As President Obama delivered his final address to Congress on the State Of The Union, conservative media personalities attacked him on Twitter, calling him "divisive," a liar, and mocking his policy proposals.
After news reports of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, right-wing media figures reacted by attacking Muslims, chastising calls for gun safety, and dismissing the prevalence of gun violence in the United States.
Conservative media figures bombarded Twitter with accusations that President Obama committed "treason" and had capitulated to terrorists by reaching a deal with Iran to halt the country's nuclear armament.
Conservative media were outraged after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold health insurance tax credits for millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), just as Congress intended.
Conservative media outlets are using the mass shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina, church to push myths about guns and criticize President Obama for highlighting the need for responsible gun safety legislation.
Right-wing media's outrage over President Obama's upcoming speech outlining plans to improve enforcement of the immigration system included accusations that Obama is engaging in "home-grown tyranny," calls for his impeachment, and even a Hitler comparison.
During President Obama's January 16 speech on steps he supports to stem gun violence, conservative media figures responded with vitriol on Twitter and on the radio. A sampling:
Rush Limbaugh: Speech Is "The Children As Human Shields Show"
Fox News Radio Host Todd Starnes: "Freedom Ends. Tyranny Begins."
Conservative media figures attacked debate questioner Katherine Fenton as a "feminazi" and "tool" for asking the candidates about their views on pay inequity.
Fenton asked, "In what new ways do you intend to rectify inequalities in the workplace? Specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn."
Today, the Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as constitutional. Right-wing media figures immediately began venting on Twitter. Here is an hour's worth of the worst right-wing ranting about the Supreme Court decision after it was announced:
The New York Post reported this morning that a public elementary school in New York City will require its students to learn Arabic. The story describes the school is "a so-called 'choice' school and no kids, even those living nearby, are forced to attend it," and even quotes a student and parents that are very supportive of the program. Nonetheless, right-wing media figures are already responding to this reporting with their usual anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry.
Right-wing blogger and anti-Muslim hate group leader (and Fox News regular) Pamela Geller described the Arabic language program as "Islamic supremacism on the march in the public square," and suggested that it would be a "public school madrassah."
Right-wing author Matthew Vadum responded to the news that Arabic would be taught at a public school by making a reference to explosives:
And right-wing blogger Andrea Ryan of Gateway Pundit had this to say:
Now, they want our children be able to read the Quran, listen to the draconian precepts of sharia, and watch Al Jazeera inveigh against Christianity, democracy, equality, and freedom in its native Arabic language. When Communism aimed its missiles and armies at our nation President Reagan didn't fold and force our children to learn Russian.
Leave it to the Liberals to try to completely destroy all that is good about our culture and turn it into something distorted, ugly, and dangerous.
Far from being "dangerous," learning Arabic is actually important for our national security. In remarks to a January 2006 summit of U.S. university presidents, George W. Bush introduced a language initiative to teach students -- starting in Kindergarten -- languages important to national security, such as Arabic:
[O]ne of the reasons why the Secretary of Defense is here. He wants his young soldiers who are the front lines of finding these killers to be able to speak their language and be able to listen to the people in the communities in which they live. That makes sense, doesn't it, to have a language-proficient military -- to have people that go into the far reaches of this world and be able to communicate in the villages and towns and rural areas and urban centers, to protect the American people.
We need intelligence officers who, when somebody says something in Arabic or Farsi or Urdu knows what they're talking about. That's what we need. We need diplomats -- when we send them out to help us convince governments that we've got to join together and fight these terrorists who want to destroy life and promote an ideology that is so backwards it's hard to believe. These diplomats need to speak that language.
So our short-term strategy is to stay on the offense, and we've got to give our troops, our intelligence officers, our diplomats all the tools necessary to succeed. That's what people in this country expect of our government. They expect us to be wise about how we use our resources, and a good use of resources is to promote this language initiative in K through 12, in our universities. And a good use of resources is to encourage foreign language speakers from important regions of the world to come here and teach us how to speak their language.
You're going to hear a lot about the specifics of the program. What I'm trying to suggest to you that this program is a part of a strategic goal, and that is to protect this country in the short-term and protect it in the long-term by spreading freedom.
From the December 5 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money:
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What is a news network to do when an author compares poor Americans to criminals and says it's "un-American" to help them vote? If that network is Fox -- the home of class warfare against the poor -- the decision is to give that author a spot on TV the next day.
The day after publishing an article titled, "Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American," which contained such abhorrent statements as "[r]egistering [the poor] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals" and repeatedly called the poor "nonproductive segments of the population," right-wing author Matthew Vadum appeared on Eric Bolling's Fox Business show to rail against President Obama's voter outreach plan.
Yesterday, we detailed how Fox & Friends promoted a claim that "ACORN" -- which no longer exists -- is still receiving federal money, only to back down after being contacted by a federal spokesman who pointed out that the figure Fox & Friends cited was the amount that was unspent and reclaimed from a 2005 grant. The spokesman's claim is backed up by a Government Accountability Office report issued last month.
Fox & Friends appears to have taken its information from a post by Matthew Vadum at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website. You might remember Vadum as the guy from the right-wing Capital Research Center with a habit of making wild, factually dubious claims. He's currently promoting his new WorldNetDaily-published book, with the less-than-subtle title Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing And Ripping Off American Taxpayers.
If you go to Vadum's personal website, you'll find a copy of his Big Government post. But before you see that, you will see a giant photo of Vadum taken from an appearance from Fox Business. That's taken from his appearance on the June 17 edition of Follow the Money, one of six apperances Vadum has made on that show since early June, according to a Nexis search.
Note that in the picture, Vadum is holding a copy of a GAO report on federal funding of ACORN. During the segment, he attacked the report for not hating ACORN as much as he does, dismissing it as "like teenage interns were researching on Google for a few hours" and accusing it of not detailing as many ACORN-related voter fraud convictions as he found (never mind that doing so was outside of the report's scope). In a dramatic flourish, Vadum declared that "you can just throw it away if you want" as he tossed the report behind him, pages fluttering.
Perhaps Vadum shouldn't have tossed that GAO report away -- it's the very same report that disproves his claim.
Since the Navy announced that it is naming a cargo ship after civil rights leader and labor activist Cesar Chavez, the conservative fever swamp has piped up and cried foul. In a post headlined "USS Cesar Chavez? Why Not the USS Saul Alinsky?" blogger Matthew Vadum called Chavez a "far-left leader" and a "disciple of communist sympathizer Saul Alinsky." Vadum went on to connect Chavez to ACORN founder Wade Rathke.
Worse, Glenn Beck compared the naming of a ship for Chavez to naming one for Josef Stalin:
This plays on the ancient smear that all labor activists and union leaders are communists. In fact, according to a 1995 report from the Los Angeles Times, a review of Chavez's 1,400-page FBI file showed that "no evidence of Communist or subversive influence was ever developed."
This is a transparent attempt to latch onto a non-existent press hook in order to smear labor unions and a civil rights hero. As such, we'll limit ourselves to three facts that indicate what a waste of time this is:
In a post on his Twitter feed, Capital Research Center senior editor Matthew Vadum wrote:
The link Vadum included went to a post by Ben Stein on The American Spectator blog, in which Stein argued that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act amounted to "a major constitutional coup":
I am all for gay men and women to have every right that I have. But isn't it a dangerous usurpation for the president to now take over the roles of the courts in their ultimate duty -- ruling on the constitutionality of laws? Isn't this about as dangerous an act as a president has ever done? Or am I missing something? Again, I love gay people and want them to be total equals of everyone else. But isn't there a major constitutional coup going on here?
The Department of Justice recently announced that it will no longer defend Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act following a review, in conjuction with the White House, that found that its definition of marriage as a "legal union between one man and one woman" is unconstitutional. But that does not mean, as Vadum suggested, that the administration will stop enforcing the law. Indeed, the Justice Department has stressed that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law until Congress repeals Section Three or a court renders the section unconstitutional.
Moreover, in his letter to congressional leadership, Holder cited the basis upon which the executive branch chose not to defend this part of the legislation. Holder said that while "plausible" arguments could be made on behalf of the law, there were really no "reasonable" arguments available to defend it and the Justice Department has previously declined to defend laws in such a circumstance:
As you know, the Department has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of duly-enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense, a practice that accords the respect appropriately due to a coequal branch of government. However, the Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because the Department does not consider every plausible argument to be a "reasonable" one. "[D]ifferent cases can raise very different issues with respect to statutes of doubtful constitutional validity," and thus there are "a variety of factors that bear on whether the Department will defend the constitutionality of a statute." Letter to Hon. Orrin G. Hatch from Assistant Attorney General Andrew Fois at 7 (Mar. 22, 1996). This is the rare case where the proper course is to forgo the defense of this statute. Moreover, the Department has declined to defend a statute "in cases in which it is manifest that the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional," as is the case here. Seth P. Waxman, Defending Congress, 79 N.C. L.Rev. 1073, 1083 (2001).