Zeb Colter, an anti-immigrant character from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) that has recently drawn the ire of right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck, would be right at home in the conservative media. Many of Colter's bigoted and flawed arguments have been the right's stock-in-trade for years.
Beck targeted the Colter character on his radio show, arguing that Colter is "demonizing the Tea Party." Beck also accused the WWE of "mocking me for standing up for the Constitution." Beck's co-host Stu Burguiere complained: "It seems that the villain, the guy you're supposed to hate, is this stereotype of a conservative that I've never met."
Colter currently appears on WWE programming alongside wrestler Jack Swagger, spouting a lot of heated anti-immigrant rhetoric in the middle of a scripted feud with Mexican-born wrestler Alberto Del Rio. According to WWE, Colter's rhetoric is intended to "to build the Mexican American character Del Rio into a hero given WWE's large Latino base."
WWE explains that in order "to create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines."
PBS' Frontline recently aired a documentary titled "Climate of Doubt," examining how conservative groups, frequently funded by the fossil fuel industry, have pushed Republicans to reject the scientific consensus on manmade global warming. Here, Media Matters looks back at how Fox News has contributed to that "Climate of Doubt," often teaming up with industry to misrepresent science and attack all efforts to address this threat.
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":
Right-wing media are demonizing the National Council of La Raza in order to object to President Obama's recent appointment of Cecilia Muñoz as director of the Domestic Policy Council, accusing the organization of being an "amnesty" group with "racist" ties. These attacks are not new: Conservatives have long described the civil rights group as "the Ku Klux Klan Of The Hispanic People."
On Fox News' The Big Story with Gibson & Nauert, Republican strategist and former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed said of the recent comments made by Michelle Obama, wife of Sen. Barack Obama: "[I]t plays into a stereotype about the left wing of the Democratic Party, that it blames America first, that they don't see the greatness of America." Echoing Reed, host John Gibson later asked, "Does that mean that President Barack will blame America first?"
On The Big Story, Ralph Reed repeated the false claim that Sen. Barack Obama "has said that he will embrace [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad," a claim President Bush made recently on Fox News Sunday, which was not challenged by Chris Wallace. John Gibson did not rebut Reed's assertion.
While discussing a recent campaign event during which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's voice broke as she talked about why she is seeking the presidency, several media figures described Clinton's actions as "calculated," reviving a characterization frequently made by the media that Clinton is "calculating."
On The Big Story, a full-screen graphic appeared showing a picture of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the phrases "THE WAR ON ENGLISH!" "Just 'Say No' to America's Language" and "Why?" Throughout most of the segment, a graphic appeared in the lower right corner of the screen showing an image of Pelosi's face alternating with the phrase "SPEAK SPANISH."
Fox News' John Gibson criticized an "NBC news anchor" -- identified by guest Monica Crowley as MSNBC host Chris Matthews -- for offering Sen. Barack Obama advice on what he "needs to say" to beat Sen. Hillary Clinton, asking, "Is it legitimate for one news anchor to publicly advise one candidate on how to beat another, and still try to pretend he's objective and neutral? My friends, fair and balanced this is not." But the day before, Gibson had offered his own advice to Obama on how to go after Clinton, asserting: "I think if Obama is going to close the gap with Hillary, he needs a new attack."
On The Big Story, discussing Rush Limbaugh's recent "phony soldiers" comments, Jonah Goldberg asserted: "I've never heard actually a conservative basically flat-out deny the patriotism of the opposition." In fact, Limbaugh himself has done so. For instance, on his August 23, 2005, radio show, Limbaugh said, "It's time for somebody to tell the people on the left, you're damn right we're questioning your patriotism."
Fox News' John Gibson called the controversy over Bill O'Reilly's recent remarks a "fabricated flap over some benign remarks Bill made on his radio show, but it has been turned on its ear by George Soros' Media Matters," which is "dedicated to discrediting conservatives and folks like Bill" through "the purposeful misinterpretation of one's words." Gibson did not support his claim that Media Matters "misinterpret[ed]" O'Reilly's words; moreover, Soros has never given money to Media Matters.
In recent days, NBC, CNN, and Fox News have all aired reports or discussed the case of Norman Hsu, who The Wall Street Journal suggested may have funneled illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Hillary Clinton. However, when Mitt Romney's national finance committee co-chairman Alan Fabian was charged with mail fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice, the three networks did not report or discuss it during programs available in the Nexis database.