Numerous media figures have compared President Obama and his administration to the mafia, frequently referencing films and television shows such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos.
Terry Krepel, a senior web editor at Media Matters and founder and editor of ConWebWatch, has a great piece up at Huffington Post about how the Washington Examiner is driven by its right-wing tilt.
Here's just a taste:
In early February, Washington Examiner editor Stephen G. Smith gushed over his new chief political correspondent, Byron York, calling him "a prototype of the modern journalist, equally at home in print, on television and on the Web."
One word not uttered by Smith, however, was "conservative" -- as in the political orientation of York's former employer, the National Review. Indeed, York has regularly peddled conservative misinformation from his National Review perch.
York is one of the latest manifestations of the rightward skew of the Examiner, a free tabloid daily created four years ago when conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz took over a chain of suburban papers and refashioned them after the publication he owns in San Francisco -- an interesting move since Anschutz himself hasn't talked to the media in decades.
The Examiner has had a conservative skew from its inception, as exemplified by its early hiring of Bill Sammon, a former Washington Times staffer who penned several books laudatory of George W. Bush and his presidency even while serving as a White House correspondent. Sammon moved last year to Fox News, but he left no ideological vacuum behind.
Ostensible "news" positions at the Examiner have become increasingly stocked with opinion-minded right-wingers -- for instance, Matthew Sheffield, executive editor of the conservative blog NewsBusters, is managing editor of the Examiner's website, and Chris Stirewalt, who has been lauded for his "outspoken conservative perspective," is political editor.
Be sure to check out the entire piece.
In recent weeks, several conservative media figures, echoed by Republican lawmakers, have responded to comparisons in the media of President-elect Barack Obama to FDR, or assertions in the media that a New Deal-level of government intervention will be necessary to resolve the current economic crisis, by asserting that the New Deal was a dismal failure, plunging the 1930s economy into a depression, an assertion that prominent progressive economists flatly reject.
The conservative activist group Citizens United is reportedly distributing Hype: The Obama Effect, a DVD attacking Sen. Barack Obama, this week in newspapers in Ohio, Nevada, and Florida. The AP quoted Citizens United president David Bossie saying of the film, "We think it's a truthful attack. People can take it anyway they want." But a Media Matters analysis of Hype finds that it contains numerous falsehoods and misrepresentations of Obama's record. Newspapers that distribute the DVD should consider their obligation to provide readers with information that discredits it.
On Special Report, U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone asserted that an Oregon initiative that would have increased cigarette taxes to fund children's health care failed because Oregon voters did not want to pay higher taxes. Barone later claimed "the main reason" Utah voters rejected a statewide school voucher plan was "that there was a very big campaign put on against it by the National Education Association and other teacher unions." In fact, spending by an interest group also played a role in the Oregon vote -- tobacco companies reportedly spent $11.8 million in a campaign to defeat the Oregon initiative, nearly triple the $4.4 million reportedly spent by the "very big campaign" to defeat the Utah school voucher plan.
On Fox News Sunday, Michael Barone falsely claimed that Democrats would prefer to "hang up the phone and go to court," rather than "listening to what ... terrorists are plotting." In fact, Democrats -- and numerous Republicans and conservatives -- have said nothing of the sort, pointing to a provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which the Bush administration has apparently violated, that allows the government to undertake surveillance in emergency situations for up to 72 hours before obtaining a warrant.
U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone claimed that the St. Petersburg Times concluded that emails then-Rep. Mark Foley allegedly sent to a former page in 2005 "were so innocuous as to be unworthy of publication." Contrary to Barone's claim, the Times stated that it assigned two reporters to the story and decided not to publish the emails not because they were "innocuous" but because the family of the former page did not want the matter explored further.
Numerous conservative media figures have lashed out at The New York Times and its executive editor, Bill Keller, over an article describing a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, arguing that the publication of the article was a treasonous act and suggesting that the newspaper is "sid[ing] with al Qaeda" and "aiding and abetting the terrorist movement."
Michael Barone claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee's 2004 report on prewar intelligence assessments of Iraq showed "that the CIA did obtain evidence of an al-Qaida-Saddam relationship from foreign intelligence and open sources." In fact, the report was critical of the U.S. intelligence community for using foreign sources too heavily, and it concluded that the CIA "reasonably assessed" that contacts between Saddam and Al Qaeda "did not add up to an established formal relationship."
A column by U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone mischaracterized the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program, dismissing the "hue and cry" from "the mainstream media and some Democrats" over its alleged illegality. However, numerous Republicans and conservatives have also criticized and expressed concern over the program.