Seeking to minimize the extent to which the House Republican leadership can be blamed for the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, several congressional Republicans, media figures, and conservatives have posited various conspiracy theories and placed blame on just about everyone and everything else -- including liberals, Democrats, the media, "politically correct culture," gays in Congress, and congressional pages.
In his third appearance on an NBC-owned channel in two days to promote his new book, Pat Buchanan asserted that "the Mexican government is interested in basically the reconquista of the American Southwest." Meanwhile, on The O'Reilly Factor, Michelle Malkin claimed the idea of reconquista is "mainstream" among immigrants.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly accused liberal columnists of consistently "labeling people" with whom they may disagree "bigots." By contrast, O'Reilly claimed, "we have researched right-wing columnists" and "[w]e didn't come up with anybody on the right who did" the same. In fact, O'Reilly himself has.
Many of the same media conservatives who continually attacked The New York Times for publishing details of the Treasury Department's bank-tracking program have remained silent about the New York Daily News' decision to report that FBI officials thwarted an alleged terrorist plot in New York City, despite apparent objections from intelligence and law enforcement officials that the disclosure impeded further arrests.
In response to the reports describing a Treasury Department program designed to monitor international financial transactions for terrorist activity, President Bush and other White House officials lashed out at the media -- and The New York Times in particular -- for purportedly undermining the government's antiterrorism efforts. But as with the disclosure of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance and domestic call-tracking programs, the administration and its supporters in the media have relied on numerous false and misleading claims to support their arguments.
Numerous conservative commentators joined the Bush administration in arguing that, in detailing a secret Treasury Department program designed to monitor terrorists' international financial transactions, a June 23 New York Times article tipped off terrorists to the U.S. government's ability to track their financial activities -- some going so far as to accuse the newspaper of treason. But the Times report was hardly the first indication of U.S. efforts to monitor terrorists' financial transactions: President Bush himself repeatedly touted the government's capability to track and shut down terrorists' international financial networks.
On Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin blasted the media coverage of the alleged massacre in Haditha, claiming that there are "puddles of drool in the offices of the L.A. Times and The New York Times." Malkin suggested that there be "a ratcheting down of all the hyperventilation and treat this incident with the seriousness and sobriety that it deserves."
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Bill O'Reilly claimed that, under a California bill that would require textbooks to recognize the accomplishments of historical lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] figures, "if you are a teacher ... you're not going to be able to say bad things about [convicted murderer] Jeffrey Dahmer," because Dahmer was "a gay cannibal." In fact, the proposal "would add the role and contributions of LGBT people" to the list of "traditionally underrepresented groups," whose historical contributions, under current state law, are required to be included in "textbooks and other school instructional materials."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Michelle Malkin declared that Latinos protesting the recent House bill aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration believe in "reconquista," or the theory that "the American Southwest belongs to Mexico." Malkin added that "the intellectual underpinnings of reconquista are embraced by the vast majority of mainstream Hispanic politicians."
In a column on the recent demonstrations against a House immigration bill, Michelle Malkin referred to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California Lt. Gov. Cruz M. Bustamante as "Latino supremacists." Malkin characterized the protests as "militant racism" marked by "virulent anti-American hatred."
In recent days, media figures pronounced the story surrounding Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting partner "over," despite several unanswered questions regarding the incident and contradictory statements offered by Cheney and hunting party host Katharine Armstrong, whom Cheney said he designated to first report the incident.
Numerous media figures highlighted the alleged "partisan" nature of Coretta Scott King's funeral but failed to comment on the politicization of Ronald Reagan's funeral.