The Islamophobic rhetoric spewed by right-wing media in response to the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris is just the most recent in a long history of conservative anti-Islam vitriol.
CNN cast President Obama and the Democrats' continued push to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship as a false choice between bipartisan compromise or playing politics, arguing that if Obama rejected a Republican deal that included only legal status for undocumented immigrants, he would be risking his legacy over politics.
In his State of the Union address, Obama urged Congress to "fix our broken immigration system," saying:
OBAMA: Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted, and I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams -- to study, invent, contribute to our culture -- they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let's get immigration reform done this year. Let's get it done. It's time.
During CNN's post-SOTU coverage, chief national correspondent John King stated that to get immigration reform passed this year, Obama "likely would have to accept something from the House, the Republican House, short of what he wants. The president has said, 'I won't sign it unless it gives a path to citizenship.'" King continued:
KING: What if the House does legal status and sends it to the president? And then [House Democratic Leader] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Democratic Leader] Harry Reid come to him saying, "veto it, we want the issue to attract Latino voters in the campaign." Does the president look at his legacy and say, "I'll take it, that's 80 percent, and then we'll fight for more," or does he take the politics?
New York Times correspondent Jonathan Martin added that "the question comes down to President Obama and also some of the Hispanic advocacy groups: Are they going to cast a path to legal status but not citizenship as something between either a half a loaf as John put it or is it a poison pill?"
KING: In Ronald Reagan days, 80 percent was a pretty good deal. If the president can get a guest-worker program, can get the high-tech visas, can get some of the other things that he wanted that are not related to the big issue that derails this every time, which is citizenship or status or nothing, if he could get status, does he sign that for his legacy, or do the Democrats say, Mr. President, don't give that to Republicans?
However, defining support for a pathway to citizenship as political gamesmanship is faulty for several reasons:
Several TV media outlets have hosted John Hofmeister even as he misled their viewers by claiming that drilling will lower gasoline prices in contrast to independent experts from across the political spectrum. But they have failed to disclose that Hofmeister is currently a director at several oil and gas companies.
Mitt Romney's remarks at Solyndra were full of falsehoods that went unchecked by many major media outlets. The media also largely failed to point out that as governor of Massachusetts, Romney invested in several companies that subsequently went bankrupt or defaulted on state loans.
From the August 15 edition of CNN's John King USA:
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Looks like someone at CNN told contributor Erick Erickson to post an update to his smear of Washington Post reporter Greg Sargent, detailed here yesterday. Unfortunately, Erickson's update is just further nonsense, but I won't go into that here -- if you're interested, just read Erickson's update along with my post from yesterday and Sargent's.
Erickson's continued dishonesty about what Sargent wrote isn't really the interesting part -- after all, continued dishonesty is an Erickson specialty. The interesting part is the editor's note at the end of the update:
Editor's Note: The blog is a place for a freewheeling exchange of ideas and opinions. CNN does not endorse anything said by its contributors.
It's great that CNN is starting to feel some heat over its relationship with Erickson, but this doesn't fly. Erickson's CNN-hosted attack on Sargent wasn't an "exchange of ideas," it was a one-sided hit job. Even the update isn't an "exchange of ideas and opinions" -- if it was, it would contain some views of what happened other than Erickson's.
And the part about CNN not endorsing anything its contributors say? There are a few problems with that. CNN pays Erick Erickson. It gives him a television and internet platform. It promotes his comments. CNN's John King invites Erickson to attack liberals, then adopts Erickson's attacks in his own reporting. And in doing so, King ignores Erickson's history of doing the very things he attacks liberals for.
CNN can't credibly claim Erickson is just part of a "freewheeling exchange of ideas" when it treats him with kid gloves. And it can't credibly say it doesn't endorse his comments when John King invites him to level hypocritical attacks on liberals, then amplifies those attacks, all without questioning Erickson about the hypocrisy. Repeatedly.
If CNN wants to distance itself from Erickson, it's going to have to do better than this.
Recently-minted CNN contributor Dana Loesch claimed that breast pumps will be subject to the "massive excise tax" on medical devices under the health care reform law. In fact, the law exempts medical devices that are "generally purchased by the general public at retail for individual use."
Fox News promoted Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's claim that the federal government has failed to "do its job" on border security without mentioning that border security efforts have increased measurably under President Obama: Deportations, drug seizures, and the number of Border Patrol agents have all increased.
CNN's Erick Erickson responds to criticism of a Red State post declaring that "mass bloodshed" may be necessary if Roe isn't overturned:
First, I'd like to point out that I did not, contrary to the claims, write the post. However, I do stand by it.
Second, the accusation of the left is that both I and this site are calling for armed rebellion due to the persistent legal killing of children in this country. They are both lying and ignorant of history.
Erickson then spends a dozen paragraphs not addressing the key wording in the original post. Here it is again:
Here at RedState, we too have drawn a line. We will not endorse any candidate who will not reject the judicial usurpation of Roe v. Wade and affirm that the unborn are no less entitled to a right to live simply because of their size or their physical location. Those who wish to write on the front page of RedState must make the same pledge. The reason for this is simple: once before, our nation was forced to repudiate the Supreme Court with mass bloodshed. We remain steadfast in our belief that this will not be necessary again, but only if those committed to justice do not waiver or compromise, and send a clear and unmistakable signal to their elected officials of what must be necessary to earn our support. [Emphasis added]
Erickson responds to criticism of that paragraph by insisting that Red State condemns violence:
We at RedState are mindful that there are those so frustrated with this country allowing the lawful killing of children that those people are perfectly willing to take a life to preserve a life.
We not only do not condone that, but we condemn it.
But the paragraph in question said that mass bloodshed will be necessary if "those committed to justice" fail to "send a clear and unmistakable signal to their elected officials of what must be necessary to earn our support."
It didn't say mass bloodshed will unfortunately but inevitably occur if those conditions are not met. It said mass bloodshed will be necessary.
In responding to criticism of the post, Erickson addressed that wording only by saying it "sound[s] like a caveat, but it is not a caveat to any of us here." Whatever that means. He did, however, say he stands by the post, so … here we are: Erick Erickson thinks "mass bloodshed" will be necessary if anti-abortion activists fail to convey to their elected officials the importance of overturning Roe v. Wade. Not just inevitable: "Necessary."
And tonight, CNN will feature him as a contributor to its State of the Union coverage.
Back on January 11, CNN's John King hosted CNN contributor Erick Erickson for a discussion of inflammatory rhetoric. King didn't mention Erickson's history of violent rhetoric -- which includes talking about beating elected officials to a "bloody pulp" and pulling a shotgun on government workers -- even as Erickson criticized liberals' rhetoric. Even worse, King quested his Democratic guest about Erickson's criticism of liberals while ignoring Erickson's own rhetoric.
Last Thursday, King again ignored Erickson's pattern of violent comments during a conversation about controversial rhetoric. After playing a clip of Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen accusing Republicans of "a big lie just like Goebbels" and another clip of Cohen responding to criticism of the comment, King asked Erickson if Cohen's response was sufficient:
KING: Mr. Erickson is speaking for the right. It wasn't quite an apology, but does Mr. Cohen's statement today satisfy you?
Later, King prompted Erickson to declare Cohen's statement over the line:
KING: Nazi -- Nazi seems a little beyond the line --
ERICKSON: It absolutely is beyond the pale, but I don't think we should be shocked that this is continuing. It's not going to change.
Now, it's absolutely incredible that John King would invite Erick Erickson to denounce a Democrat's "beyond the line" rhetoric without mentioning that Erickson himself has crossed a line or two by talking about beating elected officials to a bloody pulp. What's even more incredible is that during the segment, King accused Democrats of hypocrisy for not criticizing Cohen after calling for civility:
KING: Now we would like to bring you tonight the outrage of all the senior Democrats who said that what Congressman Cohen said violated their call for more civility. We can't bring it to you because none of them said anything publicly and they might maybe should be asked about that…
And maybe CNN's John King should ask CNN's Erick Erickson about his pattern of violent rhetoric, including his statement over the weekend that "mass bloodshed" may be necessary if Roe v. Wade isn't overturned, rather than simply encouraging Erickson to attack progressives for their rhetoric. While chiding Democrats for hypocrisy, King is encouraging his CNN colleague to engage in it -- and helping him hide his hypocrisy.
Here at RedState, we too have drawn a line. We will not endorse any candidate who will not reject the judicial usurpation of Roe v. Wade and affirm that the unborn are no less entitled to a right to live simply because of their size or their physical location. Those who wish to write on the front page of RedState must make the same pledge. The reason for this is simple: once before, our nation was forced to repudiate the Supreme Court with mass bloodshed. We remain steadfast in our belief that this will not be necessary again, but only if those committed to justice do not waiver or compromise, and send a clear and unmistakable signal to their elected officials of what must be necessary to earn our support.
That "only if" construct means that -- according to Erick Erickson's Red State -- "mass bloodshed" will be "necessary" if elected officials don't overturn Roe v. Wade. Again: Red State doesn't say "mass bloodshed" may occur if elected officials don't do what is "necessary to earn our support" -- it says such bloodshed will be "necessary." Erickson and his Red State colleagues didn't indicate how much time elected officials have to earn their support before mass bloodshed becomes necessary.
This certainly is not the first time CNN's Erick Erickson has used violent rhetoric in discussing elected officials. This kind of talk must have some fans at CNN, though: Erickson has been chosen to provide "insight and analysis" for CNN's State of the Union coverage.
From the January 20 edition of CNN's John King, USA:
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Yesterday, news broke that a bomb "capable of inflicting multiple casualties" was found along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Washington. The FBI has described bomb as a case of "domestic terrorism."
Today, CNN's Erick Erickson and National Review's Jim Geraghty had the following Twitter exchange:
Erickson has previously spoken of pulling shotguns on government officials and beating state legislators to a "bloody pulp for being an idiot"and written that "metaphorically speaking," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner should get "punched in the face."
In other Erickson news, CNN has chosen him to provide "insight and analysis" for its State of the Union coverage.
Interestingly, on last night's edition of CNN's John King, USA, King apologized for a guest's use of the word "crosshairs":
Before we go to break, I want to make a quick point. We were just having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race, just a moment ago. My friend Andy Shaw, who now works for a good government group out there, used the term "in the crosshairs" in talking about the candidates out there. We're trying-we're trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend, he's covered politics for a long time, but we're trying to get away from using that kind of language. We won't always be perfect. So hold us accountable when we don't meet your standards.
So, when a CNN guest uses the term "in the crosshairs" to describe political targeting, King apologizes to his audience and says "we're trying to get away from that language." And, at the same time, CNN gives a contributor who routinely uses far more graphically violent rhetoric a plum gig analyzing the State of the Union. And remember: Last week, King hosted Erickson for a discussion of inflammatory rhetoric, and adopted Erickson's criticisms of liberals' rhetoric without ever asking Erickson about his own track record.
This is kind of incredible.
CNN contributor Erick Erickson appeared on John King, USA last night for a discussion of inflammatory rhetoric -- and, although Erickson criticized comments by various liberals, King never asked Erickson about his own track record of violent rhetoric. Instead, King simply asked his Democratic guest about the examples Erickson raised.
ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know it's always good to rethink how you say things, John. Except that this particular time the way the conversation got started was blaming Sarah Palin and blaming the Tea Party activists for having something to do with this, which we know wasn't the case. We weren't willing to have this conversation back when George Bush was president and MoveOn.org had people marching down the street with Bush equals Hitler posters.
King responded by asking Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher "[D]oes Erick have a point?" Then, a little later, King again adopted Erickson's example in questioning Belcher:
KING: Let me jump into the conversation. Then so in 2006 when MoveOn.org was saying those things, Cornell, is that a bad thing?
Erickson promptly interrupted Belcher's response and rattled off several more examples of inflammatory rhetoric he claims came from liberals.
At no point in the entire appearance did host John King ask Erickson -- or even mention -- a single example of inflammatory language used by conservatives. What makes that all the more incredible is that Erick Erickson has famously called former Supreme Court justice David Souter a "goat fucking child molester" and spoken of pulling shotguns on government officials and beating state legislators to a "bloody pulp for being an idiot."
John King didn't mention any of that. He just let Erickson go on about how liberals are responsible for inflammatory rhetoric -- then he pressed his Democratic guest about Erickson's examples.
Like I said: Incredible.
Here's what's even more incredible: Following that segment, in which John King dutifully parroted Erickson's criticisms of liberals while ignoring Erickson's own history of violent rhetoric, Erickson took to his blog to denounce the media for focusing only on the rhetorical excesses of conservatives. And in the process, Erickson claimed that unlike conservatives, liberals are guilty of actual violence:
I'll meet you half way on that, just for the sake of argument, and say the left and right can at times be equally vile, but only for the sake of argument.
But really, maybe the right's history of rhetoric is greater if only because the left goes beyond rhetoric to outright violence.
Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg was on CNN last night -- and quoted in yesterday's Washington Post -- opposing equal rights for gays. Neither news organization adequately explained who Sprigg is, perhaps because doing so would raise serious questions about why it granted him a platform.
Peter Sprigg wants "gay behavior" outlawed and has said he would "much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe that homosexuality is destructive to society." Sprigg's comments played a role in the Southern Poverty Law Center's decision to identify FRC as a "hate group." (Sprigg subsequently apologized for the comment about exporting gays, saying he was guilty of "speaking in a way that did not reflect the standards which the Family Research Council and I embrace" -- but he did not retract the substance of the comment.) The fact that Sprigg is so intolerant of gays is crucial to interpreting his comments on gay rights -- but neither CNN nor the Post offered a hint of the extremity of Sprigg's views.
That's nothing new at the Post, which has previously gone so far as to give Sprigg an unmoderated online Q&A session with its readers. And CNN has frequently hosted Sprigg and quoted him in news reports, presenting him to its audience as an expert on everything from parenting to (completely fictitious) attempts to prevent the celebration of Christmas to military readiness. (Dan Savage has previously criticized CNN for providing a forum for gay-bashers.)
It's hard to imagine CNN or the Washington Post treating, say, David Duke this way. And yet they frequently feature Peter Sprigg as though he's a legitimate, mainstream figure -- and they do so while withholding from their audience information that would make clear that he is not.
The obvious implication of all this is that CNN and the Washington Post are far more comfortable with homophobia than they are with racism or anti-Semitism. I just wish they'd come out and say it.