A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
In his nationally syndicated column, echoing Rush Limbaugh's assertion that "if you look" at Sen. Barack Obama's legislative record, "you won't find a Senate bill with this name on it," Cal Thomas wrote that Obama has "no legislation he can point to that has his name on it." In fact, Obama was the primary sponsor of a bill in the 109th Congress to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo," signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, and has so far introduced 55 bills in the current session of Congress.
On Fox News Watch, Cal Thomas asserted that questions surrounding the Bush administration's firing of eight U.S. attorneys "didn't surface in October " because "the left in the media -- but I repeat myself -- had enough scandal going with Mark Foley and a bunch of other stuff, they didn't need this." In fact, by October 2006, only one of the U.S. attorneys had been dismissed; the other seven were not dismissed until December 7, 2006, a month after the November midterm elections.
Loading the player leg...
Cal Thomas is the latest conservative figure to use the TV show 24 to forecast a nuclear attack on the United States. Conservatives have also looked to the TV series for justification of aggressive interrogation procedures.
On January 17, InsightMag.com posted a story stating that Sen. Barack Obama attended a madrassa as a boy and that this information had originated from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp. With the aid of the conservative media, InsightMag.com's anonymously sourced report turned into 11 days of baseless accusations against two leading contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
In his column, Cal Thomas wrote that the website FactCheck.org had "looked into the substance" of a recent ad criticizing Sen. George F. Allen (R-VA) and "found none." But Media Matters has documented errors in FactCheck's analysis of the ad.
Loading the player leg...
In his column, Fox News' Cal Thomas claimed that Ned Lamont's victory over Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary "completes the capture of the Democratic Party by its Taliban wing." Thomas explained that they are called the "Taliban Democrats because they are willing to 'kill' one of their own, if he does not conform to the narrow and rigid agenda of the party's kook fringe."
Many of the same media conservatives who continually attacked The New York Times for publishing details of the Treasury Department's bank-tracking program have remained silent about the New York Daily News' decision to report that FBI officials thwarted an alleged terrorist plot in New York City, despite apparent objections from intelligence and law enforcement officials that the disclosure impeded further arrests.
Numerous conservative commentators joined the Bush administration in arguing that, in detailing a secret Treasury Department program designed to monitor terrorists' international financial transactions, a June 23 New York Times article tipped off terrorists to the U.S. government's ability to track their financial activities -- some going so far as to accuse the newspaper of treason. But the Times report was hardly the first indication of U.S. efforts to monitor terrorists' financial transactions: President Bush himself repeatedly touted the government's capability to track and shut down terrorists' international financial networks.