With Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton facing a barrage of criticisms over the tone of her voice during a recent speech, Media Matters looks back at the rampant sexism she faced from the media during her 2008 presidential bid.
Breitbart News contributor Jeremy Segal spoke at a conference promoting birtherism and other conspiracy theories on Thursday, July 19. Segal also received an award from event organizer Cliff Kincaid, inscribed "our nation gives thanks" for Segal's work in the conservative movement.
Roughly 40 people attended the conference, entitled "The Vetting: Obama, Radical Islam and the Soros Connection," which took place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The conference, which Kincaid promoted through the website leninandsharia.com, purported to expose the supposed communist roots of President Obama and those around him, as well as communism's purported connection to radical Islam and the threat that conspiracy poses to American security.
Kincaid told attendees that he was working on an anti-Obama film, The Unvetted. Breitbart.com has frequently claimed that President Obama hasn't been properly scrutinized by the media and has devoted a series of posts branded "THE VETTING" to accomplish the job.
CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson received an award last month from the right-wing group Accuracy in Media, which is best known for peddling wild conspiracy theories. Christopher Isham, CBS vice president and Washington bureau chief, accepted the award in person on her behalf. Attkisson and Isham accepted AIM's award despite news experts warning that Attkisson's credibility would be harmed by doing so.
Since then, AIM has returned to doing what it does best: promoting conspiracy theories. And AIM's Cliff Kincaid has a doozy in his March 26 "special report": He asserts it "has to be seriously considered" that Army Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians, may have been a sort of Manchurian candidate who was working with the Taliban. Kincaid writes that the "rampage had the earmarks of somebody programmed or manipulated to kill."
More from Kincaid:
What can be safely assumed at this point is that the anti-American narrative that the U.S. was backing Bales with a squad of soldiers in a deliberate conspiracy to massacre civilians is almost certainly a conspiracy theory that is part of a global attempt to convince the world of the opposite of what really happened.
Which means that another theory -- that Bales engaged in the killings, with the help of the Taliban, in order to accelerate an American withdrawal -- has to be seriously considered.
There is no direct evidence at this stage for the theory of Bales as an enemy agent or dupe. But Bales' attorney says he has seen "no forensic evidence" and there have been "no confessions" to support the Army's case. The fact is that so little is known about the killings that both sides of the story -- the one told by the U.S. Army and the one told by anti-American foreign propagandists -- have to be questioned.
If the enemy recruited Bales and then helped him carry out the massacre, so it could be blamed on the U.S., then we gain an additional important insight into the brutal nature of those who want the U.S. to leave so they can take over. Staging a massacre and blaming it on the Americans is something that makes sense, if we examine what is already known about the killings.
Consider that the enemy has infiltrated and recruited among members of the Afghan Army. Is it so far-fetched to believe that an American soldier was recruited as well? Perhaps he was not converted to Islam. But he may have had his outlook on the war completely twisted by the propaganda telling him that he is a member of an occupying force that has to leave the country.
Kincaid goes on to state that "a cover-up may be underway, intended to obscure the nature of the apparent brainwashing that Bales underwent at some point in his military career."
Are Attkisson, Isham, and CBS still proud to have received that award from AIM?
While CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson attends the far-right Conservative Political Action Conference this week to accept an award from the far-far-right group, Accuracy In Media, perhaps she will have extra time to take in some of the discussions scheduled to take place.
According to the posted agenda, these will be among the CPAC offerings Attkisson could sit in on:
-"How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America"
-"Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department"
-"Obama vs. The Constitution: How a Harvard Law Graduate President Is Shredding the Constitution"
Fascinating topics, no doubt.
Of course, last year CPAC made news when it banned the conservative gay group, GOProud, from being a conference sponsor in 2012. GOProud's inclusion in 2011 prompted angry boycotts from social conservative groups. AIM itself has a long and disturbing history of publishing columns condemning gays and their "sympathizers" as subversive agents of death.
There really is no cockamamie conspiracy AIM hasn't pursued over the years, including its pathetic attempts to promote the "cover-up" surrounding the death of Clinton aide Vince Foster.
Which reminds me, when Attkisson has finished her ten-minute award ceremony remarks for the appreciative CPAC audience, maybe she'll get a chance to ask Cliff Kincaid, director of AIM's Center for Investigative Journalism, about all the reporting he's done on President Obama's birth certificate.
In case Attkisson hasn't had time to read up, here's a sample of Kincaid's penetrating birther analysis:
-"Anybody who has an original copy of their own birth certificate, or a certified copy of their own original birth certificate, should immediately understand that the Obama version is lacking in basic information that should be publicly available."
You get the idea, even if CBS News does not: Sending a straight news reporter to an Obama-bashing conference to receive an award from a proud birther organization is a very, very bad idea, and one that will do needless damage to CBS' reputation.
As Media Matters accurately noted this week, AIM represents a "cesspool of hate and conspiracy theories." That's not hyperbole. That's the documented truth; go read for yourself.
So that's a problem in terms of CBS News maintaining its reputation as an honest news broker. But that's not all. When you add onto that the myriad of loony conspiracy theories that AIM has pushed, the Attkisson decision makes even less sense. And when you top it off with the fact that AIM represented an engine that helped drive the blind idiocy behind the birther charade, then you really have to wonder what CBS News is trying to accomplish this week at CPAC.
According to a network spokesperson, "CBS News journalists are regularly honored by a broad spectrum of organizations for their outstanding original reporting." That makes sense and I'm sure it's true. But at some point common sense ought to come into play.
Here's a simple, hypothetical question for CBS News executives: Eight years ago, would you have allowed a straight news reporter to accept an award from a radical left-wing group that dedicated untold hours trying to document how the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attacks? And would you have allowed your straight news reporter to receive the award, and to address an appreciative crowd, at a national conclave of Bush-hating nut jobs?
I didn't think so.
Before the Senate unanimously confirmed Leon Panetta to head the Department of Defense last month, there was a notable smear simmering in the right-wing fever swamp: Leon Panetta may be a communist.
The story began with a column by Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media, which hinged on "a close and personal relationship" Panetta supposedly had "with a member of the Communist Party by the name of Hugh DeLacy."
With gasoline prices nearly $1/gallon higher than they were a year ago, some media outlets -- echoing Republican politicians -- have sought to place the blame on the Obama administration's energy policies, pointing to the temporary ban on deep-water drilling (but not production) imposed for several months following the BP oil spill. It's an easy enough claim to make: Obama restricted oil drilling, and now prices are higher. The only problem is that no credible economists -- including those who favor expanded U.S. drilling -- will say this claim is valid.
But the Media Research Center is so certain of Obama's culpability that its Business and Media Institute produced a study criticizing network news outlets for failing to blame Obama's drilling policies while reporting on high gas prices. From the study:
Out of 280 oil price stories since the disastrous pill, just 1 percent (3 out of 280) mentioned any connection between Obama's anti-oil efforts, such as the drilling moratorium, and rapidly rising gas prices.
Instead of asking whether Obama's anti-oil policies could be increasing the cost of gas, the networks blamed other factors such as Mideast turmoil or the "money game" played by speculators. Certainly, the turmoil in Libya, Egypt and surrounding nations has increased worries about oil production and can influence the price. But the networks also should have looked for explanations much closer to home.
MRC president Brent Bozell appeared on Fox News to promote the study, saying that "drilling is down 13 percent in the last year -- down 13 percent in the last year. That is a huge, huge contributor to the problem that we have now of rising gas prices." He said "huge" twice, which is almost like providing support for his claim.
According to its website, the MRC's Business and Media Institute exists to give journalists "a helping hand to have an informed understanding of our nation's free enterprise system."
So how's that going?
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid devoted his January 9 column to defending the publication American Renaissance from accusations made about it in a law enforcement memo cited by Fox News regarding Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner. According to Kincaid, American Renaissance is merely a "conservative" group that is "politically incorrect because of its criticism of racial preference and 'diversity' programs and immigration policies that weaken the strength of a country." Kincaid added that "there is no evidence that American Renaissance by any objective standard is a racist organization. It does deal with racial issues. But so does the Congressional Black Caucus."
The Anti-Defamation League calls American Renaissance a "white supremacist journal" that "promotes pseudoscientific studies that attempt to demonstrate the intellectual and cultural superiority of whites and publishes articles on the supposed decline of American society because of integrationist social policies." As we've documented, American Renaissance and its editor, Jared Taylor, are very much obsessed with race. Taylor has declared that we don't "need more Hispanics" and attacked Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for not "pronouncing her name the way an American would."
While calling itself an advocate for "race realism," American Renaissance has made clear that it claims to speak for whites, writing in its inaugural 1991 issue introducing the publication that "Fifty years ago, the United States had an unmistakable national and cultural core. In another half century, if whites continue to cooperate in their own dispossession, this nation will have no core and no identity." The publication added, "We cannot expect Mexican immigrants, Vietnamese refugees, or militant blacks to care if Shakespeare disappears from our schools or if the Jefferson Memorial falls into decay." It also stated that "blacks and Hispanics are, compared to whites, far more likely to be poor, illiterate, on welfare, or in jail; they are far more likely to have illegitimate children, be addicted to drugs, or have AIDS. By no definition of international competitiveness can the presence of these populations be anything but a disadvantage."
Further, Taylor is on the editorial advisory board of the Citizens Informer, published by the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor to the White Citizens Councils of the segregationist South. The Council states on its website that they "oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called 'affirmative action' and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races."
In his defense of American Renaissance, Kincaid also noted its upcoming conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here are some of the scheduled conference speakers:
Now, Kincaid isn't exactly known for anything remotely resembling journalism; while he has a college degree in it, it's not what he has spent his career practicing. In addition to the above-linked homophobic rants, Kincaid has embraced birtherism, smeared Ted Kennedy by claiming he likely engaged in "a drunken orgy" on the night of the Chappaquiddick incident, and speculated about Hillary Clinton's supposed lesbianism. He's also shown a tendency to ignore facts that conflict with his far-right agenda.
As far as AIM's own respect for journalism is concerned, one need only look to the AIM website's publication of a blog post falsely smearing Obama administration official Kevin Jennings as a "pedophile" who is "teaching 14-year-old boys the dangerous sexual practice of 'fisting.' " AIM had no choice but to delete the post and apologize, but not before spreading even more smears about Jennings.
So, yeah, the idea of Kincaid leading something related to "investigative journalism," and AIM operating it, is pretty much a joke.
From a May 25 column by Cliff Kincaid of the group Accuracy in Media:
Corporal Klinger and the Barney Frank Brigade
The MASH television spectacle of Corporal Klinger wearing women's dresses to get out of the military may now give way to the Pentagon actually permitting transgendered male soldiers to openly wear women's military uniforms. This is what repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," could mean.
While some might scoff at the idea of transgendered soldiers ever serving in the Armed Forces, the transgendered are an essential component of the so-called LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) community pushing repeal of the military's homosexual exclusion policy.
Don't forget that the Obama Administration has already claimed credit for the first openly transgendered appointee to the federal bureaucracy -- a man/woman at the Commerce Department named Mitchell/Amanda Simpson.
While it is tempting to think that the only damage that would be done would be the turning of our once-feared military into a global laughingstock, there are important national security and health implications to the homosexualization of the Armed Forces.
As a result of the repeal of DADT, thousands of straight and healthy soldiers will probably leave in disgust and dismay, while tens of thousands more will choose never to sign up. Our military will end up in shambles, the war against Islamic fascism would be jeopardized, and a draft would be required to fill the ranks with soldiers reporting to the male homosexuals already there and in command positions. They will demand sexual favors to rise in the ranks, creating even more problems down the road. It is a recipe for national suicide.
But don't think this would only affect the Armed Forces, as important as they are. Lifting the ban on gay blood potentially affects millions of people who may have to access the nation's blood supply because of accidents or illnesses that they suffer. Those absolutely dependent on blood transfusions to survive, the hemophiliacs, would face immediate risk of death.
Memorial Day is always a sad occasion, as we remember what our veterans have accomplished, in order to keep us free. It would undermine their sacrifices and dishonor their memories if the homosexual lobby succeeds in its battle this week, with the help of the media, in transforming the Armed Forces into a playground for their perverted sexual practices and incubator for their deadly and dangerous diseases.
From a March 3 Accuracy in Media "AIM Report" by Cliff Kincaid:
THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) STILL BANS MALE HOMOSEXUALS FROM donating blood because they are notorious disease carriers. This fact was pointed out by Bryan Fischer, the director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at American Family Association, in a column arguing that homosexual behavior should be outlawed because it is a public health threat. He also points out that most of those getting AIDS are male homosexuals. Yet President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates want the military to admit these people into the ranks, to live in close quarters and even bathe with normal heterosexual service personnel.
Cliff Kincaid has another anti-gay screed up at Accuracy in Media endorsing the proposed anti-gay law in Uganda, this time going after Kathleen Parker's recent Washington Post column for daring to criticize a law Kincaid has aggressively defended. Kincaid denigrates Parker by claiming she is "[l]osing complete control of her senses," doing "her best imitation of lesbian MSNBC-TV commentator Rachel Maddow " and suggests she wrote her column out of "her eagerness to please those who syndicate her column and quote her approvingly in the liberal press."
Kincaid has added more misleading claims to his arsenal. He asserts that "[t]here is a myth that AIDS in Africa has been spread exclusively through heterosexual conduct." That's a red herring - he offers no examples of anyone making the claim that HIV has been spread "exclusively through heterosexual conduct." What has been claimed (as we recently did) is the documented fact that, historically, HIV transmission in Uganda and much of Africa has been spread mostly through heterosexual and mother-to-child conduct. Kincaid offers no evidence that this has significantly changed.
Kincaid then writes:
But the internationally acclaimed medical journal The Lancet last August published the first scientific study showing that male homosexuals are more often than not infected with HIV than the general adult population in sub-Saharan Africa. The study is titled, "Men who have sex with men and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa."
But the Lancet study is about a lot more than how many homosexuals in Africa have AIDS, which Kincaid curiously fails to mention -- perhaps because it undermines his anti-gay crusade. First of all, it further debunks Kincaid's suggestion that heterosexual HIV transmission is a "myth," stating: "Notwithstanding the lack of reliable population data about African MSM [men who have sex with men], the proportion of current HIV incidence attributable to MSM is estimated to be as high as 20% in some west African countries." That leaves 80 percent that is attributable to something else -- in other words, heterosexual and mother-to-child transmission.
The Lancet then points to reasons why there is a high incidence of HIV among gays in Africa:
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid has emerged as perhaps the most full-throated defender of Uganda's proposed anti-gay law, which adds Draconian penalties -- including death -- for alleged crimes related to homosexuality. Most recently, Kincaid has been portraying the views of a pair of anti-gay activists in Uganda as representative of all 30.9 million Ugandans, though without offering any evidence that this is the case.
In a February 3 column headlined "Uganda Confronts 'Loud-mouthed Homosexual Lobby,'" Kincaid claims that a "leading pro-family activist in Uganda says that Christians in that East African country need help resisting the schemes of the international homosexual lobby." This person is the only one he quotes. This was followed by a February 5 column headlined "Uganda Rejects Obama's Pro-Homosexual 'Change,'" in which, again, only one person is quoted, "Ugandan Christian minister Martin Ssempa." Kincaid doesn't mention that Ssempa has been screening images of gay pornography in Uganda to whip up support for the bill.
In the February 5 column, Kincaid writes: "Accuracy in Media's review of coverage of the so-called 'Kill the Gays' bill in Uganda finds that it has been completely one-sided, inaccurate, and distorted beyond belief. Contrary to press accounts, the legislation is not designed to kill homosexuals but discourage and punish homosexual practices which spread disease and death. Christians in Uganda are trying to build a culture of life and avoid the sexual perversions which have devastated families in the U.S."
In fact, one of the offenses of "aggravated homosexuality" that would warrant a death penalty in the bill is being a "serial offender," which the bill defines as "a person who has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences." In other words, if you were convicted of previous homosexual behavior -- or even one of the "related offences" such as "failure to disclose" homosexual acts or "conspiracy to engage in homosexuality" -- and were convicted of it again, you could be put to death.
While there has been much discussion of amending the bill, it has not yet been amended. So as the bill currently stands, despite Kincaid's insistence, mere homosexual behavior is a capital offense under the bill, meaning that it will, in fact, "kill the gays."
There are other things Kincaid doesn't mention -- for instance, the fact that the bill applies to Ugandans not living in the country. He's also quiet about another inconvenient fact: In Uganda, HIV has historically been spread mostly through heterosexual or mother-to-child contact.
It seems that, when it comes to his own writing, Kincaid doesn't believe in fulfilling the promise of his employer's name.
From Cliff Kincaid's January 15 Accuracy in Media column, headlined "Homosexual Imperialists Target Uganda":
Homosexual media activists in the U.S. such as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post have falsely depicted the bill in Uganda as an effort to kill homosexuals. In fact, it is designed to save lives by restricting dangerous homosexual practices, including pedophilia, child rape, and the deliberate spreading of the AIDS virus. The controversial death penalty provision, which even some pro-family activists in the U.S. find objectionable, is for crimes of "aggravated homosexuality."
Capehart has said that Uganda, which is heavily dependent on foreign aid, should be deprived of foreign assistance if the bill becomes law. Capehart and some foreign homosexuals are clamoring for the bill to be withdrawn from the Ugandan Parliament or vetoed if passed.
Pressure on Uganda to abandon the pro-family legislation is also being applied by open homosexual Democratic Reps. Barney Frank (Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (Wisc.), and Jared Polis (Col.). On the Senate side, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee's subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, has warned Uganda it could lose favorable trading status if it proceeds with the legislation. Wyden contends that homosexuality is an international human right.
That should put to rest any doubts that right-wing media figures own the conservative movement and by extension the Republican Party.
Politico's Michael Calderone reported yesterday that Beck said of his selection, "CPAC is my kind of people." An astute observation to be sure given the wing-nuttery on display at CPAC gatherings in years past:
What is unclear however is where Beck came up with the following notion: "CPAC is, I think they're as angry at the Republicans as I am."
If that is true, someone really needs to tell CPAC. Here is just a sampling of the GOP big-wigs past and present invited to speak at this year's conference (from the conference website):
Former Republican Senator and Bush-era Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Bush-era Ambassador John Bolton, Republican Senator John Barrasso, Republican Senator Tom Coburn, Republican Senator Jim DeMint, Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, Republican Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, Republican Congressman Ron Paul, Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, Republican Governor Rick Perry, former Republican Governor Mitt Romney, Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio and former Republican Senator Rick Santorum.
Some may have expected newly minted Fox News contributor and half-term former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to take the role as keynote rather than Beck. Well, apparently CPAC doesn't pay its speakers unlike the National Tea Party Convention.