Right-wing media responded to the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate by attacking the president and claiming that certain questions surrounding the document remain unanswered. Below is a sampling of the early attacks by conservative media following the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate.
In an April 27 National Review Online blog post titled, "The New Burning Question," Jonah Goldberg wrote:
I haven't studied the just released PDF of Obama's birth certificate. But assuming there's nothing in there about a birthmark that resembles the numbers "666" or about how his father worked for the KGB and -- of course -- assuming that the font in question matches typewriters of the time (Let's get Dan Rather on that): I figure this puts the birther thing to bed once and for all. Good.
But it does raise the perplexing question: If this was possible all along, why did the WH take such sweet time releasing it? Could it be that this White House, continuing a tactic used by Democrats for years, actually liked being able to cast their opponents -- often through guilt by association -- as paranoid nuts? No, that couldn't possibly be it.
In honor of the one year anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Media Matters presents a timeline of one of the most disgraceful and pernicious myths about the law--death panels.
The right-wing media have decried the Obama administration's decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, claiming the move is unlawful and "a form of dictatorship." In fact, presidents from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush have opted against defending statutes they viewed as unconstitutional.
Following in the footsteps of Jonah Goldberg, Glenn Beck has repeatedly taken a quote from a 1923 New York Times article out of context and portrayed the newspaper as praising Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. In fact, the Times was quoting a magazine writer, and immediately following the portion of the quote Beck and Goldberg repeated, the writer called Mussolini "a danger to the peace of Europe."
Yesterday, NRO's Jonah Goldberg mildly scolded Sarah Palin for using the loaded, incendiary phrase, "blood libel."Palin, responding the Tucson gun massacre controversy, said, "Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."
But I think that the use of this particular term in this context isn't ideal. Historically, the term is almost invariably used to describe anti-Semitic myths about how Jews use blood — usually from children — in their rituals.
Today, Goldberg seems to flip-flop on the matter:
As for the "blood libel" flap, I've decided to ratchet down my already very modest objection to the term. While I still think it would have been better had she not used the phrase, so much of the criticism of it is in bad faith. Her intent was honorable and her point was right. Moreover, she's hardly the first person to use the term outside the bounds of discussions of anti-Semitism. She wasn't even talking about "the blood libel" but warning against the creation of "a blood libel," which is exactly what Krugman, Olberman & Co. were doing. The "controversy" was a red herring and little more.
Both these stated reasons seem odd.
With the first, Goldberg indicates that he's backing off his criticism of Palin because the other criticism of Palin has been "in bad faith." Supposedly, Goldberg's criticism was in good faith. But because other people (i.e. liberals) attacked Palin in bad faith, he has decided to rescind his good faith criticism of the former governor in an effort to counter-balance the bad faith criticism. (If that makes sense.)
Second, Goldberg notes that Palin used the "blood libel" phrase in a general way and was not making reference to "the blood libel," which refers to a claim of Jewish blood ritual.
And indeed, Goldberg is correct. In discussing the reaction to the Tucson gun massacre, Palin did not invoke images of Jewish blood offerings. But as I'm pretty sure Goldberg understands, when "blood libel" is used these days, pretty much nobody is talking about "the blood libel," which is why that seems like a pretty dubious premise for him to walk back his earlier scolding.
As details about the tragic shooting in Arizona came to light, members of the right-wing media quickly used the fact that Hitler's Mein Kampf was listed as one of Jared Loughner's favorite books as evidence that his politics are "left wing." This characterization coincides with years of effort by Fox News personalities to tie the fascist Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler to progressivism.
From the January 6 edition of Fox News Channel's Special Report:
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Jonah Goldberg claims Republicans really wanted to work with President Obama on last year's stimulus:
Contrary to the spin, many congressional Republicans were either eager to work with the new president or terrified of opposing him. They weren't opposed to a stimulus bill either.
But the White House decided to sign on to the pork-heavy stimulus crafted by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, without GOP input -- "We won the election. We wrote the bill," Pelosi boasted -- thus blowing up Obama's still-plausible image as a bipartisan president and emboldening the Republicans to oppose the stimulus, which also left them free to run against the sinking "Obama economy."
This is simply a lie. Republican ideas were incorporated into the stimulus bill. Senator Chuck Grassley, for example, added a $70 billion AMT provision. And provisions Republicans opposed were removed. The fact is, the stimulus was smaller and more focused on tax cuts than many economists thought was wise -- and both the size and composition of the stimulus were, in part, efforts to incorporate Republican priorities.
From the December 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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In her new book America by Heart, Sarah Palin (egregiously) crops a quote from President Obama about American exceptionalism and then offers the observation that it "reminds me of that great scene in the movie The Incredibles":
Astonishingly, President Obama even said that he believes in American exceptionalism in the same way "the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Which is to say, he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism at all. He seems to think it is just a kind of irrational prejudice in favor of our way of life. To me, that is appalling.
His statement reminds me of that great scene in the movie The Incredibles. Dash, the son in the superhero family, who is a super-fast runner, wants to try out for the track team at school. His mom claims it won't be fair. "Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of. Our powers made us special!" Dash objects. When his mom answers with the politically correct rejoinder "Everyone's special, Dash," Dash mutters, "Which is another way of saying no one is." [Page 69]
Palin's writing is strikingly similar to Jonah Goldberg's November 9 syndicated column -- presumably written after Palin finished her book -- in which he says Obama's quote "reminded me of the wonderful scene in Pixar's 'The Incredibles'":
Last year, when asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, President Obama responded, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
This reminded me of the wonderful scene in Pixar's "The Incredibles," in which the mom says "everyone's special" and her son replies, "Which is another way of saying no one is."
But at least the president made room for the sentiment that America is a special place, even if he chalked it up to a kind of benign provincialism.
If you think this is just a coincidence -- hey, great minds think alike! -- consider one other piece of information: In her acknowledgements section, Palin offers a "special thanks to the brilliant, independent self-starter who got her start in Alaska, Jessica Gavora. Thank you for your most important work on America by Heart." Gavora is the wife of Jonah Goldberg; Goldberg recently tweeted that his wife "worked with Sarah Palin on her new book."
I contacted Goldberg for comment on the similarities, but have not heard back. I will post his comment if he does reply.
After sitting for a three-hour interview with C-SPAN on November 7, National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote two posts on National Review Online complaining about progressives who called into C-SPAN to question him.
In one post, he complained that there "was a significant share of stupidity and asininity from some callers, but much less than I had any right to expect." In a second post, he claimed that "a plurality of the lefty callers were simply obsessed with race," claimed that "many liberals ... can't conceive of the idea that their ideological opponents aren't racists," and called another progressive caller "a jerk."
Goldberg also seemed upset that someone would mention Media Matters for America to him, writing: "I suspect that one or two of them were professionally invested in the topic (the guy who plugged FAIR and Media Matters smelled like a seminar caller to me)."
I haven't listened to the whole three-hour interview, but it's hard to think that these callers could possibly have been more defamatory to conservatives than Goldberg is to progressives. After all, Goldberg has written a book called Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, has claimed that "you can draw a line, but it's not a straight one" from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and has suggested that Hitler was a liberal.
You could probably construct a more brazenly hypocritical argument than Jonah Goldberg's latest rant about liberals if you tried, but you'd really have to work at it.
Responding to a column by the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum, Goldberg writes that "the simple fact is that the objections offered by the anti-elitists right now have almost nothing to do with Ivy League education. Fair or not, to the extent the Ivy League comes up it is as a codeword or symbol for the agenda of progressives." And Goldberg spells out what these "anti-elitists" on the Right dislike about the progressive agenda:
Applebaum doesn't seem to comprehend that it is not status-class anxiety that is driving the main critique of the elite. It is that this particular elite is hellbent on bossing the country around that will make America less meritocratic.
To date, I've seen not one instance of Tea Partiers denouncing engineers, physicists, cardiologists, accountants, biologist, archeologists or a thousand other professions who've emerged from elite schools. Because those people aren't bossing anybody around.
Got that? Conservative "anti-elitists" dislike the "elite" because it is a bunch of liberals "hellbent on bossing the country around." Goldberg italicizes "bossing … around" twice, so it's pretty clear he thinks this is his key point.
But it's an absolutely stupid point. In this context, "bossing people around" is just a negative term for "leading." Every politician's agenda can be disparaged as "bossing people around" if you don't like what they're trying to do.
If "bossing people around" is the complaint, where's the conservative outrage over a governing elite telling two loving adults that they can't get married? Where's the conservative outrage over a governing elite telling a Marine that, unlike his peers, he'll be fired if he publicly acknowledges his relationship status?
You won't find clearer examples of "bossing people around" on any progressive agenda. And so it is obvious that Goldberg's claim that conservative "anti-elitists" dislike liberals because liberals are "hellbent on bossing the country around" is bunk. The Right's complaint isn't that the Left wants to boss people around, it's that it doesn't like what the Left wants to do. And they have every right to dislike it. But dressing that dislike up, as Goldberg does, as some principled commitment to individual liberty is simply dishonest. Or dumb. Or both. With Goldberg, it's hard to tell.
(Goldberg himself wrote in 2008 that gay marriage is "likely inevitable and won't be nearly the disaster many of my fellow conservatives fear it will be" and on December 31, 2009 (via Nexis) that it should be delayed, which basically means that he's in favor of bossing people around for the sake of bossing them around.)
In other words, it is the agenda of a very specific and very self-styled elite, not the existence of an elite that is pissing so many people off. Some of the angriest and most dedicated people I meet at Tea Party events are quite wealthy and successful, often with shiny educations equal to Applebaum's.
So, basically, wealthy and successful people who are used to bossing others around resent being bossed around themselves. And Jonah Goldberg thinks this is a principled objection to people bossing people around. Got it.
And Goldberg provides this hilarious example of projection:
[I]t's only one subset of Ivy Leaguers that seems to bother anybody on the right: the lawyer-social engineers-journalist-activists they churn out by the boatload. No one begrudges kids who've made good from tough backgrounds. What bothers lots of Americans is when those kids then think they are entitled to cajole, nudge, command and denigrate the rest of America.
When did you last hear a prominent liberal politician denigrate "ignorant bible-thumping rubes in Kansas?" Probably back on the Fifth of Never, right? But conservative politicians suggest that effete, godless coastal elites aren't "Real Americans" all the time. Goldberg himself refers to liberals as "filthy hippies," to pick one of many slurs. But in Jonah Goldberg's fantasy world of paranoia and oppression, it is liberals who denigrate the rest of America.
If you ever catch yourself thinking Jonah Goldberg is completely useless, just remember that in his attacks on liberals, he provides convenient reminders of the flaws of conservatives.
New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino recently said he didn't want children "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option" as "getting married and raising a family." Right-wing pundits have since defended his remarks, calling his comments "dead on the money," "defensible," and "[not] bad at all."
From the October 11 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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