Author Page | Page 13 | Media Matters for America

Todd Gregory

Author ››› Todd Gregory
  • ABC's This Week Helps Franklin Graham Spread The Birther Message

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    As part of an Easter edition of This Week that explored religion's influence on government, Christiane Amanpour hosted right-wing evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham, who took used the opportunity to promote the conspiracy theory that President Obama hasn't produced his birth certificate. He also cast doubt on Obama's religion and declared that "secularism is anti-Christ."

    It's stunning that ABC would lead its Easter edition of This Week by hosting Graham. He was, after all, uninvited from a National Prayer Day ceremony at the Pentagon last year after calling Islam "evil" and counseling Muslims that "they don't have to die in a car bomb."

    Amanpour seemed to make a brief reference to this during the interview, telling Graham: "You've made some very controversial comments about Islam, about Muslims, including on our program, when we had our town hall that you joined us on a few months ago. Do you still feel that there is a real divide between Islam and Christianity in this country?"

    But that was it. Amanpour didn't press him any further on his history of anti-Muslim rhetoric.

    Amanpour's most egregious error during the interview was failing to make clear the facts about Obama's birth certificate:

  • Limbaugh Still Citing Imaginary Study On Breast Size And Intelligence

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh noted that Nancy Pelosi recently spoke at Tufts University near Boston. This prompted Rush to recall a "survey" done at Tufts "in the '70s" that found a "correlation there between breast size and IQ":

    As Bill Press reported in his book Toxic Talk last year, the watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting debunked this figment of Limbaugh's imagination more than 15 years ago.

    Press wrote:

  • Whatever Point You're Making, Beck, The Sexism Toward Mika Brzezinski Is Still Wrong

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Glenn Beck directed a bunch of sexist invective at Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski on his radio show today. He referred to her as "babe" over and over, claimed that she "lick[s] her lips" when she talks about him, and said that when she looks into the camera, she thinks, "I am so hot for you right now."

    If you listen to the entire 10-minute segment, you'll see that Beck is trying to make a point about the willingness of the media in general, and probably Morning Joe in particular, to pay attention to Donald Trump's birther antics when they're not actually newsworthy:

    Beck used this as an opportunity to complain that the media aren't covering the story about a teacher being charged with emailed death threats to Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin.

    He also seemed to be trying to bait people into talking about his sexism toward Brzezinski, thereby reinforcing his point that the media are willing to cover frivolous stories, rather than the ones that really matter.

    Well, guess what, Glenn? If you'd thought through this for 10 seconds, something that we teach children at a young age might have flashed through your head: Two wrongs don't make a right. Even if you think people aren't covering the death-threat story enough, it doesn't excuse your being a sexist jerk to Mika Brzezinski.

    Transcript below the jump.

  • The Cato Institute Should Apologize For Legitimizing Beck's Anti-Fed Conspiracist

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    The Cato Institute contributed to an egregious offense against responsible discourse on Friday. In an episode of Glenn Beck's Fox News show devoted to "get[ting] educated on the Fed," Beck presented two guests as experts on the Federal Reserve. One was Mark Calabria, who holds a doctorate in economics and is the director of financial regulation studies for Cato.

    The other was G. Edward Griffin, author of the anti-Fed book The Creature From Jekyll Island, life member of the John Birch Society, and promoter of multiple lunatic conspiracy theories.

    Another of the books Griffin has written is titled World Without Cancer: The Story Of Vitamin B17. It "marshals the evidence" that cancer is caused by a dietary deficiency that can be cured with "an essential food compound." The book explains that "orthodox medicine" has "waged war" against this cure because of a "hidden economic and power agenda." Griffin also co-produced a film called What in the World Are They Spraying? The Chemtrail/Geo-Engineering Coverup, which claims that we are "being sprayed with toxic substances without our consent" and that "they are lying to us about it."

    The Cato Institute is a Washington think tank that strives to advance libertarian ideas through credible methods -- writing research reports, publishing books, and hosting policy forums. Calabria has served as a Senate committee staffer and as a deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban development. This all contrasts starkly with the fevered conspiracy theories that are Griffin's stock-in-trade.

    Whether Calabria knew that he was going to appear with Griffin or not, he and the Cato Institute should apologize for helping to confer legitimacy on Griffin and his fringe ideas.

  • Malkin Celebrates Closure Of Elementary School Named For Obama

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    An elementary school in New Jersey that's named after President Obama is shutting down, and right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin thinks this is "fitting":

    Malkin seems to be justifying her glee by alleging that the school is being closed because of waste. In doing so, she quotes the first few paragraphs of an Asbury Park Press article about the state fiscal monitor's decision to close the school, and a note from "reader Peter" about the Asbury Park school system's supposed wastefulness.

    However, Malkin managed to leave out the paragraph of the Asbury Park Press article explaining that the state official cited declining enrollment as a factor, as well as the paragraph in which the local superintendent said there are advantages to the decision.

  • "Two Steps Above An Anarchist": Beck's Webcast Is A Barrage Of Fringe Views

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Last night, Glenn Beck's website streamed a video that it billed as a "a special prime time broadcast celebrating the 1-year anniversary of Insider Extreme," Beck's $75-a-year Web subscription service. Beck's site described the video as "an exclusive glimpse inside Glenn's New York City home as he hosts a very special dinner" with four guests to "tackle the issues the mainstream media just won't talk about."

    Beck promoted the special on his Fox News show yesterday as well, encouraging viewers to visit GlennBeck.com to see "a conversation with four experts that I had the other night on what is coming in the next 12 months. It is a conversation that America must have. And not one that I expected, actually, to have when we started. It's amazing."

    He was right -- it was amazing. In the course of the video, Beck and CNN's Dana Loesch expressed a baffling sympathy for anarchism. Loesch said, "I'm two steps above anarchy conservatism, just as it was intended by the Founding Fathers. I mean, really, that's really what we're supposed to be." In response, Beck said, "[W]hen you say we're two steps -- you're two steps above an anarchist -- and I think I am, too. I mean, I'm really closer to Washington than any president, even Reagan. They really were organized, controlled anarchists."

    Beck also returned to drawing parallels between current conditions and the conditions that led to the Holocaust. While discussing the "better natural side of man" and the "dark side of natural man," Beck said, "[T]hey don't co-exist. I mean, there is a time when you do have to say enough is enough. And we always bury our head in the sand. We're doing -- mark my words. We are doing what we did with Nazi Germany right now. And the trains will return someplace on the earth. It will happen again. All the same seeds are here."

    Last night, Glenn Beck's website streamed a video that it billed as a "a special prime time broadcast celebrating the 1-year anniversary of Insider Extreme," Beck's $75-a-year Web subscription service. Beck's site described the video as "an exclusive glimpse inside Glenn's New York City home as he hosts a very special dinner" with four guests to "tackle the issues the mainstream media just won't talk about."

    Description: cid:image001.png@01CBE45E.CC4C91E0

    /static/images/item/20110316-beckinsider.jpg

    Beck promoted the special on his Fox News show yesterday, as well, encouraging viewers to visit GlennBeck.com to see "a conversation with four experts that I had the other night on what is coming in the next 12 months. It is a conversation that America must have. And not one that I expected, actually, to have when we started. It's amazing."

    He was right -- it was amazing. In the course of the video, Beck and CNN's Dana Loesch expressed a baffling sympathy for anarchism. Loesch said, "I'm two steps above anarchy conservatism, just as it was intended by the Founding Fathers. I mean, really, that's really what we're supposed to be." In response, Beck said, "[W]hen you say we're two steps -- you're two steps above an anarchist -- and I think I am, too. I mean, I'm really closer to Washington than any president, even Reagan. They really were organized, controlled anarchists."

    Beck also returned to drawing parallels between current conditions and the conditions that led to the Holocaust. While discussing the "better natural side of man" and the "dark side of natural man," Beck said, "[T]hey don't co-exist. I mean, there is a time when you do have to say enough is enough. And we always bury our head in the sand. We're doing -- mark my words. We are doing what we did with Nazi Germany right now. And the trains will return someplace on the earth. It will happen again. All the same seeds are here."

  • Why Would Anyone Trust What O'Keefe Says About His NPR Video?

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    Conservative activist James O'Keefe has released a video purporting to show an NPR executive making inflammatory comments to two people posing as members of a "Muslim Brotherhood front group." As has been the case in the past, conservative media outlets and blogs are hyping O'Keefe's video.

    It's not clear why anyone would believe anything that O'Keefe says about what is seen in the video.

    • O'Keefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge for entering Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in New Orleans under false pretenses.
    • O'Keefe falsely claimed that his ACORN tapes were a "nationwide ACORN child prostitution investigation" that implicated many ACORN employees. In at least six of the eight heavily edited videos, either the activists did not clearly tell the ACORN employees that they were planning to engage in child prostitution; or the ACORN employees refused to help them or apparently deliberately misled them; or ACORN employees contacted the police following their visit.
    • Three separate investigations cleared ACORN workers of criminal wrongdoing, and a 2009 report by the Congressional Research Service stated that O'Keefe's surreptitious videotaping may have broken laws in California and Maryland.
    • O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart withheld an exculpatory ACORN video from Los Angeles for two months in late 2009, during the height of the ACORN frenzy.
    • A September 18, 2009, New York Times article reported that Liz Farkas, a college friend of O'Keefe's while at Rutgers University, said she "grew disillusioned" after O'Keefe asked Farkas to help deceptively "edit the script" of a video involving a nurse at the University of California at Los Angeles.
    • In a 10-minute video posted on BigGovernment.com in June 2010, O'Keefe stated that he had been hired as a Census worker and attended two days of training. He said, "What I found were Census supervisors systematically encouraging employees to falsify information on their time sheets." The video includes clips of census leaders, who according to O'Keefe, "didn't seem to have a problem with the discrepancy" of the hours recorded on his time sheet versus the hours he claimed to have worked. O'Keefe omitted a clip that was later aired by ABC, which shows a census leader emphasizing the importance of accurately reporting on miles driven by census enumerators.
    • O'Keefe reportedly planned to "seduce" and publically humiliate CNN investigative reporter Abbie Bourdeau. In an article posted at CNN.com, Bourdeau reported that when she arrived for an interview with O'Keefe, she was informed by O'Keefe's colleague Izzy Santa that O'Keefe planned to lure her aboard a boat where he would secretly record his attempts to "hit on her" using "strawberries and champagne." Boudreau reported that a document she obtained suggested O'Keefe would also use props including a "condom jar," Viagra, pornography, a ceiling mirror, and "fuzzy handcuffs." The document explained the motivation: "The joke is that the tables have turned on CNN. Using hot blondes to seduce interviewees to get screwed on television, you are faux seducing her in order to screw her on television." O'Keefe later claimed that he had been "repulsed" by the scenario laid out in the document when it was presented to him, and that it did not represent his actual plan for the interview.

    Given his record of systematically misleading people about his videos and his use of other dishonest tactics, it makes no sense for people to take him at his word. That should be kept in mind as details emerge about what, exactly, happened.

  • CNN Article Legitimizes "Pro-White" Commentators

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    In attempting to engage in what could have been an interesting discussion about the current state of American race relations, CNN made a terrible decision. CNN.com posted an article today about white racial anxiety -- a perfectly reasonable subject to discuss. What is not reasonable is interviewing and quoting figures like radio host James Edwards, whose show, The Political Cesspool, has a "Statement of Principles" that says the show "represent[s] a philosophy that is pro-White." Reinforcing the philosophy, Edwards has written in a blog post that "[i]nterracial sex is white genocide."

    The show's "Statement of Principles" includes: "We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races." And Edwards regularly attacks Asians, Blacks, Jews, and Hispanics on his blog.

    Among the things Edwards has written:

    • August 11, 2008: "For blacks in the Americas, slavery is the greatest thing that ever happened to them. Unfortunately, it's the worst thing that ever happened to white Americans."
    • In an August 6, 2008, post headlined "Jewish media reaches new heights," discussing a Slate.com article by "Jew Timothy Noah," Edwards wrote that the piece would "make sense once you understand that Jews are the ones who are always speaking in code; when they use words like 'racists', 'bigots', 'anti-semites', they simply mean white people."
    • In a July 9, 2008, post headlined "Great moments in Jewish journalism," Edwards referred to a column by The Washington Post's David S. Broder about former Sen. Jesse Helms as "another hatefilled Jewish attack piece."
    • In a July 30, 2008, post, Edwards asked: "If the WNBA [Women's National Basketball Association] is so hell bent on diversity, why don't they hire a couple of heterosexual players or coaches?"
    • In a June 6, 2008, post headlined "Does she hate Whitey?" Edwards wrote: "Michelle Obama, that is. Uh, yeah, I'm pretty sure she does. Just like her husband. Just like about 90% of blacks."

    The CNN article also quotes Peter Brimelow, whose website VDARE.com publishes the work of "white nationalists." Discussing racial demographics in Texas, Brimelow recently wrote:

    Anglos, to coin a phrase, have not yet begun to fight. They could. But will they in time?

    I increasingly feel it hardly matters. This is all going to end in tears anyway.

    To adapt another phrase, the historic American nation (= Anglos) will fight on the beaches, or it will fight in the hills. Even outnumbered, Anglos in Texas and America would be a formidable force -- one which probably could not be contained within the current political framework.

    The most glaring problem with CNN's treatment of Brimelow and Edwards is that it presents the nature of their views as a he said/she said matter -- i.e., the Southern Poverty Law Center says they run hate groups, but they deny that. Any fair-minded look at their public statements would show that they espouse the view that minorities are inferior to white people.

    Another important point about this treatment of white racial anxiety: It is completely unfair to white people who don't hold hateful views of minorities. If you are seeking perspective on "what white people think about race," you have committed journalistic malpractice by quoting people like Brimelow and Edwards. They can't be said to be in any way representative of what white people think.

    Treating Brimelow and Edwards this way has the same effect as treating the New Black Panther Party as representative of black people. They're not. Plain and simple.

  • ABC's The View Inexplicably Hosts Fringe Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones

    Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

    On his radio show last year, Alex Jones said this: "I have the government documents where they said they're going to encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don't have children." He is probably the country's most prominent 9-11 Truther.

    Today, The View gave this man a platform to promote his lunatic conspiracy theories on network television.

    I understand that Jones' show happens to be the place where Charlie Sheen had a meltdown that resulted in the suspension of his sitcom, but it's simply inexcusable to allow Jones to spread his message.

    As much as the View hosts tried to concentrate on the Sheen incident, Jones still managed to turn the conversation in a conspiratorial direction, with a mention of his conspiracy theory site InfoWars.com. "Charlie's tired of being held up like the devil," he said. "They got the TSA putting their hands down people's pants. InfoWars.com covers it all. We've got the banks bankrupting the U.S." Whoopi Goldberg responded by steering the discussion back to Sheen: "Wait, wait, wait. We're sticking with Charlie, because that's way too much for me."

    At the end of his appearance, Jones again plugged his site: "Charlie, stay clean. We love you. And everybody else out there, stay clean. Don't use drugs. InfoWars.com. InfoWars.com."

    There is no mistaking what Jones is doing here. He said on his radio show on Friday that "we'll be able to inject InfoWars.com into the discussion when I'm on those broadcasts, and the people will come here and find the larger picture. It's kind of the red pill."

    The "larger picture" he's talking about includes the shocking truths that the government can control hurricanes and that "globalists" were involved in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

    Media outlets: Stop hosting Alex Jones. There is no way to justify allowing him to promote this garbage.

    For instance:

    • Jones' main theory is that a "New World Order" of secretive, powerful elites are working behind the scenes to rule the world through an authoritarian government. Jones thinks the New World Order will exterminate 80 percent of the world's population.
    • Jones is perhaps the country's most prominent 9-11 truther and regularly states his position that the government was behind the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
    • Jones believes the government has set up a series of secret FEMA-run concentration camps.
  • Beck Adds The Bush State Department And MTV To His Egypt Theory

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL & TODD GREGORY

    Glenn Beck broadened his ever-expanding theory about Egypt again on Monday, and in doing so, introduced some ideas that are extremely hard to accept:

    • The co-founder of an anti-extremism think tank funded by the British government -- who has testified before Congress -- may be lying about renouncing radical Islam.
    • You shouldn't do Google searches, because Google is "pretty deeply in bed with the government," as evidenced by the fact that a former State Department employee who's now a Google executive helped found a nonprofit group that supports grassroots activists around the world.
    • MTV is "involved with this," because it sponsors that nonprofit group, the Alliance for Youth Movements, or Movements.org. Beck also listed "CBS, MSNBC, Facebook, YouTube, National Geographic, Columbia University Law School."
    • Perhaps most unbelievable: The State Department under the Bush administration was "in bed" with the "radical Islamists, communists, and socialists" who are working together against Israel and capitalism, and to overthrow stability. Why? Because the State Department under Bush helped start the Alliance for Youth Movements.

    It's increasingly difficult to understand what Beck is alleging here. Is he saying that everybody he mentions supports the coalition of radical Islamists and communists that he thinks is trying to create global chaos, as seen in Egypt?

    MTV and the Bush State Department?

    Seriously?