Right-wing media figures have recently concocted several baseless scandals in an attempt to portray Democrats as corrupt or guilty of wrongdoing. These include the suggestion that the Democratic leadership acted improperly after learning about sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Eric Massa, the baseless accusation that President Obama is "selling judgeships" for health care reform votes, and the false claim that Rep. Pete Stark has an "ethics scandal."
Right-wing media have praised Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) for blocking legislation that would extend unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of Americans, prevent rural areas from losing local television, and prevent cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors. The Department of Transportation also reportedly furloughed nearly 2,000 workers without pay as a result of Bunning's action.
Several conservative commentators have attacked Obama by claiming he "lowered himself" and diminished the office of the President by appearing at the bipartisan health care summit.
In attacking President Obama's recent health care reform guidelines, right-wing media have leveled numerous criticisms that are at odds with their earlier attacks against Democratic health care reform legislation. This follows repeated efforts by conservative media figures to shift their criticism of health care reform by changing the definitions of "death panels" and the public option.
In a February 16 NRO post, Mark Krikorian denounced the American Principles Project's effort to appeal to Latinos through its new Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, which will be "[e]ncouraging increased support and advocacy among conservatives for comprehensive immigration reform." Krikorian wrote:
I wasn't at today's press conference announcing the new effort, but the reporters I've spoken with said promoting Obama's plan for amnesty and increased immigration ("comprehensive immigration reform") was a major topic. If the point is to increase the Republican share of the Hispanic vote, this sure isn't going to help; the only thing that will is closing down mass immigration so that -- as we saw the last time we did it -- immigrants and their children will Americanize over time and vote more like other Americans, i.e., more Republican.
Two posts on National Review Online claimed that President Obama was untruthful when he said that the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC "open[ed] the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections." In fact, four justices of the Supreme Court agreed that the logic of the decision "would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans" to make certain election-related expenditures.
At NRO's The Corner, Lopez writes:
I actually try to give the president of the United States the benefit of the doubt. But the blaming of the past administration is pathetically unpresidential. And last week suggests it's a pretty dated line of attack.
I wonder what she thinks of President Reagan's first State of The Union. Back in 1982, he devoted significant portions of his speech to attacking President Carter's administration for "the situation at this time last year":
To understand the State of the Union, we must look not only at where we are and where we're going but where we've been. The situation at this time last year was truly ominous.
The last decade has seen a series of recessions. There was a recession in 1970, in 1974, and again in the spring of 1980. Each time, unemployment increased and inflation soon turned up again. We coined the word "stagflation" to describe this.
Government's response to these recessions was to pump up the money supply and increase spending.
In the last six months of 1980, as an example, the money supply increased at the fastest rate in postwar history 13 percent. Inflation remained in double digits and Government spending increased at an annual rate of 17 percent. Interest rates reached a staggering 21 1/2 percent. There were eight million unemployed.
A year ago, Americans' faith in their governmental process was steadily declining. Six out of ten Americans were saying they were pessimistic about their future.
A new kind of defeatism was heard. Some said our domestic problems were uncontrollable that we had to learn to live with the-seemingly endless cycle of high inflation and high unemployment.
There were also pessimistic predictions about the relationship between our Administration and this Congress. It was said we could never work together. Well, those predictions were wrong. The record is clear, and I believe that history will remember this as an era of American renewal, remember this Administration as an Administration of change and remember this Congress as a Congress of destiny.
First, we must understand what's happening at the moment to the economy. Our current problems are not the product of the recovery program that's only just now getting under way, as some would have you believe; they are the inheritance of decades of tax and tax, and spend and spend.
The only alternative being offered to this economic program is a return to the policies that gave us a trillion-dollar debt, runaway inflation, runaway interest rates and unemployment.
The budget in place when I took office had been projected as balanced. It turned out to have one of the biggest deficits in history.
Higher taxes would not mean lower deficits. If they did, how would we explain tax revenues more than doubled just since 1976, yet in that same six-year period we ran the largest series of deficits in our history. In 1980 tax revenues increased by $54 billion, and in 1980 we had one of our all-time biggest deficits.
Does Lopez also think Reagan was being "unpresidential"? Or is she grading on a partisan curve?
From a January 27 post on National Review Online's The Corner blog titled: "Memo to Joe Biden -- By: John Hood":
It's not about you. It will never be about you. Just relax and try not to distract attention from your boss by whispering under your breath or mugging for the camera.
[Hey, I said "try." Keepin' it real.]
Rightwing media outlets have distorted testimony by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to buttress their false claims that the decision to process alleged Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab through the civilian criminal justice system prevented his interrogation and has made the United States less safe. In fact, in remarks Blair later stated were "misconstrued," he stated that an interrogation team that is not actually operational "should have" been "invoke[d]" with regard to Abdulmutallab, and in a subsequent statement, Blair said that the FBI interrogated Abdulmutallab and "received important intelligence."
From a January 21 post by Mark Krikorian on National Review Online's blog The Corner:
Derb and Jonah's discussion on why Haiti is a basket case misses the point, I think. The question is not "Why isn't Haiti like Denmark?" It's "Why isn't Haiti like Jamaica or Barbados?" Those places certainly have their problems, but they're not dystopian like Haiti. (Haiti doesn't just have the lowest per capita GDP, based on purchasing-power parity, in the Western Hemisphere; the next-lowest, Nicaragua, is at twice Haiti's level.) It's obviously not race -- Caribbean blacks are all from the same basic background. It's not because of their different colonial masters; while Britain's influence in the world has certainly been more salutary than that of France, Guadeloupe and Martinique are also French former sugar colonies in the Caribbean, and they're infinitely better off.
My guess is that Haiti's so screwed up because it wasn't colonized long enough. The ancestors of today's Haitians, like elsewhere in the Caribbean, experienced the dislocation of de-tribalization, which disrupted the natural ties of family and clan and ethnicity. They also suffered the brutality of sugar-plantation slavery, which was so deadly that the majority of slaves at the time of independence were African-born, because their predecessors hadn't lived long enough to reproduce.
But, unlike Jamaicans and Bajans and Guadeloupeans, et al., after experiencing the worst of tropical colonial slavery, the Haitians didn't stick around long enough to benefit from it. (Haiti became independent in 1804.). And by benefit I mean develop a local culture significantly shaped by the more-advanced civilization of the colonizers. Sure, their creole language is influenced by French, but they never became black Frenchmen, like the Martiniquais, or "Afro-Saxons," like the Barbadians. Where a similar creolization took place in Africa, you saw a similar thing -- the Cape Coloureds, who are basically black Afrikaaners, and even the Swahili peoples of the east African coast, who are Arabized blacks. A major indicator of how superficial is the overlay of French culture in Haiti is the strength of paganism, in the form of voodoo -- the French just weren't around long enough to suppress it, to the detriment of Haitians.
Politico and National Review Online both stated that Republicans forced former Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott to resign as Senate majority leader following his praise for Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist campaign for president. In fact, although Lott did resign as majority leader, the Senate Republican caucus later welcomed him back to the Senate leadership, electing him minority whip in 2006.
On the January 3 edition of Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume commented that his "message" to Tiger Woods -- who Hume mentioned is "said to be a Buddhist" -- would be to "turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world." Since then, several conservative commentators have endorsed Hume's remarks or defended them from criticism.
May's December 31 post on National Review Online's blog The Corner, headlined "A Bipartisan Proposal":
Step (1): Return all Gitmo detainees to Yemen.
Step (2): Use Predator missiles to strike the baggage-claim area 20 minutes after they arrive.
Just an idea.
In their analyses of President Obama's December 1 speech outlining his Afghanistan strategy at the U.S. Military Academy, conservative pundits complained that the speech didn't sound like speeches previously delivered by political figures including George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and Henry V.
Media figures continue to falsely claim that a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the House health care reform bill would only have the effect of prohibiting government money from being used to pay for abortions, echoing a myth previously advanced about a proposed amendment to a prior version of that legislation. In fact, language in the current House bill already segregates federal money so it cannot be used directly to fund abortions, and the proposed amendment would effectively ban abortion coverage for some who have it now.