Right-wing media have repeatedly compared First Lady Michelle Obama to Marie Antoinette, the eighteenth century queen who was executed during the French Revolution.
Following the revelation that Andrew Breitbart's smear of Shirley Sherrod was based on heavily edited video footage that took her out of context, certain right-wing media figures have rushed to his defense. Some have asserted that Breitbart does not need to apologize for smearing an innocent woman, and some have absurdly continued to accuse Sherrod of racism or extremism.
From the July 20 edition of CNN's John King, USA:
Loading the player reg...
From RedState co-founder Joshua Trevino's Twitter feed, accessed July 20:
Another day, another right-wing media freak out. Today, the right is in a tizzy over a Daily Caller exclusive scoop that "documents show media plotting to kill stories about Rev. Jeremiah Wright." Except, of course, their "documents" show no such thing.
The Daily Caller purports to have obtained copies of emails from the "Journolist" listserv, which they report is "comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists." Their big, breaking story exposes that some liberal journalists and a professor were outraged by an April 2008 Democratic Presidential primary debate -- a debate that was widely criticized as being "specious and gossipy." As you may recall, during that debate Obama was asked questions such as, "Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?"; "How do you convince Democrats" that not wearing an American flag lapel pin "would not be a vulnerability?"; and "Can you explain" your "relationship" with Bill Ayers, a question that was literally suggested to moderator George Stephanopoulos by right-wing radio hosts.
The debate was, in a word, ridiculous. And numerous media figures agreed. The Daily Caller highlights portions of the purported Journolist emails which showed several participants discussing how best to frame and word an open letter to ABC News condemning the debate. Each of the media figures mentioned in the Daily Caller report was an opinion columnist or a blogger. Hardly the stuff of a mainstream media conspiracy, though the Caller desperately tried to paint it as such. They specifically said that journalists from Time and Politico were involved in the discussion, but the article provides absolutely no evidence to back this up.
So, yes, it appears that the big scandal is that liberal journalists and professors talked to each other about how to frame a publically released letter to ABC News. Stop the presses!
Expanding on the stupidity of the Daily Caller report is the fact that many of these same journalists were very clear and very open about their displeasure with the ABC news debate at the time.
From the July 19 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
Loading the player reg...
In a July 13 blog post, "King Samir Shabazz Should Be 2010's Willie Horton," CNN contributor and RedState.com editor-in-chief Erick Erickson wrote of the manufactured scandal over the Justice Department's handling of the New Black Panther Party case: "Republican candidates nationwide should seize on this issue. The Democrats are giving a pass to radicals who advocate killing white kids in the name of racial justice and who try to block voters from the polls."
Erickson added: "The Democrats will scream racism. Let them. Republicans are not going to pick up significant black support anyway." From Erickson's post:
Had Horton been white, the Republicans still would have used the ad. But Horton was black and the ad was powerfully effective -- so effective that it and Dukakis's stupid answer about opposing the death penalty even if his wife were murdered destroyed the Democrats in 1988 -- the Democrats screamed racism at the top of their lungs and their accomplices in the media have forever agreed. Willie Horton = racism.
Nonsense. The ad worked. It was powerful. It was the truth. That's why the Democrats screamed racism so loud. It was the only way to stop the GOP from going this direction again. They know the GOP lives in perpetual quixotic quest for the day it gets a significant share of the black vote.
Now we have King Samir Shabazz. He showed up at a polling location in Pennsylvania and intimidated voters going into the polls. The Justice Department pursued the case and, having received a verdict it the government's favor, Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder stopped pursuing the New Black Panthers.
Video has subsequently come out of King Samir Shabazz encouraging the murder of white children.
Republican candidates nationwide should seize on this issue. The Democrats are giving a pass to radicals who advocate killing white kids in the name of racial justice and who try to block voters from the polls.
The Democrats will scream racism. Let them. Republicans are not going to pick up significant black support anyway. But here's the thing: everyone but the Democrats will understand this is not racism. This isn't even about race. This is about the judgment of an administration that would rather prosecute Arizona for doing what the feds won't do than prosecuting violent thugs who would deny you and me the right to vote while killing our kids.
Erickson's employer, CNN, notes that the Willie Horton ad "played to racial fears and portrayed Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis as soft on crime."
From the July 12 edition of CNN's John King, USA:
Loading the player reg...
The right-wing media responded to news that President Obama intends to use a recess appointment to install Donald Berwick as head of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The attacks rely on distortions of Berwick's past statements about the U.S. and U.K. health care systems and on manufactured outrage about recess appointments, which are a common practice.
This evening, the White House announced that President Obama is responding to the efforts of Republicans in Congress to "stall the nomination" of Dr. Donald Berwick, his nominee for Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by using a recess appointment to install Berwick without Senate confirmation.
Wasting no time (and no doubt foreshadowing a wave of attacks), CNN contributor and RedState managing editor Erick Erickson quickly went on the attack, claiming that Berwick "openly wants to destroy the American medicare system."
Erickson's evidence? Well, Berwick at one point stated that "Excellent health care is by definition redistributional." Of course, health programs like Medicare and Medicaid actually are explicitly redistributional (and incredibly popular); they redistribute wealth from those who can afford health care to those who can't.
Moreover, even conservative commentator Laura Ingraham has acknowledged that Berwick's comment is "right," telling Bill O'Reilly, "you and I are both in favor of there being a safety net where people don't go untreated, where people who need help get help. Obviously to pay for those people, it's obviously going to involve taxes and taxes come from people who make a living and make income."
Erickson also criticizes Berwick for having "declared the United States should be more like Britain, where some people die waiting in line for medical treatment." As opposed, I suppose, to the tens of thousands who die every year in the U.S. because they lack health insurance.
Erickson doesn't limit his deceitful smears to Berwick; in setting up his attack, Erickson pushes a long-debunked smear of conservative bête noire Kevin Jennings.
From CNN contributor and RedState.com editor-in-chief Erick Erickson's Twitter account:
On June 28, CNN had on conservative blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson to discuss the first day of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearing. If you don't know Erick Erickson's history of making incendiary, sexist, and racially charge statements, perhaps you know him as the guy who called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat fucking child molester." Today, Erickson continued to prove that he has no business being a commentator on Supreme Court issues.
When CNN host Rick Sanchez challenged Erickson on the conservative myth that Kagan is anti-military, Erickson claimed that Kagan "went further" than Harvard Law School's stated policy when she restricted military recruiters' access to the Office of Career Services. Unfortunately for him, the "exact details" of how Kagan "went further" escaped him (perhaps because his claim is just not true):
SANCHEZ: What about the accusations that she's anti-military because she didn't let some of the recruiters there at Harvard come on. When in actuality we checked into this today, it sounds to me like she wasn't creating policy there, she was following the strategy or the policy that was already set at Harvard, wasn't she?
ERICKSON No, that's not exactly right, and I realize that some groups on the left like Media Matters have been trying to spin it that way, but in fact what happened was, when the Supreme Court issued the -- one of the lawsuits -- I forget the exact details -- but Elena Kagan jumped on this. She went further than what the policy had been the moment she got in a position to do it. So yes, she kept the policy in place but she took it a step further the moment she got in position to do it. That's given some of the people in the military real pause.
In fact, Kagan did not go further than the policy that had previously been in place. Harvard's anti-discrimination policy had been in effect long before Kagan became dean. Indeed, according to an op-ed by Kagan's predecessor as dean, Robert C. Clark, Kagan applied an anti-discrimination policy that was put in place in 1979. And the law school's policy of banning its Office of Career Services from working with military recruiters had also been in place for years:
Here, some background may be helpful: Since 1979, the law school has had a policy requiring all employers who wish to use the assistance of the School's Office of Career Services (OCS) to schedule interviews and recruit students to sign a statement that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on. For years, the U.S. military, because of its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, was not able to sign such a statement and so did not use OCS. It did, however, regularly recruit on campus because it was invited to do so by an official student organization, the Harvard Law School Veterans Association.
On the eve of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, right-wing media pushed numerous myths and falsehoods regarding Kagan's nomination.
According to a press release, CNN is planning "comprehensive coverage of [the] Kagan [and] Petraeus hearings" with "members of the Best Political Team on Television" including Red State editor Erick Erickson.
Yes, I know what you are thinking. Is that the same Erickson who about a year ago posted on his Twitter profile that then-Supreme Court Justice David Souter was a "goat fucking child molester." Yes, that's him and yes he is a member of CNN's "Best Political Team on Television."
Fear not though, Erickson claims to have "grown up" since making that and other hateful and incendiary comments. So, he's going to stay away from the crazy and stick to the facts, right? Don't hold your breath.
Erickson and Red State have helped perpetuate baseless attacks against Kagan -- particularly the smear that she kicked military recruiters off campus -- so watch for him to do the same on CNN.
Read CNN's release after the jump.
On CNN's John King, USA tonight, RedState's Erick Erickson brought up a "story that percolated yesterday" that BP's escrow account would be used to pay for "something or other related to health care." Erickson went on to say, "Stories like that get lodged in people's minds regardless of the details."
No doubt that "story" will "get lodged in people's minds," thanks in part to Erickson bringing it up on CNN. But about those details.
This story has indeed been "percolating" -- at the Drudge Report and fringe right-wing blogs, where comments made by Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak have been misconstrued to suggest he supports using the escrow account to help pay for health care reform. In reality, Stupak said that it would be legitimate to use funds in the BP-funded escrow account to pay for health care for Gulf residents who lost their jobs and insurance as a result of the BP oil spill.