Last week Media Matters detailed how, beyond the marquee names of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, right-wing talkers across the AM dial wallowed in the some of the nastiest imaginable Barack Obama smears during the campaign. (i.e. Obama "wants to gas the Jews.")
This week, MMA offers more illumination, and it ain't pretty. Among the talkers' favorite targets:
Racial and ethnic minorities, women, gays and lesbians, and the poor...those with HIV/AIDS, people with autism, teachers, other radio hosts, comedians perceived as progressive, Democrats in the House and Senate, and the organizations that document their attacks.
Just last week during a radio interview I was asked what was the biggest difference between liberal AM talk and right-wing AM talk. I think the answer's pretty obvious: hate.
On ABC's The View, co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd again promoted the falsehood that without the passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, members of the clergy could be jailed for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. In fact, neither Proposition 8 nor the California Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry had anything to do with members of the clergy.
On The War Room, Jim Quinn addressed his prior comments comparing "slave[s] in the old South" to welfare recipients today. Quinn said: "Now, naturally, the point that I was making was that there are two forms of servitude: There's the servitude that you can be forced into, and there's the servitude you can be coerced into, I mean, the horrors of slavery notwithstanding -- naturally, that was my point." He later added: "[W]hen you think about it, the slave had more personal nobility than the welfare recipient, because he or she had no say in their station in life. The welfare recipient actually volunteers for it. It is the liberal plantation."
On The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd both suggested that without Proposition 8, a California ballot measure to amend the state constitution to reverse the California Supreme Court's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, members of the clergy who refused to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies could have been prosecuted. In fact, as the court itself made clear, the ruling applied only to state officials, and "no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."
Experts confirm, post-election, that the voting phenomena doesn't exist in America, just as the experts insisted pre-election. But that didn't stop the press for producing an absolute avalanche of of non-stop stories about the Bradley effect, in what seemed to be a rather transparent attempt to inject some drama into the drama-less election during the home stretch. (Obama might lose!)
Also, please also note that the press, when now confirming the Bradley effect didn't show itself on Election Day, insists it was voters and academics who hyped the non-story in recent weeks, not the press.
Discussing the passage of a California ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, radio host Jim Quinn asserted: "[G]ay marriage doesn't produce anything that the state has an interest in. Gay sex produces AIDS, which the state doesn't have -- or should have an interest in. They should charge homosexuals more for their -- for their health insurance than they charge the rest of us."
Underscoring the point we made earlier this week when we ridiculed the emerging conservative meme that Obama was showered with good press because news orgs have been on a PC/diversity hiring spree, and those minority journalists swooned for Obama, Michael Calderone has a piece at Politico looking at just how few Africa-American journalists there are within the Beltway press corps covering big time American politics:
When then-President Bill Clinton attended an intimate dinner with a group of African-American White House correspondents in July 1999, about nine reporters joined him at the table. "I don't think we could have that dinner today," said attendee Wendell Goler, veteran White House man for Fox News. April Ryan, who covers the White House for American Urban Radio Networks and who also attended, agreed that there's been a decline in the number of black White House reporters during the Bush years, with just four or five regularly in the briefing room.
On The War Room with Quinn & Rose, Jim Quinn said: "You know, if you were a slave in the old South, what did you get as a slave? You got free room and board, you got free money, and you got rewarded for having children because that was just, you know, tomorrow's slave. ... Can I ask a question? How's that different from welfare? You get a free house, you get free food, and you get rewarded for having children. Oh, wait a minute, hold on a second. There is a difference: The slave had to work for it."
Jim Quinn cited as evidence of "the chickification of schools, the feminization of society, and the war on masculinity" the story of a teacher who reportedly informed the school principal and campus police that a picture of a vampire one of her students had drawn might contain gang symbols. Quinn added that "the goal of the public school system -- the feminists in the public school system -- is to make male behavior illegal, a crime."
Beyond the echelon of widely known conservative radio hosts with national audiences lies a vast network of lesser-known syndicated and regional radio hosts who have become key components of an echo chamber for conservative talking points and falsehoods. Like their better-known counterparts, these syndicated and regional radio hosts have played active roles this election season in promoting falsehoods and smears in an all-out effort to foment hate and distrust among their listeners for President-elect Barack Obama. While the hosts vary in the degree of vitriol they spew and in their ratio of rebuttable falsehoods to unbridled smears, Media Matters for America and Colorado Media Matters have identified common themes that many, if not all, have promoted over the past year.
John Harwood, for the second time in eight days, is just amazed that a black man might be president. Or more specifically this week, he's amazed that lots of whites are going to vote for Obama:
Remarkably, Mr. Obama, the first black major party presidential nominee, trails among whites by less than Democratic nominees normally do.
Seems to us the press has spent an inordinate amount of time covering the issue of race in this campaign, even though the candidates themselves rarely discuss it. (Surrogates, especially on the right, are another story, of course.) And when covering the campaign and race, the press has habitually couched the issues with a sense of total astonishment; that it was "remarkable," as Harwood put it, that Barack Obama would win huge support from white voters.
That, despite the fact that polls have shown for at least a year that Obama stood a very good chance of winning the general election. Why still the sense of wonder on Election Day?
So goes the latest theory being embraced by conservatives as they toss darts at a board trying to come up with their official liberal media theory to explain John McCain's possible loss.
Former Bob Dole flack Douglas MacKinnon hypes the minority journalist theory in a recent liberal-media-bias essay posted online at the New York Times:
The pressure within the news business to diversify and be politically correct means more minorities, women and young people are being hired. And young and ethnically diverse reporters and editors go easier on candidates who look more like them, are closer to their age or represent their ideal of a presidential candidate.
Ugh (as my palm hits my forehead). First, who exactly is doing all this news business hiring? In case MacKinnon hasn't heard, news orgs are desperately shedding thousands of jobs each month, which means there is no new flood of young, minority hires being made anywhere in the industry.
Second, the idea that minority journalists, and specifically African-Americans, boast a significant presence in newsrooms across the country and now dictate political coverage is absurd.
Third, even more comical is that notion that African-Americans dominate senior, decision-making positions within the press, and that's why it allegedly swooned for Obama.
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips presented a report by correspondent Joe Johns on an ad in which Sen. Elizabeth Dole accused Democratic opponent Kay Hagan of taking money from "a leader of the Godless America PAC" at "a secret fundraiser" and that included a woman's voice saying, "There is no God," while a picture of Hagan appeared onscreen. But while Johns and Phillips noted that Hagan has indicated an intention to file a defamation lawsuit, they did not note that in accusing Dole of defamation, Hagan cites the ad's false suggestion that the voice is Hagan's.