CNN, Fox News, and evening news shows on NBC, ABC, and CBS largely ignored a June 23 report by the New York Times that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's (R) administration may be tied to a second bridge investigation involving possible securities law violations.
After speakers at a Heritage Foundation event mocked a Muslim student who pointed out the right's overwhelmingly negative rhetoric on Islam, Fox News doubled down on anti-Islam vitriol and viciously attacked the student.
On June 16, the Heritage Foundation held an event to discuss the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Many of the panelists had a well-documented history of inflammatory rhetoric about Islam.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank detailed the event in a June 16 column, noting that the session quickly devolved into conspiratorial attacks on Islam. Milbank wrote that when Saba Ahmed, a Muslim law student, confronted the panelists about their attacks, she was mocked by panelists Brigitte Gabriel and Chris Plante.
But in the days following the Heritage event, Fox News has proved the premise of Milbank's argument correct by viciously attacking Ahmed and other Muslims.
Sean Hannity hosted Ahmed and Gabriel on the June 19 edition of his Fox News show. During the segment, Hannity and Gabriel criticized Ahmed for bringing up conservative treatment of Muslims during a panel about Benghazi, with Gabriel accusing her of trying to steal "the limelight." Hannity claimed that he doesn't "hear a lot of criticism about radicalism and the hijacking of a religion" from moderate Muslims, and asked Ahmed to denounce crimes against women and homosexuals that are justified by some Muslim sects.
Fox News personalities are questioning the timing of the Obama administration's capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, suspected leader of the 2012 Benghazi attacks, ignoring the complicated logistics involved in carrying out the dangerous apprehension in an unstable foreign country.
Right-wing media have claimed that the current violence in Iraq is the result of the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq and President Obama's willful failure to secure a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In reality, Iraq refused the terms of a SOFA with the U.S. despite Obama's efforts to maintain a military presence there.
Sean Hannity appears to be hoping for a repeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary defeat, using his considerable influence as a conservative talk show host to promote extreme right-wing candidate Chris McDaniel in a runoff election for the GOP's U.S. Senate ballot slot in Mississippi.
Hannity linked McDaniel's race to that of Virginia's 7th congressional district, which ended June 10 in a surprise victory for conservative outsider Dave Brat. In Mississippi, neither Sen. Thad Cochran nor his opponent McDaniel received more than 50 percent of the vote in the state's June 3 primary, forcing a runoff on June 24.
Conservative talk radio's influence was undeniable in Brat's defeat of Cantor -- radio hosts like Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and Glenn Beck devoted a significant amount of time to promoting Brat and took credit for his surprise win. On the June 11 edition of his radio show, Sean Hannity continued the trend, playing a full campaign ad for Chris McDaniel and hosting the candidate himself. Hannity referenced Cantor's defeat several times and praised McDaniel, who he previously endorsed, as a "solid conservative":
HANNITY: After last night's political earthquake a lot of people saying -- remember some have been predicting the tea party is dead, even though there had been a lot of success actually this election year.
HANNITY: I have always been very, very reluctant to endorse in primaries. Very reluctant. And I decided to get into this race and support Chris McDaniel because I see him as a solid conservative.
Conservative radio host and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham made good on her promise to primary any Republican candidate who didn't share her anti-immigrant views, actively campaigning against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) by endorsing his victorious opponent Dave Brat and making appearances at rallies to support him.
Fox News host Megyn Kelly endorsed the canard that President George W. Bush never negotiated with terrorists, an attempt to criticize Obama for negotiations that led to the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity. The reality is that Obama's negotiation is fully consistent with recent American history, including negotiations conducted by President Bush during the Iraq War.
On the June 2 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, host Kelly asked former Vice President Dick Cheney whether the U.S. negotiated with terrorists in order to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban in an exchange for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Kelly used a 2008 speech from former President Bush in Israel where she claimed he "shared this powerful history lesson on the danger of trying to deal with the devil":
KELLY: America doesn't normally negotiate with terrorists. Did we just do that? Back in 2008 President Bush was speaking in Israel when he shared his powerful history lesson on the danger in trying to deal with the devil.
Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes accused President Obama of attacking a "straw man" after the president argued that his foreign policy critics believe "military intervention is the only way to avoid looking weak" -- a somewhat ironic characterization, given that Hayes has loudly accused Obama of being weak and "dithering" in his approach to foreign affairs.
In a May 28 commencement address at West Point, Obama outlined his foreign policy goals and addressed his critics:
And I would betray my duty to you, and to the country we love, if I sent you into harm's way simply because I saw a problem somewhere in the world that needed fixing, or because I was worried about critics who think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak.
Here's my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership. But U.S. military action cannot be the only - or even primary - component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. And because the costs associated with military action are so high, you should expect every civilian leader - and especially your Commander-in-Chief - to be clear about how that awesome power should be used.
Hayes took to Twitter to accuse Obama of attacking a "straw man" and claimed nobody believes that "military intervention is the only way to avoid looking weak":
Within minutes of the tweet, Hayes criticized Obama's lack of leadership on Ukraine, a foreign policy issue Hayes has said demands military action:
Hayes's tweets make for a striking juxtaposition when placed in the context of his recent critiques of Obama's foreign policy. For example, on the April 23 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Hayes accused Obama of "dithering" in his response to Russia's invasion of Crimea and claimed military intervention would have made him appear "resolute" (via Nexis):
HAYES: [If] we had said when Russia first invaded Crimea, if we had sent troops, hopefully more than 150, to our NATO allies at that time, it would have suggested that the president was resolute, that he was determined not to let Russia push our allies around. Instead what he did was dither for weeks and weeks and weeks on end. And now he does it almost grudgingly and because is he being badgered in part by members of Congress suggesting is he not doing enough, that he sends something that everybody recognizes. The United States, the Obama administration basically has to concede, members of Congress are calling him out on this. Our allies are saying this is just a symbol. This is basically just a symbol.
And on the March 19 edition of the show, Hayes mocked the president for what Hayes perceived to be a reluctance to intervene militarily against Putin in Ukraine.
HAYES: I think the overriding objective for the Obama administration on a number of different fronts, whether you're talking ability Iran, Syria, or Russia, is to avoid military confrontation. We can all understand why he wants to avoid it. Everybody would like to avoid it. But there comes a time where that can't be your leading objective. When you have one of the world's great powers invading other countries or annexing other sovereign states, you have to take that seriously.
While mainstream media coverage of the serious allegations of improper practices at certain Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health clinics has been extensive in recent weeks, a bill to expand health care for veterans that was blocked by Senate Republicans in February received little attention.
Fox News repeatedly spun the words of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to suggest she had finally acknowledged the importance of the select committee on Benghazi, when in fact Pelosi had stressed her objections to the committee and called it an unnecessary "partisan exercise."