Despite the best efforts of the right-wing media, Barack Obama's connections -- real and imagined -- to Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers weren't quite enough to poison the electorate against Obama in 2008. In fact, even with brief mainstream media flare-ups and Sean Hannity's twice-daily Ayers-Wright harangues, not many people seemed to care at all when it came time to vote.
Now that we're on the precipice of 2012, Ayers and Wright are being dragged out onto the stage again, presumably in the hope that the guilt-by-association campaign that failed in 2008 will, three years later, finally catch on and bring Obama down.
And this might even be understandable were there new information to report on Obama, Ayers, and Wright. But there isn't. So the old storylines are getting a hasty spit-shine for the new election season.
"Exclusive," announces The Daily Caller this morning, as they report on "video obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller" that "shows Illinois Senator Barack Obama, then campaigning for Democrats before the 2006 midterm elections, praising Reverend Jeremiah Wright and telling an audience that he 'stole' the title of his book 'The Audacity of Hope' from Wright's sermon of the same name, which he 'loved.' Obama also referred to Wright as 'my pastor.' "
The video does indeed show Obama saying all those things, but the Daily Caller actually got scooped on this one. By Obama himself.
Sean Hannity is turning to Andrew Breitbart for race-baiting smears.
Hannity on Monday promised to "show a tape" of Obama "hanging out during the campaign" with a member of the extremist New Black Panther Party (NBPP):
Incidentally this fake story was hyped earlier today by Andrew Breitbart on his Big Government website. Breitbart claimed to have unearthed "shock photos" from a March 2007 march where he claimed "then-Senator Obama was joined by a group of Panthers who had come to support his candidacy." Breitbart linked to a YouTube video of Obama walking several feet ahead of the Panthers amidst a large crowd of people.
That march was not an Obama campaign event, nor one sponsored by the NBPP. It was a 42nd anniversary of the 1965 march from Selma which ended when the civil rights marchers were attacked by law enforcement at Edmund Pettus Bridge. Several thousand people were in attendance of the march, celebrating this historic civil rights moment in American history. During that event, Obama and New Black Panthers leader Malik Zulu Shabazz gave speeches from the same podium, and both were part of the crowd that then marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Listen to conservatives talk about President Obama these days and you'll hear them say he's an incompetent boob who isn't that bright, does nothing but play golf, and is utterly lost without his teleprompter.
That is, of course, when he's not flawlessly planning and executing impossibly intricate schemes to further his sinister political aspirations.
To that end, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government asks this morning if Jon Huntsman -- the moderate Republican who stepped down as Obama's ambassador to China to run for the 2012 GOP nomination -- is in cahoots with the president as part of a conspiracy to split the Republican vote and ensure Obama's reelection.
Read, and be amazed:
Independents who buy this line thus may look to spend their vote on a more moderate and palatable candidate. Jon Huntsman would be their man.
And if he is to win votes in any number, I would bet that this would come at the expense of the Republican nominee -- especially if the nominee is not Mitt Romney. Versus Romney, Huntsman would likely struggle to pull Independent votes away. But pit him against a Perry or a Bachmann and Huntsman will stand in clear contrast, and likely be attractive to a percentage of voters.
Besides the incongruence between Huntsman and the Republican party as it is currently constituted, why do I have such a hunch? First, consider that President Obama appointed Huntsman in the first place. Is it beyond the realm of possibility that there is a quid pro quo between the two men? Despite what you may think of Barack Obama, to rise from state Senator to President requires a political shrewdness greater perhaps even than Barack Obama's own ego.
In isolation, none of Huntsman's actions indicate a grand bargain with Barack Obama. But when taken as a whole, it becomes abundantly clear that an afterthought to Republicans could in fact spell defeat in November 2012. While I hope such a theory is wrong, however remote the possibility of this premeditated effort against Republicans, such a threat must be taken seriously, lest we end up with four more years of Barack Obama.
There is no evidence to back up this "theory," save for the author's assertion that Huntsman has never "publicly attack[ed] Barack Obama's policies in any meaningful way." And that might be compelling if Huntsman weren't telling Granite Staters that Obama "fundamentally failed us on the most important issue of our time, which is job creation and the economy."
Also, I'm not sure I quite understand the contours of the "grand bargain" -- Obama gave Huntsman a high-profile job which Huntsman would then have to quit to start a presidential campaign? Doesn't sound like much of a bargain. Then again, Obama has been known to convince people to secretly ghostwrite his own memoirs and guard the truth about his birth in Kenya and/or Indonesia, so I guess anything is possible.
J. Christian Adams, the right-wing storyteller whose works include the many-times debunked New Black Panther scandal, is back with a gripping tale about Eric Holder's "peculiar tendency to set loose militant black panthers." Writing on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, Adams proclaims: "Leftist Activists Convince Eric Holder's DOJ to Set Violent Marxist Free." The violent Marxist in question is Marilyn Buck, who was incarcerated in 1985 for her roles in the Black Liberation Army's 1981 armed robbery of a Brinks armored car and the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Senate.
Take it away, J. Christian:
Yet Holder's DOJ unlocked Buck's jail cell and set her free last summer. Justice concluded that Buck "expressed a dramatic change from her previous political philosophy." Releasing Buck reflects an alien attitude that has caused the Obama years to be characterized by an ideological disconnect with most Americans.
The letters which persuaded the Justice Department were stuffed with crackpot arguments and have yet to be reported over the last year. They are full of lawlessness and arguments from extreme fringes of political thought. What's worse, the letters are on the letterhead of government and private institutions, institutions most Americans incorrectly think are worthy of respect.
Got it? Crazy people wrote crazy letters to free their terrorist friend, and Holder loves crazy terrorists so much that he unlocked her cell and let her scamper off into the summer breeze.
Now, let's explore what really happened and look at three key facts that Adams omitted from his piece: 1) the groundwork for Buck's early release was laid during the Bush administration; 2) Buck was ultimately released because she had late-stage terminal uterine cancer; and 3) she passed away less than a month after her parole.
Monica Crowley, the Fox News pundit and panelist for The McLaughlin Group, has a piece up on Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com this afternoon purporting to "point out the ironies, hypocrisy, madness, and lies of President Obama." Specifically she writes:
July 13, 2009: Obama speaks at a rally for ObamaCare, and in response to a question, claims that his plan won't "pull the plug on Grandma." Hear it here.
Two years later, almost to the day:
July 12, 2011: Obama threatens to withhold Social Security checks if a debt deal isn't done by the Treasury's artificial deadline of August 2. He told CBS News' Scott Pelley: "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," he said. Hear it here.
Crowley concludes: "In two short years, he's gone from being unwilling to 'pull the plug on Grandma' to being willing to starve her to death."
Actually, if you listen to what Obama said closely -- or at all -- you'll see that he really doesn't want the government to go into default and put entitlement payments at risk. He's not "willing to starve" seniors. No rational person would be. And no honest person would so grossly twist his words to make such an accusation.
Crowley's interpretation of Obama's comments to CBS as betraying a willingness to let senior citizens die is less an example of Obama's "hypocrisy, madness, and lies" than it is a reflection of her own capacity for lying and ugly, reflexive partisanship. Of course, that's nothing new for Monica Crowley; she once accused Obama of lying about being black.
This is starting to get pathetic.
Right-wing media outlets keep dishing out new "evidence" for why senior Justice Department leaders must have known about Fast and Furious, a failed operation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). All they keep proving is that those officials knew about Project Gunrunner, the high-profile effort begun under President Bush of which Fast and Furious was one small part.
They've already used this conflation to baselessly claim that the stimulus included funds for Fast and Furious (the funds were earmarked for Project Gunrunner and were not distributed to the ATF office that handled Fast and Furious) and that a 2009 Holder speech proves that he was aware of the program (the speech references only Gunrunner and was given before Fast and Furious was initiated).
In their latest effort, these outlets are pointing to a two-minute clip of a speech that then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden gave on March 29, 2009. In the speech, Ogden said:
DOJ's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is increasing its efforts by adding 37 new employees in three new offices, using $10 million in Recovery Act funds and redeploying 100 personnel to the Southwest border in the next 45 days to fortify its Project Gunrunner, which is aimed at disrupting arms trafficking between the United States and Mexico.
ATF is doubling its presence in Mexico itself, from five to nine personnel working with the Mexicans, specifically to facilitate gun-tracing activity, which targets the illegal weapons and their sources in the United States.
Let's go over this again: Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious are not the same thing, and Fast and Furious wasn't reportedly begun until six months after Ogden gave this speech.
Right-wing media are baselessly attacking the Obama administration by falsely conflating Project Gunrunner, a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that was begun under President Bush, and Operation Fast and Furious, a controversial initiative undertaken by Phoenix's Gunrunner group in which agents knowingly allowed guns to be trafficked across the border to Mexico.
Right-wing media have attacked President Obama's recent remarks about Greece, claiming that Obama "offered bailout" money to Greece, which is again nearing default. In fact, while Obama did suggest that the U.S. could play a role in shaping a second Greece bailout through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), his speech largely focused on urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take the lead in working with European Union officials to reach a deal; moreover, experts say Obama is correct that it would be "disastrous" if Greece defaulted on its debts.
University of Missouri officials Monday issued a statement concluding that Andrew Breitbart-promoted videos smearing university lecturers were "highly distorted through splicing and editing." This is just the latest investigation to discredit deceptively edited videos promoted by Breitbart.
Through he said/she said journalism, the media gives Andrew Breitbart's debunked videos legitimacy they don't deserve. Exhibit A: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that "a pair of heavily edited videos" shows two professors "appearing to condone the use of violence in labor negotiations." At the end of the article, they note:
Officials at UMKC say they have been reviewing the video but thus far have expressed support for their professor.
They have criticized the Internet videos, saying their editing put the instructors' comments out of context.
Well, were they? The Post-Dispatch does not have to take the school officials' word for it -- they can see for themselves. With a little bit of research, they can show their readers that, yes, Big Government was taking Professor Don Giljum out of context when they edited out the portions of his comments that show him rejecting violence (in bold):
I tend to agree with you, because I think if you look at labor's history over the years, you'll find that, you know, we've had a very violent history with violent protests and reaction to suppression. OK? But as time has changed, the tactics have changed, or the need for those have changed. OK?
Now, you know, that's not to say that in certain instances, strategically played out and for certain purposes, that industrial sabotage doesn't have its place. I think it certainly does. But as far as -- You know, and I can't really honestly say that I've never wished, or have never been in a position where I have haven't wished real harm on somebody or inflicted any pain and suffering on some people--
STUDENT: We're all human.
GILJUM: --who didn't ask for it, but, you know, it certainly has its place. It certainly makes you feel a hell of a lot better sometimes, but beyond that I'm not sure as a tactic today, the type of violence or reaction to the violence we had back then would be called for here, and I think it would do more harm than good.
The right-wing media have continuously attacked President Obama for proceeding with his long-planned trip to Latin America in the wake of the crises in Japan and Libya, often mocking his trip as a "vacation." In fact, the President's trip will be "focused on economic opportunities for the United States and the trade relationship" with Latin American nations.
This morning, we laid out how the conspiracy theory Andrew Breitbart has laid out with regard to the settlement of the Pigford black farmer discrimination appears to require the complicity of the Senate Republican caucus, the Bush administration, and Hillary Clinton, among others. Over the next few days, we will dissect the faulty logic and lack of basic research Breitbart employs in putting his conspiracy together.
This post examines Breitbart's theory that after his misleading video catapulted Shirley Sherrod's name into the headlines, Senate Democrats pulled funding for the Pigford II settlement from a supplemental appropriations bill because they were worried that because Sherrod was a prominent Pigford claimant, her story would draw attention to the lawsuit and lead to the exposure of the Pigford "fraud."
This theory makes no sense, for a variety of reasons. The Pigford funding was removed after Republicans voted en masse against passing a bill with that funding; it was removed not alone but as part of a package of $22 billion that the House had added to a previous version of the bill; Senate Democrats publicly slammed Republicans for voting against that funding; and Senate Democrats vowed to attach the funding to other bills.
Andrew Breitbart claims that working for Media Matters for America means that we "by default disagree with everything" he says. This isn't necessarily true, but it's clear to us that no matter where you work, you should take everything Breitbart says with an entire lick of salt; he tweaks, twists and flat-out tramples the truth too often to maintain a semblance of reliability.
In an interview at the Conservative Political Action Convention (CPAC), Breitbart told Media Matters for America's Joe Strupp that MSNBC blamed him (Breitbart) for Congress' failure to appropriate settlement funds for black farmers because Breitbart published his phony Shirley Sherrod scandal that same week. He said:
BREITBART: MSNBC twice that week blamed me for the black farmers not getting their settlement because it was supposed to be passed that week. They thought I was setting up a trap...MSNBC blamed me for that.
Breitbart was repeating a claim he published in a BigGovernment.com blog post on December 6, 2010:
Nation editor Chris Hayes was filling in for Rachel Maddow and reported that I was responsible for black farmers not getting their settlement money.
"Conservative con artist, 1; black farmers, 0," liberal Journolist Hayes said snarkily.
Breitbart's characterization is simply false. As the video Breitbart linked to makes clear, Hayes actually said the exact opposite:
HAYES: It doesn't appear that last week's fake [Sherrod] scandal was what caused the Senate to strip restitution for victims of actual, real-life, documented discrimination from the appropriations bill.
Breitbart's truth-twisting was accentuated by a repeated misquote, In his blog post above, he quotes Hayes saying "Conservative con artist, 1; black farmers, 0."
In fact, Hayes said in that segment: "It's just that as the dust clears from last week's collective frenzy, take a look at the score: conservative con artists, 1, victims of real-world racial discrimination, 0."
He repeats the imprecision later in his interview with Media Matters (and removes the "con artist" language while he's at it), saying: "MSNBC thought it was a compelling argument last week when they accused me in a segment that said 'conservative activist, 1; black farmers, 0.'"
But Hayes wasn't, as Breitbart alleges, claiming that Breitbart had defeated the black farmers and kept them from receiving Pigford funds. He was comparing two different stories -- the failure to pass Pigford funds and Breitbart's invitation to appear at a Republican National Committee event -- to point out that despite Breitbart's Sherrod smear, he was still being rewarded at the same time victims of discrimination were being punished.
The fact that Breitbart misquotes Hayes about whether he used the phrase "black farmers" or "victims of real-world racial discrimination" isn't a big deal in itself, but it's part of a larger pattern of lazy mistakes and general disregard for accuracy.
This disregard for the truth (and an accompanying persecution complex) couldn't be more apparent in his complete mischaracterization of MSNBC's reporting. When these little mistakes pepper so much of Breitbart's work, it makes you wonder what other corners he's cut.
First Lady Michelle Obama is in the midst of a nationwide anti-obesity campaign aimed at shrinking America's collectively expanding waistline. The conservative media are striking back against Mrs. Obama's message of fitness and nutrition by decrying what they see as government intrusion into our pantries.
At least, that's what they're doing when they're not calling Michelle Obama fat.
Rush Limbaugh's long been laying the groundwork for this sexist attack, using stories about the First Lady's nutrition programs to call the fitness-fanatic Mrs. Obama "Michelle, My Butt." (The jab's lack of sense it exceeded only by its lack of self-awareness.)
Yesterday, the resident cartoonists at Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com posted this offering:
If there's a "joke" in there, I'm missing it. Notably, the version of the cartoon online now differs slightly -- but significantly -- from the version that showed up in my RSS reader, in which the First Lady demands: "Shut up and pass the lard!"
It's been a long time since I've expected anything approaching comity from the conservative media, but this is the sort of stuff most of us left at the grade school playground.
It's really maddening that we've reached the point where we can't even have a memorial service without it turning into a partisan witch-hunt.
Armed only with irrational suspicion and the false conjecture of Michelle Malkin, the right-wing group Judicial Watch has apparently launched an investigation into the White House's alleged involvement in "branding" the University of Arizona memorial for the victims of the January 8 mass shooting in Tuscon, at which t-shirts bearing the slogan "Together We Thrive" were distributed. Writing on BigGovernment.com, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton claims that "many questioned how it was set up and, specifically, whether the White House was involved in the t-shirt controversy."
It's important to note at this point that this claim (which originated as unsupported speculation on Michelle Malkin's blog) has already been debunked by Politifact, which quoted U of A spokespeople saying that the White House had no involvement with the branding of the event, and that the slogan -- which Fitton described as "an obvious play on a popular Obama presidential campaign theme" -- was devised by a university student. (For the comically tenuous link the right is claiming connects the slogan to Obama, click here.)
Nonetheless, Judicial Watch demanded the university send them "any and all communications, contracts or correspondence between the University of Arizona and The White House concerning, regarding or relating to T-shirts bearing the logo 'Together We Thrive: Tucson & America,' distributed to attendees at the January 12, 2011, memorial service for the victims of the January 8, 2011, Tucson shooting."
The result? "On January 20 the University told us it had no documents responsive to our first request."
So, Judicial Watch dug deep and came up with the same result as Politifact: no White House involvement. Case closed, right?
If we are to believe this official response, there are no records showing Obama White House involvement. Not only are we curious, but we're skeptical. And we will push back a bit to ensure we're not being trifled with by yet another government entity that doesn't want to produce embarrassing documents.
Judicial Watch doesn't have any reason to believe that the university is lying to them. They don't have any reason to believe the Obama administration was involved at all. They don't have any explanation as to why the university would construct an elaborate lie about the branding's origin and withhold documents to obscure the White House's involvement.
And yet, they're sure that something fishy is going on, because... well, just because.