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Matt McLaughlin

Author ››› Matt McLaughlin
  • Union busting: Right-wing media relentlessly attack worker representation


    Media conservatives have waged a relentless war against labor unions, blaming them for a wide variety of problems and smearing them as "communists" and "thugs," among other attacks. However, experts have credited unions for establishing many of the "most fundamental and valued features of today's society" and "paving the road to the middle class for many millions of working families."

  • Right-wing media respond to AZ ruling with unhinged rhetoric


    Media conservatives have responded with a torrent of unhinged rhetoric to an Arizona judge's ruling that blocked parts of the state's immigration law from taking effect. For example, Rush Limbaugh suggested the ruling would prevent the state from defending itself from an "invasion," and Jeffrey Kuhner suggested Arizona should consider secession.

  • Why would TV execs want to put Bill Cunningham's hate speech on TV?

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Right-wing radio host Bill Cunningham is getting a nationally syndicated television show, the Chicago Tribune reported today. One is left to wonder how the Tribune Co., which will syndicate the show, thought it would be a good idea to broadcast Cunningham's caustic commentary on TV.

    Cunningham is no radio powerhouse in the mold of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, but what he lacks in audience size, he makes up for in sheer vitriol.

    Vituperative remarks about President Obama are a staple of Cunningham's radio show. He has attacked Obama as a racist, alleged that the president wants to "gas the Jews," and invoked "six-six-six" and "the beast" in discussing "Barack Hussein Obama." He's adopted the rhetoric of birthers and even made racially charged remarks about Obama's father, stating, "That's what black fathers do. They simply leave."

    The poor are also among Cunningham's favorite targets for attack: He has stated that they are impoverished "because they lack values, ethics, and morals," and advocated "beat[ing] the hell outta" homeless people with "a big old cane, Singapore-style."

    This is the guy Tribune wants to put on TV five days a week?

  • Why does Glenn Beck have to tell his audience to "reject violence"?

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    In a research item today, Media Matters documented how Glenn Beck -- who regularly engages in violent rhetoric on his Fox News and radio shows -- frequently implores his audience not to engage in violence. Beck's habit of warning against violence raises an important question: Why does he feel this is necessary?

    This question is important because there have been at least two incidents of violence against police that have been linked to rhetoric similar to the violent speech Beck engages in. In the most recent case, the shooter reportedly told police he wanted to kill "people of importance at the Tides Foundation" -- a little-known organization Beck has frequently attacked on his Fox News show.

    Beck isn't the only major right-wing media figure who pushes extreme, often violent rhetoric, but he is the only one who admonishes his audience against violence.

    What does it say about his audience or his violent rhetoric that this is the case?

  • The White House made me do it: Ingraham and Gingrich absolve themselves for attacking Sherrod


    Right-wing media figures have tried to absolve themselves for attacking Shirley Sherrod by pointing out that the White House fired her. However, regardless of the White House's actions, these media figures are far from blameless; as Salon's Joan Walsh noted, media figures "pounc[ed] on" Sherrod without seeking any comment from her.

  • Right-wing blogs push rumor that Mexican gangs "invade[d]" U.S.

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Right-wing blogs have been promoting a rumor that "highly trained killers" from a Mexican drug gang have "invade[d]" the United States, taking over two ranches near the Mexico-U.S. border in Laredo, Texas, but law enforcement agencies in the area have flatly denied the rumor.

    The Laredo Morning Times reported that law enforcement officials had been "bombarded" with calls about the rumor but that "officials with the Laredo Police Department, Webb County Sheriff's Department and Border Patrol said they knew nothing about such an incident, while Erik Vasys, an FBI spokesman in San Antonio, said the agency does not comment on rumors."

    Some conservative blogs have acknowledged that the story appears to be bogus, but others are standing by it.

  • LAT's Rainey criticizes Breitbart, Fox for pushing false attacks

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    In a July 24 column, Los Angeles Times media critic James Rainey criticized Andrew Breitbart for his deceptive attacks painting USDA official Shirley Sherrod as a "racist."

    From Rainey's column:

    But certain media outlets have played the story and the political ramifications for the Obama administration (and there are questions to be answered) as if they sprang out of the ether. There's a continuing rush to talk about effect, and very little desire to talk about cause -- the steaming pile of misinformation delivered on a platter by one individual with a giant ax to grind.

    Andrew Breitbart, the conservative agitator behind websites like and, likes it this way. Stirring the pot, gobbling up chunks of cable television time, doing whatever it takes to further his political beliefs, even if it means putting one woman's reputation through a meat grinder.


    Breitbart said he was compelled to post the Sherrod video because it proved that it was the NAACP, not the Tea Party movement, that harbors racists. He was ever-so dismayed that others in the media made Sherrod the object of censure.

    Right. Then why did his original posting on Monday morning specifically call out Sherrod -- declaring that the video of her speech offered "evidence of racism coming from a federal employee."

    Rainey also heaped scorn on Fox News for promoting the bogus attack on its web sites and cable news shows: