A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
On Beck, Jonah Goldberg said of President Obama's inauguration speech: "I salute Barack Obama for invoking the Founding Fathers. At the minimum, it is good that the Democratic Party wants to start revering the Founders." Contrary to Goldberg's suggestion that Obama's invocation of the Founders was a first for a Democratic president, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter both "invok[ed]" the Founders during their inaugural addresses.
Several media figures are promoting the notion of division among Obama supporters, asserting that "the left" is or should be disappointed with the president-elect's Cabinet selections. But the idea of significant disappointment with Obama runs counter to a USA Today/Gallup poll finding that 94 percent of Democrats "approve of the way Obama is handling his presidential transition."
In recent weeks, several conservative media figures, echoed by Republican lawmakers, have responded to comparisons in the media of President-elect Barack Obama to FDR, or assertions in the media that a New Deal-level of government intervention will be necessary to resolve the current economic crisis, by asserting that the New Deal was a dismal failure, plunging the 1930s economy into a depression, an assertion that prominent progressive economists flatly reject.
In a column comparing former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton to fictional horror movie characters Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Dracula, Jonah Goldberg wrote of the Clintons' scheduled appearances at the Democratic National Convention: "Bill and Hillary are back. And forever more, Barack Obama won't be able to take a shower without fear of that curtain snapping back, as a woman -- or is that a man? -- prepares to plunge the knife into his back."
In his Los Angeles Times column, Jonah Goldberg falsely claimed that "[w]ithin months of the [Iraq] invasion, [Sen. John] McCain was calling for more troops and the head of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld." In fact, McCain did not call for Rumsfeld to be fired, or for his resignation.
In his Los Angeles Times column, Jonah Goldberg asserted that in an NPR interview, Al Gore "chuckled" at the idea that Hurricane Katrina "was God's wrath for New Orleans' sexual depravity," then "went on to blame Katrina on man's energy sinfulness." In fact, Gore stated during the interview that "any individual storm can't be linked singularly to global warming." Goldberg also claimed that the numbers of polar bears "have quadrupled in the last 50 years"; in fact, data to support estimates of the polar bear population 50 years ago are reportedly nonexistent, recent growth in the polar bear population is believed to be linked to hunting bans, and the Department of Interior found that "the polar bear is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future."
Jonah Goldberg claimed that Democrats, and specifically Sen. Barack Obama, "cannot credibly talk of love of country while simultaneously dodging the word and concept of patriotism." In fact, Obama has not "dodg[ed] the word and concept of patriotism" -- invoking them in numerous speeches going back to at least 2002.
Jonah Goldberg falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama's "campaign headquarters in Houston had a Che Guevara-emblazoned Cuban flag hanging on the wall." In fact, the office in question is not "Obama's campaign headquarters in Houston," nor is it an official campaign office controlled by the Obama campaign.
On Glenn Beck, National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg said: "I think one of the things that is decidedly fascistic, or at least just a bad idea, is looking for silver bullets. You know, when [Sen.] Barack Obama campaigns, he's basically saying, 'I'm a silver bullet. I'm going to solve all your problems just by electing me.' FDR, Hitler, all these guys, they basically said, 'All your problems can be solved.' "
Loading the player leg...
In an email to readers encouraging recipients to read the National Journal article on the magazine's 2007 vote ratings, the National Journal Group wrote: "In 2004, President Bush invoked Senator John Kerry's liberal Vote Ratings score repeatedly on the campaign trail and at their head-to-head debates. We anticipate similar attention for our Vote Ratings across the 2008 election cycle." Numerous media did follow suit and tout the Journal's 2003 rating of Kerry. And once again, the media are giving the 2007 ratings the "similar attention" the National Journal Group anticipated -- despite the Journal's acknowledgment that the methodology it used to rate Kerry was flawed.
On Morning Joe, Jonah Goldberg stated: "Hillary Clinton is essentially like the agricultural minister from the Soviet Politburo in 1976. She's sort of, you know, the product of a sort of bureaucratic, Walter Mondale machine, 'check off the right constituencies' kind of thing."
Discussing his most recent book on MSNBC's Morning Joe, National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg said that Benito Mussolini is tied to the American liberal movement because he "was a socialist." When co-host Joe Scarborough asked whether he was suggesting "you can draw a line from Mussolini" to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or to Sen. Barack Obama, Goldberg replied, "Well, I'm saying you can draw a line, but it's not a straight one."
On The Big Story, discussing Rush Limbaugh's recent "phony soldiers" comments, Jonah Goldberg asserted: "I've never heard actually a conservative basically flat-out deny the patriotism of the opposition." In fact, Limbaugh himself has done so. For instance, on his August 23, 2005, radio show, Limbaugh said, "It's time for somebody to tell the people on the left, you're damn right we're questioning your patriotism."