Right-wing media have attacked President Obama by seizing on his comment that America "had gotten a little soft." But Obama said that the United States is a "great country" and that he "wouldn't trade our position with any other country on Earth" because "[w]e still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world. We still have the most dynamic economic system in the world."
A distinct mantra from far-right press critics in recent years has centered around the fantastic claim that not only do the media have a liberal bias, but that the corrupted press corps works in unison with the Obama White House at all times; that the press no longer functions independently but that its role is to protect Obama at all costs.
The result of the grand media conspiracy? The press has refused to ask Obama tough questions.
Not only has Fox News — the supposed mouthpiece of the GOP — put on a far, far, far better debate than CNN did (or MSNBC could), it has subjected the GOP contenders to tougher, rougher, questions than any debate I can remember. In fact, I don't think Obama ever received this kind of grilling as a candidate or as president.
Goldberg and Hannity don't think Obama has ever received a press grilling, even as a candidate in 2008. What do they think was missing from the questioning of Obama back then? Inquiries about Jeremiah Wright? William Ayers? Controversial comments that Obama had made on the campaign trail?
Well, a simple Google search produces this instant result, from a Howard Kurtz column in the Washington Post, April 18, 2008:
The ABC moderators found themselves under fire for focusing on campaign gaffes and training most of their ammunition on Obama.
In the first 40 minutes of Wednesday's two-hour Democratic debate, the moderators asked Obama about his remarks that small-town residents bitterly cling to guns and religion; the inflammatory sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright ([George] Stephanopoulos follow-up: "Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?"); why Obama doesn't wear an American flag pin; and his relationship with William Ayers, a former Weather Underground radical who has acknowledged involvement in several bombings in the 1970s.
But right, Obama hasn't been grilled by the press.
Right-wing media have repeatedly claimed that President Obama had "no plan" about how to lower the nation's deficit and reach a compromise to resolve the default crisis. But Obama had reportedly agreed to specific reforms and spending cuts, including to entitlement programs, in talks with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) before Boehner walked away from those negotiations.
From the June 1 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
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From the May 23 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Following the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate, elements of the conservative media have run with the conspiracy theory that Obama delayed releasing the document in order to play "rope-a-dope" with birthers or to distract from other issues. This comes as other right-wing media figures have hyped other conspiracy theories such as the claim that the birth certificate was Photoshopped.
Right-wing media responded to the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate by attacking the president and claiming that certain questions surrounding the document remain unanswered. Below is a sampling of the early attacks by conservative media following the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate.
In an April 27 National Review Online blog post titled, "The New Burning Question," Jonah Goldberg wrote:
I haven't studied the just released PDF of Obama's birth certificate. But assuming there's nothing in there about a birthmark that resembles the numbers "666" or about how his father worked for the KGB and -- of course -- assuming that the font in question matches typewriters of the time (Let's get Dan Rather on that): I figure this puts the birther thing to bed once and for all. Good.
But it does raise the perplexing question: If this was possible all along, why did the WH take such sweet time releasing it? Could it be that this White House, continuing a tactic used by Democrats for years, actually liked being able to cast their opponents -- often through guilt by association -- as paranoid nuts? No, that couldn't possibly be it.
In honor of the one year anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Media Matters presents a timeline of one of the most disgraceful and pernicious myths about the law--death panels.
The right-wing media have decried the Obama administration's decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, claiming the move is unlawful and "a form of dictatorship." In fact, presidents from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush have opted against defending statutes they viewed as unconstitutional.
Following in the footsteps of Jonah Goldberg, Glenn Beck has repeatedly taken a quote from a 1923 New York Times article out of context and portrayed the newspaper as praising Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. In fact, the Times was quoting a magazine writer, and immediately following the portion of the quote Beck and Goldberg repeated, the writer called Mussolini "a danger to the peace of Europe."
Yesterday, NRO's Jonah Goldberg mildly scolded Sarah Palin for using the loaded, incendiary phrase, "blood libel."Palin, responding the Tucson gun massacre controversy, said, "Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."
But I think that the use of this particular term in this context isn't ideal. Historically, the term is almost invariably used to describe anti-Semitic myths about how Jews use blood — usually from children — in their rituals.
Today, Goldberg seems to flip-flop on the matter:
As for the "blood libel" flap, I've decided to ratchet down my already very modest objection to the term. While I still think it would have been better had she not used the phrase, so much of the criticism of it is in bad faith. Her intent was honorable and her point was right. Moreover, she's hardly the first person to use the term outside the bounds of discussions of anti-Semitism. She wasn't even talking about "the blood libel" but warning against the creation of "a blood libel," which is exactly what Krugman, Olberman & Co. were doing. The "controversy" was a red herring and little more.
Both these stated reasons seem odd.
With the first, Goldberg indicates that he's backing off his criticism of Palin because the other criticism of Palin has been "in bad faith." Supposedly, Goldberg's criticism was in good faith. But because other people (i.e. liberals) attacked Palin in bad faith, he has decided to rescind his good faith criticism of the former governor in an effort to counter-balance the bad faith criticism. (If that makes sense.)
Second, Goldberg notes that Palin used the "blood libel" phrase in a general way and was not making reference to "the blood libel," which refers to a claim of Jewish blood ritual.
And indeed, Goldberg is correct. In discussing the reaction to the Tucson gun massacre, Palin did not invoke images of Jewish blood offerings. But as I'm pretty sure Goldberg understands, when "blood libel" is used these days, pretty much nobody is talking about "the blood libel," which is why that seems like a pretty dubious premise for him to walk back his earlier scolding.
As details about the tragic shooting in Arizona came to light, members of the right-wing media quickly used the fact that Hitler's Mein Kampf was listed as one of Jared Loughner's favorite books as evidence that his politics are "left wing." This characterization coincides with years of effort by Fox News personalities to tie the fascist Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler to progressivism.
From the January 6 edition of Fox News Channel's Special Report:
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Jonah Goldberg claims Republicans really wanted to work with President Obama on last year's stimulus:
Contrary to the spin, many congressional Republicans were either eager to work with the new president or terrified of opposing him. They weren't opposed to a stimulus bill either.
But the White House decided to sign on to the pork-heavy stimulus crafted by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, without GOP input -- "We won the election. We wrote the bill," Pelosi boasted -- thus blowing up Obama's still-plausible image as a bipartisan president and emboldening the Republicans to oppose the stimulus, which also left them free to run against the sinking "Obama economy."
This is simply a lie. Republican ideas were incorporated into the stimulus bill. Senator Chuck Grassley, for example, added a $70 billion AMT provision. And provisions Republicans opposed were removed. The fact is, the stimulus was smaller and more focused on tax cuts than many economists thought was wise -- and both the size and composition of the stimulus were, in part, efforts to incorporate Republican priorities.