As President Obama delivered his final address to Congress on the State Of The Union, conservative media personalities attacked him on Twitter, calling him "divisive," a liar, and mocking his policy proposals.
Right-wing media are mocking President Obama's decision to honor victims of gun violence during his January 12 State of the Union address by leaving an empty seat in First Lady Michelle Obama's guest box, calling the decision "dangerous" and "empty rhetoric."
Several conservative media figures attacked President Obama for crying as he spoke about child victims during a speech detailing executive actions designed to reduce gun violence.
Fox News' Todd Starnes: "President Boehner."
Fox News' Andrea Tantaros: "Check That Podium For Like A Raw Onion ... It's Not Really Believable"
[Fox News, Outnumbered, 1/5/16]
Breitbart's John Nolte: "He's Putting Something In His Eyes To Create The Fascist Tears"
National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke: "All The Best Laws Are Made By People Who Can't Control Their Emotions."
Breitbart's Ben Shapiro: "HEADLINE: Obama Cries!!!!!!!1!!!! Give Him What He Wants!!!!!1!!!!"
From the December 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the December 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes praised Donald Trump's plan to ban Muslim immigration to the United States as "rather prudent" and better than having Muslims "blow something up over here."
Trump sparked widespread condemnation after announcing he "is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
In a December 8 Facebook post, Starnes lashed out at critics of Trump's anti-Muslim plan, writing that "a good many folks across the fruited plain support Mr. Trump's plan" and it's "not all that outrageous. It's rather prudent":
But a good many folks across the fruited plain support Mr. Trump's plan. Folks want to do whatever it takes to protect their families from the jihadists.
If you move beyond the toxic politics - what Mr. Trump is suggesting is not all that outrageous. It's rather prudent.
What's wrong with temporarily suspending Muslim immigration from countries harboring Islamic radicals?
Would it not be better to vet them over there - before they blow something up over here?
Unfortunately -- these days politics trumps common sense.
I want you to remember one cold hard reality -- Donald Trump is the product of a leadership vacuum in the Republican Party. So if you want to blame somebody for Mr. Trump's candidacy -- you can blame Establishment Republicans.
Starnes is the perfect audience for Trump's proposal since the right-wing pundit is virulently anti-Muslim. He's suggested the French are at fault for the Paris attacks because they allowed Muslim immigration; said a Muslim should never be president; criticized people who say Islam is "a peaceful religion"; and responded to a question about whether he's anti-Muslim by saying he'll "fellowship with anybody that doesn't want to blow me to smithereens." (Starnes has repeatedly said Muslims want to blow people up.)
In the wake of the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, right-wing media are advocating for fellow civilians to profile Muslims and Muslim-Americans and urging them to "pick up the phone and call a cop" "if you see anything that's out of the normal," dismissing concerns about Islamophobia as "political correctness."
Following a December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA, the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was attacked by right-wing media figures for holding a press conference condemning the shootings.
From the December 2 edition of Fox Business News' Varney & Company:
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Right-wing media sharply criticized the resignation of University of Missouri President Timothy M. Wolfe after a wave of protests over racial tensions erupted on the university's flagship campus. Several conservative media figures attacked the protesters, calling them "thugs" and a "mob," and claimed that Wolfe was "forced to resign" for the "crime of being a white male."
Right-wing media attacked a CNN report that was "unable to independently confirm" incidents described in Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson's autobiography about his violent past -- including claims that he attempted "to kill somebody" -- calling the report "ruthless" for "dissecting" Carson's life, and using the report to attack President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Multiple media figures derided Hillary Clinton's laugh during the first Democratic presidential debate, calling it a "cackle" and "a record scratch." During the 2008 presidential race, Clinton's laughter was repeatedly attacked, despite criticism that such attacks were rooted in sexism.
During the October 13 CNN debate in Las Vegas, Clinton laughed after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defended her from repeated questions about her use of private email by criticizing the media for fixating on the issue and saying, "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!" Clinton and Sanders shook hands as the crowd applauded.
But several media figures initially focused on Clinton's laugh. BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski tweeted, "oh god the Clinton laugh is out," while the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote, "THE CLINTON LAUGH," and Fox's Sean Hannity tweeted "Omg that laugh."
Several conservative media figures took it further, calling it a "cackle":
::looks up 'cackle' in the dictionary:: ::sees Hillary's face::-- Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) October 14, 2015
(Hillary's laugh grates like a record scratch.)-- Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) October 14, 2015
The cackle. Drink!-- Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) October 14, 2015
Cue the cackle. #DemDebate-- toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) October 14, 2015
Attacking Clinton's laughter was a common theme during the Democratic primary before the 2008 election. In September 2007, after Clinton appeared on several Sunday political talk shows and laughed in response to some questions, media figures spent weeks debating and mocking her laughter. Fox News led the charge, with Bill O'Reilly even discussing Clinton's laughter with a "body language expert" who deemed it "evil," and Sean Hannity calling the laugh "frightening."
The mainstream press picked up on the attacks on Clinton's laugh, with New York Times political reporter Patrick Healy writing an article with the headline "Laughing Matters in Clinton Campaign," in which he described Clinton's "hearty belly laugh" as "The Cackle," calling it "heavily caffeinated" and suggesting it may have been "programmed."
Then-Politico reporter Ben Smith also described Clinton's laugh as her "signature cackle," while Politico correspondent Mike Allen and editor-in-chief John F. Harris wrote that Clinton's laugh "sounded like it was programmed by computer."
And New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who has a long history of nasty attacks on Clinton, claimed Clinton's laugh was allowing her to look less like a "hellish housewife" and a "nag" and more like a "wag":
As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, once told me: "She's never going to get out of our faces. ... She's like some hellish housewife who has seen something that she really, really wants and won't stop nagging you about it until finally you say, fine, take it, be the damn president, just leave me alone."
That's why Hillary is laughing a lot now, big belly laughs, in response to tough questions or comments, to soften her image as she confidently knocks her male opponents out of the way. From nag to wag.
The list goes on: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, then-MSNBC host David Shuster, then-MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, radio host Mike Rosen, Dick Morris, the Drudge Report, The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi, Time magazine's Joe Klein, the New York Times' Frank Rich, CNN's Jeanne Moos, and others all debated or derided Clinton's laughter during Clinton's first run for president.
Politico's Allen said on MSNBC during all of this that "'cackle' is a very sexist term," and disputed MSNBC's Chris Matthews' use of it in reference to Clinton. Other outlets agreed; Jezebel called out Matthews for his "cackle" criticism and other derisive remarks, asking, "can we agree that no matter what your political allegiances, this is not the way you speak of a woman -- whether she is a senator or not?" Rachel Sklar, writing in the Huffington Post, said at the time "I keep finding sexist Hillary Clinton bashing everywhere I turn," noting that criticisms of the candidate's laughter "turn completely on the fact that she's a woman. 'The Cackle?' So would never be applied to a man. We all know it."
Unfortunately, the criticism hasn't stopped in the intervening seven years. The Washington Free Beacon has a "Hillary Laugh Button" permanently on its site. The National Journal published in June 2014, many months prior to Clinton declaring her second bid for president, a "Comprehensive Supercut of Hillary Clinton Laughing Awkwardly With Reporters." And conservative tweet-aggregator Twitchy in August mocked "scary as hell" pens which featured "Clinton's cackling head."
From the September 21 edition of Fox Nation's The Dispatch w/ Todd Starnes:
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Fox News hosts have used the controversy surrounding Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to repeatedly hawk the new book from a man considered one of America's most extreme and prominent anti-gay hate-group leaders.
Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), an organization that has been labeled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading damaging lies about gay people, including the myth that they are more likely to engage in pedophilia.
Perkins' latest book, No Fear, was published on September 8 and tells the stories of "young people who have taken a stand for Biblical truth," including Aaaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon bakers who were fined after refusing to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. The book is a collection of misleading culture war stories aimed at depicting conservative Christians as the victims of religious persecution by liberals.
That's a popular narrative on Fox News, so it's not surprising that the network has promoted the book repeatedly during its news programming, playing off the controversy surrounding Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples:
Fox's knee-jerk endorsement of Perkin's book is also self-serving: Perkins himself admitted that many of the stories in No Fear were pulled from Fox's reporting.
Perkins and the Family Research Council have long benefited from their relationship with Fox News. Todd Starnes, the network's serially misinformed culture war reporter, regularly turns FRC press releases into national news stories, while FRC touts the network's reporting to reinforce its Christian persecution narratives about LGBT equality.
Perkins has also found a close ally in Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who has hosted the hate group leader more frequently on her show than any other Fox News program has, regularly giving his anti-gay extremism a veneer of mainstream credibility.
With Fox News giving Perkins free airtime to promote his book, the network has become both a political and financial asset to one of the country's most extreme anti-gay hate groups.
Several right-wing pundits are invoking the Civil Rights movement as they rally to the defense of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, whose refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a federal court order resulted in her being arrested and held in contempt.