After Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion upholding health care reform, the right-wing media have attacked his conservative credentials. Despite experts' statements that the opinion might have cleared the way for more rulings restricting federal power and progressive legislation, media conservatives are using this as a pretext to demand even more conservative judicial nominees. There is evidence their pressure is having an effect.
According to the Media Research Center, the best way to "save America from socialism and economic run" and "expose an expanding plot to silence Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and all conservative media in America" is to send the conservative group at least $25.
That warning is detailed in a fundraising letter obtained by Media Matters detailing MRC's "Soros Project" which is described as "an urgent new special project of the Media Research Center."
The letter is signed by MRC founder and President L. Brent Bozell. It rambles on for eight pages and attempts to scare up donations for MRC by concocting a vast conspiracy involving philanthropist George Soros, members of the media, and Media Matters.
Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.
During a discussion of gasoline prices, frequent Fox News guest Brent Bozell claimed that U.S. oil production has fallen under President Obama. In reality, the opposite is true: after increasing every year since 2009, oil production is at an eight-year high; gas prices continue to rise because they are determined by a world market, not by U.S. production.
From the February 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Talk about throwing good money after bad.
Last week, cantankerous media watchdog Brent Bozell announced his group, Media Research Center, was launching the largest initiative in its 25 years history -- a $5 million marketing campaign urging the "liberal media" to "tell the truth!" Bozell urged Americans to stand up during this election year and "declare, once and for all, that the leftwing so-called news media are no longer going to pick winners and losers."
Featuring mobile billboards and "Tell The Truth!" placards, the MRC campaign is drawing inspiration from Newt Gingrich's candidacy, and specifically Gingrich's calculated pushback against the press. That crusade reached its peak on the night of the South Carolina debate when he won a standing ovation after castigating moderator John King for opening the debate by asking about allegations Gingrich's former wife had made in the press that week about their marriage.
Bozell soon announced Gingrich's primary win in South Caroline represented a "defeat for the liberal media." He urged GOP candidates to pick up Gingrich's anti-media mantle and to denounce the elites' "mission to destroy" Republican hopefuls.
All of this, as usual with Bozell, is a charade.
In fact, all that the MRC's new "Tell The Truth!" campaign does is highlight the dubious nature of the long-running "liberal media" bias production. The punch line surrounding this multi-million dollar marketing drive? It's being rolled out at the exact moment the conservative press is attacking Gingrich.
It's true. Last week Gingrich likely received better, or at least fairer, treatment in the pages of The New York Times than he did at The Drudge Report, which dedicated several days to posting a litany of harassing headlines and relentlessly targeting the former Republican Speaker of the House, treating him as if he were the political reincarnation of Bill Clinton.
It seems conservative pundits are the ones on a "mission to destroy" Gingrich's candidacy. But Bozell can't say that out loud because he has a phony, "liberal media" campaign to launch.
Fox News' animosity toward President Obama, three years into his presidency, is by now well-known. This is the network that routinely calls Obama a socialist, accuses him of being involved in all sorts of conspiratorial plots, and claims that he hates America. But, as witnessed Thursday on Hannity, Fox's attacks have taken an increasingly racially charged tone: Brent Bozell, who runs the factually challenged outfit of conservative misinformation known as the Media Research Center, likened Obama to "a skinny, ghetto crackhead."
Bozell appeared on Hannity as part of the show's weekly "Media Mash" segment to talk about purported mainstream media failings. After listening to a clip of MSNBC host Chris Matthews saying that Newt Gingrich "looks like a car bomber," Bozell responded:
BOZELL: How long do you think Sean Hannity's show would last if four times in one sentence, he made a comment about, say, the President of the United States, and said that he looked like a skinny, ghetto crackhead? Which, by the way, you might want to say that Barack Obama does. Everybody on the left would come forward and demand he be fired within five minutes for being so insulting towards a leader of the United States.
A few months ago, Fox's Eric Bolling came under fire for his racially charged criticisms of Obama, including his claims that Obama was "chugging 40's in IRE while tornadoes ravage MO" (which he later tried to amend), and that Obama was hosting "hoodlum[s] in the hizzouse" when he welcomed Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba and rapper Common to the White House.
These attacks have become a pattern at Fox News.
From the December 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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This week, the right-wing media began its annual fake "War on Christmas" campaign, freaking out about a bogus Obama "Christmas tree tax." Here's what to expect from right-wing media during the next six weeks.
Since sexual harassment allegations against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain have emerged, right-wing media figures have blamed a wide range of people and entities for the story's emergence, from the "Democratic machine" to the "liberal media" and even "the left-wing nutjobs at Media Matters."
Brent Bozell's Media Research Center, out attacking the press for reporting on the legitimate news story about Herman Cain's former employer settling sexual harassment complaints against him, claims the three major news networks "ignored" the Paula Jones story during the 1990's, but are overplaying the Cain story this week.
That seems like a stretch considering Jones' lawsuit against president Clinton remained in the headlines for nearly seven years as it dragged its way through the courts and eventually became joined with the Monica Lewinsky impeachment scandal. How is it possible that ABC, CBS and NBC "ignored" the Jones story for all those years?
Simple. They didn't ignore it.
A search of Nexis indicates that in the `90's the networks aired more than 600 reports that mentioned the Paula Jones controversy in detail.
So what does MRC base its "ignored" claim on? It looks at the Paula Jones coverage for just three days during the `90's; the three days following her infamous press conference in Washington, D.C., (sponsored by the Conservative Political Action Conference) where she aired her claims against the Democratic president. Three days, of course, represents a tiny window to view the Jones story, which played out over many, many years and was covered almost non-stop.
During the 1990's, the three major networks averaged a combined total of nearly 90 Paula Jones reports every year, for seven straight years. But according to Brent Bozell's crack staff, the networks "ignored" the Jones tale.
The conservative media is divided on anonymous sources: Some right-wing media figures have been hyping a claim by an anonymous source that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is "likely involved with the sexual harassment" allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. At the same time, however, other conservative media figures have tried to cast doubt on the sexual harassment allegations against Cain by pointing out that they are based on anonymous sources.
Now that Herman Cain's chief aide has gone on the record accusing Rick Perry's Republican campaign of leaking the sexual harassment story this week, and now that the story continues to take shape with additional information, where does that leave race-baiting zealots on the right-wing fringe who accused liberals, Democrats and journalists of colluding to launch the "racist" Cain attack?
Yes, the Perry camp denies any involvement in the story. But the fact that not even the Cain campaign thinks the controversy was cooked up by "the left," leaves race-baiting pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Brent Bozell with even less basis to claim Cain's woes were cooked up by black-hating liberals.
Limbaugh, of course, has been unhinged all week, insisting Cain has been targeted by the "left" for being an "uppity" black. Ann Coulter announced that the "false" harassment allegations proved "liberals detest, detest, detest conservative blacks," and Media Research Center's Brent Bozell embarrassed himself by claiming that, "In the eyes of the liberal media, Herman Cain is just another uppity black American who has had the audacity to leave the liberal plantation."
There were others. Andrew Breitbart blogger Jim Hoft denounced the "racist" members of the "liberal media" who reported the Cain story, while a crew of conservative commentators called the Cain story a "high-tech lynching" by liberals.
All the usual, right-wing race baiters rushed forward this week without any facts and attacked liberals, Democrats and journalists for manufacturing the "racist" Cain story. Days later, and with the knowledge that Cain aides think a Republican was behind the sexual harassment story, the pundits' allegations look even flimsier.
Responding to a report that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain allegedly engaged in "sexually suggestive behavior" in the 1990s, right-wing media figures have turned to race-baiting, arguing that Cain is being targeted because he is a "black conservative" and that he is the victim of a "high-tech lynching."
It's hard to tell which task Fox News and the rest of the far-right media are more obsessed with these days, smearing the Occupy Wall Street protest with endless name-calling, or rewriting the history of the Tea Party to make it appear so much more serious and civil than Occupy Wall Street.
The latest whitewash attempt came last night when Monica Crowley, sitting in for Bill O'Reilly, complained the Tea Party had been smeared "for nonexistent offenses. The racism that didn't exist, the signs that didn't exist."
Guest Bernie Goldberg replied that "if there was one sign at a Tea Party rally that was racist, it would get on the air. I guess I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is suggesting that it was typical of the whole movement."
Crowley insisted there were no racists signs at Tea Party rallies.