Right-wing media figures are distorting a passage in the just-released book, The Obamas, by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, to suggest Michelle Obama harbors antipathy toward "white Irish Catholics." In fact, in the book, Michelle Obama never makes such an assertion -- the phrase was injected into the book by Kantor herself and should in no way be portrayed as the thoughts of Michelle Obama.
Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet cited passages in Kantor's book Monday and reported, "When Michelle Obama worked in Mayor Daley's City Hall in the early 1990s, she was "distressed" by how a small group of 'white Irish Catholic' families -- the Daleys, the Hynes and the Madigans -- 'locked up' power in Illinois."
While the right-wing media have seized on this quote to suggest that Michelle Obama had a particular problem with "white Irish Catholics" wielding power, the full context of the passage makes clear that the concern Kantor ascribed to Michelle Obama's was with entrenched power and political dynasties.
Indeed, the phrase "white Irish Catholic" is Kantor's. It is not sourced to Michelle Obama.
In her book, Kantor wrote:
[Michelle Obama] particularly resented the way power in Illinois was locked up generation after generation by a small group of families, all white Irish Catholic - the Daleys of Chicago, the Hyneses and Madigans statewide. "Someone doesn't have the right to be elected because of whose womb they came out of," she would say a few years later to Dan Shomon, her husband's political advisor. "You shouldn't have a better chance if you're a Kennedy than if you're an Obama. Why is it that they have the right to this?" [The Obamas, p. 18]
It is no surprise that Kantor's thoughts, and not those of Michelle Obama herself, would come to be used against the first lady. White House press secretary Eric Schultz explicitly criticized Kantor for injecting her own thoughts into a book ostensibly about the first family, noting that Kantor had not spoken to either President Obama or Michelle Obama since 2009:
"The book, an overdramatization of old news, is about a relationship between two people whom the author has not spoken to in years. The author last interviewed the Obamas in 2009 for a magazine piece, and did not interview them for this book," Schultz's statement reads. "The emotions, thoughts and private moments described in the book, though often seemingly ascribed to the President and First Lady, reflect little more than the author's own thoughts. These second-hand accounts are staples of every Administration in modern political history and often exaggerated."
Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple has said that the narrative in Kantor's book "suffers from the lack of input from the principals."
Nevertheless, it did not take long for the phrase "white Irish Catholic" to make its way through the right-wing echo chamber.
Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft linked to Sweet's post and accused Michelle Obama of being "'distressed' about the power of 'white Irish Catholics in Illinois." The passage was also quickly trumpeted by Drudge and Fox Nation.
Following the Obama administration's announcement of an overhauled defense strategy that will guide cuts in defense spending, the right-wing media have claimed President Obama is "weakening national security" and marking a "new milestone" in "America's strategic retreat." But experts have said that the proposed plan is fiscally responsible while remaining "the world's most dominant military."
Michelle Obama is making a guest appearance on the January 16 edition of iCarly, which Entertainment Weekly describes as a "hit Nickelodeon sitcom." Entertainment Weekly reported that in the episode, "Mrs. Obama surprises Carly and Co. to commend them for supporting military families (as part of the First Lady's Joining Forces initiative)."
Because this involved Michelle Obama doing something -- anything -- right-wing blogs took this as an opportunity to attack her.
In a clip of Obama's appearance posted by Entertainment Weekly, one of the characters on the show refers to the first lady as "your excellency." Another character corrects the first, saying, "You don't call her 'your excellency.' " Obama responds, "No, no. I kind of like it." Laughter is heard after she delivers this line.
In a post on his Gateway Pundit blog, Jim Hoft wrote, "Michelle Obama makes an appearance on Nickelodeon this month where she jokes that she 'kind of likes' being called 'Your Excellency.' Yeah, we know." He illustrated his post with an image depicting Obama as Marie Antoinette -- with a large, muscular arm (other right-wing bloggers have used the same image):
Right-wing media have recently attacked President Obama for celebrating Hanukkah too early and for displaying too many Christmas trees at the White House. Right-wing media have long attacked Obama for how he observes holidays, including Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Easter, Ramadan, and even Halloween.
Right-wing media have spent years claiming President Obama incorrectly celebrates or snubs Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, so it's no surprise that this year, they're attacking how he celebrates Jewish holidays, too.
Obama, along with the first lady and Vice President Biden, threw an early White House Hanukkah celebration on Thursday. Obama acknowledged in his remarks that the celebration was "a little bit early" -- the first night of Hanukkah this year is December 20. The president is scheduled to begin his vacation in Hawaii on December 17 -- though it's likely to be delayed due to the ongoing stalemate over the payroll tax cuts -- so any White House observance of the holiday would have to take place before then.
Of course, right-wing media attacked the early Hanukkah party, sometimes implying that Obama was slighting the Jewish community through the early observance. Fox Nation kicked off the freakout yesterday by linking to an Associated Press article on the party with the headline:
Of course, the actual AP story didn't have that headline.
The Drudge Report today also linked to the AP story with a number of similar headlines:
And blogger Jim Hoft featured a post about the Hanukkah celebration on his blog Gateway Pundit, writing, "It's OK. It's just a Jewish Holiday. Obama celebrates Hanukkah two weeks early and lights all the candles."
This follows the right-wing media's long crusade to desperately portray Obama as antagonistic to Jews. Blogger Pamela Geller has claimed that Obama was "wet-nursed on Jew hatred," while Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds suggested he "hates Jews." This year, conservative bloggers attacked Obama's Passover statement, calling him "vicious" and "tone deaf" and saying he "punch[ed] the Jewish people in the face" for comparing Passover's story of freedom to the revolutions that were then sweeping the Middle East; few of them noticed, though, that Sarah Palin made the exact same comparison in a Passover statement of her own.
And right-wing media figures have also claimed Obama is anti-Israel, saying his policies will lead to the "destruction of Israel" and claiming he's "sided with terrorists" and "people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to exist." Yet recent polls show that a majority of Israeli Jews support Obama.
Right-wing media figures are attacking President Obama for claiming that extending unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut will create more jobs than the Keystone XL pipeline. In fact, economists say that unemployment benefits and payroll tax cuts will put money in people's pockets and therefore lead to job creation and economic growth, while the pipeline would create at most a few thousand temporary jobs and could actually destroy more jobs than it creates.
This week, they're attacking Obama for telling his daughters that they're likely going to be successful even during tough times for the country -- they are, after all, the children of a U.S. president -- while making a broader point about class and inequality in America. The offending quote, from his remarks at a recent campaign event in New York, was:
OBAMA: Our kids are going to be fine. And I always tell Malia and Sasha, look, you guys, I don't worry about you -- I mean, I worry the way parents worry -- but they're on a path that is going to be successful, even if the country as a whole is not successful. But that's not our vision of America. I don't want an America where my kids are living behind walls and gates, and can't feel a part of a country that is giving everybody a shot.
So Obama said that he tells his children "they're on a path that is going to be successful, even if the country as a whole is not successful" and then immediately added that that's "not our vision of America. I don't want an America where my kids are living behind walls and gates."
But The Washington Examiner decided that what Obama really said, as they wrote in a blog post headline, was, "Obama: My kids will succeed, even if USA doesn't." Their post continued:
President Obama believes that Republican leadership of the country would ruin the United States as a land of opportunity, but he's (justifiably) confident that his daughters will have plenty of opportunities, no matter what.
It is good to be the president.
Fox Nation quickly followed suit:
Blogger Jim Hoft was not far behind, linking to both the Examiner and Fox Nation and writing, "Really, Barack? Really?"
As for your kids, screw 'em. How has this guy not been run out of town? The power of the enemedia.
UPDATE: Who'd a thunk that we'd actually consider telling our kids to aspire to ......... work for the government or government-created faux industries (green, global warming) or whatever political fraud is constructed to scam the masses. But that's where the future is going under this crushing statism.
Seriously. When I was a kid, every mom wanted her kids to be doctors. Who, now, wants their kids working under soviet-style social medicine?
And Matt Drudge also faithfully picked up the attack, linking to the Examiner post on the Drudge Report today:
Conservatives in the media have used the occasion of Rep. Barney Frank's retirement announcement to rehash old theories of how he, through his support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, caused the subprime bubble and subsequent meltdown. In fact, Wall Street -- not affordable housing programs -- was the primary cause of the financial crisis.
After video of police officers pepper spraying protesters point blank at UC Davis emerged last week, blogger Jim Hoft defended the police in a November 20 post titled, "Sorry Libs... The UC Davis Pepper Spray Incident Was "Standard Police Procedure." Hoft wrote in his post above a picture of a police officer spraying seated protesters, "How to shut down a row of screeching libs in 4 easy swoops..."
Two officers at UC Davis have been put on administrative leave since the video emerged.
From Hoft's post:
How to shut down a row of screeching libs in 4 easy swoops...
In this image taken from video, a police officer uses pepper spray Friday as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis. (MSNBC)
Sorry libs... You can quit your squawking and take your leftie-indoctrinated butts back to class. The UC Davis pepper spray incident was standard police procedure.
On Friday a group of UC Davis students blocked the campus walkway with arms linked and started chanting, "From Davis to Greece, F*ck the police!" Moments later the little darlings were doused with pepper spray. This was only after several attempts by campus police to get them to move.
Of course, the liberal media only played the part where the students were sprayed down.
But after two days of leftist outrage we find out that this was standard police procedure.
This comes from MSNBC:
A law enforcement official who watched the clip called the use of force "fairly standard police procedure."
Story: Occupy protests spread to college campuses
The protest was held in support of the overall Occupy Wall Street movement and in solidarity with protesters at the University of California, Berkeley who were jabbed by police with batons on Nov. 9.
Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department's use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a "compliance tool" that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.
"When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them," Kelly said. "Bodies don't have handles on them."[...]
Get back to class.
The right-wing media have attacked President Obama for commenting at a conference that "we've been a little bit lazy" about attracting foreign investment in America, claiming that he is "attacking Americans." However, several independent analysts have said that this line of attack takes Obama's comments out of context and that the president "wasn't calling Americans lazy."
This week, the right-wing media began its annual fake "War on Christmas" campaign, freaking out about a bogus Obama "Christmas tree tax." Here's what to expect from right-wing media during the next six weeks.
Since sexual harassment allegations against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain have emerged, right-wing media figures have blamed a wide range of people and entities for the story's emergence, from the "Democratic machine" to the "liberal media" and even "the left-wing nutjobs at Media Matters."
Right-wing media figures are accusing the Obama administration of seeking to impose a tax on Christmas trees; but the Christmas tree industry has been working since 2008 -- before President Obama was elected -- to partner with the Department of Agriculture and establish a marketing campaign funded by tree growers in order to promote the sale of fresh Christmas trees.
On November 8, the Federal Register published a rule establishing a program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture "to strengthen the position of fresh cut Christmas trees in the marketplace and maintain and expand markets for Christmas trees within the United States":
USDA received a proposal for a national research and promotion program for Christmas trees from the Christmas Tree Checkoff Task Force (Task Force). The program will be financed by an assessment on Christmas trees domestic producers and importers and would be administered by a board of industry members selected by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary). The initial assessment rate will be $0.15 per Christmas tree domestically produced or imported into the United States and could be increased up to $0.20 per Christmas tree. The purpose of the program will be to strengthen the position of fresh cut Christmas trees in the marketplace and maintain and expand markets for Christmas trees within the United States.
The Task Force proposed that a referendum be held among domestic producers and importers three years after the first assessments begin to determine whether they favor continuation of the program.
Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft said the "Christmas Tree Tax" illustrated that "Barack Obama hates Christians."
Far from a tax initiated by the Obama administration, the proposal to create an assessment on tree growers to fund a research and promotion program through the USDA was begun by the industry during the Bush administration.
Right-wing media outlets including Fox Nation, Jim Hoft's Gateway Pundit, the Drudge Report, and Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace are highlighting a Ynet article describing a conversation between President Obama and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. According to reports, the two presidents, apparently unaware that their microphones were on, had the following exchange at the G-20 conference in Cannes, France:
"Obama began by reproaching Sarkozy for not warning him in advance that France would vote in favour of Palestinian membership of UNESCO," the website reported. "The conversation turned to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, with Sarkozy saying, 'I don't want to see him anymore, he's a liar.'
"To which President Obama replied: 'You've had enough of him, but I have to deal with him every day!' Obama then asked Sarkozy to try to convince the Palestinians to slow down with their UN membership drive."
What the right-wing blogs aren't emphasizing is the substance of this conversation: Obama's request to Sarkozy to ask the Palestinians to slow their push for U.N. membership. Simply put, Obama was asking Sarkozy to do something that Israel wants.
Focusing on that would have clashed with the right wing's false narrative that Obama is anti-Israel, something his record contradicts. This theme has resurfaced repeatedly, from Fox's Eric Bolling theorizing that the Palestinian bid for statehood is a "setup" to make Obama seem pro-Israel, to Fox figures' and Rush Limbaugh's distortion of Obama's comments on the 1967 Israel borders and Netanyahu's response. There has also been a litany of highly inflammatory and unsubstantiated statements from the right on Obama's Israel record. The Wall Street Journal has also joined the chorus.
In fact, Obama's record on Israel is supportive, and his actions have been praised by Israeli leaders. Netanyahu thanked Obama for his support during the last U.N. General Assembly meeting, for providing assistance in extracting Israeli security guards from the Israeli embassy in Cairo, for helping to fund a missile defense system to protect Israel, and for the killing of Osama bin Laden. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, now the defense minister, said in August that he "can hardly remember a better period of ... American support" for Israel than "right now."
The conservative media is divided on anonymous sources: Some right-wing media figures have been hyping a claim by an anonymous source that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is "likely involved with the sexual harassment" allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. At the same time, however, other conservative media figures have tried to cast doubt on the sexual harassment allegations against Cain by pointing out that they are based on anonymous sources.