Conservative media have attacked President Obama, claiming that his plans to attend a Memorial Day ceremony in Chicago while allowing Vice President Joe Biden to lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery are disrespectful to the military. However, previous presidents -- including Ronald Reagan -- allowed others to lay the wreath at Arlington to honor fallen troops.
Back in April, CNN pundit Erick Erickson said he would "pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door" if a representative of the Census Department's American Community Survey tried to arrest him for not filling out his form. And now this from Yuba City, CA:
A Yuba City woman who police say was involved in a confrontation with a U.S. Census worker was shot and killed by Yuba City officers after allegedly refusing to drop a shotgun pointed at the officers, according to the Yuba City Police Department.
Census Bureau spokesman Sonny Le said a census worker arrived at the home sometime around 8 p.m. Thursday. After refusing to submit to census questions, the worker said the residents aimed a gun at her.
Census workers are gathering information that is important to the future of American communities. The last thing they need is a CNN pundit unnecessarily adding hostility to the atmosphere.
From the May 11 edition of CNN's John King, USA
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Right-wing media figures have perpetuated the falsehood that Elena Kagan banned military recruiters from Harvard Law School during her tenure as dean. Not only did students have access to military recruiters throughout Kagan's tenure, Media Matters for America has learned that military recruitment did not drop as a result of Kagan's actions.
In early April, I joked that it appeared as if CNN was gearing up to produce a Conservative in America documentary following in the footsteps of its Black in America and Latino in America series of documentaries.
As I noted at the time, CNN had just hired Red State editor Erick Erickson as a contributor despite his history of incendiary, hateful rhetoric. The network had also been caught red-handed attacking its "critics on the left" as it pitched conservative blogs on its coverage of the Tea party.
Well, it appears that my attempt at humor wasn't too far off base. David Weigel reports for the WashingtonPost.com Right Now blog:
Anti-gay activist Ryan Sorba angles for CNN special
At this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, California activist Ryan Sorba got a taste of infamy when he used his two minutes on stage to bash the event's organizers for allowing the gay Republican group GOProud to co-sponsor it.
But Sorba dealt with the aftermath well. He made the rounds at March's Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, Nev., where he met reporters for CNN. The result, according to his Facebook page:
Weigel went on to report that CNN wouldn't comment on the story and that Sorba was apparently overselling his role in the documentary noting he was "one of several conservatives that producers have spoken to" from the movement.
Seriously CNN, as if your fawning coverage of the Tea Party Express wasn't enough, now the fringe right-wing of this country needs its own documentary? Why not just tune your cable box to Fox News?
Media conservatives have levied the completely baseless allegation that the White House was "colluding" with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in filing a civil lawsuit accusing Goldman Sachs of fraud in order to create a "villain" to "bolster support for the crackdown on the banks from the White House." The media figures have offered no evidence to support the allegation, which the White House has strongly denied.
After the Security and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs of fraud, numerous right-wing media figures have accused the Obama administration of attempting "to destroy Goldman Sachs" in order to "shift public opinion" in favor of financial reform. Simultaneously, conservative media have also falsely claimed that the financial reform legislation creates a "permanent bailout fund," which is "the payoff" Wall Street "has been waiting for."
From the April 9 edition of CNN's John King USA:
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I thought my colleague, Ben Dimiero, landed a pretty funny joke today when he wrote:
Speaking of Supreme Court justices, let's check in quickly with the man who once called Justice Souter a "goat-fucking child molester." I'm referring to the newest addition to CNN's "Best Political Team on Television," Erick Erickson.
Unfortunately, for CNN, this isn't a joke; they're apparently bringing their newest contributor on tonight to discuss Justice Stevens' retirement.
Can't want to hear what the new, "grow[n] up" version of Erickson has to say about Stevens!
On the April 1 broadcast of his radio show, CNN contributor Erick Erickson said that he'll "[p]ull out my wife's shotgun" if the government tries to arrest him for not filling out the American Community Survey. In response to the controversy over Erickson's remark, Mediaite's Tommy Christopher reports that a "source at CNN" said that the network thinks it's "important that Erick explain those comments, and he has done just that." From Christopher's April 9 article:
Fact Check - CNN:
Your Commentator Threatened to Pull a Shotgun on a Federal Employee - That's pretty much it, although it is curious that CNN would consider mentioning their affiliation to Erick an "attack."
A source at CNN tells Mediaite,"We think its [sic] important that Erick explain those comments, and he has done just that."
I asked Bill Press to comment on CNN's response, and he responded, "In other words, according to CNN, it's ok to pull a shotgun on a federal employee, as long as you explain it."
That's what it sounds like, so let's see how Erickson explains:
ACS Surveyors are getting belligerent and have showed up on people's doorsteps to harass them and threaten jail. I said if some ACS person showed up on my doorstep to try to arrest me for not wanting to tell the government how often I flush my toilet I'd get out my wife's shotgun and get them off my property.
The key distinction he appears to be making is the qualifier "try to arrest me," but if you listen to the complete audio, Erickson never alleges that any ACS census worker tried to arrest anyone, or threatened anyone with jail time. You know why? Because they can't. There is no jail penalty for failure to answer the ACS. There are for aggravated assault.
In CNN's defense, they aren't required to agree with everything their commentators say. MSNBC doesn't have to answer for everything that comes out of Pat Buchanan's mouth, for example.
On the other hand, their decision to attack Bill Press for asking about it kind of opens the door to the question. Apparently, they are satisfied with Erickson's answer.
As Media Matters has noted, Erickson has doubled down on his "shotgun" remark and lashed out at critics. In March 2009, Erickson similarly suggested that he'd respond to potential problems with the government by pulling out a firearm.
First it hired Erick Erickson, the editor of the far-right RedState.com, an embarrassing move to say the least. After all, it was Erickson who just a year ago posted on his Twitter profile that then-Supreme Court Justice David Souter was a "goat fucking child molester."
Fear not though, Erickson made his way to CNN's Reliable Sources for an interview with Howard Kurtz in which the right-wing blogger claimed to have "grown up" since making that and other hateful and incendiary comments.
It's nice to see a grown man mature so quickly in just a single year!
Then, just days after his interview with Kurtz, he was back to his old self. Pulling the political equivalent of a Benjamin Button, Erickson reverted back to his previous non "grown up" state claiming on his local radio show: I'll "[p]ull out my wife's shotgun" if they try to arrest me for not filling out the American Community Survey.
Well, CNN has apparently only just begun its efforts to court the likes of Erickson and his friends in the conservative blogosphere.
Mediaite's Tommy Christopher writes:
Newsbusters credits CNN for what it considers to be "one of the first to offer fair coverage of the Tea Party movement outside of Fox News," while bringing up the infamous Susan Roesgen report from a Tea Party last year.
At the same time, they wonder why CNN is pushing the story so hard to conservative blogs, illustrating this with emails from CNN's PR department. This one was reportedly sent to Michelle Malkin:
"Hi there, I thought this might be an interesting post for you- a behind-the-scenes piece about the Tea Party and how the stereotypes don't tell the full story. Let me know if you need anything else!"
There's nothing all that sinister here. This kind of email is pretty standard PR promotion.
"Clearly our critics from the left don't think we should be covering the Tea Party movement in the way we are and clearly CNN thinks it's a legitimate and important story.
If anyone from Newsbusters is interested in this angle - let me know."
I'm guessing the CNN checklist looks something like this:
Hire Erick Erickson? Check.
Heap coverage on the Tea Party movement? Check.
Get in touch with Michelle Malkin? Check.
Drop a line to Brent Bozell? Check.
What's next, Andrew Breitbart hosting a very special Conservative in America?
Right-wing blogs seized on initial reports of an attempted shoe bombing on a domestic flight over Denver -- reports which later turned out to be inaccurate -- as an opportunity to politicize what they believed to be an attempted terrorist attack.
In an April 8 blog post, Erick Erickson-- the newest addition to CNN's "best political team" on television -- boldly declared that President Obama has decided to "ban college internships," despite the fact that the Wall Street Journal editorial he cites makes it clear that's not true. Erickson says that Obama is not "naive when it comes to the American free enterprise system," as he had once thought; but rather, Obama "is trying to dismantle it and remake it in his own image -- that of a law school professor who champions 'public interest' work over the business of America, which is to say business itself." Erickson continues: "Since the nation was formed and even before that, apprenticeships and then internships have been a key way for students to acquire valuable jobs skills. ... It is a tried and true method of acquiring skills in this country. But the Obama administration is declaring such an act against the law."
To show that Obama is banning internships, Erickson directs his readers to an April 8 Wall Street Journal editorial, and he helpfully highlights the sentence in the editorial which he thinks shows this. You can literally see the point at which Erickson stopped reading:
From the April 6 edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show:
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