The right is selectively quoting an Inspector General (IG) report to accuse the State Department of ignoring the recommendations from the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB). In fact, the IG report noted that the State Department is making progress implementing the ARB recommendations and praised its leadership as a model for future ARB responses.
Conservative media are citing an article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPandS) to attack legitimate research on the causes of gun violence. While its title suggests that it is a serious research publication, the journal is published by a conspiracy-minded right-wing organization and has printed articles questioning the link between HIV and AIDS and theorizing that undocumented immigrants are spreading leprosy in the United States.
JPandS is published by conservative non-profit Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), an anti-healthcare reform advocacy group that opposes almost all government involvement in healthcare. The National Library of Medicine, which bills itself as "[t]he world's largest biomedical library," has twice declined to index JPandS in its database of medical reports.
Still, an article by AAPS Executive Director Dr. Jane M. Orient has been cited by conservative media to attack calls for more research into the causes and prevention of gun violence by the Obama administration and the medical and scientific communities. AAPS aided the gun lobby in its successful endeavor to block the Centers for Disease Control from studying gun violence during the 1990s.
In a September 23 op-ed for The Daily Caller, National Shooting Sports Foundation Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane cited Orient's article to attack the scientifically supported claim that "fewer guns equals less violence":
One of the anti-gun lobby's leading arguments is that fewer guns equals less violence. This seems like a logical argument, and is often passed on as fact. But, as with most of the arguments the anti-gun left recycles over and over, the facts simply do not back it up.
In the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons , Jane M. Orient, M.D. argues there is no evidence-based support for more gun control measures. Rather, the statistics gun-control proponents cite are cherry-picked from larger data sets that show no correlation between more gun laws and less violence.
Orient's article was also approvingly cited by Breitbart.com's AWR Hawkins and promoted by Guns.com. During a September 4 appearance on the National Rifle Association's media arm, NRA News, Orient attacked "organized medicine" for calling for gun violence research and stated that "the best evidence we have" on gun violence "was collected by John Lott." Lott, whose research on gun violence was cited in Orient's JPandS article, has been widely discredited.
A recent incident in which 7,500 songbirds died after flying over a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant has been ignored by the same conservative media outlets that often exaggerate the danger posed to birds by wind turbines, including hyping an incident in which a single bird was killed in Scotland.
The birds killed by the LNG facility, which may have included some endangered species, were headed south for the winter when a routine "flare" release at the Canaport LNG facility in Canada, used to burn off excess natural gas, drew them in. Though company officials apologized for the episode and said they are modifying equipment to reduce flaring, one manager at the plant admitted "At the moment there's not a whole lot I can do to resolve it in the short term." The dead reportedly included "a large number of red-eyed vireos" (see photo above).
Three months prior, another migrating bird, the white-throated needletail, died after flying into a wind turbine off Scotland. The needletail is not endangered or threatened, but it is sighted only rarely in the United Kingdom.
Can you guess how conservative media covered these two cases?
Searches of Nexis, Google and an internal video database indicate that the thousands of birds that died after flying into a Canadian gas flare have not been mentioned by any U.S. conservative outlet to date (or any major U.S. outlet other than the environmental sites Treehugger and National Geographic).
Conversely, the single bird that flew into a wind turbine became a big story in the conservative media bubble. Right-wing outlets used the episode to smear green energy, sometimes betraying sheer glee, as when National Review Online blogger Greg Pollowitz wrote "Your [sic] laughing as you read this, aren't you?" or Rush Limbaugh remarked "[a] bunch of environmentalist whackos watched a precious windmill kill a rare bird."
Conservative media's fixation on a single bird death -- albeit regrettable -- while completely ignoring thousands more seems to let slip that feigning an interest in conservation is simply a convenient way for these outlets to attack wind power, which they have depicted as an agent of "mass slaughter " or an "open-ended aviary holocaust," while overlooking far more elementary, existential threats to wildlife, including climate change. Lest we forget, conservative media figures have regularly mocked those who are concerned about the impact that humans are having on animals -- one Fox News contributor declared "lots of species may be about to leave the planet, and I don't care" -- and attacked conservation efforts for endangered species from lizards to polar bears.
After the Daily Mail falsely accused scientists of "cover[ing] up" temperature data based on leaked comments to the world's preeminent climate report, conservative media, including the Daily Caller, are once again adopting the British tabloid's misinformation verbatim. However, the comments actually showed scientists and governments making the same points privately that they have made publicly about why the slightly slower rate of warming in the last 15 years doesn't undermine the overwhelming science showing long-term climate change.
A recent Associated Press article showed that leaked private comments on the upcoming comprehensive U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reflect what scientists have been saying publicly: despite experiencing the warmest decade on record from 2000-2010, the planet is heating up at a slightly slower rate -- but this in no way undermines the science demonstrating manmade climate change is occurring. What the AP report -- which FoxNews.com tried to turn into "Climategate II" -- described was a debate over how to best explain this to the public. During the exchange in question, representatives of various governments pointed out that cherry-picking 1998 as a starting point for global temperatures trends is misleading because that year had record warmth, and this short time period does not undermine the long-term warming trend.
Somehow, the Daily Mail used this to say that "it is claimed" that scientists producing the IPCC report "were urged to cover up the fact that the world's temperature hasn't risen for the last 15 years." The paper didn't actually provide anyone who has alleged this.
The draft report and comments also show several experts pointing out that scientists are conducting ongoing research about the extent to which this phenomenon is based on heat being trapped in the oceans or various temporary natural cooling factors in order to better project the exact future impacts of climate change.
Media outlets are mischaracterizing legislation that licenses anti-LGBT discrimination as a bill that protects fundamental religious and personal freedoms.
Under the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (MARFA), drafted by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and co-sponsored by 60 House members, the federal government could not take any "adverse action" against individuals who oppose same-sex marriage or premarital sex on religious grounds. The legislation effectively subsidizes anti-gay discrimination. In a statement, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) noted that religious liberty enjoys robust constitutional and statutory protection, but that MARFA would radically reinterpret the concept to allow federal employees and recipients of federal funds to deny services to LGBT people:
"Every American understands the importance of protecting the rights of people of faith to hold and express their beliefs, including about the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legislative Director Allison Herwitt. "But our Constitution and laws already strongly safeguard that liberty. The purpose of the legislation introduced today is simply to let federal employees, contractors and grantees refuse to do their jobs or fulfill the terms of their taxpayer-funded contracts because they have a particular religious view about certain lawfully-married couples - and then to sue the federal government for damages if they don't get their way."
For example, if passed, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would permit a federal worker processing tax returns, approving visa applications or reviewing Social Security applications to walk away from their responsibilities whenever a same-sex couple's paperwork appeared on his or her desk. It would also allow a federally-funded homeless shelter or substance abuse treatment program to turn away LGBT people. Despite the cosponsors claims, there is no evidence that federal programs have or would discriminate against individuals because of their religious beliefs about marriage. Protections against discrimination based on religious belief are explicitly and robustly provided under the First Amendment and federal nondiscrimination statutes. [emphasis added]
Freedom to Marry added that the legislation would also permit businesses to deny leave to employees who wished to care for a same-sex spouse. The libertarian-leaning Volokh Conspiracy blog argued that MARFA is likely unconstitutional, as it privileges religious views in opposition to same-sex marriage and pre-marital sex over other religious views - a stark violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.
Right-wing media have seized on a report noting that American children in Los Angeles County with undocumented parents are receiving millions in benefits to revive the spurious smear that undocumented immigrants come to this country only to receive welfare. However, these outlets are missing the facts surrounding the data, including that studies show immigration reform could raise these children's standard of living.
In a September 16 article, the local CBS affiliate in Los Angeles reported that according to a new analysis by county officials, an "estimated 100,000 children of 60,000 undocumented parents receive aid in Los Angeles County." The article added that the projected cost to the county would equal $650 million in 2013.
County supervisor Michael D. Antonovich was quoted as saying that the total cost to taxpayers could exceed $1.6 billion per year after factoring in health care and public safety costs, adding, "These costs do not even include the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually for education."
Right-wing media outlets, including the Daily Caller, The Blaze, and Breitbart.com, highlighted the report, with the Power Line blog using it to accuse undocumented immigrants of putting a "burden" on "the nation's welfare system, along with driving down wages for working Americans." American Thinker commented: "To open borders crowd: Please make your donations here to cover the cost of allowing destitute, jobless, skilless, poorly educated people to cross the border. We can't bill the Mexican government so you're the next best target."
Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham read the news on her radio show and used it to call for the end of birthright citizenship -- which, under the 14th Amendment, makes anyone born in this country an American citizen. She also argued that the news should end all talk of immigration reform.
But these reports leave out key facts. In 2012, according to Antonovich's office, the total cost of food stamp benefits and Cal WORKs -- a welfare program that gives cash aid and services to eligible needy California families -- to Los Angeles County was a little over $3 billion. Families headed by an undocumented parent received about $636.5 million or a little more than 20 percent of the total.
The Daily Caller continued its attacks on transgender individuals seeking equal treatment, asserting that their fight for access to appropriate bathroom facilities is actually a demand for "special treatment."
In a September 17 article, Daily Caller education editor Eric Owens reported on the case of Seamus Johnston, a transgender male student at the University of Pittsburgh. Johnston filed a discrimination lawsuit on September 16 alleging that university officials violated his rights by not allowing him to use men's locker rooms and restrooms. Owens deliberately misgendered Johnston and mocked the notion that he was entitled to use facilities appropriate for his gender identity:
It's back-to-school time across America and you know what that means: a fresh supply of stories about transgender students demanding special treatment--particularly when it comes to bathrooms and locker rooms.
The latest spat involves an expelled transgender student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown who has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the school violated her civil rights by preventing her from using men's locker rooms and restrooms, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The student, Seamus Johnston, was born female but identifies as a male. Johnston has undergone several months of hormone treatment recently.
The lawsuit was filed Monday. The suit claims that the school violated federal anti-discrimination laws. Johnston is representing herself.
Owens has previously ridiculed the "big fuss" made by transgender students seeking access to facilities that match their gender identities. Lambda Legal, meanwhile, underscores why access to the proper facilities is vital to transgender people's well-being:
The Daily Caller poked fun at two transgender homecoming candidates, mocking the notion that schools should recognize the students' gender identities and repeatedly using the incorrect gender pronouns to refer to transgender students.
In a September 11 article titled "This week in transgender high schoolers running for homecoming king, queen, whatever," Daily Caller education editor Eric Owens reported on the transgender high school students who are seeking the homecoming crowns at their respective schools. California student Cassidy Lynn Campbell, a transgender female whom Owens called a "male student," is a homecoming queen candidate. Pennsylvania student Kasey Caron was a candidate for homecoming king, but school officials moved his name to the queen ballot, despite Caron's identity as a male. Owens snarked that the school made the decision "because [Caron] apparently still has a vagina":
Homecoming season is once again upon us, which can only mean one thing: stories about transgender high school kids running for king and queen.
At Richland High School in Johnstown, Pa., senior Kasey Caron is fighting for the right to run for homecoming king, reports area CBS affilaite WTAJ.
Caron identifies as male and is currently in some undetermined early stage of gender reassignment surgery.
School district officials have been reticent to allow Caron on the homecoming king ballot because he apparently still has a vagina and thus remains legally female.
On the bright side, Caron is on the ballot as a homecoming king [sic] nominee.
On Monday night, Caron presented the case for why she should be allowed to run for homecoming king. The pitch included showing a Pennsylvania driver's license which categorizes Caron as male.
Owens' piece adds to a steady stream of anti-LGBT commentary at The Daily Caller. The website has become a reliable defender of Russia's crackdown on LGBT people, while Owens has used his platform as education editor to deride the "big fuss" made by transgender students seeking equal rights and to express his outrage over a college assigning students a book featuring gay characters.
The Daily Caller launched numerous sexist attacks against Crossfire co-host Stephanie Cutter in its "first, and hopefully last," review of CNN's newly resurrected debate show.
After Crossfire's premiere on September 9, Daily Caller reporter Patrick Howley wrote a review of the show that focused largely on denigrating the "catty air-kissing backstabbing" Cutter while mostly ignoring co-host Newt Gingrich and guests Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ). In roughly 600 words, Howley made the following five observations about Cutter:
The Daily Caller was founded by Tucker Carlson, who co-hosted Crossfire's original incarnation from 2001 to 2004. The show was canceled shortly after a guest appearance by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
The Daily Caller wrote that a recent survey of scientific literature only confirmed the "uncontroversial points" that warming has occurred and that it is in part manmade, but the Daily Caller itself has cast doubt on these facts.
The peer-reviewed survey found that 97 percent of scientific abstracts that stated a position on global warming endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. While these points are uncontroversial in the scientific world, they are controversial among many in Congress and the public -- due in part to the misinformation pushed by conservative media outlets such as the Daily Caller.
The Daily Caller also regularly publishes articles that cast doubt on global warming -- including near-transcriptions of Sen. Inhofe's latest attacks on climate science -- yet conveniently leave out the "uncontroversial" fact that the majority of scientists agree that manmade, or anthropogenic, climate change is occurring. For instance, the online publication promoted "Lord" Christopher Monckton, who likes to compare climate activists to Nazis, challenging "Al baby" (Al Gore) to debate him on climate change without stating that the majority of scientists accept that climate change is real and manmade.
The Daily Caller article, headlined "Report: There is no 97 percent global warming consensus," quoted the Global Warming Policy Foundation's Andrew Montford (who is not a scientist) quibbling with the survey by claiming it didn't examine whether the papers endorsed the view that "human activity is the main driver behind global warming" (emphasis added). However, the authors of the report have already addressed this criticism, a fact the Daily Caller left out, explaining that the scientific abstracts they examined didn't go into this detail, but they contacted the authors and 96 percent of them agreed that humans have caused more than half of recent warming (emphasis removed):
The Daily Caller's Mickey Kaus, who headlined a tea party event in August to stoke fears of how comprehensive immigration reform "would change America irrevocably, and for the worse," has a piece out detailing how Republicans can filibuster immigration reform and show that "[a]mnesty as we know it can go away." What Kaus is advocating of course is the same level of GOP obstructionism conservative media have been calling for to kill immigration reform.
In his September 4 piece, Kaus lamented the fact that immigration reform supporters, with help from "La Raza and Mark Zuckerberg, big business lobbyists, the Catholic Church and the Media-Amnesty Complex," will continue to advocate for a path to citizenship until an immigration bill becomes law. He then went on to describe his "tentative simple, four step plan," which began with exhorting Republicans to block all immigration bills that don't first enforce the border.
Kaus is giving preference here to the "enforcement-first" approach that immigration restrictionists have long favored, which seeks to militarize the border and take other extreme steps to cut off illegal immigration. As Kaus pointed out, this approach has been rejected by supporters and Democrats who will accept nothing less than "an inclusive, immediate path to legal status for the 11 million, and an achievable and clear path to eventual citizenship," in the words of America's Voice executive director Frank Sharry.
This approach would create an impasse designed to effectively kill reform efforts. A number of conservative media figures have similarly agitated for such outright obstruction.
However, this seems to be going against the grain, as more and more congressional Republicans express support for reform that includes a pathway to citizenship. As the Miami Herald reported, tea party Rep. Steve Southerland is the most recent Republican to do so:
[W]hen asked Friday in Miami, Southerland sounded more open to the idea of a general pathway to citizenship, Still, he drew a distinction between young people brought as children and those who came when they were older and knew they were breaking the law.
Southerland said he wasn't sure about whether they should be granted a special path to citizenship or legal residency.
"If there's going to be a chance to create a legal path, there has to be a recognition of the wrong done," Southerland said, indicating they would need to pay fines and express contrition. "But I believe in reconciliation."
The Daily Caller published an op-ed blasting gay journalist James Kirchick for condemning Russia's anti-gay crackdown on the Kremlin-funded RT network on August 21, lambasting Kirchick for using his appearance to "throw a fit about gay rights."
In an August 28 op-ed titled "The hysterical Jamie Kirchick," Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute President Austin Ruse mocked Kirchick's "hysterical" criticism of Russia's laws banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda," which encompasses any speech or action that could be construed to depict LGBT people in a favorable light. Ruse doesn't understand why critics of Russia's "reasonable new law" just can't see that it's far better than the western "elite" agenda of tolerance:
Kirchick and his colleagues are hysterical and I think I know why. In the west, they and their elite allies have so cowed and bullied opposition to their agenda that hardly anyone speaks out against them. If you do, you lose your job or get brought before the magistrates of human rights. It is shocking and unnerving to them when they find people who are not so cowed and that they cannot have their way with those in other countries and certainly not with the Russians who overwhelmingly support the reasonable new law.
Next week in Europe a petition will be released from more than 70 mostly European human rights groups supporting the Russian law. They believe there is no human right to advance homosexual propaganda to school children, but there is a prior right for parents to determine how their children are educated. It says so right there in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Daily Caller's Guns and Gears section published an opinion piece that suggested "[b]ecause Black Democrats are fine for house work, but not for doing heavy lifting," white leaders should choose replacements for the current heads of civil rights organizations.
Guns and Gears is the firearms-themed section of the Daily Caller that publishes press releases and opinion pieces from the National Rifle Association and other gun organizations, along with commentary on firearms issues.
In his August 26 op-ed, retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jerry Curry stereotyped African-Americans as violent, suggested that black teenagers must "follow the work rules laid down by white Americans" to achieve greater success, and accused the Obama administration of encouraging "racial violence."
Discussing the tragic killing of World War II veteran Shorty Belton by two African-American teens, Curry criticized African-American civil rights leaders for not "leading huge civil rights demonstrations protesting the murder of Mr. Belton and demanding that black parents, families, communities and churches get and keep their black teenagers under control." Notably, there is no evidence that Belton's killing was race-related.
Still, Curry wrote, "If America's black leadership isn't going to take charge of and clean up their own mess, white leaders will have to do it for them," and added, "You can't expect white Americans to keep looking the other way while black teenagers beat their fellow white Americans to death. Evidently black leaders seem to think it is alright for black teenagers to profile Shorty Belton and kill him and they need not comment on how wrong it is, but it's not right for a white policeman to profile someone black and kill them."
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre baselessly warned that proponents of stronger gun laws could implement a firearm "confiscation scheme" in his latest unhinged column for The Daily Caller.
Despite LaPierre's warnings of a draconian gun registration and confiscation scheme that he wrote "could happen to us if we fail to stand and fight," the plot LaPierre described is illegal under current federal law, has not been proposed by the supporters of stronger gun laws LaPierre singled out in his column, and would likely violate the United States Constitution.
LaPierre's column was published on August 19, the day before BuzzFeed reported that the NRA itself uses a variety of data collection methods to gather information on gun owners. In an article that described myriad ways the NRA collects data on gun owners, BuzzFeed contributor Steve Friess noted the tension between the NRA's warnings about government gun owner databases and the gun rights organization's own actions:
The National Rifle Association has rallied gun owners -- and raised tens of millions of dollars -- campaigning against the threat of a national database of firearms or their owners.
But in fact, the sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners. It is housed in the Virginia offices of the NRA itself. The country's largest privately held database of current, former, and prospective gun owners is one of the powerful lobby's secret weapons, expanding its influence well beyond its estimated 3 million members and bolstering its political supremacy.
That database has been built through years of acquiring gun permit registration lists from state and county offices, gathering names of new owners from the thousands of gun-safety classes taught by NRA-certified instructors and by buying lists of attendees of gun shows, subscribers to gun magazines, and more, BuzzFeed has learned.
LaPierre's Daily Caller column is demonstrative of the outlandish gun registration and confiscation plots the NRA warns of while apparently simultaneously collecting information on gun owners for its own purposes.
The Obama family has adopted a new dog, the White House announced on August 19. CNN reported that "Sunny -- a female Portuguese Water Dog -- is joining Bo as 'first pet.' "
The Daily Caller responded to the news by noting that neither of the Obamas' dogs are white (emphasis added):
"A Portuguese Water Dog can range in cost wildly. On average, one will pay between $1,400 and $2,000. President Barack Obama has this breed of animal," according to an answer on Ask.com.
With the addition of Sunny, the Obamas now have two black Portuguese water dogs.
The Obamas do not have any white dogs.