Right-wing media have seized on the performance of a Chinese song by pianist Lang Lang at a recent state dinner as an "anti-American" slight against the U.S. In reality, Lang said he picked the song "for no other reason but for the beauty of its melody," and one expert on Chinese culture called it "nutty" to suggest that Lang's performance was somehow "anti-American."
This afternoon on Fox News, Megyn Kelly sat down with Alan Colmes to talk about the ridiculous right-wing claims that Michelle Obama is causing pedestrian deaths and wearing communist dresses. Specifically, Kelly wanted to figure out what, exactly, Michelle Obama does to make people tell these crazy lies about her:
Here's the relevant transcript:
KELLY: You know, here's my question for you, this is why I raised it -- I understand politics are politics, right? People don't like who they don't like. But why so much criticism on the First Lady? Why so much focus on this First Lady?
KELLY: Why? What is it about Michelle Obama that people want to blame her for pedestrian deaths? The fabulous Alexander McQueen dress gets criticized.
KELLY: Is it something about Michelle Obama? Has she been more vocal on policy? Is it those comments that she made during the campaign that were controversial about being proud of her country for the first time that people are holding against her? What do you think it is? Because we didn't hear this about Laura Bush.
Kelly, to her credit, pointed out that the attacks were stupid. But seriously? "What is it about Michelle Obama that people want to blame her for pedestrian deaths?"
Here's a thought: maybe it doesn't have anything to do with Michelle Obama. Perhaps it's linked to the intractable pettiness and malignity of the fever swamp dwellers who birth these ridiculous lies and will seize on anything to attack her.
But let's allow, for just a moment, that these bizarre attacks on the First Lady are, in fact, inspired by her public comments on policy and something she said during the campaign nearly three years ago -- is that a justification? Does it even stand up as a reasonable excuse? No, and no.
From now on let's stick to criticizing the people who actually tell the offending lies, and spend less time figuring out how to blame the victim.
From the January 21 edition of Fox News Channel's America Live:
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Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly responded to her guest's statement that Fox News figures regularly invoke Nazi imagery by stating: "I don't know if you sit and watch our programming every night, but I watch it every day and you're wrong." In fact, several Fox News figures, particularly Glenn Beck, have a long history of smearing President Obama, Democrats, and progressive figures by invoking Nazi and Holocaust imagery.
Fox News has repeatedly attempted to discredit an HHS study estimating how many people have pre-existing conditions. In doing so, Fox falsely claimed the study said 129 million people would "lose their coverage" if Republicans repealed the health care reform law, when in fact, HHS said this number represents those who, in the absense of health care reform, would face higher premiums or benefit cuts in the individual insurance market.
In the latest entry in our ever-expanding Obama Derangement Syndrome series, the right-wing media are attacking Michelle Obama for a letter she addressed to parents in the wake of the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Conservatives are professing outrage that Obama would dare speak of "tolerance" following a shooting rampage that left six dead and over a dozen wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft, who's not known for turning away any opportunity to attack the Obamas, led the charge this morning with a post titled, "Michelle Obama: We Can Use the Tucson Shootings to Teach Our Children Tolerance ...Huh?" Hoft writes: "Some disturbed mental case goes on a shooting spree at a Safeway after months and years of bizarre behavior and Michelle Obama wants your kids to be more tolerant? That's so not right."
In the letter, Michelle Obama writes that the tragedy "makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in -- and the world in which our children will grow up," and tells parents that it provides "an opportunity for us as parents to teach some valuable lessons -- about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away."
She goes on to write:
We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis. And we can help them do that in their own small way -- whether it's by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.
We can teach them the value of tolerance -- the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.
We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.
That was apparently too much for Rush Limbaugh, who replied: "I don't know if she got the message that her husband attempted in his inimitable, exclusive, and brilliant manner Wednesday night."
From the January 13 edition of Fox News Channel's America Live:
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In the wake of the tragic shootings in Arizona, several right-wing media figures have attacked Pima County Sheriff Dupnik for calling for an end to vitriolic rhetoric while discussing the shooting. However, the right-wing media repeatedly praised a different Arizona sheriff, Paul Babeu, who regularly engages in vitriolic attacks against President Obama and Democrats.
Earlier today, we documented how Fox News' Megyn Kelly and Peter Johnson Jr. (both attorneys) twisted the facts to claim that the Fourteenth Amendment was not meant to provide citizenship to children born in the United States to undocumented immigrants. Not to be outdone, Fox's Bill O'Reilly claimed that "the Constitution is being misused" by parents of so-called "anchor babies."
Why Fox chose today to return to their attacks on these immigrant children is unclear.
But credible scholars, including conservative scholars, continue to debunk their argument. Yesterday, James Ho, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and aide to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed stating that the children born in the United States are citizens even if their parents were not legally present in the country. Indeed, Ho says "[t]he plain meaning of this language is clear" that these people are citizens.
And Ho isn't some lone conservative legal scholar bucking the rest of the movement. Libertarian-conservative law professor Eugene Volokh stated that as a matter of policy "I think that children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens or legal alien tourists should in principle not automatically get U.S. citizenship as a result." But Volokh also said: "My sense is that [Ho] is quite correct on the constitutional question."
And Freshman Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) told Chris Matthews today that birthright citizenship is "a settled question. They're American citizens":
This afternoon on Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly spoke with Peter Johnson Jr. about the current legal challenges to birthright citizenship, as established by the 14th Amendment, and gave a wildly dishonest reading of the law and precedent to suggest that conferring citizenship based on birthplace is unconstitutional.
The segment is clipped below.
The 14th Amendment states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Johnson said that the "constitutional argument today that's being made is that the folks who are illegal immigrants, undocumented aliens, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States as defined in the 14th Amendment." Kelly said there's a "shocking dearth of Supreme Court precedent on this. ... There's not a lot of cases out there that take up the issue about what the 14th Amendment was meant to speak to." They briefly discussed the 1898 case United States v. Wong Kim Ark, which held that a child born in the U.S. to parents who were "subjects of the Emperor of China" was, in fact, a U.S. citizen. Johnson, however, dismissed that ruling as "political," as opposed to "constitutional," and a "weak" precedent.
From the December 22 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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Why does Fox treat Christmas like this? Fox took their "War on Christmas" to Capitol Hill this week, continuing to politicize Christmas by making the bogus claim that "Democrats [are] waging their own War on Christmas" by holding votes in the final weeks of December. What Fox isn't telling you is that not only is this schedule fairly common, but it's Republicans who should take most, if not all, of the blame for such holiday scheduling concerns.
This latest brouhaha was sparked by an exchange this week of some strong words between Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). On Kyl said Dec. 14 on the Senate floor, as quoted in the New York Times, "It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out without...disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians." On December 15, DeMint said the Democrats' push on START and the omnibus bill was "sacrilegious," as Politico reported. Reid shot back later that day, saying that he didn't need any "sanctimonious lectures," because "[a]s a Christian, no one has to remind me of the importance of Christmas," as The Washington Post reported.
Fox picked up on this story right away, beginning with Fox & Friends on December 16. Co-host Steve Doocy teased a story about the pending omnibus and START bills in the Senate by saying, "Meanwhile, are Democrats waging their own War on Christmas to make sure Santa delivers everything on their wish list?" Co-host Gretchen Carlson decided yes, they are, when teasing the story again later in the show, saying: "Democrats waking up in Washington and waging their own War on Christmas, threatening Republicans to pass their Christmas wish list or else."
Other Fox hosts took up the faux battle cry later in the day. On America Live, host Megyn Kelly covered the DeMint and Kyl versus Reid Christmas comments, leading her story by saying:
Is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a Grinch? Is he trying to Scrooge his colleagues with plans to keep the Senate in session until Christmas Eve and then call everyone back before New Year's? Some Republicans seem to think so. [Fox News' America Live, 12/16/10]
Later, during On the Record, Fox News Contributor Karl Rove claimed that trying to pass a group of spending bills as an omnibus is unusual -- as Media Matters for America has already documented, it's not -- and said:
They're trying to wad this thing up, and on the eve of Christmas, jam it through by threatening people that if they don't vote for it, they may be stuck here for Christmas. I mean, you know, Harry Reid strikes me as sometimes he has a weird sense of humor, but I never really thought of him as the Grinch. But this is the guy who tried to steal Christmas, at least for his colleagues in the Senate this year. [Fox News' On the Record, 12/16/10]
Sound familiar? Perhaps you remember the story about how that Scrooge Reid made Congress stay in session so late last year that the Senate had to vote on the health care bill on Christmas Eve.
Hmm. How does Congress keep getting into this situation? Is it in fact Reid and Democrats who are to blame?
Fox News anchor Bret Baier disingenuously claimed that Democrats circumvented the legislative process by "dumping" everything into a single spending bill. In fact, similar omnibus bills are regularly used in the legislative process.
Continuing their war on the progressive accomplishments of the 20th century, Fox News is now attacking as illegitimate the estate tax, which was established in its current form in 1916. According to the proposed framework agreed to by President Obama and congressional Republicans, the tax would only impact roughly 3,500 estates in 2011 and would raise over $11 billion.
From the December 13 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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