If you thought Rush Limbaugh would simply be content to just echo his fellow conservatives in a misguided and counterfactual attack on Michelle Obama by comparing her to and calling her "Marie Antoinette" you would be very wrong. Today, he added to that smear the racially charged rhetoric that he's employed for years.
Of course, neither side of the media divide gets it right 100% of the time, and Hall specifically cites the already infamous Shirley Sherrod case, in which conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart edited video to imply that Sherrod, an African-American former USDA official, had withheld aid from a white farmer.
Sherrod was asked to resign, and now plans to sue Breitbart. "[The media] should be ashamed of ourselves at what happened. Even though it was a certain blogger that started an irresponsible journey, we didn't stop it," Hall confesses. "But I think that's part of the learning curve, the 'teachable moment.' It was a real kick in the gut for credible journalists."
Of course, before the entire Sherrod episode, it was clear that Andrew Breitbart's work wasn't to be trusted. Whether it was attacking ACORN, smearing Kevin Jennings, or even Maoist Christmas tree ornaments, Breitbart's m.o. was clear before he targeted Sherrod. The media should never have carried his water. Hopefully they won't do so in the future, but it's not the best track record.
Earlier this week Media Matters noted Rush Limbaughs comments about the use of chemical dispersants in the Gulf oil spill: "God and the ocean can handle the dispersants." Today Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) responded during a hearing for the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, calling Limbaugh's comments "callous" and "irresponsible":
In response to a column by Simon Greer of Jewish Funds for Justice that criticized Glenn Beck's attacks on social justice and said "to put humankind first is to put the common good first," Beck said that to do so "leads to death camps" and that "a Jew, of all people, should know that." According to Michael Calderone of Yahoo! those comments reportedly prompted a meeting between Greer and Fox News executives (including network president Roger Ailes), in which the executives acknowledged Beck had "crossed the line":
Simon Greer, chief executive of Jewish Funds for Justice, told The Upshot that when Greer approached them, Ailes and senior vice president Joel Cheatwood agreed that Beck crossed the line in comparing Greer's worldview to that of the Nazis and promised to speak with Beck about the matter.
Two days later, Greer said he received a handwritten letter from Beck.
The Upshot learned of the July 26 meeting and Fox's response to Beck's comments through an email Greer sent to key supporters and allies of his organization. Greer confirmed the authenticity of the email which was passed along to The Upshot by a source.
It's noteworthy that with all the smears, attacks, and violent imagery produced by Beck on a regular basis, this is one of the few times any sort of network action appears to have taken place. Indeed, Newscorp executives did not denounce -- and in the case of CEO Rupert Murdoch, at times endorsed -- Beck's claim that President Obama is a "racist."
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has written a column on The Huffington Post about Glenn Beck's violent rhetoric, specifically its role in an aborted attack against frequent Beck target the Tides Foundation:
Williams pulled the trigger on those two officers, but Beck's harsh rhetoric against Tides and other leaders of progressive groups, whom he identifies as "enemies," have helped stoke the fires of outrage in a sector of the American public that is armed and eager to do battle with foes that they believe -- or have been led to believe - are in some way destroying our country.
Beck acknowledges that he has viewers who are capable of responding violently to his hyperbolic accusations. He has warned, "it is only a matter of time before an actual crazy person really does something stupid."
Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) recently lost a primary for the seat he's held from 1993-1999 and since 2005 to a conservative challenger. In an interview with Mother Jones' David Corn, he discusses the spread of misinformation from the conservative media and how he feels it has affected the Republican party. Discussing a meeting Inglis held with conservative donors:
"They were upset with me," Inglis recalls. "They are all Glenn Beck watchers." About 90 minutes into the meeting, as he remembers it, "They say, 'Bob, what don't you get? Barack Obama is a socialist, communist Marxist who wants to destroy the American economy so he can take over as dictator. Health care is part of that. And he wants to open up the Mexican border and turn [the US] into a Muslim nation.'" Inglis didn't know how to respond.
Fox & Friends baselessly suggested that Rep. Alan Grayson's (D-FL) mailing of a DVD to his constituents constituted an "ethics violation." In fact, a spokesman for the committee that oversees the approval of such mailings told Media Matters that Grayson's DVD had been vetted and that the mailing was "not a violation" of House ethics rules.
The business blog The Big Picture has created a fascinating info-graphic explaining the details of how Glenn Beck and Goldline operate to bilk investors of their money.
Goldline, one of the major sponsors of Beck's radio and TV shows, has been accused of pushing overpriced gold coins on customers. The company has been promoted by Beck as some sort of safeguard against the policies of the Obama administration. Currently, Goldline is under investigation by the Santa Monica City Attorney's office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
At the same time Rep. Anthony Weiner has been investigating Goldline's business practices, and demanding explanations from the company.
The Big Picture's graphic is below the fold.
Even after Andrew Breitbart's video of Shirley Sherrod's NAACP speech was uncovered as a deceptively edited excerpt that distorted her comments, conservatives have continued to attack Sherrod with a barrage of false or ludicrous smears.
To listen to the conservative media, the Daily Caller has exposed the discussion listserv Journolist as some sort of hotbed of liberal message coordination. Ann Althouse said it "was designed -- apparently -- to figure out how to structure the various news stories to serve the interests of their party," Limbaugh said the emails showed "mainstream coordination with the left," and Beck saw a plot "to help Barack Obama."
This theory of secret list coordinating all manner of nefarious activities gets debunked, however, by the latest Journolist story from the Daily Caller:
Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, the founder of Journolist, quickly jumped in: "Nope, no message coordination. I'm not even sure that would be legal. This is a discussion list, though, and I want it to retain that character," he wrote.
So, here is list founder Ezra Klein, in about as explicit terms as you can get, telling the participants on the list not to coordinate any messages. He doesn't hint at it or speak about it in a confusing manner, he says "no message coordination." It couldn't be any clearer. The conservative conspiracy about Journolist goes up in smoke, as expected.