Salon's Heather Digby Parton criticized Republican presidential candidates for their inflammatory anti-choice rhetoric, and for pushing vitriolic, false smears about Planned Parenthood in the wake of the fatal shootings at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility on November 27. Digby wrote the alleged shooter "is reported to have used the same rhetoric" as some GOP candidates.
She wrote that a gunman who attacked a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility November 27, killing a police officer and two others, reportedly "used the phrase 'no more baby parts' to explain his actions."
In the months following the release of anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress' (CMP) deceptively-edited videos waging false attacks on Planned Parenthood, conservative media and GOP candidates, as Digby noted, have hyped CMP's "reprehensible lie," despite the fact that "the claims on those doctored videos have been proven false."
Digby condemned Republican presidential candidates for using "lurid, violent imagery and rhetoric" to smear Planned Parenthood, saying it could "inspire 'troubled souls'" to commit violence against women's health clinics.
According to Digby, while "we don't know for sure" that the suspected Colorado shooter "did what he did as a form of terrorism against abortion providers," the "fact that he is reported to have used the same rhetoric as mainstream politicians." From Salon:
[T]here are a lot of "troubled souls" in this country who are not Muslim and do not look for meaning from the likes of ISIS terrorists in the Middle East. They look a little closer to home for permission to carry out their violent desires. And there is plenty of inspiration. They don't have to search in the dark corners of the internet or use encryption or travel to a foreign land to meet people who will stoke their violent urges and give them a moral purpose. They can just tune in to a Republican presidential debate[.]
A few Planned Parenthood facilities provide scientists with fetal tissue for vital and important medical research, with the permission of the woman from whom it's obtained, and the only money that was ever exchanged was for reimbursement of costs. There was no selling of "baby parts." There were no live infants being killed on the table to "harvest their brains." The tissue that was donated to medical research has resulted in important breakthroughs in the hunt for a cure for many life threatening diseases. But that hasn't stopped irresponsible political leaders and anti-abortion zealots from flogging this reprehensible lie in a race to see who can most graphically prove his or her anti-abortion bona fides.
At the time of this writing we don't know for sure that a man who shot a dozen people, killing three, in the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic this past weekend did what he did as a form of terrorism against abortion providers. Members of the right wing, who are obsessively vigilant in their warnings about radical Islamic terrorism, have been twisting themselves into pretzels for days trying to excuse this event as the simple act of a madman or finding some inane way to suggest that he was actually a bank-robber or a leftwing activist. But let's just say that it's unlikely he hit the Planned Parenthood clinic by coincidence and started babbling about "baby parts" out of the blue.
From what we've seen the accused fits the classic picture of a "lone wolf" -- mentally unstable, susceptible to suggestion, looking for validation. The fact that he is reported to have used the same rhetoric as mainstream politicians should give those politicians some pause. In fact, they should have paused before they cynically dispersed these hoax videos and exploited them for political gain. After all, gory illustrations of dismemberment and mutilation are the propaganda stock in trade of our most hated enemies. They are considered the gold standard for terrorist recruitment. You would think mainstream American politicians would think twice about going down that road.
But they don't. When confronted with this act of terrorism against Planned Parenthood, Carly Fiorina had no regrets. Instead, she lashed out at those who drew the obvious connection between a man who was quoted saying "no more baby parts" and the ghastly term "baby parts" being used by virtually every Republican official and anti-abortion activist on a loop for the past few months:
"It is so typical of the left to begin demonizing the messenger because they don't agree with your message."
"So, what I would say to anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion, or opposes the sale of body parts, is this is typical left-wing tactics."
Critical voices in the media are increasingly encouraging news outlets to not give a "free pass" to the fact that presidential candidate Donald Trump "is without question making himself into the racist's candidate for president."
Political reporters and media critics chided Fox Business for its handling of the November 10 Republican presidential debate, pointing out that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) faced few substantive questions and was allowed to completely avoid controversial topics like immigration reform and his personal finances.
Media commentators criticized the Republican presidential candidates' demands to media sponsors for future presidential primary debates, noting that because debates are "a chief means for Americans to hear and weigh the ideas of the candidates," they're "too important to be guided" by a "ridiculous manifesto" of demands from candidates.
Senate Democrats have temporarily blocked a measure that would deny federal law enforcement funds to so-called "sanctuary cities," where local authorities don't automatically report undocumented immigrants without a record of serious criminal offenses to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. The idea for the bill was raised and enthusiastically promoted by figures on Fox News, who urged Republicans to "starve" these cities of federal money, despite experts noting that defunding would hurt public safety and evidence showing that so-called "sanctuary cities" are not actually a "safe haven" for undocumented immigrants and, in fact, deter criminality.
Right-wing media continue to pretend that dozens of conservative lawsuits challenging various provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are principled legal challenges to supposed overreach from the Obama administration. In reality, these lawsuits are radical attacks on well-established law, and have been widely rejected by both legal experts and the courts.
On November 13, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Unite Here v. Mulhall, a case that could make it even more difficult for unions to organize workers. One of the issues in the case is whether a "neutrality agreement" -- where management agrees to remain neutral during a union organizing campaign in exchange for union concessions -- is illegal under a labor statute that prohibits employers from giving unions a "thing of value."
In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal glossed over the fact that these are voluntary agreements, instead claiming that they are the result of union intimidation and collusion. Moreover, the WSJ ignored that neutrality agreements have been an increasingly useful tool for both unions and employers during organization campaigns since a wave of Republican anti-union legislation has placed obstacles between workers and union representatives and disrupted opportunities for workplace productivity.
From the November 13 WSJ editorial:
With their membership declining, unions have become more politically creative and one of their tactics has been to cut deals with management to replace bottom-up organizing on the shoproom floor. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether so-called neutrality agreements between Big Labor and business are collusion that infringes on the rights of employees.
Martin Mulhall (Unite Here v. Mulhall) is a groundskeeper at the Mardi Gras greyhound racetrack in Florida, where he has worked for 40 years. In 2004, Unite Here's Local 355 struck a deal with the company to grease the skids for unionization.
Mr. Mulhall didn't want to join a union and objected to the company entrapping him in a unionized workplace. He sued, arguing that Mardi Gras's collusion with Unite Here is forbidden by the 1947 Labor Management Relations Act, aka Taft-Hartley. Under Section 302 of that law, employers are forbidden from giving any "thing of value" to a union that wants to organize its employees.
While unions typically win only 45% of secret ballot elections, they succeed in 78% of organizing efforts using card check, when the union needs merely to collect signed cards from 50% of the work force to automatically become the monopoly bargaining agent.
If the Justices agree that Mardi Gras's concessions represent a "thing of value," organizers will have a harder time getting companies to sign off on deceptive procedures like card check. Unions will have to spend more time convincing individual workers that they can provide a service worth having. That would be a real thing of value.
WSJ also says unions who bargain for neutrality agreements somehow "intimidate" management, even though in exchange for neutrality, management is assured that the union will not strike in the event of a dispute over the agreement.
A recent Obamacare special on Fox News' Hannity illuminated the network's political bias, pattern of misinformation, and questionable use of anecdotal evidence, brought to light when a former adviser to Montana's governor fact-checked the special and found that not one of the show's guests--who lamented the horrors of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on air--had directly suffered from the law or even visited the insurance exchange. Hannity's reliance on guests who condemned Obamacare due to existing political bias demonstrates Fox News' habit of misinforming on the ACA and raises serious questions about the credibility of other guests that have recounted the "consequences" of the law.
On October 11, Fox News aired a Hannity special, which attempted to misinform on the ACA by hosting six guests who recounted their alleged "'Obamacare' horror stories." After watching the special, Eric Stern, former senior adviser to Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana, tracked down the guests and found that not one of them had been negatively impacted by the new health care law. Stern detailed his investigation in an October 18 article for Salon:
First I spoke with Paul Cox of Leicester, N.C. He and his wife Michelle had lamented to Hannity that because of Obamacare, they can't grow their construction business and they have kept their employees below a certain number of hours, so that they are part-timers.
Obamacare has no effect on businesses with 49 employees or less. But in our brief conversation on the phone, Paul revealed that he has only four employees. Why the cutback on his workforce? "Well," he said, "I haven't been forced to do so, it's just that I've chosen to do so. I have to deal with increased costs." What costs? And how, I asked him, is any of it due to Obamacare? There was a long pause, after which he said he'd call me back. He never did.
In an April 23 Salon.com blog post, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich responded to Bill O'Reilly for labeling him a Communist who "secretly adores Karl Marx." Reich stated: "For the record, I'm not a Communist and I don't secretly adore Karl Marx."
Reich added that ad hominem attacks such as these are destructive to public discourse and are merely "the last refuges of intellectual boors lacking any logic or argument."
From Reich's post:
For the record, I'm not a communist and I don't secretly adore Karl Marx.
Ordinarily I don't bother repeating anything Bill O'Reilly says. But this particular whopper is significant because it represents what O'Reilly and Fox News, among others, are doing to the national dialogue.
They're burying it in doo-doo.
O'Reilly based his claim on an interview I did last week with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, in which I argued that because America's big corporations were now global we could no longer rely on them to make necessary investments in human capital or to lobby for public investments in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D. So, logically, government has to step in.
Since when does an argument for public investment in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D make someone a communist or a secret adorer of Karl Marx?
But obviously, O'Reilly has no interest in arguing anything. Ad hominem attacks are always the last refuges of intellectual boors lacking any logic or argument.
This is what's happening to all debate all over America: It's disappearing. All we're left with is a nasty residue.
In Washington, Democrats and Republicans no longer even talk. They just vent charges and counter-charges.
Reich's whole piece is well worth a read.
With birther conspiracy theory claims about President Obama again being hyped by the right-wing media, Media Matters looks at the myths and falsehoods surrounding Obama's birth certificate.
Right-wing media have attacked the Obama administration over the civilian court trial of Ahmed Ghailani, suggesting that testimony by a "key witness" excluded by the civilian court would have been admissible in a military commission and resulted in further convictions against Ghailani. But numerous legal experts--including the federal judge presiding over Ghailani's case--have argued that a military commission would have also likely excluded this testimony.
On Sunday, I noted that several journalists have criticized the Washington Post for the failure of its "Top Secret America" articles to acknowledge prior reporting by other news organizations. Though the Post, including its ombudsman, has responded to conservative complaints about the series, it has not responded to this criticism, which has largely come from liberal journalists.
Now, Salon editor Joan Walsh points out that the Post's reporting on problems at Arlington National Cemetery has ignored prior reporting by Salon, and notes that the Post's failure to acknowledge Salon's reporting is not just rude, but deprives readers of valuable information.
In a July 25 Salon.com post, Joan Walsh noted that Fox News is hyping "one 'scary black people' and 'Obama's a racist' story after another" and wrote: "Fox News has, sadly, become the purveyor of a 50-state 'Southern strategy,' the plan perfected by Richard Nixon to use race to scare Southern Democrats into becoming Republicans by insisting the other party wasn't merely trying to fight racism, but give blacks advantages over whites (Fox News boss Roger Ailes, of course, famously worked for Nixon)."
Walsh further noted of Fox News' and Andrew Breitbart's role in smearing Shirley Sherrod: "They should be ashamed of themselves, but they're shameless."
From Walsh's post:
The most important point is this: Fox News has, sadly, become the purveyor of a 50-state "Southern strategy," the plan perfected by Richard Nixon to use race to scare Southern Democrats into becoming Republicans by insisting the other party wasn't merely trying to fight racism, but give blacks advantages over whites (Fox News boss Roger Ailes, of course, famously worked for Nixon). Now Fox is using the election of our first black president to scare (mainly older) white people in all 50 states that, again, the Democratic party is run by corrupt black people trying to give blacks advantages over whites (MSNBC's Rachel Maddow laid out this history last week).
Politico's Michael Calderone reports this morning that, Alexander Zaitchik who "wrote a multi-part series for Salon looking at the life of Glenn Beck, probably the most comprehensive take in terms of back story that I've seen on the conservative talk star" will be releasing a new biography on the right-wing conspiracy-theorist this spring titled, Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance (Wiley & Sons, 2010).
If you've not yet read Zaitchik's amazing series on Beck for Salon, you can do so here.
Some prominent media conservatives have harshly criticized President Obama's speech in Cairo, while others offered praise for Obama's address.