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Matt McLaughlin

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  • Conservatives' inane ACORN attacks fall flat

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    If you turn to Page 1,473 in your "Ridiculous Republican Attacks Handbook," you'll see that it encourages ridiculous attacks on progressives and progressive policies by tying them to ACORN, no matter how preposterous the supposed connection is. Fox Business correspondent Charles Gasparino clearly was reading from this page last night in an appearance on Fox News' Hannity.

    While discussing legislation to establish financial regulatory reform, Gasparino said:

    GASPARINO: Think about ACORN. ACORN is going to be able to lobby a real specific -- an energy -- just not lobby the government. They're gonna look at the people that are on that Consumer Credit Board, and they're gonna make the small banks give loans to people that just can't afford homes.

    Host Sean Hannity replied: "But this is what got us into this mess -- the idea that through this socialist mind-set utopia that every American can own a house whether they can afford it or not."

    Wow. Leaving aside how Hannity is repeating the myth that affordable housing initiatives were to blame for the 2008 financial crisis, Gasparino's remarks strain credulity in a couple of ways. First, it follows the common conservative practice of blaming ACORN for just about everything, even stuff to which it has no connection. As Media Matters documented extensively in a 2009 report, conservatives have repeatedly turned to using ACORN as a bogeyman in place of substantive analysis, even when the group has little or nothing to do with the issue. For example: Conservatives repeated the discredited claim that ACORN contributed to the housing crisis by "bullying" banks into irresponsible lending to minorities; they falsely claimed that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would provide funding for ACORN; and they opposed the nomination of David Hamilton to a circuit court judgeship based on his ties to ACORN. Similarly, The Washington Times falsely asserted in February that ACORN was "slated to receive nearly $4 billion" from President Obama's 2011 budget.

    In each of those cases, conservatives fabricated or greatly overstated ACORN's involvement (Hamilton's "ties" to the group were that he worked for it as a fundraiser for a month in 1979). That's the case here too. The financial regulatory reform bill, of course, makes no mention of ACORN, and you'd be hard-pressed to even think of a way in which the bill would involve ACORN, but Gasparino is attacking the bill by trying to link it to ACORN.

    What makes Gasparino's comments even more ludicrous is that the ACORN "dissolved as a national structure" in February.

    Shouldn't Gasparino update his talking points to reflect developments like this?

  • Conservative media baselessly accuse White House of plotting Goldman charges "to bolster support" for financial reform


    Media conservatives have levied the completely baseless allegation that the White House was "colluding" with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in filing a civil lawsuit accusing Goldman Sachs of fraud in order to create a "villain" to "bolster support for the crackdown on the banks from the White House." The media figures have offered no evidence to support the allegation, which the White House has strongly denied.

  • NY Times poll reveals Fox News' influence on tea partiers


    A New York Times poll has revealed that a majority of "Tea Party supporters" named Fox News as the television network they "watch most for information about politics and current events." It should come as little surprise then that the tea party supporters polled also held positions that reflect misinformation pushed by Fox News on a variety of topics including socialism and the federal budget deficit.

  • Luntzspeak: Conservative media claim financial reform would result in "permanent bailout"


    Conservative media have attacked financial reform legislation under consideration in Congress by stating that it establishes a "permanent bailout" or "bailouts forever" -- echoing language recommended by Republican strategist Frank Luntz to derail the bill. But far from encouraging "bailouts" for failing financial firms, the bill would establish the government's authority to liquidate them.

  • Blind eye: Fox touts poll showing Obama trailing tea parties, ignores contradictory result in its own poll


    Fox News highlighted a Rasmussen poll to suggest that the views of the American public were closer to the tea party movement than to President Obama, but in presenting findings of its own polling a few hours later, Fox News did not disclose that its poll undermined that suggestion. Indeed, the Fox News poll showed that Obama is viewed far more favorably than the "Tea Party Movement."

  • Right-wing media complain that Pelosi incited tea partiers with her "big gavel"


    Right-wing media figures have criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for carrying a gavel while walking to the Capitol to vote on health care reform, claiming she sought to incite Tea Party members protesting the legislation. Glenn Beck said Pelosi was "inciting" the tea partiers and "slapping them across the face," and Rush Limbaugh said Pelosi tried to "provoke" tea partiers by "carrying that big gavel" with an "excrement-eating grin on her face."

  • Beck renews attack on Wallis with tired distortion about "redistribution of wealth"


    Glenn Beck again distorted comments by Rev. Jim Wallis to claim that Wallis is "teaching us" that "social justice comes from the government." However, in the interview Beck selectively clipped, Wallis actually discussed individuals who "transformed" their lives to focus on charity, highlighting how Bill and Melinda Gates have been "doing a redistribution of wealth" through their philanthropy.