Matt Drudge, Fox News, and The New York Post misrepresented the content of a bill to provide federal aid for the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in order to claim the bill is a "scam" that is "filled with holiday goodies unrelated to storm damage." In fact, less than 0.3 percent of the spending identified is unrelated to Sandy, and that spending is largely allocated to separate disasters.
The Senate is scheduled to begin debate on Monday on a $60.4 billion bill that provides funding for the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy. Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his Democratic colleagues in New York and Connecticut, Governors Andrew Cuomo and Dannel Malloy, have endorsed a bill of this size, but some congressional Republicans have reportedly balked at the bill, saying it is too large or that its spending should be offset by spending cuts in other areas.
Drudge hyped a New York Post article claiming the bill is "filled with holiday goodies unrelated to storm damage." Fox News Fox & Friends aired a graphic titled "Sandy Scam," which listing six spending items:
Aside from money for fisheries, which represents about 0.2 percent of the spending in the bill, the White House has said that each of the items identified by Fox and the Post -- $42 million for U.S. military bases, including the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, $5.2 million for the Justice Department, $4 million for the Kennedy Space Center, $3.5 million for Homeland Security, and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution in DC -- is directly related to Sandy. The fisheries money is slated to provide aid in wake of other disasters.
Matt Drudge is taking advantage of the criticism directed at filmmaker Quentin Tarantino for the use of a racial epithet in his films to inappropriately splatter that epithet across his webpage seven times, in an apparent attempt to shock readers with racially charged rhetoric. Drudge has a history of featuring racially inflammatory language and images on his website.
The offensive Drudge Report headline linked to a Hollywood Reporter review of Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie "Django Unchained," which is set in the antebellum South. The reviewer, Todd McCarthy, acknowledged that the film makes heavy use of the offending word, explaining:"Quite naturally, given the historical setting, the N-word gets a heavy workout, by whites and blacks alike."
Tarantino has been criticized for using the word in previous films. Indeed, Drudge linked to a 1997 Variety article that featured film director Spike Lee, criticizing Tarantino for featuring the word in his film "Jackie Brown." At the time Lee accused Tarantino of being "infatuated with the word."
Drudge has a long history of using racially inflammatory language and imagery on his website. For example, on June 27, 2011, Drudge provided a series of links all of which involved crimes and violence allegedly committed by African Americans.
Right-wing media, including Fox News and the Drudge Report, are attacking NBC's Bob Costas for daring to question America's "gun culture" in the wake of the tragic murder-suicide committed by a Kansas City Chiefs football player. The Drudge Report characterized Costas' comments as a "gun control rant" while Fox criticized him for "lecturing America on gun control" in the wake of the tragedy.
On December 1, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend at the house they shared before subsequently killing himself in front of his head coach and other members of the Chiefs organization. The following evening, during halftime of NBC's Sunday night football game, Costas endorsed part of a column by sportswriter Jason Whitlock who criticized the gun culture in America.
Costas said: " 'Our current gun culture," Whitlock wrote, 'ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead.' " Costas later added: " 'But here,' wrote Jason Whitlock, 'is what I believe: If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.' "
Fox News' Fox & Friends repeatedly questioned whether it was "appropriate" for Costas to be "lecturing America on gun control."
In the wake of previous tragedies, conservative media figures have advocated against gun laws and even denied that gun violence is a serious problem in the United States. Now they've turned their focus to Costas who brought up the subject of America's gun culture in the wake of the latest high-profile example of gun violence.
Fox's Sean Hannity and Matt Drudge are giving credence to people who have reacted to President Obama's reelection by petitioning the president to allow states to secede from the United States, something his position does not have the power to do.
In 2011, Obama established a mechanism for people to create and sign petitions on the White House website, and if any petition receives 25,000 or more signatures within 30 days, White House officials will respond to the petition. In the days following Obama's reelection, people have filed secession petitions for more than 40 states, and the Texas secession has garnered more than 90,000 signatures.
Obama, however, does not have the power to grant secession. In the 1868 case of Texas v. White, the Supreme Court addressed whether Texas had legally seceded from the United States during the Civil War and held that the Constitution created an indestructible and perpetual union: "The Constitution, in all of its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States. When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation." Law professor Michael Dorf has concluded that a state may need a super-majority in Congress or even a constitutional amendment in order to secede.
Nevertheless, Fox News host Sean Hannity gave credence to the secession movement, something he has done before. On the November 13 edition of his show, Hannity interviewed Daniel Miller, president of the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement. Miller was previously the president of the "Republic of Texas," and in that capacity was included in an Anti-Defamation League "Rogue's Gallery" of extremists.
While Hannity suggested that secession might not be the best solution, he did not suggest at any point that secession was not a serious alternative for those who oppose Obama. Indeed, Hannity asked Miller to "explain constitutionally ... where you see the right to" secede.
Miller told Hannity that the petition would not accomplish anything by itself because Obama won't grant secession, but stated that there were processes that could achieve secession. The Texas Nationalist Movement website attacks Texas v. White as an illegitimate decision.
Right-wing media are ignoring anti-fraud protections the Obama campaign has in place to allege that the Obama campaign accepted donations from someone impersonating Osama bin Laden.
Matt Drudge is hyping an article by World Net Daily's Aaron Klein who claimed that "Using a Pakistani Internet Protocol and proxy server, a disposable credit card and a fake address, 'Osama bin Laden' has successfully donated twice to Barack Obama's presidential re-election campaign.' "
Drudge linked to Klein's story under the headline "REPORT: Obama camapign [sic] takes money from 'Osama bin Laden' ":
In fact, the campaign has explained that it has anti-fraud protections in place to stop fake or illegal donations and that just because a fraudulent donation "may initially appear to a donor to have been accepted," such a donation will soon be rejected.
In response to another attempt to show that the Obama campaign is accepting illegal donations, the campaign explained its address verification process to Election Law Blog:
"If a billing address is verified via AVS, then the credit card contribution is processed without delay. Some transactions caught by AVS may initially appear to a donor to have been accepted even though this is not the case. Obama for America employs a manual process to review any transaction flagged by AVS, also taking into account other fraud risk factors, and using fraud detection services provided by our credit card processor.
"As an example, the contribution discussed here http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/04/dubious-donations-illustrated-illegal-contributor-edition.php may have initially appeared to have gone through when the donor completed the transaction at 10:18 a.m. but it was rejected at 4:51 p.m. under our standard fraud detection procedures.
"So any claims that Obama for America has disabled AVS are inaccurate; any question about this would have been answered-if the question had been asked."
Right-wing media are scrambling to politicize Hurricane Sandy, attacking media outlets for reporting that Obama has returned to the White House to monitor the response to the storm, which could affect 60 million Americans.
Several conservative media outlets -- including Fox & Friends, Fox Nation, and The Drudge Report -- humiliated themselves by hyping Romney surrogate and fundraiser Donald Trump's latest absurd publicity stunt. In a YouTube video, Trump offered $5 million to charity in exchange for President Obama's college and passport records.
Before the release of the video, Trump had claimed on Fox & Friends that he would reveal "something very, very big concerning the president of the United States." He later claimed "This is not a media event or about Donald J. Trump -- this is about the United States of America."
Trump has previously suggested that Mitt Romney release his past tax returns in exchange for Obama's college records. In the press release accompanying today's stunt, Trump did not make any reference to Romney's still-unreleased records.
In February, Trump recorded robocalls for Romney, then endorsed his candidacy. That was followed by a Romney fundraiser that offered dinner with Trump as a prize to donors. Just a few days ago, Trump was one of the designated "special guests" at a "Romney Victory Fall Retreat." Trump's executive vice president and special counsel Michael Cohen told Business Insider that Trump has given "millions" to SuperPACs supporting Romney's candidacy.
Despite Trump's long history of indulging in conspiracy theories, hyping nonsense and trafficking in classic hucksterism, conservative media dutifully promoted Trump's latest attempt at getting his name back in the news.
Conservative media figures are taking a partial quote from President Obama out of context in order to attack him as reacting callously to the deaths of U.S. diplomatic personnel.
In an appearance taped today for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, President Obama was asked if communication between government personnel had failed to provide "the optimal response" to the Benghazi attacks. Obama replied in part: "If four Americans get killed, it's not optimal. We're going to fix it. All of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. And you make sure that you find out what's broken and you fix it."
Conservative media figures like Matt Drudge, Monica Crowley, Hugh Hewitt, Mary Katherine Ham,John Podhoretz, Jonah Goldberg, Erick Erickson and outlets like Fox Nation all used early reports of Obama's comments to attack him, with several falsely suggesting that Obama had said the deaths of American personnel in Benghazi, and not the communications effort, was "not optimal."
Media figures are dismissing video from a 2007 Obama speech despite Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson hyping the video as damning evidence of racially-charged rhetoric. Even some conservatives agree that the video has little significance in the presidential race.
Fox News' Brian Kilmeade is not the person one would expect to knock down a disingenuous attack on President Obama. Indeed, Kilmeade is as enthusiastic a GOP shill as anyone else on his network and isn't exactly known for his piercing insight. And yet this morning he provided a concise and effective rebuttal to the Daily Caller's Drudge-hyped video of President Obama using "racially charged rhetoric" in a 2007 speech: whatever Obama said, noted Kilmeade, he hasn't "governed in a racist way."
Conservative media figures are embracing Romney's comments about the 47 percent of Americans that he says are "dependent upon government" and will vote for President Obama by default, following publication of a secret video recording by Mother Jones.
The Drudge Report has deceptively edited President Obama's words to falsely suggest that Obama proposed additional bailouts or government control of private industry at a campaign event today in Colorado. In fact, Obama was promoting proposals to keep jobs in the United States, rather than outsource them -- not advocating government funded bailouts. Drudge's actions are in line with a recent conservative media pattern of distorting Obama's quotes.
When Matt Drudge released his report yesterday that Condoleezza Rice was the new top contender for the GOP vice presidential nomination, pretty much everyone saw it for what it was -- an attempt to distract the press from the mounting controversy over Mitt Romney's departure date from Bain Capital. It was so transparent and so improbable that even conservatives like Erick Erickson, while appreciative of the intent, were calling it "silly." But it worked: major newspapers and the network morning shows jumped on the Drudge rumor.
This morning on Today, NBC correspondent Peter Alexander reported on the "new VP speculation" and said the Romney campaign and Drudge wanted to "switch the topic," but never explained specifically why they wanted the topic switched, noting simply that Romney was "forced to defend his business experience."
The Drudge Report continued the false right-wing narrative that Obama is hostile to Israel by claiming that President Obama hasn't visited Israel. In fact, as a presidential candidate, Obama visited Israel in 2008.
Since as far back as 2008, right-wing media have waged a years-long campaign to make the President seem out of step with or even hostile to Israel. These ludicrously false attacks have included claims that Obama and members of his administration are anti-Semitic, claims that Obama had sympathies toward terrorist groups, and claims that Obama would actually use military force against Israel.
However, the first headline posted by Drudge links to a New York Times story that reported:
Mr. Obama, too, came here as a presidential candidate, in July 2008 before his speech in Berlin. He met with Mr. Netanyahu -- then the leader of the opposition -- as well as Israel's prime minister, defense minister, Mr. Fayyad and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. He visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum, and Sderot, the Israeli town near the border of the Gaza Strip that is the frequent target of missile attacks.
Though President Obama visited Israel as a candidate, it hasn't been unusual for a president to not make a trip to Israel during a first term. None of the previous three Republican presidents made trips to Israel at this point in their presidencies; neither Ronald Reagan nor George H.W. Bush made trips to Israel as president at all.
Right-wing media are highlighting a new Gallup poll that found only 34 percent of Americans correctly identified President Obama's religion as Christianity. These same right-wing media outlets have previously questioned the president's religious faith.