After Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director Abraham Foxman criticized Rush Limbaugh for his January 20 statement that "a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there" -- remarks Limbaugh later lied to defend -- the right-wing media has rushed to defend Limbaugh and to attack Foxman. Foxman has been smeared as a "terrible Jew" and a "plague on his people," and described as a "disgusting, craven little twerp."
National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez unleashes a vicious smear of Massachusetts Senate Candidate Martha Coakley, suggesting under the header "It's a Good Thing for Martha Coakley That There Are No Catholics in Massachusetts" that Coakley said Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms:
The radio host, Ken Pittman, pointed out that complex legal principle that "In the emergency room you still have your religious freedom."
Coakley agrees that "The law says that people are allowed to have that." But, making clear her view - the attorney general who wants to be the next senator from Massachusetts - she declared that "You can have religious freedom, but you probably shouldn't work in an emergency room." (Listen here.)
In fact, Coakley said that if you refuse to provide legal medical services to rape victims, you probably shouldn't work in an emergency room. Lopez cut off the quote before that was clear, suggesting instead that Coakley's position is simply that Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms.
There is a massive difference between what Coakley said and what Kathryn Jean Lopez claims Coakley said. Just enormous. Lopez suggests Coakley's position is "Catholics need not apply"; in fact, Coakley's position is more like "people who don't want to do the job shouldn't take it." It says something about Lopez' confidence in the merits of her own position that she feels the need to dishonestly portray Coakley's.
This isn't Lopez's first fast-and-loose description of the issue this week. Here's something she wrote on Wednesday:
What Coakley and her campaign are referencing is a 2005 bill that mandated that hospitals provide emergency contraception to victims of rape. At the time, Scott Brown sponsored an amendment that sought to protect the consciences of hospitals and hospital personnel with religious objections to the medication, which sometimes works as an abortifacient.
As the Boston Globe explained last week, the amendment would have referred rape victims at a hospital that would not dispense emergency contraception to another hospital that would, at no additional cost. In an urban center like Boston, this is not akin to making emergency contraception unavailable to these women.
Set aside the callousness of Lopez' suggestion (reminiscent of Sen. Joe Lieberman's famous "short ride" comment) that it's ok to turn a rape victim away from an emergency room because there's another nearby. What's really striking about Lopez' description is what she leaves out: Not all of Massachusetts is "an urban center like Boston." For many people, there isn't another emergency room nearby. Again: it says something about Lopez' confidence in the merits of her position that she feels the need to mislead readers about its consequences.
For some reason, National Review seems to be taken seriously by the media elite, as though they were thoughtful, intellectually honest conservatives. And yet they've been peddling the conspiracy theory that Bill Ayers actually wrote Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father for more than a year.
This latest round of wishful thinking was set off by Ayers' alleged "admission" that he wrote the book -- an admission that came out of the blue while talking to a conservative blogger in line at Starbucks. If it sounds far-fetched to you that Ayers would, after all this time, blurt out a confession while standing in line for an iced latte, that's probably because you're smarter than Jonah Goldberg.
As Dave Weigel notes, there's a perfectly obvious explanation for Ayers' comment (if you assume he actually said what this blogger claims he said):
A reasonable explanation for this, if we take the heretofore-obscure blogger at her word for what Ayers said: Ayers was messing around with a conservative movement that's been after him for a decade, putting them back on the trail of a fruitless conspiracy theory.
Even AllahPundit of the right-wing web site Hot Air sees this for the nonsense that it is:
What's more amusing? The fact that he'd tease a conservative by baiting her about the right's Cashill/Andersen-fueled authorship suspicions, or the fact that the Examiner seems to think he was making an earnest, honest-to-goodness confession?
Note that this wasn't even in response to a question. He simply blurted it out as soon as the interviewer identified herself as conservative.
Still: I bet this latest, lamest conspiracy theory ends up on FOX News. The only question is whether Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity gets to it first. My money's on Hannity; he's feeling the pressure.
Over at NRO's Bench Memos, Ed Whelan speculates that there may be "Political Corruption" at the Congressional Research Service because it recently issued a report on selected opinions by Judge Sotomayor. Concluding his post, Whelan asks:
Just wondering: Has CRS ever before prepared an assessment of the record of a Supreme Court nominee?
It took me some time, but I think I figured out the answer for him. Yes.
UPDATE: Whelan has now acknowledged the existence of CRS reports on Judge Alito's opinions:
I've learned from Tony Mauro that CRS did some reports on then-Judge Alito's cases in connection with his Supreme Court nomination. A quick Google search discloses at least three such reports-one on Alito's abortion opinions, one on his "freedom of speech" opinions, and one on his environmental opinions.
But does the CRS have a "long history" of issuing these reports, as they claim? "[U]nclear," says Whelan:
According to Mauro, a CRS spokeswoman says that "CRS 'has a long history of supporting the Senate's advice and consent role' in judicial nominations with such research." Whether that means that reports like those done on Sotomayor and Alito were done previously is unclear.
From Mark Krikorian's May 27 post on the National Review Online's The Corner:
It Sticks in My Craw [Mark Krikorian]
Most e-mailers were with me on the post on the pronunciation of Judge Sotomayor's name (and a couple griped about the whole Latina/Latino thing - English dropped gender in nouns, what, 1,000 years ago?). But a couple said we should just pronounce it the way the bearer of the name prefers, including one who pronounces her name "freed" even though it's spelled "fried," like fried rice. (I think Cathy Seipp of blessed memory did the reverse - "sipe" instead of "seep.") Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits. Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference), unlike my correspondent's simple preference for a monophthong over a diphthong, and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to.
For instance, in Armenian, the emphasis is on the second syllable in my surname, just as in English, but it has three syllables, not four (the "ian" is one syllable) - but that's not how you'd say it in English (the "ian" means the same thing as in English - think Washingtonian or Jeffersonian). Likewise in Russian, you put the emphasis in my name on the final syllable and turn the "o" into a schwa, and they're free to do so because that's the way it works in their language. And should we put Asian surnames first in English just because that's the way they do it in Asia? When speaking of people in Asia, okay, but not people of Asian origin here, where Mao Tse-tung would properly have been changed to Tse-tung Mao. Likewise with the Mexican practice of including your mother's maiden name as your last name, after your father's surname.
This may seem like carping, but it's not. Part of our success in assimilation has been to leave whole areas of culture up to the individual, so that newcomers have whatever cuisine or religion or so on they want, limiting the demand for conformity to a smaller field than most other places would. But one of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that's not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options -- the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there's a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.
Numerous media figures have compared President Obama and his administration to the mafia, frequently referencing films and television shows such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos.
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Media figures and outlets have falsely suggested that President Obama said that he will seek a replacement for Justice David Souter who demonstrates the quality of "empathy" rather than a commitment to follow the law. In fact, in that statement Obama said that his nominee will demonstrate both.
Maggie Gallagher repeated the dubious claim that the Democratic Party "threaten[ed] [New Hampshire Democratic] state senators" if they did not support the state's same-sex marriage bill, without noting that the state's Democratic Party chairman has disputed the allegation.
Mark Hemingway claimed that Paul Begala's statement that "[o]ur country executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded American POWs" is false. However, the United States participated in a tribunal that sentenced numerous Japanese soldiers to death for war crimes including "torture" after a trial in which forms of waterboarding were presented as evidence of torture.
Referring to a question he asked at President Obama's press conference, on Morning Joe, Chuck Todd suggested Obama was being inconsistent in not asking the American people for sacrifice -- during a recession, with millions recently unemployed -- after having criticized President Bush for failing to ask for sacrifice following 9-11.
A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
Numerous media figures have asserted that the proposed stimulus package supported by President Barack Obama would amount to spending at least $223,000 for every job created, echoing a press release issued by the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee. But by calculating the per-job cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the stimulus package by the estimated number of jobs created -- and thus suggesting that the sole purpose of that package is to create jobs -- these media figures ignored other tangible benefits stemming from the package, such as infrastructure improvements and education, health, and public safety investments.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed asserted in a column that she "hears rumbles President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds -- dealing with his boss' vacant Senate seat!" Sneed added: "A lot of chit-chat? Hot air? Or trouble? To date, Rahm's been mum. Stay tuned." Despite the complete absence of sourcing, many in the media have run with Sneed's assertion, in some cases simply quoting Sneed, in others, paraphrasing the assertion, and in still others, actually expanding on it.