On MSNBC's AM Joy, Eric Boehlert Slams Conservative Media's Role In Fanning "Ugly And Deadly Paranoia" About Race
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New York Post columnist John Podhoretz asserted in the wake of Sunday’s mass murder at a gay nightclub in Orlando that President Obama suggested Americans were to blame for the terror attack. The column ran under the Post headline, “Obama: ‘we’ are to blame, not Islamic terrorism, for massacre.”
Podhoretz’s claim is categorically false and is easily debunked by a simple reading of Obama’s statement. That a columnist for a major market American newspaper would publish such a purposefully false allegation about the president at a time of national mourning is rather disturbing.
The allegation stands as a stark example of how Obama’s conservative critics routinely misinform during times of national tragedy.
If, as a partisan, you don’t agree with how Obama’s fighting terror, if you want to detail ways the United States could be more forcefully and effectively dealing with the threat, go for it. Write a column. Call out the president for being wrong-headed if you think he is.
But to have published a column even before the 50 dead bodies had been removed from the Orlando nightclub and completely fabricate the claim that Obama blamed American society for the Florida gun rampage? That’s beyond the pale and Podhoretz ought to be entirely ashamed of himself.
Podhoretz essentially lied to his readers about what Obama said on Sunday, probably assuming they’d never double check the facts.
Obviously, Obama never said “we” are to blame for the terror attack, as the Post headline suggested. Why on earth would he? It’s an illogical premise to even start with and I can’t imagine any American president ever entertaining such a notion. Worse, Podhoretz doesn't provide any evidence to support the falsehood that Obama claimed “we” are to blame for the massacre -- none.
Podhoretz laments that Obama -- in comments he labeled "disgusting" and "astonishing" -- was supposedly trying to distract from the terrorism angle by saying "'we need the strength and courage to change' our attitudes toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community." Here's what Obama said:
In the coming hours and days, we’ll learn about the victims of this tragedy. Their names. Their faces. Who they were. The joy that they brought to families and to friends, and the difference that they made in this world. Say a prayer for them and say a prayer for their families -- that God give them the strength to bear the unbearable. And that He give us all the strength to be there for them, and the strength and courage to change. We need to demonstrate that we are defined more -- as a country -- by the way they lived their lives than by the hate of the man who took them from us.
As we go together, we will draw inspiration from heroic and selfless acts -- friends who helped friends, took care of each other and saved lives. In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.
In Podhoretz's view, a call for unity is "disgusting."
Still railing against Obama, Podhoretz insisted, “We Americans do not bear collective responsibility for this attack. Quite the opposite.” But in his subdued comments while trying to unite the country, Obama never said anything about Americans shouldering "collective responsibility" for the attack.
Does this sound like Obama’s was blaming Americans? From his remarks:
So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American -- regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation -- is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.
The columnist simply fabricated that premise in order to denounce the president.
President Obama is expected to announce “a sweeping directive” that will instruct public school districts around the country “to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity” in order to prevent discrimination. Right-wing media figures are already lashing out at the initiative claiming it is driven by “a fringe movement of nutters” and peddling the myth that protections for transgender students will lead to the sexual assault of girls.
After Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump swept five states in the April 26 primary elections, he attacked Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton for playing the “women’s card” and suggested she wouldn’t be winning if she “were a man.” Trump’s attack follows right-wing media's long history of criticizing Clinton’s “gender card.”
For Sexual Assault Awareness month, Media Matters looks back at right-wing media's history of downplaying, and questioning the legitimacy of, sexual assault. Right-wing media figures have called reporting statutory rape “whiny,” claimed sexual assault victims have a "coveted status," said the sexual assault epidemic is "not happening," blamed feminism for encouraging sexual assault, and said attempts to curb sexual assault constitute "a war happening on boys."
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New York Post Editorial Board: “Trump Is Now An Imperfect Messenger Carrying A Vital Message”
Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post endorsed GOP candidate Donald Trump in the Republican race for the White House, joining The National Enquirer and The New York Observer as the only publications to endorse Trump in the Republican primary.
Ahead of the April 19 New York GOP primary contest, the New York Post editorial board released a statement endorsing Trump as “an imperfect messenger carrying a vital message.” The Post ignored what it called Trump’s “amateurish, divisive — and downright coarse” rhetoric to praise his “political incorrectness”:
Trump’s language, too, has too often been amateurish, divisive — and downright coarse.
But what else to expect from someone who’s never been a professional politician and reflects common-man passions?
Indeed, his political incorrectness is one of his great attractions — it proves he’s not one of “them.” He’s challenging the victim culture that has turned into a victimizing culture.
In the general election, we’d expect Trump to stay true to his voters — while reaching out to those he hasn’t won yet.
Trump is now an imperfect messenger carrying a vital message. But he reflects the best of “New York values” — and offers the best hope for all Americans who rightly feel betrayed by the political class.
He has the potential — the skills, the know-how, the values — to live up to his campaign slogan: to make America great again.
For those reasons, The Post today endorses Donald Trump in the GOP primary.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the Post and the executive chairman of the Post’s parent company, News Corp. has supported Trump throughout the primary and called for GOP candidates to “close ranks to fight the real enemy.” News Corp. is also the parent company of Fox News, which has given Trump a disproportionate amount of media coverage and favorable interviews.
The Post joins the The National Enquirer and The New York Observer as the only publications to endorse Trump in the election. The endorsements both received scrutiny due to the relationships Trump shares with both publications. Trump’s son-in-law is the publisher of The Observer and it has been reported that Trump is close friends with David Pecker, the CEO of The Enquirer’s publisher American Media, Inc.
On Equal Pay Day, Media Matters looks back at how conservative media attacked female celebrities and athletes for speaking out about wage disparities in their industry and the need for a guarantee of equal pay for equal work. Right-wing media blamed wage inequality on women’s “self-esteem,” their willingness to sign and negotiate “bad” contracts, and so-called “fuzzy math” on the part of equal pay advocates; all while continuing to push the myth that the gender gap doesn’t exist.
Media called out GOP front-runner Donald Trump for having campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on stage during his March 15 victory speech in Florida, following reports that Lewandowski assaulted Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields during a rally.
Right-wing media personalities are helping cover for GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump after a spate of violent clashes at his rallies, painting him as the "victim" of the violence, even as mainstream media figures have called out Trump for encouraging violence. Conservative pundits are also trying to scapegoat MoveOn.org with the bogus claim that the progressive group is responsible for violence at a canceled Trump rally.
Media Outlets That Attack Homeless Offer No Solutions Beyond Making Them Disappear
Just hours after the New York Post dedicated its front page to shaming a homeless woman living in New York City's Hell's Kitchen area, police and other city workers arrived to throw away a significant amount of her worldly possessions. The incident, which was caught on video, provides a glimpse of the devastating real-world consequences of the right-wing media's attacks on the homeless and of their larger poor-shaming campaign.
In a March 9 article titled "She runs this town," the New York Post disparaged a homeless New York City resident named Sonia Gonzalez for the collection of belongings that she keeps with her on the street. The article featured comments from passersby complaining that Gonzalez's belongings obstruct pedestrian traffic and included an ominous quote attributed to a construction worker who said that her presence in the area threatened to set the up-and-coming neighborhood back to "what [it] was 20 years ago." As has been the case several times in the past, the Post amplified its poor-shaming article with a full front-page spread:
As a March 10 post from Gawker pointed out, police and other city workers arrived in Hell's Kitchen to forcibly dispose of the vast majority of Gonzalez's possessions just hours after the paper hit newsstands. The New York Post was on the scene to film the incident, which it published online in a blog titled "Homeless hoarder's junk train gets tossed."
The New York Post has a long-running devotion to humiliating New York City's homeless population. Last summer, the paper dedicated its July 11 front page to demeaning a homeless man for urinating in public and then excoriated the police for releasing him after his arrest the next day. In September, the paper's front page proclaimed, "We need tough love" to solve homelessness in the city, while promoting former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani's proposal to arrest homeless people as a way of keeping them off the street. Last November, the paper hyped what it called a "vagrant fix" on its front page by encouraging New York residents to stop giving money to the homeless. A day later, the paper drove the point home by promoting claims that homeless people can make up to "$200 an hour" from charitable pedestrians.
The Post's humiliation of the homeless does not occur in a vacuum. Last summer, the paper's attacks were part of a right-wing media echo chamber that included multiple dehumanizing segments on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and a fraught segment on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where the co-hosts and guests worried that "the squeegees are coming" to neighborhoods like the Upper West Side. In September, after months of right-wing outlets complaining about the presence of homeless people on the streets, Fox News dedicated multiple segments to disparaging a program in Washington, D.C., that actually kept homeless families in affordable housing.
Too often, right-wing media's preferred solution to homelessness is to simply make the homeless disappear -- whether by locking them up, or destroying their belongings -- even when doing so would be a blatant violation of their constitutional rights.
H/T to Gawker for initially highlighting the New York Post cover story
Right-wing media mocked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Obama prior to and during Trudeau's historic visit to Washington, D.C., calling the event a "first date" and dismissing Trudeau as "the Obama of the North," a "fanboy," and "not the smartest guy in the world."
Carbon dioxide is a pollutant, and don't let the deniers tell you otherwise, says Slate writer Phil Plait.
A recent New York Post op-ed by physicists William Happer and Rod Nichols praised the Supreme Court for delaying the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which would create the country's first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Happer and Nichols' main argument: burning fossil fuels brings more good than harm, because carbon dioxide (CO2) is "emphatically NOT a 'pollutant,'" and in fact we need much more of it to help plants and agriculture.
In a February 18 column, Plait ripped into this "ridiculous," "in-your-face wrong" claim as a "typical denier distraction technique, trying to downplay or distract you from what's really going on." He noted that while some carbon dioxide is necessary for plant life, burning fossil fuels and thus releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is warming up the globe "too quickly for many living things to adapt." Carbon pollution is causing rapid changes to the Earth's climate, and, as Plait explained, that speed is the "danger; the rate at which we are heating the planet is unprecedented."
Yet conservative media pundits and science deniers commonly glorify carbon dioxide. Post op-ed co-author Happer has previously praised carbon in The Wall Street Journal and on CNBC, where he compared the "demonization" of carbon dioxide to the "demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler."
And this talking point is actually becoming more common among fossil fuel industry front groups. A 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that organizations that have received corporate funding -- as Happer's organization, the CO2 Coalition, has -- have become more likely in recent years to publish "contrarian texts" touting "the positive benefits of CO2":
As Plait noted, the "dangerously naïve" claim that carbon dioxide is beneficial "ignores huge, overwhelming issues" associated with global warming, such as severe drought and deadly storms. He likened making this claim to "being happy the paint job on your car is nice as you drive toward a brick wall at full speed with your eyes closed." He concluded (emphasis original):
Don't let the deniers fool you. They cherry-pick, they leave out inconvenient facts, they focus on minutiae, and they steamroll anyone who disagrees.
More carbon dioxide is not a good thing. It's extremely dangerous. Anyone telling you otherwise is blowing hot air.
Slate's Jamelle Bouie: Rubio's Gaffe Was "One Of The Most Uncomfortable Moments Of The Entire Republican Debate Season"
Media are calling Marco Rubio "robotic," and criticizing his "disastrous Republican debate gaffe" after the presidential hopeful "awkwardly pivoted four times to a well-rehearsed line," in an exchange with Gov. Chris Christie at the final Republican debate before New Hampshire voters cast ballots in the first primary of the election season.
With Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton facing a barrage of criticisms over the tone of her voice during a recent speech, Media Matters looks back at the rampant sexism she faced from the media during her 2008 presidential bid.