The Drudge Report, Human Events and the Weekly Standard are taking Vice President Joe Biden out of context, falsely suggesting that he said Obama and Biden want to raise taxes on average Americans by a trillion dollars. In fact, Biden was merely restating the administration's years-old policy of wanting to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire.
John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN and vocal critic of the Obama administration, is often sought after by the media for his opinion on foreign policy issues, but his stake in the presidential election -- as a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney -- is rarely, if ever, disclosed by the outlets that publish him.
In addition to editorials in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, and appearances on Fox News that left Bolton's ties to Romney undisclosed, a Media Matters review found editorials in five additional publications written or co-written by Bolton that left out that key information.
In total, Bolton wrote seven editorials that were critical of Obama's policies for The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard and the National Review after he became affiliated with the Romney campaign. None of those op-eds identified Bolton as a member of the Romney team. However, three of those outlets -- the Times, Monitor, and the Examiner -- have reported separately on Bolton's position in the campaign.
Conservative media have claimed that the Obama administration is waging a "war" on "cheap," "clean" coal that will cause blackouts and massive layoffs. In fact, the Obama administration has simply implemented long overdue and legally required clean air regulations to protect public health without hurting electric reliability or employment, and much of the transition away from coal is due to the rise of cheaper, cleaner natural gas.
Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech contained numerous falsehoods that originated in the right-wing media. Right-wing media have also echoed some of Romney's other dubious claims that were part of the speech.
Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate marks yet another surrender by the Republican nominee to the right-wing media. On the ropes after a brutal month and with his conservative media allies threatening to abandon him, Romney was left with no choice but to pick a favorite of that crowd, even though, as the Washington Post's Ezra Klein notes, that pick both drives his candidacy further to the right and represents an abandonment of his campaign strategy to date.
Why else would a candidate who had built his campaign around the idea that business experience trumped public sector experience choose someone who had spent his life in government? Why else would a candidate who had studiously avoided giving any policy details lash himself to someone so closely associated with complex proposals to slash the social safety net?
Over the past week the leading lights of the right-wing media have demanded that Romney prove his conservative principles by selecting Ryan as his running mate, with praise for the potential pick coming from the editors of The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review.
Fox News, the most powerful right-wing media outlet in the country, has spent years praising Ryan as a "star," a "genius," and a man of "courage." News Corp. was ground zero for the GOP's rollout of Ryan's budget, which their networks heavily touted. Last year Fox contributors called for Ryan to run for president in his own right. Fox News Sunday even made Paul Ryan a birthday cake for an appearance he made on the program.
Romney leapt at the opportunity to please those opinion leaders and their audiences.
It couldn't come at a better time for the Republican nominee, who seemed to have lost the trust of his base in recent days, as woeful polls and gaffe after gaffe unfolded. What could have been the final straw came when Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul dared to tout the health care plan Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts - probably his signature accomplishment in government. The response from the right-wing media was swift and brutal, with CNN contributor Erick Erickson suggesting that the comments could have cost Romney the election and Ann Coulter calling for a boycott on Romney contributions until the campaign fired Saul.
Expect such criticisms to die away now that Romney has picked their "rock star."
Right-wing media are amplifying attacks on President Obama over his recent dismissal of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez as a threat to the United States, while ignoring that experts are in agreement with Obama.
In an interview with a Miami television station on Wednesday, Obama said, "We're always concerned about Iran engaging in destabilizing activity around the globe." He added, "But overall, my sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us."
In response, Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), attacked Obama for downplaying the threat of Chávez and suggested that he is weak on national security.
Experts, however, have offered assessments that support Obama's remarks. In a statement to The Miami Herald, Riordan Roett, the director of Western Hemisphere Studies and the Latin American Studies Program at John Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies, dismissed the criticism as "just pure electoral politics."
Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, along with Jamie Fly, the Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative, has written an article urging Congress to authorize military force against Iran's nuclear program.
Kristol and Fly dismissed diplomacy and sanctions as effective means of deterring Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons, arguing instead that "[t]he real and credible threat of force is probably the last hope of persuading the Iranian regime to back down." They added: "So: Isn't it time for the president to ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iran's nuclear program?"
Kristol and Fly continued by arguing that if Obama doesn't ask for an Authorization for Use of Military Force, Congress should take action itself. "Instead of running away from it, administration officials could be putting the military option front and center and ensuring it is seen as viable," they wrote. "And if the administration flinches, Congress could consider passing such an authorization anyway."
From Kristol and Fly's article, headlined "No Iranian Nukes":
President Obama says a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. The real and credible threat of force is probably the last hope of persuading the Iranian regime to back down. So: Isn't it time for the president to ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iran's nuclear program?
Instead of running away from it, administration officials could be putting the military option front and center and ensuring it is seen as viable. And if the administration flinches, Congress could consider passing such an authorization anyway. While any commander in chief has the constitutional authority to take urgent action to protect Americans and their interests, such legislation would give weight to the president's commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It would strengthen the president's hand. It would show Tehran that America's policy of preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon is a credible one. Bipartisan support for such an authorization would remove the issue as much as possible from the turmoil of election year politics. And the authorization could also make clear that the United States would come to Israel's aid in the event that it decides it needs to take action.
We don't expect the Obama administration to request an Authorization for Use of Military Force. But Congress can act without such a request. By doing so, it would serve the nation's interest, and, indeed, the administration's, if the administration means what it says.
Surely it is time for a concentration of congressional opinion and force capable of lifting our efforts to the level of emergency. The Obama administration may be committed to leading from behind, but Congress can choose to lead from the front.
A May 23 Weekly Standard blog post highlighted by The Drudge Report attacked President Obama's economic record by listing the 30 months with the lowest employment-population ratio in the past 25 years and pointing out that all of them have occurred during Obama's administration. But by presenting the data -- pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website -- in list form, The Weekly Standard doesn't present the employment situation honestly. As the BLS data clearly show, the employment-population ratio was already on a steep decline that began in January 2008 under President Bush -- a year before Obama took office -- and that has since stabilized.
The Weekly Standard used the BLS statistics to claim that, in terms of the employment-population ratio, "over the past 25 years, the worst month under any other president has beaten the best month under Obama." Here is a portion of the list from The Weekly Standard, which continues in the same fashion:
1. (tie) July 2011, 58.2 percent, President Barack Obama
1. (tie) June 2011, 58.2 percent, Obama
1. (tie) November 2010, 58.2 percent, Obama
1. (tie) December 2009, 58.2 percent, Obama
5. (tie) August 2011, 58.3 percent, Obama
5. (tie) December 2010, 58.3 percent, Obama
But there's a reason that the BLS doesn't present its own data this way. Simply listing months with low employment-population ratios ignores trends in employment data. Instead of simply linking to the BLS website, The Weekly Standard changed the way the data was presented. If you follow The Weekly Standard's link to the BLS data, you find the following chart:
What the chart clearly shows - and that The Weekly Standard ignores -- is that the employment-population ratio was in the midst of a steep decline when Obama took office, caused by the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The Weekly Standard correctly points out that previous administrations enjoyed an employment-population ratio in the 60s for years, but its dishonest presentation of the data ignores the clear fact that the forces leading to the low numbers began under the Bush administration.
Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.
Another year, another concerted effort by conservative leaders to play catch-up with liberals and to finally launch effective media and messaging tools online. They can keep trying, but until conservatives change their behavior, their goals will remain elusive and their established trend of failure will continue indefinitely.
The news this week came in the form of a Politico article announcing the launch an outpost called Center for American Freedom, which will house a conservative news outlet called the Washington Free Beacon. Its founders are touting the launch as an effort to match the impressive gains progressives have made at places like Center for American Progress, the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo. The founders are also candid about how their side has been getting lapped by progressives for years in this arena.
The reason remains simple: Partisan conservatives have routinely shown they have neither an interest in genuine journalism, nor the skills to practice it. Conversely, progressives over the last decade have put in the hard work, held themselves to professional standards of conduct, and have reaped the rewards. So it's no surprise that year after year conservatives moan that progressives have built a new media infrastructure and are outclassing them, especially online.
Since President Obama took office, right-wing media have argued that his foreign policy is making the United States less safe and is bent on attacking Israel. Those attacks have continued in 2011, even as the Obama administration has overseen the death of Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Anwar Al-Awlaki, repeatedly supported Israel, and been praised by Israeli leaders.
The December 12 print edition of The Weekly Standard features a cover story by Steven Hayward titled "Climategate (Part II): A sequel as ugly as the original," which discusses the recent release of more hacked emails from the climate research center at the University of East Anglia in the UK.
Hayward acknowledges from the outset that he did not do "an extended review" of the emails -- and this is evident in his analysis -- but he still asserts that "longtime critics of the climate cabal are going to be vindicated." Hayward claims the emails constitute more than "a 'smoking gun' of scientific bias" and reveal "the rank politicization of climate science."
Throughout the 3,500-word story, Hayward quotes from 10 of the email exchanges, but not one of them actually supports his thesis that mainstream climate science is driven by politics. Let's take them one at a time:
1. Hayward Cites Email About Page Limits To Claim That "Politics Drives The Process." A 2004 email from Jonathan Overpeck advises a colleague to "decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what's included and what is left out." Hayward claims that this email "reinforce[s] the impression that politics drives the process". But a closer look at the full email reveals that Overpeck is simply asking Villalba to condense a document into "0.5 pages of HIGHLY focused and relevant stuff" in order to meet page limits.
2. "Political Spin" Email Actually Showed How Critiques Among Scientists Improved IPCC Report. Hayward cites an email from then-Met Office scientist Peter Thorne to Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in February 2005 criticizing an early draft of the IPCC report for putting a "political spin" on the science. As we've shown, Thorne's concerns were incorporated into the final version of the chapter released two years later, showing the self-policing nature of the field. Indeed, Hayward later concedes that "the final chapter was amended along lines Thorne recommended," while maintaining that the scientists dismissed "several other objections and contrary observations."
3. & 4. Hayward Quotes Emails Of Scientists Criticizing Activists' Exaggerations Of The Evidence. Hayward quotes emails from two scientists in 2000 and 2007 expressing frustration with environmental advocates misusing science to further their political agenda. Hayward goes on to ask if leading climate scientists ever "publicly" call out exaggerations and distortions of the science. Turns out, they do that all the time.
The right-wing media have launched another round of attacks on President Obama for supposedly being anti-Israel. However, Obama has regularly supported Israel, and according to a recent poll, the majority of Israeli Jews support him.
In this week's print edition of the Weekly Standard, Adam White writes that delays in the Keystone XL pipeline and the Cape Wind offshore wind project are examples of a "worrisome trend" -- that a "convoluted" regulatory process is "killing energy development" in America.
The Weekly Standard identifies White as "a lawyer in Washington, D.C.", without disclosing the fact that his law firm -- Boyden Gray & Associates -- represents Exelon, FirstEnergy, and possibly other energy companies that stand to benefit from dismantling federal regulations. According to his website, White works on "energy regulation" and "environmental regulation" at the firm.
The pipeline's economic benefit to the United States is impressive: The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline would increase our gross domestic product by more than $200 billion between 2010 and 2035, and support close to 85,000 U.S. jobs in 2020.
The Canadian Energy Research Institute is sponsored by oil companies such as Imperial Oil Limited, which is represented on CERI's Board of Directors and would directly benefit from the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline.
CERI's claim that the pipeline could support 85,000 U.S. jobs is far higher than even TransCanada's figures. TransCanada estimated that Keystone XL would create 13,000 direct construction jobs, stressing that those are temporary jobs. And even that is a stretch according to the State Department's analysis, which puts that number closer to 5,000.
Furthermore, a Cornell University report points out that the pipeline's jobs impact "could be completely outweighed by the project's potential to destroy jobs through rising fuel costs, spill damage and clean up operations, air pollution and increased GHG emissions."
Right-wing media have expressed outrage over President Obama hugging Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G-20 summit, claiming that Obama is "hugging enemies [and] abandoning allies." In fact, Turkey is an ally of the United States via its membership in NATO; moreover, this is just the latest example of the right-wing media's obsession with how Obama greets leaders.