The incoming editor of The Washington Times, Ed Kelley, recently suggested he was not familiar with the newspaper's long history of anti-gay attacks, saying the only controversy he had heard on the issue was "a change in whether or not the term either civil unions or gay marriage or something, whether or not there were going to be quotes used around the term or not." In fact, The Washington Times has long history of extreme rhetoric and smears against the LGBT community.
Following President Obama's speech announcing the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, right-wing media have strained to portray the announcement as a "mission accomplished" moment. However, Obama acknowledged that "huge challenges remain" in Afghanistan and "[w]e'll have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we've made."
In a June 20 Washington Times op-ed, Dr. Donald Palmisano, spokesperson for the anti-health care group Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights, continued pushing the false claim that the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created under the health care reform bill, would "exacerbate the shortage of doctors who see Medicare patients and ultimately, contribute to a reduced quality of care for our most vulnerable." From the Washington Times:
With Medicare's trustees predicting the Medicare program will go bankrupt in 2024 - five years earlier than was projected before the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - even Americans who strongly supported Obamacare have little choice but to acknowledge that Medicare must be reformed - and soon. While lawmakers continue to argue about the best way to protect this vital program for the seniors it serves and those who it has yet to serve, there is a growing bipartisan consensus that the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is one provision of the new health law that will do more to undermine the program than save it.
The cuts made by the board will come on top of the $500 billion that was transferred from Medicare to a new entitlement program as a result of the new health care law. Democrats and Republicans have found little common ground in recent years, but there has been widespread agreement that the IPAB could exacerbate the shortage of doctors who see Medicare patients and ultimately, contribute to a reduced quality of care for our most vulnerable.
The op-ed included the following illustration:
Kevin Jennings has a message for the people who tried to destroy him: "I'd like you to know that you completely failed."
I'd reached Jennings last week as he was cleaning out his office on his final day as the head of the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools -- a position from which anti-gay activists and conservative media outlets had tried unsuccessfully to oust him.
Now that Jennings is leaving on his own terms -- next month he'll become president and CEO of the national nonprofit group Be the Change -- he wants to make sure his detractors understand that they didn't keep him from carrying out his job.
"Despite all of your lies, despite all of your attacks, we managed to galvanize a national campaign against bullying that culminated with the president himself convening a summit on it in the East Room of the White House, which he personally keynoted," he says. "So despite your best efforts to derail what I was brought here to do, we were able to bring an unprecedented level of attention and energy to fighting bullying in a way never before done in this country.
"So, in the end, anybody looking back over the last two years would have to conclude that it is a complete and total victory for us and a complete and total defeat for our opponents, because they tried to derail -- and they used defamation to try and derail the work I was brought here to do, and they completely failed to do so. They completely and totally failed. And I want them to know that."
Jennings isn't exaggerating when he refers to "defamation."
Throughout the fall of 2009, Jennings -- who had spent the previous 19 years running the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) -- was the target of what he calls a "completely stunning" campaign of character assassination. Years-old lies, many of which had been recycled from an obscure Massachusetts hate group, were suddenly blasted out to the country by Fox News, The Washington Times, Andrew Breitbart's blog empire, and the rest of the conservative media.
Jennings was falsely accused of "encouraging" and "covering up" statutory rape. He was falsely accused of being a "pedophile." He was falsely accused of having "personally pushed books that encouraged children to meet adults at gay bars for sex." Karl Rove falsely claimed Jennings had engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA."
The Washington Times used the recent deaths in Germany resulting from people eating produce contaminated by E. coli bacteria to claim that organic food is dangerous. In fact, not only does the article lack data to support the claim but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has no data to support the claim that organic food is more susceptible to food-borne pathogens than conventional produce.
The Washington Times attacked John Bryson, President Obama's Commerce Secretary nominee, as a "radical environmentalist" and a "job destroyer." In fact, Bryson is a former energy company executive who sits on the boards of several major corporations, and his nomination reportedly has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; moreover, the Times has a long history of baselessly smearing Obama officials and nominees as "radicals."
The Washington Times used a University of Virginia study that claimed Medicaid patients are more likely to die than uninsured patients or patients with private insurance to attack the Democrats' health care policies. But the authors themselves have acknowledged "several noteworthy limitations" to the study, and experts have pointed out that the study is flawed, as it does not take into account the significant reasons for the discrepancies.
In a Washington Times op-ed, Steve Milloy responds to the National Research Council's warnings about the threat of climate change by offering false and misleading talking points to potential Republican presidential candidates.
As Media Matters has previously reported, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has filed a cloture petition on President Obama's nomination of Goodwin Liu to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the ninth Circuit. Despite bipartisan support for Liu by prominent conservative politicians, the right-wing media have continuously attacked the nominee, and in some cases called for a filibuster of the nomination.
As we proceed deeper into the Obama presidency, we're getting a clearer picture of just how radical some of the president's far-right adversaries are. We're starting to understand the depths to which the partisan extremists in the media will stoop, to the point where many this week seemed incapable of celebrating the execution of Osama bin Laden or extending a job well done to the White House.
That's pretty low.
The bin Laden story has provided a useful filter, or a demarcation line, within the right-wing media and has helped illustrate which strident Obama critics are still in touch with some strands of common sense and common decency, and which ones are not.
The bin Laden story has provided the minimal bar for irrational Obama haters to hop over: Toast the news that bin Laden had been killed and toast the administration for being able to accomplish the long overdue task. But it's a low bar that lots of dead-enders can't clear. (Thankfully, some conservative pundits were willing to leap over it.)
Led by Rush Limbaugh, the Washington Times, portions of Fox News, and bloggers who write for Andrew Breitbart, the dead-enders have spent this week not only refusing to credit Obama, but have been parading their contempt around in full view. The dead-enders have been attacking Obama in every way possible, from relentlessly critiquing his bin-Laden-is-dead declaration, to raising hysterical objections to the president's wreath-laying visit to Ground Zero.
A wreath-laying visit.
Phrases like 'inappropriate' barely begin to describe the oddity of watching the nasty Obama attacks unfold in response to the wonderful news about bin Laden's death.
Media conservatives are insisting that George W. Bush deserves as much credit as President Obama for the death of Osama Bin Laden, if not more. However, making this argument means ignoring what the Bush administration itself reportedly called its "gravest error" -- not capturing bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001 -- and Bush's 2002 statement that he was "not concerned" about bin Laden.
The conservative media are suggesting that former President Bush deserves more credit than President Obama for the death of Osama bin Laden. This is in stark contrast to their usual attacks that Obama is responsible for things that are happening during his presidency, including those tied to Bush-era policies like the Gulf oil spill, the weak economy, and the nation's deficit problems.
Led by Fox's Andrew Napolitano, right-wing media figures have embraced yet another conspiracy theory aimed at attacking President Obama: that Osama bin Laden might not be dead. Right-wing media have previously promoted the false conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in United States and the myth that Obama is a Muslim.
The professional Obama haters in the right-wing media have been sniping since Sunday night, trying to come to terms with the momentous news that the president helped oversee the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Rather than graciously give the POTUS credit, and rather than setting aside the truly petty personal attacks that traditionally anchor the right's incessant swipes, lots of critics just can't stop.
I'll highlight just two particularly disturbing examples.
The first came courtesy of Emily Miller at the Washington Times today. Read this passage and ask yourself how people like this ever come to view the President of the United States with such a blinding personal contempt. It's a dripping derision that can't even be set aside for 24 hours while America celebrates bin Laden's demise [emphasis added]:
The president made a televised briefing to the nation at 11:35 p.m. to announce that the 9/11 terrorist had, at last, been captured and killed. He concluded his scripted remarks – which he read from a teleprompter – with soaring, spiritual words. "Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," said Mr. Obama. "May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America."
Talking points aside, the suddenly religious president started his Sunday morning as he usually does: skipping church to go hit the golf links.
Yes, the Washington Times unloaded on the president for quoting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The second came from Los Angeles Times' full-time Obama hater, Andrew Malcolm. Here's a passage where Malcolm mocks the president's top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, and the White House briefing Brennan gave for reporters:
In fact, this weekend was such a tense time in the White House that Obama only got in nine holes of golf. But he still managed to deliver his joke script to the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner Saturday evening.
Sunday was, Brennan revealed to his eager audience, "probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of times in the lives of the people assembled here." Poor poor bureaucrats. Extra Tums all around. Did someone order dinner?
Miller and Malcolm really do represent the Obama dead-enders who long ago stopped even trying to debate the president's policies. Now they just bottom feed, making snide comments about how phony the President of the United States is. Note that in their angry missives, both Miller and Malcolm displayed more contempt for Obama than they did bin Laden.
In the lead-up to Earth Day, members of the right-wing media have ridiculed conservation efforts and downplayed the concerns of environmentalists. This is nothing new for conservative media figures who have, in the past, used the Earth Day to attack conservationists by urging audiences to cut down trees and increase their energy consumption.