In recent weeks, several conservative media figures, echoed by Republican lawmakers, have responded to comparisons in the media of President-elect Barack Obama to FDR, or assertions in the media that a New Deal-level of government intervention will be necessary to resolve the current economic crisis, by asserting that the New Deal was a dismal failure, plunging the 1930s economy into a depression, an assertion that prominent progressive economists flatly reject.
On his radio show, Mark Levin cited a recent study predicting that an ice age will occur in the next 10,000 to 100,000 years as purported evidence that humans should not "try and control carbon dioxide" emissions that contribute to global climate change. But Levin did not mention that the study's co-author reportedly warned against using the study to argue that "we should stop fighting warming" and stated: "There's no excuse for saying 'we've got to keep pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.' "
Discussing a Buffalo News column by Douglas Turner, radio host Mark Levin said that "[Turner] has written, among other things, that I compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. That is a flat-out lie. And he picked that lie up from Media Matters. I never called Barack Obama Hitler, and I never would, because he's not." In fact, neither Turner nor Media Matters claimed that Levin had "called Barack Obama Hitler." Media Matters listed Levin among a group of conservative media figures comparing Obama to Hitler or the Nazis.
Several conservative talk radio hosts have accused Democrats of "trying to steal" the Minnesota senatorial election for Democratic challenger Al Franken over incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R). They offer no evidence for the accusation; indeed, the state's Republican governor has said there is none.
Beyond the echelon of widely known conservative radio hosts with national audiences lies a vast network of lesser-known syndicated and regional radio hosts who have become key components of an echo chamber for conservative talking points and falsehoods. Like their better-known counterparts, these syndicated and regional radio hosts have played active roles this election season in promoting falsehoods and smears in an all-out effort to foment hate and distrust among their listeners for President-elect Barack Obama. While the hosts vary in the degree of vitriol they spew and in their ratio of rebuttable falsehoods to unbridled smears, Media Matters for America and Colorado Media Matters have identified common themes that many, if not all, have promoted over the past year.
Since October 16, numerous media figures -- among them Jerome Corsi, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, and Bill Cunningham -- have compared Sen. Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis.
Numerous conservative radio hosts, including Chris Baker, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Jim Quinn, Michael Savage and Brian Sussman, echoed the false claim, originating on the Drudge Report, that Sen. Barack Obama said in a 2001 interview that he regretted that the Supreme Court has not addressed the redistribution of wealth. In fact, the "traged[y]" Obama identified during the interview was that the civil rights movement "became so court-focused" in trying to bring about political and economic justice.
Addressing his September 4 comments, in which he called the National Organization for Women, the "National Organization of Ugly Women," Mark Levin said: "I just wanted to underscore that maybe I shouldn't have called them the National Organization of Ugly Women. For now on, it's the National Organization of Really Ugly Women."
On his radio show, Mark Levin said, "As you know, from time to time, we monitor Jon Leibowitz, a.k.a. Jon Stewart, as well as some of the other nudniks out there." While discussing remarks Stewart made on his Comedy Central show, Levin stated, "I'm really tired of these phony intellectuals -- and that's what they are, phony -- arrogantly looking down their sizable noses at our armed forces."
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Radio host Mark Levin aired a clip of Sen. Barack Obama saying of Sen. John McCain's position on immigration reform, "[W]hen he started running for his party's nomination, he abandoned his courageous stance and said that he wouldn't even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote." Levin responded: "Actually, that's a lie, and Obama's full of lies. He would support his legislation if it came up for a vote." In fact, during a January 30 Republican presidential debate, McCain said that he wouldn't support his own legislation.
On his radio show, Mark Levin falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "lied to" the American Israel Public Affairs Committee when he "told them today that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards should be designated a terrorist group after voting against a bill designating them a terrorist group a year ago." Similarly, Fox News' Martha MacCallum asserted that Obama "seems to be changing his tune on the significant issue." In fact, Obama has consistently supported designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, having co-sponsored a bill in 2007 to do that.
On his radio show, Mark Levin said, "I see on the home page of our friend Drudge -- the Drudge Report -- 'Developing, National Enquirer: John Edwards love child scandal.' " After asserting that "[s]he definitely looks pregnant," Levin added, "Now, I don't know if this is true or not."