Fox News' Charles Krauthammer didn't like Bill Clinton's convention speech. At all.
While so many commentators, including Republicans, praised the address as perhaps the best Clinton had ever given, the conservative columnist reassured Fox News viewers that not only had former president's "self-indulgent" speech failed to soar, it had actually flopped "beyond the hall."
According to Krauthammer, Clinton made his speech extra long just to annoy Obama; just to get back at him for defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary.
It was that kind of week in the right-wing media. As Democrats gathered in Charlotte to officially nominate Obama, the conservative press tapped into its bottomless reservoir of resentment and slowly came undone, while all the time insisting the Charlotte production was a big failure.
Packed with strange public pronouncements about "slave blood," imprisoning the president, vaginas, aborting people, as well as rancid race-baiting, the right-wing Week in Review captured the unhinged element that powers the conservative movement on the eve of the final election push. And oh yeah, Fox's Dick Morris said Bill Clinton actually wants Obama defeated but won't say so because his "wife is a hostage" and "they'll kill her" if Obama loses.
The reason the meltdown matters is because of the conservative media's outsized influence within the GOP. Since Obama's inauguration, the conservative movement has become, first and foremost, a media-based one. The Republican Party and its presidential campaign now take commands from the far-right press. And don't forget, in May, Romney met for two hours with conspiracy-minded GOP bloggers to map out how the group could help his campaign.
This week, those conservative guiding lights couldn't contain their visceral contempt for all things Democratic. And they didn't even try. Rather than provide analysis (even the sharp-elbowed variety), commentators routinely stooped to embarrassing lows in an effort to tout their hatred.
There was CNN contributor Erick Erickson's off the wall, anatomical convention comparison:
CNN's Dan Loesch, wondering whether Democratic activist Sandra Fluke had been "aborted" from the convention lineup (she was not):
Conservative media figures are defending and applauding Mitt Romney for invoking at a Michigan rally the false conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States.
From the August 24 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
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From the August 21 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
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CNN contributor Dana Loesch had a meltdown on Twitter after learning that Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) was scheduled to be a guest on CNN to discuss the controversy surrounding his claim that it is "really rare" for victims of "legitimate rape" to become pregnant from the assault, despite this being one of the top news stories of the day.
CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight had announced that Monday's program would be hosting Akin -- "the biggest name of the day" and "the man everyone is talking about" -- following the Missouri Senate candidate's inflammatory comments. Upon hearing that news, Loesch took to Twitter to criticize Rep. Akin's decision to appear on her own network:
Apparently, Loesch thinks it's out of bounds for a Senate candidate and incumbent congressman to appear on a news network to discuss one of the major political news stories of the day. Loesch has been working to dismiss the ostracized congressman's outrageous comments in order to try and save face for Missouri Republicans.
By the way, Akin ended up being a no-show on Piers Morgan Tonight.
From the August 20 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
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In the wake of the controversy that erupted when Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Party's nominee for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, claimed it was "really rare" for victims of "legitimate rape" to become pregnant from the assault, CNN earned an unfortunate media distinction: Among the very few pundits I've seen defending, or trying to excuse, Akin's outrageous comments are Dana Loesch and Erick Erickson.
Both work for CNN.
This is the price CNN continues to pay for wanting so badly to be connected with representative of the right-wing press. Perhaps in search of shields to protect itself from the incessant whines about "liberal media bias," CNN's decision to legitimize the strange views of Loesch and Erickson remains a deeply misguided one.
Akin's comments about women not really being in danger of becoming pregnant during a rape because their bodies instinctively "shut that whole thing down" were so outrageous that many conservative commentators quickly condemned him, even demanding Akin step down as the Republican candidate challenging Democrat Claire McCaskill.
But not Loesch and Erickson. The CNN bloggers defiantly came to Akin's side, with Loesch claiming he had simply "failed a soundbite" trying to express a "medical statement about rape." And besides, Erickson argued Democrats are guilty of far worse crimes, like passing health care reform.
From Erickson last night:
That kind of yeah-but spin is not only juvenile, but it's completely irrelevant and embarrassing to watch. (Erickson even tried reviving an old falsehood about Obama supporting "infanticide" in order to advance his Akin spin.)
CNN contributor Erick Erickson jumped to deflect criticism from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) after Akin said that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancies. In his response, Erickson used a discredited criticism of President Obama.
Asked during a local television interview whether he would keep abortion legal in the case of rape, Akin said:
AKIN: First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work, or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
Akin has subsequently said: "In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."
Erickson responded to Akin's comments by writing:
Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, made an inarticulate and rather dumb statement about rape and abortion on television in Missouri. He subsequently clarified his remarks. Congressman Akin, like many devout Christians, does not believe in a rape exception for abortion.
Erickson later added that he'd "take Todd Akin's inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week":
Todd Akin was inarticulate. Some are now accusing him of being pro-rape. The people horrid by Todd Akin's remarks are, I'm sure, thrilled to have a President who defended infanticide. I'll take Todd Akin's inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week.
And no, this is not hyperbole. President Obama was the only member of the Illinois State Senate to speak in favor of the position that a child who survives an abortion and fully exits the womb can still be killed by the abortionist.
By using the term "infanticide supporter," Erickson was referencing a long-discredited claim that President Obama once took a pro-infanticide position.
CNN's Dana Loesch excused Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) inflammatory remarks that it's "really rare" for women subjected to "legitimate rape" to become pregnant. In a series of posts on her Twitter account, Loesch dismissed those comments, writing that "Akin was trying to fit medical explanation into a soundbite," and that he "failed a soundbite."
AKIN: First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work, or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
While discussing those comments on Twitter today, Loesch repeatedly tried to downplay Akin's remarks, accusing Akin's critics of "hypocritical overreactions," and claiming that Akin was recounting "medical explanation."
In contrast, as CNN.com reported*:
Statistics on pregnancies that result from rape are difficult to produce, since rape is a crime that often goes unreported. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, along with Planned Parenthood, each estimate that 5% of rapes lead to pregnancy. A 1996 study from the Medical University of South Carolina found the same percentage, adding that 32,101 pregnancies occurred annually from rape.
Loesch also tried to compare Akin's comments to remarks made earlier this year by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).
Right-wing media are acting as de facto political advisers for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, offering the candidate an array of advice that includes replacing his staffers, finding "his inner pit bull," and talking more about his faith.
From the August 6 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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ABC again invited CNN contributor and conservative pundit Dana Loesch to be part of its This Week roundtable, even though she has promoted a conspiracy theory that her CNN co-workers described as "McCarthy-like."
On her radio show earlier this week, Loesch promoted the fringe idea that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin "is essentially a member of the female version of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood." The comment was the subject of a letter circulated by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacking Abedin.
From the July 29 edition of ABC's This Week:
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Conservative media are defending charges leveled by Representative Michele Bachmann that the Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to infiltrate the U.S. government. However, Bachmann's attacks, including one directed at Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, have received significant bipartisan condemnation.
Last week, CNN contributor Dana Loesch claimed a State Department official has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood -- even as her CNN co-workers Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper dismissed such charges as "McCarthy-like."
On her July 19 radio show, Loesch was discussing charges initially brought by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who in June sent a series of letters to federal agencies claiming that "individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood" are influencing State Department policies. Bachmann singled out Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin -- who is also married to former Rep. Anthony Weiner -- and claimed that Abedin's family has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood; she later openly wondered how Abedin "was able to avoid being disqualified for a security clearance."
Loesch discussed Bachmann's Brotherhood infiltration theory with anti-Islam activist Brigitte Gabriel. When Gabriel said that it was "about time our government begins an investigation into the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government," Loesch agreed, saying, "Absolutely," then added:
LOESCH: Looking especially at how some of our foreign policy has been handled, Hillary Clinton essentially siding with the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt, and then it was discovered that her top aide -- Huma Abedin -- is essentially a member of the female version of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood. All of this -- it seems enough to me to pose questions as to why our government is becoming so close with a group that has been so hostile to the United States, has fought against the United States, has sided with terrorists, and is a very oppressive regime that believes in Sharia law.
Bachmann's letters have received bipartisan condemnation -- Sen. John McCain even blasted the accusations from the floor of the Senate -- for failing to support her charges with concrete evidence. Indeed, Loesch's colleagues at CNN also criticized Bachmann's charges.
On his July 17 show, host Anderson Cooper said that Bachmann's evidence was "questionable at best." He laid out her guilt-by-association claims in a graphic and said:
COOPER: So that's how many degrees of separation Bachmann's claim is based on. Huma Abedin's deceased father, who started an organization decades ago, had the support of a guy who had another organization that might have had the support of another organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. And because of that, Huma Abedin might be some sort of spy or infiltrator and deserves to be investigated.
Wolf Blitzer also dismissed Bachmann's claims, calling her charges "McCarthy-like" on the July 19 broadcast of his show. After a heated back-and-forth with Democratic lobbyist Hilary Rosen about Bachmann and her letters, Blitzer finally said, "It's an outrageous, McCarthy-like charge, to be sure, and she does owe Huma -- who I know well -- an apology."
This is not the first time Loesch has been at odds with her CNN colleagues -- in January, a number of CNN journalists criticized Loesch for praising U.S. Marines who allegedly urinated on the dead bodies of Taliban members.
Research intern Ausan Al-Eryani contributed to this item.