An opinion piece for The Washington Times suggested that "every schoolteacher in America should be armed in the classroom," ignoring that schools -- where guns are typically not permitted -- are among the safest places for young people.
In an August 26 op-ed, Steve Siebold, a motivational book author, also suggested that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children and six educators dead could have been prevented if teacher Victoria Soto, who was killed in the attack, had been armed with a gun:
If we look back at Sandy Hook last year, first-grade teacher and hero Victoria Soto, who was fatally shot after hiding her kids in a closet and telling the gunman the kids were in the gym, might still be alive had she been armed and able to defend herself. So could a lot of other children and teachers who tragically died that day.
In advocating for the arming of all teachers, and insisting that "If teachers aren't comfortable with that, they may need to find a new profession," Siebold left out key facts about past mass school shootings. For example, he cites the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting to buttress his claim that, "Arming our teachers and training them how to use a firearm properly will translate to fewer heinous acts taking place." In fact, an armed guard twice exchanged fire with one of the two shooters but was unable to stop the shooting.
Right-wing media repeatedly argue that increased turnout of voters of color demonstrates that strict voter ID requirements do not cause voter suppression, a relationship that experts note is a basic confusion of correlation with causation.
The Washington Times turned to an extremist organization to push the myth that allowing openly gay youth to be members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will endanger religious freedom.
In an article posted on August 14, the Times touted Alliance Defending Freedom's (ADF) claim that the BSA's new membership policy could lead to a rash of lawsuits against conservative churches that sponsor troops:
Christian churches are being warned that if they continue to sponsor Boy Scout troops, they are opening themselves to multiple legal challenges that could affect whether they can "freely preach the Gospel."
The Boy Scouts of America's newly adopted membership policy -- in which youths no longer will be blocked from joining the Scouts based on "sexual orientation or preference alone" -- is "a sweeping change to its core values," said Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal defense organization.
The policy change has legal ramifications for religious chartering groups, potentially exposing them to lawsuits if they continue to sponsor troops while seeking to maintain the traditional Christian teaching that homosexual behavior is immoral.
Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt claimed that "[l]iterally, revolutionary wars have been fought over less" than what right-wing media are calling an Obamacare "exemption" for members of Congress and assured his readers that they "should be sharpening the tines of [their] pitchforks."
In his August 13 op-ed titled "Obamacare exemption - none dare call it treason," published in The Washington Times and promoted on FoxNation.com, Hurt argued that were it not for citizen apathy, America "would already be in all-out political revolt":
Had we innocent, taxpaying citizens not long ago lost our capacity to be outraged by the disgraceful manner in which this place operates, we would already be in all-out political revolt. Against President Obama. Against Democrats in Congress. And, especially, Republicans.
Literally, revolutionary wars have been fought over less.
Last week, while many Americans spent hard-saved money on long-overdue vacations, the snakes and weasels inside the federal bureaucracy schemed until they hatched an evil plan. It would feather their own nests with more of your money, protect themselves from the ravages of the laws they foist upon us, desecrate our Constitution and then smear us with insult so putrid it would make a roadside vulture gag.
All the legal, constitutional and parliamentary maneuvering is enough to confuse Albert Einstein, but here is the bottom line: Congress and staff managed to get themselves exempted from the single, most-punishing aspect of Obamacare.
Yes, you should be sharpening the tines of your pitchforks.
The Washington Times is claiming that carbon emissions could be causing "global cooling" in contradiction of basic physics.
In an editorial Monday designed to ridicule Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) for convening a summit on clean energy in Las Vegas, the Times repeatedly referred to climate change as a "scam" and cited several "facts" that allegedly discredit it -- including that "there's new evidence that carbon-dioxide emissions, which first set off global-warming hysteria, are actually triggering global cooling."
But there isn't "new evidence" of that. Or any kind of evidence, really.
As Duke University scientist William Chameides explained to Media Matters when Fox News tried to advance this "utter nonsense" claim, scientists established the greenhouse effect "more than a century ago":
What CO2 does is trap a larger amount of the heat from the sun, preventing it from escaping and thus driving up temperatures. To argue otherwise is to argue that the greenhouse effect does not exist. In fact the existence of the greenhouse effect was established by scientists more than a century ago. It would be impossible to explain the temperatures of Mars and Venus, as well as the Earth, without invoking this effect.
The "greenhouse effect" is part of a complex process -- a "balancing act" -- that makes life on earth possible. However, mankind's use of fossil fuels has led to a surplus of these gases, which prevents more radiation than usual from escaping back into space, thus making the planet hotter. This is not the slightest bit controversial in the scientific community, and the reverse is a vanishingly remote belief even among the climate deniosphere. For instance, the chairman of the industry-funded George C. Marshall Institute, a physicist who has conducted no climate research but suggests we should be "clamoring for more" carbon dioxide, has said that "most people like me believe that industrial emissions will cause warming, but just much less than has been predicted by many computer models." Indeed, industrial emissions have already caused substantial warming, as seen in this chart from NASA:
Former Fox News host Glenn Beck once declared "Do I believe scientists? No. They've lied to us about global warming." But the study, by the Yale Project on Climate Communication, concludes that it's actually the other way around: conservative media consumers don't believe in scientists, therefore they don't believe in global warming.
The study suggests that watching and listening to outlets like Fox News and The Rush Limbaugh Show may be one reason that only 19 percent of Republicans agree that human activity is causing global warming, despite the consensus of 97 percent of climate scientists. The Yale researchers depicted five tactics used by conservative media to erode trust in scientists, which Media Matters illustrates with examples.
Conservative media typically turn to a roster of professional climate change contrarians and portray them as "experts" on the issue. What they don't mention is that most of these climate "experts" don't have a background in climate science and are often on the bankroll of the fossil fuel industry.
A Media Matters study detailed how certain climate contrarians have been given a large platform by the media, particularly Fox News.
For instance, Fox News cut away from President Barack Obama's recent climate change speech to host Chris Horner of the industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute -- giving approximately equal time to Horner and the president.
Right-wing media are using a new government report showing that there are a million visitors in the United States who have overstayed their visas to argue that the news will negatively impact immigration reform. However, what these media outlets are missing is that passing a comprehensive immigration bill, like the one that recently cleared the Senate, would largely fix the problem of such overstays as the bill mandates the implementation of a biometric entry-exit data system.
On July 30, the Government Accountability Office released a study reporting that as of June 2013, more than one million visitors in the United States have overstayed their visas -- thus the term overstays. GAO defines an overstay as a "nonimmigrant who is legally admitted to the United States for an authorized period but remains in the country illegally after that period expired without obtaining an extension of stay or a change of status or meeting other specific conditions, such as claiming asylum."
In a segment highlighting the report, Fox News host Heather Nauert claimed that the "news could hurt the debate over that sweeping immigration bill that we've heard so much about."
A July 30 Washington Times article similarly asserted that "the report could hurt immigration deal" and falsely claimed that the Senate immigration bill "waters down" requirements for a biometric system. The Times wrote that the bill "say[s] only that there must be a biographic-based system, which means using a photo, and that it be limited to air and sea ports."
While the number of immigrants who overstay their visas has reportedly sharply declined in the last decade, passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill would greatly alleviate the problem. According to a February 2013 study, overstays declined by 73 percent between 2000 and 2009, thanks to enhanced security measures by DHS in the years following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The immigration bill that passed the Senate on June 27 mandates the implementation of an exit system that will monitor when foreigners leave the country. It also mandates establishing a mandatory biometric exit data system that would require that all foreigners be fingerprinted when exiting the country." The system would have to be implemented at the 10 United States airports that support the highest volume of international air travel" within two years of the bill's passage. Such a system would then be expanded to 30 airports and major sea and land entry and exit points within six years.
A fact sheet of the bill by Sen. Bob Corker's (R-TN) office stated that the "underlying bill improves the identification of overstays through a fully implemented entry/exit system," and that Corker's amendment "goes a step further by mandating the initiation of removal proceedings for at least 90% of visa overstays - holding DHS accountable for failing to enforce the law and targeting an issue that is at the core of a policy of de facto amnesty."
According to an analysis of the bill as passed by the Senate, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would not only reduce the flow of illegal immigration, it would also greatly impact overstays. CBO concluded that the security measures in the bill would cut illegal immigration and overstays by "between one-third and one-half compared with the projected net inflow under current law."
"Ludicrous." That's how San Antonio City Councilman Diego Bernal described the effort by right-wing media outlets - including Fox News - to smear a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance aimed at combating bias against LGBT people.
On July 23, the right-wing website OneNewsNow published an article criticizing an effort by the San Antonio City Council to update its non-discrimination policy to include discrimination against LGBT people.
The updated policy would prohibit the city government and its contractors or vendors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in employment. In addition, it would also prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in housing and places of public accommodation. It would also allow City Council members to consider a person's history of anti-LGBT bias when making appointments to boards and commissions, stating:
No person shall be appointed to a position if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or disability.
That provision drew the ire of conservatives, who claimed that the ordinance was an attempt to limit Christians' freedom of speech.
Before long, several right-wing media outlets picked up on the controversy, with each new iteration of the story presenting even wilder claims about the ordinance's supposed threat to religious liberty.
Right-wing media outlets have smeared a proposed measure in San Antonio to expand the city's non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity, falsely claiming that the revised measure would limit free speech and religious liberty.
The Washington Times falsely asserted that a proposed ordinance protecting LGBT workers from discrimination in San Antonio endangers free speech.
The First Amendment took a hit in San Antonio last week, but the Constitution is still breathing. The San Antonio City Council voted to consider a city ordinance disqualifying anyone who believes homosexual conduct is wrong from serving, ever, on a municipal board. The ban is to be applied "if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed" against various protected classes, and for the first time to include sexual orientation and "gender identity."
Such bigots, for bigots is what they are, have no qualms about using such power as they have to bully anyone who holds views rooted in tradition or religion. The first draft of the San Antonio proposal would also have forbidden the city from doing business with anyone who fails to espouse politically correct views, and could, theoretically be used to remove anyone from office with a traditional view, or even a view not believed fervently enough, for "malfeasance." Such discrimination is proposed under the cloak of a "non-discrimination" ordinance. George Orwell is alive and hiding in Texas.
The Times proceeded to cite the concerns of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an extremist anti-gay group that is currently working vigorously to criminalize gay sex in Belize. The ADF, according to the Times, "says it has never before encountered such an expansive ordinance." Critics of the ordinance seize on the clause pertaining to discrimination or bias demonstrated "by word or deed" to depict the proposal as a sweeping assault on free speech - or even, as the Times has previously suggested, as an effort to ban Christians from holding public office in the city. Such conspiracy-minded fears are unfounded.
Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner accused President Obama of deliberately dividing America along racial lines, charging him and his administration with pervasive "anti-white racism."
In his July 26 column, Kuhner wrote that "the racial divide has increased over the past several years" because Obama "has deliberately fanned the flames of racial bitterness and hatred." Kuhner claimed that "[a]nti-white racism pervades" the Obama administration, and called the president's recent remarks on Trayvon Martin, in which he discussed race, "morally revolting." Kuhner also falsely claimed that the Justice Department sent employees to Sanford, the Florida town where Martin was killed, to "foment racial unrest" -- in fact, the Justice Department employees were sent to cool down tensions.
From Kuhner's column:
Race relations have deteriorated dramatically under President Obama. Both whites and blacks agree: the racial divide has increased over the past several years. The reason is simple. Mr. Obama has deliberately fanned the flames of racial bitterness and hatred.
Anti-white racism pervades his administration. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for intimidating white voters at a polling booth in Philadelphia. Mr. Holder has ordered the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division not to investigate crimes perpetrated by blacks against white victims. If this is not a racial double standard, then I don't know what is.
Yet, the most pernicious race baiting took place in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal. During the anti-Zimmerman protests in 2012, the Justice Department sent liaison officers to Sanford, Fla. Their mission: to aid black activists, such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, to foment racial unrest on behalf of slain black teenager Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman was rightly found not guilty of killing Trayvon. Instead of respecting the jury's verdict, Mr. Obama personally interjected himself into the case.
Mr. Obama claimed that he "could have been" Trayvon 35 years ago. Moreover, at a hastily convened news conference, the president wallowed in self-pity, decrying that he had been "profiled" as a young black man in department stores and elevators. In short, Mr. Obama portrayed himself as a long-standing victim of white bigotry.
The spectacle was not only politically perverse, but morally revolting.
Kuhner has long used his Washington Times column to launch race-baiting attacks on the president and his administration, including claiming that Obama "has unleashed class hatred and racial hostility" and accusing him of harboring "black nationalist sympathies."
In the wake of President Obama's economic policy speech, conservative media have refocused their attention to an outlandish comparison of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation and job creation during the Obama administration, ignoring the fact that most SNAP participants are either children or are employed and that the program is considered an effective form of economic stimulus that can help create jobs and alleviate poverty.
In the four years since the minimum wage was last raised, right-wing media have forwarded a number of myths to prevent any possible increase in the future, which often directly contradict economic evidence.
The Washington Times declared the real "obstacle to civil rights" is Attorney General Eric Holder and "offensive provisions" of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), not voter suppression.
Despite right-wing media's incessant, tone-deaf, and inaccurate discussion of race and civil rights in America in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial, conservative outlets have barely reported on Congress' current attempts to fix the VRA.
On the same day that The Times' editors dismissed President Obama's historic speech on the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by claiming "the only things the president had in common with Trayvon was a skin of a dark hue and a fondness for partying and smoking pot," the editorial board touched on the issue and claimed the real "threat to voting rights" was Congress' preliminary attempts to remedy the damage to the VRA caused by the infamous Shelby County v. Holder decision. From the July 23 editorial:
Democrats in Congress are trying to restore the offensive provisions of the Voting Rights Act as though the Supreme Court had not declared them unconstitutional. The legislative scam was put on display at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, with the legislation presented as the usual liberal morality play, "From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act."
When the voting law comes up for consideration, Republicans shouldn't be bullied into restoring provisions that would block voter-ID statutes enacted by the states. Much to the chagrin of congressmen looking for cheap and easy votes, Jim Crow lies in a graveyard in Alabama, and he isn't coming back. There's not a single Southern governor left standing in a schoolhouse door. The obstacle to civil rights is [Attorney General Eric] Holder, who wants to keep the backdoor of the polling station unlocked to make it easier to dilute the integrity of the ballot.
Continuing the recent trend in right-wing media, The Times pretends that Congressional concern for the VRA after the conservative justices in Shelby County gutted its most important provisions is only a "liberal morality play." In fact, the VRA has a long history of overwhelming bipartisan support, reauthorized most recently by President George W. Bush in 2006. After Shelby County was decided, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) immediately "signaled a concrete interest in repairing the parts" of the VRA that were struck down. More significantly, conservative Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is actively leading the current bipartisan effort to repair the historic civil rights law.
The Times, however, followed the lead of Fox News and avoided any mention of Sensenbrenner's prominent involvement. Instead, The Times chose to focus on encouraging members of Congress to show "backbone," even if they are "called a racist," and refuse to reauthorize the sections of the VRA that successfully blocked racially discriminatory voter ID laws in the last election cycle.
Right-wing media have cited the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 as a reason to oppose the bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the Senate June 27. However, the Senate immigration bill learns from and corrects the mistakes of the IRCA through increased border and interior enforcement and the creation of a legal channel for low-skilled workers.