Media figures have credited House Speaker Paul Ryan with thrusting the supposedly "forgotten" issue of poverty into the 2016 Republican presidential race following his participation in the January 9 presidential forum on poverty, but failed to mention that despite his new rhetoric, Ryan has a long history of promoting harmful policies that would "exacerbate poverty, inequality, and wage stagnation."
From the July 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
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Media figures are comparing the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the Bush administration's botched response to Hurricane Katrina. This comparison ignores a crucial difference: Nobody has died because of problems with HealthCare.gov, whereas at least 1,833 people died as a result of Katrina.
The media have repeatedly referred to crises during the Obama administration as "Obama's Katrina."
Media figures are peddling claims by anti-immigrant advocates that immigration reform would hurt the economy and negatively impact American workers, even though economic evidence disproves this false narrative. A new poll showing that small business owners support immigration reform indicates that they also distrust these anti-immigrant arguments.
In a recent column praising the work of Mark Krikorian, executive director of the nativist organization Center for Immigration Studies, CNN contributor David Frum, also a Daily Beast contributing editor, wrote that "because the illegals are predominantly very low-income, their demand on such [social welfare] programs will be heavy -- and not only long-term, but likely multigenerational."
Krikorian also peddled this falsehood in a March 19 National Review Online column, writing that because immigrants are "so unskilled and thus earn so little money... they are inevitably net costs to taxpayers."
WND repeated similar claims in an exclusive interview with Roy Beck, executive director of nativist organization NumbersUSA who said that Republican Sen. Rand Paul's immigration reform plan -- which has many of the same pro-immigration stances as proposals being floated by President Obama and the bi-partisan group of senators known as the "Gang of 8" -- would have serious economic consequences and is "a keeping wages low plan."
However, a new poll gauging the immigration views of job creators' shows that they are not buying into these arguments. A poll released on March 27 by the Small Business Majority found that small business owners, many of whom identified as Republican and either are the child of, or are, an immigrant, overwhelmingly support a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes a path to citizenship. Included in the report:
The right-wing media is grasping for coherence in its attempts to portray military action in Libya as "Obama's Iraq."
From the March 6 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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Rather than take the time to reflect on the state of today's disturbingly overheated political environment, where government leaders are demonized and degraded, via smears and lies, on an hourly basis within the far-flung confines of the conservative media landscape, and where the President of the United States is alternately attacked as a racist/Nazi/communist/tyrant, the conservative movement this week has opted to close ranks, deny there's any kind of problem, and attack those who raise valid questions.
It appears the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and the handgun massacre that accompanied it, will be yet another critical chance for reflection that the right-wing media will let slip by. (Here was an earlier missed chance.)
Sadly, in recent days there have been just handful of lonely voices within the conservative community who have suggested the killing spree in Tucson offered a chance to rethink, or at least address, the type of political rhetoric that has been mainstreamed by Fox News and friends over the last two years.
Among the lone voices of reason was former Bush speechwriter, David Frum, here tweeting a message to the conservative blogger known as AllahPundit:
.@allahpundit You don't see in this terrible crime ANY call to reflection on the extreme rhetoric of the past 2 years?
But overwhelmingly, the right-wing response has been denial and attack. To deny there's anything wrong with the hateful, anti-government attacks that now flow from the community on an hourly basis. And to attack anyone who even considers the possibility that that torrent of invective has created a toxic, and possibly violent, political climate in this country.
I can't say I'm surprised.
We've seen this kind of blanket denial before, like when abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in his church by a right-wing nut. The hit came after Fox News' Bill O'Reilly relentlessly attacked Tiller on-air as a "baby killer." What was the right-wing media's response to the act of cowardly vigilantism? Did they take a step back and question the implication of O'Reilly's incendiary rhetoric and his relentless, public attacks? They did not. Instead, they spun like crazy, insisting, unconvincingly, that O'Reilly was blameless and that when he was calling Tiller a "baby killer," all he was doing was engaging in lively debate.
Observing the GOP Noise Machine since Obama's inauguration, it's obvious there's nobody in charge; that there's no adult supervision. It's a media community that appears to be immune to introspection, let alone acknowledging grave miscues. It's also clear that senior Republican members of Congress are too frightened to disagree with high-profile conservative pundits.
So if the media movement itself isn't going to ask uncomfortable questions, and conservatives outside the media sphere are afraid to do it, we're left with something akin to a runaway train.
And this week, that runaway train is careening off the tracks.
In a CNN.com opinion piece, CNN contributor David Frum attempted to justify the defeat of immigration reform bills, including the DREAM Act, by suggesting such measures would not help the United States attract highly skilled immigrants. In fact, both the DREAM and comprehensive immigration reform bills contain measures that would help attract such immigrants.
In an op-ed in today's New York Times, Bush administration speechwriter David Frum describes the growing reliance of the "Post-Tea-Party Nation" on alternate realities, attributing the trend to what he dubs the "Glenn Beck phenomenon." In outlining what Frum calls "the danger of closed information systems," he criticizes those who follow Beck-ian theories of alternative history for basing their views on this "pretend information." From economics, to the very tenets of U.S. history, Frum outlines the inherent contradictions between Beck's world and reality:
Every day, Beck offers alternative knowledge -- an alternative history of the United States and the world, an alternative system of economics, an alternative reality. As corporate profits soar, the closed information system insists that the free-enterprise system is under assault. As prices slump, we are warned of imminent hyperinflation. As black Americans are crushed under Depression-level unemployment, the administration's policies are condemned by some conservatives as an outburst of Kenyan racial revenge against the white overlord.
As we've noted before, Beck's revisionism seeps into nearly every facet of American history. In Beck's mind, the real truth about our nation has been hidden, and it is up to Glenn Beck himself to educate the American people all over again.
Take, for example, the history of race relations in America. According to Beck, things were going well in America all the way from the 1790s to just before the Civil War. In fact, Beck even claimed that freed slaves founded Liberia because, though they "wanted to go back to Africa," they appreciated all of the liberties they were afforded in the U.S.
Among the litany of other completely erroneous or bizarre claims made by Beck include: that France gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States as "a slap in the face" to other European countries; that FDR prolonged the Great Depression; and that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because Woodrow Wilson turned the British against them - just to name a few.
Beck also rewrites the history of his political opponents in order to smear them. In the past week, Beck has repeatedly lied about George Soros' actions as a 14-year-old in Nazi-occupied Hungary in order to paint him as a Holocaust collaborator -- a smear that the Anti-Defamation League called "offensive and over the top."
As Frum warns in his column, Beck's distortions simply create panic, not solutions. Recently, Beck has warned that we're on the verge of a "Weimar moment," despite considerable evidence to the contrary, and stoked fears of a "food crisis" resulting from massive inflation.
Beck has said that his show would "alter the course of history." As Frum points out, most of his efforts seem geared to doing that by distorting his audience's understanding of the past.
Despite vowing to report both sides of the story "and let you decide," Fox & Friends' coverage of the GOP "Pledge to America" consisted almost entirely of conservatives who love the pledge and Republicans who want to promote it. However, Fox ignored that several conservatives have panned the "Pledge to America."
Just about every time I include David Frum's views on anything related to Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh, I hear about it from fellow his fellow conservatives in comments and emails. Frum, they'll say, doesn't speak for them.
Frum, the former Bush speechwriter, has strong views on the future of the Republican Party, and is respected by some leading figures on the right, as Daniel Libit wrote last September in POLITICO. But he's got a lot of right-wing foes, too, especially in the talk radio world.
And it seems he also has a critic in Tunku Varadarajan, a former Wall Street Journal editorial board member and now a writer at the Daily Beast. For Varadarajan, Frum is representative of a certain speecies of conservative that one may find in cities connected by the Acela.
David is a man I've known professionally for almost a decade, and with whom my social interaction has always been very genial. He is a good and energetic man, and has, in the years since he left service at the White House, dedicated himself to being what I call a "polite-company conservative" (or PCC), much like David Brooks and Sam Tanenhaus at the New York Times (where the precocious Ross Douthat is shaping up to be a baby version of the species). A PCC is a conservative who yearns for the goodwill of the liberal elite in the media and in the Beltway-who wishes, always, to have their ear, to be at their dinner parties, to be comforted by a sense that their liberal interlocutors believe that they are not like other conservatives, with their intolerance and boorishness, their shrillness and their talk radio. The PCC, in fact, distinguishes himself from other conservatives not so much ideologically-though there is an element of that-as aesthetically.
So, Varadarajan thinks Frum, Brooks and Tanenhaus are "polite-company conservatives." Read his description of that term one more time: "[A] conservative who yearns for the goodwill of the liberal elite in the media and in the Beltway-who wishes, always, to have their ear, to be at their dinner parties, to be comforted by a sense that their liberal interlocutors believe that they are not like other conservatives, with their intolerance and boorishness, their shrillness and their talk radio."
Implied in the very term "polite-company conservative" is the notion that because of their behavior and ability to mince words or hold back, such people are welcome with open arms by the media elite, i.e. they are acceptable in polite company. They get column space, marquee television time, and invitations to fancy parties etc. In other words, they are accepted... a form of validation bestowed by our media.
This is, of course, ridiculous. The idea that the Frums of this world have done anything to become "polite-company conservatives" is a load of crap. If anything, they represent the rare exception of thoughtful media conservatives who largely refrain from nastiness and bomb-throwing.
It would be far more accurate - if speaking from the mentality of our media - to term people like Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and other similar conservative media stars as "polite-company conservatives." After all, they can say anything -- no matter how offensive or wrong -- and it doesn't seem to keep them off of tony programs like the Today Show, The View, Good Morning America or the major broadcast and cable news networks. In other words, they can do or say anything and still be accepted in "polite-company."
I guess you could call it the media's golden rule when it comes to punditry: Conservatives are mainstream no matter how right-wing, bigoted or otherwise untruthful their views, while progressives can't stray too far from the center or else they risk being considered illegitimate and not part of polite company.
Need more evidence?
I'm sure Ann Coulter has a new book on the horizon (doesn't she always?) and we all know her history. If you think that history will keep her from making the rounds on the cable and broadcast news chat shows, think again. It never has before.
When was the last time that someone as liberal and mean-spirited as Ann Coulter is conservative and mean-spirited got even a minute of time in front of the camera?
Then again, I struggle to even think of a liberal example that fits the Coulter-mold.
From the March 22 edition of ABC's Nightline:
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Newsbusters' Matthew Balan complains:
CNN's Candy Crowley neglected to include sound bites from conservatives during a report about Sarah Palin on Tuesday's American Morning, other than from the former Alaska governor herself. While Crowley did acknowledge the widespread support that Palin has among conservative Republicans, she only used clips from moderate commentator David Frum, Democrat Bill Owens, and colleague Wolf Blitzer. [Emphasis added]
David Frum has worked as a speechwriter for George W. Bush, a senior fellow at the right-wing Manhattan Institute, and an editor for the right-wing editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. He has been an advisor to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and a contributing editor to National Review. He is a resident fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, and serves on the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He supported John McCain's presidential campaign, and has written books titled "Dead Right," "What's Right: The New Conservative Majority and the Remaking of America," "The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush," "Comeback: Conservatism that can win again." And he co-wrote a book with Richard Perle.
But Newsbusters' Matthew Balan says Frum isn't a conservative; he's a moderate, and that CNN's report therefore failed to fearture any soundbites from conservatives. Oh, except Sarah Palin.
Another, more sane, way to look at the report would be to say it featured clips of two conservatives, Frum and Palin, and only one progressive, Democrat Bill Owens.
Oh, and that Owens clip? Here it is, in its entirety:
CONGRESSMAN-ELECT BILL OWENS: Thank you very much.
Oh, the bias!
From the August 23 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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From the August 23 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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