We really are approaching laugh-or-cry territory when it comes to the increasingly unhinged members of Andrew Breitbart's farm system of wayward bloggers. I don't know if it's the lawsuit Breitbart and his colleague were recently hit with regarding the Shirley Sherrod smear campaign, or the realization that the beloved Pigford crusade is heading to the trash heap of history, but something has gone seriously wrong over there and the results are at times hysterically funny, and at times just creepy.
Basically, the new defense among Breitbart bloggers such as Jim Hoft and Dana Loesch is that if you accurately quote or characterize things they say and write, then you're guilty of smearing them and unleashing hit jobs. That's right, if you accurately quote them.
For instance, former Salon editor Joan Walsh appeared on Hardball this week and called out Breitbart blogger Hoft for his shocking blog post in which he clearly blamed CBS reporter Lara Logan for being sexually assaulted by an Egyptian mob.
Here was Walsh [emphasis added]:
There's a whole wave of people on the blogosphere, Gateway Pundit and Debbie Schlussel who are basically blaming Lara Logan for her — for what happened to her because she dared to go report on Islam, rather than treating it as this sexist, brutal religion.
Hoft's hysterical reaction? Note his whiny headline:
Outrageous. CNN's Anderson Cooper and Salon Editor Joan Walsh Smear Gateway Pundit & Common Sense
Forget that Cooper never even mentioned Hoft, so that part of the headline is a complete fabrication. (Surprise!) But how had Walsh smeared Hoft? She smeared him by accurately describing what he wrote on his website.
I cannot make this up.
Nor can I make up the fact that Hoft's colleague from Breitbart World, Dana Loesch, lashed out wildly at Media Matters on Twitter yesterday, accusing us of unleashing a "hitjob" on her.
What exactly did Media Matters do to formulate the dastardly "hitjob"? We published a research item quoting all the unkind things Loesch has said over the years about CNN ("biggest bunch of idiot blockheads"), while noting that CNN recently hired her to be a contributor. That's right, Media Matters accurately quoted Loesch's own words (she hasn't disputed any of it), therefore according to full-time victim Loesch, we authored a "hitjob."
When you take a step back from this intellectual pileup, the truth is these`wingers aren't even trying any more. I mean, they just make stuff up around the clock, Media Matters and others debunk their lame efforts within minutes, and instead of copping to the fabrications, or at least playing dumb, they've now adopted the insanely annoying shtick of playing victim: Not fair! You quoted our own words and published them for people to read. Bullies!
Really? I mean it. Really?
Recently-minted CNN contributor Dana Loesch claimed that breast pumps will be subject to the "massive excise tax" on medical devices under the health care reform law. In fact, the law exempts medical devices that are "generally purchased by the general public at retail for individual use."
I'm curious: Is there a lie a conservative guest could tell on CNN that would disqualify her from subsequently being hired by CNN? I ask because CNN recently hired Dana Loesch as a contributor, after Loesch repeatedly lied to CNN viewers as a guest. And I'm not talking about little white lies, I'm talking about what may be the single greatest lie in the past three decades of American history: The up-is-down claim that broad-based income tax cuts increase government revenue.
Now, before we get to Loesch, let's spend some time on just how completely, incredibly false that claim is. It's so false, we can convincingly debunk it with one arm tied behind our backs -- that is, by relying solely on the testimony of pro-tax-cut conservatives.
This Center on Budget and Policy Priorities paper notes that Edward Lazear, chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisors told the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, "I certainly would not claim that tax cuts pay for themselves." CBPP further noted that "N. Gregory Mankiw, former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors and a Harvard economics professor, wrote in his well-known 1998 textbook that there is 'no credible evidence' that 'tax revenues … rise in the face of lower tax rates.' He went on to compare an economist who says that tax cuts can pay for themselves to a 'snake oil salesman trying to sell a miracle cure.'" (Mankiw also once wrote that Reagan advisers who claimed that tax cuts would raise revenue were "charlatans and cranks." In 2007, he stood by that assessment, writing "I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don't.")
CBPP also noted that President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors concluded that, "although the economy grows in response to tax reductions … it is unlikely to grow so much that lost revenue is completely recovered by the higher level of economic activity." And that the Economist magazine wrote of the claim that President Bush's tax cuts would pay for themselves, "Even by the standards of political boosterism, this is extraordinary. No serious economist believes Mr. Bush's tax cuts will pay for themselves."
Here's Time magazine on claims that tax cuts pay for themselves: "If there's one thing that economists agree on, it's that these claims are false. We're not talking just ivory-tower lefties. Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts enacted during the past six years have not paid for themselves--and were never intended to."
Not satisfied? Alan Viard, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and formerly a senior economist in President Bush's CEA, told the Washington Post in 2006: "Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There's really no dispute among economists about that." The same Post article noted that "Robert Carroll, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax analysis, said neither the president nor anyone else in the administration is claiming that tax cuts alone produced the unexpected surge in revenue. 'As a matter of principle, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves,' Carroll said."
This FactCheck.org piece notes that the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee On Taxation both concluded that the Bush tax cuts reduced revenue, and that Rob Portman, director of Bush's Office of Management and Budget, acknowledged as much. And more: Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: "As a general rule, I don't believe that tax cuts pay for themselves." Reagan CEA Chairman Martin Feldstein: "It is not that you get more revenue by lowering tax rates, it is that you don't lose as much." Andrew Samwick, former chief economist for the CEA during the Bush administration: "No thoughtful person believes" tax cuts increase revenue, "Not a single one."
Finally, Brian Riedl, the Heritage Foundation's lead budget analyst, has acknowledged that the 2001/2003 Bush tax cuts cost $1.7 trillion of the projected surplus -- and Riedl was defending those tax cuts.
In short: Even staunchly conservative advocates for tax cuts acknowledge that they don't increase revenue -- and call people who claim otherwise "charlatans and cranks" and snake oil salesmen peddling a "miracle cure."
One such charlatan is new CNN hire Dana Loesch. Back when she was just a regular guest on CNN, she routinely claimed that tax cuts increase revenue -- and even that it is "illogical" to say that tax cuts could conceivably reduce revenue. Now, even if you somehow believe -- and, remember, no serious person does -- that until you get to zero percent taxes, every tax cut either maintains or increases revenue, you still have to acknowledge that cutting taxes to zero would reduce revenue. But Dana Loesch doesn't: She claims it's "illogical" to say that tax cuts ever reduce revenue. Here's what she has said on CNN:
From the February 17 edition of KFTK's The Dana Show:
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Last week, CNN hired Dana Loesch as a political contributor. Loesch previously called CNN "the biggest bunch of idiot blockheads," "state-run media," home to "tinfoil hats," and accused the network of having a "blatant disregard for objectivity." Loesch also wrote that Anderson Cooper got his job "by benefit of silver spoons."
From February 10 coverage of CPAC 2011:
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Last September, CNN unwittingly found themselves enmeshed in a bizarre story after correspondent Abbie Boudreau, while compiling a documentary on the emerging guerilla right-wing press, was saved from being "punked" by Andrew Breitbart protégé James O'Keefe, who allegedly had hatched a scheme to "hit on" Boudreau after luring her onto his boat. That remarkably strange incident happened not long after Breitbart released the now-infamous edited videotapes of Shirley Sherrod, which earned him widespread condemnation from all corners of the media, including CNN.
In November, after ABC invited -- and then disinvited -- Breitbart to take part in their election night coverage, Howard Kurtz, host of CNN's Reliable Sources, described Breitbart as "the conservative activist who pushed the ACORN undercover sting and posted that misleading videotape, the one that made Shirley Sherrod look like a racist," adding: "I'm not sure if Breitbart was the best choice."
CNN should by this point know better than to get involved with anything even remotely connected to Breitbart.
But it seems they haven't quite learned their lesson:
CNN is gearing up for the election season with the addition of political contributors from across the ideological spectrum. Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher, conservative commentator Will Cain, and local Tea Party leader and radio talk show host Dana Loesch will appear across the network's prime time programs, as well as other dayparts and platforms.
Loesch is the editor-in-chief of Breitbart's BigJournalism.com.
Check out this painfully poorly worded passage from Dana Loesch, who edits Andrew Breitbart's site, Big Journalism. The context is her breathless report about a progressive conference call that took place in response to the right wing's latest undercover sting campaign targeting Planned Parenthood:
The majority of the call was spent discussing ways to discredit Rose because of her funding. They surmise that some group which donates to her pro-life magazine is a group donated to by a group given money by the Koch Brothers. So says people who just cashed a $1 million-dollar check from George Soros.
For the sake of argument, assuming that the Koch Brothers (I had to Google them to see exactly what it is they do and how their name isn't pronounced like the sobriquet for phallus but rather, the soda) were as ubiquitous in activism as George Soros is publicly, the greatest irony has befallen our senior fellows who hate big business and personal wealth so much: they are willing pawns in a battle between frillionaires.
So according to Loesch, she had to Google "the Koch Brothers" within the last 24 hours to see "what it is they do." That is a rather astounding admission from someone who's an editor of a political website.
Behold "conservative journalism."
In the wake of the tragic shootings in Arizona, several right-wing media figures have attacked Pima County Sheriff Dupnik for calling for an end to vitriolic rhetoric while discussing the shooting. However, the right-wing media repeatedly praised a different Arizona sheriff, Paul Babeu, who regularly engages in vitriolic attacks against President Obama and Democrats.
We already noted that Andrew Breitbart blogger Dana Loesch posted the confused claim that the New York Times, among others, "underreported" the Tea Party story last year, when in fact the Times managed to publish more than 1,000 articles and columns mentioning the Tea Party in 2010.
Well, look what else appeared on Loesch's soggy list of stories the biased mainstream media have ignored:
Obama's sagging popularity
Gosh darn it, why won't the press cover "Obama's sagging popularity"?!
Possible answer: Because when a president's approval rating remains essentially constant over a 12-month span, there's not much of a news story to cover. But that's just me thinking out loud.
Sadly for Loesch, her latest post appears on the same day that Obama climbs to a 50 percent approval rating at Gallup. But Loesch wants to know why the press won't cover Obama's sagging popularity.
Whining about the stories that the evil, partisan mainstream media supposedly didn't cover last year, Andrew Breitbart blogger Dana Loesch actually put this one on her list of the woefully "underreported" in 2010:
The ever-growing power and influence of the tea party
According to Loesch, you didn't see the New York Times or NBC cover the Tea Party last year.
Except that, of course, you did.
Both the New York Times and NBC, along with virtually every other mainstream news outlet, relentlessly covered the Tea Party to the point of utter exhaustion. Just how often? According to Nexis, the Times published more than 1,000 articles and columns that mentioned "Tea Party," while NBC managed to air roughly 400 Tea Party reports last year.
But aside from that, Dana Loesch is definitely correct that the Times and NBC ignored the Tea Party story in 2010.
For the second year in a row, right-wing media have complained that Time magazine did not choose the Tea Party as Person of the Year, despite the fact that the Tea Party was chosen as one of four "Runners-Up."
As Media Matters noted earlier today, after she reportedly tried to give Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul a fake award last night, MoveOn activist Lauren Valle was wrestled to the ground by Paul supporters and repeatedly stomped on by one of them, later identified as Rand Paul campaign volunteer Tim Profitt. The incident quickly started a blame war in the conservative blogosphere.
Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit called Valle an "unhinged leftist" and blamed her for having "stalk[ed]" Paul, later acknowledging that it was "over the line to put a shoe on her head and shoulder." Both Hoft and Sweetness and Light offered flimsy opposition research on Valle, pointing out her appearance at protests and her Gulf oil spill activism on behalf of Greenpeace.
Today on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh also shifted the blame onto Valle and MoveOn, asking "What if somebody from MoveOn had tried to move through the crowd and give something to President Obama? What would the Secret Service have done?" Limbaugh called Valle a "professional agitator," and claimed that reports of the assault were exaggerations, saying: "Her head was not stepped on, her shoulders were." Limbaugh also made sure to note Valle's activism with regards to Citibank, Tibet, and the Gulf oil spill.
Big Journalism.com editor Dana Loesch has also chimed in, tweeting: "So let me get this right. Another paid Soros activist tries to incite violence at debate, was restrained. MoveOn owes apology."
The right-wing media bluster comes despite a consensus among those involved that the assailants acted in the wrong. Profitt has apologized; the Paul campaign removed him from his volunteer position as Bourbon County campaign coordinator; Paul himself today appeared on Fox News, saying, "I don't want anybody to be involved in things that aren't civil."
New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino recently said he didn't want children "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option" as "getting married and raising a family." Right-wing pundits have since defended his remarks, calling his comments "dead on the money," "defensible," and "[not] bad at all."
According to Andrew Breitbart's website Big Journalism, Dana Loesch is now the site's editor. And yes, it's a perfect fit because Big Journalism exists as an open forum for right-wing misinformation about the press (as opposed to a site that produces actual journalism), and Loesch has made a name for herself within the RW blogosphere by making stuff up. (She does the same on the AM dial.)
Like, constantly making stuff up and never bothering to hold herself accountable for the endless lies and smears she produces online. And just basically making a mockery out of the idea of journalism.
So congratulations Andrew Breitbart! You found the perfect person to run your site.
(h/t St. Louis Activist Hub)