Media are calling Marco Rubio "robotic," and criticizing his "disastrous Republican debate gaffe" after the presidential hopeful "awkwardly pivoted four times to a well-rehearsed line," in an exchange with Gov. Chris Christie at the final Republican debate before New Hampshire voters cast ballots in the first primary of the election season.
With Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton facing a barrage of criticisms over the tone of her voice during a recent speech, Media Matters looks back at the rampant sexism she faced from the media during her 2008 presidential bid.
From the January 25 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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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.
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.
The conservative National Review Online (NRO) released a comprehensive feature of conservatives attacking current GOP front runner Donald Trump, highlighting the divisive 2016 Republican primary season. National Review editors and right-wing personalities such as Glenn Beck, Bill Kristol, and Erick Erickson criticized Trump as a "philosophically unmoored political opportunist" and "the very epitome of vulgarity."
The first set of amicus briefs for Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, a Supreme Court case that will determine the constitutionality of a Texas anti-choice law that severely limits women's access to abortion and broader medical care, has recently been filed. Many of these briefs respond to Justice Anthony Kennedy's past invocation of "post-abortion regret" and the "severe depression" that supposedly follows, an "antiabortion shibboleth" repeated in right-wing media's long-standing effort to stigmatize women who have had abortions.
On January 9, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will host a presidential candidate forum in Columbia, South Carolina focused on poverty. As media outlets prepare to cover the event, will they remember that despite Ryan's gentler language, he has a history of promoting budget and fiscal policies that would harm Americans struggling with poverty?
Media criticized GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for claiming he never supported legalizing undocumented immigrants by pointing to his documented support of legalization in 2013.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), the climate science-denying presidential candidate who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, convened a December 8 hearing that purported to answer whether the "debate over the magnitude of human impact on earth's climate" is being driven by "data or dogma." One of Cruz's star witnesses is frequent Rush Limbaugh Show guest host Mark Steyn, whose extreme attacks on a climate scientist appear to be the main reason he was invited to participate.
The most obvious explanation for Steyn's appearance would seem to be that Cruz couldn't find enough scientists who oppose the 97 percent of climate scientists that say human activities are causing climate change, so he had to turn to a talk radio shock jock instead. But the fact that Steyn is "not a scientist" only scratches the surface of why he is unqualified to testify on global warming.
Steyn has a long history of making extreme and scientifically illiterate claims that could give Cruz a run for his money. For instance, Steyn alleged in 2009 that "[t]here has been no global warming this century." In 2010, he declared that "environmentalism is fundamentally anti-human." Most recently, Steyn was seen proclaiming that Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' remarks describing the link between climate change and terrorism were "insane," and even imagining terrorists "sawing Bernie Sanders' head off" while Sanders worries about "an emissions trading scheme." According to Science Blogs' Greg Laden, Steyn also "recently self published a book made up, apparently, of cherry picked quotes and related material in an effort to discredit top climate scientists."
In addition to his track record of climate denial, Steyn provided another possible explanation for his inclusion at the hearing when he explained why he was invited to a conference held by the climate science-denying Heartland Institute earlier this year, as Energy & Environment recently reported (emphasis added):
Also testifying will be Mark Steyn, the Canadian National Review writer and author of "Climate Change: The Facts" who told attendees at the Heartland Institute's International Conference on Climate Change this summer that his claim to fame is calling fraudulent the well-known "hockey stick" theory that Michael Mann -- a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University -- has developed.
"I've made no useful scientific contribution," Steyn said at the [Heartland] conference in July. "I've basically only been invited here because ... I'm being sued by the inventor of the global warming hockey stick, Michael Mann."
Indeed, as Laden observes, "[i]t appears that the Republicans on the Senate science subcommittee are allowing an anti-science Canadian citizen [Steyn] to use the Senate hearing room to argue his side of a civil law suit." As the Union of Concerned Scientists noted, Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann sued Steyn for defamation after Steyn wrote a 2012 blog post for National Review Online that falsely claimed Mann's "hockey stick" research showing a spike in global warming in the last century was "fraudulent" -- and cited a Competitive Enterprise Institute blog comparing Mann to disgraced Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The CEI blog, by Rand Simberg, asserted that Mann was "the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data" (that sentence has since been removed). Steyn said of Simberg's accusation: "Not sure I'd have extended that metaphor all the way into the locker-room showers with quite the zeal Mr Simberg does, but he has a point."
The ongoing lawsuit gets at a broader reason why Steyn may have been invited to appear before the subcommittee: to present his story as supposed proof that dogma trumps data in the climate "debate." In his prepared remarks to the subcommittee, Steyn said that his own personal "travails" are relevant "[b]ecause too many people within the climate cartel are demanding that dissent from the alleged 'consensus' should be not merely a civil offense but a criminal one - and far too many legislators and bureaucrats are willing to entertain it." He then used that as a jumping off point to dismiss investigations into wrongdoing by Exxon Mobil, alleging that New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is "su[ing] Exxon for not holding the same views on climate change as the more pliable oil companies have been forced to adopt in public."
But Steyn's version of events badly misstates the issue. Exxon is not under fire simply for "dissent from the alleged 'consensus'," or for "not holding the same views" on climate science as others. The New York investigation and calls for a federal investigation relate to strong evidence that Exxon knew the science of climate change and then purposely misled stakeholders and the public about the issue.
In the end, this shock jock's trip to Capitol Hill is a notable chapter in the joint efforts of congressional Republicans and conservative media to attack climate scientists and defend the supposed "right" of corporations to intentionally deceive the public about climate change.
So while Steyn freely admits that he is no expert on climate science ("I am not a climate scientist, but I am an acknowledged expert in the field of musical theatre"), he was nevertheless one of the five witnesses testifying on the issue before the Senate today. And to give you an even better sense of how far he should be from a Senate hearing, here are some other instances of Steyn talking about issues he is not an expert on, culled from the Media Matters library:
Right-wing media criticized President Obama for condemning Islamophobia and roundly denied the existence of anti-Muslim discrimination in the United States as "pure myth" and "something that doesn't really exist." These claims gained traction just as GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump released a controversial proposal to ban Muslim entry into the United States.
Right-wing media lashed out at President Obama for comments he made about gun violence prevention, anti-Muslim discrimination, and terrorism in his December 6 address from the Oval Office about combating the terrorist organization ISIS.
Conservative commentators responded with vitriol to the December 3 announcement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that women would be allowed to serve in all military combat roles, calling the decision "a social experiment" that would jeopardize "winning in combat."
Right-wing media outlets are stoking fears that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is on the verge of collapse; arguing that health insurance co-op failures threaten to shutter President Obama's signature health care legislation. But experts argue that ACA continues to control health care costs and expand insurance, and explain that the co-op failures are due to underfunding by Congress.
National Review senior editor and Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg claimed that "one could argue" that Ben Carson is "even more authentically African-American than Barack Obama."
In his October 30 National Review column, Goldberg invoked the two politicians' family backgrounds to justify his observation that Ben Carson may be "more authentically African-American" than Obama, pointing to the fact that "Obama's mother was white and he was raised in party by his white grandparents," while Carson "grew up in Detroit, the son of a very poor, very hard-working single mother":
True enough; Carson has the highest favorables of any candidate in the GOP field.
But what's remarkable is that at no point in this conversation [on MSNBC's Morning Joe] did anyone call attention to the fact that Carson is an African-American. Indeed, most analysis of Carson's popularity from pundits focuses on his likable personality and his sincere Christian faith. But it's intriguingly rare to hear people talk about the fact that he's black.
One could argue that he's even more authentically African-American than Barack Obama, given that Obama's mother was white and he was raised in part by his white grandparents. In his autobiography, Obama writes at length about how he grew up outside the traditional African-American experience -- in Hawaii and Indonesia -- and how he consciously chose to adopt a black identity when he was in college.
Meanwhile, Carson grew up in Detroit, the son of a very poor, very hard-working single mother. His tale of rising from poverty to become the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of the most inspiring rags-to-riches stories of the last half-century. (Cuba Gooding Jr. played Carson in the movie about his life.) He was a towering figure in the black community in Baltimore and nationally -- at least, until he became a Republican politician.
And that probably explains why his race seems to be such a non-issue for the media. The New York Times is even reluctant to refer to him as a doctor. The Federalist reports that Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education, is three times more likely to be referred to as "Dr." in the Times as brain surgeon Carson. If the Times did that to a black Democrat, charges of racism would be thick in the air.
How strange it must be for people who comfort themselves with the slander that the GOP is a cult of organized racial hatred that the most popular politician among conservatives is a black man. Better to ignore the elephant in the room than account for such an inconvenient fact. The race card is just too valuable politically and psychologically for liberals who need to believe that their political opponents are evil.
Carson's popularity isn't solely derived from his race, but it is a factor.
Goldberg promoted his claim with this October 30 Tweet:
Breaking News: Ben Carson is black. https://t.co/SO0v73QPjR-- Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) October 30, 2015