Following Obama's widely praised address at the memorial for the victims of the Tucson shooting, the right-wing media have nonetheless strained to find ways to attack him. Their attacks have included the presence of T-shirts at the event -- which were reportedly handed out by the university -- the "pep-rally" atmosphere, and the timing of Obama's speech, among other things.
NewsBusters is attacking Obama for a statement he made in his speech honoring Christina Taylor Green, the nine-year-old killed in the Arizona shooting. No seriously, they are.
NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein writes:
Concluding his remarks at the service in Tucson this evening for the victims of the recent shootings, Pres. Obama proclaimed: "here on this earth, we place our hands over our hearts."
Which made me wonder: since when, Pres. Obama? Weren't you the man who ostentatiously declined, during the presidential campaign, to put your hand on your heart during the National Anthem while everyone else on the stage was doing so?
Will the MSM note the glaring discrepancy between Pres. Obama's current words and recent deeds?
Note: So Pres. Obama goes out of his way to talk of hand over heart. And his two cabinet officers preceding him at the podium quote the Bible at length, with Eric Holder mentioning Jesus. Some repositioning toward the traditional middle with 2012 in mind?
For the record, Inside Edition debunked the claim that Obama refuses to put his hand over his heart during the National Anthem back in 2007 when conservative media started making the claim.
Here is the relevant portion of Obama's speech tonight:
Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called "Faces of Hope." On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child's life. "I hope you help those in need," read one. "I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles."
If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.
So Michelle Obama vacations in Spain with her daughter and an expensive posse, leaving her husband alone on his birthday and undermining his party's political chances (bad recession 'optics'). This is the sort of story on which I suspect there are three levels of perception:
1. Unsophisticated: Jeez, they must have had some kind of fight. She's pissed! This is a big 'screw you.'
2. Sophisticated and well informed: At their level everyone is too smart and experienced to let any kind of spat affect state affairs. These things get planned out well ahead of time by staff. Only the unsophisticated jump to conclusions on the basis of crude external appearances.
3. Real Insider: Jeez, they must have had some kind of fight. She's pissed! This is a big 'screw you.'
So, based on nothing more than the fact that Michelle Obama is in Spain, Mickey Kaus suggests that she and Barack Obama are fighting. It's almost hard to believe such a reasonable and thoughtful person only got less than six percent of the vote in the California Senate primary, isn't it?
But Kaus's complete lack of evidence is plenty for the Newsbusters crew: Melissa Clouthier quotes Kaus and hints darkly about "what's going on between President Obama and his wife," concluding that "Barack and Michelle are fighting and she is so selfish she doesn't care how it looks" and Mark Finkelstein compares Michelle Obama unfavorably to his mom.
This January, major meteorological organizations throughout the world -- including NASA -- released reports showing that the past decade, 2000-2009, was the warmest on record. The reports undermine the right-wing media's numerous claims that recent snow and cold weather shows that climate change does not exist or has slowed over the past 10 years.
Boy, it's like the Newsbusters crew is trying to set some sort of record for inane media criticism in a single day. Earlier, Tim Graham said the Washington Post's obituary of Patrick Swayze proved the paper's liberal bias by not mentioning Red Dawn until the 23rd paragraph.
Now Mark Finkelstein attacks MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan for conducting a "fawning" interview of Barney Frank, with Finkelstein throwing around the words "sycophant" and "suck-up" and "appeasing" to describe Ratigan's behavior.
Here's the problem: the interview in question included a testy exchange in which Ratigan repeatedly interrupted Frank as he tried to answer a question.
It's awfully strange to see an interview in which the interviewee feels the need to insist "I'm trying to answer it ... I'm trying to answer it ... these things are somewhat complicated. And they can't all be answered in eight seconds. ... So I wish you would let me answer the question" described as "fawning," but that's what passes as media criticism on the Right.