National Review: The Corner

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  • National Review’s David French: Lifting The Ban On Transgender Military Service Will Result In “Thought Control”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    In a post responding to the repeal of the transgender military service ban, National Review’s David French accused the military of “thought control” and lamented the decline of “warrior culture.”

    In a June 30 press conference, the Pentagon announced that the Department of Defense is lifting the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. The decision comes after a year-long evaluation of “policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.” As a part of the evaluation, the Pentagon commissioned a study by the RAND Corporation which found that allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military would not impact unit cohesion and result in minimal costs.

    French quickly fired back with a June 30 post. French’s opposition to this policy change comes as no surprise given his former career at the anti-LGBT extremist legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who are best known for attacking the rights of transgender students and working internationally to criminalize gay sex. French has a history of expressing his outward disdain for transgender people. In the past, he lamented “transgender entitlement” and once described a young transgender woman as a “man” who is “on the verge of mutilating himself.”

    Part of French’s argument for opposing the lift of the ban was to accuse the military of trying to create a “social laboratory” that is promoting “radical LGBT theology”:

    But this move isn’t about national security, it’s about social engineering. Many members of the military will spend their entire careers without encountering a single transgender soldier, but they will endure hour upon hour of diversity training and thought control.


    There will be members of the military (aided and abetted by its civilian leadership) who will take this opportunity to try to retrain the ranks about the very concepts of sex and gender, introducing radical LGBT theology as the government-approved, Army-mandated world view. And God help the Army doctor or medical professional who refuses to facilitate a servicemember’s “transition.” Good luck being a chaplain preaching about the created order if there is a prickly leftist around. The administration is moving the military culture to Yale with guns just about as fast as it can.

    Fortunately the warrior culture is resilient. Infantry platoons aren’t likely to go full PC anytime soon, but the Left keeps chipping away. It will keep chipping away until the horrible reality of the battlefield reminds us all that our military isn’t a social laboratory. Our enemies focus on war while we sidetrack our soldiers with social justice.

  • Right-Wing Noise Machine Fabricates Gettysburg Address Omission To Attack Obama

    Obama Was Asked To Recite Lincoln's Original Draft, Which Did Not Contain Phrase "Under God"

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER HANSEN

    Official White House PhotoPresident Obama's recitation of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is sparking hysteria from the right-wing media who slammed the president for omitting the phrase "under God." But ironically, in their hurry to attack the president, they omitted the fact that Obama was reading the first draft of the speech -- a draft that did not include "under God" -- at the request of filmmaker Ken Burns.

    To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, filmmaker Ken Burns compiled footage of important national figures -- including Obama and all the living former presidents -- reciting portions of the speech.

    On November 19, right-wing radio host Chris Plante accused Obama of omitting the phrase "under God" from his recitation of the Gettysburg Address. Other conservative media outlets like the Drudge Report, The Daily Caller, and National Review Online's The Corner promptly ran with the story. WMAL, which hosts The Chris Plante Show, remarked about the news:

    One nation under God?  Under President Obama, maybe not so much.

     As first reported on WMAL's Chris Plante Show Tuesday, the Commander-in-Chief joined a cast of 61 other noted lawmakers, politicians, news anchors and celebrities, including every living President, in reciting the Gettysburg Address, which President Abraham Lincoln delivered on November 19, 1863.

    The dignitaries all delivered the address as Lincoln had written it, including the phrase, "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom." (Click to listen).  Curiously, however, in his version of the address, President Obama omitted the words "under God."

    Obama's recitation was not 'curious,' it was accurate -- Burns requested that President Obama read the 'Nicolay Version' of the Address, which was Lincoln's first draft of the Address and does not contain the phrase "under God." The relevant text of the Nicolay version, which Obama recites, reads (emphasis added):

    It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    The right-wing media's rush to hysteria and ignorance of the facts in this case is ironic: Burns' project is called Learn the Address.

    UPDATE: After this post's publication, the Daily Caller acknowledged the error in an update to its original post:

    The "Learn the Address" website notes that "We asked President Obama to read ... the 'Nicolay Version'" of the Gettsyburg Address, which omits the words "under God." That disclosure does not appear alongside Obama's video on the site.

    UPDATE 2: National Review Online's The Corner also published an update to its original post:

    During today's White House press briefing, press secretary Jay Carney claimed that President Obama had read from the version of the Gettysburg Address given to him by documentarian Ken Burns. This appears to be the case. As Mediaite notes, the website for Burns' upcoming project, Learn the Address, says that there are five manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address and that Obama read from the "Nicolay Version." This version of the manuscript is believed to be the earliest of the copies of the Address, and it does omit the phrase "under God." Three of the five manuscripts do include the phrase.

  • NRO Continues Misinformation Campaign About The DOJ's Lawsuit Against Louisiana

    Blog ››› ››› MEAGAN HATCHER-MAYS

    National Review Online is attacking the Department of Justice's decision to hold the state of Louisiana accountable for apparently failing to comply with the terms of several longstanding court orders, incorrectly framing these enforcement efforts as an attempt to force minority students to attend failing schools.

    This is not the first time that the NRO has advanced these outlandish claims against the DOJ and the Obama administration, but they continue to be dishonest. From a September 24 column on NRO's The Corner:

    The Department of Justice's fight against school vouchers for poor children in Louisiana has not been popular, and the Obama administration knows it. So last night, in a particularly cynical move, the DOJ filed an additional motion, amending its suit in phrasing but not spirit.

    This political maneuvering threatens the future of thousands of minority children who may soon be banished to failing schools.


    The DOJ is making two main demands: First, it wants information about how the voucher program would affect the racial composition of public schools; and second, it wants parents to get pre-clearance from federal courts before they're allowed to transfer their own children to a school of their choice.

    And if the DOJ succeeds, that would have repercussions not only within Louisiana, which has emerged as a national school-choice leader, but also across the United States; education reformers would have to assess how offering academic options to parents and their children might affect "desegregation."

    The DOJ filed its suit because Louisiana is under numerous federal court orders that require the state to assess the impact of new educational policies on decades-long efforts to desegregate Louisiana public schools, not because it believes, as NRO puts it, "Minority kids mustn't leave for better schools." Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ignored this legal obligation and went ahead with a voucher program before providing any information to the court regarding its effects, even after the DOJ warned the voucher program appeared to have "impeded the desegregation process."

  • NRO's "Latest Evidence Of Voter Fraud" Lacks Any Actual Evidence

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER HANSEN

    AP Photo/The News & Observer, Travis Long

    In a column on National Review Online's (NRO) The Corner, Fox News contributor and NRO columnist John Fund and Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky laid out what they considered "The Latest Evidence Of Voter Fraud." The evidence they offered, however, amounted to one county in Mississippi that was recently ordered to remove ineligible voters from its registration rolls, and a report released by the conservative Voter Integrity Project showing a statistically insignificant number of alleged voter fraud cases, neither of which showed any conclusive evidence or prosecution of voter fraud.

    In a September 9 column, Fund and von Spakovsky wrote, "Obama-administration officials and their liberal camp-followers who routinely claim there is no reason to worry about election integrity because vote fraud is nonexistent suffered some embarrassing setbacks last week."

    The first piece of evidence they offered was a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) -- a far right legal advocacy group whose senior fellow and policy expert once accused the NAACP's president of "treason" for denouncing voter ID laws, and who said it was racist to oppose those same laws -- against Walthall County, Mississippi in which the county was instructed to purge its voter rolls of felons, the deceased, and duplicate registrations. Fund and von Spakovsky made no claims of actual voter fraud in regards to that case, however, writing only that:

    This is the first time in the 20 years that the NVRA has been in force that a conservative group has sued to enforce Section 8, while liberal advocacy groups have filed many cases to try to stop election officials from cleaning up their registration lists, a practice which they foolishly label "voter suppression."

    An inflated voter registration roll by itself is not evidence of voter fraud, which the Brennan Center for Justice defined as "when individuals cast ballots despite knowing that they are ineligible to vote, in an attempt to defraud the election system." Instead, voter roll purges have repeatedly been used as a tool to disenfranchise minorities and students -- traditionally Democratic voting blocs.

    The second piece of evidence Fund and von Spakovsky presented was a report released by the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina (VIP-NC), a group with a history of false claims regarding voter fraud. VIP-NC released a report they obtained from the North Carolina Board of Elections which shows 475 cases in which the state had a "reasonable suspicion" that voter fraud occurred. Those cases were turned over to the appropriate district attorneys and Fund, von Spakovsky, and VIP-NC acknowledged that prosecutors chose not to bring charges in those cases. However, Fund and von Spakovsky attributed the lack of convictions to political fear, writing, "As VIP also points out, the report raises the important question of why local district attorneys in North Carolina have been 'so negligent in prosecuting' these referrals."

    Fund and von Spakovsky used the VIP-NC report to advocate for strict voter ID laws and portrayed North Carolina as a hotbed of voter fraud (emphasis added):

    The report shows that there were 475 cases of election fraud that the Board "believed merited a referral" to prosecutors between 2008 and 2012. The fraud included double voting, impersonation and registration fraud, and illegal voting by noncitizens and felons. Not all of this fraud would have been stopped by voter ID, but there are certainly people willing to engage in fraud and we need to take a comprehensive approach to protect the security of the voting and election process. 

    In fact, the strict voter ID laws they advocate might have prevented only one of the 475 alleged voter fraud cases referenced -- the single allegation of voter impersonation. According to the report, the majority of the 475 cases occurred during the 2008 general election, when over four million people voted. Yet conservatives in the state have used similar claims of voter fraud to pass what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called a "greatest hits of voter suppression."

    According to Mother Jones, North Carolina's law "prohibits same-day registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, eliminates one week of early voting, prevents counties from extending voting hours due to long lines (often caused by cuts in early voting) or other extraordinary circumstances, scratches college ID cards and other forms of identification from the very short list of acceptable state-issued photo IDs, and outlaws certain types of voter registration drives." From Mother Jones:

    The bill's new provisions make it so that, with very few exceptions, a voter needs a valid in-state DMV-issued driver's license or non-driver's ID card, a US Military ID card, a veteran's ID card or a US passport. According to an April 2013 analysis (pdf) of state Board of Elections data by Democracy North Carolina, 34 percent of the state's registered black voters, the overwhelming majority of whom vote Democrat, do not have state-issued photo ID. The same study found that 55 percent of North Carolina Democrats don't have state-issued photo ID. Only 21 percent of Republicans have the same problem.

    Instead of protecting elections from fraudulent voting, strict voter ID laws are instead being used to disenfranchise minorities and low-income individuals in an effort to help Republicans win elections.

    Fund and von Spakovsky both have a history of spreading misinformation about voter fraud, culminating in a book they co-authored that is rife with falsehoods. NRO's continued advocacy of strict voter ID laws is not surprising given its sordid history regarding civil rights.

  • Equal Pay Day: Nine Examples Of Right-Wing Media Obscuring The Facts On Gender Wage Inequality


    Equal and National Review Online (NRO) are using today's Equal Pay Day holiday to misinform about gender wage inequality. Right-wing media have routinely downplayed and obscured legitimate concerns about wage inequality.

    Equal Pay Day was created by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages. According to a White House proclamation released on Equal Pay Day in 2012, "National Equal Pay Day represents the date in the current year through which women must work to match what men earned in the previous year, reminding us that we must keep striving for an America where everyone gets an equal day's pay for an equal day's work." and NRO both posted a video today that claims the gender wage gap is a myth, positing that the gap fails to account for women's choices, which are primarily responsible for any discrepancies in salary. The video comes from the conservative Independent Women's Forum, a group The New York Times described as "a right-wing public policy group that provides pseudofeminist support for extreme positions that are in fact dangerous to women."

    Although the wage gap has decreased since the 1963 passage of the Equal Pay Act, women's earnings remain far below that of men.  A report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that "in 2011, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 77 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 23 percent." According to the National Women's Law Center, the wage gap for minority women is even worse: African-American and Hispanic women make 64 and 55 cents for every dollar their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts earn. The claim that personal choice is responsible for the gender wage gap has also been debunked, mostly recently in the AAUW's 2013 Gender Pay Gap Report. and NRO's misleading claims about gender wage inequality follow a long trend of right-wing media's misinformation on equal pay. Here are just a few examples since 2012:

    • January 3, 2012: Rush Limbaugh Characterized Income Inequality As A "Myth." Rush Limbaugh claimed on his radio program that there are "so many myths" about income inequality, including that "the income gap getting wider - it isn't."
    • February 8, 2012: Fox News Host Eric Bolling Denied That Income Inequality Exists In The U.S. During a discussion of income inequality on The Five, co-host Bob Beckel stated "there has been a bigger number - a larger number of people who believe that there's income inequality in this country," to which Bolling responded, "Well, whatever.  There is - not in this country, Bob."
    • April 26, 2012: Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Claimed That "Women Earn Less Because They Work Fewer Hours." Wall Street Journal op-ed claimed that gender wage inequality is "to a considerable degree a gender-hours gap," despite research that still found pay inequality between men and women working full-time.
    • April 30, 2012: Fox News Host Dana Perino Suggested The Paycheck Fairness Act Could "Actually Hurt Women." On Fox & Friends, Dana Perino called the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation aimed at addressing the wage inequality between men and women, a "distraction" and claimed "there is an argument that it could actually hurt women."
    • May 14, 2012: Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly Said "Income Inequality Is Bull." During a discussion of income inequality on The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly claimed that "income inequality is bull. Nobody gives you anything, you earn it."
    • May 25, 2012: Regular Fox News Guest Kate Obenshain Attacked The Paycheck Fairness Act As "A Real Joke." Fox's Eric Bolling and conservative commentator Kate Obenshain attacked the Paycheck Fairness Act during Your World with Neil Cavuto, with Obenshain calling the legislation "a real joke."
    • September 26, 2012: Fox Chief National Correspondent Claimed That Women Earning Less Than Men Is Not A "National Problem." Discussing President Obama's "Equal Pay for Equal Work" campaign on Happening Now, Fox News chief national correspondent Jim Angle denied that wage inequality existed, calling the wage gap "not true," claiming that women work less hours than men and that it's the "result of personal choices." Angle even went so far as to say that though "there may be some discrimination somewhere, it is not the national problem President Obama says he's fixing."
    • October 17, 2012: Fox News Reporter Called Gender Wage Inequality "A Myth That Has Endured For Years." On Happening Now, Fox News reporter Doug McKelway used a gender wage gap question from the second presidential debate to claim that women earning 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn is "a myth that has endured for years."
    • March 16, 2013: Kansas City Star Columnist E. Thomas McClanahan Dismissed The Gender Wage Gap As "Grossly Misleading." In his column for the Kansas City Star, McClanahan called Equal Pay Day an exaggeration of workplace discrimination and dismissed the percentage of what women earn compared to their male counterparts as "grossly misleading."
  • Right-Wing Media On Diversity Program: Unqualified Minorities "Could Actually Get Someone Killed"

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER HANSEN

    Several right-wing media sites stoked race-based fears to manufacture controversy over a Phoenix, AZ program designed to diversify the lifeguard ranks at city pools, falsely claiming the program hires minorities who can't swim and could "get someone killed."

    On March 28, NPR reported that the Phoenix aquatics department was trying to attract more minority lifeguards by using a scholarship to cover the cost of training for those applicants who were not strong swimmers. Fox Nation claimed that minorities would be hired, "even if they can't swim." National Review Online echoed that headline. The Blaze alleged that such a program could "actually get someone killed."

    Fox Nation:

    Fox Nation

    National Review Online:

    National Review Online

    The Blaze:

    The Blaze

    In reality, scholarship applicants will still be required to pass a swim test before they can apply to become city lifeguards. The scholarship covers the cost of lifeguard-certification courses for minority students in order to encourage a more diverse field of applicants. According to one survey, minorities report lower swimming proficiencies than whites.

    While NRO and The Blaze have a questionable record on race, Fox Nation in particular has a well-documented history of race-baiting. In one infamous example, Fox Nation labeled President Obama's 50th birthday party, "Obama's Hip Hop Barbecue."

  • Media Focus On Bayonet Numbers, Ignore Romney's Bogus Claim About Navy Fleet Size

    ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    In response to Mitt Romney's debate claim that the Navy's fleet "is smaller now than any time since 1917," President Obama noted that military also has fewer bayonets and horses because it has modernized. Rather than discuss President Obama's accurate point about military strength, members of the media are trying to figure out how many bayonets the military actually uses.

  • Disregarding Fitzgerald's warning, media use Blagojevich scandal to engage in guilt-by-association against Obama


    Disregarding U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's warning to "not cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed" in the criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several in the media have used the scandal as an opportunity to engage in suggestions of guilt-by-association against President-elect Barack Obama, by rehashing Obama's purportedly "questionable associations," or suggesting that Obama is a product of corrupt "Chicago politics."