It took a St. Louis County jury less than 50 minutes to return a not guilty verdict in the assault trial featuring Kenneth Gladney and two union members who were charged with attacking him outside a town hall event during the tumultuous summer of 2009.
The altercation itself was regrettable and was over almost before it began: the type of heated scuffle that happens countless times everyday in this crowded country, and everyday people move on with their lives.
But because this particular clash was captured on tape, and because Tea Party members went bonkers hyping it, and because right-wing media carnival barkers like Dana Loesch and Andrew Breitbart operate with no moral compass, the Gladney story blew up overnight and became a (demented) cause celebre among hardcore conservatives who hatched a weird fantasy about run-away union violence in America, not withstanding what was captured on the Gladney tape.
It's difficult to capture just how madly the right-wing media overreacted to this story, doing its best to blow it up into a seismic, Rodney King-type of event. Fox News aired at least 20 segments mentioning Gladney, according to Nexis. Glenn Beck obsessed over the story. Breitbart penned a "I Am Kenneth Gladney" column in solidarity for the Washington Times. And CNN's Lou Dobbs played dumb on a massive scale while hosting Gladney.
In the end, all the right-wing press had to show for their efforts were not-guilty verdicts stemming from misdemeanor charges.
Normally I wouldn't waste digital ink on something this trivial, but CNN contributor and Breitbart acolyte Dana Loesch's misguided swipe at Politico yesterday is representative, I think, of the right-wing blogosphere's twisted view of the media.
Here's what Loesch wrote, under the headline "Politico's Interesting Way of Reporting Fox Hack":
Ben Smith linked to a progressive website discussing the Fox Twitter hack but made no mention of it on their website.
Fox Twitter account falsely announces Pres. Obama's assassination.
Because they made no mention that Fox's account was hacked and not that Fox simply lied, the comments are entertaining:
It's enough to beg the question whether it was done purposefully simply so such a narrative could be set.
First, matters of simple factual accuracy: Ben Smith did not write the post, Politico reporter Byron Tau did. Also, Politico published an Associated Press article on the Fox News Twitter hack several hours before Tau posted, so to claim that this was how Politico "report[ed]" the hack is misleading.
But those are minor quibbles, and if she had simply complained that Tau didn't specifically mention the hack (even though it was made clear in the Talking Points Memo article he linked to), that wouldn't have been a big deal. What's more interesting is the conclusion Loesch draws from all this: "It's enough to beg the question whether it was done purposefully simply so such a narrative could be set."
Only someone with an unhealthily warped view of the press would arrive at such a theory.
Lila Rose is back, accusing Planned Parenthood of lying about the effects a recent Indiana law would have on health-care access, without actually demonstrating anything of the sort.
Instead, Rose has demonstrated that Planned Parenthood's concerns - that women on Medicaid who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive health care would lose that access under the Indiana law denying funds to Planned Parenthood - were accurate.
The video features Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, discussing Indiana's controversial law to withhold Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood during a June CNN interview. Richards explained that she has received letters from women saying, "I can't believe that the state legislature, or the U.S. Congress is going to tell me I can't get - where I've been going to Planned Parenthood for years for my preventive care, for my birth control - and they are telling me now that I can't go to the health provider that I trust for my health."
Immediately after airing those comments, Rose played what she says is a recorded phone call to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Terre Haute, Indiana, where a woman who claimed to be a Medicaid recipient tried to schedule a preventive health-care examination. A voice, identified as belonging to a Planned Parenthood clinic worker, responded:
Right now we can't see new Medicaid people, just with the new law that's going on right now.
She then directed the caller to contact a primary care physician.
To recap: Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards warned that women would not be able to go to Planned Parenthood for preventive care if they lost their funding. Rose claimed that she has "caught on tape" a Planned Parenthood worker in Indiana saying that because of the "new law," a Medicaid recipient cannot get preventive care at Planned Parenthood. She then presented this as evidence that Planned Parenthood has been lying.
This type of deception is par for the course with anti-abortion hoaxster Lila Rose. Of course, the usual cast of right-wing media characters are once again promoting Lila Rose's false smears of Planned Parenthood.
Earlier this week, Rock and Roll legend Tom Petty requested that Michele Bachmann stop playing "American Girl" at her campaign events.
The Guardian explains:
Petty's problem appears to be with Bachmann's politics. In 2008, the singer allowed Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton to use American Girl for her unsuccessful presidential bid. But he was much less sympathetic in 2000, when Republican candidate George W Bush was discovered to be playing I Won't Back Down at his rallies. "This use has not been approved," Petty's representatives told the future president. "Any use made by you or your campaign creates, either intentionally or unintentionally, the impression that you and your campaign have been endorsed by Tom Petty, which is not true." Bush , er, backed down.
Petty's request might not be enough to stop the conservative echo chamber from turning the song into Bachmann's theme anyway.
Right-wing media have claimed that President Obama attacked Israel in his recent restatement of U.S. policy that a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 borders with agreed upon swaps. These criticisms follow a long series of falsehoods, distortions, and smears advanced by the right-wing media to claim that Obama and his administration are anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic.
Right-wing media have launched a torrent of attacks on President Obama for saying that "[w]e believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." In fact, Obama's policy is in line with statements made by former President George W. Bush, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and others.
Right-wing media unleashed a crazed onslaught after President Obama's speech on the Middle East, outrageously asserting that Obama "sided with terrorists" by saying that the 1967 borders should guide negotiations over the formation of a Palestinian state. But this position is nothing new, and American Jewish groups praised today's speech.
From the May 19 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
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From the May 19 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
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On Tuesday I noted that Philip Christofanelli -- the undergrad "whistleblower" helping Big Government go after two labor studies lecturers at the University of Missouri -- is a former James O'Keefe collaborator. It seemed like an important detail, given that video from the class somehow ended up in the splice-happy hands of Insurgent Visuals.
Anyway, it didn't take long for me to get a response from Big Government. And I have to admit, for once they scored a direct hit against Media Matters: they correctly identified a typo in my post. What they didn't do was give a direct answer to the central question: Is James O'Keefe playing a role in Project "Go After The Teachers?"
They get close to a response. They claim I'm arguing that James O'Keefe is "secretly behind the revelation of communist indoctrination," and that this is a "conspiracy theory." But that's just sneering, not a categorical denial. And if the answer to my question is "no," it'd be nice to hear them come out and say it.
After all, I don't think my question is too unreasonable. Given that he's a clear link between Christofanelli and Big Government, you can see why I might think O'Keefe has something to do with this whole smear campaign. Plus, as News Corpse first reported, someone named James O'Keefe is listed as the contributor on the now-defunct insurgentvisuals.blogspot.com. Crooks and Liars has a screenshot here. It's certainly possible that that's a different Insurgent Visuals, or a different James O'Keefe, or both. But -- and this might just be the tinfoil hat talking -- that seems like an awfully big coincidence.
So how about it, Big Government? Did Christofanelli give O'Keefe the video or not? And does O'Keefe have any connection to the group that released them to the public?
CNN's Dana Loesch is trying to pretend away the deceptive editing practices at the center of the Andrew Breitbart campaign to "go after the teachers."
Yesterday, officials at the University of Missouri-St. Louis concluded that the videos Breitbart's site Big Government used to smear two of the university's labor studies lecturers were "highly distorted through splicing and editing."
Loesch rejected their findings on her radio show today:
This story, it began with a whistleblower who got some video of some of the things that were being said in his class, sent it out to a bunch of people, and progressives freaked out. And because they went up on the Breitbart sites, of course they immediately said Andrew Breitbart has some sort of magical editing, video editing, equipment, which, I -- if it's out there, please show me where I can purchase stock, because it's just magical. Now you can get people into scenes and you can manipulate them so that say things that they can try to deny later. There is absolutely nothing that has been put out there that is out of context.
This is demonstrably false.
Earlier today, officials at the University of Missouri-St. Louis released a statement concluding that Andrew Breitbart's Big Government team used distorted and out-of-context video to smear university lecturers teaching labor studies. Breitbart editor Dana Loesch took school officials to task via Twitter:
It's not clear that Loesch - a CNN contributor - understands the difference between an excerpt, and distorted splicing and editing. Perhaps an example will help.
Take Loesch's May 6 appearance on CNN. This is an excerpt from her comments that day:
One decision, which I applaud -- I applaud the decision of the president to send in a human ops team instead of bombing the compound at Abbottabad. But I think the way you can follow this up and show that Democrats have really made a really good turn is to stop the investigation into the CIA members who are interrogating detained terrorists. At the same time, while you're celebrating the victory of the death of bin Laden, which was achieved by those interrogations.
This is distorted splicing and editing:
I applaud ... the investigation into the CIA members who are interrogating detained terrorists.
Breitbart's writers and editors have a long and shameful history peddling the latter.
As we proceed deeper into the Obama presidency, we're getting a clearer picture of just how radical some of the president's far-right adversaries are. We're starting to understand the depths to which the partisan extremists in the media will stoop, to the point where many this week seemed incapable of celebrating the execution of Osama bin Laden or extending a job well done to the White House.
That's pretty low.
The bin Laden story has provided a useful filter, or a demarcation line, within the right-wing media and has helped illustrate which strident Obama critics are still in touch with some strands of common sense and common decency, and which ones are not.
The bin Laden story has provided the minimal bar for irrational Obama haters to hop over: Toast the news that bin Laden had been killed and toast the administration for being able to accomplish the long overdue task. But it's a low bar that lots of dead-enders can't clear. (Thankfully, some conservative pundits were willing to leap over it.)
Led by Rush Limbaugh, the Washington Times, portions of Fox News, and bloggers who write for Andrew Breitbart, the dead-enders have spent this week not only refusing to credit Obama, but have been parading their contempt around in full view. The dead-enders have been attacking Obama in every way possible, from relentlessly critiquing his bin-Laden-is-dead declaration, to raising hysterical objections to the president's wreath-laying visit to Ground Zero.
A wreath-laying visit.
Phrases like 'inappropriate' barely begin to describe the oddity of watching the nasty Obama attacks unfold in response to the wonderful news about bin Laden's death.
In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death, numerous right-wing media figures have insisted that the United States would never have found him without information obtained through torture. However, there is considerable dispute among experts over whether torture played a role in developing critical intelligence that led officials to bin Laden's whereabouts.
Right-wing media continue to attack President Obama over his speech announcing that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a firefight. These attacks even include people saying that Obama should not have made the announcement himself.