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.
The Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel invented a conflict of interest to accuse former White House adviser David Axelrod of profiting from health care reform.
In an article highlighted by Matt Drudge, Strassel claimed Axelrod unethically received money from his former firm, AKPD, at the same time that the firm was producing ads on behalf of a coalition of labor and business that supported health care reform. Strassel wrote:
Rewind to 2009. The fight over ObamaCare is raging, and a few news outlets report that something looks ethically rotten in the White House. An outside group funded by industry is paying the former firm of senior presidential adviser David Axelrod to run ads in favor of the bill. That firm, AKPD Message and Media, still owes Mr. Axelrod money and employs his son.
The story quickly died, but emails recently released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee ought to resurrect it. The emails suggest the White House was intimately involved both in creating this lobby and hiring Mr. Axelrod's firm -- which is as big an ethical no-no as it gets.
Mr. Axelrod -- who left the White House last year -- started AKPD in 1985. The firm earned millions helping run Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Mr. Axelrod moved to the White House in 2009 and agreed to have AKPD buy him out for $2 million. But AKPD chose to pay Mr. Axelrod in annual installments -- even as he worked in the West Wing. This agreement somehow passed muster with the Office of Government Ethics, though the situation at the very least should have walled off AKPD from working on White-House priorities.
The fact is that while Axelrod does receive a planned deferred compensation from AKPD, he did not ever receive money as a result of those ads.
According to Politico, Axelrod sold his stake in AKPD in 2008, long before the ads were commissioned. Rather than receive a lump-sum for the sale, he and the company elected for Axelrod to be paid in "preset annual installments." Politico also reported that a source familiar with AKPD's finances said the company did not need the revenue from the ads to pay Axelrod.
From Politico (emphasis added):
AKPD is now owned by a group of consultants who helped steer Obama's campaign, mostly while working at the firm, and ASK is owned Axelrod's former partners there. Both firms will pay his buyouts in preset annual installments starting at the end of this year, terms that were settled on prior to Axelrod's White House service.
Axelrod would have received the same amount of money from AKPD whether or not the ads ran. Or in other words, Strassel's attack is bunk.
Right-wing media are touting a study claiming the health care reform law will not lower the deficit, but rather increase it by more than $300 billion. In fact, economic experts dismissed the study by conservative analyst Charles Blahous, saying it uses "discredited arguments."
More than ever, birthers are having a hard time being taken seriously. Since the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate last April, the birther faithful have mostly hung their hats on trying to prove that the certificate released by the White House is a "forgery" based on things like smudged stamp ink.
Earlier this month, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference announcing the findings of the "cold case posse" he had assembled to investigate the certificate and declared that there was reason to believe it is a forgery. Media coverage of the event took on an appropriately mocking tone, leading Arpaio to complain, "The media all came to make fun of me." Arpaio even labeled the media downplaying birther concerns to be a conspiracy "bigger than Watergate."
If birthers are frustrated that nobody takes them seriously, their latest big story, which is premised on stories told by Bill Ayers' parents' former postman (not a typo), is certainly not going to help matters.
In what is probably the biggest mail-related flop since Kevin Costner's The Postman, WorldNetDaily supersleuth and Where's The Birth Certificate? author Jerome Corsi is out with a new report today suggesting the Ayers family paid for "foreigner" Obama's education.
The allegations are based on Corsi's conversations with former USPS postman Allen Hulton, who says that he used to deliver mail to Bill Ayers' parents in a Chicago suburb in the late 80s and early 90s. This should prove to be rock-solid.
Following their long tradition of attacking renewable energy, right-wing media have mocked President Obama for supporting production of algae biofuels. Yet several companies already produce biofuel made from algae, recent scientific advances have increased the fuel's potential, and the industry has been supported by both private investors and conservative politicians.
Right-wing media are claiming that President Obama and his family went to church on Sunday because of an attack by Texas Gov. Rick Perry that Politico has called "one of the most audible dog whistles so far this cycle about President Obama." This follows a week of Fox News hyping the Perry ad's charge that Obama is waging a "war on religion."
Right-wing media have spent years claiming President Obama incorrectly celebrates or snubs Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, so it's no surprise that this year, they're attacking how he celebrates Jewish holidays, too.
Obama, along with the first lady and Vice President Biden, threw an early White House Hanukkah celebration on Thursday. Obama acknowledged in his remarks that the celebration was "a little bit early" -- the first night of Hanukkah this year is December 20. The president is scheduled to begin his vacation in Hawaii on December 17 -- though it's likely to be delayed due to the ongoing stalemate over the payroll tax cuts -- so any White House observance of the holiday would have to take place before then.
Of course, right-wing media attacked the early Hanukkah party, sometimes implying that Obama was slighting the Jewish community through the early observance. Fox Nation kicked off the freakout yesterday by linking to an Associated Press article on the party with the headline:
Of course, the actual AP story didn't have that headline.
The Drudge Report today also linked to the AP story with a number of similar headlines:
And blogger Jim Hoft featured a post about the Hanukkah celebration on his blog Gateway Pundit, writing, "It's OK. It's just a Jewish Holiday. Obama celebrates Hanukkah two weeks early and lights all the candles."
This follows the right-wing media's long crusade to desperately portray Obama as antagonistic to Jews. Blogger Pamela Geller has claimed that Obama was "wet-nursed on Jew hatred," while Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds suggested he "hates Jews." This year, conservative bloggers attacked Obama's Passover statement, calling him "vicious" and "tone deaf" and saying he "punch[ed] the Jewish people in the face" for comparing Passover's story of freedom to the revolutions that were then sweeping the Middle East; few of them noticed, though, that Sarah Palin made the exact same comparison in a Passover statement of her own.
And right-wing media figures have also claimed Obama is anti-Israel, saying his policies will lead to the "destruction of Israel" and claiming he's "sided with terrorists" and "people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to exist." Yet recent polls show that a majority of Israeli Jews support Obama.
This week, they're attacking Obama for telling his daughters that they're likely going to be successful even during tough times for the country -- they are, after all, the children of a U.S. president -- while making a broader point about class and inequality in America. The offending quote, from his remarks at a recent campaign event in New York, was:
OBAMA: Our kids are going to be fine. And I always tell Malia and Sasha, look, you guys, I don't worry about you -- I mean, I worry the way parents worry -- but they're on a path that is going to be successful, even if the country as a whole is not successful. But that's not our vision of America. I don't want an America where my kids are living behind walls and gates, and can't feel a part of a country that is giving everybody a shot.
So Obama said that he tells his children "they're on a path that is going to be successful, even if the country as a whole is not successful" and then immediately added that that's "not our vision of America. I don't want an America where my kids are living behind walls and gates."
But The Washington Examiner decided that what Obama really said, as they wrote in a blog post headline, was, "Obama: My kids will succeed, even if USA doesn't." Their post continued:
President Obama believes that Republican leadership of the country would ruin the United States as a land of opportunity, but he's (justifiably) confident that his daughters will have plenty of opportunities, no matter what.
It is good to be the president.
Fox Nation quickly followed suit:
Blogger Jim Hoft was not far behind, linking to both the Examiner and Fox Nation and writing, "Really, Barack? Really?"
As for your kids, screw 'em. How has this guy not been run out of town? The power of the enemedia.
UPDATE: Who'd a thunk that we'd actually consider telling our kids to aspire to ......... work for the government or government-created faux industries (green, global warming) or whatever political fraud is constructed to scam the masses. But that's where the future is going under this crushing statism.
Seriously. When I was a kid, every mom wanted her kids to be doctors. Who, now, wants their kids working under soviet-style social medicine?
And Matt Drudge also faithfully picked up the attack, linking to the Examiner post on the Drudge Report today:
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."
In the latest round of Obama Derangement Syndrome, right-wing media attacked the Obamas for handing out fruit along with candy to trick-or-treaters at the White House. Previously, right-wing media have attacked the president over Hurricane Irene, the East Coast earthquake, healthy eating, the White House Easter Egg Roll, and the death of Osama bin Laden.
Matt Drudge is highlighting a headline from the conservative CNS News that reads: "Obama: 'I Don't Think Ethics' Was My Favorite Subject."
The problem is that the headline is totally misleading. Obama was discussing what he thought about an ethics class he took in eighth grade. He says that since then he has come to value the lessons he learned in that ethics class.
From the CNS article:
"I did not love every class I took. I wasn't always paying attention the way I should have," Obama said. "I remember when I was in 8th grade I had to take a class called ethics. Now, ethics is about right and wrong, but if you'd ask me what my favorite subject was back in 8th grade, it was basketball. I don't think ethics would have made it on the list."
Obama went on to tell the high school students that even though that 8th grade ethics class was not one of his favorites it did have a significant impact on his life -- and now inspires the way he acts as president.
"I still remember that ethics class, all these years later," Obama said. "I remember the way it made me think. I remember being asked questions like: What matters in life? Or, what does it mean to treat other people with dignity and respect? What does it mean to live in a diverse nation, where not everybody looks like you do, or thinks like you do, or comes from the same neighborhood as you do? How do we figure out how to get along?
"Each of these questions led to new questions," said Obama. "And I didn't always know the right answers, but those discussions and that process of discovery -- those things have lasted. Those things are still with me today. Every day, I'm thinking about those same issues as I try to lead this nation."
Big swing and a miss for Drudge.
While Hurricane Irene slammed the East Coast over the weekend, right-wing media responded by criticizing President Obama, claiming that he "politicize[d]" Irene and that his hurricane briefings were nothing more than a "pathetic" "command center photo-op." This comes days after the right-wing media's latest bout of Obama Derangement Syndrome, when they absurdly attacked Obama for being on a golf course when the East Coast earthquake struck.
Following the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the D.C. region this afternoon, conservative media figures have responded the only way they know how: by twisting it into an attack on Obama's vacation in Martha's Vineyard.
Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft put up a post announcing, "Earthquake Rattles Washington DC - Obama Goes Biking":
Meanwhile, Matt Drudge's above-the-fold coverage of the earthquake featured a series of links about the story and a link telling readers that "Obama was on golf course..."