Right-wing media greeted news of the release of the only U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan with claims that his freedom was timed to distract from the controversy plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Senior Daily Caller contributor Matt Lewis condemned Mary Cheney for objecting to her sister Liz's opposition to marriage equality, writing that Mary Cheney's criticism epitomizes modern society's lack of "family loyalty" and shows "selfishness" on her part.
In a November 19 blog post, Lewis weighed in on the Cheney sisters' feud, which was sparked by remarks made by Liz Cheney, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming, opposing marriage equality. Liz Cheney reiterated that position in a November 17 appearance on Fox News Sunday, stating that while she'd always tried to be "compassionate toward" Mary Cheney and her wife Heather Poe, "this is just an issue in which we disagree." Mary Cheney and her wife responded sharply, with Mary Cheney writing on her Facebook page, "Liz - this isn't just an issue on which we disagree you're just wrong - and on the wrong side of history."
Lewis argued that Liz Cheney was merely "pandering" in order to win the GOP nomination in Wyoming and that she will "probably 'evolve' on the issue" after she is elected. According to Lewis, by not putting up with a "short-term inconvenience," Mary Cheney is "messing that up" (emphasis added):
Let's begin with loyalty to one's blood relatives -- and the fact that Mary Cheney apparently has none. Let's all let Mary in on a little secret here: YOUR SISTER IS PANDERING. That's right, once safely ensconced in the U.S. Senate, Liz Cheney will probably "evolve" on the issue.
But Liz is also attempting to actually win a U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming. And to make that happen, Mary, Liz may have to say some things you won't like. This is a short-term inconvenience. (When you run, Mary, maybe Liz will similarly bite her tongue?) But she needs you now. And you, Mary, are messing that up.
When people talk about the breakdown of the traditional family unit, I suppose this what they mean. It has nothing to do with gay marriage -- but everything to do about putting selfishness and individualism ahead of the collective good of the family name.
Putting personal political views ahead of blood relatives (I get that Mary is now married -- and this constitutes her new family) seems like a relatively new phenomenon. This is partly because of social media (all Mary Cheney had to do was get angry and sign on to Facebook), but, my guess is this has something to do with our new individualistic world -- and the fact that expectations of familial loyalty are diminished.
Lewis' post reflects what appears to be a right-wing media effort to portray Mary Cheney as the villain in this squabble. Radio talk show host Lars Larson appeared on Fox News' The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on November 18 to decry Mary Cheney's lack of "respect" for her sister's anti-marriage equality position, which Liz Cheney and her parents have asserted is her genuine and long-held view.
Since the Cheney family feud erupted into public view, Mary Cheney has written, "This isn't like a disagreement over grazing fees or what to do about Iran. There isn't a lot of gray here. Either you think all families should be treated equally or you don't. Liz's position is to treat my family as second class citizens. That's not a position I can be 'lovingly tolerant' towards."
The Daily Caller would "gladly run" future opinion pieces from contributor Jack Hunter despite revelations this week of his past neo-Confederate and pro-secessionist views, a spokesperson said.
Asked if Hunter -- who has written more than 50 opinion pieces for the website in the past -- would be welcomed to write for the site again in the future, Daily Caller spokeswoman Nicole Roeberg stated via email: "He is welcome to submit an opinion piece, just like anyone else. Each piece would be judged on its own merit. If it adheres to our standards, we would gladly run it."
She also stressed: "Any submission which violates Daily Caller standards won't be accepted. Though Hunter has written many good pieces for us in the past, comments like those being talked about this week would not have met our editorial standards and would have been rejected."
The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported this week that Hunter, a "close aide" to Sen. Rand Paul who also co-wrote the Kentucky Republican's 2011 book, "spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist. Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which 'advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.'"
The Free Beacon also quoted from Hunter's South Carolina radio commentaries, delivered under the pseudonym "The Southern Avenger," in which he expressed admiration for Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, indignation that white Americans are treated to a "racial double standard," and opposition to Spanish-speaking immigrants. Hunter reportedly "told the Free Beacon that he no longer holds many of these views," including his pro-Lincoln assassin views, but "declined to say that he no longer supports secession."
In an interview, Roeberg pointed out that Hunter had written just one piece for the Daily Caller since last August and that none of the previous articles were related to his controversial views. "He was an opinion writer, we have hundreds and hundreds of opinion writers, [and] he was never paid," she said. "All of his pieces were opinion pieces and we don't pay our opinion writers."
She later added: "None of his pieces that he ever wrote for us had anything to do with any of those views, they were all kind of just standard political issues that weren't super controversial. We never would have approved anything like that."
Roeberg said she did not know if Daily Caller editors knew about Hunter's past controversial views, adding that the news outlet had no other comment on the new revelations.
Hunter's Daily Caller archive includes more than 50 pieces written between August 2011 and May 2013, including numerous editions of a slickly-produced, Daily Caller-branded video commentary series, "The Deal with Jack Hunter."
His most recent Daily Caller piece, from May 6, was headlined, "Rand Paul shatters left-right paradigm, can help grow GOP." In his written and video commentaries, Hunter also promoted the candidacy of Sen. Paul's father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), whose 2012 presidential campaign he worked for as an "official campaign blogger."
In a February 2012 Daily Caller video, Hunter argued "that by firing Pat Buchanan, MSNBC, Media Matters and the Color of Change have undermined free speech." The Daily Caller noted that Hunter is "known by his radio moniker the 'Southern Avenger,'" and identified him as "a frequent guest on Fox Business" and the co-author of books by Sen. Paul and former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).
The latest revelations about Hunter's neo-Confederate past brought a rebuke from one of Daily Caller's most well-known columnists, Matt Lewis, who wrote a piece on July 9 describing Hunter's comments as a "damaging staffer admission" and his past views as "very bad baggage." Lewis wrote that Hunter's presence on Paul's staff reflects poorly on the senator's "credibility and honesty -- to Paul's fundamental character."
Lewis did not mention Hunter's previous Daily Caller work and did not respond to a request for an interview.
Right-wing pundits frequently use former President Ronald Reagan's name to apply a stamp of approval on anything or anyone they deem symbolic of the ideal conservative -- even when Reagan's actual record on issues ranging from taxes to the deficit deviated far from the ideological standards of today's conservative movement.
Republican darling du jour Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) is the latest to receive the Reagan badge. Ahead of his delivery of the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address, Karl Rove said Monday that "in Rubio, the Republicans have got probably one of their best communicators since Ronald Reagan." On MSNBC's Morning Joe, The Daily Caller's Matt Lewis called Rubio "Reaganesque." And in November 2012, pundit Cal Thomas published a column on Townhall.com titled, "Marco Rubio: A Hispanic Reagan?"
Rubio is just the latest in a long line of Republican politicians to receive the ubiquitous accolade:
Mitt Romney: Fox News figures repeatedly linked former presidential candidate Romney to the Gipper during both opinion and news shows in the months leading up to the 2012 election. Bill O'Reilly said that Romney "is going to mirror the ghost of Ronald Reagan," while political correspondent Carl Cameron said Romney, on his bus tour, spent a lot of time "sort of echoing Ronald Reagan."
Rep. Paul Ryan (WI): Fox News figures from K.T. MacFarland to Megyn Kelly compared Ryan to Reagan as part of their cheerleading for Ryan after he was chosen as Romney's vice presidential candidate.
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ): Fox Nation highlighted a column by the director of the American Enterprise Institute with the headline, "Christie's Starting to Look Like Reagan."
Sarah Palin: A post on Breitbart's BigJournalism.com said that Palin "carries the torch of liberty and American exceptionalism in the palm of her lovely hand" before calling her the "surviving embodiment of the spirit of 1776 and the Reagan reformation."
Gov. Scott Walker (WI): On Sean Hannity's Fox show, conservative radio host Mike Gallagher called Walker "the Ronald Reagan of our time."
Gov. Bob McDonnell (VA): Karl Rove, on Hannity's show, called Virginia governor Bob McDonnell "a Reaganite conservative."
Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA): In February 2008, Rush Limbaugh called Jindal "the next Ronald Reagan."
Right-wing media figures have splashed the "Reagan" label about so freely that they're in danger of rendering the compliment meaningless.
It's obviously too early to know for certain, but on the final day of the 2012 presidential campaign there seems to be a general consensus forming that President Obama is well-positioned to beat Mitt Romney at the polls tomorrow. And in the face of that prospect, some in the media are already beginning to challenge the legitimacy of Obama's reelection.
On November 4, Politico published an article enumerating the "lessons learned" from the 2012 campaign. Among them was the surprising assertion that the coalition Obama put together to win reelection -- "Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites" -- is insufficient to provide the incumbent the political capital he might otherwise enjoy were he to have the support of independents and white voters. "A broad mandate this is not," declared authors Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen.
Politico didn't explain why broad mandates rest on the shoulders of whites and independents, simply asserting instead that Obama, should he win, will win in a way that lacks legitimacy. Part of their analysis, however, rested on the myth that the United States is "a center-right country," which certainly helps to explain why they'd view an electoral coalition that excludes the center-right's top constituency -- white men -- as a political nonstarter.
While Politico went the route of demography, conservative pundits are instead opting for catastrophe. Specifically, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, suggesting that Romney was poised to run away with the election until Sandy halted his "momentum" and gave Obama a boost in public opinion going into the campaign's final week.
Right-wing media have attacked early voting, claiming it leads to fraud, pushes uninformed voters to cast ballots too early, and is unconstitutional and untraditional. In fact, early voting increases the integrity of the voting process, and the vast majority of early votes are cast in the final two weeks before the election by decided voters. Early voting dates back to the founding of the country.
From the June 17 episode of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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With Rush Limbaugh's toxicity becoming (even more) of a problem for the conservative movement, the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis is issuing a call for "civility" in our discourse:
Conservatives, of course, will point to liberal examples of hatred and bitterness and say, "they do it, too!" Both sides do this. Both sides should be more civil. Both sides should show more character.
But since I suspect I'm reaching more conservatives here, let me make the case that you should not allow yourself to become obsessed with the political fight. In this, I agree with Peggy Noonan, who writes, "[I]n their fight against liberalism and its demands, too many conservatives have unconsciously come to ape the left. They too became all politics all the time."
At the end of the day -- at the end of our lives -- shouldn't our life's work -- our purpose -- have been noble? (Yes, political participation is honorable. Fighting for freedom is certainly honorable. But it is noble only if done in an honorable manner.)
What a load of self-serving nonsense.
This is a favorite defense for conservatives who find themselves in the unfortunate position of being forced to apologize: "I'm sorry for what I did, which happened only because I 'unconsciously' acted like a liberal." It's a neat little trick for sort-of accepting responsibility while at the same time heaping a considerable portion of blame your ideological foes.
Limbaugh himself made good use of it in explaining his "apology" to Sandra Fluke: "I don't expect...morality, intellectual honesty from the left. They've demonstrated over and over a willingness to say or do anything to advance their agenda. It's what they do. It's what we fight against here every day. But this is the mistake I made. In fighting them on this issue last week, I became like them."
I suppose it's possible that the conservative, in his natural state, is a peaceful and honorable being who only manages to debase himself after succumbing to the left's proprietary tactic of non-stop politicking. Of course, Lewis and other people who argue that are implying that the liberals are the ultimate cause of all incivility in our discourse. And I don't find that argument to be particularly civil.
From the November 7 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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From the July 25 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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Matt Lewis, who has written for Big Government, took to CNN's Reliable Sources today to assist in the effort to warp the truth about Andrew Breitbart's role in pushing -- and spurring others to push -- unfounded accusations of racism against Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod.
It's been well established by now that the video Breitbart posted of Sherrod was a horribly out-of-context smear, and that her story was one of racial reconciliation rather than discrimination. So how does Lewis try to spin Breitbart's actions to relieve him of his culpability?
From the June 6 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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From the June 6 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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On the March 29 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis advanced dubious claims first made by the Wall Street Journal that certain provisions relating to overhauling student loans in the reconciliation bill were added to benefit "a handful of favored nonprofit companies." The legislation in question eliminates the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, which, as the New York Times reported, gave commercial banks "guaranteed federal subsidies to lend money to students, with the government assuming nearly all the risk." Under the legislation, qualifying state-based nonprofits would be able to continue servicing federally subsidized student loans. Lewis and the Wall Street Journal suggested that this provision was added to benefit, as Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy put it, "some of" the Democrats' "nonprofit pals."
Their evidence? The Journal claims that one of the "several dozen nonprofit firms" that could be affected by this legislation, ALL Student Loan, "may have helped its cause by retaining the services of Vincent Reusing, a lobbyist whom the Chronicle of Higher Education has described as a 'personal friend' of" Rep.George Miller (D-CA). Lewis repeated this charge on Fox & Friends. Without explaining how, the Journal claims that ALL Student Loan counts as one of the "favored nonprofits" who will be receiving a new "revenue stream" from this legislation. But considering the Journal itself admits that ALL Student Loan is only one of "several dozen nonprofit firms" that could benefit from the legilsation, it's hard to see how this provision was included in order to benefit one nonprofit who hired one lobbyist who may or may not be a "personal friend" of one of the lawmakers involved in drafting the legislation.