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."
The right is trying to invent a controversy in Vice President Joe Biden's recent bantering with a custard shop manager in Wisconsin. During a recent trip to Greenfield, WI, Biden visited Kopp's Frozen Custard, where he scooped some custard, enjoyed a cone, and chatted with employees. According to video shot by a local news outlets, Channel 12 WISN, Biden asked the shop's manager, Scott Borkin, how much they owed for their custard. The manager replied, "Don't worry it's on us." He then joked, "Lower our taxes. We'll call it even." Biden didn't reply and walked away. WISN reported that the two continued chatting later, and showed video of Biden saying, "Why don't you say something nice instead of being a smart ass all the time. Say something nice." Sounds terrible, right? Except for the fact that Biden was kidding.
The Channel 12 news report goes on to immediately say that Borkin "enjoyed his banter with the vice President" and aired a video clip of Borkin saying, "It was very nice, he's got a great personality." Borkin said that he didn't think Biden "liked" his "lower our taxes" comment, but that "later on he whispered and he goes, 'I'm just kidding.'"
Of course the right--thinking they've found their new Joe the Plumber--is outraged.
Right-wing media are absurdly attacking Energy Secretary Steven Chu's past praise of BP for awarding UC Berkley an alternative energy grant which Chu said would help "save the world." But the grant had bipartisan support, and scientists and university professors praised the grant's importance for alternative energy research aimed at weaning the world off of oil.
Right-wing blogs have recently seized on a report that criticized the Obama administration for not purchasing oil containment boom that a manufacturer in Maine produced specifically for the Gulf oil spill. However, they ignored that the boom is a new product, which reportedly "differs from other designs being used," and BP has reportedly "ordered a trial run" of the boom before committing to purchase it.
Right-wing media have rushed to attack President Obama for responding to criticism that he spends too much time consulting experts rather than "kick[ing some butt]" by saying, "I want to know whose ass to kick." Many conservative media figures previously hyped criticism that Obama lacked emotion in his response to the oil spill.
Right-wing bloggers and Rush Limbaugh are pushing an absurd distortion of an AP report on a meeting on human rights to claim that the U.S. "apologized" to China over the Arizona immigration law. In fact, nothing in the reports indicates that the U.S. "apologized" to China.
Here's what the AP wrote:
[Assistant Secretary of State Michael] Posner said in addition to talks on freedom of religion and expression, labor rights and rule of law, officials also discussed Chinese complaints about problems with U.S. human rights, which have included crime, poverty, homelessness and racial discrimination.
He said U.S. officials did not whitewash the American record and in fact raised on its own a new immigration law in Arizona that requires police to ask about a person's immigration status if there is suspicion the person is in the country illegally.
Conservative media have attacked a White House task force's report that recommends voluntary measures to combat the nation's childhood obesity problem as "cutting into our diets and our rights." However, the report makes recommendations for the food industry to voluntarily follow -- not federal mandates.
Right-wing media have claimed that health care reform will "cost $115 billion more than we thought," thus "wip[ing] out" promised deficit reductions. In fact, that money would only be spent if Congress separately appropriates it, just as Congress would have to do for any other spending bill. And even then, that spending would only adversely impact the deficit if Congress decided not to offset it with corresponding spending cuts or revenue increases.
The thing that bothers me most about the whole "liberal media bias" argument is that it invites laziness and incuriosity. Armed with the "liberal bias" truncheon, any conservative can simply dismiss out of hand news they don't like or disagree with based on the presupposition that the media outlet that reported it is biased towards liberals and against conservatives.
Take, for example, the latest poll out from the Washington Post and ABC News, which found that Americans are wildly anti-incumbent right now, but also that the public trusts Democrats more than Republicans on major issues facing the country. Obviously, conservatives would not take kindly to that second finding, and Hot Air's Ed Morrissey chalks it up to perfidious liberal bias: "Today's Washington Post/ABC poll offers Democrats some bad news, but they've managed to artificially temper it by actually adding a point to the partisan gap in their sample since the last survey." Picking up where Morrissey left off, NewsBuster Noel Sheppard wrote that the pollsters "cooked the books," adding: "The lengths liberal media outlets will go to assist the politicians they support is oftentimes sick-making."
This is insane.
Right-wing media figures and outlets have revived their obsession with President Obama's supposed "bowing" by highlighting a photo of Obama greeting Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Nuclear Security Summit. Conservative media have previously attacked Obama's greetings of Saudi King Abdullah, Japanese Emperor Akihito, and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.
From an April 7 Allahpundit's Hot Air blog post:
Media Matters watches enough Fox that they can rattle off names like Colmes, Beckel, Geraldo, and Juan Williams faster than Murdoch can, but in this case a dumb question makes for a fun answer. Quote: "Greta Van Susteren is certainly close to the Democratic Party." Heh. He's right - Greta's husband was a longtime Democrat, albeit one who flipped to support McCain/Palin in 2008 - but ... really? No more obvious candidates than Greta come to mind? No one who's, say, on FNC for multiple hours a day and whose apparent political leanings have long been commented upon within the 'sphere? Good lord, man - if you're not going to name Shep, at least mention KP.
That's the first of two clips; the other catches him saying that Fox shouldn't be supporting the tea party or any other party, although it sounds like he's not clear on what Media Matters is talking about.
*Both the Hot Air post and the previous headline to this post suggested that Media Matters asked Murdoch the question about Democrats on Fox. We did not.
Allahpundit has updated his Hot Air post as follows:
Update: Media Matters e-mails to say that they only asked Murdoch the question about the tea party; the question about Democrats on Fox was asked by a student. I stand corrected.