Right-wing media figures have attacked Obama for everything from wearing sandals to putting mustard on a hamburger. Next in the hit parade: a photo that seemed to show that Obama had put his "own image on [a] basketball." But Obama did no such thing -- the basketballs were a gift from NBA and WNBA players visiting for the White House Easter Egg Roll.
After ABC News published a story about the basketball players' visit, conservative media suggested that the accompanying photo showed presidential narcissism. Fox Nation linked to the ABC article with the headline, "Hoopster in Chief Puts Own Image on Basketball":
In a post on Michelle Malkin's blog, Doug Powers posted the ABC photo and wrote:
President Obama got a big bounce on Monday. Actually, a whole bunch of bounces.
It's always important to teach kids that one of the keys to good sportsmanship is modesty.
But Obama didn't order the basketballs himself. As an update to the ABC article states, "[T]he balls were supplied by the NBA/WNBA players at the event."
Once again, the right-wing media are working hard to create a controversy where none exists. This time, they're attacking President Obama for telling Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" to negotiate on the issue of missile defense after the November election. In the opinion of these media conservatives, Obama's comments are further evidence that he is "surrendering America." In fact, according to Obama, he was referring to the fact that anything he could do on missile defense would require bipartisan buy-in, which is not very likely during an election year.
Following a meeting on Monday with Medvedev in Seoul, South Korea, Obama told the Russian president, "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it's important for him to give me space," adding: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility." Medvedev responded: "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin]." The comments were intended to be private, but were picked up by a hot microphone.
Cue the outrage. Conservative blogger Doug Powers, writing at MichelleMalkin.com, accused Obama of "capitulation." Hot Air's Ed Morrissey blasted the incident as proof that American voters "need to fear an Obama second term." The headline of a post by Breitbart.com's editor in chief, Joel Pollak, read: "Obama to Putin: I'll Surrender America After Re-Election." Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft wrote that Obama "explained his secret plans to sell out America and her allies" and "told Medvedev to wait until after his reelection to sell out American security." Fox News contributor Palin wrote of the incident: "Let this exchange be a warning to voters: President Obama will have 'more flexibility' to weaken us if he's re-elected in November." Fox News contributor and former Bush administration official John Bolton called Obama's comments "a fire bell in the night" and accused the president of "giving way on American missile defense, defending our homeland."
But Obama explained today that he was talking about the difficulty in an election year of getting the bipartisan agreement necessary to negotiate on important foreign policy issues. Obama said: "This is not a matter of hiding the ball." He added: "The only way I get this stuff done is if I'm consulting with the Pentagon, if I'm consulting with Congress, if I've got bipartisan support, and the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations."
And bipartisan buy-in is important. In 2010, the right-wing media claimed that Obama was "compromising our missile defense capabilities" by negotiating the New START treaty with Russia. In fact, military leaders strongly supported New START. At the time, 13 Republicans were willing to ignore the right-wing media freak-out and vote for New START, allowing the treaty to attain the support of two-thirds of the Senate needed for ratification. But instructively, that vote did not happen until a lame-duck session after the midterm elections were concluded. Does anyone believe Obama would get so much Republican support on a controversial issue during an election year?
Fox News and right-wing blogs have promoted a chart that purports to show the "alarming" fact that national debt per person is higher in the United States than in several crisis-stricken European countries. This comparison is flawed because these countries' economies are fundamentally different -- a fact demonstrated by the substantially higher interest rates that the crisis countries using the euro must pay on their debt, compared to countries that can borrow in their own currency.
Right-wing media have recently attacked President Obama for celebrating Hanukkah too early and for displaying too many Christmas trees at the White House. Right-wing media have long attacked Obama for how he observes holidays, including Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Easter, Ramadan, and even Halloween.
Right-wing media figures are attacking President Obama for claiming that extending unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut will create more jobs than the Keystone XL pipeline. In fact, economists say that unemployment benefits and payroll tax cuts will put money in people's pockets and therefore lead to job creation and economic growth, while the pipeline would create at most a few thousand temporary jobs and could actually destroy more jobs than it creates.
Right-wing media are once again attacking President Obama over his vacations, this time for planning a "staggering" 17-day holiday trip to Hawaii. But vacations of that length are not unprecedented; President Reagan took a 25-day vacation in August 1983, and President George W. Bush took 27-day and 25-day vacations in August 2001 and August 2002, respectively.
This week, the right-wing media began its annual fake "War on Christmas" campaign, freaking out about a bogus Obama "Christmas tree tax." Here's what to expect from right-wing media during the next six weeks.
In advance of President Obama's speech on job creation, right-wing media have falsely claimed that the stimulus failed. In fact, independent economists agree that the stimulus significantly raised employment and increased GDP, and experts say it is the winding down of stimulus spending that is causing a "fiscal drag" on the economy.
Led by journalists at Fox News, media figures have mocked the Obama administration for using the phrase "federal family" to refer to federal agencies involved in Hurricane Irene relief efforts, suggesting that the administration invented the phrase as a "euphemism" for "federal government." However, "federal family" is not a new phrase; it dates back to at least George H.W. Bush's administration and was regularly used by members of George W. Bush's administration when discussing disaster relief.
Right-wing media have seized on a 2008 video of then-candidate Barack Obama, in which he criticized President Bush for adding $4 trillion to the debt, to accuse Obama of hypocrisy because $4 trillion in debt has also accumulated since Obama took office. However, this ignores the fact that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected $1.2 trillion in deficit before Obama took office -- based entirely on Bush's actions and economic conditions -- and that wars, policies, and the economic downturn that all began under Bush continue to inflate the debt.
Breitbart.tv is highlighting a YouTube video that shows Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) speaking at a seaside event that the video says was held on Wednesday in Belmar, New Jersey. The title of the video on YouTube is "Lautenberg 'we got to eliminate the rich.' " Similarly, the title of the Breitbart.tv post is "Sen Lautenberg: 'We Got to Eliminate the Rich.' "
Toward the end of the video, Lautenberg references Warren Buffett's recent statement that taxes should be raised on the wealthy. Lautenberg then says, "And it's a tough fight, but" -- and at this point, a graphic appears over the footage that says, "We got to Eliminate the rich."
If you listen carefully and ignore the text over the video, it's fairly easy to understand that what Lautenberg actually says is, "And it's a tough fight, but we've got to eliminate the waste, we've got to eliminate the fraudulent practice, the expanded things that have no value and the" -- and at this point, the video ends.
Recently, Fox News' Steve Doocy has repeatedly recycled the right-wing attack that the stimulus cost taxpayers between $200,000 and $278,000 per job. In fact, PolitiFact Texas rated this claim "False," and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman called the math upon which this calculation is based "bogus."
Right-wing blogs are claiming that in planning a bus tour to the Midwest later this month, President Obama has "copie[d]" Sarah Palin, who embarked on a bus tour earlier this year. In fact, Obama went on a bus tour during his 2008 campaign, and for decades sitting presidents and presidential candidates have traveled the nation by bus.
The right-wing media are promoting a claim made by a Weekly Standard writer that the stimulus has "cost $278,000 per job." However, simply dividing the amount of money spent by the number of jobs created is, according to an Associated Press fact check, "highly misleading," and economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has called this math "bogus."
For other ways to "green" your 4th, I suggest printing several copies of the above article, setting them on fire, and cooking burgers and hot dogs over the flames. That way none of it will go to waste. Also, instead of environmentally unfriendly traditional fireworks, try blowing up an electric car. You'll still get the "boom," plus you'll be helping get those carbon nightmares out of circulation. It's a brand of "green" firework serves as its own offset.