Right-wing media has a long history of serving as Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) biggest cheerleaders, dating back to Cruz's 2012 Senate victory which he credited to Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Glenn Beck, showcasing the influence of conservative media in shaping election outcomes.
Following Cruz's announced bid for the 2016 GOP nomination for president, Media Matters looks back at some of right-wing media's most effusive praise of Cruz.
After Cruz announced his candidacy, Hannity featured the senator in an hour-long special on the March 23 of edition his Fox News show. Hannity highlighted Cruz's campaign announcement speech, and allowed Cruz to promote his platform.
Hannity has fantasized about a Cruz campaign for years before the official campaign launch. During Cruz's February 26 speech at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Hannity jumped on the main stage to proclaim that with Cruz, "we can fundamentally transform America" in 2016.
After Cruz announced the launch of his campaign, Rush Limbaugh praised Cruz, suggesting that he "might be the smartest man in Congress."
In July 2014, Rush predicted that if Ted Cruz continued his rise in "dominant influence," he would lead a nascent Republican "revival" that is "just awaiting leadership."
In September 2013, Limbaugh lashed out at Fox News' Brit Hume for alleging that Cruz was influenced by Limbaugh and other conservative media in his repeated efforts to defund Obama's health care law. Limbaugh defended Cruz, asserting that "Ted Cruz isn't afraid of anybody," and went on to praise the Republican senator, saying "Ted Cruz is fighting for freedom in the greatest tradition of American freedom fighters." Limbaugh added that in his efforts to defund the health care law, "Ted Cruz is attempting to  marshal the support of the American people ... in the greatest traditions of the American founding and the existence of the country."
Beck praised Ted Cruz after the launch of his campaign, championing Cruz's "long, long, impressive resume," saying "you can't pigeonhole him as stupid," adding "I can't wait to see him in a debate."
On his radio show in December 2013, Beck likened Cruz to Ronald Reagan saying, he "may be our Ronald Reagan because that guy does not take prisoners. That guy is a thousand times smarter than 99 percent of the politicians I have ever met."
After Cruz announced his candidacy, Laura Ingraham applauded him for "stand[ing] firm for the constitution," and claimed Cruz will be tough competition for Republicans because he represents "more of a traditionalist point of view" and a more "Reagan-esque" form of conservatism.
Levin railed against Fox News for "trashing" Ted Cruz after the senator launched his campaign, likening Cruz to Reagan, and asserting that like Cruz, Reagan would have been "trashed all over" Fox News.
In August 2013, Levin declared Cruz "one of the bright lights of the Republican Party" for "exciting the base" after he "demonstrated that he can beat the establishment as he did" during his 2012 Senate campaign. Levin defended Cruz from a "vicious, vile, poisonous attack by the establishment including Bush staffers."
In June 2014, Hugh Hewitt proclaimed that Cruz "may be the smartest senator," telling Joe Scarborough on his radio program, "he's just not gonna back down and we need some of that in our party." Hewitt went on to compare Cruz to Reagan, saying he has "the same demeanor" as Reagan, "the same kind of charisma, easy affability and smart, smart, smart."
From the February 20 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Hugh Hewitt Show:
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Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer declared on The Hugh Hewitt Show that President Obama is "clearly a narcissist," pointing to the president's use of the words "I" and "my." However, one example he provided is inaccurate while another was also used by Obama's predecessor, President George W. Bush.
Fox News contributor Allen West questioned the "loyalties" of decorated veteran and Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth for serving with her fellow Democrats on the Benghazi select committee.
West attacked the recently announced Democratic members of the newly formed committee for dismissing the importance of Benghazi during an appearance on the May 21 broadcast of The Janet Mefferd Show.
West remarked of Duckworth: "I just don't know where her loyalties lie. You know, for her to have been a veteran, a wounded warrior for the United States Army, she should know that this is not the right thing. And hopefully, you know, she will remember the oath of office that she took as an Army officer and not the allegiance I guess she believes she has to the liberal progressives of the Democrat Party."
As her congressional biography notes, Duckworth "was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom until her helicopter was hit by an RPG on November 12, 2004. Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion and was awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries." She became a well-known advocate for veterans, and served as the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and then Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the federal level. She is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.
West is also a decorated veteran of the war in Iraq, albeit one whose service ended in controversy. He subsequently served one term in Congress, becoming a Fox News contributor after Florida voters declined to reelect him. During the interview, he also attacked Reps. Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, Adam Smith, and Linda Sanchez, the other Democratic appointees to the Benghazi select committee. West claimed that Smith is "one of those geeky little debaters that is going to try to micromanage every single detail," while Sanchez has a "very whiny way."
West has said Congress should consider impeaching President Obama over Benghazi. In a fundraising email for his political action committee, he accused the Obama administration of lying to the public and participating in "an ongoing cover-up to hide the truth." He's also claimed the administration has been disingenuously caring about the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls to distract the public from Benghazi.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace criticized conservatives for lionizing Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose outlaw campaign against the federal government further collapsed when he was caught in a racist tirade against blacks.
Wallace told radio host and Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher, "some of your colleagues on the conservative side jumped on this bandwagon way too quickly, way too -- and, you know, I've never quite understood why this guy was a hero."
Wallace added that he agreed with Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, who similarly criticized conservatives for championing Bundy. Krauthammer remarked yesterday on Fox News: "Do I have the right to go in to graze sheep in Central Park? I think not. You have to have some respect for the federal government, some respect for our system. And to say you don't and you don't recognize it and that makes you a conservative hero, to me, is completely contradictory, and rather appalling."
While Wallace did not single out specific conservatives, many of Bundy's biggest champions work for Fox News. Fox News' senior judicial analyst, Andrew Napolitano, called Bundy a "patriotic, heroic American." Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes defended Bundy by claiming "they used to string folks up" for what the government did to Bundy.
And Fox News host Sean Hannity spent weeks pushing Bundy's cause and hosted him multiple times. His fervent support for Bundy drew criticism and mockery, causing Hannity to respond that "we're not ashamed of our coverage. We're actually proud of our coverage." When the racist tirade surfaced, however, Hannity was forced to renounce Bundy's comments, while claiming government overreach is still the real issue.
Janet Mefferd has become one of talk radio's most relentless purveyors of homophobia, using her eponymous program to provide a platform to fringe anti-LGBT activists and to spout her own bigoted, occasionally conspiracy-minded views.
Billed as a "distinctively Christ-centered" host, Mefferd came to talk radio after a career in print journalism, during which she wrote for newspapers including Chicago's Southtown Economist and The Dallas Morning News.
After Mefferd had worked in Christian radio for two decades, Salem Radio Network syndicated The Janet Mefferd Show in 2010. Her show - touted by Salem as "mainstream, faith-based Christian radio"- is heard on more than 100 stations nationwide. Mefferd has scored such prominent conservative guests as businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) President Brian Brown, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
Despite Salem's avowals about Mefferd's "mainstream" credentials, her show routinely serves as a welcoming forum for the nation's most extreme anti-LGBT activists and hate group leaders to spew venom and misinformation.
From the February 8 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show:
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From the September 28 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show:
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From the July 20 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show:
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Fox News host Chris Wallace said today that recently-departed MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan has said things "I'm not particularly fond of" and "has said some very incendiary things about Israel, about Jews, about blacks, about other minorities." Wallace also rebutted Buchanan's claim that he was "blacklisted," saying that management has a right to fire him and groups have a right to protest his comments if they're offended.
"I'm not saying that I am particularly fond of these groups either, but, you know, you don't have a right to be on MSNBC or Fox or any of these places ... [it's] the prerogative of the -- of the management and a group that is offended by your comments has the right to complain about it," Wallace said on The Mike Gallagher Show. "I don't think they blacklisted him."
Wallace later said of Buchanan:
WALLACE: No, well I, look, I mean, I wasn't prepared to get into a discussion about Pat Buchanan's views --
GALLAGHER: I understand, I understand.
WALLACE: -- and I don't have them, but I do know over the years, because I remember when I was at ABC, we had him on Nightline. He has said some very incendiary things about Israel, about Jews, about blacks, about other minorities, and I -- you know, look, he's entitled to say those things. It's a free country, but on the other hand, groups that are offended by those remarks are entitled to say it too.
GALLAGHER: I guess I am just so fascinated --
WALLACE: And let me just finish my thought. And an employer, be it Fox News or MSNBC or anybody else, is entitled to say, "you know what? We don't want this guy."
Listen to Wallace's remarks about Buchanan on today's The Mike Gallagher Show:
After discussing a network's prerogative to fire its commentators, Wallace mentioned Glenn Beck's departure from Fox News' lineup.
"Now, I don't know that Glenn Beck was fired, but certainly, did it help his situation that he made such incendiary remarks that, you know, calling Obama a racist?" Wallace asked.
In a radio appearance on Monday, Mike Huckabee attacked actress Natalie Portman for having a child "out of wedlock." Huckabee said that it's "troubling" to see people like "Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.'" Huckabee added that "it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock."
Huckabee's remarks came in response to radio host Michael Medved, who discussed Portman's Academy Awards speech last Sunday. During her speech, Portman thanked fiancé Benjamin Millepied, "who choreographed the film, and has now given me my most important role of my life." Medved said that Millepied "didn't give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring! And it just seems to me that sending that kind of message is problematic."
From the February 28 edition of Salem Radio's The Michael Medved Show:
MEDVED: Governor, I know you probably are out on book tour right now, you probably didn't have a chance to watch the Academy Awards last night?
HUCKABEE: I'm very happy to say that I missed it because usually it's about the most boring waste of several hours that I've ever experienced.
MEDVED: Well this was a - this was a low audience. However, there was - there was one moment where a very brilliant and admirable actress named Natalie Portman won Best Actress, and she won for a movie which I loathed called Black Swan. But in any event, she got up, she was very visibly pregnant, and it's really it's a problem because she's about seven months pregnant, it's her first pregnancy, and she and the baby's father aren't married, and before two billion people, Natalie Portman says, 'Oh I want to thank my love and he's given me the most wonderful gift.' He didn't give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring! And it just seems to me that sending that kind of message is problematic.
HUCKABEE: You know Michael, one of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.' But there aren't really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that's the story that we're not seeing, and it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock.
You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock. 61 percent of Hispanic kids -- across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering.
MEDVED: It's tremendously staggering.
Huckabee is a host for the Fox News Channel, and a potential presidential candidate. Portman's Black Swan is distributed by News Corp.'s Fox Searchlight.
In the early 1990s, then-Vice President Dan Quayle "ignited a firestorm of controversy when he criticized Murphy Brown, the powerful, intelligent character in an eponymous sitcom, for having a child out of wedlock -- and without any father in the picture whatsoever."
Glenn Beck never misses an opportunity for self-aggrandizement, and when he apologized last week for slandering the largest religious denomination of American Jews, Beck used the occasion to boast of his own "honor" and "integrity," and said: "I lead with my mistakes, because I think it's important as a human being to demonstrate to other human beings that we can be stronger if we correct our mistakes and flaws and move on."
But it turns out that Beck's apology came only after Salem Communications -- a company that owns major stations that broadcast Beck's show -- asked him to address the controversy.
In a statement obtained by Media Matters, Jeff Reisman, a manager of the Salem station that carries Beck in Chicago, acknowledged that Salem Communications "requested that Glenn Beck respond directly regarding his recent comments":
Thanks for your e-mail. WIND's parent company requested that Glenn Beck respond directly regarding his recent comments. As I am sure you already heard, Mr. Beck issued a public apology this morning and clearly stated that he made a mistake and referred to himself as ignorant and having made one of the worst analogies of all time. Furthermore, he referenced Abraham Foxman and stated that Abe was absolutely correct. If you have not heard the audio, I can send it to you.
I appreciate your e-mail and concern.
On February 22, Beck likened Reform Judaism to "radicalized Islam," in that they are supposedly both "more about politics" than faith and religion. Two days later, Beck apologized at length for his comments, saying that his comparison was one of the "worst analogies of all time" and conceding that his remarks were "ignorant." Beck also claimed that he immediately knew his comments about Reform Judaism were a "nightmare." As Media Matters previously pointed out, this raises the question of why he then waited two days to apologize for them.
Beck also used his apology to boast of his own journalistic integrity, claiming that it surpasses that of the New York Times:
BECK: I do this, because I have always told you to do your own homework, and in this case, I didn't do enough homework. I also tell you that you, you have to guard your word, you have to guard your honor and your integrity, because people have to be able to believe you. The only way people will believe you is if when you get it wrong, you do apologize, and you, and you point it out, and not like the New York Times or anybody else, bury it on page two. I lead with my mistakes, because I think it's important as a human being to demonstrate to other human beings that we can be stronger if we correct our mistakes and flaws and move on.
Beck's self-professed strict adherence to a code of "honor" and "integrity" notwithstanding, his apology came only after he was condemned by two national Jewish groups and had lost yet another sponsor, which suggests it was more likely an attempt at damage control.
Salem owns stations that broadcast Beck's show in both Chicago and Los Angeles, and Beck has extra incentive to keep them happy right now. Beck's show is currently not syndicated in New York City. Though five stations have confirmed that they will not carry Beck, two holdouts remain. Both are owned by Salem.
From the February 4, 2011, edition of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show:
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From the August 27 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show:
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From the August 24 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show:
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