Hope springs eternal. Despite more than a year of fruitless digging, the right-wing media can't let go of their hope that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will be disqualified from hearing cases about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Recently, conservative media have been hyping letters from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) as well as 49 other congressional Republicans seeking documents to determine if Kagan was involved with health care litigation during her time as solicitor general (the position she held immediately before being appointed to the Supreme Court).
Conservative media don't bother hiding the reasons for hoping that Kagan must be recused. As Judicial Watch head Tom Fitton wrote on BigGovernment.com, "The U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately settle the issue regarding whether or not Obama's socialist healthcare overhaul will be the law of the land. Everyone knows it. And if Elena Kagan is forced to recuse herself from hearing the case that will be one fewer dependably liberal vote on the Supreme Court for Obamacare."
In addition to Fitton's post on BigGovernment.com, HotAir.com's Ed Morrissey breathlessly hyped the 49 House members' letter, asking, "Did Elena Kagan mislead the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing when answering questions about her level of involvement in ObamaCare?" The Washington Times also hyped the same letter, as did Newsmax. And National Review Online blogger Carrie Severino and Glenn Beck's website TheBlaze.com hyped both the 49 House members' letter and Smith's letter.
But CNS News may take the cake for the most overwrought reaction. CNS reported that Smith had begun an "investigation" into whether Kagan had been involved in health care litigation as solicitor general. It subsequently had to append an "editor's note" to the article explaining that the House Judiciary Committee "requested a correction of the story" because Smith had not launched a "formal investigation" but had merely made a "request for addition information."
CNS's overreaction to Smith's letter to the Justice Department epitomizes the right-wing's campaign to have Kagan recuse herself from health care litigation. The right-wing media keeps demanding further inquiry into the issue of whether Kagan should recuse herself. The additional information shows that there is no reason for Kagan to recuse herself. But the right-wing media claims that all it needs is a little more information, and it will become clear that Kagan did recuse herself.
Below the fold is a brief recap of the right-wing media's recusal campaign so far.
The federal money Planned Parenthood receives does not go for abortion -- by law, it cannot -- but that doesn't keep the right-wing media from falsely suggesting that it does. CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey, meanwhile, has been taking this dishonesty to new levels.
Jeffrey wrote in an April 8 CNS article that Planned Parenthood performed 332,278 abortions in 2009 and received $326.88 million in federal funding, then added:
Although the money from federal programs that went to Planned Parenthood in 2009 theoretically paid for things other than the 332,278 abortions the organization performed that year, the fact remains that Planned Parenthood -- an abortion provider -- received subsidies from federal programs that equaled about $932 per abortion it performed.
First, that federal money to Planned Parenthood does not pay for abortions is more than "theoretical" -- it's a documented fact. Second, it is utterly dishonest for Jeffrey to divide that federal money by the number of abortions performed because, again, not a cent of that money goes toward abortion.
Jeffrey doubled down on his dishonesty by repeating it in an article the next day.
Remember, this isn't some random right-wing blogger doing this -- it's the editor of a well-funded right-wing website (CNS is a division of the Media Research Center). Shouldn't the head of a news organization be more concerned with telling the truth than how to fudge it in order to push false partisan talking points?
Last week, Townhall columnist Chuck Norris compared teachers unions to the mafia. Now he's expanding his attacks on public education, complaining about "scientific paradigms" and calling public schools "indoctrination camps":
On Dec. 27, 1820, Thomas Jefferson wrote about his vision for the University of Virginia (chartered in 1819): "This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."
But what should happen 200 years later when our public schools and universities avoid the testing of truths? Or suppress alternative opinions because they are unpopular or politically incorrect? Or no longer tolerate opinions now considered errors or obsolete by the elite? What happens when socio-political agendas or scientific paradigms dominate academic views to the exclusion of a minority's even being mentioned?
What happens when the political and public educational pendulum swings from concern for the tyranny of sectarianism in Jefferson's day to secularism in ours? What happens when U.S. public schools become progressive indoctrination camps?
Terry Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of Media Research Center subsidiary CNSNews, takes the right's war on public school teachers a few steps further:
What Wisconsin ought to be debating is whether these public school teachers should keep their jobs at all.
Then every state ought to follow Wisconsin in the same debate.
It is time to drive public schools out of business by driving them into an open marketplace where they must directly compete with schools not run by the government or staffed by members of parasitic public employees' unions.
In addition to being less expensive and better than public schools at teaching math and reading, Catholic schools -- like any private schools -- can also teach students that there is a God, that the Ten Commandments are true and must be followed, that the Founding Fathers believed in both and that, ultimately, American freedom depends on fidelity to our Judeo-Christian heritage even more than it depends on proficiency in reading and math.
That's what at least some conservatives want to get out of their attacks on unions: The complete elimination of public schools. And Jeffrey is adamant that private schools not be regulated by states in any way: "the state shall not regulate the private schools, period." That means no oversight to make sure private schools are successfully educating children. Or to make sure they're providing safe conditions and sanitary facilities. Nothing. What could possibly go wrong?
From the October 5 edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
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Media figures have pointed to a 2005 Justice Department memo to claim that the use of waterboarding on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed caused him to reveal information intelligence officials used to foil a plot to attack the Library Tower in Los Angeles. But according to the Bush administration, the plot was broken up more than a year before Mohammed's capture.
On CNN's State of the Union, Terry Jeffrey falsely claimed, unchallenged, that in its cost estimate of the recovery bill, the Congressional Budget Office said that "64 percent of this money isn't going to be spent until after September of next year." In fact, including both outlays and tax cuts, CBO has estimated that about 64 percent of the bill would be paid out before the end of September 2010.
Despite Sen. John McCain's numerous flip-flops, reversals, backtracks, and inconsistencies, the media continue to describe him with words such as "honest" and "authentic." Is there anything John McCain could do that would cause the media to stop portraying him as a "straight talker"?