The thing that bothers me most about the whole "liberal media bias" argument is that it invites laziness and incuriosity. Armed with the "liberal bias" truncheon, any conservative can simply dismiss out of hand news they don't like or disagree with based on the presupposition that the media outlet that reported it is biased towards liberals and against conservatives.
Take, for example, the latest poll out from the Washington Post and ABC News, which found that Americans are wildly anti-incumbent right now, but also that the public trusts Democrats more than Republicans on major issues facing the country. Obviously, conservatives would not take kindly to that second finding, and Hot Air's Ed Morrissey chalks it up to perfidious liberal bias: "Today's Washington Post/ABC poll offers Democrats some bad news, but they've managed to artificially temper it by actually adding a point to the partisan gap in their sample since the last survey." Picking up where Morrissey left off, NewsBuster Noel Sheppard wrote that the pollsters "cooked the books," adding: "The lengths liberal media outlets will go to assist the politicians they support is oftentimes sick-making."
This is insane.
Right-wing media figures and outlets have revived their obsession with President Obama's supposed "bowing" by highlighting a photo of Obama greeting Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Nuclear Security Summit. Conservative media have previously attacked Obama's greetings of Saudi King Abdullah, Japanese Emperor Akihito, and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.
From an April 7 Allahpundit's Hot Air blog post:
Media Matters watches enough Fox that they can rattle off names like Colmes, Beckel, Geraldo, and Juan Williams faster than Murdoch can, but in this case a dumb question makes for a fun answer. Quote: "Greta Van Susteren is certainly close to the Democratic Party." Heh. He's right - Greta's husband was a longtime Democrat, albeit one who flipped to support McCain/Palin in 2008 - but ... really? No more obvious candidates than Greta come to mind? No one who's, say, on FNC for multiple hours a day and whose apparent political leanings have long been commented upon within the 'sphere? Good lord, man - if you're not going to name Shep, at least mention KP.
That's the first of two clips; the other catches him saying that Fox shouldn't be supporting the tea party or any other party, although it sounds like he's not clear on what Media Matters is talking about.
*Both the Hot Air post and the previous headline to this post suggested that Media Matters asked Murdoch the question about Democrats on Fox. We did not.
Allahpundit has updated his Hot Air post as follows:
Update: Media Matters e-mails to say that they only asked Murdoch the question about the tea party; the question about Democrats on Fox was asked by a student. I stand corrected.
In a March 30 Hot Air post, Ed Morrisey advanced the falsehood that the health care reform bill does not reduce the deficit because it did not include the so-called "doctor fix." However, there is no reason the "doctor fix" should be included in the cost of health care reform since the issue predates the health care reform debate and will need to be resolved regardless of health care reform's outcome.
Conservative media figures have asserted that in a March 22 interview, Rep. John Dingell said health care reform will "control the people." In fact, Dingell has said that conservatives are taking him out of context and has explained that he was referring to "overseeing" the "insurance companies."
Despite their purported opposition to "liberal judicial activism" and supposed support for judicial restraint, right-wing media have responded to the passage of health care reform legislation by urging it be overturned by the courts. Media Matters has previously noted that despite the conservative myth that judicial activism is solely a "liberal" practice, at least two studies have found that the most "conservative" Supreme Court justices have been the biggest judicial activists.
Right-wing media figures have run with The Weekly Standard's John McCormack's completely baseless accusation that President Obama is buying Rep. Jim Matheson's (D-UT) vote on health care reform by appointing his brother, Scott Matheson, to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. McCormack provided no evidence to support the allegation -- which both Rep. Matheson and the White House have called "absurd" -- and even those pushing the charge acknowledge that Scott Matheson is "plenty qualified for the job."
Right-wing blogs have attacked White House economic adviser Larry Summers' statement that heavy snowfall in February may distort the unemployment data for the month. In fact, economists reportedly say that snow can cause a temporary decline in employment and distort job statistics.
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey mischaracterized a recent hurricane study in Nature Geoscience in order to claim the study shows that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2007 report was not "reliable" and should be "dismiss[ed]."
Conservative media are pushing the falsehood that "the nuclear option" refers to the budget reconciliation process in order to accuse Democrats of hypocrisy for previously criticizing the nuclear option and now considering using reconciliation to pass health care reform. But Democratic criticism of a 2005 Republican proposal to change filibuster rules is in no way inconsistent with passing health care reform through reconciliation -- a process that has repeatedly been used to pass legislation, including major health care reform.
The Fox Nation and Hot Air.com have seized on a Wall Street Journal article that described how a Marine in Afghanistan consulted a member of the judge advocate general (JAG) corps about the legality of an air strike in order to falsely suggest President Obama initiated a policy where troops in battle would have to call "lawyers for permission to kill terrorists." In fact, news reports indicate that the practice was already in place during the Bush administration.
Conservative media are highlighting Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito mouthing "not true" during the State of the Union address after President Obama said the court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC would "open the floodgates" for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend in U.S. elections to accuse Obama of "attacking" the First Amendment or not telling the truth. But, in fact, four of the Supreme Court's justices agreed in their opinion that the decision "would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans" to make certain election-related expenditures.
Right-wing media outlets have continued to attack Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley for her recent comments about terrorism in Afghanistan, often by distorting her remarks on the subject. But the context of Coakley's comments make clear that she was referring to Al Qaeda's presence in Afghanistan -- echoing numerous military experts' statements regarding Al Qaeda's diminished presence in Afghanistan.
Responding to Sen. Harry Reid's recently reported controversial comments about President Obama, numerous conservative media figures have accused Democrats of having a "double standard" regarding racially insensitive remarks made by Republicans, specifically citing the outrage over former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's past comments in support of Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist presidential campaign. But others -- including NPR's Cokie Roberts, Rev. Al Sharpton, and NAACP's Hilary Shelton -- have argued that the two comments are not comparable, because Reid was praising an African-American's advancement, whereas Lott was expressing support for a segregationist.
Apparently, the anti-gay natives are restless over at Hot Air - Ed Morrissey today claims that he has gotten "a lot of email asking why I haven't written about" the right-wing's trumped-up witch hunt against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, and explains: "To be honest, the story is so shocking that I haven't quite grasped how to approach it." Rather than leave it at that, Morrissey goes on to demonstrate that he lacks even the shakiest grasp of the claims that the right has been making about Jennings.
Morrissey claims that throughout Jennings' 13-year tenure as head of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the organization "offered sex education seminars to young teenagers within the framework of public education" that included explicit sexual discussion. What the rest of Morrissey's ilk have been alleging is that at one GLSEN conference in 2000, such a discussion happened during a workshop.
Morrissey claims that "Margot Abels, who got fired by GLSEN after the content of the seminars became known, says Jennings and others at GLSEN knew the content of their curriculum and approved it." A couple of problems:
1) Even Jennings' most fervent opponents have acknowledged that Abels worked for the Massachusetts Department of Education, not GLSEN. Jennings didn't fire her, though he did criticize the content of her seminar when he became aware of it.
2) While the right has claimed that Abels said that Jennings "knew" in advance about the content of her seminar, the statements they have pointed to only show that she said her immediate superiors at the Department of Education were aware, not that Jennings or GLSEN were.
Morrissey then purports to provide the explicit "handout material GLSEN provided for these classes." But the image that he shows is from the booklet conservative activists have claimed was passed out to students at a separate GLSEN conference - in 2005.
Oh, and in reality, a community health group -- not GLSEN itself -- reportedly said that it had mistakenly "left about 10 copies" of the booklet on an informational table it rented at the conference; the group reportedly apologized for doing so; GLSEN stated that if it had known the booklets had been at the conference, it would have demanded they be removed; and the local school superintendent reportedly said he believed no students had actually taken the book.
But other than that, Morrissey's "approach" to Jennings is worth the wait.
UPDATE: Newsbusters' John Stephenson is offering up Morrissey's post to those "unfamiliar" with Jennings "outrageous background." Boy, will they be surprised when they find that even the rest of the right-wing nuthouse isn't on board with Morrissey's take.
Better conservative media critics, please.