Another day, another right-wing media freak out. Today, the right is in a tizzy over a Daily Caller exclusive scoop that "documents show media plotting to kill stories about Rev. Jeremiah Wright." Except, of course, their "documents" show no such thing.
The Daily Caller purports to have obtained copies of emails from the "Journolist" listserv, which they report is "comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists." Their big, breaking story exposes that some liberal journalists and a professor were outraged by an April 2008 Democratic Presidential primary debate -- a debate that was widely criticized as being "specious and gossipy." As you may recall, during that debate Obama was asked questions such as, "Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?"; "How do you convince Democrats" that not wearing an American flag lapel pin "would not be a vulnerability?"; and "Can you explain" your "relationship" with Bill Ayers, a question that was literally suggested to moderator George Stephanopoulos by right-wing radio hosts.
The debate was, in a word, ridiculous. And numerous media figures agreed. The Daily Caller highlights portions of the purported Journolist emails which showed several participants discussing how best to frame and word an open letter to ABC News condemning the debate. Each of the media figures mentioned in the Daily Caller report was an opinion columnist or a blogger. Hardly the stuff of a mainstream media conspiracy, though the Caller desperately tried to paint it as such. They specifically said that journalists from Time and Politico were involved in the discussion, but the article provides absolutely no evidence to back this up.
So, yes, it appears that the big scandal is that liberal journalists and professors talked to each other about how to frame a publically released letter to ABC News. Stop the presses!
Expanding on the stupidity of the Daily Caller report is the fact that many of these same journalists were very clear and very open about their displeasure with the ABC news debate at the time.
Fox News figures have used J. Christian Adams' unsubstantiated allegations to suggest that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were involved in the Justice Department's decision in the New Black Panthers case. However, Adams himself testified that he had no "indication" that the decision involved anyone "higher up" than an acting assistant attorney general.
On the July 16 edition of Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy sat idly by as Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) alleged she has "not" ever seen "anything that constituted racism, or was even close to it" at any tea party rally "from coast to coast":
DOOCY: You have been to many tea parties.
BACHMANN: I have. From coast to coast.
DOOCY: From coast to coast. Have you ever seen anything that constituted racism or was even close to it?
BACHMANN: I have not. The assertions that were made by some of my colleagues during the health care debate, there's no record of it. Nothing on audio tape, nothing. So people need to back them up.
From the July 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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On Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy falsely claimed that a government report found students enrolled in Washington, D.C.'s Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which awards vouchers to students to attend private schools, "performed better academically than students in the public schools" and claimed that Congress' defunding of the program is evidence that "the teachers union has a stranglehold on the Democratic Party." In fact, the report to which Doocy is presumably referring "found no conclusive evidence that the OSP affected student achievement overall."
From the July 14 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Right-wing media -- led by a FoxNews.com article rife with distortions -- have hyped a report by a right-wing group alleging instances of voter fraud in the 2008 Minnesota Senate election to baselessly suggest that Al Franken was "elected by felons" and that his win represents a "Senate seat stolen" and "an illegal victory." But, local officials have reportedly said that the group's data "is not good," and that the report makes claims that are "not accurate" and "likely inflated."
Distorting a New Jersey court case, Fox & Friends repeatedly claimed that the state may be forcing police officers "to speak foreign languages when they arrest people." In fact, the Court ruled that non-English speaking DWI suspects must be informed that they are required by law to submit to breath tests in a language they can understand, which can be done through audio recordings or interpreters, not through a mandate that officers speak foreign languages.
Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy said that the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona's controversial immigration law is "just the latest example of what some say is a federal government that is overstepping its authority and getting too big." However, Doocy omits that the Bush administration sued Illinois seeking to have an immigration statute ruled unconstitutional, and legal experts agree Arizona law is "unconstitutional."
From the July 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Following President Obama's recent visit to Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV U.S.), right-wing media have criticized the start-up electric truck company, which received stimulus grants in 2009 and 2010. For instance, Fox called the company a "Total Joke" and claimed that SEV U.S. "has not been able to hire any new people in the last year," when in fact, SEV U.S. has hired 50 workers since starting production in October 2009.
From the July 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Another day, another reason for Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy to stay far, far away from legal (mis)interpretation. On the July 7 edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy questioned why the White House is suing Arizona over the state's controversial illegal immigration law when it should be "singling out Rhode Island" -- a state he falsely claimed has "a law that mirrors" Arizona's law, has "been on the books for years," and "has already been upheld by two of the highest courts in the country." To make this falsehood appear super official, Doocy even offers up the First Circuit Court of Appeals case Estrada v. Rhode Island amixed in with a little legal analysis as "proof" of his claims. Too bad he is one hundred percent wrong. From Fox & Friends:
Steve Doocy twice falsely claimed that Elena Kagan "barred military recruiters from the Harvard campus." In fact, Kagan consistently followed the law; Harvard students had access to military recruiters during her entire tenure as dean; and Harvard's data show that her actions did not adversely affect military recruitment.
This past winter the conservative media was absolutely giddy using record-breaking snowfall and chilly temperatures to cast doubt on the scientific concensus surrounding global climate change:
Before we go any further, it bears noting that there is a very real difference between weather ("what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time") and climate ("how the atmosphere 'behaves' over relatively long periods of time.")
Yes, these right-wing media figures and outlets regularly conflate weather and climate to undermine public opinion about the broad and conclusive scientific consensus that climate change is real and exacerbated by human activity.
Now, what if we were to take these science deniers at their word? What if they were simply reporting the weather as it relates to climate change? If cold weather means global warming is a scam, doesn't warm weather mean global warming is legit?
Media conservatives would finally be consistent if they agreed with both scenarios but they'd still be wrong about both equations.
Again, weather and climate aren't the same.
If anything shows the shallow political calculations of the conservative media, it's the games it plays with weather and climate.
So, as much of the country feels the triple-digit temperatures of a summer heat wave, don't expect Fox News, Drudge, or any of the other right-wing media flat-earthers to step forward and use the summer weather as a political cudgel. That's a dubious weapon exclusively reserved on the right for snow, cold weather and winter.