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Matt McLaughlin

Author ››› Matt McLaughlin
  • Beck distorts Wallis' remarks on "redistribution of wealth" to attack him as a "Marxist"


    Glenn Beck distorted comments made by Rev. Jim Wallis to claim they were proof he is a "Marxist" who "claims the gospel of Jesus Christ is about a central government taking money from individuals and then distributing it." 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.

  • Cavuto falsely claims that health care reform is "most costly" bill "in a generation"


    On Fox News, Neil Cavuto stated that health care reform legislation under consideration in Congress is "the most costly piece of legislation we have seen in a generation." In fact, the health care reform bill is expected to reduce the federal deficit over 10 years, and even looking at gross costs alone, President Bush's 2001 tax cut bill was more expensive.

  • Fox skews health care reform discussion away from deficit reduction


    Fox News immediately responded to cost estimates of health care reform legislation by devoting far more attention to the estimate that the legislation would increase spending by $940 billion over 10 years than it did to the estimate that, including cost savings and revenue increases, the bill would actually reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the same period. On-screen graphics throughout Fox News' initial coverage referred to the cost estimate, while no graphics mentioned deficit reduction.

  • WND distorts Wallis to falsely claim he "labeled" U.S. "destroyer of human life"


    A WorldNetDaily article distorted a passage from a book by Rev. Jim Wallis to falsely claim that he "previously labeled the U.S. 'the great captor and destroyer of human life.' " In fact, Wallis, a member of President Obama's faith council, referred to "the powers of the world" that "demand unconditional allegiance and obedience" when he wrote that, for the Christian community, "the modern state is the great power, the great seducer, the great captor and destroyer of human life."

  • Right-wing witch hunt turns to Rev. Wallis


    The right-wing witch hunt against President Obama's advisers has turned to Rev. Jim Wallis, a member of the president's faith council who has worked with numerous conservative and mainstream religious leaders. A WorldNetDaily article uses a series of falsehoods and distortions to portray Wallis as "Obama's new controversial pastor" and a "champion of communism" whose magazine "has published a slew of radicals."

  • Beck attacks social justice


    Glenn Beck has repeatedly attacked the concept of social justice and churches that promote it, asserting that it is "code language for Marxism" and warning that "when you see those words, run." In fact, numerous churches and religious faiths, as well as prominent religious scholars, espouse social justice, including the Catholic Church, the Conservative and Reform movements of Judaism, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Glenn Beck: Behind the Music


    Glenn Beck has repeatedly attacked popular music as "propaganda" that is helping to advance a progressive agenda and undermine America. Fox example, Beck warned that Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" is "about a progressive utopia" and that the Beatles' "Revolution" "spell[s] it all out" about "how progressives have been operating."

  • No, Obama didn't promise to pass health care reform only with a supermajority

    Blog ››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

    Another Andrew Breitbart-hyped video from the Naked Emperor News website is bouncing around the right-wing echo chamber. As usual, it doesn't live up to the hype -- on the campaign trail before the 2008 election, Barack Obama didn't promise that he would pass health care reform only with a supermajority of support -- but that isn't stopping conservatives from using it to attack President Obama.

    Last week, Media Matters documented how a Naked Emperor video, hyped by Breitbart, pushed by the Drudge Report, and echoed by Glenn Beck, advanced the falsehood that "the nuclear option" refers to the budget reconciliation process. Right-wingers used the falsehood to accuse Democrats -- who had complained in 2005 when Republicans considered changing Senate filibuster rules in what the GOP at the time called the "nuclear option" -- of hypocrisy for considering using reconciliation to pass health care reform. But there wasn't any inconsistency in Dems' wanting to use a process that has been employed repeatedly to pass legislation, including major health care reforms, after having criticized Republican plans to change the Senate rules.

    This time, right-wingers are claiming the new video shows Obama promising that he won't pass health care reform without a supermajority. Here's Glenn Beck from his radio show today:

    BECK: New audio for you from Barack Obama saying that we cannot, cannot pass it with a simple majority vote. Health care has to be supermajority, has to be done that way. You can't just slip it by the American people, which they are now saying they're going to do. Yet another broken promise from Barack Obama.

    The video itself shows several clips of Obama on the campaign trail in 2006 and 2007 discussing how he expected to pass health care reform. For example, in a September 2007 speech, Obama says of health care reform, "This is an area where we're going to have to have a 60 percent majority in the Senate and the House in order to actually get a bill to my desk. We're going to have to have a majority to get a bill to my desk that is not just a 50-plus-1 majority." In another clip, Obama discusses how he wanted to campaign in a way that brought more than a "50-plus-1" majority because "you can't govern" after such a victory and predicts that "you can't deliver on health care. We're not going to pass universal health care with a 50-plus-1 strategy." In a 2006 speech, Obama says, "If we want to transform the government, though, that requires a sizable majority."

    What he's saying in these clips is that he expected it would be more difficult to govern (such as passing health care reform legislation) without broad support. Whether health care reform has such broad support may depend on how you interpret various polls and how you expect Congress to vote on upcoming bills. But what Obama is not saying in those clips is that he promises not to pass health care reform without a supermajority.

    Of course, this hasn't prevented right-wingers from claiming that he made such a promise. Blogger Jim Hoft posted the video at his Gateway Pundit site and wrote: "But, of course, like everything else Obama promised, this statement came with an expiration date. Today Obama will announce that democrats will force their unpopular nationalized health care bill through Congress using a simple majority to ram it through."

    Similarly,, the Drudge Report, the Fox Nation, and the Jawa Report all posted the video and claimed that Obama said, in Breitbart's words, "Democrats Should Not Pass Healthcare With a 50-Plus-1 Strategy." Did Obama say Dems "should" pass health care reform only with more than that 50-plus-1? That's not what the video shows him saying.

    Somehow, I doubt they'll come to realize that the Naked Emperor video, er, has no clothes.

  • Let them eat applesauce: Right-wing media mock the uninsured


    Right-wing media figures have mocked Democrats' descriptions of hardships faced by their constituents who lack health insurance, including a story Rep. Louise Slaughter told about a woman who wore dentures that previously belonged to her dead sister. For example, Rush Limbaugh said, "So if you don't have any teeth, so what? What's applesauce for?"

  • Both sides of their mouth: A guide to the conservative media's consistently contradictory health care rhetoric


    In attacking President Obama's recent health care reform guidelines, right-wing media have leveled numerous criticisms that are at odds with their earlier attacks against Democratic health care reform legislation. This follows repeated efforts by conservative media figures to shift their criticism of health care reform by changing the definitions of "death panels" and the public option.