CNN contributor Erick Erickson appears giddy at the chance to blame President Obama for Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the United States' credit rating.
Days before a potential default crisis, right-wing media are engaged in a full-throated lobbying effort against a compromise to avoid default, urging Republicans to "hold the line" and act like "winners."
Following the terrorist attacks in Norway by anti-Muslim fundamentalist Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing media have leapt to defending their own Islamophobic response to the attacks, often by making absurd claims like calling Breivik a "jihadist."
When word first broke of the deadly bombing and mass shooting in Norway, there was little information available to suggest what party or parties were responsible. Much of the right-wing commentariat filled that information vacuum with their own prejudices, declaring that this was clearly an act of Islamic terrorism. It was later reported that the suspect in custody, Anders Behring Breivik, is a native Norwegian with extreme right-wing politics and ties to fundamentalist Christianity.
Among the conservative to rush to judgment were Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, CNN contributor Erick Erickson, and Andrew Breitbart's BigPeace.com. The Breitbart website surmised that the attacks could have meant that Norway's "big Muslim problem" had "just blown up in its face." Erickson wrote via Twitter: "Terrorist bombing in Oslo. I bet you it was not Lutherans who did it."
Now that their uninformed and ideologically motivated guesswork has been proven wrong, these same conservatives are adopting the "No True Scotsman" fallacy and claiming that Breivik's abhorrent behavior was not that of a Christian, but more akin to that of a Muslim.
From a Big Peace post today, bearing the headline "Anders Behring Breivik: Jihadist":
This Norwegian terrorist was not a Christian or a conservative. He acted contrary to the teachings of the Bible and conservatives from Burke to Madison. He was instead a jihadist, blinded by an ideology who resorted to violence rather than engaging in a public debate of ideas. He was a coward who planted bombs and killed innocent people. For him, violence was the only answer. He claimed to be fighting jihadists...but he actually became one. He didn't kill one islamist [sic] terrorist with his actions-only innocent Norwegians. Change the location, and he acted like so many jihadists in the Middle East. He became one of them.
Erickson writes that while he was wrong, he was nonetheless justified in his assumption because Christians, unlike Muslims, do not commit politically motivated violence:
First, those of us on the right who point out the now fairly common ties between terrorists and Islam do so largely because the secular left has become willfully naive. The fact of the matter is violence and Islam may not be very common among American muslims [sic], but internationally it is extremely common and can fairly well be considered mainstream within much of Islam. Read Andy McCarthy if you suffer on the delusion that it is not mainstream.
With Christians, it is rather rare to see a self-described Christian engage in heinous terrorist acts. In fact, in as much as there is an Arab Street filled with muslims [sic] more often than not cheering on the latest terrorist act of radical Islamists, you will be very hard pressed to find a Christian who does not condemn the act regardless of the faith of the person doing the killing.
Over the next week, assuming the budget fight in Washington doesn't over shadow it, you can expect lots more gloating that the guy in Norway described himself as a conservative Christian. Never mind that a conservative Christian would not do what the guy did. The left, however, will not be persuaded otherwise. They are of this world and this world is all that matters until the last day.
Muslim-bashing is one of the pillars of today's conservative movement, and they rarely pass up the chance to equate "Muslim" with "terrorist." The reaction from these conservatives to the tragedy in Norway -- from the initial round of shoddy guesswork to the subsequent dissembling on Breivik's ideological identity -- demonstrates the intensity of that anti-Muslim fervor. Even though no Muslims were involved, they are still working hard to make sure Muslims share the blame.
In a July 13 RedState.com blog post, CNN contributor Erick Erickson declared that in noting that Social Security checks might be disrupted should the default crisis not be resolved by the August 2 deadline, President Obama "declared his willingness to shoot his hostages, i.e. senior citizens." Erickson went on to say, "The GOP should do the same -- show an absolute unwillingness to raise the debt ceiling without their balanced budget amendment passing out of Congress to the states. ... the GOP should embrace the apocalyptic future, call B.S. on the fear mongering, and shoot their debt ceiling hostage."
From Erickson's blog post:
Everyone is using the hostage metaphor these days regarding the debt ceiling. Barack Obama started it back in December when he called the GOP hostage takers before the GOP gave him everything he wanted.
Well, I hope the GOP noticed Barack Obama yesterday upped the ante and declared his willingness to shoot his hostages, i.e. senior citizens. Yes, if the GOP dares to hold the line on spending cuts, Barack Obama will balk, the debt limit will not be raised, and Obama will refuse to pay senior citizens.
The President today signaled his willingness to shoot the hostage. The GOP should do the same -- show an absolute unwillingness to raise the debt ceiling without their balanced budget amendment passing out of Congress to the states.
Again and again, Congress folds to the doomsday scenarios. The Wall Street Journal again and again claims the sky will fall and the markets will crash. The suits come down from New York and paint the disaster scenario. The GOP falls in line. TARP is passed. What else will be passed?
This time, the GOP should embrace the apocalyptic future, call B.S. on the fear mongering, and shoot their debt ceiling hostage. if they engage in politics as usual as the Wall Street Journal and Mitch McConnell would have them, we'll be back in this mess again next year.
Conservative media have remained adamantly opposed to any revenue increases when covering the current negotiations over the looming default crisis. In fact, several prominent conservative economists disagree and have said that new revenue should be part of an agreement.
Right-wing media have seized on recent comments by President Obama to claim that Obama "blame[d] ATMs for high unemployment." But Obama's full comments show that he was suggesting that businesses are investing more heavily in automated machines than in hiring new employees, a view shared by economists.
From the May 7 Media Research Center "Dishonors Awards":
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In the wake of President Obama's decision to approve the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, right-wing media are claiming that the call was in direct contradiction to Obama's foreign policy positions. In fact, as a presidential candidate, Obama promised he would take action against terrorists in Pakistan if "President Musharraf won't."
Right-wing media outlets have criticized President Obama's call to end certain tax breaks for oil companies, claiming that doing so will increase the price of gasoline. However energy experts contacted by Media Matters explain that cutting the tax incentives will have little to no effect on prices at the pump.
From an April 27 tweet by CNN contributor Erick Erickson:
Conservative media responded to President Obama's budget speech by attacking it as a "class warfare debacle." Conservatives have repeatedly dredged up the same tired "class warfare" talking point to attack progressives on tax policy or other matters.
Conservative media have gone to great lengths to portray Planned Parenthood as an organization of "child killers" bent on eliminating entire minority populations. These unhinged claims have led to sexist attacks on women and women's health services.
Following the president's deficit speech Wednesday, CNN's Erick Erickson quickly grasped at straws to revive one of the right-wing media's go-to falsehoods about healthcare: death panels.
From Erickson's RedState.com post, "Barack Obama Fully Embraces Death Panels":
While everyone else was focused on Barack Obama bashing Paul Ryan, I noticed that he took full ownership of death panels yesterday. Naturally, Obama did not call them death panels. He called them "an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers." But his description hits dead on with what his death panels will do.
According to Barack Obama yesterday, the death panels "will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services seniors need."
We already know what they'll recommend as "the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending". Barack Obama's own advisers have told us. They will prioritize giving health care to healthier people and let sicker people die. At end of life, they will deny people life sustaining treatment because, after all, they're going to die anyway. Note his phrasing: "protecting access to the services seniors need." Dying people, according to Obama's advisers, need hospice not hope. They certainly do not need expensive treatments that may buy them time to see the birth of a new grandchild or other reasons.
You may not like the use of the phrase "death panel," but make no mistake about it -- at the end of your life, in Barack Obama's America, his death panel will throw you under the bus in a way much closer to reality than metaphor.
Right-wing media responded to budget negotiations and the debate over Planned Parenthood funding by making sexist attacks against women and deriding women's health services as, among other things, "non-vital" and "optional."