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.
Conservative pundits have attributed economic growth and job creation in Texas to the success of conservative policies like low taxes and small government. But government has played a significant role in Texas' recent economic record: Federal spending helped balance the state budget, and strict regulation helped shield it from the housing bubble.
"Has a central tenant [sic] of global warming just collapsed?" That's the first sentence of a July 29 Fox News article about a recent study which shows nothing of the sort, demonstrating just how broken climate change coverage is at news outlets like Fox, where scientific illiteracy meets political slant.
Last week, Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), one of the few climate scientists who think we don't need to worry much about global warming, published a paper purportedly challenging mainstream climate models that is both limited in scope and, by many accounts, flawed. After a Forbes column by James Taylor of the libertarian Heartland Institute misinterpreted the study and declared that it blows a "gaping hole in global warming alarmism," an avalanche of conservative media outlets, including Fox, followed suit:
Following McDonald's decision to offer "more nutritionally-balanced" Happy Meals and First Lady Michelle Obama's praise of its move, the right-wing media jumped to attack McDonald's for supposedly bending to the will of the "fat police" and making Happy Meals "less happy." However, numerous studies show that childhood obesity leads to significant health problems, and moreover, McDonald's reportedly made their decision in part so that parents could feel "less guilty" about buying their kids Happy Meals.
With the debt limit deadline approaching and deficit-reduction talks underway, right-wing media are parroting the old GOP talking point that the nation's deficit is a "spending problem, not a revenue problem." But numerous economic experts have said that decreased revenue is a major cause of the deficit.
After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, many right-wing bloggers criticized the decision or downplayed its significance. But one of the judges who voted to uphold the statute was Jeffrey Sutton, an appointee of President George W. Bush who was such a proponent of states' rights during his legal career that he once proclaimed that he became involved in states' rights issues because "I really believe in this federalism stuff."
Media Matters has long noted that the right-wing media is unparalleled in its willingness to throw its weight behind entirely fabricated conspiracies and fake stories. In their world, the Shirley Sherrod controversy was "orchestrated" by the White House to "smear" Andrew Breitbart; the Obama administration deliberately ignored the BP oil spill in order to stop future drilling; and President Obama secretly skipped his daughter's soccer team in order to do... something.
So it should come as no surprise that the right-wing media have turned a controversial program from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) into an elaborate conspiracy directed from the highest reaches of government intended to bolster the case for gun control legislation - even as they acknowledge there is no evidence for this claim.
Last week, the House Oversight Committee held two hearings into the ATF's Project Gunrunner, a division that seeks to halt the flow of firearms to Mexico, and a controversial initiative it began in 2009 called Operation Fast and Furious. According to the committee's report, under Fast and Furious, ATF knowingly allowed guns to be trafficked across the border to Mexico in order to "identify other members of a trafficking network and build a large, complex conspiracy case." Reports indicate that the program may lead to acting ATF director Kenneth Melson's replacement.
But rather than stick to the facts, the right wing has again created an alternate reality. Spokesmen for the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America have used Fox News appearances to declare that what actually happened was a clever plot involving Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder aimed at creating a "river of guns" flowing into Mexico to create "political advantage" and "set the stage for more gun restrictions on the law abiding people in this country."
The right-wing blogosphere has since jumped on the story, but apparently aware of just how far-out all this sounds, they have generally couched the theory in a series of questions or even outward admissions that they have no evidence to support it.
Take Bob Owens, a Pajamas Media blogger who has previously openly discussed armed revolution and written that he hopes that makes Media Matters researchers "feel threatened." This week, Owens has written two articles speculating about whether Fast and Furious was "never designed to succeed as a law enforcement operation at all" and was instead "a PR op for gun control."
In his second piece, Owens writes, "We admittedly do not have any direct evidence of this allegation." That's generally where responsible people decide not to further comment until and unless they actually amass some sort of evidence. But Owens can't do that, you see, because the "circumstantial case... has proven strong enough to have few detractors and raises questions that must be answered."
Several right-wing media figures and outlets have attacked Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for accurately saying that President Obama "began to turn the economy around."
Media conservatives have found yet another excuse to push the myth that President Obama's economic policies have failed to increase employment, this time pointing to Obama's unremarkable observation that eliminating unnecessary regulations might speed up business activity and help create jobs. Economists have said that Obama's economic policies have boosted employment and raised gross domestic product.
How badly do right-wing bloggers want to live in a hermetically sealed bubble where they and their favorite political leaders never have to leave the cozy environment? So badly that in the wake of CNN's GOP presidential debate this week, bloggers were furious with the format and announced the gotcha questions posed to the candidates were a waste of time, and worse, designed to make Republicans look bad.
Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey was fuming [emphasis added]:
We learned nothing about the deficit, except what the candidates could shoehorn into answers to inane questions. We learned very little about economic or foreign policy. We covered a lot of nonsense between the first question on jobs and the last question on running mates, but hardly anything that touched on actual voter priorities.
Bias CNN! It stacked the debate with "nonsense" questions and with topics voters don't even care about.
Worse, CNN purposely slanted the questions to help Obama. That, according to one angry Andrew Breitbart blogger who warned of "undeclared political enemies" lurking in the press corps:
What the network did last night was to all but ignore areas in which President Obama is vulnerable (deficit, gas prices, economy, Israel) and instead intensely focused on the social wedge issues that create the kind of soundbites only helpful to the Left.
Right, except that Morrissey and the Breitbart blogger forgot to mention that nearly one-third of the debate questions weren't asked by sneaky liberal journalists. They were asked by New Hampshire voters, many of whom identified themselves as Republicans. And yes, it was New Hampshire voters (not CNN anchors) who asked about the economy, immigration, health care reform, job creation, Medicare, the separation of church and state, Afghanistan, and military spending. In other words, actual voter priorities.
But apparently, citizens asking presidential candidates questions about the topics of the day is no longer considered permissible. Instead, GOP candidates, argues one blogger, should sit for questions only in forums hosted by friendly sources such as Rush Limbaugh, Jonah Goldberg, or Hugh Hewitt.
Question: When did conservatives become such a timid, fearful bunch?
Conservative media outlets are reprimanding three prominent Republicans who recently acknowledged what scientists have been saying for years -- that human activities are contributing to global climate change.
The right-wing media have declared that Fox News contributor Sarah Palin was indeed correct when she claimed that "part of Paul Revere's ride" involved "ringing...bells," "send[ing]...warning shots" and "warn[ing] the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms." In fact, Revere's "warning" to the British occurred after he was captured and was not the purpose of his ride.
The right-wing echo chamber is promoting an op-ed written by mathematician and engineer David Evans, which they claim is part of the "demolition of the theories" behind man-made climate change. But Evans is not a climate scientist, and claims he is pushing in his op-ed have long been discredited.
Evans himself does not claim to be a climate scientist. According to a resume posted on his research firm's website, Evans is a mathematician and engineer. He also "sells information for investors about gold companies." As DeSmogBlog pointed out, his resume lists no published, peer reviewed articles that deal with climate science. Studies have shown a strong consensus among actively-publishing climate scientists that human activity is contributing to climate change and that "the relative climate expertise" of skeptics is "substantially" lower.
Evans' questionable credentials on climate science were no problem for right-wing bloggers. Hot Air pushed Evans' claims with a post titled, "Former 'alarmist' scientist says Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) based in false science." Fox Nation subsequently joined in, linking to the Hot Air post and declaring, "Scientist Flips, Blows Global Warming To Bits."
Perhaps the reason most successful comics are liberals is because the right-wing media have repeatedly proven that they can't take -- or properly make -- a joke. They proved this point in the aftermath of President Obama's remarks on border security in El Paso, TX, yesterday, when he joked at Republicans' expense, stating that "they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they're going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they'll want a higher fence. Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They'll never be satisfied. And I understand that. That's politics."
Unable to take the joke, right-wing media attacked Obama over the comment.
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade discussed Obama's comment during the May 11 broadcast of the show. After airing a clip of the president's moat remarks, he stated, "I guess you're allowed" to mock Republicans. Co-host Steve Doocy responded to this by interjecting, "He's campaigning." Kilmeade went on to criticize Obama's steps toward immigration reform. On-screen text during the segment read, "Obama's Partisan Attack."
Right-wing media outlets have criticized President Obama's call to end certain tax breaks for oil companies, claiming that doing so will increase the price of gasoline. However energy experts contacted by Media Matters explain that cutting the tax incentives will have little to no effect on prices at the pump.