This morning, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell appeared on Fox News' Fox & Friends to talk about new CMS head Donald Berwick and, even without listening to the segment, one can pretty much guess what he said. Though Bozell took pains to stress that his statements were "not right-wing talking," he nevertheless went ahead and parroted the right-wing line that Berwick is "a proud socialist," adding, "Karl Marx would be proud of this man."
Beginning around 10 a.m., Bozell passed the baton onto his NewsBusters site, where writers put up a slew of posts trying to hammer home the point that Berwick has "pro-socialized medicine views," is "controversial" because he has "promised" that the "decision is not whether or not we will ration care, the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open," and has "insisted that health-care systems must redistribute wealth." Yep, I'm pretty sure that covers your run-of-the-mill "right-wing talking" points, no matter what Bozell claims.
Well, let's review those claims, which, incidentally, Glenn Beck has pushed for the last couple of days. As we pointed out when Beck accused Berwick of being a "blatant socialist" because of his "redistribute wealth" comments, health programs like Medicare and Medicaid -- which Berwick will oversee -- actually are explicitly redistributional (and incredibly popular); they redistribute wealth from those who can afford health care to those who can't. Even Fox News' Laura Ingraham has acknowledged that Berwick's comments are "right." So there is no reason to make out that there is something unusual about what Berwick has said.
Conservative media figures have also used Berwick's call to "ration with our eyes open" to attack him, with NewsBusters touting Fox News' Jim Angle's flawed reporting on the matter. In his report, Angle claimed that Berwick "laments the amount of money spent on people in their final weeks of life" and quoted his "eyes open" statement. But Angle cropped out the portion of the statement in which Berwick noted that rationing is already occurring. Indeed, the insurance industry has readily admitted to using cost-benefit analyses in coverage decisions.
Rush Limbaugh attacked the Center for Science in the Public Interest as a "wacko bunch of leftist kooks" who "want to ban Chinese food." In fact, CSPI, which advocates for nutrition, health, and food safety, has lauded Chinese restaurants and labeled most Chinese dishes "healthy."
John Fund continues to promote an outdated lawsuit connected to the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department to smear the Obama Justice Department as hostile to enforcing voting laws, which he called "outrageous" and "suspiciously like the Black Panther case." But the Justice Department moved to dismiss the case due to outdated evidence.
In recent weeks, conservative media have been consumed by "Obama Derangement Syndrome," accusing President Obama of being insane, of colluding with Russian spies, of trying to create a civil war and implement one world government, among other things, while also claiming that his administration is trying to control everything under the sun, including the Internet and, inexplicably, your toilet.
Conservative media figures have distorted comments President Obama made during Senate hearings in 2007 to accuse him of "chastising" and "excoriating" Gen. David Petraeus, who he recently tapped as the top commander in Afghanistan. In fact, during the hearing, Obama specifically said his criticism was directed at former President Bush, not Petraeus.
This morning, we noted ABC World News' apparently faulty reporting on how Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is lambasting the federal government for ordering 16 barges to stop vacuuming crude oil off his state's coast. As we wrote, the report ABC aired on the June 17 edition of World News left viewers with the impression that the clueless Coast Guard had ordered the barges temporarily grounded for no reason at all, giving weight to Jindal's assertions and reinforcing claims that the federal government has been botching this operation from Day 1. In its online report, however, ABCNews.com included this little nugget:
[T]he Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.
Today, the Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong further reported:
Sixteen crude-sucking barges are back in the Gulf of Mexico working to clean up oil, but the Coast Guard is defending its decision to ground the vessels because it couldn't verify whether there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board.
"The Coast Guard is not going to compromise safety ... that's our No. 1 priority," Coast Guard spokesman Robert Brassel told The Daily Caller.
Brassel said the barges are now "back in operating order."
On Thursday night, the Incident Commander in Houma, Roger Laferriere, decided with the captain of the port in New Orleans to inspect the barges when they realized the ships did not have a certificate of inspection to demonstrate safety equipment on board. Thursday morning, the ships were inspected and grounded because they did not have the proper fire-fighting and life-saving equipment. There were also concerns about the stability of the barges. During the day Thursday, the problems were fixed, and the barges are back out on the water today.
So let me see if I've got this straight: The Coast Guard says that while they were just as concerned with the urgency of the situation as any entity out there on the water, they didn't want to take a gamble on workers' safety and demanded that proper procedures be taken to ensure against the very real possibility of another Gulf catastrophe -- barges catching on fire.
But thanks to ABC's apparently flawed reporting, conservatives are outraged that this is just another show of red tape from the government.
Heckuva job, ABC.
Glenn Beck misrepresented comments President Obama made during a 1995 interview to claim Obama did not want to meet with BP CEO Tony Hayward because he is a "white CEO" and that those comments were "code language" that "sounds like racism," "stereotyping," and "profiling." However, as Obama's full comments make clear, he was actually discussing personal responsibility on the part of both blacks and whites.
Bret Baier reported that the Clinton Presidential Library recently released documents relating to Elena Kagan's work in the Clinton administration but that "[t]he library is withholding some of those documents." Baier did not mention that the documents have reportedly been made available to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On his Christian Broadcasting Network show tonight, Pat Robertson saw fit to give advice to a woman who said her husband's "actions" are "starting to get to" her, fearing that he may soon start to cheat because he "loves to talk with other women he finds attractive." Robertson, whose views on marriage and women have been fairly well documented, replied: "Anne, first thing is you need to make yourself as attractive as possible and don't hassle him about it."
But wait, there's more. He also advised the woman that she needs to make sure "to not drive [her husband] away or start hassling and hounding on him" and added: "[M]ake yourself as beautiful as you can, as fun as you can, and say let's go out here, let's go there, let's go to the other thing."
From tonight's edition of The 700 Club:
TERRY MEEUWSEN (co-host): Pat, this is from Anne who says, "My husband has always been a flirt and loves to talk with other women he finds attractive. He says he would never cheat on me but his actions are starting to get to me. What should I do?
ROBERTSON: Anne, first thing is you need to make yourself as attractive as possible and don't hassle him about it. And why is he doing this? Well, he's doing it because he wants affirmation that he is still a man, that he is attractive -- and he gets an affirmation of himself. That means he's got an inferiority complex that's coming out. And he's not gonna cheat on you. He's just playing.
But you need to not drive him away or start hassling and hounding on him, but make yourself as beautiful as you can, as fun as you can, and say let's go out here, let's go there, let's go to the other thing. So -- and Terry disagrees.
MEEUWSEN: That's a lot more grace than I do, Anne. Let me just say we'd be having a serious conversation.
ROBERTSON: Affirmation. Affirmation, dear heart.
This really shouldn't surprise anyone, considering Robertson has reportedly stated that once women get married -- as "painful" as it is "for the ladies to hear" -- "you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period." He has also claimed that "the feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Robertson has also reportedly written that "[w]omen should listen and learn quietly and submissively," and "I do not let women teach men or have authority over them."
Robertson made headlines in January for saying that Haitians had been hit with a major earthquake because they had "swor[n] a pact to the devil" to get "free from the French" and that "ever since, they have been cursed."
Sean Hannity falsely claimed that Andrew Romanoff, who is running against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado's U.S. Senate election, "is confirming just now tonight he was offered a position" if he would exit the race. In fact, Romanoff reportedly stated: "At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request [White House deputy chief of staff Jim] Messina's assistance in obtaining one."