Global leaders convened in Paris for the United Nations climate summit, where they reached a historic international agreement to act on climate change. Conservative media continue to respond with a series of climate-related myths, but here are the facts.
Conservative media figures are attacking Fox News and Megyn Kelly to defend Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, claiming the network and Kelly were "out to get" Trump in Fox News' first Republican primary debate.
Conservative media defended Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's recent claim -- that President Obama's negotiated agreement with Iran over its nuclear program will take Israelis "to the door of the oven" -- by praising the Holocaust comparison as "absolutely true" and "an accurate description."
Conservative media jumped on reports that an undocumented immigrant from Mexico allegedly shot and killed a San Francisco woman in order to defend presidential candidate Donald Trump's incendiary remarks that Mexican immigrants are criminals and "rapists."
After Hillary Clinton proposed reforms to increase access to voting, right-wing media accused her of playing the "race card" and sowing "division" for political gain.
The Supreme Court will soon decide Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, a case that could let owners of for-profit, secular corporations ignore the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and provide health insurance that does not cover preventive benefits like contraception. Right-wing media continue to advance multiple myths to support the owners of Hobby Lobby, despite the fact that these arguments have been repeatedly debunked by legal experts, religious scholars, and medical professionals.
Right-wing media are again alleging that President Obama's potential Department of Labor nominee, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, may have committed perjury in connection with the right-wing's New Black Panther Party voter intimidation non-scandal. But the internal Department of Justice (DOJ) report that they are citing to support these claims actually (once again) debunks these accusations.
The right-wing claim that political appointees within the Department of Justice (DOJ) improperly directed the outcome of the New Black Panther Party fiasco has already been repeatedly disproven, most notably by DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and now by DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The discredited accusation, initiated by right-wing activist J. Christian Adams, was revived in 2012 by his discredited associate, Hans Von Spakovsky, after a federal judge awarded attorney's fees to a conservative advocacy group that had obtained emails relating to this case through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Von Spakovsky immediately analyzed the opinion, saying of statements from the judge relating to Perez's 2010 testimony on the New Black Panther Party case to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights:
But what is most disturbing about this court order is that it strongly suggests that Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez essentially lied in sworn testimony... A less diplomatic judge might have said that Perez testified falsely in his hearing testimony before the Commission on Civil Rights. In other words, he may have committed perjury if he knew his statements were false when uttered.
Now that Perez's Labor nomination is being floated and following the release of the Inspector General's review of the Justice Department's Voting Section (which is overseen by Perez), National Review Online columnist John Fund revived Von Spakovsky's accusation, calling the 2010 testimony "clear dishonesty." Describing Perez as "loathsome," the American Spectator likewise informs its readers (again) Perez "may have committed perjury[.]"
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event convened to "crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America" that will showcase "all of the leading conservative organizations and speakers." Media covering CPAC 2013 should know that the conference's speakers, from the most prominent to the lesser-known, have a history of launching smears, pushing conspiracy theories, and hyping myths about the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.
In a July 30 editorial opposing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Wall Street Journal opined that planning for the new health insurance marketplaces called Exchanges belongs on a "fiasco list." However, the editorial misrepresented the pace of exchange planning, downplayed the catalyst of Republican "civil disobedience" in implementation slow-downs, and obscured the role that right-wing media and advocates have in this intransigence.
States That Have Attempted Exchange Implementation Are Actually "Well Underway"
Many of the nation's leading health policy organizations are closely monitoring implementation of health care reform and exchange progress is one of their metrics. The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) is one such example, and the WSJ editorial cited them for the proposition that "by and large the states aren't" building exchanges. However, the editorial did not mention NASHP's most recent report on exchange implementation that instead notes in the opening paragraph that "many states are well underway in planning for and establishing their exchanges." Rather, without indicating the source, the WSJ used NASHP's "State Refor(u)m" project that is a user-generated "online network." That is, the metrics that the WSJ cited for the alleged "fiasco" of exchange implementation is a measurement of documents voluntarily uploaded to a wiki. State Refor(u)m does not claim to be a comprehensive progress measurement, but rather a clearinghouse reliant on user submissions.
Thus, the editorial's listing of "liberal leader" states who score low on this "milestone" measure of State Refor(u)m does not support its thesis. These "milestones" are not an accurate barometer of the difficulties in exchange planning - or even of completion of these actual metrics - but rather of the success of this network at attracting policy documents. Indeed, several of the states that the WSJ specifically lists as laggards - Massachusetts, California, Oregon, West Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Vermont, New York - actually have fully established exchanges, the first two of which were established by Governors Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively.
After Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion upholding health care reform, the right-wing media have attacked his conservative credentials. Despite experts' statements that the opinion might have cleared the way for more rulings restricting federal power and progressive legislation, media conservatives are using this as a pretext to demand even more conservative judicial nominees. There is evidence their pressure is having an effect.
Right-wing media have attacked the Obama administration's policy change allowing some young undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States as "amnesty." In fact, the policy change is not amnesty, a term shown to produce negative reactions, but deferred action that only lasts for up to two years, subject to renewal.
Responding to a report that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain allegedly engaged in "sexually suggestive behavior" in the 1990s, right-wing media figures have turned to race-baiting, arguing that Cain is being targeted because he is a "black conservative" and that he is the victim of a "high-tech lynching."
In a post that has since been removed* from the American Spectator website, Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the conservative publication, admitted to infiltrating a group of D.C. protesters this weekend. According to The Washington Post, in the since-deleted post, Howley "openly claims to have instigated the events" that caused a closure of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
The Washington Post reported:
Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the American Spectator, says that he joined the group under the pretense that he was a demonstrator. "As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause -- a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator," Howley wrote. (The language in the story has since been changed without explanation.)
A group called the October 11 movement had organized the march in order to protest the U.S. government's use of unmanned drones overseas, joined by a few members of the D.C. branch of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as the Post reported Saturday. Howley writes that a small number of protesters--himself included--had tried to move past the security guards at the main entrance of the museum. He says that one protester next to him got into a shoving match with a security guard in an antechamber before they hit the second set of doors that led to the museum itself. The guard pepper-sprayed the protester, spraying Howley as well.
But, according to his account, Howley was determined to escalate the protest further. "I wasn't giving up before I had my story," he writes, describing how he continued to rush past security into the museum itself. "I strained to glance behind me at the dozens of protesters I was sure were backing me up, and then I got hit again, this time with a cold realization: I was the only one who had made it through the doors....So I was surprised to find myself a fugitive Saturday afternoon, stumbling around aircraft displays with just enough vision to keep tabs on my uniformed pursuers. 'The museum is now closed!'"
Howley, in fact, chides the protesters for not taking his lead and rushing into the museum after being pepper-sprayed. "In the absence of ideological uniformity, these protesters have no political power. Their only chance, as I saw it, was to push the envelope and go bold. But, if today's demonstration was any indicator, they don't have what it takes to even do that."
UPDATE: Since this was post was published, the American Spectator piece has been returned to the website.
From a July 27 post at The American Spectator:
First, for the definition issue.
Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines lynching as: "to put to death, esp. hanging by mob action and without legal authority."
I have read the Court's decision. Three people are not a "mob." A mob is defined as a "large crowd." So there was no "mob action" because there was no mob. Second, the Supreme Court specifically said the Sheriff and his deputy and a local policeman acted "under color of law." Which means they had legal authority.
So to say that Bobby Hall was lynched is, factually, according to the Supreme Court and, if you prefer, Webster's, not true. No mob. Therefore no "mob action." And the three had "legal authority." So my new friend Radley "Boo" Balko over at Reason pounced...and got it wrong instantly.
Media Matters for America has exclusively obtained emails from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) chief actuary Richard Foster to the American Spectator's editor-in-chief, in which Foster criticizes the American Spectator's Washington Prowler column for "reporting factually incorrect information," and demands a correction.
On April 27, the American Spectator's Prowler column accused the Department of Health and Human Services of intentionally hiding a report by the CMS actuaries to keep it from influencing the health care vote, citing unnamed "career HHS sources." Media Matters debunked this claim at the time, noting that Foster had written a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell expressing his inability to score the health care legislation in the requested period of time.
That same day, Foster also addressed this falsehood in an email to American Spectator editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. in which Foster wrote: