Issues ››› Elections
  • Chris Coons debates right-wing smears and Fox News "journalists"

    Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

    Fox Nation rehashed a ridiculous and relentless right-wing attack, labeling Chris Coons a "Bearded Marxist"-- an attack that Fox News candidate Christine O'Donnell pushed in her recent debate against Democrat Chris Coons, her opponent in the Delaware Senate race.

    As Media Matters documented, Fox News has aggressively hyped the false claim that Coons called himself a "bearded Marxist" in a college newspaper article. In fact, this false claim is based entirely on a joke that Coons recounted in the article, as Coons himself pointed out in the debate. Observers such as Fox News' Greta Van Susteren and CNN's Howard Kurtz have agreed that this is a "cheap shot" and "bogus."

    O'Donnell debates moderators

  • Conservative media's "foreign unions" charge doesn't hold up

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    In recent days, right-wing media have responded to criticism that conservative political groups have put out millions of dollars worth of GOP attack ads from undisclosed donors, possibly including foreign donors, by deploying a wave of false claims about supposedly equivalent actions taken by progressive groups.

    Among the most pernicious (and baseless) is the suggestion that the AFL-CIO, the labor union coalition that generally backs Democratic candidates, is funded from foreign sources.

    On the October 10 edition of ABC's This Week, conservative columnist George Will claimed that "the AFL-CIO receives dues from foreign entities associated with it." Likewise, on the October 12 edition of Fox News' America Live, talk radio host Lars Larson charged that "Half of the AFL-CIO is made up of foreign unions":

    In both cases, the commentators were arguing that neither the conservative groups nor the AFL-CIO had done anything wrong. But their suggestion about the AFL-CIO's supposed foreign membership appears to be false.

    About half of the AFL-CIO's member unions are "international" -- not "foreign" -- unions. What this generally means is that they are U.S.-based unions that also have foreign -- usually Canadian -- members. But according to the AFL-CIO, the Canadian members of the AFL-CIO's member unions are not themselves AFL-CIO union members; the dues the member unions pay to the AFL-CIO are based solely on their American members.

  • FoxPAC: Morris uses Fox platform to fundraise for new pro-GOP PAC

    ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    Earlier this month, Fox News political analyst Dick Morris announced the creation of Super PAC for America, whose goal is to raise $20 million to help Republicans win 100 House seats in this year's election. As he has numerous times before, Dick Morris is using his Fox News platform to promote and raise money for the group.

  • NRO's Derbyshire: Public employees should not be allowed to vote

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    No, you didn't misread that. John Derbyshire, National Review Online contributor, today rehashed his 2003 argument that nonmilitary government employees shouldn't be allowed to vote. Here's today's post, written in response to fellow contributor Pat Sajak's article about how public employees have a "conflict of interest" when voting:

    Pat Sajak: "I'm not suggesting that public employees should be denied the right to vote ..."

    Go ahead, Pat: say it. I did, back in 2003.

    [Quoting 2003 article:] "If you let public employees vote, what do you think they are going to vote for? For more public spending, more government jobs, higher government wages. Can you vote yourself a pay raise? No, and neither can I. Bill Bureaucrat and Pam Paperpusher can, though, and they do. Bill and Pam have no problem at all with ever-swelling public budgets, with ever-expanding public services, with the creeping socialism that is slowly throttling our liberties out of existence."

    It's an idea whose time will soon come.

    Other conservative commentators, like WorldNetDaily's Robert Ringer, have also advocated taking away public employees' voting rights. Using Derbyshire and Ringer's logic, I guess anyone who uses public services -- like the post office, roads, schools, libraries, police, firefighters -- probably has a "conflict of interest" when voting. So does anyone who pays taxes.

    Elsewhere in the 2003 article, Derbyshire writes that public servants should be content with the "privilege" of working for the government: "Working for the State, or the nation, is a great privilege and an honor. It brings with it great security, since States and Nations very, very rarely go out of business. Let privilege, honor and security be rewards enough; let's not gild the lily with fripperies like voting rights."

    Lest you think he's kidding, note that public employees are hardly the only group Derbyshire thinks unworthy of such "fripperies." In a 2009 interview with Alan Colmes, he also suggested we'd "probably" be a better country if women didn't vote.

    Basically, he's saying our country would be a better place if people who don't agree with him couldn't vote. Who's "throttling our liberties out of existence," again?

  • The media's foreign money double-standard

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Whenever there's a hint of a Democratic campaign finance controversy, the media is quick to draw comparisons to 1997, when Republicans and the media were in a frenzy over the possibility that some foreign money had made its way into the DNC's coffers during the 1996 campaign.

    But there was another foreign-money-in-politics story that broke in 1997 that doesn't get dredged up nearly as often: The revelation that the Republican National Committee essentially laundered funds from a Hong Kong businessman for use during the 1994 elections, when the GOP took control of congress.

    Here's some background, from a July 24, 1997, Los Angeles Times article:

    The Senate's campaign fund-raising hearings placed Republicans on the hot seat Wednesday, examining a money trail in which $1.6 million from a Hong Kong business ended up in party coffers in the critical final weeks of the 1994 congressional elections thanks to timely work by former GOP chairman Haley Barbour.

    The embarrassing episode dates back to the heat of the 1994 congressional elections, when Barbour sought out financial support from Ambrous Tung Young, a wealthy Hong Kong businessman and Republican Party loyalist.

    Barbour arranged a $2.1-million loan guarantee from Young Brothers Development USA, the Florida-based subsidiary of Young's Hong Kong-based real estate and aviation company, to support the National Policy Forum, a GOP think tank created by Barbour in 1993 to promote the Republican philosophy.

    The Forum took out a $2.1-million commercial bank loan, guaranteed by certificates of deposit purchased with funds provided to Young Brothers Development by the parent company in Hong Kong. The Forum then immediately sent $1.6 million to an RNC account.


    Documents unveiled at Wednesday's hearings show a close relationship between the party and the policy forum, and a clear awareness by all parties that the loan guarantee from Young, a Taiwanese citizen, would ultimately end up aiding Republican campaigns.

    "We are willing to consider the support of $2.1 million, which is the amount you have expressed to me that is urgently needed and directly related to the November election," Young wrote in a September 1994 letter to Barbour.

    Months before that, Michael Baroody quit as president of the National Policy Forum and complained in his resignation letter of Barbour's "fascination" with raising foreign money, an account he repeated in testimony Wednesday.

    There's more. Check it out.

    But the media -- which took three years to catch on to the foreign money-laundering -- forgot all about it almost as soon as those campaign finance hearings ended.

    If an organization that is spending tens of millions of dollars to influence this year's elections on behalf of Democrats and was accused of using foreign money to do so, you can be sure the media would be quick to remind you of the 1996 campaign finance scandals. But the Chamber of Commerce is accused of using foreign money to help Republican candidates, and the media dismisses the allegations -- and they certainly don't invoke the GOP's 1994 scheme.

  • Campaign Fox targets Barney Frank

    ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    Over the past few months, Fox News has engaged in an all-out campaign against Rep. Barney Frank through insults, falsehoods, and continuous promotion of his opponent, Sean Bielat.

  • Rove-backed GOP slush fund now entering House races

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    This morning, American Crossroads, the GOP slush fund that has been heavily promoted by Karl Rove, announced that in addition to the heavy spending it's been doing in Senate races, it also plans to engage in "at least 15, and potentially more than 20, House races," starting by airing ads in eight districts this week. And I'm sure Fox News still doesn't care.

    The new House spending is in addition to the reported $3 million in new ad buys the group is rolling out in Senate races in Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, Illinois, Kentucky, and Florida.

    On Sunday, Rove, Fox News' political analyst, responded to President Obama's comment that he had "funded and advised" American Crossroads by denying that he personally put up money for the group. But he acknowledged he is "helping to raise money for these groups" and "absolutely doing everything I can to raise money for them." He did not comment on Obama's contention that he has "advised" the group.

    Is anyone at Fox asking him whether he's involved in deciding which House races the group is going to spend the money he's been raising? Somehow I doubt it; he was discussing the buy on America's Newsroom this morning (and bragging about how much money the group had recently been raising) and it never came up:

    It's almost like they don't care that their top political analyst is a GOP shill, isn't it?

  • Hot Air absurdly credits Bush for starting trend of candidates saying "I approve this message"

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

    In touting Christine O'Donnell's latest campaign attack ad, Hot Air's Allahpundit marvels that "[a]part from the lightning-quick attribution at the end of the spot, her name is never mentioned; there's not even an 'I'm Christine O'Donnell and I approve this message' voiceover," which he laughably credits Bush for starting, saying these disclosures have "become perfunctory in political ads ever since Bush started doing it in 2004." Earth to Allahpundit: Bush didn't just start using these disclosures in his campaign ads because he felt like. No, he started doing it because a law passed in 2002 required it.

    The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002--also known as the McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill--included a provision requiring that campaign ads include "a statement that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication." So, Bush wasn't starting any sort of trend when he did this during his 2004 campaign--he was following the law. From the bill:


    ''(A) BY RADIO.--Any communication described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) which is transmitted through radio shall include, in addition to the requirements of that paragraph, an audio statement by the candidate that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication.

    ''(B) BY TELEVISION.--Any communication described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) which is transmitted through television shall include, in addition to the requirements of that paragraph, a statement that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication. Such statement--

    ''(i) shall be conveyed by--

    ''(I) an unobscured, full-screen view of the candidate

    making the statement, or

    ''(II) the candidate in voice-over, accompanied

    by a clearly identifiable photographic or similar

    image of the candidate; and

    ''(ii) shall also appear in writing at the end of the communication in a clearly readable manner with a reasonable degree of color contrast between the background and the printed statement, for a period of at least 4 seconds.