In the wake of protests in Egypt, right-wing media have compared President Obama to corrupt Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled that country as a police state for 30 years. Conservative media have long accused Obama of being "anti-Democratic" and a "dictator."
Right-wing radio host Mark Levin is reportedly "threatening to sue Chris Matthews" for saying that radio hosts like Levin play a "role" in "fueling the heated language" because they "are furious" and regularly engage in "ugly talk." Levin, however, regularly engages in defamation of Media Matters, among many others.
While discussing extreme rhetoric and the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona, Chris Matthews singled out right-wing radio hosts Michael Savage and Mark Levin for their "ugly talk." While Savage and Levin have reacted by calling Matthews a "loudmouth fraud" and an "A-hole," Matthews is right: Savage and Levin are regularly "in some rage" filled with "ugly talk."
While the tragic shooting at a public event for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was done by a mentally unstable individual, and while there is no apparent connection to any political party, the current political rhetoric has reached an unacceptable level. Media Matters revisits instances in which conservative media figures ignored or minimized security threats against Nancy Pelosi in order to attack her for using a military aircraft. In fact, the Department of Defense provided the plane as a security measure after the 9-11 attacks -- a measure that was also provided to former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert.
The Daily Caller's Amanda Carey details the "Rise of conservative displeasure over Politico/NBC debate," quoting several conservative activists who worry (or pretend to worry) that Republican presidential candidates won't be treated fairly in a debate hosted by Politico and NBC.
Carey quotes conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt: "Can we be honest? They are all liberals. All of them. Not one of the questioners that could or would be proposed by Politico or NBC would be remotely in touch with the cares, concerns, and passions of the GOP's primary electorate." And Grover Norquist: "All the debates should be open to the media, but they should be held for the purpose of letting Republicans explain to Republicans why they should vote for them in the primary. … Instead, we'll get nitpicking from left-of-center journalists asking questions that will impress their fellow journalists." And Mark Levin: "There's no question that Politico and NBC are leftist and I'm not excited about their participation."
As usual, Media Research Center Brent Bozell out-shrilled them all: "When, oh when will Republicans learn? Every four years the presidential debate season takes place. Republicans dutifully line up for debates moderated by liberal 'moderators' except there's nothing moderate about these moderators who mercilessly attack them."
If this really takes place "every four years," there should be plenty of examples. And yet neither Carey nor anyone she quoted offered a single example of inappropriate questioning during debates moderated by Politico or NBC journalists. Certainly no "merciless attacks."
In fact, Carey never got around to mentioning that both Politico and NBC participated in GOP presidential debates during the 2008 campaign. This being the Daily Caller, it is of course possible that neither Carey nor her editors are aware of this basic fact, and that neither thought to check. And this being the Daily Caller, it's also possible Carey never mentioned those debates because they completely undermine the inane premise that Politico and NBC would attack Republican candidates during a debate.
Consider the May 3, 2007 Republican presidential debate moderated by Chris Matthews and Politico's John Harris and Jim VandeHei. Matthews kicked things off by asking Rudy Giuliani "Mayor Giuliani, how do we get back to Ronald Reagan's morning in America?" Then he moved on to John McCain: "Let me go to Senator McCain. We're in the house of Ronald Reagan. Every cab driver in America knew what Ronald Reagan stood for: defeat communism abroad; reduce big government at home. Can you, Senator McCain, restore that kind of unity of purpose?" That, apparently, is what Brent Bozell considers a merciless attack: Asking Republicans if they'll be like Reagan.
Later in the debate, Matthews invited the Republican candidates to "mention a tax you'd like to cut, in addition to the Bush tax cuts, keeping them in effect." He never asked how they'd pay for those tax cuts -- though during a Democratic debate a week earlier, NBC's Brian Williams demanded to know how the Democratic candidates would pay for their health care proposals (while never actually asking them to explain the proposals.)
That wasn't the only double-standard apparent in those two debates. During the Democratic debate, Brian Williams asked Barack Obama a loaded question about his personal finances -- a question that managed to smear the other Democrats on stage as well. A week later, Matthews, VandeHei and Harris failed to ask the Republicans a single question about their business dealings, personal finances, or ties to controversial figures. Those types of questions were reserved for Democrats only -- and this in spite of the fact that Giuliani's close relationship with the breathtakingly crooked Bernie Kerik was very much in the news.
The last time NBC and Politico participated in presidential debates, they lobbed softballs to the Republicans and held Democrats to a higher standard of fiscal responsibility. That's just a fact. It's what happened. And so, in whining about NBC and Politico participating in a 2011 Republican debate, the Daily Caller, Brent Bozell, and several other conservative media critics don't mention a single thing about those 2007 debates. Because conservative media criticism isn't about reality, it's about blind hatred of the media -- and about working the refs.
A November 9 Wall Street Journal article sheds more light on the ongoing ethics problem involving Fox News personalities, who have relentlessly endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations.
The Journal reports that Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity -- along with Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin -- "are being paid to use their voices and faces to promote politically motivated groups." The Journal also reported Fox News' response to Beck's actions:
"Because Glenn Beck's Mercury Radio Arts agreement predates his agreement with Fox News, Glenn has certain radio obligations with which he needs to comply," said Dianne Brandi, Fox News executive vice president for legal and business affairs.
From the Journal article:
Cable-news network MSNBC briefly suspended liberal host Keith Olbermann last week for crossing a line between the media and politics when it learned he donated $2,400 each to three Democratic Party candidates. But that line is increasingly porous--especially in the rough-and-tumble world of talk radio.
In radio, a lot of money is already flowing in the other direction. A handful of the top talk-radio hosts in the U.S.--including Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity--are being paid to use their voices and faces to promote politically motivated groups. Messrs. Beck and Hannity also have highly rated television programs on Fox News.
Mr. Beck, whose radio program averages 10 million weekly listeners, has given paid endorsements on the show since May for FreedomWorks, a Washington, D.C.-based libertarian advocacy group that worked closely with tea party groups to support dozens of conservative candidates in last Tuesday's election. As part of what are called "live-read" advertisements, Mr. Beck has urged listeners to join FreedomWorks--a group he also had expressed support for prior to the commercial advertising arrangement.
Mr. Beck declined to comment directly, but Christopher Balfe, president and chief operating officer of Mr. Beck's production company, said in a statement the spots are no different than any other advertising and Mr. Beck won't endorse any service or product he doesn't believe in. Mr. Beck previously has also dropped at least one advertiser after he no longer supported the company, the spokesman said.
TV news networks generally do not allow live-read sponsorships like those in the radio world--though there are sometimes exceptions for hosts who also have radio shows.
"Because Glenn Beck's Mercury Radio Arts agreement predates his agreement with Fox News, Glenn has certain radio obligations with which he needs to comply," said Dianne Brandi, Fox News executive vice president for legal and business affairs. (Fox News and The Wall Street Journal are owned by News Corp.)
On his radio program last night, conservative host and close Sean Hannity friend Mark Levin tore into Bill O'Reilly for purportedly failing to give him credit for his attacks on lawyer Gloria Allred. Levin called O'Reilly "a fraud" and asked, "Why is the 8 pmer so scared of me?" Levin also said O'Reilly is welcome to come on his program to debate "anything. Including your legal issues." From Levin's radio program:
LEVIN: Why is the 8 pmer so scared of me? Why is Bill O'Reilly so fearful of me? My name can't even cross the man's lips, not that I want anything to cross his lips, but you get the point. I laid out the whole Gloria Allred thing; it's been all over the internet.
I'm just watching this fraud during the break before I come on the program. That's what he is - a fraud. Tell you what, fraud. Anytime you want to come on here, more than happy to debate you on anything. Including your legal issues.
Who the hell would put Bill Maher on his program? That piece of crap. That loathsome piece of crap who is nothing but brutal and vicious to conservatives, who had the worst things to say about the U.S. military. Who would put that piece of fecal matter on their program in giddy conversation? The point being what, exactly? Unless you're going to kick his ass for the whole world to see, what kind of a quote, unquote, news program does that? Yeah, Rush nailed it, absolutely nailed it. Ted Baxter. That's about right.
The happily combative Levin has attacked not only progressives (including yours truly), but also conservatives such as John McCormack ("ass"), Steve Hayes, Powerline's Paul Mirengoff ("small-minded"), David Frum ("nuts"), and Glenn Beck ("clown"). Levin has previously lobbed attacks at O'Reilly, as well.
In the run-up to Delaware's Republican Senate primary, conservative media figures noticed that their colleagues are "lazy and unfair" "idiot[s]" and "mouthpieces for the Republican establishment" who engage in "ranting, not serious arguments" and whose commentary consists of "smear tactics," "mischaracterizations," "exaggerated claims," "slander," and "attributing sinister or corrupt motives to those who disagree with them."
Right-wing media figures are attacking Fox News' Karl Rove for "trashing" Christine O'Donnell after her victory in the Delaware GOP Senate primary, stating that his comments were "disgraceful" and that Rove "came across as an effete sore loser."
Following Christine O'Donnell's victory over Republican Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Senate Republican primary, right-wing media have taken up O'Donnell's cause, attacking the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for reportedly deciding not to support O'Donnell.
A mini-war broke out in the right-wing blogosphere yesterday, as bloggers Jim Hoft and Dan Riehl laughably claimed that Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), who is running for the GOP Senate nomination in Delaware, "voted to impeach" President Bush in 2008.
It doesn't take a lot of Googling to figure out that this claim is absurdly wrong. Castle never "voted to impeach" Bush. In fact, he voted -- along with 23 other Republicans and 227 Democrats -- to send Rep. Dennis Kucinich's impeachment resolution to the House Judiciary Committee where the measure faced "certain death" in order to "avoid having to debate and vote on impeaching" Bush, according to The Boston Globe. The Globe further said that the vote "scuttled" Kucinich's impeachment proposal. And The Washington Post reported prior to the vote that Democrats "expect[ed] to table the resolution by referring it to the Judiciary Committee, where they expect it to die." Here's what CNN reported at the time*:
An attempt by Rep. Dennis Kucinich to impeach President Bush was kicked into legislative no-man's land by members of his own party Wednesday.
The House voted 251-166 to send the Ohio Democrat's impeachment resolution to committee, a maneuver that allows the Democratic leadership to freeze the measure indefinitely.
The vote largely followed partisan lines, with 225 Democrats voting on Kucinich's request to send the measure to committee for consideration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said she would not support a resolution calling for Bush's impeachment, saying such a move was unlikely to succeed and would be divisive.
All 166 votes in favor of opening up a House impeachment debate came from Republicans, apparently eager to bring up the vote immediately and paint Democrats as political creatures in a time of serious issues.
It's plainly clear what Castle and 23 of his Republican colleagues voted for -- to the let the measure die in the Judiciary Committee. Their votes actually did the opposite of what Hoft and Riehl claimed -- they "scuttled" the impeachment resolution.
Also - and this seems painfully obvious - but if this really was an overwhelming vote to impeach Bush, wouldn't there have been an impeachment trial in the Senate?
But that hasn't stopped Riehl and Hoft from ludicrously claiming otherwise. So how did this insanity start? It's a little unclear where the claim originated, but here's a quick summary. On Monday, Hoft - citing a commenter on his site - wrote that Castle "voted to impeach George W. Bush for "high crimes and misdemeanors" in 2008." Later, Riehl wrote a post titled, "Yes, Castle Voted To Impeach Bush."
Right-wing radio host Mark Levin also said that Castle "voted to allow the House Judiciary Committee under the commie John Conyers ... I think he voted to allow that committee to investigate possible impeachment of Bush over lying about Iraq." Of course, that's not really what happened; Castle obviously knew that the committee had no plans to act on the resolution.
Later on Monday, right-wing blogger John Hinderaker actually stepped in to call out Riehl on his ridiculous claim, noting that "Mike Castle never voted to impeach President Bush; no such vote ever occurred on the floor of the House." But despite this and all other evidence to the contrary, Riehl responded to Hinderaker by doubling down on his original claim.
* Text added
During the seemingly never-ending conservative freak-out over the proposed Park51 community center, right-wing media have dismissed the idea that the right's extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric has fueled "Islamophobia" throughout the country. As we've documented extensively, based on numerous hateful protests and vandalisms of mosques around the country, this is clearly not the case. Unfortunately, we can add another piece of evidence to the growing trend.
San Diego radio station KFMB, which features a lineup of conservative talk programming, is currently hosting the following poll on their homepage:
(Though it's never a great idea to place much stock in unscientific online polls, 63% of respondents have so far answered "Yes.")
Among others, KFMB broadcasts Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and Dave Ramsey. Along with other major conservative media figures, Hannity, Beck, and Savage have worked hard to blur the lines between Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the moderate Muslims behind the planned center and the radical extremists that attacked the U.S. on 9-11. Based on the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric of these hosts, perhaps this poll doesn't seem outwardly outlandish to regular listeners of this radio station.
From the August 23 edition of ABC Radio Network's The Mark Levin Show:
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From the August 23 edition of ABC Radio Network's The Mark Levin Show:
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From the August 13 edition of ABC Radio Network's The Mark Levin Show:
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