from an eyewitness."
Instead, Breitbart's team has flushed the embarrassing story down the memory hole. Too bad Breitbart's blogger didn't flush it before the nonsense was posted.
Either that or she just lies about the the smears. Either way, it's not a flattering portrait.
We've documented how CNN's latest contributor Dana Loesch has trouble telling the truth during her nationally televised appearances. But apparently that's nothing compared to the misinformation and falsehoods she peddles on the local level as a right-wing radio show host in St. Louis with ties to the Tea Party.
This latest episode is telling in terms of just how brazen Loesch's lie was this week, and the fact that Loesch is so far out on the right-wing fringe that she's targeting local Republicans for race-baiting smears.
Here's the background, courtesySt. Louis Activist Hub [emphasis added]:
Backstory: the St. Louis Tea Party doesn't like the proposal to restore control of the St. Louis Police Department to the City of St. Louis. In fact, they dislike it so much they made a blatantly race-baiting video suggesting that the bill had something to do with the New Black Panther Party (and remember, in tea party language, New Black Panther Party = "wants to kill crackers"). In fact, the tea party even suggested that House Speaker Steve Tilley is "associated with the New Black Panther Party" because he supported the bill.
That's right, Tea Party conservatives in Missouri are claiming local Republicans (like Steve Tilley) are conspiring with the New Black Panther Party. (Don't ask.)
On Thursday, Tilley appeared on Loesch's St. Louis radio show and she assured him that he wasn't the target of a Tea Party attack:
I don't think that anyone was specifically trying to tie, like, you to the New Black Panther Party.
So on Tuesday, Loesch was helping peddle the smear that a local Republican was associated with the NBPP. Then on Thursday when the Republican appeared on her radio show, Loesch assured him nobody was trying to associate him with the NBPP.
Keep it classy Dana.
Oh, and for the record Loesch then waited until after Tilley hung up and ended his radio inteview with her before she launched into an extended attack against him.
Behold "conservative journalism."
(h/t Fired! Up Missouri)
From the February 20 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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We really are approaching laugh-or-cry territory when it comes to the increasingly unhinged members of Andrew Breitbart's farm system of wayward bloggers. I don't know if it's the lawsuit Breitbart and his colleague were recently hit with regarding the Shirley Sherrod smear campaign, or the realization that the beloved Pigford crusade is heading to the trash heap of history, but something has gone seriously wrong over there and the results are at times hysterically funny, and at times just creepy.
Basically, the new defense among Breitbart bloggers such as Jim Hoft and Dana Loesch is that if you accurately quote or characterize things they say and write, then you're guilty of smearing them and unleashing hit jobs. That's right, if you accurately quote them.
For instance, former Salon editor Joan Walsh appeared on Hardball this week and called out Breitbart blogger Hoft for his shocking blog post in which he clearly blamed CBS reporter Lara Logan for being sexually assaulted by an Egyptian mob.
Here was Walsh [emphasis added]:
There's a whole wave of people on the blogosphere, Gateway Pundit and Debbie Schlussel who are basically blaming Lara Logan for her — for what happened to her because she dared to go report on Islam, rather than treating it as this sexist, brutal religion.
Hoft's hysterical reaction? Note his whiny headline:
Outrageous. CNN's Anderson Cooper and Salon Editor Joan Walsh Smear Gateway Pundit & Common Sense
Forget that Cooper never even mentioned Hoft, so that part of the headline is a complete fabrication. (Surprise!) But how had Walsh smeared Hoft? She smeared him by accurately describing what he wrote on his website.
I cannot make this up.
Nor can I make up the fact that Hoft's colleague from Breitbart World, Dana Loesch, lashed out wildly at Media Matters on Twitter yesterday, accusing us of unleashing a "hitjob" on her.
What exactly did Media Matters do to formulate the dastardly "hitjob"? We published a research item quoting all the unkind things Loesch has said over the years about CNN ("biggest bunch of idiot blockheads"), while noting that CNN recently hired her to be a contributor. That's right, Media Matters accurately quoted Loesch's own words (she hasn't disputed any of it), therefore according to full-time victim Loesch, we authored a "hitjob."
When you take a step back from this intellectual pileup, the truth is these`wingers aren't even trying any more. I mean, they just make stuff up around the clock, Media Matters and others debunk their lame efforts within minutes, and instead of copping to the fabrications, or at least playing dumb, they've now adopted the insanely annoying shtick of playing victim: Not fair! You quoted our own words and published them for people to read. Bullies!
Really? I mean it. Really?
Recently-minted CNN contributor Dana Loesch claimed that breast pumps will be subject to the "massive excise tax" on medical devices under the health care reform law. In fact, the law exempts medical devices that are "generally purchased by the general public at retail for individual use."
I'm curious: Is there a lie a conservative guest could tell on CNN that would disqualify her from subsequently being hired by CNN? I ask because CNN recently hired Dana Loesch as a contributor, after Loesch repeatedly lied to CNN viewers as a guest. And I'm not talking about little white lies, I'm talking about what may be the single greatest lie in the past three decades of American history: The up-is-down claim that broad-based income tax cuts increase government revenue.
Now, before we get to Loesch, let's spend some time on just how completely, incredibly false that claim is. It's so false, we can convincingly debunk it with one arm tied behind our backs -- that is, by relying solely on the testimony of pro-tax-cut conservatives.
This Center on Budget and Policy Priorities paper notes that Edward Lazear, chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisors told the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, "I certainly would not claim that tax cuts pay for themselves." CBPP further noted that "N. Gregory Mankiw, former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors and a Harvard economics professor, wrote in his well-known 1998 textbook that there is 'no credible evidence' that 'tax revenues … rise in the face of lower tax rates.' He went on to compare an economist who says that tax cuts can pay for themselves to a 'snake oil salesman trying to sell a miracle cure.'" (Mankiw also once wrote that Reagan advisers who claimed that tax cuts would raise revenue were "charlatans and cranks." In 2007, he stood by that assessment, writing "I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don't.")
CBPP also noted that President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors concluded that, "although the economy grows in response to tax reductions … it is unlikely to grow so much that lost revenue is completely recovered by the higher level of economic activity." And that the Economist magazine wrote of the claim that President Bush's tax cuts would pay for themselves, "Even by the standards of political boosterism, this is extraordinary. No serious economist believes Mr. Bush's tax cuts will pay for themselves."
Here's Time magazine on claims that tax cuts pay for themselves: "If there's one thing that economists agree on, it's that these claims are false. We're not talking just ivory-tower lefties. Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts enacted during the past six years have not paid for themselves--and were never intended to."
Not satisfied? Alan Viard, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and formerly a senior economist in President Bush's CEA, told the Washington Post in 2006: "Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There's really no dispute among economists about that." The same Post article noted that "Robert Carroll, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax analysis, said neither the president nor anyone else in the administration is claiming that tax cuts alone produced the unexpected surge in revenue. 'As a matter of principle, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves,' Carroll said."
This FactCheck.org piece notes that the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee On Taxation both concluded that the Bush tax cuts reduced revenue, and that Rob Portman, director of Bush's Office of Management and Budget, acknowledged as much. And more: Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: "As a general rule, I don't believe that tax cuts pay for themselves." Reagan CEA Chairman Martin Feldstein: "It is not that you get more revenue by lowering tax rates, it is that you don't lose as much." Andrew Samwick, former chief economist for the CEA during the Bush administration: "No thoughtful person believes" tax cuts increase revenue, "Not a single one."
Finally, Brian Riedl, the Heritage Foundation's lead budget analyst, has acknowledged that the 2001/2003 Bush tax cuts cost $1.7 trillion of the projected surplus -- and Riedl was defending those tax cuts.
In short: Even staunchly conservative advocates for tax cuts acknowledge that they don't increase revenue -- and call people who claim otherwise "charlatans and cranks" and snake oil salesmen peddling a "miracle cure."
One such charlatan is new CNN hire Dana Loesch. Back when she was just a regular guest on CNN, she routinely claimed that tax cuts increase revenue -- and even that it is "illogical" to say that tax cuts could conceivably reduce revenue. Now, even if you somehow believe -- and, remember, no serious person does -- that until you get to zero percent taxes, every tax cut either maintains or increases revenue, you still have to acknowledge that cutting taxes to zero would reduce revenue. But Dana Loesch doesn't: She claims it's "illogical" to say that tax cuts ever reduce revenue. Here's what she has said on CNN:
From the February 17 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
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Last week, CNN hired Dana Loesch as a political contributor. Loesch previously called CNN "the biggest bunch of idiot blockheads," "state-run media," home to "tinfoil hats," and accused the network of having a "blatant disregard for objectivity." Loesch also wrote that Anderson Cooper got his job "by benefit of silver spoons."