Before there was any evidence of who was responsible for the terrorist bombing and shooting in Norway, mainstream media outlets rushed to finger Muslims and Muslim groups as potential perpetrators and listed grievances that radical Muslims had against the country. Norwegian officials have since said that a non-Muslim was responsible for the terrorist acts.
Following the terrorist attacks in Norway by anti-Muslim fundamentalist Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing media have leapt to defending their own Islamophobic response to the attacks, often by making absurd claims like calling Breivik a "jihadist."
Mark Krikorian, who we last saw bashing naturalized Americans and the children of immigrants in order to argue that the United States should close its borders to immigrants, is at it again. On Monday, to make his case for reducing future immigration, he warned against Islam and Muslims living in the United States.
Writing on the website of National Review, Krikorian attacked Islam as "a unique danger to our Republic" and advocated for "the use of undercover agents to infiltrate" mosques and Muslim organizations "and track their activities." He concluded: "If a large and growing Muslim population represents a threat to liberty -- and I believe, with [Herman] Cain, that it does -- then that's yet another reason to reduce future immigration."
From his July 18 blog post on National Review Online's The Corner:
I'm the last person to defend Islam, and I'm not doing so now, but Cain is clearly wrong. Yes, of course, Islam is more than just a spiritual system -- it's also a political system, a system regulating economics, war, the subjugation of infidels, personal hygiene, and every other aspect of life. And of course radical elements -- i.e., orthodox Muslims -- are behind the construction of many, if not most mosques in the West. Both of these facts make Islam a unique danger to our Republic and are arguments for enhanced scrutiny of mosques and all Muslim organizations, the use of undercover agents to infiltrate them and track their activities, a resumption of the use of ideological exclusion in visa and immigration matters, and the categorical rejection of all special demands, whether wearing a hijab in a driver's license photo or giving legal authority to sharia courts in family-law matters.
But -- if Muslims want to build a gathering place, consistent with normal zoning and fire-safety laws and the like, where they just worship and break bread with their fellows, they have every right to do so; suggesting otherwise is dangerous folly, cutting down the law to get after the devil. If a large and growing Muslim population represents a threat to liberty -- and I believe, with Cain, that it does -- then that's yet another reason to reduce future immigration. But once you admit people, we're bound to judge them individually, by the same yardstick we use for everyone else.
Krikorian previously asserted that the only way to produce " 'moderate' Islam" in countries like Iran is to wholly separate Islamic societies from the West and allow a "tsunami of violence" to overtake the people living under "Islamic regime[s]." Indeed, while discussing the future of Islam in an NRO post, Krikorian wrote that Islam is "a failure as an ideology and way of life in the modern world," adding that "[o]ur long-term strategy, then, should be to create two, three, many Islamic republics, each one inevitably an example of Islam's bankruptcy."
Despite his extremist views about immigrants and his anti-immigration stance, numerous media outlets, including NPR, The New York Times, and ABC News, believe that Krikorian is a worthy voice in the immigration reform debate.
In at least 40 instances since the beginning of 2011, conservative media outlets wrongly told consumers that the light bulb efficiency standards scheduled to take effect in 2012 will require them to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Hope springs eternal. Despite more than a year of fruitless digging, the right-wing media can't let go of their hope that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will be disqualified from hearing cases about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Recently, conservative media have been hyping letters from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) as well as 49 other congressional Republicans seeking documents to determine if Kagan was involved with health care litigation during her time as solicitor general (the position she held immediately before being appointed to the Supreme Court).
Conservative media don't bother hiding the reasons for hoping that Kagan must be recused. As Judicial Watch head Tom Fitton wrote on BigGovernment.com, "The U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately settle the issue regarding whether or not Obama's socialist healthcare overhaul will be the law of the land. Everyone knows it. And if Elena Kagan is forced to recuse herself from hearing the case that will be one fewer dependably liberal vote on the Supreme Court for Obamacare."
In addition to Fitton's post on BigGovernment.com, HotAir.com's Ed Morrissey breathlessly hyped the 49 House members' letter, asking, "Did Elena Kagan mislead the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing when answering questions about her level of involvement in ObamaCare?" The Washington Times also hyped the same letter, as did Newsmax. And National Review Online blogger Carrie Severino and Glenn Beck's website TheBlaze.com hyped both the 49 House members' letter and Smith's letter.
But CNS News may take the cake for the most overwrought reaction. CNS reported that Smith had begun an "investigation" into whether Kagan had been involved in health care litigation as solicitor general. It subsequently had to append an "editor's note" to the article explaining that the House Judiciary Committee "requested a correction of the story" because Smith had not launched a "formal investigation" but had merely made a "request for addition information."
CNS's overreaction to Smith's letter to the Justice Department epitomizes the right-wing's campaign to have Kagan recuse herself from health care litigation. The right-wing media keeps demanding further inquiry into the issue of whether Kagan should recuse herself. The additional information shows that there is no reason for Kagan to recuse herself. But the right-wing media claims that all it needs is a little more information, and it will become clear that Kagan did recuse herself.
Below the fold is a brief recap of the right-wing media's recusal campaign so far.
NPR has decided that anti-immigration activist Mark Krikorian's nativist dogma is worthy enough to be a featured "point of view" in the immigration debate. Never mind that the entirety of Krikorian's solution to the issue involves a scheme where all unauthorized immigrants and their children, American citizens or not, would be given "90 days or ... six months" to "pack up your things ... resolve your affairs" and "go home."
On its website on Thursday, NPR thought to contrast Krikorian's extremist views with those of journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who recently admitted he is an undocumented immigrant who has been in the United States since he was 12 years old. Vargas' take on immigration reform was highlighted in an interview with the station's Fresh Air program.
Krikorian, the executive director of "low immigration" think tank, the Center for Immigration Studies, and a columnist for National Review Online, explained why Vargas should leave the United States and why the DREAM Act shouldn't apply to immigrants like Vargas. From NPR:
"It's not so much that he's undocumented. It's that he's an illegal immigrant -- he had illegal documents," says Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that advocates a "low immigration, high enforcement" immigration policy. "He came here as a child [but] ... he came here with an identity formed as a Filipino. In other words, he came at 12."
Vargas says he was inspired to write his article after the Senate failed to pass the Dream Act, which would have granted amnesty to people younger than 36 who arrived in the United States as children, have lived here for five years or more and are currently attending college or serving in the military.
But Krikorian says legislation like the Dream Act shouldn't apply to people like Vargas -- because he arrived in the United States at the age of 12.
"The moral case that you can make for the Dream Act -- or something like the Dream Act ... really only applies, it seems to me, to people whose identities have been formed here, who have no memory of any other country, who really are -- as some of the advocates sometimes put it -- are Americans in all but paperwork," he says. "This doesn't really cover a lot of the people who would be covered under the current version of the Dream Act, including Mr. Vargas. The man has real abilities and real skills, and he should go home to his country of citizenship, the country he grew up in for most of his childhood."
Krikorian further stated: "The strongest case you can make for something like the Dream Act is for people who prudence suggests we should allow [to] stay because their identities have been formed here. They really are, psychologically speaking, Americans."
So, according to Krikorian's ridiculous logic, a child who moves here around age 12 will never be, "psychologically speaking," American? I'm sure Madeleine Albright, Patrick Ewing, and a host of others who immigrated here as pre-teens, like me, would have something to say about that. But putting aside the absurd notion that there is a cookie cutter formula to national identity, Krikorian has maintained that immigrants are considered truly American only if they embrace "Anglo-conformity."
After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, many right-wing bloggers criticized the decision or downplayed its significance. But one of the judges who voted to uphold the statute was Jeffrey Sutton, an appointee of President George W. Bush who was such a proponent of states' rights during his legal career that he once proclaimed that he became involved in states' rights issues because "I really believe in this federalism stuff."
Conservative media have remained adamantly opposed to any revenue increases when covering the current negotiations over the looming default crisis. In fact, several prominent conservative economists disagree and have said that new revenue should be part of an agreement.
The right-wing media have vilified a proposal by the National Labor Relations Board to change rules regarding union organizing elections, accusing the NLRB of trying to establish "quickie elections." In fact, the proposal would establish no time frame for holding elections, and it modernizes procedures before and after elections.
Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, recently revealed that he is an undocumented immigrant. Right-wing media responded with virulent anti-immigrant attacks, with Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail writing: "kick the lying, illegal alien Jose Antonio Vargas out."
National Review's Andrew McCarthy has made a habit of citing anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer as a credible authority -- plugging Spencer's book The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion, for instance. In a recent blog post, McCarthy said that Spencer was the sort of "expert" who should testify at Rep. Peter King's hearings on the "radicalization of the Muslim-American community." McCarthy wrote: "I fear the hearings may turn into a non-event, in large part because they are not hearing from all the right witnesses -- experts like Steve Emerson and Robert Spencer. These experts have been excluded, evidently due to fear of the predictable reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood's American grievance network."
Today, FrontPage Magazine published an interview in which Spencer claims that "the most likely scenario" is that former Rep. Anthony Weiner "did convert to Islam."
In a June 16 National Review Online blog post, Andrew C. McCarthy criticizes Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims. While Muslim, civil rights, and interfaith groups have panned the hearings as "divisive," McCarthy has a different problem: The hearings aren't anti-Islam enough.
According to McCarthy, "the hearings are proceeding on a false premise: namely, that Muslims are being 'radicalized' by some aberrant ideology that is a perversion of Islam." He explains:
What "radicalizes" Muslims is Islam -- the mainstream interpretation of it. The "radicals" propagating it do not need the "captive audience" provided by the prison environment. The "radicalization" is happening in plain sight.
McCarthy bases his claims on a study by David Yerushalmi and Mordechai Kedar which states that more than 80 percent of U.S. mosques feature texts that promote or support violence. Several right-wing pundits who specialize in attacks on Muslims and Islam previously highlighted the report earlier this month.
As we noted at the time, this study is undermined by Yerushalmi's history of extreme anti-Muslim and racially charged rhetoric. The Anti-Defamation League has highlighted Yerushalmi's "record of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black bigotry," specifically highlighting his reported statement that "African Americans are a 'relatively murderous race killing itself" and suggesting that "racial differences included innate differences in character and intelligence."
The ADL also reports that a think tank founded and led by Yerushalmi "called on Congress to declare war on the 'Muslim nation,' which it defined as 'Shari'a-adherent Muslims,' and further asked Congress to define Muslim illegal immigrants as alien enemies 'subject to immediate deportation.'"
Yerushalmi has written that "Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization" and that "The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies." This is probably not the kind of person you want to rely on for unbiased data.
Of course, Andrew McCarthy thought the proposed Park51 Islamic center several blocks from Ground Zero represented "Islamist supremacism" and his most recent book recycles numerous smear to paint President Obama as an "Islamist," so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.
The charge was negligent homicide.
Incensed by a New York Post "exclusive" last winter about "arrogant" union sanitation workers who purposefully failed to plow local streets in the aftermath of a crippling blizzard in order to protest department budget cuts, some members of the GOP Noise Machine, having whipped themselves into a union-hating frenzy, suggested the worker were actually guilty of criminal misconduct.
The Post's plow story, which was thoroughly debunked by a just-completed city investigation, and which the right-wing media now remain universally silent about, presents us with a depressing case study of how so-called "conservative journalism" often works today. (And especially how Rupert Murdoch-bankrolled journalism works.)
As illustrated by the Post's hollow, union bashing "exclusive," as well as by the far-right press' feral hyping of the concocted story, conservative journalism is often nothing more than sloppy propaganda designed to deceive and to inflame partisan passions. It' a nasty brand of misinformation and operates outside any discernible ethical guidelines, which accounts for its fleeting interesting in truthful reporting, as well as its dedicated lack of accountability.
In the wake of the Anthony Weiner scandal, members of the conservative media are demanding respect for getting the story right. But they're conveniently forgetting about a whole laundry list of previous smear campaigns they peddled and have never apologized for.
This was the Post's outlandish claim:
Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.
New York's Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process -- and pad overtime checks -- which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.
Keep in mind that city investigators have now determined that virtually nothing in the Post's breathless "exclusive" was accurate.
In other words, it was a hoax.
Conservative media outlets are deriding a memo recently released by the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that it "shows that the board wants to give unions much greater power over employers and their investment and management decisions." In reality, the memo addresses a narrow portion of labor law that requires employers to bargain with unions if labor costs are a factor when businesses decide to relocate. The changes contemplated in the memo would simply "encourage the use of bargaining rather than after-the-fact assessment of whether bargaining might have been successful."
National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan is still arguing that the decision by Judge Vaughn Walker to strike down California's ban on same-sex marriage must be thrown out because Walker is a gay man in a long-term relationship.
Last week, I documented Whelan's incredible admission that, if his argument is correct, a gay judge assigned to hear a same-sex marriage case must either disclose "intimate details" about his or her personal life or "[ask] the court clerk to reassign the case" to another judge.
As detailed by the lawyers opposed to the California ban on same-sex marriage, if Whelan's theory were correct, a gay judge who did not silently reassign the case would have to answer questions about "how long term, or how serious" the relationship was and "the judge's interest in marriage." The person who is in a relationship with a judge might have to answer similar questions.
But even more astoundingly, the defenders of California's ban on same-sex marriage are making the same argument in their brief (which, according to Whelan, "systematically dismantles" the other side's argument). Here is the relevant excerpt from the brief:
Plaintiffs argue that the statutory disclosure duty "would require federal judges to publicly disclose intimate details of their private lives," Doc # 779 at 23, but of course any judge who does not wish to make "a full disclosure on the record," 28 U.S.C. § 455(e), of personal facts that bear on his ability to sit in a case always has the option of simply asking the clerk to reassign it to another judge.
As I've previously detailed, this argument is odious on its own, but it's not even correct on the law. As the opponents of the same-sex marriage ban say: "Judges have a duty to sit and decide cases unless there is a legitimate reason to recuse." Thus, if Whelan and the defenders of the ban are correct, a gay judge assigned to hear a same-sex marriage case who does not believe he or she should be disqualified must preside over the case and must disclose the intimate details of his or her sexual orientation, relationship status, length of the relationship, seriousness of the relationship, and personal views on marriage.
Common sense suggests that this cannot be the law. And judicial ethics experts agree that this is not the law.