Conservative pundits have attributed economic growth and job creation in Texas to the success of conservative policies like low taxes and small government. But government has played a significant role in Texas' recent economic record: Federal spending helped balance the state budget, and strict regulation helped shield it from the housing bubble.
Recently, Fox News' Steve Doocy has repeatedly recycled the right-wing attack that the stimulus cost taxpayers between $200,000 and $278,000 per job. In fact, PolitiFact Texas rated this claim "False," and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman called the math upon which this calculation is based "bogus."
The right-wing media are promoting a claim made by a Weekly Standard writer that the stimulus has "cost $278,000 per job." However, simply dividing the amount of money spent by the number of jobs created is, according to an Associated Press fact check, "highly misleading," and economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has called this math "bogus."
Discredited right-wing activist Lila Rose is promoting yet another video hoax, falsely claiming to have caught Planned Parenthood officials lying about the organization's work providing patients with access to cancer screenings, including mammograms. But the comments Rose highlights in no way contradict the undisputed fact that Planned Parenthood provides patients with access to these services.
The Urban Institute recently published a report contradicting the claim often pushed by Fox News that the health care reform law will "kill jobs." But Fox's Bill Hemmer nevertheless used the institute's report to attack health care reform and its "effect on jobs."
The right-wing media is grasping for coherence in its attempts to portray military action in Libya as "Obama's Iraq."
In honor of the one year anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Media Matters presents a timeline of one of the most disgraceful and pernicious myths about the law--death panels.
A news analysis in today's New York Times concluded with two benign paragraphs that ended up inciting right-wing blog squawk. From the Times, emphasis added:
"Striking a very balanced, and in many ways, neutral approach is recognized by many people in the region as not being with them, or on their side," said J. Scott Mastic, the head of Middle East and North Africa for the International Republican Institute. "It's very important that we be seen as supporting the demands of the people in the region."
How Mr. Obama manages to do that while also balancing American interests is a question that officials acknowledge will plague this historic president for months to come. Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, "No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao's words in Tahrir Square."
An all-star team of conservative voices has pounced on that sentence to make a series of outrageous criticisms and claims. Bill Kristol wrote on the Weekly Standard blog:
Mr. Obama is right.
If you're president of China, people around the world who are fighting for freedom don't really expect you to help. If you're president of China, you don't have to put up with annoying off-year congressional elections, and then negotiate your budget with a bunch of gun-and-religion-clinging congressmen and senators. If you're president of China, you can fund your national public radio to your heart's content.
Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft wrote in a post:
Of course it would.
Then he could just slaughter those disruptive Gadsden flag-waving tea partiers.
Is that what he's talking about?
Is it really that difficult for this man to tell the difference between the United States and China?... Really?
Every one of these criticisms takes a paraphrased, one-sentence attribution out of context and blows it out of proportion. The quote is included in the context of discussing the scrutiny Obama faces while trying to balance the demands of citizens in the Middle East with the United States' own interests. It precedes an official noting that "[n]o one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao's words in Tahrir Square."
The point is that foreign nationals are not scrutinizing the actions of other nations as they are those the United States. That's it. It is not a sign that Obama wishes he were a dictator, that he resents having to negotiate with Congress, or that Obama wants to "slaughter those disruptive Gadsden flag-waving tea partiers."
Further, when he was president-elect, George Bush made a much more overt mention of the ease of dictatorial rule. As CNN reported in December 2000:
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Frank, President- elect George W. Bush came to Capitol Hill today for the first time since the election intending to listen to congressional leaders, the bipartisan congressional leadership. But he also made it clear to them, in more than two and a half hours of meetings, that he intends to stand by his tax cut proposal and other planks in his campaign agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I told all four that there were going to be some times where we don't agree with each other. But that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.
To recap: There is no evidence that President Obama wishes he were a dictator.
Attempting to justify a push for additional restrictions on voter registration, The Weekly Standard's Michael Warren went searching for examples of fraudulent votes being cast in the last decade and came up with only five examples.
In his post, Warren tries to debunk progressives' arguments that Republicans are using restrictions on voter registration and voting as cover to disenfranchise people. Warren suggests that the restrictions are necessary to combat voter fraud, alleging that there have been "several substantial investigations into and cases of voter fraud since 2000." In fact, contrary to [Pew Center's Doug] Chapin's claim, there is much evidence that liberal groups like ACORN have gotten away with plenty of fraud in the last several elections before 2010. (Read here, here, here, and here, for starters.)"
As we've previously documented, actual examples of "voter fraud," people casting or attempting to cast an illegal ballot are extremely rare. Right-wing media figures often conflate "voter registration fraud," in which people participating in voter registration drives fill out fraudulent registration forms -- filling out registrations for Mickey Mouse, for instance, to pad the number of forms they turn in -- with actual voter fraud. After all, even if somebody fraudulently registers Mickey Mouse, how likely is it that Mickey Mouse will turn up to vote?
And sure enough, three of Warren's four examples of voter fraud in the last decade actually involve investigations of voter registration fraud. Indeed, one of the examples involves a man convicted of voter registration fraud who says he "took addresses from homeless shelters, used fake birthdays and Social Security numbers and took names from baby books to create voters out of thin air." It seems pretty unlikely that any of these registrations actually turned into votes.
Warren does hit on one report of actual alleged voter fraud: a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article reporting that three people were charged with illegally voting as felons and two were charged with voting twice (another two were charged with voter registration fraud).
That's it: Five examples of alleged fraudulent voting in the last decade. (By the way, a Justice Department report found that between October 2002 and September 2005, the Justice Department convicted 17 people for casting fraudulent ballots with another three pending at the time of the report.)
Is this handful of examples of voter fraud really enough to support bills that will have the effect of disenfranchising legitimate voters?
Recent op-eds in The Washington Examiner and The Weekly Standard have claimed that mass transit does not reduce traffic congestion and as an alternative, they promoted building more highways as a means to reduce traffic. However, studies have shown that mass transit can reduce congestion, while building more roads usually does not.
Misrepresenting testimony from the CBO director, conservative media claim the health care reform law will eliminate 800,000 jobs. In fact, CBO said the law will "reduc[e] the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, and as health expert Paul Van De Water stated, "If people voluntarily choose to reduce their hours of work ... that's not killing jobs."
Glenn Beck has already lost more than 100 advertisers from his Fox News show -- and it seems he's doing his best to drive away another one.
Beck has been skirmishing with Weekly Standard editor William Kristol over Kristol's criticism of his conspiratorial ranting about the purported upcoming takeover of the Middle East by an Islamic caliphate. On yesterday's edition of his Fox News show, Beck declared that Kristol was a supposedly "trusted source" who is "out of step" on the issue, and that only one side can be right: his or Kristol's.
On today's show, Beck mocked Kristol and other critics as people who he would have considered credible 20 years ago who are now "comfortable in their jobs" and "comfortable with their titles," and who have "had their time in the sun" and won't do their homework -- unlike a random viewer of the show whom Beck happily highlighted.
Guess what was very first ad to air on the show both days? An ad for The Weekly Standard, which kicks off with Kristol introducing himself. Here's the ad from yesterday:
Here's the ad from today:
Given the mass exodus of prominent advertisers that has already occurred, should Beck really be working so hard to denigrate someone who has paid money to be in the very first commercial his viewers see?
And more importantly, was Fox News in on this conspiracy of silence?!
Four months after the bloody event took place, right-wing bloggers, along with Glenn Beck, have embraced the sad story of the Missouri dean at Penn Valley Community College who was senselessly slashed by a crazed attacker who thought he was stabbing Missouri's Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, who was scheduled to appear on the campus that same day.
Why is the right-wing blogosphere eagerly retelling the tale nearly half a year later? Because they want to play politics with the story even after they demanded nobody play politics with the Tucson gun massacre. So yeah, there's a massive amount of hypocrisy involved.
But here's where the right-wingers' handling of the story goes from crass to predictably dumb: They claim that the Missouri story was hushed up in real time last year because the liberal media wasn't interested in writing about the attacker because he appeared to have a radical-left background, and because the liberal media only writes about attackers who have radical-right backgrounds.
Do I really have to point out the gaping large hole in this very dumb meme? Okay, I will. You know who else hushed up the Missouri story last year? Fox News. And the New York Post. And the Washington Times, and the Washington Examiner, and The Weekly Standard and National Review and the Drudge Report.
You get the idea. I can't find a single 2010 reference from any conservative media outlet that reported on, or paid attention to, the Missouri attack last year while highlighting the politics of the attacker. Bloggers this week have whipped themselves into a frenzy about a supposed conspiracy of silence being perpetrated by the liberal media. But oops, first they forgot to see if Fox News ignored the story, too.
It did. And virtually so did every national news outlet last year. So I'd sure love to hear right-wing bloggers explain how Fox News was in on the big cover-up. And The Weekly Standard and National Review, etc.
In the days following the tragic shooting in Arizona, Fox News and other right-wing media have attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for sending out an email mentioning the shootings and also asking for campaign contributions. But all of these reports have ignored that the Tea Party Express-- a group frequently promoted by Fox News--sent out two emails that used the shooting to fundraise.
The Weekly Standard blows the lid off another non-scandal -- and, in the process, all but begs House Republicans to conduct a wasteful and inane investigation:
HHS is Paying Google with Taxpayer Money to Alter 'Obamacare' Search Results (Updated)
The brazenness of the Obama administration never ceases to amaze. Try typing "Obamacare" into Google, and you'll find that the first entry is now the Obama administration's www.healthcare.gov. If you don't particularly like that result, you'll probably hate the fact that you're paying for it.
Using taxpayers' money to alter the results of search engines and to control the flow of information is disturbing on multiple levels. It's particularly disturbing when it's done to promote a massive expansion of government power, like Obamacare. And one wonders how – or if – it's even legal.
Perhaps the new House of Representatives will want to ask the unelected Secretary Sebelius to explain how, or why, she thinks such use of taxpayers' money to promote a particular -- and highly unpopular -- political agenda is legally or substantively justifiable.
"Obamacare" isn't a "political agenda," it's a government program, passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. The government has a natural and appropriate interest in making sure the public knows how a new government program works. The public, quite obviously, has such an interest as well.
Buying ads on Google isn't "control[ing] the flow of information," it's buying ads. It isn't a nefarious bribe to get Google to alter search results; it's how Google ads work. Here's the first example that popped into my head:
See what happened there? I typed "the weekly standard" into Google's search box, and Google put an ad for the Weekly Standard atop my search results. That's exactly what happened with the www.healthcare.gov ads in question. Here's a screenshot, from Politico's Ben Smith:
So, this is nothing more than the government buying ads, exactly -- exactly -- like The Weekly Standard does. Is that a scandal? Of course not. The government buys ads all the time. Like those military recruitment commercials you probably see a few hundred times a year. I haven't seen the Weekly Standard denounce that as an illegal use of taxpayer money to promote a political agenda by controlling the flow of information. Good thing, too: Such a complaint would be stupid.