Maybe now Bill Kristol knows how Barack Obama feels.
Like Obama, the long-time conservative commentator has become a (temporary) punching bag for the more radical elements of the far-right press. Kristol's sin? Acknowledging that Romney's "47 percent" comments made behind closed doors to wealthy donors were "stupid and arrogant."
Over the weekend, Breitbart.com condemned Kristol as a "pinhead" and suggested a wounded ego was the reason The Weekly Standard editor took issue with Romney's donor comments.
Last week, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin lashed out at Kristol and denounced him as a "windbag" in "meltdown mode." For Malkin, insulting nearly half the electorate and deriding them as lazy and irresponsible was the perfect campaign pitch for Romney to make. Because according to Malkin, this campaign is all about "about America's makers versus America's takers." (Fox News also loved the "47 percent" attack line.)
That's clearly how the fanatical far-right media see the looming November election. Yet Kristol's critique of Romney's comments was self-evident: "It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters."
The fact that Malkin and others castigate Kristol only shows how fanatically they take the oath of loyalty during the campaign season. (And how name-calling is their first response to a debate.)
There's also an alternate universe narrative being pushed in the fevered swamps of the right-wing blogosphere at places like Breitbart.com. It preaches to readers that Romney's campaign is in great shape and that polls suggesting otherwise should be dismissed as bogus because the sampling is all wrong. (Biased!)
The suggestion that Romney's campaign is struggling is all a liberal media creation, goes the Breitbart line. The problem is when conservatives like Kristol puncture the bubble that Malkin and Breitbart bloggers hold so dear. In response, Kristol must be denounced as a fool.
And the family feud rages on.
Right-wing media expressed outrage over the Obama campaign's use of flag imagery in a campaign poster. But this is not unique to the Obama campaign: a modified American flag was used as a banner for Abraham Lincoln's 1860 presidential campaign.
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin is very angry. Again.
Malkin is very angry the "lap dog" press is being so mean to Mitt Romney and is making a big deal about the "47 percent" comments he made behind closed doors to wealthy donors about how nearly half of Americans are lazy, irresponsible and unwilling to work hard to improve their lives.
Typing off the age-old conservative script, Malkin robotically blamed the press for Romney's latest campaign stumble, claiming there's a conspiracy among journalists and Democrats to shift the attention away from Obama and focus on alleged Romney gaffes.
But there's a slight problem this time around with the blame game: Lots of conservative pundits, such as The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol (as well as Republican members of Congress), have also denounced Romney's "47 percent" comments as irresponsible and misguided.
Malkin's response? Fox News contributor Kristol's part of the media problem and he's in on the colluded effort to doom Romney's campaign!
The intramural name-calling highlights the right-wing media fracture visible in the wake of Romney's "47 percent" debacle. Sides are being taken as to whether Romney's remarks were imprudent (i.e. "stupid and arrogant," as Kristol put it), or whether they can be used as a rallying cry to rescue his campaign.
More traditional Republican partisans in the press, such as the New York Times' David Brooks ("Thurston Howell Romney") and the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan ("Time For An Intervention"), have come down hard on Romney and belittled his campaign efforts.
By contrast, name-callers like Malkin and the more radical, Tea Party-leaning elements of the far-right media, including Fox News, have cheered the candidate's derogatory remarks and urged Romney to repeat them often on the campaign trail.
For this faction, virtually any criticism of their candidate is deemed off-limits, and heretics like Kristol must be publicly condemned.
Besides, Malkin insists Romney's attack on U.S. voters was dead-on [emphasis added]:
He's talking, of course, about the Peggy the Moochers and Henrietta Hugheses of the world - savior-based Obama supporters for whom the cult of personality trumps all else. He's talking about the Sandra Flukes and Julias of the world - Nanny State grievance-mongers who have been spoon-fed identity politics and victim Olympics from preschool through grad school and beyond. And he's talking about the encrusted entitlement clientele who range from the Section 8 housing mob in Atlanta that caused a near-riot to the irresponsible debt-ridden homeowners who mortgaged themselves into oblivion and want their bailout now, now, now.
Malkin despises all these people and loved Romney's closed-door attempt to demonize them during the campaign season. For Malkin and her Tea Party friends, that's what national campaigns are about, pitting Americans against each other by depicting political foes as parasites who feed off the generosity of hard working taxpayers. "This election is about America's makers versus America's takers," Malkin declared confidently.
Lots of Republican commentators disagree.
Right-wing pundits jumped to blame "the media" after Mitt Romney was criticized for his statement and remarks following the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Yet foreign policy experts and even conservative officials and media figures have been critical of Romney's statement and subsequent remarks.
In her syndicated column, Michelle Malkin depicted newly finalized fuel economy standards as dangerous to consumers. But in fact, standards have been reformed to remove incentives for smaller, potentially less safe cars, and technological improvements have made many smaller cars just as safe as larger vehicles.
Fox News is twisting comments Michelle Obama made to claim she said that voting for Republicans could cause people to "die from cancer." In fact, the first lady was simply pointing out that repealing health care reform would increase the number of people without health insurance.
At a campaign event in Los Angeles on Monday, Michelle Obama discussed the presidential election and noted calls from the right to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The first lady pointed out that the reform bill was in part an effort to expand health care access, including a hypothetical "woman dying of cancer whose insurance company wouldn't cover her care."
Here's Fox & Friends' sinister interpretation of Michelle Obama's comments:
CARLSON: Let's talk a little bit about Michelle Obama, the first lady, out on the campaign trail, and she was talking about this cancer ad, the controversial one, or was she? Do you believe that she was insinuating back to that ad when she said that if you elect Mitt Romney, women will die from cancer?
MICHELLE MALKIN (Fox News contributor): Well, it's an interesting parallel -- it's an interesting echo of the ad's theme, of course, which is that somehow, if Republicans are elected to the White House, that all of these people are going to die, die, die.
Text aired during the segment read:
Later, on America's Newsroom, Fox News contributor Deroy Murdock said, "We've got President Obama's supporters and even Michelle Obama saying that if you vote for the Republicans, people will get cancer."
Fox did not make clear when Michelle Obama supposedly said this, but Carlson's commentary echoes a Washington Examiner post from August 13 highlighting comments Obama made at a campaign event that day. And in those comments, the first lady did not say that "if you vote for the Republicans, people will get cancer." The full context of her remarks shows that she was pointing out that prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which conservatives have said they want to repeal, more people lacked health insurance:
But this election is also a choice about the health of our families. Now, the fact is that over the past century -- all right, 100 years -- there have been so many Presidents who have tried and failed to meet the challenge of health care reform. But fortunately your President was determined. Fortunately he was driven by the stories of people he'd met. We all know these stories -- the grandparents who couldn't afford their medications; the families going broke because a child got sick; the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company wouldn't cover her care. And let me tell you something, that's what kept Barack going day after day. That's why he fought so hard for this historic reform.
And today, because of that reform, things are different for so many Americans. Our parents and grandparents are paying hundreds less for their prescription drugs. Our kids can stay on our insurance until they're 26 years old. You know what that means for our young people? That when they graduate from college, and they're out there looking for a job, trying to get themselves settled, they don't have to go without health care. Because of this reform, insurance companies have to cover basic preventative things like contraception, cancer screenings, prenatal care, with no extra cost. Because of this reform, insurance companies can't discriminate you because you have an illness that they call a preexisting condition. And if you get really sick, a real serious illness -- something like breast cancer -- and you need expensive treatment, you really need your insurance to work for you, no longer can your insurance company tell you, sorry, you've hit your lifetime limit and we're not paying a penny more. Today, because of health care reform, that is now illegal. (Applause.)
But make no mistake about it, this November we're going to get to decide: Do we want these reforms to be repealed? Because there are those who do. Or do we want the people we love to have the care they need? That's the choice we face.
Vice President Joe Biden did not make a reference to Rev. Jeremiah Wright in his speech today at the NAACP's annual convention, despite breathless speculation from conservative media that he did. A spokesperson from the Obama campaign told Salon's Joan Walsh and The Washington Post's Greg Sargent that Biden "was referencing a different Reverend Wright ...an old friend from Delaware."
In his speech, Biden spoke about "the men and women who educated me when we'd sit over in Reverend Wright's church" about desegregation, presumably during his early political career in Delaware -- and not Illinois, where Jeremiah Wright is based.
From the July 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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George Will has joined Dick Morris and other media figures in fearmongering over the United States potentially joining the Convention of the Law of the Sea. Will's position puts him at odds with Republican senators, military leaders, and five former Republican secretaries of state, with the latter writing that joining the treaty "will be a boon for our national security and economy interests."
In his Washington Post column, Will argued that the Law of the Sea treaty would undermine U.S. sovereignty by "empowering a U.N. bureaucracy":
For centuries there has been a law of the sea. There might be marginal benefits from LOST's clarifications and procedures for resolving disputes arising from that law -- although China and the nations involved in contentious disputes about the South China Sea have all ratified LOST, not that it seems to matter. But those hypothetical benefits are less important than LOST's actual derogation of U.S. sovereignty by empowering a U.N. bureaucracy -- the International Seabed Authority (ISA), based in Jamaica -- to give or withhold permission for mining, and to transfer perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. wealth to whatever nation it deems deserving -- "on the basis of equitable sharing criteria, taking into account the interests and needs of developing states, particularly the least developed and the land-locked among them."
Will's fearmongering over the treaty echoes that of others in the right-wing media in recent months. Morris has repeatedly used his platform as a Fox News contributor to push numerous falsehoods about the treaty and claim that it is part of a plot by the Obama administration to create a "one world government." Conservative pundit and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin and others in the right-wing media have similarly fearmongered about the treaty.
In fact, five former Republican secretaries of state -- Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice -- have come out in strong support of the United States joining the Convention of the Law of the Sea, writing in a May 30 Wall Street Journal op-ed that joining the treaty "will be a boon for our national security and economy interests." (Will acknowledged their support of the treaty, but dismissed it in favor of an argument by Donald Rumsfeld, who he said is "five times more persuasive than these former secretaries of state.")
Moreover, the Law of the Sea Treaty has previously received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate. In 2004, the GOP-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously recommended ratification. In 2007, the committee again recommended ratification, that time by a 17-4 vote. Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that the treaty "supports national security interests," and former President George W. Bush urged the Senate to ratify the treaty in 2007, stating that it would "secure U.S. sovereign rights."
Sean Hannity is not big on correcting false claims made by the guests on his Fox News show. On June 19, for instance, it was Mitt Romney whose numerous false claims Hannity let stand uncorrected.
On the June 20 edition of Hannity, two separate guests pushed the claim that the Obama administration deliberately created the Fast and Furious operation in order to undermine the Second Amendment. First, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin asserted that the Obama administration "let [the guns] go because they had an underlying gun-control agenda."
Monica Crowley, also a Fox News contributor, said later in the show that Fast and Furious "may not have been" a "botched operation," adding: "Maybe -- and this is just speculation -- but maybe what they are trying to hide here is the fact that was all by design. ... That everything they do is by design, and that this operation was set up as an assault on the Second Amendment. In other words, flood the zone with guns, actually have some dead bodies -- I don't think they intended American dead bodies -- but then trace the guns back to the United States as an excuse to crack down on legal gun ownership."
In fact, head of the House's investigation into Fast and Furious, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, wrote last month in a memorandum and accompanying report that the Fast and Furious operation "was conceived because law enforcement officials "hoped the weapons, after they were recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, could be traced and linked to cartel operatives including possible high-level financiers, suppliers, and possibly even king-pins." A June 2011 "joint staff report" prepared for Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) came to a similar conclusion.
Likewise, Hannity made no move to correct either Malkin or Crowley.
The Obama administration has announced that it will allow some young undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States. In response, right-wing bloggers are falsely suggesting that this policy change is evidence that President Obama is "putting politics above national security and the rule of law" and "acting like a king." In fact, the change is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion that is consistent with the current law and has decades of precedent.
In a recent post on her website, Fox News contributor Sally Kohn argued that conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, also a Fox News contributor, "condemn[s] supposed incivility on the part of the left while championing incivility on the part of the right," and pointed to examples of Malkin attacking progressives. Malkin responded to Kohn's post on Sean Hannity's radio show today, arguing that instead of using inflammatory rhetoric, she merely makes "funny," "lighthearted jokes":
But the following attacks Malkin has launched against progressives are neither "funny" nor "lighthearted":
Malkin is not the only conservative to launch attacks that are neither "lighthearted" nor "funny":
The Prius is now the world's third best-selling car line, but before it became a clear success story, it was the target of attacks from conservative media similar to those now being leveled against electric vehicles.
In 2000, the year the Prius was released in the U.S., Diane Katz and Henry Payne wrote at the Wall Street Journal that hybrid cars are not "what the public wants." The next year, the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels declared the Prius would "never" deliver a profit for Toyota and hyped how "demand has been weak" for hybrids. That these conservative pundits have clearly been proven wrong with time is a lesson for today's pundits who suggest that current electric car sales mean that electric cars will never be successful. As Bloomberg reporter Jamie Butters noted in a video report, "a lot of people will criticize the sales of the Chevy Volt by GM or the Nissan Leaf, but when you really look back they're selling at significantly higher opening volumes than the Prius when it came out 15 years ago."
Even after Prius sales had significantly ramped up, conservative media were still downplaying the market for hybrids in the U.S. In 2004, a Fox News guest declared that "Americans don't want hybrids":
Five former Republican Secretaries of State have come out in strong support of the United States joining the Convention of the Law of the Sea. Will Dick Morris and others in the right-wing media stop fearmongering about it now?
In a May 30 Wall Street Journal op-ed, the past five GOP Secretaries of State -- Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice -- wrote that joining the treaty "will be a boon for our national security and economy interests." From their op-ed:
The convention's primary functions are to define maritime zones, preserve freedom of navigation, allocate resource rights, establish the certainty necessary for various businesses that depend on the sea, and protect the marine environment. Flaws in the treaty regarding deep-seabed mining, which prevented President Ronald Reagan from supporting it, were fixed in 1994. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have supported ratification, as do Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama, because it is in the best interest of our nation. Yet the U.S. remains one of the few major countries not party to the convention.
The treaty provides substantial economic benefits to the U.S. It accords coastal states the right to declare an "Exclusive Economic Zone" where they have exclusive rights to explore and exploit, and the responsibility to conserve and manage, living and nonliving resources extending 200 nautical miles seaward from their shoreline. Our nation's exclusive zone would be larger than that of any country in the world--covering an area greater than the landmass of the lower 48 states. In addition, the zone can be extended beyond 200 nautical miles if certain geological criteria are met; this has significant potential benefits where the U.S.'s continental shelves may be as broad as 600 miles, such as off Alaska, where vast natural resources lie.
During the past month, Morris has taken to Fox to fearmonger over the U.S. joining the treaty, claiming that it's part of a plot by the Obama administration to create a "one world government" and pushing numerous falsehoods about the treaty. Michelle Malkin has similarly fearmongered about the treaty.
The Law of the Sea treaty also has previously received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate; in 2004, the GOP-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously recommended ratification. In 2007, the committee again recommended ratification by a 17-4 vote. Former Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has said the treaty "supports national security interests," and former President George W. Bush urged the Senate to ratify the treaty in 2007.
From the May 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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