Referring to Toni Morrison's famous description of Bill Clinton as America's "first black President," Michael Reagan writes:
I could make an even stronger case for my father, Ronald Reagan, as "our first black president" — but I won't make that claim. I don't want to diminish the justifiable pride African-Americans take in having a president who is genetically and culturally black. Our first black president is Barack Obama.
But the past two years have made one thing clear: Ronald Reagan was a far better friend to black Americans than Barack Obama has been.
Wow, that's quite a sensational claim! Let's see what Reagan bases it on:
Just compare the Reagan and Obama records. Under Obama, black unemployment rose from 12.6 percent in January 2009 to 16.0 percent today. This means that black unemployment has increased by more than one-fourth since Obama took office.
And the Reagan record? African-American columnist Joseph Perkins has studied the effects of Reaganomics on black America. He found that, after the Reagan tax cuts gained traction, African-American unemployment fell from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989.
This is one of those "is he stupid or does he think we are?" moments. Reagan compares Obama's first two years to Ronald Reagan's third through eighth -- and explains that he used years 3-8 of his father's record to capture the purported effects of his tax cuts. The president's son either doesn't notice or thinks his readers won't notice that he he's comparing apples with saplings.
So what happens if we compare apples to apples by looking at the first two years of data for both presidents? When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among African Americans was 14.6 percent. In December 1982, it was 20.9 -- 43 percent higher. When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, seasonally adjusted unemployment was at 12.7 percent. In December 2010, it was 15.8 -- 24 percent higher.
So, if you compare equivalent portions of their presidencies -- which is really the only honest way to go about things -- Michael Reagan's lead piece of evidence for his provocative claim that his father was a "far better friend to black Americans" than Obama completely disintegrates.
This afternoon on Fox News' America Live, conservative activist Michael Reagan bemoaned the lack of civility in politics, and explained to us that he's been around Republicans his whole life, and he's never, ever heard one of them use foul language. Rather, explained Reagan, it's those potty-mouthed Democrats who are ruining civility in America:
I hate to upset Reagan's naïveté regarding the lily-white moral characters and vocabularies of his GOP brethren, but...
From the August 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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On Larry King Live, The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition organizer Dana Loesch and conservative strategist Michael Reagan attempted to paint recently embattled Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams as an obscure, unimportant tea party member. But as NY Daily News points out, Williams' Tea Party Express--of which Williams served as the organization's public face--"is one of the most influential in the conservative movement," and has raised "$2.3 million this year."
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Terry Krepel, a senior web editor at Media Matters and founder and editor of ConWebWatch, has a great piece up at Huffington Post about how the Washington Examiner is driven by its right-wing tilt.
Here's just a taste:
In early February, Washington Examiner editor Stephen G. Smith gushed over his new chief political correspondent, Byron York, calling him "a prototype of the modern journalist, equally at home in print, on television and on the Web."
One word not uttered by Smith, however, was "conservative" -- as in the political orientation of York's former employer, the National Review. Indeed, York has regularly peddled conservative misinformation from his National Review perch.
York is one of the latest manifestations of the rightward skew of the Examiner, a free tabloid daily created four years ago when conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz took over a chain of suburban papers and refashioned them after the publication he owns in San Francisco -- an interesting move since Anschutz himself hasn't talked to the media in decades.
The Examiner has had a conservative skew from its inception, as exemplified by its early hiring of Bill Sammon, a former Washington Times staffer who penned several books laudatory of George W. Bush and his presidency even while serving as a White House correspondent. Sammon moved last year to Fox News, but he left no ideological vacuum behind.
Ostensible "news" positions at the Examiner have become increasingly stocked with opinion-minded right-wingers -- for instance, Matthew Sheffield, executive editor of the conservative blog NewsBusters, is managing editor of the Examiner's website, and Chris Stirewalt, who has been lauded for his "outspoken conservative perspective," is political editor.
Be sure to check out the entire piece.
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Michael Reagan falsely claimed that in paying retention bonuses, AIG was following a law "that was written by the Democrats" that said "pay the bonuses." In fact, the stimulus bill did not create the right for AIG -- or any company -- to pay bonuses, much less require them to do so.
Several media figures have falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama contradicted previous statements when he said during a March 18 speech on race: "Did I ever hear him [Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor] make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in the church? Yes." In fact, Obama previously asserted he had not been present for particular statements Wright made that were repeated by various media outlets and that spurred the recent controversy. He did not claim to have never heard Wright make "remarks that could be considered controversial."
Conservative media figures have defended the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program by citing a Rasmussen poll saying 64 percent of Americans believe "the National Security Agency [should] be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States." But the key issue, which the poll misrepresents, is not whether surveillance of terrorism suspects should take place at all -- something about which there is little controversy -- but whether President Bush violated the law by approving warrantless searches of domestic phone and email communications.