Right-wing media figures have used the shooting at Fort Hood as an excuse to attack Islam and American Muslims in particular, with Debbie Schlussel, for example, urging readers to think of the alleged shooter "whenever you hear about how Muslims serve their country in the U.S. military." Additionally, commentators have blamed the shooting on "political correctness," with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade suggesting the implementation of "special debriefings" for Muslim American soldiers to prevent future attacks.
From the November 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Right-wing media figures enthusiastically endorsed and boosted the failed Conservative Party candidacy of Doug Hoffman in the race to fill a vacant seat in New York's 23rd Congressional District, with several of them hosting Hoffman on their radio or television shows. Media figures who boosted Hoffman include Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, Michelle Malkin, and Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com.
Expressing outrage that a video showing a "defaced flag" with "graffiti splattered all over it" is a finalist in a Democratic National Committee contest, Fox News and Sean Hannity ignored desecration of the flag by Fox News' own Glenn Beck, with Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin declaring that "the defacing of the flag, of course, is well within the mainstream of far-left propaganda tactics." President Bush also previously defaced a U.S. flag.
From the October 29 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the October 28 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Right-wing bloggers have recently attacked Newt Gingrich for endorsing Republican Dede Scozzafava over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the special election to fill Army Secretary John McHugh's (R-NY) vacated congressional seat. On her blog, Michelle Malkin said "no thanks" to the possibility of a Gingrich 2012 presidential run, noting that he is the "most prominent GOP endorser of [the] radical leftist NY-23 congressional candidate," while at RedState.com, Erick Erickson reportedly wrote -- before removing the post -- that Gingrich "stands athwart history and pees on the legacy of 1994."
In her October 23 column, Michelle Malkin attacked progressives citing the number of annual deaths due to lack of health insurance, a figure she described as the "bogus death statistic." In doing so, Malkin misrepresented the methodology of the study from which this statistic is gleaned.
Several right-wing media figures have claimed that the Obama administration is criticizing Fox News because the network asks "tough questions" and is "reporting the truth." This assertion is undermined by Fox News' extensive history of advancing falsehoods, repeatedly passing off GOP materials as news, doctoring quotes, and frequently engaging in outrageous attacks on President Obama, such as Glenn Beck's claim that he is a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture -- I don't know what it is."
From the October 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Glenn Beck and other media conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin, seized on comments by British lord Christopher Monckton to fearmonger that if the United States agreed to a treaty dealing with climate change, it would be signing its sovereignty away to a "world government." Beck and others have previously fearmongered about the possibility of world government and the loss of U.S. sovereignty.
From the October 9 edition of Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge:
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Given the gleeful mocking of President Obama over Chicago's failed effort to host the 2016 Olympics, and shameless smears of his unexpected Nobel Peace Prize, let's pause and ask: Is there anything conservatives won't turn into a cudgel to bludgeon the president? Take, for example, the art hanging on the White House walls.
As AFP reported earlier this week, the president and first lady have borrowed 47 works of art from five galleries to decorate the White House. AFP went on to describe the art:
They include pieces by seven black artists, including one by Glenn Ligon, a conceptual artist who explores issues of politics and race in works made of text, photos and neon.
A vertical piece selected by the Obamas was "Black like me No. 2," a riff on a 1961 book by white journalist John Howard Griffin who darkened his skin and then wrote about his experience as a "black" man in the racially segregated US south.
"Harlem Renaissance" painter William Johnson is favoured with four pieces, while Alma Thomas, a top African-American woman artist, is represented on the abstract painting front.
In addition, many earthenware pieces and other works by Native Americans were chosen.
On the more classical side, there is a melancholic "Sunset" by Winslow Homer, and two bronze dancers by Degas. Abstract artists like Mark Rothko, and Josef Albers, and conceptual stars like Edward Corbett and Jasper Johns also made the White House grade.
From across the Atlantic, in addition to the Degas, there are a still life by Italian painter Giorgio Morandi and a depiction of Nice by Nicolas de Stael.
William Allman, the White House curator, told The Washington Post that the Obamas' picks express "probably more interest in truly modern art."
So Winslow Homer, Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, William Johnson -- seems pretty eclectic. In fact, it seems pretty benign.
Alas, nothing is benign with the contemporary conservative smear machine, as right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin amply illustrates with her attack on Alma Thomas, and -- by extension -- Obama. Taking her cue from Free Republic, Malkin complains:
Alma Thomas's "Watusi" (1963) looks to be an almost exact reproduction of a 1953 piece by Henri Matisse titled "L'Escargot:"
Malkin even provides a helpful illustration -- "side by side, with 'Watusi' rotated and on the left" -- to make clear the similarities in the two works to drive home her point -- that Obama picked art created by a fraud to hang on the White House walls. But the real fun gets underway over at Ann Althouse's blog:
Anyway, it's really sad to see this sentimental stretching to identify African-American artists. There are plenty of real ones, and mistakes like this make it seem as though there are not and that patronizing -- which really ought to be called racism -- is necessary.
So the Obamas chose a fraudulent African-American artist to display at the White House -- "sentimental stretching to identify African-American artists," a "mistake" and "patronizing," since all Alma Thomas did was knock off Matisse. This does sound bad -- and, of course, it's wildly off the mark.
Art historian Ann Gibson discusses the political message inherent in Thomas' "mimicry and revision of Matisse" in her contribution to Alma W. Thomas: A Retrospective of the Paintings:
The close resemblance between Watusi and L'Escargot (especially evident when Thomas's painting is turned ninety degrees to the right) suggests an overlap between Thomas's determination to comprehend the lessons of modernism and her identification -- and perhaps her sense of rivalry -- with one of its principle figures. However, the title Watusi, which refers both to an African people and to a hit tune of the early 1960s (Chubby Checker's record "The Watusi" was released in 1961), suggests that she used elements of Matisse's art not only as models of abstraction but also to refer to African people and their representation in popular culture, just as elements of art made by Africans could reflect, in Western modernism, European desires and European high culture. Thomas's radical revisions of Matisse's colors (but not the values of his collaged shapes) to their near opposite on the color wheel, as well as her opening of the "frame" -- blues in her painting, oranges in his - are also noteworthy. By permitting the white shapes to penetrate the frame, Thomas animates and frees both the white areas and the colored forms: The frame no longer contains the central organization, and the framing shapes join in the "dance" of the shapes inside. When Thomas's mimicry and revision of Matisse is read in the context of her entitling her painting Watusi, one sees more than an implicit defiance of modernism's creed of originality. What does it mean for an ambitious but comparatively unknown artist to appropriate in paint an important recent work by an internationally recognized master? Especially when she changes the title from a word that suggests not only a sluggish mollusk whose movements are drastically curtailed by its shell but also an epicurean dish whose very name connotes elite privilege? And when the title she selects is the name of a people legendary for their height and strength and after whom, during the civil rights struggle, a popular song has been named? With the title Watusi, Thomas sets her critique (and homage) in the context of early-twentieth century borrowing from Africa by such revered modernists as Matisse, visually loosening his frame and conceptually replacing his upper-class European reference with one that connotes both African and popular American culture. The similarity of forms in Thomas's painting and Matisse's collage suggests the interchangeability, and thus the equality, of social, national, and economic values.
Wait. It's almost as if Alma Thomas intended to create a work of art that looked kind of like a Matisse. She even might have had a message in mind. Whoa. But, see, understanding Thomas' civil rights era message is not the point. The point is that Barack Obama did it, therefore it must be bad. You know, like the Olympics and the Nobel Peace Prize.
Following the news that President Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, numerous media figures have called for him to "turn it down" or "give it back," often asserting that he has not accomplished enough to deserve the prize. On his radio show, Glenn Beck said Obama "has to turn it down. ... [I]t's the only way for him to make a win out of this"; Internet gossip Matt Drudge asked on his website, "Will he turn it down?"; and Michelle Malkin said, "[I]f Obama had an ounce of real humility, he'd refuse to accept the award."
Numerous conservative media figures have seized on the Nobel Committee's decision to award President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize as an excuse to attack Obama or his policies. Media conservatives previously rooted against Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games, similarly using the bid as an excuse to attack Obama, and celebrated when the games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.