• WaPo posts smear of La Raza without rebuttal

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    From a Washington Post online discussion with reporter Ed O'Keefe:

    Dunn Loring, Va.: Although The Post has had several stories about Sotomayor quoting her friends and even had a chat with the head of an organization of which she was a board member, when can we expect a story about her involvement with La Raza, which supports the return of the western US to Mexico?

    Ed O'Keefe: There'll be plenty of time between now and confirmation.

    The National Council of La Raza does not support any such thing.

  • See Politico for how the law has nothing to do with Sotomayor's nomination or the press coverage. Zero.

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The Politico headline:

    Right demands tougher fight on Sonia Sotomayor

    The article itself is what the Beltway press adores: process. It's about how movement conservatives are demanding GOP senators filibuster Sotomayor's nomination, but that appears very unlikely to happen, and how two prominent conservative activists got into a tiff at a closed door meeting last week about their Sotomayor strategy, etc.

    What's telling is that news outlets like Politico don't seem to think it's odd that there's a conservative movement afoot to stop Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination and the movement has virtually nothing to do with the law or her rulings from the bench. Conservatives aren't even talking about Sotomayor and the law, yet the press treats their opposition as being very important and newsworthy. Because when conservatives play hardball, it's news.

    It's hard to believe that if liberals opposed Bush's SCOTUS nominees Samuel Alito and John Roberts with attacks that had nothing to do with their legal opinions, that the press would have taken that opposition seriously. But today conservatives don't even pretend to be interested in Sotomayor's legal record, and the press acts like that's completely normal for a confirmation battle.

  • Newsbusters' increasingly creepy criticism of Tiller reporting

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Yesterday, Newsbusters' Kyle Drennan complained that a news report about the murder of Dr. George Tiller didn't describe him as "controversial." In response, I wrote:

    Calling Tiller "controversial" just because because conservative anti-abortion terrorists tried to, and finally did, kill him is insulting, and suggests some justification for the assassination. Calling him "controversial" blames the victim. Drennen's complaints that CBS didn't offer such justification for Tiller's assassination is creepy, at best.

    Today, Newsbusters' Colleen Raezler makes it explicit, complaining: "In failing to highlight what Tiller's work actually entailed, reporters do nothing to help their audience understand why this man was targeted."

    I thought conservatives usually criticize people for offering "understanding" to terrorists?

    Raezler goes on to complain that the media has portrayed Tiller as a "martyr":

    Tiller as Abortion Rights Martyr

    Broadcast networks painted Tiller as a man willing to die in defense of women's rights.

    All of the broadcast coverage noted past attempts people have made to disrupt Tiller's work - a bombing of his clinic in the 1980s and a 1993 attack in which he was shot in both arms - which, while pertinent to the story, also increased the aura of martyrdom that now surrounds him.

    Notice what Raezler doesn't say: she doesn't so much as hint at disapproval of the terrorists who bombed Tiller's clinic and shot him. Instead, she is unhappy that mentioning those events increases "the aura of martyrdom that now surrounds" Tiller.

    UPDATE: Two months ago, Raezler complained that media didn't make clear that a plane crash victim "made the money for this exclusive vacation was paid for partly through abortion [sic]." Here's Raezler:

    Media Ignore Abortion Connection in Montana Plane Crash Coverage


    [C]orrectly reporting the deaths of fourteen people as a tragedy doesn't mean the media necessarily did their job. If they feel compelled to note that victims were "ultrarich," they should also note the business that made them that way. Particularly if it's as controversial as abortion.


    though the AP deemed it necessary to include facts about family's economic status, they failed to think it necessary to include that Feldkemp made the money for this exclusive vacation was paid for partly through abortion.

    Feldkamp is listed as the president of Family Planning Associates Medical Group, Inc., a health care organization that is California's largest for-profit abortion provider. Its Web site lists 17 different abortion clinics throughout the state, and the group provides abortions up to the 22nd week of pregnancy.

    Gingi Edmonds, a pro-life activist, reported this on March 24. Yet as of April 2, the mainstream media appeared to have whitewashed Feldkamp's abortion connection.

  • Michelle Malkin wishes liberal partisans had the decency to restrain themselves

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    And yes, she wrote it without an ounce of irony.

    For the record, Malkin condemns the killing of Dr. Tiller. But she also condemns anyone who claims the far-right is the blame, and refuses to condemn the radical, hateful rhetoric used by the right-wing media to depict abortion providers as murderers and baby killers.

    In fact, Malkin, like most conservative pundits this week, won't quote any of the blood-chilling attacks that have been aired in the past. According to Malkin and company, that's just part of the abortion media "debate" in America; you call the other side killers and murders and then play dumb then tragedy unfolds.

  • NewsBusters faults media for "do[ing] nothing to help their audience understand why [Tiller] was targeted"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From a June 2 NewsBusters entry:

    George Tiller, the Kansas doctor notorious for his commitment to performing late-term abortions, was killed May 31 while attending a Sunday morning church service.

    By his count, Tiller performed 60,000 abortions. His clinic, Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, was one of only three clinics in the United States that offered abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy.

    Loss of human life is a tragedy and should be reported as such, and premeditated murder is always wrong - something all the mainstream pro-life groups were quick to affirm in the wake of the killing. But in reporting this tragic story, the news media have much to say about a man who helped provide women with the "right" to end their pregnancies, but have little to say about lives he helped to end. In failing to highlight what Tiller's work actually entailed, reporters do nothing to help their audience understand why this man was targeted.


    Newsbusters wants media to call Tiller "controversial"

  • Slate's Saletan plays with fire

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Slate's William Saletan seems to think he's come up with a brilliant rhetorical device to convince abortion opponents to stop calling the procedure "murder." But I wonder if he considered the possibility that he might not persuade everyone - and if he considered how some of those he doesn't persuade might react to things like this:

    If abortion is murder, the most efficient thing you could have done to prevent such murders this month was to kill George Tiller.


    The people who kill abortion providers are the ones who don't flinch. They're like the veterans you sometimes see in war documentaries, quietly recounting what they faced and did. You think you're pro-life. You tell yourself that abortion is murder. Maybe you even say that when a pollster calls. But like most of the other people who say such things in polls, you don't mean it literally. There's you, and then there are the people who lock arms outside the clinics. And then there are the people who bomb them. And at the end of the line, there's the guy who killed George Tiller.

    If you don't accept what he did, then maybe it's time to ask yourself what you really believe. Is abortion murder? Or is it something less, a tragedy that would be better avoided? Most of us think it's the latter. We're looking for ways to prevent abortions-not just a few this month, but millions down the line-without killing or prosecuting people. Come and join us.

  • The Weekly Standard offers no defense for Bill O'Reilly

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Reading the headline, "The Campaign to Blame O'Reilly for Tiller's Death," I assumed Weekly Standard writer John McCormack was going to explain why it was completely unjustified to connect Fox News' Bill O'Reilly to the death of Dr. George Tiller, even though we all know O'Reilly's show ambushed the doctor on TV, called him a so-called baby killer, and waged a very public crusade against the private physician.

    Now a suspected right-wing domestic terrorist, perhaps an O'Reilly viewer, put the Fox News' host's words into action and killed the man in a church, as right-wing domestic terrorists tend to do. And guess what, lots of bloggers pointed out O'Reilly's not-so-cameo role in the Tiller drama.

    But Weekly Standard was going to explain it all away; it was going to tell us why, even though O'Reilly had attacked Tiller on-air more than two dozen times, the Fox News' hands were entirely clean in Sunday's tragedy.

    Except the weird part was the Weekly Standard never even bothered to make that claim. Instead, the item noted bloggers were connecting O'Reilly to Tiller, but than floated the muddled idea that some of the same bloggers targeting O'Reilly have also been critical of Bush's torture policy and used harsh language to describe it:

    Since it appears that the campaign to blame O'Reilly for inciting the murder of Tiller began with [Andrew] Sullivan's post, it's worth noting that The Atlantic blogger routinely compares those who support harsh interrogations of al Qaeda members to the Gestapo and the Khmer Rouge.

    Honestly, it didn't make much sense to me, either. The gist seemed to be that critics of torture on the left are just like anti-abortion critics on the right (i.e. just like O'Reilly) because both felt compelled to speak out against something they thought was morally wrong. The coo-coo part is where McCormack suggests both groups use the same type of vigilante rhetoric to make their point. Except, of course, they do not, which is where the whole argument collapses.

    But what was really telling I thought, was that when the Weekly Standard tried to come to O'Reilly defense in terms of his hateful Tiller rhetoric, the Weekly Standard realized it had no defense. It didn't deny O'Reilly's involvement, it simply tried to claim that everyone does it. Not true.

    P.S. Note the disingenuousness when McCormack includes a link which the writer suggests proves that Sullivan had equated "those who support" torture with being members of the Gestapo. Instead, what the link does is showcase items that Sullivan had written in which he described torture techniques as being used by the Gestapo.

    Sullivan did not, as McCormack claimed, suggest torture-backing Bush administration officials were akin to members of the Gestapo. Meaning, Sullivan did not, as McCormack claimed, wage a personal crusade targeting private citizens. He didn't ambush Bush officials in public and routinely call them Nazis, the way O'Reilly led a public crusade against a private citizen who's now dead, killed by a suspected right-wing domestic terrorist.

    As Sullivan noted earlier this month:

    It is, moreover, unfair to say I have compared the Bush administration with the Nazis. I haven't.

    I have shown how the exact techniques deployed by the Gestapo were used by Cheney and called by the exact same name - verschaerfte Vernehmung; and how the exact techniques used by the Khmer Rouge were authorized by Bush. These are simply facts that people have to face. This does not mean that the American system of government is the same as that under Hitler in Germany, or that Bush was Hitler. It does mean that human acts are human acts. The act of torture is the same whoever perpetrates it. There is no moral way to torture someone. America is not by virtue of being America somehow immune from the same evil that has occurred throughout human history; and the human beings running the American government are no more and no less human than those who controlled ghastly regimes in the past.

  • Speaking of the troll under the bridge ...

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Tell me again why MSNBC keeps Pat Buchanan on payroll?

    Think Progress catches Buchanan smearing Sonia Sotomayor:

    BUCHANAN: Well I, again in that Saturday piece, she went to Princeton. She graduated first in her class it said. But she herself said she read, basically classic children's books to read and learn the language and she read basic English grammars and she got help from tutors. I think that, I mean if you're, frankly if you're in college and you're working on Pinocchio or on the troll under the bridge, I don't think that's college work.

    Buchanan was referring to this New York Times article:

    Judge Sotomayor is not known to have identified herself as a beneficiary of affirmative action, but she has described her academic struggles as a new student at Princeton from a Roman Catholic school in the Bronx — one of about 20 Hispanics on a campus with more than 2,000 students.

    She spent summers reading children's classics she had missed in a Spanish-speaking home and "re-teaching" herself to write "proper English" by reading elementary grammar books. Only with the outside help of a professor who served as her mentor did she catch up academically, ultimately graduating at the top of her class.

    It's clear from the article that Sotomayor was not, as Buchanan claims, reading Pinocchio as her Princeton coursework, but rather in an effort to sharpen her English. As Think Progress notes, Buchanan has previously stressed the importance of learning English:

    Buchanan has long claimed that Hispanic immigrants are resistant to learning English and has said that it would be easier for them to "assimilate" if they did so. When writing about Mexican immigrants in 2006, Buchanan said that in contrast to Italian immigrants, "millions of Mexicans are determined to retain their language and loyalty to Mexico." Similarly, he has also said that "the road to culture is language" and "they want to keep their Spanish language."

    But it turns out that if Hispanic immigrants* do make an effort to strengthen their English language skills, Buchanan will make fun of them and lie about their academic accomplishments. Kind of makes you wonder whether his comments about language have ever been sincere, or if they were merely a fig leaf meant to hide his real problem with Hispanics, doesn't it?

    Pat Buchanan's track record is clear: He's a bigot. He doesn't think women or minorities are the equal of white men like Pat Buchanan and Richard Nixon. He has made that plain over the past 40 years. And yet he continues to be employed by MSNBC -- and you never hear a word of complaint or criticism about it from other journalists, because Pat Buchanan is a respected member of The Village.

    * Sotomayor isn't an immigrant, but the situations are pretty directly analogous for these purposes.

  • Buchanan: "Sotomayor is a quota queen" who believes "equal justice takes a back seat to tribal justice"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From Buchanan's June 2 syndicated column:

    Like Lani Guinier, the Clinton appointee rejected for reverse racism, Sonia Sotomayor is a quota queen. She believes in, preaches and practices race-based justice. Her burying the appeal of the white New Haven firefighters, who were denied promotions they had won in competitive exams, was a no-brainer for her.

    In her world, equal justice takes a back seat to tribal justice.

    Now, people often come out to vote for one of their own. Catholics for JFK, evangelicals for Mike Huckabee, women for Hillary Clinton, Mormons for Mitt Romney, Jews for Joe Lieberman and African-Americans for Barack Obama. That is political reality and an exercise of political freedom.

    But tribal justice is un-American.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, this country reached consensus that denying black men and women the equal opportunity to advance and succeed must come to an end. Discrimination based on race, color or ethnicity, we agreed, was wrong.

    Sotomayor, however, has an exception to the no-discrimination rule. She believes in no discrimination, unless done to white males and to benefit people like her.

    How can any Republican senator vote to elevate to the Supreme Court a judge who, all her life, has believed in, preached and practiced race discrimination against white males, without endorsing the Obama-Sotomayor view that diversity trumps equal justice, and race-based justice should have its own seat on the high court?

    Down the path Sotomayor would take us lies an America where Hispanic justices rule for Hispanics, black judges rule for blacks and white judges rule for white folks.


    But why should the white working and middle class stay with the GOP? Its presidents exported their jobs to Mexico, China and Asia, and threw open America's doors to tens of millions, legal and illegal, from the Third World, who have swamped their cities and towns. If the GOP will not end race-based affirmative action, which threatens the futures of their children, why vote for the GOP?

    Why should white folks vote for anyone who says, "We are against race discrimination, unless it is discrimination against you"?

    Obama would not have selected Sotomayor if he did not share her convictions. And there is nothing in his writings or career to hint at disagreement. Thus it comes down to the senators, especially the Republicans. A vote for Sonia Sotomayor is a vote to affirm that race-based justice deserves its own seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    But if that happens, it will not only be the race consciousness of Hispanics that will be on the rise in the good old U.S.A.

    Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog writes of Sotomayor and race-related cases:

    In sum, in an eleven-year career on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times. Only one case (Gant) in that entire eleven years actually involved the question whether race discrimination may have occurred. (In another case (Pappas) she dissented to favor a white bigot.) She participated in two other panels rejecting district court rulings agreeing with race-based jury-selection claims. Given that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking.


    Buchanan says Sotomayor's purported discrimination against "white males" similar to "what was done in the South"

    During "white males" rant, Buchanan calls Sotomayor "that woman"; Shrum calls on him to apologize

    Buchanan: "lightweight" Sotomayor "an anti-white, liberal judicial activist"

    Buchanan claims that "it appears" that Sotomayor "believe[s] in reverse discrimination against white males"

    Buchanan declares Sotomayor an "affirmative action pick"