National Review Online

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  • How The National Review Pushed A Lie Into The Supreme Court Contraception Case

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On March 23, the Supreme Court heard Zubik v. Burwell, a case brought by religious nonprofits challenging the process for opting out of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception mandate. Prior to oral arguments, the National Review falsely alleged that a leading expert on religious liberty law had "retracted" his support for the government's position. This falsehood was then apparently referred to during oral arguments to attack the ACA's accommodation for religiously affiliated organizations that seek an opt-out from required contraception coverage in their employer-sponsored health insurance.

  • Zubik v. Burwell: The Conservative "Abortifacient" Myth That Became The Latest Attempt To Block ACA Contraceptive Coverage

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On March 23, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, a consolidated case brought by religious nonprofits challenging a process for opting out of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception mandate. These groups argue that the process of opting out of providing insurance coverage for forms of contraception that they falsely deem "abortifacients" poses a "substantial burden" to their religious beliefs, a claim right-wing media have endorsed.

  • Here Are The Big Players In The Inevitable Smear Campaign Against Judge Merrick Garland

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    As President Obama reportedly prepares to announce Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, media should be prepared to hear from several right-wing groups dedicated to opposing the nominee, no matter who it is. These advocacy groups and right-wing media outlets have a history of pushing misleading information and alarmist rhetoric to launch smear campaigns against Obama's highly qualified Supreme Court nominees, using tactics including, but not limited to, spreading offensive rumors about a nominee's personal life, deploying bogus legal arguments or conspiracy theories, and launching wild distortions of every aspect of a nominee's legal career.

  • Jonah Goldberg Furious After Two National Review Colleagues Endorse Trump

    Right-Wing Economic Policy Darlings Larry Kudlow And Stephen Moore Are Regular Contributors To National Review

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Moore and Kudlow

    National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg berated two right-wing economic policy figureheads -- Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow -- for what Goldberg saw as their abandonment of conservative principles by supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy. Both men have written extensively for National Review Online (NRO) promoting the conservative movement's economic agenda, with Kudlow acting as a contributing editor for the publication.

    The right-wing media civil war was on full display on March 9 when Goldberg attacked Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore and CNBC senior contributor Larry Kudlow for endorsing Trump, despite the Republican front-runner's lack of apparent conservative policy bona fides. Goldberg argued that Moore and Kudlow had abandoned conservative purity by endorsing "winning at any cost," and that Trump's policies are a "populist deformation of conservatism." Goldberg's decision to target Moore and Kudlow for their embrace of Trump is particularly interesting given how much the two men have contributed to National Review and National Review Online over the years.

    Moore's regular publication history with the outlet dates back to 2003, when he was an ardent champion of the Bush administration's tax cuts, and picked up steam in 2014 when he used NRO to promote Republican talking points on tax and regulatory policy, the federal budget and deficit, and the minimum wage. Kudlow's ties to the outlet where he serves as both a contributing editor (in print) and a columnist and economics editor (online) are even more extensive, dating to 1999.

    Goldberg may be targeting Moore and Kudlow for apostasy now, but they have been boosting Trump for some time now -- weeks in the case of Moore, and months for Kudlow. Moore praised Trump in a February 11 column for The American Spectator, suggesting he could "expand the Republican base to include independents and union Democratic voters" and claimed that "Trump is the anti-Obama in every way ... . Trump emanates love for America and pledged to 'make America great again.'" CNBC contributer James Pethokoukis also listed Moore as part of Trump's "council of wise men" on February 22. Goldberg wrote that Kudlow "has moved markedly in Trump's direction" on policy, and Kudlow also expressed his support for Trump's tax plan in September when it was released.

    In January, the National Review launched a conservative war on Trump with a dedicated "Against Trump" issue, referring to him as a "philosophically unmoored political opportunist." Goldberg's March 9 article berating Moore and Kudlow is just another barrage in the right-wing media civil war over Trump (emphasis added):

    In 2009, then-senator Jim DeMint declared he'd rather have 30 reliable conservatives in the Senate than 60 unreliable ones. Ted Cruz launched his presidential campaign on the premise that deviation from pure conservatism cost Republicans the 2012 election. The only way to win was to refuse to compromise and instead give voters a clear choice. Many of the right's most vocal ideological enforcers cheered him on.

    Until Trump started winning. Suddenly, the emphasis wasn't on winning through purer conservatism but on winning at any cost.

    Consider Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore. In August, the two legendarily libertarian-minded economists attacked Trump, focusing on what they called Trump's "Fortress America platform." His trade policies threaten the global economic order, they warned. "We can't help wondering whether the recent panic in world financial markets is in part a result of the Trump assault on free trade," they mused. As for Trump's immigration policies, they could "hardly be further from the Reagan vision of America as a 'shining city on a hill.'"

    Months later, as Trump rose in the polls, Kudlow and Moore joined the ranks of Trump's biggest boosters -- and not because Trump changed his views. On the contrary, Kudlow has moved markedly in Trump's direction. He now argues that the borders must be sealed and all visas canceled. He also thinks we have to crack down on China.

    [...]

    Instead of converting voters to conservatism, Trump is succeeding at converting conservatives to statism on everything from health care and entitlements to trade.

  • Why Five Big Conservative Myths About The Judicial Nomination Process Are Wrong

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    When President Obama makes his Supreme Court nomination to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, conservative media are likely to bring out the same falsehoods they have used for years to provide cover for Republicans' unprecedented judicial obstruction. As the nomination process moves forward, it's important to note that traditionally, a president's nominee has at least gotten a hearing in the Senate; that in recent years Republicans have opposed well-qualified nominees they admit having no ideological issues with; that Obama's intention to fill the Supreme Court vacancy is not "court-packing"; that Republican obstruction of presidential nominees has been unprecedented during the Obama presidency; and that allowing long-term vacancies for important judicial positions has negative consequences for democracy.

  • "Marcobot": Media Rail Against Marco Rubio After His "Disastrous" Debate Gaffe

    Slate's Jamelle Bouie: Rubio's Gaffe Was "One Of The Most Uncomfortable Moments Of The Entire Republican Debate Season"

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    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.

  • The Extremism Of National Review's Trump Critics

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    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.

  • RNC Disinvites National Review From GOP Debate Following Anti-Trump Editorial

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    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.

  • National Review Launches Conservative War On Donald Trump

    National Review And 22 Conservative Media Personalities Call Trump A "Philosophically Unmoored Political Opportunist"

    ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP, ANDREW LAWRENCE, BRENDAN KARET, BRENNAN SUEN & DAYANITA RAMESH

    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."

  • Anthony Kennedy's (And Right-Wing Media's) Favorite Abortion Myth Debunked In New Briefs To Supreme Court

    Pro-Choice Briefs In Whole Woman's Health v. Cole Push Back At Discredited Conclusion That Abortions Cause Depression And Regret

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    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.

  • Media Should Be Wary Of Speaker Ryan's Renewed Interest In Poverty

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    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?

  • Why Is Shock Jock Mark Steyn Testifying At A Senate Hearing On Climate Science?

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    Mark Steyn Climate Change

    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: