In an April 8 blog post, Erick Erickson-- the newest addition to CNN's "best political team" on television -- boldly declared that President Obama has decided to "ban college internships," despite the fact that the Wall Street Journal editorial he cites makes it clear that's not true. Erickson says that Obama is not "naive when it comes to the American free enterprise system," as he had once thought; but rather, Obama "is trying to dismantle it and remake it in his own image -- that of a law school professor who champions 'public interest' work over the business of America, which is to say business itself." Erickson continues: "Since the nation was formed and even before that, apprenticeships and then internships have been a key way for students to acquire valuable jobs skills. ... It is a tried and true method of acquiring skills in this country. But the Obama administration is declaring such an act against the law."
To show that Obama is banning internships, Erickson directs his readers to an April 8 Wall Street Journal editorial, and he helpfully highlights the sentence in the editorial which he thinks shows this. You can literally see the point at which Erickson stopped reading:
We've been following the comments of CNN's Erick Erickson who said late last week: I'll "[p]ull out my wife's shotgun" if they try to arrest me for not filling out the American Community Survey.
Tough talk from the editor of the right-wing RedState.com who told CNN's Howard Kurtz just days earlier that he'd learned, "I don't have to get personal in blogging to make my point. I definitely evolved over time" following mounting criticism over his long history of incendiary, mean-spirited and otherwise hateful rhetoric and CNN's decision to hire him.
Now the White House is weighing in with its opinion.
Asked by progressive radio host and author Bill Press to comment on the controversy surrounding Erickson's "shotgun" comments during today's White House press briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs called them "remarkably crazy."
BILL PRESS: Robert, on the Census, Erick Erickson, a commentator for CNN, a couple of days ago, he said he was not going to fill out his Census form, and if a Census worker came to the door, he said he would "pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little twerp likes being scared at the door." So my question is, do those remarks concern the White House? And are there any -
ROBERT GIBBS: It should concern CNN -- probably first and foremost. Probably concerns his wife as well.
PRESS: Any thoughts about protection for Census workers?
GIBBS: Well, I think there are a lot of people that get on cable TV and say stuff so that people will quote it back to other people.
Obviously the Census determines the representation you have in what we call representative democracy. I think it's why somebody like Karl Rove, who obviously I and others in this administration have disagreed with for going on many years, understands that the lunacy of ripping up your Census form or not sending it in or, God forbid, the remarkably crazy remarks of somebody that would threaten somebody simply trying to ensure that they're adequately represented in this country. These days it never ceases to amaze you -- and usually it's only trumped by what somebody will knowingly say tomorrow about -- I think it was Lincoln who said, "Better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." I think that would be my advice.
Right-wing media have falsely claimed that the net neutrality principle supported by the Obama administration is an attempt by the government to control Internet content. In fact, net neutrality does not mean government control of content on the Internet; rather, net neutrality ensures equal and open access for consumers and producers of content and applications, and is supported by a wide array of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Christian Coalition of America.
Last month, I pointed out an instance where RedState contributor "Hogan" essentially called RedState Editor and CNN Contributor Erick Erickson a "freaking idiot." Today, RedState continues the self-flagellation by hosting an article that essentially calls RedState out for "blatant misinformation."
Quick background: For the past few months, conservatives have been engaged in an ongoing campaign to demonize the census as an evil liberal plot. For example, here's Glenn Beck on March 9:
BECK: At least in 1790, they were doing it to slow the South down on slavery. To try to stop it as much as they can. Today they are asking the race question to try to increase slavery. Your dependence on the master in Washington. No way, don't answer that question.
Beck certainly wasn't alone in demonizing the census. Fox Nation fear mongered about census workers being "Obama's Army." On Fox News, Michelle Malkin called the census "indoctrination," "Alinskyite," and a "way to ensure a permanent [Dem] ruling majority."
Throughout all of this, conservatives were trying to thwart the census from gathering race data needed to enforce federal laws. This took the form of a childish campaign to fill in the "race" question on the census as "Amercan." For example, here's Moe Lane writing at RedState, in a post titled "I Am An American," subtitled "Pass it on":
With regard to the Census, that is. Particularly with regard to the Census.
So is Gabriel Major.
So is Scott Johnson.
So is Mark Krikorian:
So remember: Question 9 -- "Some other race" -- "American". Pass it on.
Indeed. Unfortunately for irresponsible conservative media figures -- and, some might say, "everyone" -- a large number of people take what they say seriously. Their campaign of fear and misinformation about the census has had some unintended consequences. Here's a Houston Chronicle article from March 27:
Texas is counting on the 2010 Census to deliver four new congressional districts, four new Electoral College votes in presidential elections, and millions of dollars in additional federal aid. But, as some elected officials are starting to worry, Uncle Sam can't deliver anything to the rapidly growing Sun Belt state unless Texas residents deliver their forms back to the government.
As of Friday afternoon, only 27 percent of Texas households had filled in and returned their census forms -- well below the national average of 34 percent -- according to computer data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In Harris County, the response rate is 23 percent. Houston's returns are running at 21 percent.
Contrary to historical trends, some of the toughest challenges facing the agency responsible for measuring the nation's population are not from counting the traditionally undercounted groups such as African-Americans and Latinos. Instead, a new and growing threat to an accurate national head count is coming from anti-government conservatives who may not fill out their forms to protest against "Big Brother" in Washington.
So, what now? Well RedState, a mere three weeks after encouraging their readers to not accurately fill out the census and to "pass it on," is hosting a piece from Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) titled "Returning the Census is Our Constitutional Duty." From the post:
No, what worries me is blatant misinformation coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives. They are trying to do the right thing, but instead they are helping big government liberals by discouraging fellow conservatives from filling out their census forms.
Anyone who tells you that this year's census is unconstitutional and that you are not required to fill out the form completely is flat out wrong. They argue that because this year's census asks for more than a simple count of how many people live in your home, it is unconstitutional and therefore should not be completely filled out. That argument doesn't stand up to either history or the Constitution's text.
Good to know.
This entire episode is reminiscent of Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) crusade against the census. As documented by TPM back in January, Bachmann joined Glenn Beck in demonizing the census last year, claiming that she would refuse to fill it out. Surely by coincidence, once it came to light that incomplete census data could result in Minnesota losing Bachmann's seat, she dropped her opposition.
Hey, what's a little "slavery" if we can get some more congressional seats?
We've long documented the right-wing blogosphere's curious inability to get its facts straight, and the striking tendency of their stories to collapse under scrutiny. Today, however, it's time to give them credit: They (almost!) got one right.
It started last night, when Instapundit Glenn Reynolds commented on the Seattle Times' "implausible report" that "A rock was thrown through the window of [Rep. Steve] Driehaus' [D-OH] Cincinnati office Sunday," a paraphrase of a comment from Driehaus' spokesman.
According to Reynolds:
Justin Binik-Thomas emails from Cincinnati that Rep. Driehaus' office "is on the 30th floor of a skyscraper downtown." He also says that he spoke to Driehaus' office today and they said this never happened.
Media have falsely claimed President Obama, members of his administration, and certain congressional staff are "exempt" from the recently enacted health care bill. In fact, the bill subjects the White House, members of Congress, and their staffs to the same reforms and requirements as the rest of the American people.
Conservative media figures have asserted that in a March 22 interview, Rep. John Dingell said health care reform will "control the people." In fact, Dingell has said that conservatives are taking him out of context and has explained that he was referring to "overseeing" the "insurance companies."
From a March 24 RedState.com post:
Let's start here:
Three airports in the district of infamous fence-sitting and ultimately kowtowing Democrat Bart Stupak were awarded $726,409 in grants by the Obama Administration just two days before a vote on Obama and Pelosi's government takeover of healthcare.
Separate, and independent, source here.
The math? Oh...well, Stupak got $726,409 big ones for his never-used airports in exchange for allowing Obama to use Federal dollars to kill babies...and we average 1.2 million of those executions per year. I just divided one by the other... I'm being generous-I expect that 1.2 million number will go up dramatically once everyone ELSE (you and I) will be paying for it.
Now, back in the day, even John Murtha got pretty airport fixups...but at least he sold out the American people for MUCH more. And...to Okinawa Jack's credit...he, at least, didn't sacrifice the unborn on the altar of Federal gluttony to get it done. Stupak got much less cash, but his body count will go beyond the pale. Bart's faux defense of the unborn notwithstanding, a few hundred thousand dollars just got offered up to make his conscience disappear...and pretty up a few of his OWN unused airports while you and I will now be made to PAY for the death Stupak just gave Obama permission to perpetuate.
Despite their purported opposition to "liberal judicial activism" and supposed support for judicial restraint, right-wing media have responded to the passage of health care reform legislation by urging it be overturned by the courts. Media Matters has previously noted that despite the conservative myth that judicial activism is solely a "liberal" practice, at least two studies have found that the most "conservative" Supreme Court justices have been the biggest judicial activists.
Following the announcement that President Obama agreed to issue an executive order reaffirming that the recently passed health reform bill maintains current law on federal funding for abortion, conservative media continued to falsely claim that the bill contains federal funding for abortion. In fact, the bill bans federal funding for abortion except in cases currently allowed under the Hyde amendment: rape, incest, and conditions that endanger the life of the pregnant woman.
From a March 21 RedState.com post:
Already we have a few Republicans positioning themselves in grand theatrics to call for full repeal of Obamacare. But these same Republicans in the past have talked about the good parts of the bill and how repeal should be measured. The only way to ensure today's rhetoric turns into future consistent actions is to surround these Republicans with true conservative warriors.
Friends, if we are going to destroy the Democrats, we must first build up an army of real conservatives in Congress. Half measures, Democrat-lite, and men who compromise in favor of more government must be unacceptable.
There is a God, there is good, and there will be a last day. And on that last day we will win. Victory comes though we know not when. So we must be happy warriors until the end -- warriors willing to fight with a smile and willingness to sacrifice for freedom.
We have not yet begun to fight.
Earlier today, Media Matters' Eric Schroeck noted RedState blogger Dave Poff's defense of his boss, RedState editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, recently hired by CNN as a political commentator. Poff, as Schroeck explained, seems to be unaware of one of Erickson's more notable comments -- his reference to David Souter as a "goat fucking child molester."
Poff's bizarre rant also included this charming description of the news media:
From Non-Conservatives, to Academics and Liberal Elitists, to self-soiling and unprincipled Professional Politicians and firmly-entrenched good ole boys inside the M(ostly) S(cumbags) M(edia), each of these clowns has a tale of doom about the hell we're headed for compliments of CNN's hand basket. Problem is, as with every OTHER decent human being out there trying to do what he thinks is right for himself, his family, and his country, Erickson has pissed off people that disagree with his principles and can't fathom that his success story grows and is in no small part sustained by his having stood unflinchingly by them. [All emphasis in original]
This raises a some questions: Does Erick Erickson agree his new CNN colleagues are "mostly scumbags"? Which CNN reporters, specifically, does RedState's Poff think are "scumbags"?
Amid criticism of CNN for its recent decision to hire RedState editor-in-chief Erick Erickson as a political commentator, RedState blogger Dave Poff offered up a defense of his boss, noting that one of the reasons CNN would want to hire Erickson is the fact that he "isn't an F-bomb flinging chimp for the party line":
Tell me again how it is that Erickson is evil for starting in this business as an unpaid member, doing well enough at it to get hired on to RUN the place, and is now being asked to add his 2 cents worth on a freaking political News program? Oh, yeah, I forgot-it's because he's articulate, intelligent, experienced...isn't an F-bomb flinging chimp for the party line. [emphasis in original]
I guess Poff didn't read Erickson's response last year to Justice David Souter's decision to retire from the Supreme Court:
Of course, this isn't the first time a RedState blogger apparently overlooked some of Erickson's comments. As Media Matters' Ben Dimiero noted, RedState blogger Hogan wrote that media figures who called Sen. Jim Bunning's recent block on legislation a "filibuster" were "freaking idiots." Unfortunately for Hogan, Erickson had at least twice previously called Bunning's action a "filibuster."
In a blog post, Center for Immigration Studies executive director Mark Krikorian advised respondents to the 2010 Census to avoid disclosing their ethnicity by selecting "[s]ome other race" and writing in "American." Other conservative bloggers and radio hosts have followed suit, mounting a campaign to thwart the Census' efforts to gather information on the topic, which the Census says is needed to enforce federal laws.
Following the lead of an ESPNOutdoors.com opinion writer, who provided no evidence for his claim that a federal strategy "could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing," right-wing blogs have advanced the outlandish charge that Obama "wants to ban sport fishing." These media outlets cited the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force's interim report on coastal and marine planning, but the task force has proposed nothing of the sort.