What The Media Need To Know About CPAC 2013

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event convened to “crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America” that will showcase “all of the leading conservative organizations and speakers.” Media covering CPAC 2013 should know that the conference's speakers, from the most prominent to the lesser-known, have a history of launching smears, pushing conspiracy theories, and hyping myths about the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.

CPAC 2013: A Rogue's Gallery Of Smear Merchants ...

Ann Coulter, Conservative Author

Coulter: Bill Clinton “Was A Very Good Rapist.” During an interview with the New York Observer, Coulter responded to the question, “What should we remember about Bill Clinton?” by saying, “Well, he was a very good rapist. I think that should not be forgotten.” [Media Matters1/12/05]

Coulter Attacked 9/11 Widows. In her book Godless, Coulter wrote of the women left widowed by the 9/11 attacks: “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much.” In a subsequent interview, she referred to the 9/11 widows as “cruel.” [Media Matters6/8/067/14/06]

At 2007 CPAC, Coulter Referred To John Edwards As A “Faggot.” During CPAC in 2007, Coulter said she couldn't “really talk about” former Democratic presidential nominee John Edwards because “you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' ” [Media Matters6/28/07]

Dana Loesch, Radio Talk-Show Host And Former Breitbart.com Editor

Loesch Excused Rep. Akin's “Legitimate Rape” Remarks. While many conservatives criticized Republican Rep. Todd Akin (MO) for claiming that it's “really rare” for women subjected to “legitimate rape” to become pregnant, Loesch defended Akin, saying that while it was "[n]ot the best statement," Akin had only “failed a soundbite.” [Media Matters8/19/12]

Loesch Cheered Marines For Urinating On Dead Bodies. After an Internet video surfaced showing U.S. Marines urinating on what appeared to be dead Taliban fighters, Loesch asked if the video was “supposed to be a scandal” and said, “I'd drop trou and do it, too. ... I want a million cool points for these guys.” Two of the Marines in the video later faced criminal charges; one pled guilty, leading to a reduction in his rank. [Media Matters1/13/12; Huffington Post, 9/24/12; NBCNews.com, 12/21/12]

Tucker Carlson, Conservative Pundit And Daily Caller Editor-In-Chief

Carlson Called Comparison Of Abortion Provider To Nazis And Al Qaeda “Objectively True.” In an online Q&A in June 2009, Tucker Carlson agreed with characterizations of Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who had recently been murdered, as being guilty of “Nazi stuff” and being the moral equivalent of Al Qaeda. Carlson said that while it was “appalling that [Tiller] was murdered,” such descriptions were “objectively true.” [Media Matters6/1/09]

Carlson Has Attacked Obama's Faith. Carlson once said of Obama's Chicago congregation, "[I]t's hard to call that Christianity." He has also said that the Obama administration “hate[s] traditional Christianity.” [Media Matters, 2/9/07, 12/7/11]

Carlson: Episcopal Church's Embrace Of Gays Will Bring Church “Tumbling Down.” Carlson wrote in The American Spectator that the Episcopal Church's embrace of gays and lesbians would soon cause “the whole enterprise [to come] tumbling down.” [Media Matters6/17/04]

Carlson Repeatedly Launched Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton. Carlson has repeatedly attacked Hillary Clinton on national television. While hosting a show on MSNBC, Carlson said that there is “something about her that feels castrating, overbearing, and scary,” and once said of Clinton, "[W]hen she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs." He also compared her to a cat “in feral mode,” while imitating a screeching cat. [Media Matters3/20/077/18/075/27/08]

Ben Shapiro, Breitbart.com Editor-At-Large

Shapiro Started Baseless Rumor That Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Received Money From Non-Existent “Friends Of Hamas.” Breitbart.com's Ben Shapiro cited “Senate sources” to claim that then-nominee for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may have received money from a group called “Friends of Hamas.” It was later revealed that “Friends of Hamas” does not exist, but Shapiro refused to retract his claim. [Media Matters, 2/20/13]

Shapiro: “Arabs Like To Bomb Crap And Live In Open Sewage.” Shapiro tweeted about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, writing: “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage. This is not a difficult issue. #settlementsrock.” [Twitter, 9/27/10, via Media Matters]

Shapiro: Obama Administration Is “Openly Anti-Semitic” And Rahm Emanuel “Is A Kapo.” In 2010, Shapiro claimed in his syndicated column that the Obama administration was “openly anti-Semitic” and called Rahm Emanuel, then-White House chief-of-staff, a “kapo,” a term that refers to Nazi concentration camp prisoners who aided the Nazis. [Media Matters, 4/28/10]

Shapiro: Obama Was “An Ideological Muslim” And Hillary Clinton Was “An Ideological Lesbian.” In a post on Breitbart.com, Shapiro claimed that Obama was not an actual Muslim but “an ideological Muslim in the same way Hillary Clinton was an ideological lesbian in her college days.” [Breitbart.com, 9/21/11, via Media Matters]

Phyllis Schlafly, Anti-Feminist Activist And Townhall Columnist

Schlafly Said Married Women Can't Be Raped By Their Husbands. In 2007, Schlafly reportedly told an audience: “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape.” [Media Matters9/15/10]

At CPAC 2010, Schlafly Said Martha Coakley Lost Senate Run Because She's A “Feminist” And “Very Unappealing.” During an event at CPAC in 2010, Schlafly said, “I would suggest that one of the reasons why Scott Brown had his magnificent victory in Massachusetts ... is that he had the good fortune to have his opponent a feminist. And she was very unappealing.” [Media Matters2/24/10]

Brent Bozell, Founder And President Of Media Research Center

Bozell Likened Obama To “A Skinny, Ghetto Crackhead.” On Fox News' Hannity, Bozell said, “How long do you think Sean Hannity's show would last if four times in one sentence, he made a comment about, say, the President of the United States, and said that he looked like a skinny, ghetto crackhead? Which, by the way, you might want to say that Barack Obama does.” [Fox News, Hannity12/22/11, via Media Matters]

Bozell Described An Episode Of Ellen Which Featured Ellen DeGeneres Coming Out Of The Closet As “Thrusting Garbage Down The Throats Of Children.” After ABC aired an episode of Ellen which featured Ellen DeGeneres coming out of the closet, Bozell said of the show: “There's this sense almost of horror ... there are some elements in Hollywood who are bent, come hell or high water, on thrusting garbage down the throats of children.” [Associated Press, April 1997, via Media Matters]

Bozell Blamed Hollywood For “Eroding America's Moral Character On 'Gay Marriage,' ” And Selling A “Radical Devolution In Moral Standards.” In a NewsBusters.org column, Bozell wrote that “Hollywood has played a part in eroding America's moral character on 'gay marriage.' ” He added: “It's about time somebody admitted that Hollywood isn't just persuading people into buying Wrigley's Gum [sic] or McDonald's burgers. In between the commercials, they're selling a radical devolution in moral standards.” [Media Matters, 2/7/13]

Morton Blackwell, Leadership Institute Founder 

Blackwell Was “Publicly Repudiated” By Republican Leaders For Mocking Sen. John Kerry's Purple Heart Medals. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, Blackwell passed out adhesive bandages marked with Purple Hearts to mock then-Senator John Kerry. The discredited anti-Kerry group Swift Vets and POWs for Truth (formerly Swift Boat Veterans for Truth) questioned Kerry's receipt of medals for his service in Vietnam, including Kerry's three Purple Hearts. The Navy's chief investigator concluded that all of Kerry's medals were “properly approved.” Republican leaders “publicly repudiated” Blackwell's actions, as did the Military Order of The Purple Heart, a wounded veterans organization. [Media Matters, 2/11/05]

... Conspiracy Theorists ...

Katie Pavlich, Pro-Gun Activist And Townhall.com Editor

Pavlich Hyped Paranoid Gun Control Conspiracy Theory. In her book, Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and its Shameless Cover-up, Pavlich espoused the theory that the failed gun-walking operation Fast and Furious was part of an Obama administration plot to push gun control laws. Pavlich wrote, “Was Fast and Furious designed to help build a case for new gun control measures that could not otherwise pass Congress? Did the Obama administration and its political appointees put their zeal for their own political agenda ahead of public safety? The evidence suggests the answer is yes.” [Media Matters4/23/12]

Betsy McCaughey, Health Care Reform Opponent And Former Lt. Gov. Of New York

McCaughey Propagated Death Panels Conspiracy Theory. In July 2009, McCaughey claimed that the health care reform bill would “make it mandatory ... that every five years, people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life.” Conservative media seized on McCaughey's claim to fearmonger that health care reform would create government-run death panels. Even though PolitiFact rated McCaughey's original claim “pants on fire” false, she continued to repeatedly push the claim, as well as numerous other falsehoods about health care reform. [Media Matters, 3/22/11, 2/11/09, 3/30/09, 4/1/10, 3/13/09; PolitiFact, 7/23/09]

J. Christian Adams, Former DOJ Attorney And PJ Media Contributor

Adams Pushed Theory That Obama DOJ Engaged In Racially-Charged “Corruption” In New Black Panther Case. Adams was behind the conspiracy theory claiming that the Obama Justice Department engaged in racially-charged “corruption” when dismissing a case against the New Black Panther Party and claimed that “the Obama administration doesn't believe some civil rights laws protect every American.” [Media Matters7/7/10]

Dinesh D'Souza, Conservative Author

D'Souza Has Pushed Baseless Theory That Obama Espouses “Anti-Colonial,” “Third-World Anti-American” Worldview. In his book and his movie, D'Souza pushed the baseless theory that Obama adheres to a “failed Third-World collectivism” that is “anti-American.” In a Forbes article, D'Souza claimed that Obama endorses an “anticolonial ideology” that motivates him to “work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West.” [Media Matters9/13/1010/4/108/27/12]

Myron Ebell, Director Of Energy Policy At Competitive Enterprise Institute

Ebell Chairs Coalition To “Question Global Warming Alarmism.” Ebell is Director of Energy and Global Warming Policy for the Conservative Enterprise Institute and “chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition,” a group of organizations that “question global warming alarmism.” The Competitive Enterprise Institute dismisses the scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to climate change as “phony,” and has received funding from, among others, Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, Texaco, and the Koch family foundations. [Media Matters9/21/09;11/28/12]

Ebell Accused Climate Scientists Of Being Involved “In Essentially A Conspiracy.” During a November 2011 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Ebell claimed that misleadingly cropped and out-of-context emails revealed that a group of climate scientists “showed the world that they have been concealing and manipulating data. They've been involved in essentially a conspiracy.” [Fox News, Special Report11/29/11, via Media Matters]

... And Birthers

Donald Trump, Real Estate Mogul

Trump Led Campaign To Push Birther Claims. Trump went on a public campaign to push the notion that Obama may not have been born in the U.S., repeatedly appearing on Fox News to hype his call for Obama to “show his birth certificate.” In April 2011, Trump even sent a team of his own investigators to Hawaii, telling CNN that his team might uncover “one of the greatest cons in the history of politics and beyond.” Obama had released his birth certificate in June 2008. [Media Matters, 3/24/114/1/114/27/11; CNN.com, 4/7/11]

Joel Pollak, Breitbart.com Editor-In-Chief

Pollak Highlighted A 1991 Booklet That Incorrectly Stated Obama Was “Born In Kenya.” In spite of insisting that “Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of 'Birtherism',” Pollak wrote a post on Breitbart.com that highlighed a 1991 booklet produced by Obama's literary agent that incorrectly stated he was “born in Kenya.” The post was hyped by right-wing media, including sites known for pushing birther claims. [Media Matters5/18/12]

Colin Hanna, President Of Let Freedom Ring USA

Hanna Claimed Obama Did Not Provide “Proper Documentation” To Prove He Was Born In The United States. On MSNBC's Hardball in April 2010, host Chris Matthews asked Hanna about polls showing that many Tea Partiers don't think Obama was born in the United States. Hanna said: “Obama and those supporters around him have not answered perfectly simple and straightforward questions that would have put this to rest long ago. Where is the proper documentation?” [Media Matters8/27/10