Right-wing media are shocked by a recent interview in which Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) says he supports single-payer health care and are claiming Conyers's statement "confirms" that the health care bill is "a Trojan horse for an eventual government takeover of health care." But Conyers' support for single-payer health care is not new, and his statement does not change the fact that the Affordable Care Act is still not a "government takeover" of health care.
The conservative media are cheerleading Wisconsin Republicans' use of questionable tactics to ram through a union-busting bill. However, when Democrats were in charge of Congress, they were consistently accused of subverting democracy or acting unconstitutionally, even though they were using well-established procedures to pass their agenda.
Today, the Daily Caller, Fox Nation, Hot Air, and climate change skeptic website Climate Depot promoted a video created by Senator Jim Inhofe's (R-OK) press office which consists of clips from yesterday's Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing. In the video, Senators Inhofe (R-OK) and Barrasso (R-WY) suggest that we shouldn't trust the scientific consensus on global warming because in the 1970's, scientists predicted global cooling.
In fact, there was nowhere near a scientific consensus about a global cooling in the 1970s. A 2008 literature review published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society concluded that "[t]here was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age" and that "emphasis on greenhouse warming dominated the scientific literature even then." The study further noted that "[w]hen the myth of the 1970s global cooling scare arises in contemporary discussion over climate change, it is most often in the form of citations not to the scientific literature, but to news media coverage." And sure enough, in the video, Barrasso cited headlines from media coverage at the time rather than climate research.
By contrast, climate scientists today overwhelmingly agree that man-made climate change is occurring. A 2009 study of 77 active climate scientists found that 97% agreed that "human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures." Likewise, a 2010 study found that "97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of AAC [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."
Nevermind all that, though, because, according to Sen. Inhofe, "even the president's people are agreed with me." In a move celebrated by the right-wing blogs, Inhofe quoted from a 1971 article written by President Obama's science advisor, John Holdren discussing the potential impact of an "ice age."
But even the 1971 article published by Holdren and his colleague Paul Ehrlich concludes that "making the planet too cold" was a "comparatively short-term threat." Holdren and Ehrlich continued by stating that the "major means of interference with the global heat balance is the release of energy from fossil and nuclear fuels. As pointed out previously, all this energy is ultimately degraded to heat. What are today scattered local effects of its disposition will in time, with the continued growth of population and energy consumption, give way to global warming" (emphasis added).
At any rate, what Holdren or anyone else wrote in the 1970s tells us nothing about what the field of climate science tells us today. Conservative media clearly prefer distractions like this to facing the fact that for decades, climate scientists have been amassing more and more evidence that the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to that trend.
It's the story that keeps on giving for people in search of evidence of just how detached from reality Obama's fiercest online critics are. (I believe the malady is known as Obama Derangement Syndrome.)
In the wake of Obama's speech at the Tucson memorial service last week, desperate Obama haters flailed around in search of more reasons to hate the President of the United States. Chronically unreliable blogger Jim Hoft discovered a doozy: The White House had inserted "applause" instructions into the text of the memorial speech, prompting audience members to whoop it up.
But Media Matters completely debunked Hoft's comical claim and showed how the "applause" cues were part of the closed caption service provided for the memorial. You know, the closed caption service that recorded, in real time, all audible portions of the service, like when the audience spontaneously applauded.
But days after the very dopey gotcha was debunked, Hot Air's Morrissey dutifully tried to spread it around:
But one thing on which we can all agree is that that the White House wrote the speech, and apparently added "applause" indicators into Obama's speech that the university put on the Jumbotron in their captioning for the audience.
The university was responsible for most of the problems that did occur, and detracted from a very good speech from President Obama. But it's hard to imagine that the university inserted the "[APPLAUSE]" tags that went with the captioning on the Jumbotron on their own. How would the organizers know which lines were intended for applause space? That had to come from the speech provided to the organizers by the White House for the purpose of displaying the captioning, and obviously Obama gives the final approval on his speeches, as do all Presidents.
Right. The White House apparently added the "applause" indicators, on that "we can all agree." As for the blindingly obvious explanation that the "applause" tags came from the closed captioning? Morrissey never considered that one.
To his credit though, Morrissey updated his post yesterday and conceded that the White House did not insert the "applause" signals. Morrissey even apologized. Hoft, though, remains eternally quiet on the issue, even though Morrissey, the far-right TownHall.com, and even Rush Limbaugh (not to mention Media Matters) have all thoroughly debunked his idiotic "story."
Jim it's okay, just say you're sorry.
Right-wing media have been using recent headlines on TSA body scanners and pat-downs as an excuse to promote hysterical fears over the reach of "Big Sis," as internet gossip Matt Drudge refers to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Now The Hill is trumping up such concerns with a false spin on a recent interview Napolitano gave PBS host Charlie Rose.
In a November 23 article titled, "Next step for body scanners could be trains, boats, metro," The Hill reviewed Napolitano's November 22 interview with Rose to claim that Napolitano is one politician "who's suggested the advanced scanning machines could be used in places beyond airports."
Right-wing bloggers immediately pounced on The Hill headline. Blogger Jim Hoft titled a November 23 post on his blog Gateway Pundit, "Good-Bye Freedom -- Hello Police State... Napolitano Announces Next Steps for Naked Scanners Involves Trains, Boats, Metro." A November 24 post on the conservative blog Hot Air claimed, "Now it looks like we'll be getting scanners all over the place, including public transportation, trains, and boats." Drudge posted a link to The Hill article as "BIG SIS: Next step for body scanners could be trains, boats, metro..." on the Drudge Report on November 24:
In fact, Napolitano never actually claimed that the DHS is considering expanding the use of body scanners to other forms of public transport. Bizarrely, The Hill article itself acknowledges this, noting at one point that "[Napolitano] gave no details about how soon the public could see changes in security or about what additional safety measures the DHS was entertaining."
Here's what Napolitano actually said during her interview with Rose (accessed through Nexis, emphasis added):
CHARLIE ROSE: You said a very interesting thing. Part of your job is to know what [terrorists will] be thinking in the future. So what will they be thinking in the future?
JANET NAPOLITANO: Well, I think they're going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through. I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to train or maritime. So what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?
And then I think what we also, what we as a country need to be thinking about is what is the role in prevention. In other words, what is the process by which a young man in the United States goes from becoming radicalized to becoming radicalized to the point of leaving the United States to going to a camp somewhere for six months or whatever and then coming back with the intent of murdering his fellow citizens?
CHARLIE ROSE: So what do we know about that now?
JANET NAPOLITANO: I think that's where we need and can do more work. And when I speak with my colleagues in other countries, I think we all believe that understanding that process better is important.
Napolitano did talk about the body scanners and so-called enhanced pat-downs, but only to explain and defend their current use. She also briefly acknowledged that "there will be some tweaks or some changes as we go through...as we learn some things to improve the procedures." But, by the time she got around to discussing future threats to "mass transit or to train or maritime," the discussion had long since moved on from airport body scans.
So, The Hill could conclude, "Napolitano mentions DHS looking to mass transit safety," or even, "Napolitano defends DHS use of body scanners." But "Next step for body scanners could be trains, boats, metro" simply doesn't hold up.
When we talk about a far-right echo chamber and how more and more right-wing media players want to proudly be part of a parallel universe where they can wallow in their own sets of 'facts' and their own versions of reality, this is the kind of thing we have in mind. In fact, this delusional claim from far-right bloggers like Hot Air that Sarah Palin came out the winner in her dust-up with a Wall Street Journal reporter this week over the issue of food prices is a perfect example of how the GOP Noise Machine is now entrenched in their own make-believe world.
Right-wing media have been hyping reports from an Indian news agency that President Obama's upcoming trip to India will cost $200 million a day and will require 34 warships to be stationed off the Indian coast. In fact, the White House, the Secret Service and the Pentagon have called the claims false, and numerous U.S. media sources question the numbers.
In touting Christine O'Donnell's latest campaign attack ad, Hot Air's Allahpundit marvels that "[a]part from the lightning-quick attribution at the end of the spot, her name is never mentioned; there's not even an 'I'm Christine O'Donnell and I approve this message' voiceover," which he laughably credits Bush for starting, saying these disclosures have "become perfunctory in political ads ever since Bush started doing it in 2004." Earth to Allahpundit: Bush didn't just start using these disclosures in his campaign ads because he felt like. No, he started doing it because a law passed in 2002 required it.
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002--also known as the McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill--included a provision requiring that campaign ads include "a statement that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication." So, Bush wasn't starting any sort of trend when he did this during his 2004 campaign--he was following the law. From the bill:
''(1) COMMUNICATIONS BY CANDIDATES OR AUTHORIZED PERSONS.--
''(A) BY RADIO.--Any communication described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) which is transmitted through radio shall include, in addition to the requirements of that paragraph, an audio statement by the candidate that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication.
''(B) BY TELEVISION.--Any communication described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) which is transmitted through television shall include, in addition to the requirements of that paragraph, a statement that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication. Such statement--
''(i) shall be conveyed by--
''(I) an unobscured, full-screen view of the candidate
making the statement, or
''(II) the candidate in voice-over, accompanied
by a clearly identifiable photographic or similar
image of the candidate; and
''(ii) shall also appear in writing at the end of the communication in a clearly readable manner with a reasonable degree of color contrast between the background and the printed statement, for a period of at least 4 seconds.
Right-wing media have criticized comments by NAACP President Ben Jealous in which he discussed "all the hatred" in the media and said that "this is too much like the period before Kristallnacht." But right-wing media figures have a long history of attacking progressives by comparing them and their policies to Adolf Hitler, Nazis, or Nazi-era Germany.
Noting that the government "called no witnesses" in Log Cabin Republicans v. Gates, Hot Air's Allahpundit argued that the Obama administration shirked its legal responsibility to defend the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. In fact, while President Obama has called for the repeal of DADT, the Justice Department clearly met whatever legal responsibility it has to defend DADT.
Allahpundit quotes from the district court's opinion in Log Cabin Republicans, which states, "it again must be noted that Defendants called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case, and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the Act." Allahpundit the speculated: "Sounds like the feds maybe kinda sorta wanted to lose this one, possibly to help break the logjam in the Senate. (Maybe something for the lame-duck session?)"
However, the very opinion from which Allahpundit quotes also noted the reason the government did not put on witnesses or present evidence other than the legislative history: because it contended that all such evidence was irrelevant to the case. From the opinion:
Defendants asserted relevance (and often other) objections to nearly every exhibit Plaintiff sought to introduce into evidence during trial, as well as to nearly all the testimonial evidence offered. According to Defendants, because Plaintiff challenges the constitutionality of the statute on its face, rather than challenging its application, the only evidence the Court should -- indeed may -- consider, is the statute itself and the bare legislative history; thus, according to Defendants, all other evidence is irrelevant.
Moreover, the government filed hundreds of pages of legal briefs in the case to defend DADT and has defended the policy in the Supreme Court as well.
Following reports that a panel of cancer experts recommended that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider revoking approval of the drug Avastin for advanced breast cancer, right-wing blogs have attempted to portray the debate as cost-driven rationing of health care. However, the FDA does not consider cost in its decisions, and studies have shown that Avastin -- which was given "accelerated approval" in 2008 with the requirement that further studies confirm its benefits -- has serious side effects without significantly prolonging life.
Conservative media falsely claimed that the state of Missouri overwhelmingly rejected "Obamacare" because 71 percent of those who voted in the August 3 election supported a ballot measure rejecting the individual mandate in health care reform. In fact, the results were skewed "by a heavily Republican turnout in a relatively low-turnout primary."
Media outlets have run with the false claim that President Obama's upcoming interview on The View will mark the first time a sitting president has appeared on a daytime talk show, when in fact, President Bush appeared on Dr. Phil in 2004. Right-wing media have seized on this false claim and his appearance in general to attack Obama's "priorities."
In a July 16 Hot Air post, Ed Morrissey described Minnesota Majority's widely criticized voter fraud report as being "meticulous" and "very solid." Morrissey repeatedly suggested that felons voting illegally were what caused Sen. Al Franken's victory. In fact, local officials have reportedly said that the group's data "is not good" and that the report makes claims that are "not accurate" and "likely inflated."
Fox Nation linked to Morrissey's post with the headline "Probe Grows in MN Felon Voting Scandal."
From Morrissey's post:
Minnesota Majority spokesman Dan McGrath appeared on the Twin Cities Fox affiliate last night to explain their latest report on felon voting in Minnesota, and to expand on their demand for law enforcement action. According to their meticulous research of voting and conviction records, as many as 1,000 felons may have voted in the 2008 election in Minnesota. That would have been more than enough to swing the US Senate election to Al Franken, who prevailed by just over 300 votes in a protracted recount and election challenge over Norm Coleman.
Even if the Minnesota Majority report is entirely correct -- and it appears very solid -- it wouldn't provide a basis of overturning Franken's election.
In the latest example of their frenzy to attack progressive officials for, well, basically anything, the right-wing media is in a tizzy over video, which they claim shows Sen. Al Franken sleeping during Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearing. First, it isn't even remotely clear from the video that Franken is napping, and secondly, the right's attack seems particularly odd, given that they're attacking Franken for actually being at the hearing. During most of the hearings, only about half of the Senators were even present at any given time.
For example, Fox & Friends this morning showed a short clip of Franken, and accused him of falling asleep during the hearing. Brian Kilmeade took offense to this, sarcastically noting he's "the newest guy on the Judiciary Committee and he's working his way right in there, making an impact. Congratulations. He's made a seamless transition." From the video, all that can be determined was that Franken's eyes were moving. You can watch the video and judge for yourself whether or not Franken was sleeping:
Fox News' attacks on Franken were particularly ironic. Given that they're suggesting he found the hearings to be so dull that he fell asleep, one would think the network went to great lengths to cover something as important as a Supreme Court nomination hearing. Nope.The network devoted scant coverage to it, only managing to air a few questions from Republican Senators, and completely skipping over the two highest ranking Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, Sens. Leahy (D-VT) and Kohl (D-WI). Hot Air's Allahpundit found the hearings dull too. In a post today he noted with surprise that "something interesting did get said at today's interminably boring hearing," while O'Reilly called the hearings "boring as burnt toast."
This is just the latest in a long line of right-wing attacks that use short or cropped videos to smear Democrats, and this is surely one of the dumbest. Doocy compounded the stupidity of the smear by asking "Why is he on the Judiciary Committee? He is not a lawyer!" Doocy didn't ask why Sens. Kohl, Feinstein, Grassley, Coburn, or Kaufman, who are also not lawyers, were on the committee.
I also don't recall any equivalent outrage from Fox when Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) reportedly fell fast asleep during a Senate Finance Committee meeting on health care reform. After all, that would be "fair and balanced."