Fox News contributor and conservative columnist Cal Thomas promoted the popular right-wing talking point that marriage equality would create a slippery slope toward polygamy and marriage with children, despite the fact that this myth has been consistently disproven.
In a March 12 column for FoxNews.com on "what we ought to be asking gay marriage advocates," Thomas posed the question - if same-sex marriage is legalized, what reason can be given for denying polygamous marriages or marriages with underage children?:
What advocates for same-sex marriage should be asked is whether they consider any other human relationship worthy of similar constitutional protection and based on what standard? The Constitution doesn't guarantee the right to marry. States, not the federal government, issue marriage licenses.
Current laws restrict "underage" marriage, as well as polygamy. If same-sex marriage is approved, what's to stop polygamists from demanding legal protection and cultural acceptance?Justice Antonin Scalia predicted as much in 2003 in his dissent of the Lawrence v. Texas case, in which the Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas. So I ask, if "fairness" and "equality" are the standard, isn't it also "unfair" to "discriminate" against polygamists who wish to live in "loving" and "committed" relationships?
Since we are rapidly discarding the rules for living and social order set down in a book found in most motel room drawers, what is to replace it? Opinion polls? Clever legal arguments? Fairness? What exactly does "fairness" mean and who decides what's fair? Many things may seem "unfair," but not all can, or should, be addressed by courts. [emphasis added]
Right-wing pundits frequently use former President Ronald Reagan's name to apply a stamp of approval on anything or anyone they deem symbolic of the ideal conservative -- even when Reagan's actual record on issues ranging from taxes to the deficit deviated far from the ideological standards of today's conservative movement.
Republican darling du jour Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) is the latest to receive the Reagan badge. Ahead of his delivery of the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address, Karl Rove said Monday that "in Rubio, the Republicans have got probably one of their best communicators since Ronald Reagan." On MSNBC's Morning Joe, The Daily Caller's Matt Lewis called Rubio "Reaganesque." And in November 2012, pundit Cal Thomas published a column on Townhall.com titled, "Marco Rubio: A Hispanic Reagan?"
Rubio is just the latest in a long line of Republican politicians to receive the ubiquitous accolade:
Mitt Romney: Fox News figures repeatedly linked former presidential candidate Romney to the Gipper during both opinion and news shows in the months leading up to the 2012 election. Bill O'Reilly said that Romney "is going to mirror the ghost of Ronald Reagan," while political correspondent Carl Cameron said Romney, on his bus tour, spent a lot of time "sort of echoing Ronald Reagan."
Rep. Paul Ryan (WI): Fox News figures from K.T. MacFarland to Megyn Kelly compared Ryan to Reagan as part of their cheerleading for Ryan after he was chosen as Romney's vice presidential candidate.
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ): Fox Nation highlighted a column by the director of the American Enterprise Institute with the headline, "Christie's Starting to Look Like Reagan."
Sarah Palin: A post on Breitbart's BigJournalism.com said that Palin "carries the torch of liberty and American exceptionalism in the palm of her lovely hand" before calling her the "surviving embodiment of the spirit of 1776 and the Reagan reformation."
Gov. Scott Walker (WI): On Sean Hannity's Fox show, conservative radio host Mike Gallagher called Walker "the Ronald Reagan of our time."
Gov. Bob McDonnell (VA): Karl Rove, on Hannity's show, called Virginia governor Bob McDonnell "a Reaganite conservative."
Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA): In February 2008, Rush Limbaugh called Jindal "the next Ronald Reagan."
Right-wing media figures have splashed the "Reagan" label about so freely that they're in danger of rendering the compliment meaningless.
From the November 10 edition of Fox News' Fox News Watch:
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From the April 28 edition of Fox News Watch:
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Following GOP strategy, Fox News is again blaming the Obama administration for rising gasoline prices -- a claim that has been repeatedly debunked by energy analysts. But back in the summer of 2008, when the average U.S. gasoline price hit a record high of $4.11, Fox said that "no President has the power to increase or to lower gas prices."
In 2008, Fox's coverage occasionally even mirrored the facts: expanding domestic oil drilling will not significantly lower prices, and the only way to reduce our vulnerability to gas price spikes is to use less oil. Perhaps there was more room for reality-based coverage at Fox when there wasn't an incumbent president to defeat?
In case you missed it, here's how Fox is covering gas prices now:
During his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, Cal Thomas cracked that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow "is the best argument in favor of her parents using contraception. I would be all for that. And all of the rest of the crowd at MSNBC, too, for that matter" (h/t Think Progress).
Maddow responded to Thomas' comment on her show Thursday night: "Mr. Fox News person speaking there, I am sorry that you feel that way about me, that you wish I had never been born. Personally, I'm glad that you were born. Otherwise, how would Republicans get the special Fox News bat signal that it's time to be outraged now, about what used to be Republicans' own policy idea?"
In addition to being a syndicated columnist, Thomas is a regular panelist on Fox News' "media criticism" show, Fox News Watch. In 2012, he has appeared on the January 14, January 28, and February 4 editions of the weekly show.
Thomas' comment was so offensive that at least one of his Fox News co-workers has called for him to apologize. On her Gretawire blog, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren wrote: "Cal Thomas needs to pick up the phone and make a personal call to Rachel Maddow. Then he needs to publicly apologize."
Does Van Susteren's criticism portend Fox News itself sanctioning Thomas for his ugly remarks about Maddow? We shall see.
From the January 28 edition of Fox News' Fox News Watch:
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From the November 14 edition of FoxNews.com's FoxNews.com Live:
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Citing Virginia's $500 million budget surplus, Washington Examiner columnist Cal Thomas claimed that the federal government should "emulate" Virginia Governor McDonnell's fiscal policies. In fact, under McDonnell, the state of Virginia received more than $2.7 billion in funds through the federal Recovery Act, and even The Wall Street Journal has pointed out that Virginia used "budget tricks to make the surplus appear larger than it really is."
Following the July 22 attack on Norway's Utoya Island by Anders Breivik, right-wing personalities have begun to advocate for more lenient gun laws, claiming that "if somebody did [have a gun], they might have been able to take this crazy guy out before he did all of this damage." In fact, Norway, despite having stricter laws on handgun ownership than the United States, has a much lower rate of deaths related to gun homicides.
In a July 11 Washington Examiner column titled, "Obama, Democrats make war on the sucessful," conservative columnist Cal Thomas attacked President Obama and liberal Democrats for "class warfare," and wrote that Obama "seems determined to punish and discourage success and the hard work, risk-taking and values by which one must live in order to attain it." From the Examiner:
This president, more than any other in my lifetime, seems determined to punish and discourage success and the hard work, risk-taking and values by which one must live in order to attain it.
He blasts people who fly on private planes, though he flies on Air Force One, the ultimate private plane, which taxpayers pay for. He doesn't like yachts, or specifically the people who can afford to buy them. And yet the people who make the private planes and yachts have jobs precisely because others have achieved a level of success that enables them to afford such luxury.
Recall during the administration of President George H.W. Bush when congressional Democrats persuaded Bush to sign a bill increasing the luxury tax on yachts in exchange for a promise -- later broken -- to reduce spending.
The result was fewer people bought yachts, boat builders were laid off and Congress later repealed the tax hike. Don't liberal Democrats ever learn economic principles, or does their class warfare trump all else?
Wealth is a sign of achievement, a reward for risks taken. And being poor is not a crime, unless those in poverty refuse to strive to overcome it.
That's the message this president should be broadcasting, not one that trashes success and promotes class division and envy of the successful.
From FoxNews.com's "Behind the Breaks" video of the July 2 edition of Fox News' Fox News Watch:
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In a June 13 op-ed in The Washington Examiner, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas claimed that "Palin, along with Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.," get a lot of media attention because they "represent everything the liberal media hate: They are attractive women who are married to the same men they started with." He went on to write: "In Palin's case, she and her husband have a Down syndrome child, which she refused to abort. Right there you have enough to offend pro-choice feminists, who treat abortion as a sacrament."
From the op-ed:
ABC News, which, in partnership with the Daily Beast website, offered breathless updates of the email dump, lumped Palin in with Donald Trump as a "sideshow." If she's a sideshow, why are they paying her the kind of attention normally reserved for a main attraction?
The answer is that Palin, along with Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who is considering a presidential run, represent everything the liberal media hate: They are attractive women who are married to the same men they started with. They think big government is the problem, not the solution to our problems. They are pro-life and, gasp, believe in God.
In Palin's case, she and her husband have a Down syndrome child, which she refused to abort. Right there you have enough to offend pro-choice feminists, who treat abortion as a sacrament and appear to have no problem with eliminating the "defective," as was the case with their patron "saint," Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
The big media, rather than being honest brokers in the process of selecting the next president, see themselves as players. Many regard themselves as kingmakers, or in Palin's case, "queen destroyers." Increasing numbers of the public regard their arrogance with disdain.
In the year leading up to and following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the right-wing media engaged in a campaign to spread fear about what could happen if health care reform passed. One year after the health care reform was signed into law, Media Matters looks back at the most egregious attempts by the right-wing media to scare the American public into opposing the legislation.