From February 4 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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Media figures are erroneously attributing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses to her wins in coin tosses held at several precincts to determine the apportionment of unassigned delegates. Media figures claiming that coin tosses could have flipped the outcome misunderstand the caucus process by wrongly conflating county-level delegates -- which the coin tosses assign -- and state delegate equivalents (SDEs). As The Des Moines Register explained, the coin flips "had an extremely small effect on the overall outcome."
From the February 2 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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Conservative pundits are bickering over Donald Trump's campaign, especially after National Review's "Against Trump" issue and the backlash it engendered. On one side are pundits who want to stop Trump's candidacy in its tracks. On the other are conservatives who are lauding Trump's candidacy, even if they have not officially endorsed him. Media Matters breaks down exactly who is on which side (click for the full-sized image):
For the record, it wasn't Sarah Palin's rambling endorsement of Donald Trump last week that finally drove editors at National Review to launch the magazine's "Against Trump" push. The conservative media revolt had been in the works weeks prior to Palin's now-classic oratory display.
Still, there was something fitting about the Right Wing Noise Machine's simmering civil war over Trump breaking out into open warfare in the wake of Palin's embarrassing speech; a comeback that had lots of Republican supporters publicly cringing.
What's inescapable about the mounting GOP hand wringing is that Trump is a right-wing media creation. He's flourishing on the fertile playing field of bigotry and resentment that National Review, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and a litany of others, have helped seed for many years. There's little doubt that during President Obama's two terms they cultivated an anti-intellectual movement that now appears poised to seize control of the Republican Party.
Today, scores of conservative commentators remain utterly baffled as to what's driving the popularity of the man who, in a matter of weeks, may control the Republican Party nomination. How astonishing is that?
Not only that, but Trump's critics on the right are waging an all-out civil war with his fiercest media defenders, forcing media players to take sides in the slug fest.
For a movement that has often displayed amazing discipline in terms of targeting its cannon fire on Democrats and liberals, the Right Wing Noise Machine now finds itself stuck in circular firing mode.
On one side, Trump's denounced as a "vicious demagogue," a "con man," a "glib egomaniac," and "the very epitome of vulgarity." On the other side, Trump's army has derided National Review as out of touch, and accused the magazine of cozying up to "open border zealots," a cardinal sin on the right.
None of that disguises the fact that Trump is the monster the Noise Machine created by encouraging bigoted and dishonest forces within the conservative movement; by giving credence to the three year Benghazi cover-up charade, the two year IRS witch hunt, by fueling ugly passions about Obama wanting to take away everyone's guns, and by arguing he's uninterested in defending America's national security.
For years, lots of conservative pundits and talkers cashed large, and in some cases very large, paychecks feeding this ugly beast. Now the beast is beyond their control and they're going to whine all the way to New Hampshire?
Call it the perils of Obama Derangement Syndrome.
Conservative John Ziegler saw this media-enable crack-up coming months ago (emphasis in original):
Thanks to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, Sarah Palin, a website named "Breitbart," and certain elements of Fox News (all of whom have both pushed and ridden the Trump bandwagon for selfish commercial purposes), the conservative base is living under several important delusions which has allowed for "Trumpsanity" to foster and grow.
Fact: The only entity that could likely stop Trump at this point would be a concerted effort by Fox News. But Roger Ailes and company are reportedly struggling with how to handle the Republican frontrunner, and have shown no interest in trying to take him down.
The conservative shock and awe of a possible Trump nomination, and the long-term political implications it could unleash, is now real.
But the revolt likely arrives comically late to the game, since a September or October pushback would've made more sense. Indeed, the magazine is "telling the Republican Party to pull its ripcord long after we've hit the ground," noted GOP consultant Alex Castellanos.
That delay certainly raises questions about the competency behind the "Against Trump" endeavor. Denouncing Trump, National Review editors insist he "is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones."
But all of those things were telegraphed nearly half-a-year ago when Trump first sprinted to the head of the GOP pack. Why did it take National Review editors and nearly two-dozen writers six months to belatedly acknowledge the obvious and, most importantly, join forces to stop him? (National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote that the project was first launched in late December, but then had to be set aside because of the busy holiday season.)
And who has the conservative nation turned its lonely eyes to in its hour of common sense need? Glenn Beck (Obama's a "racist"), Dana Loesch, Katie Pavlich, Erick Erickson, and Brent Bozell, who once likened Obama to a "skinny, ghetto crackhead."
Talk about a rogues gallery of Obama Derangement Syndrome sufferers who have now banded together to preach political clarity. But when the intellectual cupboard is bare, you make due with what's still left on the shelves and hope the expiration date hasn't already passed.
The Right Wing Noise Machine was revved up to 11 during the Obama years in an effort to destroy his presidency. In the end, the Noise Machine's lasting contribution, in the form of a Trump nominee, may be assuring that Obama hands the White House over to another Democrat.
Media figures are calling out National Review's feature of conservatives criticizing current GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, noting that the magazine and conservative media as a whole created the conditions for Donald Trump's rise by "engendering an oppositional mode towards government," being "hostile to immigration and immigrants," and bashing "political correctness."
Libertarian journalist and Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie took issue with the National Review's recent "Against Trump" campaign, which attempts to characterize Donald Trump as a fake conservative. Gillespie argued that Trump "is not at odds with National Review, conservatives, or all the other Republican presidential candidates."
On January 21, the conservative magazine National Review published a special issue titled "Against Trump," in which 22 prominent conservative media figures questioned whether or not the Republican presidential frontrunner is a real conservative. According to National Review, "If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, there will once again be no opposition to an ever-expanding government." Several other conservative commentators reacted by lashing out at National Review, calling it "irrelevant" and "intellectual snobbery," and lamenting that the publication has "lost touch with the electorate."
In a January 25 blog post for Reason.com, Nick Gillespie explained that even though National Review published their "Against Trump" issue, "National Review's editors might at least acknowledge that they helped to create the opportunity [for Trump] in the first place." Gillespie added that Trump's "openly hostile" positions on immigration are "completely in accord with" positions held by many conservatives, and the entire Republican presidential field, all of whom are "at odds with most of the country." Gillespie concluded his post by arguing that there is no reason to think National Review would not eventually support Trump's presidential ambitions if he succeeds in his run for the Republican nomination. From Reason.com (emphasis added):
Donald Trump's appeal among Republicans is directly related to issues and attitudes that mainstream conservatives and Republicans have been harping on for virtually all of the 21st century, if not longer. Anyone with even passing familiarity with National Review, which rarely misses an opportunity to tout its central role in the post-war conservative movement, knows that the magazine has long been extremely hostile to immigration, extremely bellicose when it comes to foreign policy and projecting American "strength" abroad, and extremely quick to attack any real and perceived slights to "American exceptionalism" (a term more often invoked than defined with any precision) while excoriating any real and perceived concessions to "political correctness."
These are exactly the grounds upon which Trump has seized the day in the Republican primary season, so if he is in fact "a philosophically unmoored political opportunist"--and I think that's a pretty fair description -- National Review's editors might at least acknowledge that they helped to create the opportunity in the first place. After all (and whatever his past affiliation), Trump isn't running in the Democratic primaries, is he? And despite the editors' claim that since Jesse Jackson entered the 1984 Democratic race "both parties have been infested by candidates who have treated the presidency as an entry-level position," the plain fact is that it's the GOP and conservatives who regularly trot out and swoon for the likes of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Herman Cain.
Let's be clear: To the extent that Trump is widely and accurately understood to be openly hostile to immigration and immigrants, especially from Mexico, he is not at odds with National Review, conservatives, or all the other Republican presidential candidates. He is completely in accord with all of them -- and they are all at odds with most of the country.
I understand and appreciate National Review's interest in dissociating itself and conservatism from Donald Trump, who just might become the nominee of the Republican Party, for which NR is an unofficial cheerleader and powerful agent of influence (before the Trump contretemps, it was going to co-host a party debate). Certainly from a libertarian perspective (a perspective which has been mostly attacked and dismissed in the pages of National Review for virtually all of its run), Trump is bad news on virtually all fronts, and especially those elements that are part and parcel of the modern conservative and National Review catechism.
But let's not pretend also that National Review won't actually support Trump should he actually become the Republican candidate.
Politico highlighted the "tension inside conservative media" over the rivalry between Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and explained that the tension has some figures "straddl[ing] the divide" in order to gin up ratings, drive candidates further to the right, and deny "airtime to the more moderate contenders they so disdain."
Prominent media figures have noted that Trump and Cruz have each gained popularity among Republican voters and conservative media figures by "espousing orthodox conservative views" and echoing conservative talk radio falsehoods. The two candidates have enjoyed symbiotic relationships with conservative media, wherein they have praised them for positive coverage of their campaigns, and for taking GOP messaging "directly to the people." Conservative media have, in return, defended both Trump and Cruz from public backlash in the wake of controversial statements and policy positions. But the rivalry between the two candidates began to create a schism within conservative media when National Review and 22 conservative media figures released an anti-Trump article, kicking off a GOP civil war.
This tension was highlighted in a January 25 Politico article, by Eli Stokols and Hadas Gold, who detailed how Trump's "brand of politics has increasingly become aligned with the conservative radio talkers and bloggers" and has thus complicated Cruz's courtship of right-wing media. Stokols and Gold explained that the rivalry is exacerbated within right-wing media because although Trump has committed "transgressions with conservative orthodoxy," he drives ratings and his hardline positions push other GOP candidates "further to the right." Because Trump's "rhetoric and stated policy positions appeal to so many conservative listeners and readers that covering them generates ratings gold," the article explained, conservative talk radio hosts have been carefully "straddl[ing] the divide":
Ted Cruz worked early and hard to cultivate the support of the most important voices in conservative talk radio and on the web and was rewarded with an army of defenders who have for nearly a year inoculated him from criticism, advanced his message and bashed his rivals on a daily basis.
No more. With just days to go before the Iowa caucuses, Cruz's wires into conservative media have gotten crossed by Donald Trump.
While opinion-makers on the right found it easy to dismiss Cruz's earlier rivals - from Marco Rubio and Rand Paul to Jeb Bush - Trump has proved a tougher foil. That's partly because his rhetoric and stated policy positions appeal to so many conservative listeners and readers that coverage generates ratings gold.
But it's also because leading voices in conservative media recognize, and appreciate, that it has been Trump, even more than Cruz, who has driven the 2016 field to the right.
But while Levin, Laura Ingraham and Glenn Beck, among others, all came to Cruz's defense during the height of the "birther" attacks, the Cruz campaign now sees some of the leading figures in talk radio helping build a bulwark against Trump. Trump's brand of politics has increasingly become aligned with the conservative radio talkers and bloggers, who have expanded their audiences by provoking grassroots activists, amplifying hardline positions and pushing Republicans further and further to the right.
Suddenly, some of Cruz's consistent supporters in the right-wing media are hedging their bets. Limbaugh, for example, has carefully straddled the divide; while giving his full-throated support to Cruz, Limbaugh has praised Trump's tactics, noting that, to his broad base of support, the tycoon represents "opportunity," "newness" and the "breaking out of whatever it is that's got us shackled." Laura Ingraham, a staunch Cruz defender, also initially validated Trump's questioning of the Texas senator's U.S. citizenship before changing her mind and stating that the question has been resolved. But just days ago, Ingraham pointed out to her listeners Cruz's flip flops on free trade and immigration reform.
From the January 24 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
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From the January 24 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
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The influential conservatives who penned essays for National Review urging voters not to cast their ballots for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump have their own histories of extremism. They have called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seeded hatred for white people" and compared him to a "skinny, ghetto crackhead"; termed Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat fucking child molester"; reportedly "helped push" Sarah Palin onto the 2008 GOP presidential ticket; and offered inflammatory Islamophobic comments.
From the January 22 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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Right-wing media figures are criticizing the conservative magazine National Review after it released a comprehensive feature of conservatives blasting current GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump. The critics are claiming the magazine's criticism is "intellectual snobbery," that the magazine is "irrelevant," that it has "lost touch with the electorate," and that it is committing "suicide."
The National Review confirmed that the Republican National Committee (RNC) disinvited the publication from participating in the Republican presidential primary debate scheduled for February 25 after publishing an editorial and symposium criticizing Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
In a January 21 blog post National Review's Jack Fowler announced that the RNC disinvited the publication from the February 25 GOP debate that they planned to co-moderate due to their "'Against Trump' editorial and Symposium":
National Review was asked by the RNC to partner in the GOP debates. We agreed. Our initial partner was NBC, with whom we were to help moderate the pre-Super Tuesday debate, originally to be held on February 26 in Houston, then suspended by the RNC in retribution over the antics of CNBC moderators in its now infamous debate last month. A new main host was picked this week -- CNN. National Review was to partner, along with Salem Radio and Telemundo, the debate rescheduled for February 25.
Tonight, a top official with the RNC called me to say that National Review was being disinvited. The reason: Our "Against Trump" editorial and symposium. We expected this was coming. Small price to pay for speaking the truth about The Donald.