Attorney General Eric Holder hadn't even stepped away from the podium of his press conference about an alleged Iranian terror plot before right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, CNN contributor Dana Loesch, and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin began politicizing the announcement.
Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller took to the microphone this afternoon to deliver details about an alleged terror plot in which, according to a Justice Department press release, two individuals were "directed by elements of the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States with explosives while the Ambassador was in the United States." One of the plotters allegedly attempted to hire what he thought were members of a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the murder.
Limbaugh started smearing the event before the conference even began, telling his audience that Holder's announcement was "a great way to sidestep the fact that he's being delivered a subpoena on Fast and Furious," the failed ATF operation that is currently under DOJ and congressional investigation. Limbaugh added that the announcement was "all about" trying to give Holder "something to distract everybody away from Fast and Furious."
The press conference ended at 2:29 p.m. EST, but by 2:22 p.m., Loesch, too, was already politicizing Holder's comments on Twitter, trying to tie the alleged terrorists to Fast and Furious.
Sadly, this kind of rapid-reaction politicization of grave, apolitical events is well-worn territory for commenters on the right. Right-wing media rushed to attack the Obama administration in 2010 after an attempted New York City car bombing and reports of an attempted shoe bombing on a domestic flight over Denver. And in January 2010, Limbaugh said that President Obama wanted to use the devastating Haiti earthquake to boost credibility with the "light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country."
Tea party darling and CNN contributor Dana Loesch has decided to engage in some audacious revisionism in order to defend conservatives from criticism over the booing of a gay soldier at a Republican presidential debate.
Loesch's re-imagining concerned the Fox News-Google debate during which a question given by Stephen Hill, a gay soldier serving in Iraq, elicited audible booing from the audience. Media figures and even some Republican presidential candidates have condemned the booing.
At a fundraiser yesterday, President Obama also condemned the booing while criticizing aspects of the modern-day Republican Party:
Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republicans but are puzzled by what's happened to that party, are puzzled by what's happening to that party. I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately? You've got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change, it's true. You've got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don't have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they're gay.
Loesch responded on Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism, claiming that President Obama had deliberately lied about the booing.
As evidence that Obama was lying, Loesch linked to a previous blog post she had written, claiming that she had "thoroughly debunked" the booing story.
But her previous blog actually confirms the fact that the soldier was booed at the debate.
Right-wing media have continued to claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme." However, experts say that people who make this claim "are very wrong."
From the September 11 edition of CNN Newsroom:
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After Fox News aired a doctored version of Teamsters president James Hoffa's Labor Day speech, the right-wing media pointed to the clearly edited video to accuse Hoffa of encouraging violence against conservatives. In fact, unaltered video -- video aired by Fox hours after the clearly edited version had been heavily promoted throughout the conservative media -- shows that Hoffa was encouraging the crowd to vote against Republicans in the 2012 election.
This morning Andrew Breitbart, Dana Loesch and Mike Flynn dropped by Media Matters asking for a copy of our IRS 990 form.
Right-wing bloggers misled by dishonest Fox News video editing are attacking Teamsters President James Hoffa for supposedly urging violence against Tea Party activists during a Labor Day speech. Conservatives are also attacking President Obama, who appeared at the event, for "sanctioning violence against fellow Americans" by failing to denounce Hoffa. But fuller context included in other Fox segments makes clear that Hoffa wasn't calling for violence but was actually urging the crowd to vote out Republican members of Congress.
During the segment that the bloggers have latched onto, Fox edited out the bolded portion of Hoffa's comments:
HOFFA: Everybody here's got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much!
In an initial report on Hoffa's speech at 1 p.m. on Fox News, Ed Henry reported that Hoffa said that "we'll remember in November who's with the working people" and "said of the Tea Party and of Republicans, 'let's take these sons of bitches out.'"
Henry made clear during that segment that Hoffa's comments were references to voting out Republican members of Congress, not to violence. And roughly 20 minutes later, he explained on Twitter that the "full quote" of the "take these son of a bitches out" comment is "Everybody here's got to vote. If we go back & keep the eye on the prize, let's take these sons of bitches out":
But in a second segment that ran at roughly the same time as Henry's tweet, Fox News dishonestly edited the speech in the manner seen above. Andrew Breitbart's Big sites, Real Clear Politics, The Daily Caller, the Media Research Center, and the Drudge Report have all highlighted that footage, using it to condemn "the violence emanating from union thug bosses" and demand that Obama "denounce" the comments.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly open to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines that President Obama laid out in May in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that called for a peace agreement based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon swaps. However, when Obama made the proposal, the conservative media decried it as "potential suicide" and "the destruction of Israel."
Days before Pam Geller came under fire for "attacking the victims" of the recent Oslo attacks, radio host Dana Loesch championed Geller's "good fight" against "the jihadi mindset."
Geller, the Atlas Shrugs blogger and frequent Fox News guest, has been under the microscope since the attacks, as commenters noted that accused killer Anders Behring Breivik frequently cited fringe Islamophobic bloggers, including Geller, in his manifesto.
Geller now faces widespread condemnation after a weekend blog post in which she called the Norwegian youth camp where dozens of young people were massacred an "anti-Semitic indoctrination training center" and posted a picture of the targeted children with the caption:
Note the faces which are more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian.
Geller has subsequently scrubbed the caption from her blog post.
Salon's Glenn Greenwald has rightly called on media to stop giving Geller a platform to spew her Islamophobic hate speech in light of her most recent comments.
Indeed, despite a long history of outrageous, Islamophobic comments, Geller has long benefited from media exposure that soft-pedals or defends her hate speech - which was on full display throughout the summer of 2010 as Geller helped gin up outrage over the Park51 Islamic Community Center.
Just last week, in fact, Geller called into The Dana Show, where host Dana Loesch defended Geller, saying criticism of her hate speech and was nothing more than "extreme, baseless, bigoted, partisan attacks." Geller, Loesch claimed, was under attack and being "defamed" because she "posed such a threat to people who have supported the jihadi mindset."
From the July 18 edition of CNN Newsroom:
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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.