In an October 7 post, right-wing blogger Gateway Pundit falsely claimed that President Obama "is forcing a private Catholic institution to cover abortion in its insurance plan," and Ed Morrissey similarly wrote on HotAir.com that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) "demanded that a private Catholic college offer abortion" coverage. In fact, the EEOC -- in a letter of determination that did not address the issue of abortion -- stated that the institution, Belmont Abbey College, violated discrimination laws by denying employees health insurance coverage for "prescription contraceptive drugs."
Recently, the right-wing media have engaged in relentless attacks on President Obama and his administration and progressive organizations. Those attacks have repeatedly turned out to be based on demonstrably false claims -- such as the claim that Education Department official Kevin Jennings "cover[ed] up statutory rape."
Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and prominent conservative bloggers followed the lead of conservative website Breitbart.tv after the site falsely claimed that an online video showed community organizers from the Gamaliel Foundation "pray[ing]" to President Obama. Breitbart.tv subsequently updated the original post with an editor's note acknowledging that "there is a debate over what is actually being said" and that the crowd may, in fact, be saying "oh God" rather than "Obama"; the Gamaliel Foundation subsequently stated that "at no time have we prayed to President Obama" and that in the video, the organizers "can be heard saying, 'Hear our cry oh God,' 'Deliver us oh God,' etc."
After the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed Humana and other Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations to cease sending health care reform mailings to Medicare beneficiaries, numerous conservative media figures -- including several Fox News hosts -- have advanced the talking point that the Obama administration is "threatening" or "suppress[ing] free speech" rights of reform opponents, in a manner Glenn Beck said "sounds like Joe McCarthy," often failing to note CMS' rationale. In fact, CMS expressed concern that the mailings -- which directed beneficiaries to contact Congress in opposition to Medicare Advantage payment cuts -- is "misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, represents information to beneficiaries as official communications about the Medicare Advantage program, and is potentially contrary to federal regulations and guidance."
From the August 12 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
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Some prominent media conservatives have harshly criticized President Obama's speech in Cairo, while others offered praise for Obama's address.