Fox News, The Weekly Standard, and Matt Drudge are hiding Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski's support for provisions in a disaster relief bill in order to attack Murkowski's Democratic colleague, Sen. Mark Begich (AK).
The Senate is debating a $60.4 billion relief bill to provide funding for clean-up in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy this week. The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have all endorsed a bill this size, but Republicans have reportedly threatened to block the bill if the proposed spending is not offset by cuts.
Right-wing media seized on some of the bill's provisions to call the bill an example of pork barrel spending even though the White House and Senate appropriators have said the vast majority of the spending in the bill is directly related to recovery from Hurricane Sandy. In particular, these media outlets have focused on a portion of the bill -- amounting to less than 0.3 percent of the total funds in the bill -- that provides money for states affected by disasters involving fisheries in the Northeast, Mississippi, and Alaska.
After misleadingly attacking the bill as a "scam" on Monday, Fox News' Fox & Friends First host Patti Ann Browne called the bill "packed with pork" and Fox Business correspondent Diane Macedo singled out Begich as a supporter of the fisheries provision.
But in order to suggest that this was a money grab by a Democratic senator, these outlets had to ignore the fact that Murkowski supported the fisheries provision too. Murkowski strongly praised the fisheries provision in a press release about the relief bill:
Alaska's Chinook fisheries were declared a disaster exactly three months ago, but no funds have been appropriated to help communities and businesses impacted yet. This bill will go a long way in providing federal resources to Alaskans who suffered economically because of this year's low King Salmon run get back on their feet.
Furthermore, the money will go to several states for which the Commerce Department declared disasters due to low catch rates and other problems: Mississippi, Rhode Island, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Alaska. And in Alaska, the declaration came as the result of a request by Republican Governor Sean Parnell.
Yesterday, the Weekly Standard ran a ridiculous hit piece on Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois, accusing him of misrepresenting his record. The attack follows Giannoulias' opponent Mark Kirk's false claim that he was awarded a top Navy award for service during NATO's conflict with Serbia. And his false claim that he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And his claim that he came under fire aboard an aircraft in Iraq, which he reportedly said may not be true.
Kirk eventually said, ""I want to be very contrite and say there is a casualness with which I sometimes describe military details. And if it gave the impression that my military record is larger than it was, I want to apologize." (The old non-apology apology.)
So it was only a matter of time before the conservative noise machine fired back at Giannoulias' résumé. In a post titled, "Giannoulias's Embellishment", The Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper pointed to an error on Giannoulias' official website. The website previously stated: "He [Giannoulias] founded and chairs the AG Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that donates money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations."