The Wall Street Journal

Tags ››› The Wall Street Journal
  • Break Out The Popcorn: Bill Kristol Goes After WSJ Editorial Board Over Trump Support

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Kristol and Trump

    The editor of one of the conservative establishment’s most influential magazines is now lashing out at the nation’s most prominent right-wing newspaper editorial board over whether conservatives should run a third-party candidate if Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee.

    With Trump on the verge of clinching his party’s nomination, the conservative movement is in shambles. Dozens of right-wing commentators have come forward to say that they will never vote for Trump, either due to his bigotry and authoritarian tendencies or because of his alleged progressive positions. Those conservatives have said they will stay home, vote for the Democratic candidate, or support a third-party candidate.

    Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard and a prominent conservative activist who bears significant responsibility for Sarah Palin ending up on a national ticket, is part of that faction. In February, he said that he “would try to recruit a real conservative” to run an independent campaign if Trump became the Republican nominee.

    But a large group of conservatives are either openly rooting for the New York businessman or have come to terms with the likelihood that he will be their party’s standard-bearer.

    The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board joined that final group this morning, with a piece criticizing any effort to enlist a third-party candidate (Rupert Murdoch, the paper’s owner, has said that the party would be “mad not to unify” around Trump). The editors write:

    Readers know our doubts about Mr. Trump, on policy and as an autumn candidate. His nomination still isn’t guaranteed, and the polls show him badly trailing Mrs. Clinton, despite her many flaws. Third-party advocates say the right candidate would give conservatives an honorable alternative to Trump-Hillary. They say a third-party candidate could win enough states to throw the election into the House of Representatives, which would then presumably choose the non-Trump Republican.

    This isn’t impossible, but then again it almost never happens. The usual presidential result is that the party that splinters hands the election to the other, more united party. 

    The editors conclude that a third-party conservative candidate would be devastating to the party’s House and Senate candidates: “[D]ueling presidential candidates would put House and Senate Republican candidates in a perilous spot. Do they support Mr. Trump or the third-party conservative? If they are forced to choose, they could alienate enough GOP voters to ensure defeat.”

    Hours later, Kristol threw down the gauntlet at the Journal. Pointing to Trump’s “crazed” comments this morning linking Sen. Ted Cruz’s father to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Kristol declared that “serious people, including serious conservatives, cannot acquiesce in Donald Trump as their candidate.”

    Kristol savaged the Journal for prioritizing “political prudence,” concluding that regardless of the political implications, “Donald Trump should not be president of the United States. The Wall Street Journal cannot bring itself to say that. We can say it, we do say it, and we are proud to act accordingly.”

    The Journal and Kristol may both be right: Giving conservatives no choice but to support Trump in the general election may be better for the party’s congressional candidates (though it also makes it impossible for them to distance themselves from their incredibly unpopular nominee). But supporting Trump in spite of what the Journal gingerly describes as their “doubts” about his candidacy is quite obviously an act of raw political cowardice.

    It’s only May, and the looming Trump candidacy is already dividing even the establishment’s stalwarts. Who knows what the next six months will bring. But it will surely be fun to watch from the outside.

  • Coalition Of Scientists Takes Novel Approach To Grading Accuracy Of Climate Change Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    A group of scientists from around the world is using new web-based technology to assess the accuracy of media coverage of climate change, and the organization spearheading these efforts is looking for support to take its work to the next level.

    The organization, known as Climate Feedback, uses what’s known as web annotation technology to layer scientists’ comments directly onto articles and opinion pieces, so that readers can easily understand whether -- and to what degree -- the pieces are consistent with scientific understanding of climate change. Climate Feedback then assigns a credibility score known as “feedback” to each media piece, which serves as an overall guide to its accuracy -- or lack thereof.

    The result looks like this:

    At Media Matters, we’ve given scientists a forum to set the record straight when media distort their climate studies. Now Climate Feedback is further improving the media conversation by giving scientists the opportunity to respond to a wide variety of climate change coverage, as founder Dr. Emmanuel Vincent explained in an email to Media Matters.

    “We think scientists need to have a voice of their own in the media,” Vincent said. “Not as a replacement of journalism, but as a way to ensure that scientific results are not misunderstood or distorted.”

    The approach Climate Feedback employs is unique in several respects. It borrows from the peer review process used to evaluate scientific research papers, ensuring that media coverage of climate science receives a similar level of scrutiny. “After an article is selected for review, scientists with relevant expertise are invited to provide their feedback directly” using the web annotation platform, Vincent said. “Reviewers then fill [out] a short questionnaire with their rating and appreciation of the overall credibility of the piece that are all revealed at the same time to guarantee the independence of scientists’ reviews.”

    Vincent noted that Climate Feedback usually solicits comments from five to 10 scientists for each media evaluation, which is substantially higher than the two to three reviewers typically involved in a classic peer review of scientific literature. “This distributes the workload among scientists who can focus on discussing what they know best,” and helps “convey a more robust sense of the consensus when there is one.”

    Climate Feedback also ensures that only highly qualified experts weigh in on the accuracy of the media reports it analyzes. According to Vincent, contributors must have been the lead author of an article published in a top-tier peer-reviewed scientific journal within the last three years, and they must have a doctorate in a relevant discipline. Depending on the nature of the claims made in the article, Climate Feedback may seek comments from experts in a variety of subjects including biogeochemistry, oceanography, climate variability, paleoclimatology, climate impacts on ecosystems, human health and beyond.

    Once an evaluation is published, Climate Feedback shares it with the reporter or columnist via email or social media. As an example of his group’s success, Vincent pointed to an article in London’s Telegraph newspaper, which “appended a correction and made major modifications” to its original article, “withdrawing 5 sentences, in such a way that the title of the article announcing an imminent ice age is not supported anymore.” Additionally, one Climate Feedback evaluation formed the basis of an open letter from a group of scientists to The Wall Street Journal, criticizing an opinion piece for “attempt[ing] to throw clouds of uncertainty around the hard facts about climate change.” And just last week, members of the British House of Lords referenced another Climate Feedback evaluation while calling on The Times of London to more accurately cover climate science.

    Since Climate Feedback launched in late 2014, Vincent has observed several common media failings, including using flawed reasoning, making logical fallacies, cherry-picking data, and offering misleading or imprecise statements. One example he highlighted was a May 2015 Forbes column by “merchant of doubt” James Taylor, of the Exxon- and Koch-funded Heartland Institute, which misleadingly denied the impact of global warming on polar ice. Vincent noted in his email that Taylor’s column received “almost a million views and is by far Forbes’ most influential climate article in 2015 – which gives an idea of the scale of the problem we’re tackling.”

    Indeed, because the challenge is so great, Climate Feedback is ramping up its efforts via a crowdfunding campaign this week. The aim is to raise enough funds to hire a scientific editor and build a “Scientific Trust Tracker,” which will aggregate the group’s ratings to assess the overall credibility of various news sources. According to Vincent, the new tool “should provide a healthy incentive for more accurate science reporting,” because “building trust is essential for news sources and scientists’ endorsements can help journalists with integrity to get ahead.”

    Climate Feedback is doing this work at an important time. Major U.S. media outlets continue to give undue attention to those who deny the scientific consensus that fossil fuel pollution and other human activities are causing global warming, while scientists remain vastly underrepresented in some of the most high-profile media discussions of climate change, such as those taking place on the broadcast networks’ Sunday shows. And revelations of Exxon’s climate change deception exemplify the ability of the fossil fuel industry to inject misinformation into the media to undermine climate policies. As the fossil fuel industry continues to wage war on the Clean Power Plan, the Paris climate agreement, and other major climate initiatives, too many Americans remain confused about the causes of climate change (although the trend is positive), and not enough recognize the urgent need for action.

    As Vincent explained, “We now have growing evidence that corporate interests have been using the same playbook as Tobacco companies a few decades earlier: using the media to sow doubt about the science of the smoking-cancer connection then and of climate change now in order to confuse the public and undermine democratic support for dealing with the issue.”

    Climate Feedback is a valuable resource to counteract the fossil fuel industry’s harmful influence and encourage media consumers to “stand with science” to achieve more accurate climate change coverage.

  • Wall Street Journal Columnist Defends “Curt Schilling The Science Guy”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    Wall Street Journal columnist and editorial board member William McGurn defended recently fired ESPN analyst Curt Schilling by supporting Schilling's baseless use of “science” to justify denying transgender people access to the restrooms that align with their gender identity.

    In an April 25 opinion piece for his "Main Street" column McGurn, former chief speechwriter for George W. Bush, compared Schilling, who was recently fired for posting an anti-transgender meme on social media, to astronomer and scientist Galileo.

    Schilling had responded to his firing by offering shoddy "scientific" claims on his WordPress blog to justify denying transgender people access to restrooms that align with their gender identity. In his column, McGurn falsely asserted that Schilling’s position on sex and gender determination is based in science, which “progressive dogma” refuses to acknowledge:

    But let us also note the irony. Mr. Schilling’s main contention—“a man is a man no matter what they call themselves”—is supported by DNA and those pesky X and Y chromosomes. In short, in this fight between science and authority, Mr. Schilling is in the amusing position of being the Galileo, with ESPN filling in for the Holy Office.

    Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, puts it this way: “Curt Schilling is of course correct with the science in saying that claiming to be a woman when you have the chromosomal and anatomical structures of a man does not make you such. You’re still a man no matter what you think or how you dress.”

    It’s an interesting detail that has gone largely unaddressed since Mr. Schilling delivered his knuckleball. Nor is it hard to see why. For it contradicts the dominant narrative in which Democrats take their positions from a clear-eyed look at the science while Republicans are blinded by their religious, social and economic orthodoxies.

     

    McGurn ignored the documented biological differences in the brain structures of people who are transgender, the variance in factors that influence sex and gender determination, and the opinion of every major medical organization, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, which support providing transition-related care to transgender individuals. He also quoted Paul McHugh, a conservative psychiatrist notorious for his anti-transgender position and for peddling junk science, to further support Schilling.

    This isn’t the first time that The Wall Street Journal has run questionable anti-LGBT opinion pieces. In June 2014, McHugh himself penned a Wall Street Journal commentary lamenting the growing attention to transgender rights in public policy and the media, warning that these developments signal a troubling trend toward affirming transgender identities rather than treating them as "confusions" and illnesses. Several organizations spoke out against the outlet for publishing this misinformation, including GLAAD, the national LGBT media advocacy organization.

     
  • No, Wall Street Journal: That's Not What Prosecutorial Discretion Means

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    According to the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, the Obama administration cannot exercise prosecutorial discretion in deferring deportation for certain undocumented immigrants because such discretion cannot be applied to "entire classes of people." For years, the board has misrepresented the way Obama's executive actions on immigration defer deportation for some undocumented immigrants, despite legal experts and evidence showing that the administration can apply prosecutorial discretion as it reviews deferred action cases on a "case-by-case basis."

  • Print Coverage Of The Gender Pay Gap Glosses Over Disproportionate Effects On Minority Groups

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    In their coverage of the gender pay gap during the week leading up to Equal Pay Day, print versions of three major newspapers largely failed to note that wage disparities are particularly acute for women of color and transgender women. Only one-third of the coverage pointed out that the pay gap is larger for women of color, and the coverage omitted any discussion of the pay gap faced by LGBT women.

    Equal Pay Day, which fell this year on April 12, marks how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned the previous year. Studies show that women make significantly less money than men over their lifetimes -- on average, a woman in the United States in 2014 made 79 cents for every dollar a man made -- but the gap can increase when other variables are factored in. Research from the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress demonstrates that disparities are larger for women of color. On average, African-American women earn 60 percent as much as their white male counterparts, and Latinas earn just 55 percent of what white men earn. A recent report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that location, age, and education level all factor into pay disparity, and that at every level of academic achievement, women earn less than men.

    Media Matters analyzed pay gap coverage during the week prior to Equal Pay Day in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, and found that the Post and the Journal each published two articles in print about the gender pay gap, and in each paper only once mentioned race and ethnicity as a factor in pay disparities. The Times, which also printed two articles about the pay gap, failed to mention race at all. The impact of the wage gap on LGBT women was not addressed at all in the analyzed coverage.

    LGBT women are invisible in coverage of the wage gap, despite the specific impact pay disparity has on them. Experts say that LGBT people -- specifically transgender women -- are more likely to be discriminated against in the workforce and, according to Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, policy advisor for the National Center for Transgender Equality, the issues surrounding wage disparity "are heightened for transgender people."

    Methodology

    Media Matters analyzed pay disparity-related coverage from April 5 to April 12 -- the week leading up to and including Equal Pay Day -- on the print editions of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post using the following search terms on Nexis and Factiva: "equal pay," "wage gap," "gender pay gap," "pay discrimination," "Latinas," "Hispanic," "Black," "women of color," "LGBT," "GLBT," "LGBTQ," "trans," "transgender," "gay," "lesbian," and "queer." Articles with incidental mentions of the wage gap or of pay discrimination outside of the United States were excluded.

  • After Obama Says He Is Not Influencing Email Investigation, Conservative Media Claim President Is “Tipping The Scale” For Clinton

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Right-wing media, including several Fox figures, accused President Obama of “tipping the scales” in favor of Hillary Clinton in the ongoing investigation into her email practices after Obama responded to a question posed by Fox’s Chris Wallace about his influence in the matter. During a Fox News Sunday interview, Obama said he guaranteed that “there is no political influence” in the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s private email server, and right-wing media responded by criticizing Obama for even answering the question.

  • Conservatives Are Already Preparing To Cry "Cover-Up" If Hillary Clinton Isn't Indicted

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Right-wing media figures have been laying the foundation to allege a "scandal" and "cover-up" if the FBI's investigation into Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's email server does not result in Clinton's indictment, thus setting her up for a lose-lose situation. Yet multiple law experts have explained that an indictment is highly unlikely.

  • Sen. Whitehouse: WSJ's "Exxon Knew" Falsehoods Are Part Of Its "Long Tradition" Of Protecting Polluters

    Blog ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    wsjpollution

    Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) called out The Wall Street Journal for its long history of wrongly defending fossil fuel companies, including the Journal's recent attempts to confuse its readers about the rationale for a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of Exxon Mobil and other oil companies. Writing in the Huffington Post, Whitehouse cited Journal editorials dating back to the 1970s and described the Journal's modus operandi as follows: "Deny the science, question the motives, exaggerate the costs, help the polluters."

    The Journal has repeatedly distorted Whitehouse's calls for a federal investigation into whether Exxon and other oil companies violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) by purposely misleading shareholders and the public about climate change. The Journal continued to misrepresent the basis for an investigation in an April 1 editorial that falsely claimed Whitehouse wants to "punish those who disagree with him on climate."

    Whitehouse directly responded to the Journal's distortions in the Huffington Post, pointing out that "[c]limate skeptics -- people who 'disagree' with me on the reality of climate change -- are not the targets of such an investigation, any more than smokers or people who 'disagreed' with the Surgeon General were targets" of an earlier Department of Justice lawsuit against tobacco companies, which the Journal also vocally opposed. He added: "Fraud investigations punish those who lie, knowing that they are lying, intending to fool others, and do it for money. No one should be too big to answer for that conduct."

    Whitehouse concluded of the Journal's behavior: "[A]ll this makes it look like they are out to protect the fraudsters, by misleading regular people about what such a lawsuit would do and continuing their long tradition of downplaying or denying scientists' warnings about the harms of industries' products."

    From Whitehouse's April 3 op-ed:

    The Wall Street Journal is quite irate that I rank them with industry front groups and cranks denying climate change. But they have a record whenever industrial pollutants are involved. Look at the Journal's commentary on acid rain, on the ozone layer, and on climate change. There is a pattern: Deny the science, question the motives, exaggerate the costs, help the polluters. When they are wrong this often, but keep at it, you have to wonder whether they care about whether they're right or wrong, or whether they are performing some other service.

    [...]

    [I]f there is indeed a core of deliberate fraud at the heart of the climate denial enterprise, no industry should be big enough to suppress investigation of that fraud. Most of the writers I mentioned note similarities between the tobacco fraud scheme and the climate denial operation, as has the lawyer who won the tobacco lawsuit for DOJ; as apparently have more than a dozen state Attorneys General.

    Climate skeptics -- people who "disagree" with me on the reality of climate change -- are not the targets of such an investigation, any more than smokers or people who "disagreed" with the Surgeon General were targets of the tobacco case. Those folks may very well be victims of the fraud, the dupes. Fraud investigations punish those who lie, knowing that they are lying, intending to fool others, and do it for money. No one should be too big to answer for that conduct.

    This is an important difference, and it's the difference I'm talking about when I say the Wall Street Journal editorial page is trying to saddle me with an argument I'm not making because they don't have a good response to the one I am. Frankly, all this makes it look like they are out to protect the fraudsters, by misleading regular people about what such a lawsuit would do and continuing their long tradition of downplaying or denying scientists' warnings about the harms of industries' products.

  • Wall Street Journal Continues To Falsely Attack Sen. Whitehouse's Call For "Exxon Knew" Investigation

    Blog ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    white house

    After The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrongly accused Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) of trying to "silence climate dissidents," the Journal published a response from Whitehouse. But it ran the piece alongside two letters to the editor that echoed the Journal's false framing of calls by Whitehouse and others to investigate evidence that ExxonMobil and other oil companies intentionally misled their shareholders and the public on climate change.

    Reports by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times show that Exxon's own scientists confirmed by the early 1980s that fossil fuel pollution was fueling climate change, yet Exxon funded organizations that spread doubt about the causes of climate change for decades afterwards. Based on this evidence, Whitehouse called for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether Exxon and other fossil fuel companies violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

    The Journal badly misrepresented Whitehouse's call for a federal investigation of Exxon in a March 15 editorial, falsely alleging that the federal government could "slap the cuffs on people who don't believe in U.N. climate models" and "throw people in jail for scientific skepticism." Whitehouse objected to the Journal's false editorial on Twitter, explaining: "Simply denying climate change isn't what could violate federal law. ... The questions I posed to the Attorney General were to learn whether the Department of Justice is doing its due diligence to investigate whether fossil fuel specials interests are leading a coordinated, fraudulent effort to deceive the American people."

    On March 21, the Journal published a letter to the editor from Whitehouse, in which he noted that the Journal was "trying to saddle me with an argument I am not making":  

    My belief is that there are sufficient similarities between the tobacco industry's fraudulent denial of its products' health effects and the fossil fuel industry's denial of its products' climate and oceans effects, that a proper inquiry should be made about pursuing a civil action like the one the Justice Department brought and won against tobacco. ... Trying to saddle me with an argument I am not making is no way to convince anyone that the argument I am making is wrong.

    But the newspaper published Whitehouse's response alongside two other letters that echoed the Journal's false claim that Whitehouse wants the federal government to prosecute people just because they disagree with him on climate change.

    The first letter wrongly alleged that "people who don't believe mankind causes climate change could be prosecuted," and compared the calls to investigate Exxon to prosecuting people who do not believe in God and burning atheists at the stake:

    If people who don't believe mankind causes climate change could be prosecuted (and fined and jailed?), does that mean people who don't believe in God could be prosecuted (and perhaps burned at the stake)? Conversely, if atheists take over our government, could believers be prosecuted (and fined and shunned)?

    The second letter claimed that "RICO prosecutions aren't necessary" because Whitehouse is already instilling a "climate of fear" against those who "read the climate data differently from the prevailing administration position."

    But despite what the Journal and others would have you believe, a federal investigation would not target people -- scientists or otherwise -- who challenge the climate change consensus. It would investigate whether oil company officials chose to contradict the findings of their own scientists in order to protect their profits.

  • WSJ Parrots Misleading Claims From Discredited Group In Urging Senate To Block Merrick Garland

    Blog ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    The Wall Street Journal editorial board is calling for the Senate to "refus[e] to hold hearings" on Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, warning that Garland's record "demonstrates a reliable vote for progressive causes."

    To make its case, The Journal repeatedly pointed to misleading claims that have been pushed by the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), the discredited right-wing legal group leading the opposition against Garland's nomination. Following the March 16 nomination announcement, JCN released a series of "topline points" purporting to reveal Garland's leftist ideology, and it appears The Journal may have been reading from the same flimsy playbook.

    Here's how the statements from JCN and The Wall Street Journal match up:

    • To illustrate Garland's supposed "hostility toward the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms," JCN cited SCOTUSBlog's Tom Goldstein saying: "Garland also notably voted in favor of en banc review of the D.C. Circuit's decision invalidating the D.C. handgun ban, which the Supreme Court subsequently affirmed."
    • To purport that Garland's tenure indicates a "progressive" view on the Second Amendment, The Journal wrote: "In 2007 Judge Garland voted for a rehearing en banc after a three-judge panel invalidated Washington D.C's handgun ban."

    In reality, Garland was joined by a well-known conservative judge, among others, in voting to rehear the case, and voting to rehear a case does not mean that a judge is committing to deciding it one way or the other nor does it reveal their constitutional thinking or ideology.

    • JCN also contended that Garland had sided "with the federal government in its plan to retain Americans' personal information from background checks for firearm purchases."
    • The Journal similarly wrote: "In 2000 Judge Garland was part of a three-judge panel that allowed the FBI to temporarily keep files with information from gun purchase background checks."

    In reality, this rule, which is not related to the Second Amendment, was considered in multiple courts and was always found to be in compliance with the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. The Associated Press reported that the conservative-leaning Supreme Court "without comment, turned aside" a challenge to the law.

    • JCN claimed in its "topline points" that Garland "was the only dissenter in a 2002 case striking down an illegal, job-killing EPA regulation (the 'Haze Rule')."
    • The Journal wrote: "In an especially notable case, Judge Garland dissented when the D.C. Circuit struck down the EPA's egregious regional haze rules (American Corn Growers v. EPA, 2002)."

    In reality, the other two judges on the court agreed with Garland that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to work with states to reduce haze pollution under the Clean Air Act; they just ruled against the EPA's specific approach to achieving those reductions. And a revised version of the regional haze rule is now in place and has been repeatedly upheld in other courts.

    The Journal editorial concluded:

    Senate Republicans have staked out the principle that voters should have a say in the next Supreme Court nomination via their presidential choice. The Senate should spare Judge Garland from personal attack by refusing to hold hearings.

    But if GOP Senators up for re-election want to be more conciliatory, they could say they regard Judge Garland as a suitable choice for a Democratic President and would be happy to vote for him in a lame-duck session--if Mrs. Clinton wins the election. That would be standing on principle and calling Mr. Obama's bluff.

  • The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Moves The Goal Posts Over Obama's Supreme Court Nomination

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    The Wall Street Journal's editorial board suggested Senate Republicans could agree to vote on Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination during President Obama's lame-duck session only if Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election, to prevent "potentially more radical nominees." Yet the board previously argued that any Obama nominee should be blocked to let the next president fill the vacancy -- a "double standard" some Republican senators have said they "wouldn't support."

  • Conservatives Have Been Praising Merrick Garland For Years

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    On March 16, President Obama announced his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the United States Supreme Court. Garland has faced misleading and false attacks, as well as a concerted push for continued obstruction of any Supreme Court nominee chosen by Obama. However, some of the same conservative officials and pundits have previously lavished Garland with praise arguing that he would be a "consensus nominee" representing "the best scenario" for bipartisan support.

  • Here Are The Big Players In The Inevitable Smear Campaign Against Judge Merrick Garland

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    As President Obama reportedly prepares to announce Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, media should be prepared to hear from several right-wing groups dedicated to opposing the nominee, no matter who it is. These advocacy groups and right-wing media outlets have a history of pushing misleading information and alarmist rhetoric to launch smear campaigns against Obama's highly qualified Supreme Court nominees, using tactics including, but not limited to, spreading offensive rumors about a nominee's personal life, deploying bogus legal arguments or conspiracy theories, and launching wild distortions of every aspect of a nominee's legal career.

  • Right-Wing Media's Sexist Obsession With Clinton's Voice Following Her Primary Victory Speech

    Media Labeled Previous Attacks On Clinton's Voice "Sexist"

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Right-wing media personalities reacted to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's Florida primary victory speech by claiming she was "shouting angrily" and "screech speech," with MSNBC's conservative morning show host Joe Scarborough telling Clinton to "smile" during her speech. Media outlets previously blasted similar attacks on Clinton in February as "sexist."

  • Wall Street Journal Columnist Blasts Rush Limbaugh And Mark Levin For Helping Build Up Donald Trump

    Bret Stephens: Levin And Limbaugh Are "Ideological Drunks Who, When They Knew Better, Cheered The Donald On"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Donald Trump

    Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens slammed right-wing radio hosts Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh for providing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump "with the margin of respectability he needed in the early months to make his campaign credible with Republican voters."

    In his February 22 column, Stephens criticized right wing talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin for creating the environment in Republican Party politics that paved the way for Donald Trump's rise.

    So where were Messrs. Limbaugh and Levin last summer, when the Trump candidacy was still a big soap bubble, waiting to be popped by the likes of them?

    In July, Mr. Trump said of John McCain, "He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." The Donald's trademark insult--coyly calibrated to appeal to voters who lack the brains or the decency to be appalled--should have been the tombstone of his campaign. But it wasn't, thanks not least to a loud assist from Mr. Limbaugh.

    "Trump can survive this. Trump is surviving this," Mr. Limbaugh exalted. "The American people haven't seen something like this in a long time. They have not seen an embattled public figure stand up for himself, double down and tell everybody to go to hell."

    In fact, Americans have often seen such figures: Marcus Garvey, Henry Wallace, Joe McCarthy, Lyndon LaRouche. We just used to have the good sense to dismiss them as eccentrics, lowlifes or clowns. What we haven't seen are the modern-day keepers of mainstream conservatism developing schoolgirl crushes on the bad boy of the GOP class. "The Republicans are impotent!" swooned Mr. Levin in one September broadcast. "And now this guy [Mr. Trump], who may not be a down-the-line conservative, is standing up to them. And he's kicking them all over the place."

    Mr. Levin has since become more critical of Mr. Trump, though Mr. Limbaugh seems to be hedging his bets. But both men provided Mr. Trump with the margin of respectability he needed in the early months to make his campaign credible with Republican voters.

    So Mr. Trump had once supported socialized medicine? That didn't matter, said Mr. Levin, because the candidate opposed ObamaCare now. So Mr. Trump was conspicuously ignorant about major foreign-policy issues? Who cares, since he was passionate about the "invasion," as Mr. Limbaugh calls it, of Latin American migrants. So Mr. Trump wants to ban Muslim immigration? Well, Mr. Levin says, at least "Trump has opened the way" to a "national discussion."

    [...]

    It's a lucky thing for conservatives that the likeliest alternative to Mr. Trump for the nomination is the very "establishment Republican" Marco Rubio, the non-jerk of the season who could actually win in November. Too bad his task will be that much harder thanks to the ideological drunks who, when they knew better, cheered the Donald on.

    Creative Commons Image via Flickr / Matt Johnson