• FLASHBACK: Fox News urged left-wing hecklers be "Tased" or "beaten to a pulp"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    That sure doesn't sound like the Fox News of today which seems quite impressed by the GOP mini-mobs which have been formed expressly to heckler Democratic politicians who want to discuss health care reform with their constituents at town hall meetings.

    Loudmouths = democracy in action! How dare anyone object?!

    But back in 2007, when anti-war protesters who make up Code Pink, made headlines by disrupting an official event, the Fox News morning team was seriously pissed off:

    During a discussion about a Code Pink member heckling Hillary Clinton at a recent event, Fox News host Brian Kilmead said that people who confront politicians are "threatening" and should be Tased or "beaten to a pulp," as the establishment media continues to sell the idea that anyone who disagrees with authority should be brutally punished.

    A segment on the Fox and Friends morning show yesterday turned into an opportunity for Kilmead to share his dictatorial fetish that dissenters be dealt with in the proper manner, as footage aired of Clinton's heckler being removed from the event by security.

    "They should Tase this guy," Kilmead says. "At one point with security so high and tensions on edge, don't you think they're going to get at the very least Tased or beaten to a pulp by somebody? These people look threatening….

  • Women, Action & The Media want answers from WaPo

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Members of Women, Action & The Media want an explanation from the Washington Post:

    As members of Women, Action & the Media, we write to protest the Washington Post's production and presentation of the July 31 "Mouthpiece Theater" episode titled, "Menage a Stella Artois," and the Post's cowardly manner of addressing the controversy generated by the video's patently sexist - and otherwise tasteless - content.

    We believe the Post owes an explanation to its online viewers as to how such a video came to be produced and presented on the Post's Web site.

    And they draw attention to an aspect of the video that has gone largely overlooked: Chris Cillizza's reference to Chip Pickering's wife as "Bitter Woman From Hell" because she says her husband cheated on her.

    More from the Women, Action & The Media letter:

    The utter contempt for women displayed in this video speaks to the struggle that women face in every workplace, that women journalists face in every newsroom, and that all too often weaves its way into news coverage of women and of issues pertaining to women. The Post's cowardice in addressing the problem — simply removing the video with no explanation, no apology to viewers, and no promise of disciplinary action to be taken against those who made and posted it — speaks just as loudly.

    As I noted yesterday, the Post hasn't actually apologized for the video. Nor have Cillizza or Milbank -- indeed, they posted a follow-up yesterday that suggests they have been censored, and continues to treat the matter as a (remarkably unfunny) joke. A Post spokesperson says the original video was "satire," raising the rather obvious question of what Dana Milbank was satirizing by calling Hillary Clinton a "bitch."

    Read the whole letter from Women, Action & The Media members here.

    (Via Politico's Michael Calderone)

  • Pittsburgh mass murderer made references to the "liberal media" and Obama ("The Black Man") in his online diary

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    For now, the diary's been taken down. But last night, Pittsburgh police say George Sodini, after planning his attack for months, walked into a suburban fitness center with a gym bag full of guns and ammo and opened fire. He shot 12 people, killing four women and then himself.

    According to E&P:

    The diary focuses on his problems with women and other worries, but also has some comments about the "liberal media," the "Obama economy" -- and it opens with remarks about last fall's election, the election of "The Black Man" and jokes about black men and white women.

    UPDATED: Some captured content from the diary:

    Why do this?? To young girls? Just read below. I kept a running log that includes my thoughts and actions, after I saw this project was going to drag on.

    November 5, 2008:

    Planned to do this in the summer but figure to stick around to see the election outcome. This particular one got so much attention and I was just curious. Not like I give a flying fcuk who won, since this exit plan was already planned. Good luck to Obama! He will be successful. The liberal media LOVES him. Amerika has chosen The Black Man. Good! In light of this I got ideas outside of Obama's plans for the economy and such. Here it is: Every black man should get a young white girl hoe to hone up on. Kinda a reverse indentured servitude thing. Long ago, many a older white male landowner had a young Negro wench girl for his desires. Bout' time tables are turned on that shit. Besides, dem young white hoez dig da bruthrs! LOL. More so than they dig the white dudes! Every daddy know when he sends his little girl to college, she be bangin a bruthr real good. I saw it. "Not my little girl", daddy says! (Yeah right!!) Black dudes have thier choice of best white hoez. You do the math, there are enough young white so all the brothers can each have one for 3 or 6 months or so.

  • When ODS meets CDS at Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Obama Derangement Syndrome + Clinton Derangement Syndrome, of course. And yesterday, on Fox News, the two powerful forces collided as FNC pundits and anchors met on the air to pretty much bitch and moan about how former President Clinton was able to secure the release of two falsely accused American journalists who were facing time in a North Korean work prison.

    Apparently unable at this point to even concede when good news emerges under a Democratic president, Fox News and its right-wing crowd would rather belittle Clinton and Obama than celebrate the release of American hostages.

    Quite a pathetic sight. NewsHounds has a good overview of Fox News' North Korea coverage. And below former Secretary of State (and John McCain supporter) Lawrence Eagleburger derides the channel's negative spin.

  • AIM's Kincaid: "It is not unreasonable to ask questions about Barack Obama's birthplace"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From an August 4 press release issued by Accuracy in Media:

    Cliff Kincaid, the editor of Accuracy in Media, has released a copy of his own birth certificate, in order to demonstrate what needs to be done to resolve the growing controversy over the alleged birth certificate of President Barack Obama. "My birth certificate includes the names of my mother and father, my mother's doctor, and the hospital in which I was born," said Kincaid. "This certified copy of an original long form document is what anyone who wants to be president should be prepared to produce. Why is this a controversy?"


    Kincaid continued, "It is not unreasonable to ask questions about Barack Obama's birthplace. Anybody who has an original copy of their own birth certificate, or a certified copy of their own original birth certificate, should immediately understand that the Obama version is lacking in basic information that should be publicly available."

    AIM describes itself as "a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage."


    Introducing Rep. Pence at CPAC, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S.

  • Politico's Thrush adds some much-needed context to the GOP mini-mob narrative

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Lots of chatter yesterday about how House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ran into more 'grassroots' protesters at a public event and was put on the defensive, the way 'grassroots' conservatives have been organizing across the country in hopes of shutting down town hall forums to discuss health care reform.

    Hoyer appeared at a press conference in Utica, N.Y., to talk about government funding for high-speed rails when protesters started yelling at him, and repeatedly calling him a "liar." The scene fit neatly into the emerging storyline about Dems getting ambushed by angry voters nationwide and how the encounters a) highlight the growing anger across the country and b) have Dems back on their heels.

    Except when you actually watch the raw footage from the Utica showdown, the show of 'grassroots' activism becomes almost comical. By my count, there were no more than a handful of protesters at the Utica event. Watching the video, you can see one nearby man telling the loudmouths to be quiet. ("Listen!) And at one point, a man gets up and moves, apparently not wanting to be near, or associated with, the rude hecklers, one of whom starts ranting about how high the corporate tax rate is. (So much for health care reform.)

    Anyway, Glenn Thrush at Politico gets this scene about right and provides important context:

    A closer look at this video also calls into question whether this is a serious grass-roots movement of town hall protesters or just a few folks holding "tea party" signs. The Utica crowd, shown by a local TV news station, is sparse, and the anger seems to be coming from just a few in the audience.

  • Wash. Post's Meyerson: Birther "nuttiness" due to "hatred" some conservative whites feel about black president

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From Harold Meyerson's August 5 Washington Post column, "Filibuster Nation":

    The right, by contrast, seems perpetually fired up, and not just on health care. At a town meeting last month, Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) was booed and heckled when he wouldn't concur with a noisy "birther" who argued that President Obama had been born in Kenya. This bit of social psychosis is limited almost entirely to Republicans: 77 percent of Americans, according to one recent poll, believe that Obama was born in the USA, but only 42 percent of Republicans do.

    When future historians look back at this passage in our nation's history, I suspect they'll conclude that this Obama-isn't-American nuttiness refracted the insecurities and, in some cases, the hatred that a portion of conservative white America felt about having a black president and about the transformation of what many thought of as their white nation into a genuinely multiracial republic. But whatever the reasons, a mobilized minority is making a very plausible play to thwart a demobilized majority.

  • The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder still doesn't get it

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Yesterday, TPM's Josh Marchall called Ambinder out when he claimed that today's GOP min-mobs, formed to shout down Democrats in public, are doing exactly what Democrats did when they opposed Bush's push to privatize Social Security.

    Except that that's false.

    Wrote Marshall:

    I watched those events unfold pretty closely. And what the Dems did in 2005 consisted almost entirely of protest outside town halls and anti-privatization activists trying to get into the meetings to ask questions to pin members of Congress down on their position. What made it so uncomfortable for Republican and some Democratic members of Congress is that they got questions they didn't want to answer.

    Did some meetings get heated? Sure. But these weren't organized attempts to shut down the meetings themselves.

    Ambinder's response?

    Democrats were able to defeat President Bush on Social Security because they found a way to capitalize on inherent skepticism about forcing that cherished institution to change. Make no mistake, the effort to defeat Social Security reform won because of a mix of organic anxiety, inorganic organizing, focus grouped-messaging and wealthy people and interests writing large checks. Today, we're at a similar juncture, except for the fact that the wealthy, organized/organic/inorganic protesters are on the other side of an issue. Democrats may have used different tactics -- protesting outside of places as opposed to inside of them -- but that's not terribly germane.

    Ugh. Several problems as Ambinder continues to strain to equate the opposition to Social Security and today's astroturf push to shut down debate on health care reform. First, is Ambinder really suggesting that today's health care system is a "cherished institution"? He seems to be because claiming the anti-privatization push and the anti-health care push are exactly the same, Ambinder notes that Dems won because skeptical Americans didn't want to changed Social Security, a cherished institution. The implication, of course, is that the GOP today is succeeding the same way by raising concerns about another "cherished institution," health care companies (?!).

    Second, while backtracking from yesterday's comparison, Ambinder suddenly thinks it's insignificant that the right-wing is using "different tactics"; that the GOP is forming mini-mobs and Dems never did that when opposing Social Security reform. Suddnely that point is not "terribly germane."

    Excuse me but the only reason Ambinder is writing about this issue is because of the mini-mobs. If conservatives were politely objecting to health care reform at Dem town halls, would anybody in the media care? And would anybody in the media be pushing the false claim that there's genuine grassroots opposition spreading across the country?

    Of course not. The mini-mobs are the story, but Ambinder tries to dismiss them as irrelevant.

    Also, as one of Ambinder's readers noted:

    Marc. Marc. Marc. It's not that astroturfing exists, it's that you conveniently ignore it until you are challenged over your poor journalism