Three weeks ago, Media Matters responded to a post by Big Government's Jim Hoft in which he wrongly accused Barbara Boxer, Raul Grijalva, Henry Waxman and Dennis Kucinich of helping Code Pink deliver $600,000 to extremists in Fallujah. At the time, Media Matters pointed out that none of the "evidence" Hoft marshalled supports his assertion that these Democratic lawmakers facilitated a trip "to donate $600,000 worth of humanitarian aid to the people who had just killed 51 Americans and wounded 560 more earlier that month."
As we wrote at the time, an Islam Online article that Hoft cites says the money was humanitarian aid to the refugees of the war-torn city of Fallujah," and Hoft did not provide any evidence to the contrary. We also pointed out that there was no evidence that the delegation in question "traveled to Fallujah" as Hoft had claimed. Code Pink says the delegation travelled to "Amman, Jordan and the Iraqi border."
It took a while for the Breitbart crew to respond, but today they finally did. Over at Big Peace, Kristinn Taylor and Andrea Shea King have now accused Media Matters of producing "backstabbing propaganda on behalf of those who are getting our troops killed." The post provides a strange sort of non-rebuttal: a long list of more tangentially related quotes and citations, none of which does anything to bolster Hoft's original claim.
In the final days before the midterm elections, following a very familiar pattern, conservative media have yet again turned to hyping baseless and misleading claims of voter fraud.
Another day, another outrageous allegation launched against a Democrat with zero evidence. The sensationalist, not even vaguely accurate Big Government headline from reliably inane blogger Jim Hoft states: "Barbara Boxer Approved Code Pink Trip to Fallujah to Donate $600,000 to Extremists." Hoft baselessly accused Sen. Boxer of "aiding and abetting terrorists to kill US soldiers," citing a recent American Thinker post that also provided no evidence for the claim. Here's the charge as laid out in the American Thinker by Scott Swett:
Code Pink delivered $600,000 in cash and supplies to the very insurgents the Marines had been fighting against - quite literally giving aid and comfort to America's enemies in a time of war. As noted in Islam Online, a diplomatic courtesy letter from Barbara Boxer helped make the trip possible.
In fact, the Islam Online article cited by Swett notes that the $600,000 raised by Code Pink, military family members and other organizations was for "humanitarian aid to the refugees of the war-torn city of Fallujah," not insurgents. As Reuters reported on December 3, 2004, "More than 200,000 people who fled Fallujah ahead of the US offensive have yet to return and many are in desperate need of aid, with temperatures in Iraq heading towards freezing, a new UN emergency report says."
In an October 3 Big Government post, Larry Kudlow claimed he "saw weakness when President Obama and his departing chief of staff Rahm Emanuel gave each other big, fat, full-bore hug" at the press conference to announce Emmanuel leaving Obama's staff. Kudlow further wrote:
Remember, this is on global television. And it has to do with the very top of the United States government. Our friends and enemies were all watching.
I think the hug lacked dignity. It did not send a message of American power and forcefulness. So I fret about the reaction around the world to this kind of fraternity-like emotionalism in full public view.
Why not just a dignified, stand-up, serious handshake? That's what Reagan would have done. A strong handshake shows friendship, respect, and even affection. But a big fat hug seems to go over the line.
Perhaps I'm overreacting to this. But when it comes to the presidency and the behavior of our top leaders, I think the image we want to send at home and abroad is one of serious strength of purpose. Not some kind of collegiate squeeze. Somehow the Obama-Emanuel embrace seemed demeaning -- to the presidency, to our officialdom, and to our strength of purpose.
Last week, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government posted a recording of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) asking for a campaign donation from a lobbyist. The Big Government post portrayed this as somehow being scandalous or out of the ordinary; as we noted, that's simply not true. Today, Politico provided more evidence that seeking donations from lobbyists is not in any way unusual for a congressional campaign.
Jonathan Martin reported in a blog post that "literally just minutes after it became clear that New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte had won the Senate primary," a Washington lobbyist sent an email to other lobbyists inviting them to a fundraiser for Ayotte. Martin noted:
Given Ayotte's advantage in the polls and the nature of this cycle, many of those who got the email will surely want to show up on the 27th and begin developing a relationship with somebody who is likely to be in the Senate in January.
The post closed with another reminder of just how frequently this happens:
[F]or some in the GOP-leaning lobbying community, the cup now runneth over.
"There are now over 475 fund raising events between now and October 8th," laments one promiment lobbyist.
Bill Preston, the man holding signs portraying Fox News' Glenn Beck and Illinois Republican congressional challenger Adam Kinzinger with Hitler moustaches in a video circulating in the right-wing blogosphere, tells Media Matters that he has no connection to the campaign of Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-IL) or the Democratic protestors whose rally he joined last week.
Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment site -- well-known for posting out-of-context videos and using them to promote dubious conclusions -- posted a YouTube video of the rally on September 17. The heavily edited video shows roughly a dozen people protesting outside a Joliet, IL event for the right-wing organization Americans for Prosperity. The video also shows four of the protestors entering a Democratic Party headquarters following the event.
Right-wing media have said that one of those protestors is a former Organizing for America staffer. They have also noted that in the video, Halvorson campaign manager Julie Merz, a former aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is seen working in the office when the protestors return. Right-wing media have thus demanded that Obama and Pelosi "publicly apologize for the Democratic Party countenancing, participating in, and potentially organizing this rally that included vile, racist and extreme depictions of conservatives."
But according to both Preston and Merz, neither the Democratic Party nor Halvorson's campaign had anything to do with Preston or his signs. Merz tells Media Matters that several staffers for the Illinois Democratic Party's coordinated campaign held a rally protesting both the AFP event and what she called Kinzinger's support for outsourcing. Indeed, the video shows one of the protestors who later returned to the Democratic headquarters leading a chant of "outsource Adam, not our jobs."
Preston, Merz says, showed up to protest AFP on his own: "No one knew this gentleman, no one invited him, he had nothing to do with our campaign." Merz also points out that the protestors seen entering Democratic headquarters are not carrying the Nazi signs.
Preston concurs, telling Media Matters, "I was just there." He says that he went on his own to protest AFP and the tea party, bringing along "about five signs" depicting right-wing leaders with Hitler moustaches. Preston says that "the point of my signs is, why is it OK to have Obama with a moustache" but not those leaders shown in the same way. Media Matters has noted that tea party protestors have followed conservative media figures in invoking Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to smear President Obama.
Andrew Breitbart's Big Government is pushing what it calls "Shock Audio" of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) soliciting a campaign donation from a lobbyist. In fact, there is nothing unusual about soliciting a donation from a lobbyist.
Following Fox News' lead, conservative media outlets celebrated Labor Day by attacking labor unions, often smearing them as "socialist" and violent.