Media outlets have misleadingly claimed that President Obama is "the single largest recipient of BP's cash" to back up Sarah Palin's baseless suggestion that contributions from oil companies have affected Obama's response to the Gulf oil spill. In fact, the money comes almost entirely from individuals employed by BP, not the corporation itself, and represents a minuscule fraction of Obama's total campaign contributions.
The Drudge Report is hyping a severely edited video of former Vice President Al Gore's recent commencement address at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville under the mocking headline, "Gore Gives Depressing Commencement Speech On Global Warming."
Drudge links to Real Clear Politics, which posted the video -- produced by Americans for Prosperity, the tea party-affiliated group reportedly financed by oil and gas tycoon David Koch -- and echoed AFP's derisive headline, "The Most Depressing Graduation Speech Ever."
Essentially, AFP grabbed about two minutes worth of cropped comments from Gore's 20-minute speech -- during which he discussed some of the potential effects of global warming -- and spliced them together to make it seem like Gore spent his time ripping the joy and emotion from graduation day by warning of Earth's impending doom. In a blog post that RCP dutifully reprinted, AFP mockingly wrote: "Instead of providing encouragement for the graduates of the University of Tennessee, Al Gore takes the opportunity to promote his doomsday global warming scenario."
In reality, Gore did not "promote" "doomsday global warming scenarios." The full video of Gore's speech makes clear that while Gore discussed serious problems facing not only the United States but the entire world -- primarily the effects of climate change and the global economic crisis -- he used the opportunity to issue a challenge to the graduates to find solutions to these problems that will lead to "economic renewal with millions of good new jobs being created in this transition to a sustainable economy and a sustainable society." In fact, he rejected the idea of a "world filled with chaos because the predictions of the scientists were allowed to come true," saying that he believed this generation of graduates would "find the moral courage to rise up and solve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve."
Gore also said: "I believe in my heart that we are going to solve this crisis. I believe that this is the greatest opportunity that our society has ever had. And I'm excited about the fact that from this day forward, you're going to be a part of all of the great work that our society is doing."
Surely this sent the graduates into a fit of despair. Here's how one graduate described Gore's speech:
Bo Cox, a newly-minted graduate, said he was unsure about Gore's appearance at first.
"I was a little skeptical about what he'd say but really impressed by it. It was fun to have him speak and fun to have a big name at our commencement," Cox said.
Matt Drudge posted a headline stating that Elena Kagan is " 'Not Sympathetic' to Gun Rights Argument," referencing comments Kagan reportedly made in a 1987 memo about an appeal to the Supreme Court. In fact, the view that the Second Amendment does not protect civilian gun rights was generally accepted at the time Kagan wrote those words.
Conservative media have attacked a White House task force's report that recommends voluntary measures to combat the nation's childhood obesity problem as "cutting into our diets and our rights." However, the report makes recommendations for the food industry to voluntarily follow -- not federal mandates.
Even after Mediaite retracted its claim that a link to a news story from The Drudge Report gives a story "credibility," it continued to claim that such a link conveys "significance" and makes the linked story worthy of further discussion. But many of the stories promoted by Drudge are entirely fabricated.
Media Matters has already done the work of demolishing Frances Martel's train wreck article for Mediaite this weekend, in which she forwarded old, evidence-free rumors about an alleged affair between President Obama and a former staffer that the National Enquirer borrowed from unhinged conservative blogger Bob Owens.
As Eric Boehlert detailed, Martel's bosses Colby Hall and Dan Abrams have defended Martel's piece on the grounds that Drudge linked to the Enquirer story, which supposedly made it newsworthy. Martel originally wrote that the Drudge link gave the story "credibility," but that wording was later changed to "significance and impact." Writing in the comments section of Martel's post, Abrams wrote: "when Drudge links to a story suggesting the President of the United States might be having an affair, that is at least a -media- story for a media website."
But this defense misses the point entirely.
Martel's story for Mediaite was not a "media story." It was merely forwarding -- and embellishing -- baseless gossip from the Enquirer. An actual "media story" might have been along the lines of "Matt Drudge Has No Standards and Traffics in Baseless Smears." But that story has been written before (who can forget the "credibility" he gave to the "backwards B" hoax, for example.)
In fact, based on what Martel wrote and tweeted about the story, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Martel wasn't as interested in writing a "media story" as she was in promoting a potentially damaging political scandal.
From The Drudge Report, accessed on April 28:
After President Obama released a video message highlighting 2010 efforts to turn out the vote among minorities, right-wing media responded with inflammatory rhetoric, including claims that Obama is playing the "race card." Those media figures have ignored that Republicans have issued similar appeals to minority voters.
The Bloomberg article to which Drudge links does not contain the photograph Drudge published.
The Drudge Report is hyping a report from a Chicago NBC affiliate that recklessly pushes completely speculative allegations about President Obama based on the disgraced and discredited former governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich.
Drudge sees Socialism everywhere--even in the newly unveiled $100 bill. No, really:
"Even Obama's New $100 Bill Looks European." Of course, the Bloomberg article to which Drudge links makes no such claims, but rather reports on the security design of the new bill, which is "aimed at thwarting counterfeiters." The other link Drudge provides goes to Juli Weiner's tongue-in-cheeck Vanity Fair blog post on the new design, in which she asks Drudge, "Is this bill a Communist-style invasion of our civil liberties? A fascist and also very European-seeming prohibition of our Constitutional right to produce and distribute counterfeit currency?" Either Drudge didn't pick up on the sarcasm or he's just revealed to us all that he does have a sense of humor.
For the record, here's what a Euro looks like:
Media conservatives have levied the completely baseless allegation that the White House was "colluding" with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in filing a civil lawsuit accusing Goldman Sachs of fraud in order to create a "villain" to "bolster support for the crackdown on the banks from the White House." The media figures have offered no evidence to support the allegation, which the White House has strongly denied.
From the April 21 Drudge Report:
Following the announcement that the Security and Exchange Commission is investigating the investment firm Goldman Sachs for fraud, an April 19 FoxNews.com article reported that the "White House...strongly denied any involvement in the timing of the high-profile fraud case against Goldman Sachs," after Republicans and their media acolytes suggested the charges were timed to help pass financial reform. Fox News reported that "Republicans also accused the administration of biting the hand that fed it, since Goldman Sachs was President Obama's top Wall Street contributor during the 2008 campaign, with employees donating nearly $1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics," and went on to quote Rep. John Boehner as asking "just whose side is President Obama on?" Pause for reaction. First of all, the SEC is a non-partisan body that is operating independent of the White House. Secondly, the accusation that the President is "biting the hand that fed it" makes absolutely no sense. Wouldn't the real scandal be if Obama interfered with a SEC investigation because the subject of the investigation was a large campaign contributor of his?
After the Security and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs of fraud, numerous right-wing media figures have accused the Obama administration of attempting "to destroy Goldman Sachs" in order to "shift public opinion" in favor of financial reform. Simultaneously, conservative media have also falsely claimed that the financial reform legislation creates a "permanent bailout fund," which is "the payoff" Wall Street "has been waiting for."