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Matt McLaughlin

Author ››› Matt McLaughlin
  • Beck builds a show around bizarre rhetoric supported by falsehoods

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Glenn Beck was in rare form tonight, even for Glenn Beck.

    On most nights, you can expect false claims and extremist rants from Beck, but tonight, he uncorked some doozies -- many of them regarding the recently enacted financial regulatory reform law.

    Beck got things started by declaring that the law amounted to "Big Brother," and he called it "the biggest re-routing of the nation's wealth in our history" and "an unprecedented assault on our economy, our ability to do business, and quite honestly the republic as we know it."

    He became even more unhinged later, ranting that the new law is too complicated. He then yelled: "What is wrong with us, America? Why are people not in the streets? Your republic is over." Next, he asserted that "the America we grew up in is over" and warned that "this Sherrod thing is all about" a government plot to "take over the media."

    Beck bumped up the bizarre factor even more a few minutes later, stating that his Fox News program is "the show of record," and went off on the "dangerous and scary time" in which we live. Warning viewers about the "plan" that "people in and around this White House" have, Beck went biblical: "This isn't the new New Deal, this is an old, old deal -- maybe since the beginning of man. I believe a third of the angels fell from heaven over this plan." He went on to paraphrase Psalm 23:4, the one about walking through the "valley of the shadow of death."

    What evidence did Beck base his absurd rants on? His usual steady stream of falsehoods and distortions.

  • House GOP leader Boehner criticizes Breitbart

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Rep. John Boehner, the House Republican leader, has criticized Andrew Breitbart for posting edited video of former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, the Daily Caller has reported. Breitbart said the video showed "evidence of racism," but the full video shows that accusation to be false.

    From the Daily Caller:

    House Minority Leader John Boehner on Wednesday criticized the decision by conservative media personality Andrew Breitbart to air only a small portion of the video showing USDA official Shirley Sherrod making racially charged remarks earlier this year, which led to her firing.

    "It's unfortunate that whoever laid this out there didn't lay out the whole story, as opposed to a part of it," said Boehner, an Ohio Republican, at a lunch with journalists in Washington.

    "They only put a little piece of the story out there and people make judgments and they rush and they make bad decisions. They make rash decisions. I don't want to say bad because I haven't seen all of this," he said.

    Other conservatives, including National Review's Jonah Goldberg, RedState's Erick Erickson, and The Weekly Standard's John McCormack, have also criticized Breitbart's actions.

  • Full video vindicates Sherrod, destroys Breitbart's accusations of racism

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    The NAACP has posted the video of Shirley Sherrod's March 27 speech, and it definitively proves false Andrew Breitbart's claim that the edited video he posted at his BigGovernment.com website is "evidence of racism."

    In his first post about the video, Breitbart wrote: "In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn't do everything she can for him, because he is white."

    Media Matters previously documented that Breitbart's original post suggested that the actions Sherrod described in the video came in her capacity as the USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development during the Obama administration. In fact, the actions she described came 24 years ago, when she when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund -- before she began working for the Agriculture Department.

    And in the full video, Sherrod recounts how she ultimately helped the farmer avoid the foreclosure on his farm. Indeed, while Breitbart's video included Sherrod saying that she initially didn't to everything she could, it omitted her explanation that later she went to much greater lengths to help the farmer:

    SHERROD: So, everything was going along fine -- I'm thinking he's being taken care of by the white lawyer, then they lift the injunction against USDA in May of '87 for two weeks and he was one of 13 farmers in Georgia who received a foreclosure notice. He called me. I said, well, go on and make an appointment at the lawyer. Let me know when it is and I'll meet you there.

    So we met at the lawyer's office on the day they had given him. And this lawyer sat there -- he had been paying this lawyer, y'all. That's what got me. He had been paying the lawyer since November, and this was May. And the lawyer sat there and looked at him and said, "Well, y'all are getting old. Why don't you just let the farm go?" I could not believe he said that, so I said to the lawyer -- I told him, I can't believe you said that. I said: It's obvious to me that he cannot file a Chapter 12 bankruptcy to stop this foreclose, you have to file an 11. And the lawyer said to me, I'll do whatever you say -- whatever you think -- that's the way he put it. But he's paying him. He wasn't paying me any money. You know, so he said -- the lawyer said he would work on it.

    And then, about seven days before that man would have been sold at the courthouse steps, the farmer called me and said the lawyer wasn't doing anything. And that's when I spent time there in my office calling everybody I could think so to try to see -- help me find the lawyer who would handle this.

    She goes on to say how her encounter with the farmer "made me realize then that I needed to work to help poor people" regardless of whether they were black, white, or Hispanic.

    Breitbart's video edits out any of Sherrod's remarks about the true nature of her relationship with the farmer -- who today stated that Sherrod did her "level best to help him" -- and about the true meaning of her story.

    Following are Sherrod's remarks at the March 27 NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet (the section in bold is what Breitbart's video included -- the rest was omitted):

    [11:50] SHERROD: I made the commitment on the night of my father's death at the age of 17 that I would not leave the South, that I would stay in the South and devote my life to working for change. And I've been true to that commitment all of these 45 years.

    [...]

    [16:34] SHERROD: God is good. I can tell you that. When I made that commitment, I was making that commitment to black people -- and to black people only. But you know God will show you things and he'll put things in your path so that you realize that the struggle is really about poor people --

    AUDIENCE: All right. All right.

    SHERROD: -- you know. The first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm. He took a long time talking but he was trying to show me he was superior to me -- I knew what he was doing.

    AUDIENCE: All right.

    SHERROD: But he had to come to me for help. What he didn't know, while he was taking all that time trying to show me he was superior to me, was I was trying to decide just how much I was going to give him. I was struggling with the fact that so many black people have lost their farmland, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So, I didn't give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough so that when he -- I assumed that the Department of Agriculture had sent him to me; either that or the Georgia Department of Agriculture -- and he needed to go back and report that I did try to help him. So I took him to a white lawyer that we had -- that had attended some of the training that we had provided 'cause Chapter 12 bankruptcy had just been enacted for the family farmer, so I figured if I'd take him to one of them, that his own kind would take care of him.

    That's when it was revealed to me that y'all, it's about poor versus those who have, and not so much about white -- it is about white and black, but it's not -- you know, it opened my eyes, 'cause I took him to one of his own and I put him in his hands, and said, OK, I've done my job. But, during that time, we would have these injunctions against the Department of Agriculture and -- so, they couldn't foreclose on him. And I want you to know that the county supervisor had done something to him that I have not seen yet that they've done to any other farmer, black or white. And what they did to him caused him to not be able to file Chapter 12 bankruptcy.

    So, everything was going along fine -- I'm thinking he's being taken care of by the white lawyer, then they lift the injunction against USDA in May of '87 for two weeks and he was one of 13 farmers in Georgia who received a foreclosure notice. He called me. I said, well, go on and make an appointment at the lawyer. Let me know when it is and I'll meet you there.

    So we met at the lawyer's office on the day they had given him. And this lawyer sat there -- he had been paying this lawyer, y'all. That's what got me. He had been paying the lawyer since November, and this was May. And the lawyer sat there and looked at him and said, "Well, y'all are getting old. Why don't you just let the farm go?" I could not believe he said that, so I said to the lawyer -- I told him, I can't believe you said that. I said: It's obvious to me that he cannot file a Chapter 12 bankruptcy to stop this foreclose, you have to file an 11. And the lawyer said to me, I'll do whatever you say -- whatever you think -- that's the way he put it. But he's paying him. He wasn't paying me any money. You know, so he said -- the lawyer said he would work on it.

    And then, about seven days before that man would have been sold at the courthouse steps, the farmer called me and said the lawyer wasn't doing anything. And that's when I spent time there in my office calling everybody I could think so to try to see -- help me find the lawyer who would handle this. And finally, I remembered that I had gone to see one just 40 miles away in Americus with the black farmers. So, I --

    [VIDEO CUT*]

    SHERROD: Well, working with him made me see that it's really about those who have versus those who don't.

    AUDIENCE: That's right.

    SHERROD: You know, and they could be black, and they could be white, they could be Hispanic. And it made me realize then that I needed to work to help poor people -- those who don't have access the way others have.

    I want to just share something with you and I think it helps to -- you know, when I learned this, I'm like, oh, my goodness. You know, back in the late 17th and 18th century, black -- there were black indentured servants and white indentured servants, and they all would work for seven years and get their freedom. And they didn't see any difference in each other -- nobody worried about skin color. They married each other. You know, these were poor whites and poor blacks in the same boat, except they were slaves, but they were both slaves and both had their opportunity to work out on the slavery.

    But then they started looking at the injustices that they faced and started then trying -- you know, the people with money -- you know, they started -- the poor whites and poor blacks -- they -- you know, they married each other. They lived together. They were just like we would be. And they started looking at what was happening to them and decided we need to do something about it -- you know, about this. Well, the people with money, the elite, decided, hey, we need to do something here to divide them.

    So that's when they made black people servants for life. That's when the put laws in place forbidding them to marry each other. That's when they created the racism that we know of today. They did it to keep us divided. And they -- it started working so well, they said, gosh, looks like we've come up on something here that can last generations -- and here we are. Over 400 years later, and it's still working. What we have to do is get that out of our heads. There is no difference between us.

    The only difference is that the folks with money want to stay in power and whether it's health care or whatever it is, they'll do what they need to do to keep that power.

    [APPLAUSE]

    [...]

    [25:03] SHERROD: I couldn't say 45 years ago, I couldn't stand here and say what I'm saying -- what I will say to you tonight. Like I told, God helped me to see that its not just about black people, it's about poor people. And I've come a long way. I knew that I couldn't live with hate, you know. As my mother has said to so many, if we had tried to live with hate in our hearts, we'd probably be dead now.

    But I've come to realize that we have to work together and -- you know, it's sad that we don't have a room full of white and blacks here tonight 'cause we have to overcome the divisions that we have. We have to get to the point as Tony Morrison said race exists but it doesn't matter. We have to work just as hard -- I know it's -- you know, that division is still here, but our communities are not going to thrive -- you know, our children won't have the communities that they need to be able to stay in and live in and have a good life if we can't figure this out, you all. White people, black people, Hispanic people, we all have to do our part to make our communities a safe place, a healthy place, a good environment.

    * According to Jake Tapper, "NAACP says the tape was changed at the 21:00 mark. no edits, just a tape change."

  • FoxNews.com article on Sherrod disappears Breitbart

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    There's a glaring omission in the latest FoxNews.com story about the resignation of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod: the names of Andrew Breitbart and his Big Government website.

    It was Breitbart himself who first posted video of Sherrod speaking at an NAACP event in March and wrote that the clip was "video evidence of racism coming from a federal appointee and NAACP award recipient." Fox News picked up the story and ran with it -- both online and on several of its shows.

    In its first online report, Fox News.com noted that "[t]he video clip was first posted by BigGovernment.com." Bill O'Reilly played the video on his show and called on Sherrod to "resign immediately" -- and made sure to mention Big Government. During a discussion in which Newt Gingrich bemoaned Sherrod's "viciously racist attitude," Sean Hannity said the video was on "Breitbart.com."

    But now that the story is unraveling, Fox seems unwilling to give Breitbart and Big Government the credit for the video. In its June 20 article about Sherrod's resignation, Fox News reported that the video "surfaced" and credited the video to YouTube. The article makes no mention that Breitbart first posted the video on Big Government or that Fox personalities had pushed the story repeatedly.

    But this isn't something that Breitbart and Fox can walk away from so easily.

  • Williams' ouster drives home NAACP's point

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    It looks like the NAACP was right about tea party members "who use racist language."

    The civil rights group last week passed a resolution that condemned "extremist elements" within the tea party movement and called on the movement's leaders to repudiate the use of racist language in tea party signs and speeches. Right-wing media figures went nuts, claiming they couldn't find any racist tea party signs, and accused the NAACP of playing politics and engaging in "left-wing McCarthyism."

    But for the folks who said they couldn't see any racially charged rhetoric coming from tea partiers (despite the numerous examples that already existed), Mark Williams emerged as uncomfortable evidence to the contrary. Williams wrote a July 15 blog post attacking the NAACP as racist for using "colored people" in its name. Williams' post portrayed blacks as lazy and NAACP leader Ben Jealous as supporting the repeal of civil-rights laws so that "massa" would again take care of blacks. Williams' post was so incendiary that he was forced to remove it, and the National Tea Party Federation has since announced that Williams and the Tea Party Express have been expelled from the federation.

    Jealous, the NAACP's president and CEO, issued a statement responding to Williams' ouster. From Jealous' statement:

    We call on the major leaders of the Tea Party such as Sarah Palin and Dick Armey who have not spoken out to do so.

    It is encouraging to know that the Tea Party can act in unison through the Tea Party Federation and take decisive action. We call on the Tea Party to police its events and make it clear that there is no space for racist signs and hate speech.

    We look forward to being able to have a civil political discourse with the Tea Party on the serious issues facing all Americans."

  • Geller lashes out at MSNBC, Media Matters

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Pamela Geller of the blog Atlas Shrugs is furious that she's being held accountable for her hateful rhetoric.

    Geller reported earlier today that her scheduled appearance on MSNBC's Hardball had been canceled. After offering her account of how an MSNBC producer informed her of the cancellation, Geller wrote: "I guess they can't play hardball. It's obvious they did not want that information to get to the last remaining dolts who still watch that poison."

    In a subsequent post, Geller referred to Hardball host Chris Matthews as "Chris Matthews No Balls." She also attacked Media Matters -- which noted that numerous mainstream media outlets have recently hosted Geller and allowed her to promote her hateful rhetoric -- as "the mothership for the tin foil hat crowd."

    Media Matters pointed out that Geller's history of outrageous, inflammatory and false claims, particularly when it comes to issues related to Islam, demonstrate that she cannot be expected to make accurate statements and should not be rewarded with a platform on national television.

  • Beck's "talk about racism" -- more race-baiting, falsehoods, and distortions

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Introducing his show tonight, Glenn Beck stated, "We want to talk about racism tonight." The hour that followed added a new chapter in Beck's already long history of race-baiting.

    Beck, who last year called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people," engaged in a series of distortions, baseless claims, and outright falsehoods in his continuing attacks on President Obama and the administration.

  • Former DOJ Voting Section chief calls Adams "Exhibit A of the type of people hired by Bradley Schlozman"

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    As viewers watch Fox News dishonestly hype GOP activist J. Christian Adams' unsubstantiated accusation that the Justice Department under president Obama engaged in racially charged corruption, they should know that Adams reportedly was hired by Bradley Schlozman, a Bush-era political appointee who was found to have inappropriately considered political affiliation when hiring career attorneys.

    A post today on the legal news website Main Justice reported that Joseph Rich, the former chief of the Civil Rights Division's Voting Section, confirmed that Adams was hired by "Bradley Schlozman, who was then a deputy assistant attorney general and later became acting assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division." Rich reportedly called Adams "exhibit A of the type of people hired by Bradley Schlozman."

    A July 2008 report from the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office and the Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Schlozman "considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys in violation of Department policy and federal law." The report also concluded:

    The evidence in our investigation showed that Schlozman, first as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and subsequently as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General, considered political and ideological affiliations in hiring career attorneys and in other personnel actions affecting career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division. In doing so, he violated federal law -- the Civil Service Reform Act -- and Department policy that prohibit discrimination in federal employment based on political and ideological affiliations, and committed misconduct. The evidence also showed that Division managers failed to exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that Schlozman did not engage in inappropriate hiring and personnel practices. Moreover, Schlozman made false statements about whether he considered political and ideological affiliations when he gave sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and in his written responses to supplemental questions from the Committee.

  • Drudge demonstrates scorn for facts

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Today, the Drudge Report attacked President Obama with the following headline: "Scorn on the Fourth of July: Obama divides nation." The headline linked to the website Real Clear Politics, which had compiled nine recent polls of Obama's job approval ratings -- but the polling doesn't show the "scorn" that Drudge crowed about in its headline.



    The polls show Obama with an average approval rating of 46.8 percent, and disapproval of 46.6 percent. Of the nine polls, six show Obama with higher approval than disapproval, while one, a Rasmussen Reports survey from July 29 to July 1, found far different results than all the others, with 45 percent of respondents approving of Obama's performance and 55 percent disapproving.

    It's not clear how Drudge might explain marginally positive approval of Obama as "scorn," but examples of true scorn around Independence Day aren't difficult to find in presidential polling. All you have to do is look back a few years.

    Polls from the same organizations cited by Real Clear Politics taken late in June and early July of 2008 showed President Bush with truly scornful approval ratings. For example, Newsweek, which had Obama at 48 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval in a June 23-24, 2010, poll, had Bush at 28 percent approval and 63 percent disapproval in a July 2008 poll. CNN had Obama at 50 percent approval last month, while NBC had him at 45 percent. In 2008, both CNN and NBC had Bush at 30 percent approval. Even Rasmussen put Bush's approval at 33 percent in July 2008, with 65 percent disapproval.

    Things weren't much better for Bush in 2007. CNN polled Bush's approval in June 2007 at 32 percent, with 66 percent disapproval. Around the same time, Newsweek had him at 26 percent approval, while NBC polled his approval at 29 percent, and Rasmussen had Bush at 38 percent.

    As far back as June and July 2006, Bush faced far worse approval ratings than the break-even numbers for Obama that Drudge labeled "scorn." Approval/disapproval numbers for Bush at that time were 37/53 from CNN, 38/55 from Newsweek, 39/56 NBC.

    Fox News put Bush at 41 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval in June 2006. Even Fox News -- now that's scorn.

  • Fox News revives falsehood that Kagan "ke[pt] military recruiters off Harvard Law's campus"

    ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Previewing Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing next week, Fox News repeated the conservative myth that she "ke[pt] military recruiters off Harvard Law's campus." In fact Harvard law students had access to military recruiters throughout Kagan's tenure as dean -- either through Harvard's Office of Career Services or through the Harvard Law School Veterans Association.