In the wake of President Obama's decision to approve the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, right-wing media are claiming that the call was in direct contradiction to Obama's foreign policy positions. In fact, as a presidential candidate, Obama promised he would take action against terrorists in Pakistan if "President Musharraf won't."
Desperate for a line of attack on President Obama over the situation in Egypt, right-wing media seem to have settled on a particularly hollow smear: attacking Obama for watching his daughter's basketball game and attending a farewell party for senior adviser David Axelrod as "Egypt burns."
Let's figure out how this one started.
A Sunday-morning Free Republic post picked up on White House pool reports that Fox News host Greta Van Susteren posted on her blog noting that Obama attended a party for Axelrod on Saturday night. The Free Republic post, titled, "As Egypt Burns, Obama and News Media Party Hearty Saturday Night," credited Van Susteren for posting the reports, writing that without Van Susteren, "the public would not know that Obama spent Saturday night partying with the media while Egypt burns."
Several hours later over at Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft ran with the Free Republic smear but took it a step further to attack Obama for attending his daughter's basketball game. The title of his post directly echoed the Free Republic smear: "As Egypt burns... Obama parties, watches b-ball."
Soon after, Fox Nation discovered Hoft's post and dutifully blared as its top story, "As Egypt Burns...Obama Parties, Watches B-Ball." Fox Nation also copied and pasted several paragraphs from Hoft's post:
Predictably, the attack landed on the Drudge Report, with the headline, "Obama parties with WH reporters," linking to a post on the website White House Dossier titled "While Cairo Burns, Obama Parties."
Of course -- and it seems silly to have to note this -- as Politico reported, Obama indeed met with his national security advisers Saturday for an update on the situation in Egypt. Politico also quoted from the White House's readout of meeting:
At 1:00 pm today, the president convened a meeting of his national security team at the White House. Participants included Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, National Security Adviser to the Vice President Tony Blinken, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, Senior Director for the Central Region Dennis Ross, Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa Dan Shapiro, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and Senior Adviser David Plouffe.
Now that this completely empty attack (the president does things outside of the White House!) has found its way to Fox Nation, the countdown is on to see if it finds a home somewhere on Fox News Channel.
If you care, the AP snapped a photo of Sarah Palin having her hair attended to during her recent trip to earthquake ravage Haiti.
Here's how Free Republic responded to the apparent media sin [emphasis added]:
Media Creates New Palin Scandal! Sarah Accused of Bringing Hairdresser on Hati Trip
The Free Republic, cheered on by the right-wing blogosphere, then went into great detail about how Palin did not bring a hairdresser with her to Haiti and that the woman photographed fussing over her hair was Palin's daughter Bristol:
That's right, what the Palin-hating AP and others fail to report is that the "hair stylist" is Bristol Palin.
Here's the problem: The AP never reported Palin brought a "hair stylist" or a "hairdresser." Those phrases came from Free Republic. It's true: Free Republic rushed into to defend Palin from the AP allegation that Palin had brought a "hair stylist" or "hairdresser" with her to Haiti.
But oops! The AP never made that claim.
Here's the accurate AP caption to the photo:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, center, has her hair done during a visit to a cholera treatment center set up by the NGO Samaritan's Purse in Cabaret, Haiti, Saturday Dec. 11, 2010. Palin arrived Saturday in Haiti as part of a brief humanitarian mission in an impoverished nation struggling to overcome post-election violence and a cholera epidemic. At right, Palin's husband, Todd Palin.
Good luck finding the AP's "hair stylist" or "hairdresser" reference, or the suggestion Palin brought one to Haiti.
Right-wing media figures have been quick to portray Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a "radical" or an "activist." In fact, Kagan is considered "one of the more moderate choices" for the Supreme Court and has been described as "fair-minded" and "well-respected" by conservative political and legal experts.
Following the announcement that the Security and Exchange Commission is investigating the investment firm Goldman Sachs for fraud, an April 19 FoxNews.com article reported that the "White House...strongly denied any involvement in the timing of the high-profile fraud case against Goldman Sachs," after Republicans and their media acolytes suggested the charges were timed to help pass financial reform. Fox News reported that "Republicans also accused the administration of biting the hand that fed it, since Goldman Sachs was President Obama's top Wall Street contributor during the 2008 campaign, with employees donating nearly $1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics," and went on to quote Rep. John Boehner as asking "just whose side is President Obama on?" Pause for reaction. First of all, the SEC is a non-partisan body that is operating independent of the White House. Secondly, the accusation that the President is "biting the hand that fed it" makes absolutely no sense. Wouldn't the real scandal be if Obama interfered with a SEC investigation because the subject of the investigation was a large campaign contributor of his?
Numerous right-wing websites, including the Fox Nation and the Drudge Report, have parroted a misleading headline posted on October 26 by Real Clear Politics and NewsBusters asserting that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) stated, "We are trying on every front to increase the role of government." In fact, while specifically discussing financial regulation, Frank actually said, "[W]e are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area" [emphasis added].
Following the lead of Free Republic and the Drudge Report, media outlets highlighted a photo of President Obama from the G-8, in some cases with provocative, needling, or scolding commentary that is not supported by video of the event.
Media figures have used President Obama's second overseas trip to Europe and the Middle East to stoke fears that he may be too close to the Muslim world or harbors a secret, anti-American agenda.