Right-wing media are scrambling to politicize Hurricane Sandy, attacking media outlets for reporting that Obama has returned to the White House to monitor the response to the storm, which could affect 60 million Americans.
Question: If the snap polls, along with the pundit consensus, had indicated Mitt Romney had won Tuesday's debate, would anyone on Fox News have cared what moderator Candy Crowley said while the two candidates discussed last month's terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya?
The hysterical, and at times deeply disturbing, reaction to Crowley's moderator role only erupted as way to explain away Romney's poor showing. Angry that Romney's weak performance might hurt his November chances, conservatives lashed out at the nearest target, Crowley. ("Shut your big fat mouth, Candy.")
But conservatives didn't simply condemn Crowley's performance as a journalist. ("Disgraceful"!) They spent the week turning her into a mythical figure of liberal destruction; a potentially violent agent (a "suicide bomber") sent by Obama to dismantle the Republican campaign for the presidency. In doing so, unglued commentators attached Crowley to a sweeping campaign conspiracy.
Is criticizing a debate moderator out of bounds? Of course not. Media Matters found fault with Jim Lehrer's performance at the first presidential debate this year. Is it completely insane to denounce a moderator by likening him or her to a political killer?
During tonight's presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley corrected Mitt Romney's false claim that President Obama did not refer to the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya as an act of terrorism the day after the attack.
Crowley was right, and Romney was wrong: In his September 12 remarks, the president said: "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America." Despite this, conservatives in the media are insisting that Obama never said that.
Fox News host Eric Bolling:
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin:
Blogger Jim Hoft:
Both Malkin and Hoft linked to a September 30 Commentary blog post by Alana Goodman arguing that "at no point" in Obama's remarks responding to the Benghazi attack "was it clear that he was using that term to describe the attack in Benghazi." Instead, argued Goodman, the line might have been "just a generic, reassuring line he'd added into a speech which did take place, after all, the day after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks." Even though Obama mentioned the four Americans killed in Benghazi in the very next line.
That makes little sense and is a reed far too thin to stand on. But it's good enough for Fox News and the conservative blogosphere.
Right-wing bloggers are falsely claiming that Joe Biden is "lying" about having played football at the University of Delaware. Contrary to their claims, several newspapers have interviewed people who knew Biden while he played freshman football at Delaware.
More than 20 years of reporting debunks this claim. For instance, a 1987 Washington Post article retrieved from the Nexis database quoted Biden's father, Joe Biden Sr., saying that he made his son leave the team because of poor grades after his freshman season. A 1987 Los Angeles Times article reported that Biden's college roommate said the same thing (via Nexis):
"He probably never studied as hard as other people did," recalled Biden's roommate at the University of Delaware, Donald Brunner, now a senior vice president with J. P. Morgan. Brunner and Biden both played football as freshmen, but Biden then quit the team, Brunner said, under pressure from his father, who thought that he was devoting too much time to sports and not enough to books.
In 2008, The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware, published an article about Biden's high school and college football days. One of Biden's teammates at Delaware, Jack Istnick, recounted a story from practice (article available for purchase here):
Every now and then, the freshman players would help the varsity practice.
One day, Biden and Jack Istnick were shagging punts for the varsity so it could work on its kick-coverage teams. This was done at full speed with full contact. The ball was kicked to Biden, who got "absolutely leveled," Istnick said, "mainly because I didn't block anyone."
"The [freshman] coach, Scottie Duncan, looked at me and looked at Joe lying on the ground and said to me, 'Don't you like him?' "
The Breitbart post uses an ellipsis-laden quote from a September 8 speech Biden made at Ohio University as evidence that he lied specifically about having played in a football game there in 1963:
"I came ... I was a football player ... I came here in 1963 ... and we beat you Bobcats, 29-12," Biden said.
However, a CBS News video of Biden's appearance, used by NRO, shows that Biden did not actually claim to have played in the game.
Right-wing media expressed outrage over the Obama campaign's use of flag imagery in a campaign poster. But this is not unique to the Obama campaign: a modified American flag was used as a banner for Abraham Lincoln's 1860 presidential campaign.
The Drudge Report cropped comments President Obama made in 1998 about government's role in creating a society where everybody has a shot and used those cropped comments to portray Obama as a socialist.
Drudge linked to a YouTube video supposedly taken from an October 1998 conference at Loyola University with a picture of Obama and the headline, "I actually believe in redistribution." The quote was picked up by Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft who used the video to call Obama "America's Socialist In Chief."
But the quote leaves off the end of Obama's sentence: "at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot."
Obama was actually talking about the role of government in providing services, but also criticizing ineffective forms of government. For instance, Obama says in the audio, "[W]e do have to be innovative in thinking, what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live?"
He was talking broadly about pooling resources to make sure that everybody has a fair shot.
Conservative media figures are defending and applauding Mitt Romney for invoking at a Michigan rally the false conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States.
Right-wing media are acting as de facto political advisers for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, offering the candidate an array of advice that includes replacing his staffers, finding "his inner pit bull," and talking more about his faith.
Right-wing blogger Jim Hoft expressed outrage Friday that an Ohio county is distributing air conditioners for needy families to bring relief from record-high summer temperatures.
Hoft is criticizing this program despite including in his post the fact that the funds used for the air conditioners are not new, but are left over from money already allocated to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). He also includes the information that the air conditioners are only available to the poor, the elderly, and those with chronic respiratory illnesses.
From Hoft's Gateway Pundit blog:
Right-wing media have responded to the Supreme Court's decision that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional by claiming the act's revenue-generating provisions will be the "biggest tax hike in the history of the universe." But those provisions are significantly smaller than many previous revenue-enhancement acts and are focused on high-income earners and corporations.
Right-wing media have responded to the Supreme Court's decision upholding the health care mandate -- the requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance or pay a fee -- by claiming that President Obama has instituted the "biggest tax increase in the history of the world" and a "massive, regressive tax on all Americans." In fact, the fee will only be applied to a small percentage of people who choose not to purchase health insurance.
Right-wing media are highlighting a new Gallup poll that found only 34 percent of Americans correctly identified President Obama's religion as Christianity. These same right-wing media outlets have previously questioned the president's religious faith.
In what most sane people would consider non-controversial news, the White House announced today that first lady Michelle Obama will be leading the U.S. delegation at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. Conservative bloggers, whose coverage of the first lady never strays from the simple equation "Michelle Obama + anything = bad," have already gotten to work on embarrassing themselves over the story.
At his Gateway Pundit blog, Jim Hoft complains that the Obamas are "hijacking the Olympics." At Weasel Zippers, "ZIP" mocks Michelle Obama as the "Underexposed First Lady" and presents this latest news as evidence of her supposed narcissism, declaring, "All Mooch, all the time."
Their attacks might (barely) rise to the level of "vaguely coherent" if it were unprecedented for the first lady to lead the U.S. delegation at the Olympics, but, as the AP notes, it's "become somewhat of a tradition for first ladies to lead the U.S. delegation." Laura Bush led the U.S. delegation at the 2004 Olympics and Hillary Clinton led the U.S. delegation at the 1994 games.
Had Michelle Obama not led the delegation, it would not be hard to imagine these same bloggers attacking her for breaking an honored patriotic tradition because of Alinsky tactics and socialism and Bill Ayers.
In his post about this, Hoft writes of the Obamas, "They're everywhere." I swear, sometimes it's like they think they're the president and first lady of the United States.
Right-wing media responded to President Obama's May 21 high school commencement speech in Joplin, Missouri, by claiming that Obama "preache[d] socialist BS," called for "military-style community action during crises," and that he "uncorked a campaign speech."
On May 17, The New York Times reported on a plan presented to Joe Rickett's Ending Spending Action Fund that would highlight controversial remarks made by Reverend Jeremiah Wright and link these remarks to President Obama. Soon after the report received widespread coverage, the Romney campaign rejected the attack on Obama, despite having brought up Rev. Wright himself in Sean Hannity's radio show as recently as February. After having obsessed about Rev. Wright in the 2008 election, the right-wing media reacted to the decision by lamenting the opportunity to reignite the attack.
The New York Times article reported that in a report titled "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama," a "group of high-profile Republican strategists" proposed a plan that:
[C]alls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.
"The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way," says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade.
The $10 million plan, one of several being studied by Mr. Ricketts, includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama's former ties to Mr. Wright, who espouses what is known as "black liberation theology."
The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an "extremely literate conservative African-American" who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a "metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln."
But the right-wing media has not followed Romney as he has attempted to distance himself from the ad campaign.