The right is trying to invent a controversy in Vice President Joe Biden's recent bantering with a custard shop manager in Wisconsin. During a recent trip to Greenfield, WI, Biden visited Kopp's Frozen Custard, where he scooped some custard, enjoyed a cone, and chatted with employees. According to video shot by a local news outlets, Channel 12 WISN, Biden asked the shop's manager, Scott Borkin, how much they owed for their custard. The manager replied, "Don't worry it's on us." He then joked, "Lower our taxes. We'll call it even." Biden didn't reply and walked away. WISN reported that the two continued chatting later, and showed video of Biden saying, "Why don't you say something nice instead of being a smart ass all the time. Say something nice." Sounds terrible, right? Except for the fact that Biden was kidding.
The Channel 12 news report goes on to immediately say that Borkin "enjoyed his banter with the vice President" and aired a video clip of Borkin saying, "It was very nice, he's got a great personality." Borkin said that he didn't think Biden "liked" his "lower our taxes" comment, but that "later on he whispered and he goes, 'I'm just kidding.'"
Of course the right--thinking they've found their new Joe the Plumber--is outraged.
Right-wing media are absurdly attacking Energy Secretary Steven Chu's past praise of BP for awarding UC Berkley an alternative energy grant which Chu said would help "save the world." But the grant had bipartisan support, and scientists and university professors praised the grant's importance for alternative energy research aimed at weaning the world off of oil.
Right-wing blogs have recently seized on a report that criticized the Obama administration for not purchasing oil containment boom that a manufacturer in Maine produced specifically for the Gulf oil spill. However, they ignored that the boom is a new product, which reportedly "differs from other designs being used," and BP has reportedly "ordered a trial run" of the boom before committing to purchase it.
Right-wing media have rushed to attack President Obama for responding to criticism that he spends too much time consulting experts rather than "kick[ing some butt]" by saying, "I want to know whose ass to kick." Many conservative media figures previously hyped criticism that Obama lacked emotion in his response to the oil spill.
Right-wing bloggers and Rush Limbaugh are pushing an absurd distortion of an AP report on a meeting on human rights to claim that the U.S. "apologized" to China over the Arizona immigration law. In fact, nothing in the reports indicates that the U.S. "apologized" to China.
Here's what the AP wrote:
[Assistant Secretary of State Michael] Posner said in addition to talks on freedom of religion and expression, labor rights and rule of law, officials also discussed Chinese complaints about problems with U.S. human rights, which have included crime, poverty, homelessness and racial discrimination.
He said U.S. officials did not whitewash the American record and in fact raised on its own a new immigration law in Arizona that requires police to ask about a person's immigration status if there is suspicion the person is in the country illegally.
Conservative media have attacked a White House task force's report that recommends voluntary measures to combat the nation's childhood obesity problem as "cutting into our diets and our rights." However, the report makes recommendations for the food industry to voluntarily follow -- not federal mandates.
Right-wing media have claimed that health care reform will "cost $115 billion more than we thought," thus "wip[ing] out" promised deficit reductions. In fact, that money would only be spent if Congress separately appropriates it, just as Congress would have to do for any other spending bill. And even then, that spending would only adversely impact the deficit if Congress decided not to offset it with corresponding spending cuts or revenue increases.
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.