From the January 19 edition of CNN's Early Start:
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Are you better off than you were four years ago? For a generation, that question has come to define presidential re-election campaigns. It's a question that requires an accounting not only of where we are as a country today, but also of where we were as a country four years ago.
More specifically, it's a question that goes directly to the issue of what President Obama did with the economy he inherited from George W. Bush.
It's a question that helps explain why media conservatives spent so much of 2011 gilding that Bush economy.
In June, former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan proposed a campaign slogan for Republicans running against Obama: "He made it worse." The pitch was economic in nature, arguing that Obama "inherited financial collapse, deficits and debt" and that he proceeded to "make them all worse."
Noonan's slogan could not stand up to scrutiny: economists agree that deficits are necessary during a recession, and Obama's policies are widely acknowledged to have lowered unemployment and boosted GDP. So it's no surprise that the right-wing media quickly embraced the slogan while simultaneously waging what became a 12-month assault on economic history to misrepresent the economy Obama inherited.
In June, Gretchen Carlson gave voice to the economic "argument" that media conservatives waged throughout the year:
CARLSON: How long can you continue to say that the hard hit recession of 2007 moving into 2008 is something that they inherited?
Let that marinate a bit. Despite acknowledging that the recession hit in 2007 -- more than a year before Obama took office -- Carlson posited that a point in time will arrive when we can all stop saying that Obama inherited a recession. That point in time does not exist: It will never not be true that Obama took office during a deep recession. Never.
But Fox disregarded the facts in leading a relentless campaign to deflect attention from the great recession Obama inherited.
CNN's Erickson is now contributing his fraudulent talking points about taxes to CNN presidential debates.
As The Washington Post's Suzy Khimm reported, Erickson has helped launch a campaign to counter the message of the Occupy Wall Street movement, claiming that he is part of "the 53 percent" that is "subsidizing" the "whiners" with his taxes:
Conservative activists have created a Tumblr called "We are the 53 percent" that's meant to be a counterpunch to the viral "We are the 99 percent" site that's become a prominent symbol for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Tumblr is supposed to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes, and its assumption is that the Wall Street protesters are part of the 46 percent of the country who don't.
Erickson's movement is based on a fraud. While nearly half of American households have paid no income taxes in the past few years, the vast majority of Americans do pay other taxes, including federal payroll taxes, as well as state and local taxes. In an April New York Times article, David Leonhardt explained how figures like the one Erickson was pushing distort the economic debate away from growing income inequality while completely ignoring taxes that all American households pay.
But at Tuesday's Republican primary candidates debate, CNN moderator Anderson Cooper adopted that fraud as fact. During the debate, Cooper asked Bachmann:
You also said at the last debate that everyone should pay something. Does that mean that you would raise taxes on the 47 percent of Americans who currently don't pay taxes?
After the debate, Cooper interviewed Herman Cain and again peddled the fraud that "there are a number of Americans, 47 percent, who don't pay taxes right now." [See update below.]
When Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves to deliver a fact-free defense of the Lord's Resistance Army, he left numerous angry listeners with the impression that President Obama had sent troops to "kill Christians in Africa."
Last week, Obama ordered 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help combat the LRA, a violent cult that has engaged in murder, torture, and rape and has kidnapped children and impressed them into military service.
On Friday, Limbaugh added his own spin to a straight-forward ABC News report on the matter. Limbaugh declared, "Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians." According to Limbaugh, "Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them." Limbaugh added, "So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda. ... Now, are we gonna help the Egyptians wipe out the Christians? Wouldn't you say that we are? I mean the Coptic Christians are being wiped out."
Several minutes after Limbaugh's rant began, conservatives on Twitter began to echo his claims. A few examples:
Some Limbaugh listeners even appear to have contacted Congress to protest Obama's supposed assault on African Christianity. A congressional staffer, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the record, told Media Matters that his office received an email and a phone call from constituents who "claimed that it was an attack on Christians and said Obama was supporting [an] Islamic regime."
From the October 11 edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show:
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Over at the Wonk Blog Monday, The Washington Post's Suzy Khimm shed light on CNN contributor and Red State editor Erick Erickson's decision to lead a conservative "counterpunch to the viral 'We are the 99 percent' site that's become a prominent symbol for the Occupy Wall Street movement."
WeAreThe99Percent allows users to post images with testimonials laying out their personal struggles amid growing income inequality, in order to explain their support for the growing Occupy Wall Street movement against economic and social injustice.
In response, Erickson posted a testimonial calling the protesters "whiners," and claiming to represent the "53 percent subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain." After a Twitter campaign to promote his movement, several people have responded with similar testimonials.
Gawker has more on Erickson's movement calling it "a response to 'We Are the 99 Percent,' an Occupy Wall Street-affiliated blog that collects the stories of the underemployed, overworked, debt-ridden and uninsured victims of the recession."
Erickson, recall, once called then-Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat-fucking child molester."
Gawker points out that Erickson's movement is centered around the misleading notion that nearly half of Americans don't pay taxes. As The New York Times David Leonhardt noted in April, the figure distorts the economic debate away from growing income inequality and completely ignores taxes that all American households pay.
In the post that sparked the "counterpunch" Erickson wrote that he works "three jobs," and complained about insurance costs and the housing market, adding "But I don't blame Wall Street."
Berkely economist J. Bradford DeLong eviscerated the post, noting that Erickson's high insurance costs are a function of a broken health-insurance system, and that the struggling real estate market is connected to a massive housing bubble inflated by Wall Street bundling toxic mortgages and selling them to investors with fraudulent credit ratings.
Appearing on CNN last last night, far-right blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson lobbed an extraordinary, mind-boggling and completely unsubstantiated claim while discussing the recent controversy surrounding Texas Gov. Rick Perry's hunting ranch.
Over the weekend, the Post reported that Perry's family for years leased a hunting ranch that at some point had a large stone out front greeting guests with the word "Niggerhead" painted on it. (The offensive term was at some point painted over.) The Post has subsequently followed-up with additional reporting.
Asked about the controversy, here's what Erickson said:
ERICKSON: I don't think it's very significant. I think the Media Research Center today pointed out that the Washington Post in just the last couple of days has written more words on this story than they ever wrote on the Jeremiah Wright story, for its entire existence, with his connection to Barack Obama.
Can you believe that? The Post in just two days wrote more about Perry's ranch than it "ever" has written about Obama's controversial Chicago preacher, Rev. Wright.
Answer: No, you cannot believe it. The allegation is beyond fantastical and highlights the reason CNN never should have hired someone as factually challenged as Erickson in the first place.
First of all, despite Erickson's claim, the Media Research Center did not highlight the difference in Washington Post coverage between the Perry ranch story and Obama's 2008 Wright controversy. At least not on its website. But it doesn't really matter if Erickson simply misspoke and it was another conservative outlet that made the claim because the assertion is 100% bogus.
Fact: As of last night, according to Nexis, the Post had published roughly 4,000 words about Perry's ranch in recent days.
Fact: As of last night, according to Nexis, the Post over the years had published at least 46,000 words about Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama. (You read that figure correctly.)
But Erickson went on TV last night claimed the exact opposite was true.
Continuing their desperate campaign to paint President Obama as anti-capitalist, the right-wing media have seized on comments Obama made during an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos to claim that Obama was attacking the free market. Obama was answering a question about whether the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be able regulate bank fees. Fox Nation framed Obama's response this way:
And CNN's Erick Erickson wrote, in a post on the blog RedState:
George Stephanoupolos asked Barack Obama about banks and their new fees. Of course, Obama could not accept any responsibility for that at all. And along the way he said something pretty damn amazing.
"You don't have some inherent right just to- you know, get a certain amount of profit.
Actually, in the free market, on the supply and demand curve, you do have an inherent right to get a certain amount of profit -- that certain amount of profit that you derive from your business practices that draw in the maximum amount of profit possible before customers decide you are charging too much or they are not getting value enough to justify their continued business with you.
Barack Obama has spent three years as President punishing those who take risks and taking from those whose risk leads to reward.
In this one quote we see everything wrong with Barack Obama's world view and how it has broken the American job creation engine.
He's not just a political loser, he seems more and more an economic dolt.
In fact, Obama didn't say that he can "stop Bank of America from making 'a certain amount of profit,' " and Erickson cut Obama's full quote in half.
Right-wing media have attacked President Obama by seizing on his comment that America "had gotten a little soft." But Obama said that the United States is a "great country" and that he "wouldn't trade our position with any other country on Earth" because "[w]e still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world. We still have the most dynamic economic system in the world."
Following an interview President Obama gave to a television station in Orlando, Florida, in which Obama praised the United States as "a great, great country that had gotten a little soft" and talked about things that can be done to improve upon the best system in the world, CNN contributor Erick Erickson took to Twitter to call him "a jerk."
Here are Obama's full comments from the interview with WESH anchor Jim Payne:
OBAMA: One of the reasons that I ran for president was that wages, incomes had flatlined at the same time that costs had gone up. I think that people had thought that opportunities had become more constricted for the next generation. And that's why making sure that we're revamping our education system; making sure that we've got world-class infrastructure; investing in basic science, and research, and technology; making sure that we are moving manufacturing back to the United States and that we are being tough with our trading partners -- making sure that they are not taking advantage of us -- I mean, there are a lot of things that we can do.
The way I think about it is, is that this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft, and we didn't have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. We need to get back on track, but I wouldn't trade our position with any other country on Earth. We still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world. We still have the most dynamic economic system in the world. So we just need to bring all those things together.
Obama sure comes off as an anti-American president here, doesn't he? He points out that the United States is a great country that could stand to be even greater with some improvement and he gets attacked not only by Erickson, but by The Drudge Report and Glenn Beck's The Blaze as well.
In her book, America by Heart, Sarah Palin described the United States as a great country that also has "flaws." Would Erickson call Palin a "jerk" for acknowledging that?
In a post on his blog RedState, CNN contributor Erick Erickson objected to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's decision to issue an executive order requiring girls to receive the vaccine against the human papillomavirus, which leads to cervical cancer. Erickson stated in his post: "The 'I hate cancer' rhetoric does not help him and sounds a bit silly. We all hate a lot of things. Must we mobilize government for each of the things Rick Perry hates?"
The issue is two fold.First, it is an issue of liberty. It is not the same as an MMR shot because those diseases are communicable in a way HPV is not. Having the state mandate a shot that only one demographic gets because of what that child may do sexually bothers a lot of conservative voters. Perry needs to do a better job explaining that the opt-out was the parent simply saying "no." He also needs to make clear again that he would have done it differently and also, if he can, point out that no one actually had the injection because of his executive order.
In fact, if Perry can show that no one had the injection because of his order I think the issue largely goes away.
Second, it is an issue of decision making. Perry conveys that he let emotion guide him in making the decision. That deeply bothers a lot of conservatives. The "I hate cancer" rhetoric does not help him and sounds a bit silly. We all hate a lot of things. Must we mobilize government for each of the things Rick Perry hates? Of course not, but his emotion in the answer does not help him.
If Erick Erickson doesn't think the government should do everything it can to prevent cervical cancer, then what does he think it should be doing? Erickson's opinion on the matter probably puts him on the furthest fringe of public opinion.
In a September 8 post to his blog Red State, CNN political contributor Erick Erickson called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." From Red State:
Are we all so damn scared of Rick Perry that suddenly we're going to abandon the fight for real reform of social security and try to make Perry look like a fringe candidate when, in fact, his position has been the mainstream of the GOP for decades?
Social Security is, for all intents and purposes, a ponzi scheme. Don't believe me? Try out the Securities and Exchange Commission definition:
A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk.
From the August 15 edition of CNN's John King USA:
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On Saturday, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) announced his presidential bid at the RedState Gathering in South Carolina. He was introduced by one of the event's lead organizers, Erick Erickson. Since 2010 Erickson has been a paid "political contributor" at CNN. When Erickson joined the network, CNN described him as a "perfect fit" and an "agenda-setter whose words are closely watched in Washington."
As we have detailed, many of those words are incendiary, sexist and racially charged. Here are just a few of them:
Right-wing media figures are using Standard & Poor's decision to "downgrade" the U.S. credit rating to rehabilitate former President Bush's economic record. However, the economy inherited from Bush was hemorrhaging jobs and contracting at a rate not seen in more than 50 years.