Conservative media figures are suggesting the arrest of a suspected ringleader of the Benghazi attacks was timed to help Hillary Clinton on her book tour.
Breitbart.com ridiculed Paul Krugman for filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in a since-deleted post whose claims originated with a satire website. Just last month, Breitbart.com castigated a news outlet for running with a story from that same website.
In the March 11 post, Breitbart.com editor at large Larry O'Connor mocked the Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist for his alleged financial mismanagement. Unfortunately for O'Connor, the report that Krugman went bankrupt is clearly a joke and originated from the satirical website The Daily Currant. O'Connor has since deleted the post without explanation. (Update: O'Connor tweeted, saying he "trusted Boston.com as the source for that Krugman piece, but they were duped by Daily Currant, therefore, so was I!")
In his post, O'Connor jabbed Krugman for supposedly spending "$84,000 in one month" on Portuguese wines and "a dress from the Victorian period," and concluded that "apparently this Keynsian [sic] thing doesn't really work on the micro level." O'Connor sourced the report to a Boston.com post written by "Prudent Investor." The post by "Prudent Investor" sources an Austrian website, which reprinted the original Daily Currant story. (Update: Boston.com appears to have deleted the story.)
Just last month, the Breitbart team laid into the Washington Post when the paper's website adopted a satirical story about Sarah Palin from Daily Currant. In a post about the snafu, Breitbart blogger John Nolte ripped the paper for not letting "facts get in the way of a good Narrative." According to Nolte, if Post blogger Suzi Parker "had a shred of self-awareness, integrity, and dignity, she would have changed the headline to 'Too Good To Check,' and under it posted an essay about how shallow, smug, bitterly angry partisanship can blind you to common sense."
But when his website ran with a too good to check story about Paul Krugman, they merely deleted the post without explanation.
O'Connor is scheduled to participate in the "CPAC 2013 All Star Panel" at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference.
From the January 13 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money:
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Fox News, still fighting hard to protect the wealthy, continued today to attack President Obama's plan for deficit reduction on the grounds that once a person has paid income taxes, they should never be required to pay any more taxes on that money, ever again. Fox figures continued to pretend that income made from capital gains is somehow not income, unlike the money middle-class Americans earn from working at their jobs. This is not true. They are, in fact, both income.
Fox's recent defend-the-rich push was sparked by Obama's announcement of a deficit reduction plan of $3 trillion that would call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases, mostly on the wealthy. The plan was said to be guided by the so-called "Buffett Rule," named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who argued in a recent New York Times op-ed that he should not pay taxes at a lower rate than his employees -- as he currently does.
Fox's spin on capital gains income began yesterday on Fox & Friends, with a bungled and confusing exchange between co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. Doocy complained, on Buffett's behalf, that not only has Buffett "already paid 35 percent" on the money he's put into the stock market, but he must also pay capital gains tax on money he makes from buying and selling stocks.
Pamela Geller is not backing down from her Islamophobic hate speech. Last week, Pamela Geller joined Larry O'Connor on his radio show, The Stage Right Show. O'Connor who serves as editor-in-chief of Breitbart.tv, tried to help her disguise her anti-Islamic rhetoric, asking her: "But seriously, Pamela Geller I just want to be clear on this: You believe that a person is capable of being a devout Muslim and be a completely peaceful and loving person, right? You don't think that if you're Muslim, de facto, you're a violent jihadi?"
But Geller was unable to agree with that point. The first word out of her mouth was "no," but immediately after that, she made clear that she does not believe that a believer in what she termed "pure Islam" can be peaceful:
GELLER: No. I don't believe that. But I do believe that if you're a follower of traditional Islam, of pure Islam, then you support jihad. And that's not my opinion so much as you see in the recent Gallup poll and you see in the Pew polls that the most devout country, and specifically, of course, Pakistan and so forth. Look, they overwhelmingly supported Osama Bin Laden. And, you know, was disapproving of what America had done in taking him out. And even in the U.K., you see that 35 percent support homicide bombings. Look, there's a problem, not with all Muslims, no.
But there is a problem. And we are not allowed to talk about it? I understand that people say, you know, "don't broad brush all." I don't. But by the same token, forgive me for not patting every single person on the back who doesn't take up -- doesn't strap one on. I don't think it's necessary to do that. I expect people not to kill other people. I expect a certain modicum of humanity. Yes, and respect for the Golden Rule. Even though there's no Golden Rule in Islam, I do believe that do unto others is a basic human -- irrespective of religion -- a basic tenet of humanity, okay. I don't believe in patting people on the back for not killing me. Sorry, Larry, I'm not going to do that.
Geller has been trying to scrub some of the more incendiary parts of her record in response to the bombing in Norway, which she initially blamed on Muslims. But apparently, when given an engraved invitation to declare that she does not, in fact, believe that devout Muslims can be peaceful, she can't bring herself to accept it.
It appears that Andrew Breitbart and Larry O'Connor have settled on a bold new strategy for defending against Shirley Sherrod's defamation lawsuit. Sherrod, they argue in a recent court filing, really did admit to using her government job to carry out a campaign of racial discrimination.
Nearly a year ago, Breitbart and O'Connor posted a blog post and video accusing Sherrod of engaging in "racism" in her role as an Obama administration appointee at the Department of Agriculture. According to the video, Sherrod admitted in a 2010 speech to the Georgia NAACP that "in her federally appointed position, overseeing over a billion dollars... She discriminates against people due to their race."
This, of course, was a lie. It quickly emerged that the video had been deceptively edited to make it seem that Sherrod had avoided fully helping a white farmer, instead referring him to a white lawyer -- one of "his own kind." In fact, Sherrod went on to explain that she ultimately did a significant amount of work to help the white farmer. And Sherrod wasn't even describing her actions as an Obama administration appointee; rather, she was recounting an incident that took place 24 years earlier when she was working for a non-governmental organization. On this latter point, Breitbart was forced to publish an embarrassing correction.
But in an April 18 court filing, Breitbart's and O'Connor's lawyers defend the allegation that Sherrod admitted to practicing racial discrimination in her "federally appointed position." Specifically, they point to a different part of Sherrod's NAACP speech (a part that Breitbart also highlighted in his original post smearing Sherrod), in which she encouraged people of color to apply for jobs at the USDA.
From the court filing:
Moreover, Sherrod's invitation to her audience to apply for USDA jobs from which they cannot be fired evidences her continuing determination to advance the interests of African-Americans at the economic expense of people of other races and provides a clear, truthful basis for the view that as a USDA official "she discriminates against people due to their race."
Elsewhere in the filing, Breitbart's and O'Connor's lawyers make a similar argument in order to defend other charges Breitbart leveled at Sherrod:
In a May 8 post on Big Government, Larry O'Connor* mocked a recent "slutwalk" protest in Boston. The rally originated as a way to protest a Toronto official who suggested that women could avoid being sexually assaulted by not "dressing like sluts." The protests featured anti-rape, anti-sexism slogans described by O'Connor as "snappy little chants." From Big Government:
From the Associated Press:Holding signs and chanting "We love sluts!" approximately 2,000 protesters marched Saturday in Boston, as the city officially become the latest to join an international series of protests against sexism and rape, known as "SlutWalks."
As with any of these organized marches drummed up by the left, the protesters were supplied with list of snappy little chants to scream at the top of their lungs. A little on-line investigation uncovered the chants. Aren't they clever:
*This post has been updated to correct the spelling of Larry O'Connor's name. Media Matters regrets the error.
Since Glenn Beck announced he would be ending his daily show with Fox News, conservative bloggers have reacted with a mixture of sorrow, skepticism, and, of course, conspiracy theories about why his show is ending.
James O'Keefe III has a funny definition of the word "explosive." Earlier today, he promised over Twitter a "new explosive tape" from his "sting" on National Public Radio. But if you actually watch the video he was referring to, you get the sense that this was less of an explosion than a fizzle. Sure, O'Keefe and the rest of the right-wing attack machine are trying to play it up by claiming it proves NPR was up to something deeply sinister -- the only problem for them is that the video doesn't show that at all.
Here's what it does show: a 40-minute phone conversation between Betsy Liley, NPR's senior director of institutional giving, and O'Keefe croney Simon Templar, here pretending to be "Ibraham Kasaam" of the phony Muslim Education Action Center. The video identifies the MEAC as a "Muslim Brotherhood front group," but there's nothing in the video to give that indication.
Over the course of the call, Liley requests a written letter from the MEAC with more details about the donation and suggests that NPR's legal team and the MEAC hammer out a gift agreement. She also gently prods "Kasaam" to reveal more information about the MEAC's history and legal structure, requests a 990 form, and notes, unprompted, that "At Perdue, we've turned down some significant gifts."
The takeaway was that the discussion over a donation was in the preliminary stages at best, and NPR had not committed to accepting MEAC's offer. There is no evidence in the tape to suggest that NPR ever planned on accepting the gift -- much less that they were going to "hide it from the government" as the Daily Caller blithely suggests. When "Kasaam" asks if "NPR would be able to shield us from a government audit," Liley's response is: "I think that is the case, especially if you are anonymous, and I will inquire about that."
By the way, NPR has released a statement. Politico reported:
NPR released a statement condemning Liley's statements in the video.
"The statement made by Betsy Liley in the audio tapes released today regarding the possibility of making an anonymous gift that would remain invisible to tax authorities is factually inaccurate and not reflective of NPR's gift practices. All donations - anonymous and named - are fully reported to the IRS. NPR complies with all financial, tax and disclosure regulations."
Liley, who was caught on the initial videotape laughing at the suggestion that NPR was sometimes called National Palestinian Radio, was placed on administrative leave with Ron Schiller on Tuesday afternoon.
"Through unequivocal words and actions, NPR has renounced and condemned the secretly recorded statements of Ron Schiller and Betsy Liley. Mr. Schiller is no longer with NPR and Ms. Liley has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation of the matter," the NPR statement continued.
"No stronger statement of disavowal and disapproval is possible. NPR will not be deterred from its news mission and will ultimately be judged by the millions and millions of listeners and readers who have come to rely on us every day."
Expect this to get a lot of play in the hysterical, cyclonic right-wing scandal factory. Big Government's Larry O'Connor, displaying either deep incredulity or a stunning ignorance of American history, has already gone so far as to label this "NPR's Watergate Moment." Others have followed and will follow. Even if there is no money to follow.
UPDATE: NPR has released a series of emails making clear that they were unwilling to accept any MEAC donations without more information about the organization, and that NPR would be required to disclose any such donations to the IRS. Here is one such email:
From: Joyce Slocum
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 11:00 AM
Cc: Vivian Schiller; Betsy Liley; 'email@example.com'
Subject: Contributing to NPR
Dear Mr. Kasaam,
We are very grateful for the kind consideration being given by the Muslim Education Action Center to a generous gift to NPR. I'm sure you will understand that we need to verify certain information with respect to any organization that proposes to make a significant gift to NPR. In the case of an organization that holds itself out as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, contributions to which are tax deductible, we need in particular to satisfy ourselves that the organization is in compliance with the applicable requirements of the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), so as to ensure against any risk of being caught up in later compliance activity. In most instances, we're able to verify this information without troubling the donor organization, by using publicly accessible information. Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate the necessary information about the Muslim Education Action Center, and so we need to ask that you provide it.
The Muslim Education Action Center does not appear in IRS Publication 78, which lists all organizations which have received a 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS, and whose status as a tax exempt organization has not been suspended or revoked. (Only churches are exempt from the requirement of obtaining an IRS determination letter, though even many churches voluntarily do so.) Since the Muslim Education Action Center does not appear in Publication 78, we need to ask for a copy of the IRS determination letter as to its 501(c)(3) status.
Also, most tax exempt organizations are required to file an annual form 990 in order to maintain their tax exempt status. Failure to file for three consecutive years results in an automatic revocation of tax exempt status. Again, because such organizations are required to make their three most recently filed annual 990 returns and all related supporting documents available for public inspection, we are usually able to obtain copies of these from the organization's own website, or if not there, from GuideStar or the Foundation Center. We have been unable to locate the 990's for the Muslim Education Action Center through any of these sources, so need to ask that you also provide those for our review.
I would very much appreciate receiving the requested items at your earliest convenience, so that I might review them and provide appropriate guidance to my client.Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or I may otherwise be of assistance.
Joyce D. Slocum
Back in October 2003, Rush Limbaugh ignited a firestorm when he used his platform as an analyst on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show to say of then-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb: "I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. [...] There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."
The resulting outrage triggered Limbaugh's resignation from ESPN, and continued to draw criticism six years later from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when Limbaugh joined an investment group that was attempting to purchase the St. Louis Rams. Nonetheless, Limbaugh has continued to defend his comments, as recently as a month ago.
On Sunday, Breitbart.tv editor-in-chief Larry O'Connor used his Twitter feed to push the same attack with regard to Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith: