Conservative media have claimed the White House's controversial conversations with Rep. Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff -- which have been described by experts as "garden-variety politics" -- constituted criminal activity. But when Bush administration official Scooter Libby was investigated, tried, and convicted, conservative media decried it as "criminalizing politics."
Criticizing Democratic efforts to reform regulation of the financial industry, right-wing media figures have begun repeating the myth that affordable housing initiatives are to blame for the 2008 financial crisis, pointing to the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Economists -- including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke -- have strongly rejected this notion.
Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund lambasted Wall Street reform legislation for setting up a fund to pay for future bailouts -- an utter falsehood -- and for allowing the government to liquidate failing firms, which is the opposite of a bailout. Thus, in fewer than 40 words, Fund managed to expose right-wing attacks as completely hollow efforts to derail efforts to strengthen Wall Street regulation.
John Fund falsely claimed that financial regulatory reform "sets up a $50 billion fund for future bailouts." In fact, a provision currently in the legislation would create a $50 billion fund paid for by the financial services industry to provide for the orderly liquidation of failing firms and would in no way bail them out.
Under a headline declaring, "Waxman Convenes the First Death Panel," The Wall Street Journal's John Fund suggested on March 30 that Rep. Henry Waxman is holding a hearing looking into several corporations' assertions about prescription drug costs related to health care reform because Waxman "is furious that large companies such as AT&T, Caterpillar and Deere are obeying SEC disclosure laws that Congress passed in the wake of the Enron scandal." Fund wrote:
Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, is furious that large companies such as AT&T, Caterpillar and Deere are obeying SEC disclosure laws that Congress passed in the wake of the Enron scandal. The three companies were the first of many to take sizeable write-downs because the heath-care bill effectively poses a new tax on retiree drug-benefit plans. Benefit consultants say the new tax could reduce corporate profits by as much as $14 billion.
But Mr. Waxman will have none of it. He wrote to the heads of the three companies summoning them to testify at an April 21 hearing: "The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern." The letter reminded one business reporter of Darth Vader's famous line in "Star Wars" that he found an underling's actions "disturbing" -- just before he strangled him. The Waxman letter was accompanied by a lengthy request for documents that he demanded be produced for the star-chamber hearing.
The subhead of Fund's post similarly states that Waxman "is denouncing businesses for complying with the law." But Fund's suggestion that Waxman is conducting a hearing simply because these companies "are complying with the law" is ridiculous.
Fund himself quotes from a letter Waxman wrote to several CEOs requesting their testimony that makes clear the intent of the hearing isn't to probe why these companies released these figures, but, rather, to discuss the figures themselves. As Media Matters has noted, Waxman wrote in his letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson that AT&T's recently announced write-down is "a matter of concern" because "[t]he new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs" and that AT&T's numbers "appear to conflict with independent analyses," such as those estimated by the Congressional Budget Office and the Business Roundtable.
From Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund's February 19 appearance at CPAC 2010:
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After Wall Street Journal writer John Fund told a crowd at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) were planning on introducing legislation that would lead to universal voter registration, the claim was repeated by numerous right-wing media outlets despite the fact that Fund provided no evidence for his claim. After Frank wrote a letter to Fund denying that he was introducing such legislation, Fund retracted his statement that Frank was pushing any such legislation.
From a January 18 WorldNetDaily article:
Fund initially told a crowd in November 2009 at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum that Schumer, D-N.Y., and Frank, D-Mass., would be the architects of the universal-voter legislation.
"We read that on some right-wing websites, but we're not sure what they're talking about," Frank's spokesman told WND. "We haven't heard anything about it. We know it started with the Journal's John Fund, but we don't know anything about it, honestly. We're not sure where he got it from."
However, Fund corrected himself when he spoke with WND.
"I made an error. I should have referred to John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee," Fund said. "It's not Congressman Frank. It's Congressman Conyers."
From Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)'s January 13 letter to The Wall Street Journal's John Fund:
I was puzzled during the last couple of weeks to be asked why I was supporting something called "universal voter registration," which supposedly would allow all sorts of undesirable people to register to vote. I was puzzled because I have had absolutely no involvement in such a proposal.
I asked my staff to check the source of the rumor, and we discovered that it is you. Apparently last fall, you invented a story that Senator Schumer and I planned to introduce such legislation. I've since learned that Senator Schumer is working on legislation regarding voting, but I am told that it does not remotely resemble your version of it. But more importantly to me is that I have had no involvement with this whatsoever, with Senator Schumer or anybody else.
You simply made this up with regard to me. I must tell you that I was not surprised, because this sort of fictionalized attack on political opponenets has sadly become characteristic of many of the right. And once you lied about me in this regard, several of your right-wing colleagues in the media, including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the Washington Times, repeated it.
I should note that, again not surprisingly, you made no effort to check with me or anybody who works with me to find out if what you said was true. You made your assertion with no factual basis and without any effort to verify it. To me, that qualifies as a lie.
So I now write not simply to tell you that you are entirely wrong in your assertion about me but, in the absense of your being able to show any basis on which you made such a statement, to ask that you acknowledge that fact.
From the January 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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On Fox & Friends, The Wall Street Journal's John Fund exaggerated the White House's "ties" to ACORN by claiming that President Obama was a "top trainer for ACORN" and that he was "their lawyer back in the 1990s." In fact, Obama represented ACORN in one lawsuit -- alongside the Justice Department and several other organizations -- and reportedly said he participated in two one-hour trainings with ACORN as a volunteer.
From the December 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the November 3 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
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In the third sentence of his 1,220-word innuendo-filled column warning of voter fraud in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, The Wall Street Journal's John Fund writes that "if serious allegations of fraud emerge, you can also expect less-than-vigorous investigation by the Obama Justice Department."
The key word there is "if." Fund was obviously unable to come up with any actual "serious allegations" of voter fraud, so Fund -- as he does almost every cycle -- makes a series unserious fraud insinuations that are unconstrained by actual facts. In one passage, Fund writes:
Authorities in nearby Philadelphia know about such scams. In one infamous case, a key 1993 race that determined which party would control the Pennsylvania state senate was thrown out by a federal judge after massive evidence that hundreds of voters had been pressured into casting improper absentee ballots. Voters were told by "bearers" that it was all part of "la nueva forma de votar" -- the new way to vote. Local politicos tell me Philly operatives associated in the past with Acorn may now be advising their Jersey cousins on how to perform such vote harvesting.
That last sentence is a bit hard to follow. Let's break it down into more manageable pieces to fully appreciate what Fund is doing here.
"Local politicos tell me": Fund claims to have spoken to anonymous people who live in New Jersey and who apparently have some involvement in politics.
"Philly operatives associated in the past with Acorn": Fund's anonymous sources are purportedly telling him that unnamed people from Philadelphia who are apparently also involved in politics have -- at some point in the past -- had some undefined connection to ACORN, which by implication makes them inherently corrupt.
"may now be advising their Jersey cousins": Fund's anonymous sources purportedly tell him that the unnamed, allegedly once-ACORN-associated "operatives" from Philadelphia might be advising people apparently involved in New Jersey politics, but really, who can say for sure?
"on how to perform such vote harvesting": The advice that the unnamed allegedly once-ACORN-associated "operatives" from Philadelphia might be giving to the politically involved New Jerseyans centers around encouraging voters to vote by mail -- an activity that appears to be perfectly legal in New Jersey.
So just to recap: In a single sentence, Fund claims to have spoken to anonymous New Jerseyans somehow involved in politics who purportedly told him that unnamed Philadelphians, who are also involved in politics and who once had unspecified ties to ACORN, "may" (or may not) be giving New Jersey political operatives advice on how to do something that is apparently legal in New Jersey.
No wonder Fund apparently was so unconvinced by his own column that he felt the need to lie to Glenn Beck about is contents.
Appearing on Fox News' Glenn Beck, John Fund claimed that Hispanic voters in Camden, New Jersey, are being told that there is "a new way for you to vote, la nueva forma de votar" -- an anecdote Fund suggested was evidence of voter fraud in the state's 2009 gubernatorial election. In fact -- as Fund himself wrote in a Wall Street Journal column published hours earlier -- that incident actually occurred in Philadelphia in 1993.