Right-wing media figures have recently concocted several baseless scandals in an attempt to portray Democrats as corrupt or guilty of wrongdoing. These include the suggestion that the Democratic leadership acted improperly after learning about sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Eric Massa, the baseless accusation that President Obama is "selling judgeships" for health care reform votes, and the false claim that Rep. Pete Stark has an "ethics scandal."
Several conservative commentators have attacked Obama by claiming he "lowered himself" and diminished the office of the President by appearing at the bipartisan health care summit.
In attacking President Obama's recent health care reform guidelines, right-wing media have leveled numerous criticisms that are at odds with their earlier attacks against Democratic health care reform legislation. This follows repeated efforts by conservative media figures to shift their criticism of health care reform by changing the definitions of "death panels" and the public option.
Commenting on CPAC, National Review Online editor Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote:
Commenting on a CPAC speech by Marco Rubio, who is running for the Republican nomination for Florida's U.S. Senate seat, National Review Online editor Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote:
At NRO's The Corner, Lopez writes:
I actually try to give the president of the United States the benefit of the doubt. But the blaming of the past administration is pathetically unpresidential. And last week suggests it's a pretty dated line of attack.
I wonder what she thinks of President Reagan's first State of The Union. Back in 1982, he devoted significant portions of his speech to attacking President Carter's administration for "the situation at this time last year":
To understand the State of the Union, we must look not only at where we are and where we're going but where we've been. The situation at this time last year was truly ominous.
The last decade has seen a series of recessions. There was a recession in 1970, in 1974, and again in the spring of 1980. Each time, unemployment increased and inflation soon turned up again. We coined the word "stagflation" to describe this.
Government's response to these recessions was to pump up the money supply and increase spending.
In the last six months of 1980, as an example, the money supply increased at the fastest rate in postwar history 13 percent. Inflation remained in double digits and Government spending increased at an annual rate of 17 percent. Interest rates reached a staggering 21 1/2 percent. There were eight million unemployed.
A year ago, Americans' faith in their governmental process was steadily declining. Six out of ten Americans were saying they were pessimistic about their future.
A new kind of defeatism was heard. Some said our domestic problems were uncontrollable that we had to learn to live with the-seemingly endless cycle of high inflation and high unemployment.
There were also pessimistic predictions about the relationship between our Administration and this Congress. It was said we could never work together. Well, those predictions were wrong. The record is clear, and I believe that history will remember this as an era of American renewal, remember this Administration as an Administration of change and remember this Congress as a Congress of destiny.
First, we must understand what's happening at the moment to the economy. Our current problems are not the product of the recovery program that's only just now getting under way, as some would have you believe; they are the inheritance of decades of tax and tax, and spend and spend.
The only alternative being offered to this economic program is a return to the policies that gave us a trillion-dollar debt, runaway inflation, runaway interest rates and unemployment.
The budget in place when I took office had been projected as balanced. It turned out to have one of the biggest deficits in history.
Higher taxes would not mean lower deficits. If they did, how would we explain tax revenues more than doubled just since 1976, yet in that same six-year period we ran the largest series of deficits in our history. In 1980 tax revenues increased by $54 billion, and in 1980 we had one of our all-time biggest deficits.
Does Lopez also think Reagan was being "unpresidential"? Or is she grading on a partisan curve?
National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez unleashes a vicious smear of Massachusetts Senate Candidate Martha Coakley, suggesting under the header "It's a Good Thing for Martha Coakley That There Are No Catholics in Massachusetts" that Coakley said Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms:
The radio host, Ken Pittman, pointed out that complex legal principle that "In the emergency room you still have your religious freedom."
Coakley agrees that "The law says that people are allowed to have that." But, making clear her view - the attorney general who wants to be the next senator from Massachusetts - she declared that "You can have religious freedom, but you probably shouldn't work in an emergency room." (Listen here.)
In fact, Coakley said that if you refuse to provide legal medical services to rape victims, you probably shouldn't work in an emergency room. Lopez cut off the quote before that was clear, suggesting instead that Coakley's position is simply that Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms.
There is a massive difference between what Coakley said and what Kathryn Jean Lopez claims Coakley said. Just enormous. Lopez suggests Coakley's position is "Catholics need not apply"; in fact, Coakley's position is more like "people who don't want to do the job shouldn't take it." It says something about Lopez' confidence in the merits of her own position that she feels the need to dishonestly portray Coakley's.
This isn't Lopez's first fast-and-loose description of the issue this week. Here's something she wrote on Wednesday:
What Coakley and her campaign are referencing is a 2005 bill that mandated that hospitals provide emergency contraception to victims of rape. At the time, Scott Brown sponsored an amendment that sought to protect the consciences of hospitals and hospital personnel with religious objections to the medication, which sometimes works as an abortifacient.
As the Boston Globe explained last week, the amendment would have referred rape victims at a hospital that would not dispense emergency contraception to another hospital that would, at no additional cost. In an urban center like Boston, this is not akin to making emergency contraception unavailable to these women.
Set aside the callousness of Lopez' suggestion (reminiscent of Sen. Joe Lieberman's famous "short ride" comment) that it's ok to turn a rape victim away from an emergency room because there's another nearby. What's really striking about Lopez' description is what she leaves out: Not all of Massachusetts is "an urban center like Boston." For many people, there isn't another emergency room nearby. Again: it says something about Lopez' confidence in the merits of her position that she feels the need to mislead readers about its consequences.
Politico and National Review Online both stated that Republicans forced former Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott to resign as Senate majority leader following his praise for Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist campaign for president. In fact, although Lott did resign as majority leader, the Senate Republican caucus later welcomed him back to the Senate leadership, electing him minority whip in 2006.
On the January 3 edition of Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume commented that his "message" to Tiger Woods -- who Hume mentioned is "said to be a Buddhist" -- would be to "turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world." Since then, several conservative commentators have endorsed Hume's remarks or defended them from criticism.
Several conservative commentators have touted a Gallup poll finding that 20 percent of respondents identify themselves as "liberal," 36 percent as "moderate" and 40 percent as "conservative" to criticize President Obama and his agenda and to claim America is ideologically a "conservative" country. But political scientists dispute the reliability of voters' identification with political ideologies, and other polling has found that a strong majority favors the more progressive position on a number of issues.
Following Sen. Ted Kennedy's death, conservative media figures have returned to the smear that the memorial service for Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) became "a political rally" to suggest that progressives will excessively politicize Kennedy's death. But as now-Sen. Al Franken documented at length, the claim that Wellstone's memorial was politicized is a myth based on distortions propagated by the conservative media.
NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez predicts, "I suspect this will be the most linked-to YouTube of the day on the Right." The link is to a video clip of Hillary Clinton saying in 2003, "I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic, and we should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration."
Presumably, Lopez is suggesting that Clinton's comments are somehow at odds with what Pelosi and Hoyer wrote in their USA Today op-ed today, but they're not.
As we pointed out this morning, Pelosi and Hoyer wrote that "it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue," and that "[d]rowning out opposing views is simply un-American."
Pelosi and Hoyer did not declare opponents of health care reform - or anybody who disagrees with the Obama administration -- "un-American." They were speaking in favor of "civil dialogue" and against actions that disrupt it and "drown out opposing views."
On the off chance that Lopez was merely pointing out a great 6-year-old quote on the freedom of speech from our now-Secretary of State, fantastic. We concur.