Right-wing media have recently attacked President Obama for celebrating Hanukkah too early and for displaying too many Christmas trees at the White House. Right-wing media have long attacked Obama for how he observes holidays, including Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Easter, Ramadan, and even Halloween.
If ever a writer was suited to pen editorials for Investor's Business Daily, it's Andrew Malcolm. And starting next month, Laura Bush's former flak will leave his post at the Los Angeles Times to go work for IBD, a far-right newspaper that publishes loopy birther columns, climate change denial rants, nasty personal smears, and in general just makes stuff up on a regular basis.
So yes, Andrew Malcolm should be very happy at the somewhat obscure IBD, writing up breathlessly negative appraisals of the president and all things liberal. He's been doing that for years at the Times.
Honestly, it's not really worth the time or trouble detailing Malcolm's long history of dishonesty. (If you'd like examples though, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.) Suffice it to say Malcolm has come to symbolize a right-wing media movement that cut all visible ties with journalism, fact-checking, fairness and decency the day Obama was inaugurated, and has instead turned itself into a propaganda movement.
And that's the real reason why this personnel move is noteworthy -- because the Times, one of the largest newspapers in America, for years foolishly gave a national platform to somebody like Malcolm. He was paid to publish purposefully childish, unserious, and disrespectful blog posts, while the faltering Los Angeles newspaper shed employees at a stunning rate.
As LAObserved.com noted in the wake of Malcolm's IBD announcement:
[C]ritics have wondered why the Times devoted a senior (in salary) staff position to a blog that was essentially a gathering place for anti-Obama talking points, while laying off journalists and cutting news and opinion coverage.
And that's been the puzzle of Malcolm employment: Why did a newspaper like the Times decide it would be best if its only opinion writer regularly covering national politics for the largest newspaper in a solidly Democratic state conduct himself like a B-level, Obama-hating blogger? Who at the Times decided it made perfect sense in terms of branding to have someone like Malcolm become the political voice of the daily?
Conservative media are using the announcement that poverty increased to return to their allegation that the poor in America don't have it so bad because they own appliances. In fact, poverty affects Americans in profound ways, such as their health, education, and housing.
Conservative media figures are citing the discredited myth that the stimulus failed to argue that President Obama's jobs plan also will not help the economy. In fact, economic analysts have repeatedly said that the 2009 recovery act boosted the economy and increased employment, and economists estimate that Obama's jobs plan is likely to add millions of jobs.
Execrable Los Angeles Times blogger Andrew Malcolm makes a bizarre allegation this morning:
You may have thought as a regular American citizen you were capable of marking the upcoming 10th anniversary of the deadly 9/11 attacks in your own quiet, sad way as you and your family choose.
However, in its infinite federal wisdom and one-size-fits-all philosophy, the Obama White House has drafted a set of detailed orders for how he wants the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks observed, both at home and abroad.
We're not kidding.
Nope, he's not kidding. He's lying.
Malcolm is referring to a New York Times report from this morning on the Obama administration's "detailed guidelines to government officials on how to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, with instructions to honor the memory of those who died on American soil but also to recall that Al Qaeda and other extremist groups have since carried out attacks elsewhere in the world." [emphasis added]
Government officials. Like diplomatic employees and other representatives of the U.S. government. Not "regular American citizens" marking the occasion with their families, as Malcolm claimed.
Indeed, Malcolm acknowledges as much and even says that the guidelines make sense later in his post:
After weeks of quiet internal planning, two sets of guidelines were dispatched by the Democratic administration, one for American respresentatives [sic] to use abroad and another to all federal agencies at home.
Some 9/11 guidelines are common sense. U.S. diplomats, for instance, are reminded to acknowledge the ensuing losses and sacrifices of many nations to terrorist attacks during the past decade since 9/11. And there are the usual tribute reminders for military personnel, police and first-responders, among others, for their ongoing community service and sacrifices.
And yet, Malcolm framed the story as a bizarre tale of big government intrusion into the lives of ordinary Americans, callously playing off the emotions stirred by 9-11 to gin up anger at the Obama administration, knowing full well that what we was alleging was completely false.
But telling the truth won't get you that coveted Drudge link, which, in the end, is what really matters.
Ah, family vacation time in an American August, a chance for members to rediscover the joys and pleasures of being together, whether they like it or not.
Sunday morning the Secret Service packed all the Obamas in secure cars and headed for a private ocean beach.
Reuters' sharp-eyed Kevin Lamarque snapped this revealing photo of the first couple in the car tuned out from each other during this quality time family foray.
Of course, Michelle Obama could have her iPod crammed with hubby's recent speeches.
"Revealing"? The First Lady wore headphones while sitting next to her husband, so... news?
Left unsaid, but inartfully and salaciously implied, is that Michelle Obama's use of earphones in her husband's presence betrayed some sort of friction between the two, which is insane.
Of course, Malcolm didn't write this to break news or provide insight or perform any useful task. He wrote it to drive traffic by appealing to the dimmer, angrier corners of the conservative online media.
Mission accomplished, hack.
Did you see that The Huffington Post had to take down a story this week?
The site had published an item accusing Andrew Breitbart of having "doctored" a video posted on one of his websites. But the claim just wasn't true. So when confronted with the facts, the Huffington Post quickly posted a correction as well as an apology. They got the story wrong and alerted readers to that fact.
That's how journalism, including opinion journalism, is supposed work, and The Huffington Post made that plain this week: If you make an irrefutable error you correct it. You don't ignore it or try to explain it away. You own up your mistake.
But take a look at the far-right end of the media spectrum these days and you'll see how those simple rules of accountability don't apply to conservative media outlets, where covering up and ignoring obvious blunders has become a sad (celebrated?) hallmark of the movement.
It just so happens that the Huffington Post correction occurred the same time key right-wing players, such as Michelle Malkin and the Daily Caller, were doing their best to stiff-arm accountability. The contrast between The Huffington Post's honorable response to a miscue and the right-wing media's attempts at damage control tells us we all we need to know about how professionals play this game, as compared to rank amateurs.
Lots of conservative outlets pretend to be in the journalism game. But the embarrassing way they handled the recent fallout from imploding smear campaigns have made it plain they're more at home in the propaganda camp.
Oh brother. Laura Bush's former flak, Andrew Malcolm, continues to embarrass the once-mighty Los Angeles Times with his endless stream of Obama insults and robotic regurgitation of right-wing talking points.
For instance, in the wake of the Osama bin Laden killing, Malcolm is still furious with…Obama! [Emphasis added]
However, although global audiences have been treated to countless photos of atrocities and gruesome scenes in recent years -- severed heads online, bound Abu Ghraib prisoners, Saddam Hussein hanged and burned, mutilated American bodies hanging from a Falluja bridge come vividly to mind -- Obama clearly was more concerned about possible foreign reaction than domestic disbelief, which he doesn't place much stock in
A strange reaction from someone who tried for four years stonewalling skeptics of something as simple as documenting his birthplace, only to finally give in and release his sealed long-form certificate just this spring -- and then see virtually all the wind immediately disappear from the sails of the so-called birther movement.
Operating in a longtime one-party city like Chicago, Democratic politicians do not often feel beholden to explaining themselves to the obedient public. So, the lesson this president from there obviously drew from his unnecessary birth certificate-sealing confrontation was to do it again with the Bin Laden photos.
It's hard not to laugh along as you read. It's also hard to miss Malcolm's utter contempt for the president. But that's true of all far-right pundits who suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome, and Malcolm's case has always been quite acute.
But still, claiming the president spent years "stonewalling skeptics" about his birth certificate? What a whopper. A) Obama didn't stonewall anyone. Obama released the same paperwork that every other Hawaii citizen presents (certificate of live birth), which was why the state of Hawaii has vouched for Obama's birth documentation for years.
And B), the critics who were hounding Obama to release his long-form birth certificate don't qualify as "skeptics." They qualify as complete nut jobs. No sane person who has been paying attention for the last three years could think Obama was foreign-born, but lots of Obama dead-enders did. And because they opted to inhabit their own parallel universe where key questions about Obama's birth supposedly still lingered, they ought to be completely ignored. (When not being thoroughly mocked, that is.)
Yet today, even after their conspiracy theory collapsed, Malcolm pretends the clueless birthers were serious people raising serious questions. That they were merely "skeptics." Ah, just like 9/11 Truthers were merely "skeptics" about what happened on that fateful day; skeptics who were stonewalled by the Bush administration, right Andrew?
Note to Malcolm: The birther story is gone for good. (And Obama won.) It's time to give up the ghost.
The conservative media are suggesting that former President Bush deserves more credit than President Obama for the death of Osama bin Laden. This is in stark contrast to their usual attacks that Obama is responsible for things that are happening during his presidency, including those tied to Bush-era policies like the Gulf oil spill, the weak economy, and the nation's deficit problems.
The professional Obama haters in the right-wing media have been sniping since Sunday night, trying to come to terms with the momentous news that the president helped oversee the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Rather than graciously give the POTUS credit, and rather than setting aside the truly petty personal attacks that traditionally anchor the right's incessant swipes, lots of critics just can't stop.
I'll highlight just two particularly disturbing examples.
The first came courtesy of Emily Miller at the Washington Times today. Read this passage and ask yourself how people like this ever come to view the President of the United States with such a blinding personal contempt. It's a dripping derision that can't even be set aside for 24 hours while America celebrates bin Laden's demise [emphasis added]:
The president made a televised briefing to the nation at 11:35 p.m. to announce that the 9/11 terrorist had, at last, been captured and killed. He concluded his scripted remarks – which he read from a teleprompter – with soaring, spiritual words. "Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," said Mr. Obama. "May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America."
Talking points aside, the suddenly religious president started his Sunday morning as he usually does: skipping church to go hit the golf links.
Yes, the Washington Times unloaded on the president for quoting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The second came from Los Angeles Times' full-time Obama hater, Andrew Malcolm. Here's a passage where Malcolm mocks the president's top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, and the White House briefing Brennan gave for reporters:
In fact, this weekend was such a tense time in the White House that Obama only got in nine holes of golf. But he still managed to deliver his joke script to the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner Saturday evening.
Sunday was, Brennan revealed to his eager audience, "probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of times in the lives of the people assembled here." Poor poor bureaucrats. Extra Tums all around. Did someone order dinner?
Miller and Malcolm really do represent the Obama dead-enders who long ago stopped even trying to debate the president's policies. Now they just bottom feed, making snide comments about how phony the President of the United States is. Note that in their angry missives, both Miller and Malcolm displayed more contempt for Obama than they did bin Laden.
That's the odd claim Andrew Malcolm makes today. Even more peculiar is the fact he doesn't quote a single Democrat, or provide a single link, to back up his wishful assertion.
Yes, the Times' Obama-hating blogger used to work as Laura Bush's flack. And yes, today his job revolves around either cherry picking polling data or making stuff up. (Nice work if you can get it.) But no, Malcolm is definitely not plugged into Democratic D.C. circles.
And that's what makes this passage from his birther-related blog entry so entertaining [emphasis added]:
Within minutes, of course, online critics were predictably questioning the document's legitimacy. Less predictably, D.C. Democrats also privately questioned the timing and wisdom of their party leader's action. Why three years of stonewalling over personal privacy to hide nothing worth hiding?
Why do it on Wednesday and drown out the more desirable orderly transition story of crucial national security staff changes (Robert Gates out at Defense, Leon Panetta in as replacement and Gen. David Petraeus as the new CIA director). Those and other changes will be officially announced this morning.
And why, of all things, did Obama release the certificate to appear to cave to the mediagenic demands of Donald Trump, the rich real estate barker who's dominating the Republican news these days simply because there's no one else actively out there yet, while Trump teases a possible presidential candidacy with the kind of plainspoken critiques that Americans apparently crave this time?
See, according to Malcolm it's nameless Democrats who are angry with Obama for releasing his birth certificate. It's nameless Democrats who wonder why the president has been "stonewalling" on the issue.
Yeah, right. Nice try Andrew.
A bit of advice for Fox News host Greta Van Susteren: Don't take your cues from the L.A. Times' serially inaccurate Andrew Malcolm. Writing on her blog, Van Susteren took White House press secretary Jay Carney to task for supposedly speaking out of turn:
Below is a headline from the LA Times and it is a bit weird...I sure hope President Obama's Press Secretary doesn't think HE is the President. He is just the messenger of the Administration. No President of any country should be getting a stern warning (or any warning) from the Press Secretary. The messages should be FROM THE PRESIDENT.
Susteren then linked to this post from Andrew Malcolm headlined "Yemen president gets a stern warning from Obama press secretary." This, like pretty much everything Malcolm writes, is a stretch. The actual press release, seen here, is a standard-issue statement from the White House titled "Statement by the Press Secretary on Violence in Yemen."
Answering the question, how completely out of touch is Andrew Malcolm with mainstream California politics, Laura Bush's former flack admits as much today:
A new Field Poll finds silly Californians still buying into Obama health care premise
How many "silly Californians"? By a wide margin of 52-37 percent, they want Obama's health care reform to stay in place or even to be expanded.
I wouldn't want to begin counting the number of anti-health care reform columns Malcolm has penned over the last 18 months. But what's interesting is that most Californians don't care what the right-wing columnist says on the topic. He's utterly ignored.
What's even more embarrassing, and revealing, about the pro-Obama polling results is the fact that the Los Angeles Times, the largest newspaper in a clearly blue-leaning state, does not employ a single high-profile liberal commentator who obsessively writes about Beltway politics. Not one.
Instead, the LA Times, the largest newspaper in a clearly blue-leaning state, employs Laura Bush's former flack as a full-time Obama hater whose entire job is to cherry-pick bad polling numbers for the president, regurgitate whatever attack the GOP Noise Machine is making against Obama on that day, and to show utter contempt for the office of the President of the United States.
If, against that backdrop of partisan sophistry, you're having trouble recalling when the Los Angeles Times was taken seriously as a player in national politics, you are not alone.
Members of the right-wing media have distorted the administration's policies in the wake of the BP oil spill, claiming that President Obama shut down all drilling and production in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, the temporary moratorium on drilling in the Gulf only applied to new deepwater wells and did not affect the thousands of wells already producing oil and gas.
Here's Los Angeles Times blogger and former GOP press aide Andrew Malcolm mocking Barack Obama as the "teleprompter president." Here's Malcolm comparing Obama's teleprompter use to "some MLB pitcher going to his trademark fastball way too often," which, Malcolm says, contributes to Obama's "worst" problem: "he's the Real Good Talker." Here's Malcolm sneering that Obama's teleprompter is one of the "trademarks" of his administration.
And here's Andrew Malcolm praising potential Republican presidential candidate Haley Barbour for using a teleprompter, which Malcolm says demonstrates "an attention to delivery detail."
What did LA Times readers do to deserve such a clownish partisan?
Previously: Andrew Malcolm, Hack