Right-wing media have falsely claimed that the White House offered Andrew Romanoff a job in exchange for dropping out of Colorado's U.S. Senate election, and have falsely alleged or suggested that the White House committed a crime in doing so. In fact, both Romanoff and the White House have said no formal job offer was made, and legal experts have repudiated the claim that this practice would constitute a crime.
Led by Fox News, right-wing media have attacked Attorney General Eric Holder over his announcement that the Justice Department has begun civil and criminal investigations into the Gulf oil spill. Their attacks echo previous criticism from Fox and right-wing media figures over SEC charges and congressional hearings into Goldman Sachs and hearings into a Toyota vehicle recall.
Right-wing media are comparing false allegations that the White House "bribed" Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) with an administration job to the Watergate scandal. In fact, legal experts have rejected the claims that such offers are a bribe or are illegal.
Right-wing media have launched an assault on Donald Berwick, President Obama's nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Those attacks distort Berwick's statements on the U.S. and U.K. health care systems and ignore fundamental realities about the those systems, as well as Berwick's broad support.
In a May 12 post, right-wing blog RedState.com smeared Kevin Jennings as a "pedophile", stating:
Theory 1. Obama isn't comfortable with gays.
I don't know. He has appointed a pedophile as Safe Schools Czar so it's hard to credit that he's uncomfortable around a run of the mill lesbian. On the other hand he has reneged on his pledge to abolish DADT in the military and the African American community, one of his core constituencies, is arguably one of the least gay-friendly demographics in the country. Maybe he's only comfortable with closeted gays. None of this explains why he'd nominate someone who is gay (and my working premise here, as with virtually any dealing with the White House, is that the White House is lying), deny she's gay, and then have a former sweetheart crash a White House party.
RedState linked to a Jim Hoft post on BigGovernment.com, the first of his many pointless "Fistgate" posts, which was quickly discredited by Media Matters last December. Even before that, Media Matters had exclusively debunked media conservatives' claims about the controversy these smears stemmed from.
Why a RedState blogger would, half a year after the smear has been debunked, casually smear Jennings as a pedophile is beyond me. RedState should correct this outrageous and completely false attack.
Various media figures have likened Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan to Harriet Miers, President Bush's failed nominee. However, legal experts -- including conservatives -- have rejected the comparison. Moreover, media conservatives previously smeared Sonia Sotomayor as "Obama's Harriet Miers."
From RedState blogger Caleb Howe's Twitter feed:
After the Security and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs of fraud, numerous right-wing media figures have accused the Obama administration of attempting "to destroy Goldman Sachs" in order to "shift public opinion" in favor of financial reform. Simultaneously, conservative media have also falsely claimed that the financial reform legislation creates a "permanent bailout fund," which is "the payoff" Wall Street "has been waiting for."
Right-wing blogs seized on initial reports of an attempted shoe bombing on a domestic flight over Denver -- reports which later turned out to be inaccurate -- as an opportunity to politicize what they believed to be an attempted terrorist attack.
From an April 7 RedState post, titled, "We Have Some Bad News And Some Good News":
During the so-called debate on the federal takeover of the American system of health care, Senator Tom Coburn offered an amendment that would have prohibited federal funds from being used to purchase Viagra, Cialis (as well as presumably matching clawfoot bathtubs in scenic locations), etc for rapists and child molesters. (I'm not sure if Enzyte is covered under ObamaCare but it would be surprising if it weren't.) This was derided as nothing more than a tactic designed to derail Obama's legacy. The amendment failed.
Now, admittedly, had the Senate passed Coburn's amendment it would have created an interesting vote in the House but the tactical use of the amendment doesn't detract from its truthfulness. From Roll Call:
The Congressional Research Service confirmed in a memo Wednesday that rapists and sex offenders may get federally subsidized Viagra and other sexual performance enhancing drugs under the recently passed health care reform law - information that Republicans charge will haunt Democrats in upcoming elections.
So that is the bad news, at least it is if you are living in the vicinity of a currently incapacitated rapist or child molester or if you are a Democrat senator in a Red or purple state who voted against Senator Coburn's amendment.
Now for the good news.
If you are raped Obamacare will cover the cost of your abortion and any mental health counseling you may require. When life gives you lemons, etc.
On a serious note, the next time you hear death panels pooh-poohed, keep this story in mind and pray neither you nor a loved one ever needs expensive medical care to stay alive.
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?