Cal Thomas

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  • Conservatives Were Stunningly Wrong About Obamacare, New Report Finds

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    A New York Times analysis found “historic increases” in those covered by the Affordable Care Act, destroying right-wing media predictions about health care reform including that it would “topple the stock market” and enslave Americans. The Times analysis is just one of many pieces of research that have highlighted the successes of the Affordable Care Act.

  • INFOGRAPHIC: The Conservative Civil War Over Donald Trump

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Conservative pundits are bickering over Donald Trump's campaign, especially after National Review's "Against Trump" issue and the backlash it engendered. On one side are pundits who want to stop Trump's candidacy in its tracks. On the other are conservatives who are lauding Trump's candidacy, even if they have not officially endorsed him. Media Matters breaks down exactly who is on which side (click for the full-sized image):

    Civil War over Donald Trump

    Graphic by Sarah Wasko, Research by Eric Hananoki
  • The Extremism Of National Review's Trump Critics

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    The influential conservatives who penned essays for National Review urging voters not to cast their ballots for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump have their own histories of extremism. They have called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seeded hatred for white people" and compared him to a "skinny, ghetto crackhead"; termed Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat fucking child molester"; reportedly "helped push" Sarah Palin onto the 2008 GOP presidential ticket; and offered inflammatory Islamophobic comments.

  • Bogus Conservative Media Talking Point: Martin O'Malley "Taxed The Rain"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Conservative media outlets are attacking Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley for purportedly "taxing the rain" as governor of Maryland. But as The Baltimore Sun noted, the state did "not tax the rain." O'Malley approved an anti-pollution levy on certain property owners to comply with federal law protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.  

    The talking point that O'Malley allegedly "taxed the rain" has been frequently used by conservatives since his presidential announcement. For instance: 

    • During Fox's May 30 coverage of O'Malley's campaign announcement, Fox News contributor Cal Thomas attacked O'Malley for imposing tax increases like "the famous rain tax."
    • During the May 31 edition of Fox & Friends Sunday, co-host Anna Kooiman wondered how O'Malley will "be able to stay relevant especially when he's got these huge -- this record of major taxes, including taxing the rain." Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli later said "there isn't a thing he wouldn't tax."
    • Richard J. Douglas wrote in a May 31 National Review piece: "Environmental extremism is another O'Malley signature issue. The governor's 'rain tax' (collected on quarterly water bills) made Maryland a national laughingstock. Small businesses weren't laughing, though, when their water bills skyrocketed in 2013. Baltimore's elderly, struggling on fixed incomes and already pressed by crime and collapsing neighborhoods, now face liens thanks to the rain tax."
    • CNN's S.E. Cupp on June 4 tweeted a reference to "Governor Rain Tax."
    • On his June 5 program, Fox News Radio host John Gibson attacked O'Malley as "Mr. Tax The Rain." Fox News digital editor Chris Stirewalt replied that "O'Malley's rain tax doesn't necessarily disqualify him with the Democratic electorate." 
    • A June 6 American Thinker piece by Thomas Lifson referred to O'Malley as "the guy who taxed rain."
    • A June 9 column by Arthur Schaper claimed of O'Malley: "This man taxed the rain - no joke!"
    • Daniel Greenfield wrote in a June 10 FrontPage Magazine piece that "O'Malley is famous for is taxing the rain as governor" and Democrats "can cast their vote for a man who will tax water falling from the sky ... O'Malley will tax any rain that falls on you." He added that his only support would come from voters who "hate" rain.
  • Media Misleadingly Compare Anti-LGBT Indiana Law With Federal And State Religious Freedom Laws


    Media outlets have argued that Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) mirrors RFRAs passed in other states as well as the federal RFRA signed into law in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton. In fact, Indiana's RFRA is broader than other versions of the law, and experts say it could allow private businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers on the basis of religion.

  • Conservative Media's Worst Predictions For Obamacare That Never Came To Pass

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Conservative media figures issued apocalyptic warnings and predictions about the consequences of passing health care reform. Yet in the five years since President Obama signed the bill into law, the number of uninsured Americans has dropped by the largest amount in four decades, insurers can no longer deny coverage for preexisting conditions, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obamacare subsidies will cost $209 billion less than projected

    On the anniversary of health care reform's passage, Media Matters looked back at right-wing media's most dire predictions.

    "The End Of America As You Know It."  

    In November 2009, Glenn Beck declared that the possible passage of health care reform "will be a nail in the coffin of America" and would cause the public to "all wallow in misery." Obamacare would be "the end of prosperity in America forever ... the end of America as you know it." 

    Beck later predicted health care granted Obama "the pieces the president needs to control every aspect of your life," including control over whether and when people can have children.

    "All Of Us Will Be Slaves." 

    Rush Limbaugh argued in 2009 that Obamacare was "aimed at robbing you of your humanity and forcing you to bow down to the state." He predicted, "All of us will be slaves" because "the road to serfdom ... is paved in Obamacare."

    The next year, Limbaugh forecast that health care reform would lead to "250 million uninsured." 

    "It's Going To Be A Bloodbath." 

    Radio host Jim Quinn argued in January 2010 that the passage of Obamacare would bring "an insurrection. You're going to see an uprising." According to Quinn, "Your taxes are going to go through the roof. It's going to be a bloodbath."

    Reform Will Topple The Stock Market.

    CNBC's Jim Cramer predicted in March 2010 that Obamacare would topple the stock market, arguing it was the "single biggest impediment to the stock market going higher." (Notably, the DOW and Nasdaq neared all-time highs in March 2015.)

    No Care For Granny Because "She's Too Old."

    Cal Thomas claimed on Fox News in 2010 that while they may not "pull the plug on Granny" due to Obamacare, "they will deny her care because she's costing too much and she's too old." 

  • The Koch Brothers Are Using Fox News Employees As Campaigners

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    At least 15 Fox News hosts and contributors have recently campaigned with two political organizations created and heavily funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. Many of those same Fox News personalities have also defended the Kochs from attacks and praised their political efforts on-air.  

    The controversial conservative brothers founded the 501(c)(4) group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and its 501(c)(3) sister group the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) in 2004. David Koch has called AFP the group he feels "most closely attached to and most proud of" and chairs AFPF's board. (The Washington Post notes of the IRS code distinction: "A 501(c)(4) is allowed to do considerably more issue advocacy work than a 501(C)(3), however. Neither group has to disclose the identity of its donors or the amounts of money those contributors have given.")

    Politico's Ken Vogel reported that AFP "intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group." The Washington Post wrote that with a paid staff of 240, split between 32 states, AFP "may be America's third-biggest political party." In 2012, "More than $44 million of the $140 million the organization raised in that election cycle came from Koch-linked feeder funds."

    AFP and AFPF are part of a massive $400 million network of political groups spearheaded by the Kochs. The Huffington Post's Paul Blumenthal noted, "It is the electoral focus of the Koch nonprofits and their sophisticated efforts to shield donors' identities -- plus the vast sums of money they move -- that has brought them the unwanted attention of both Democratic Senate leadership and reporters. There exists no outside network or organization supporting Democratic Party candidates in elections, while not disclosing its donors, that spends money in comparable amounts."

    AFP states that it "mobilizes citizens to effectively make their voices heard in public policy issue campaigns" and "educates citizens about where their elected officials stand on our issues." AFP campaigns have included false attacks about health care reformclean energyeconomic issues, and elected Democrats like President Obama.

    Fox News personalities are the public face of many AFP/AFPF events. Promotional materials heavily tout the speakers' affiliation with Fox News to increase attendance. According to a Media Matters review, the following Fox News personalities have participated in AFP and AFPF events since 2012: Guy Benson, Tucker Carlson, Monica Crowley, Jonah Goldberg, Greg Gutfeld, Mary Katharine Ham, Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham, Andrew Napolitano, Sarah Palin, Charles Payne, Dana Perino, John Stossel, Cal Thomas, and Juan Williams.

    The Koch/Fox News events are aimed at rallying attendees to support conservative causes and fight progressive initiatives. For example, an invitation for a May event featuring Tucker Carlson stated the rally will "send a message to the Left that we know the truth and support free market solutions." Information for a November 2013 rally with Monica Crowley said participants will "learn how you can fight back against government restrictions, taxes, and out-of-control spending." And an October 2012 event with John Stossel was a "Hands Off My Health Care Rally" which sought "to fully repeal Obama's deeply flawed health care bill."  

    Media Matters previously documented how numerous Fox News personalities campaigned for Republican candidates and organizations during the 2011-2012 election cycle.

  • Fox's Ben Carson To Keynote Anti-Gay Group's Gala Dinner

    Latest Sign Of Fox News' Cozy Relationship With Extreme Anti-Gay Groups

    Blog ››› ››› LUKE BRINKER

    Fox News contributor Ben Carson is slated to be the keynote speaker at the first Gala dinner of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), becoming the latest Fox figure to appear before an extreme anti-gay group.

    In a May 6 email to supporters, NOM President Brian Brown wrote that "it's 1972 for marriage," referring to the year before the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman's right to an abortion and the growing expectation that the Court will take up marriage equality once again by 2015. To protest the frightening possibility that same-sex couples nationwide will soon enjoy civil equality, NOM will hold its second annual March for Marriage in Washington on June 19. Brown's email touted Carson's appearance - previously flagged by GLAAD's Jeremy Hooper - at NOM's gala that same evening (emphasis original):

    It was a crisp winter day in 1973 when the United States Supreme Court issued their horrific decision in Roe v Wade. How much would you sacrifice to go back in time to a few months before that fateful decision, to the Fall of 1972, and mobilize the American people BEFORE the Supreme Court issued that infamous decree?

    Just about anything, right? Well, when it comes to marriage, we have that chance!

    You see, it's 1972 for marriage. Within the next 12 months, it is very likely that the United States Supreme Court will take up the marriage issue again. Many people have bought in to the lie that the courts redefining marriage is somehow "inevitable." Well, I refuse to believe that, because it's simply not true!

    That's why the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is organizing its second annual March for Marriage this summer on June 19th in Washington, DC -- bringing together thousands of marriage activists from all across the country to make sure the elites in our nation's capital hear loud and clear: Marriage matters because every kid deserves a mom and a dad!


    One incredibly courageous leader who is standing up for marriage is Doctor Ben Carson, who will be the keynote speaker at NOM's first ever Gala dinner on the evening of the March for Marriage. He said in a speech earlier this year that the "P.C. police" have "tried to shut him up" because he's willing to state his belief publicly that marriage is between a man and a woman.

  • Here Are The Anti-LGBT Media Figures Speaking At This Year's Values Voters Summit

    Blog ››› ››› LUKE BRINKER

    Social conservatives will descend on Washington, D.C., next month for the Values Voters Summit (VVS), an annual convocation put on by an assemblage of anti-LGBT groups that will prominently feature high-profile right-wing media figures.

    Sponsored by organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA) - both Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)-designated hate groups - VVS got its start in 2006. As in the past, this year's gathering promises to feature leading opponents of equality for women and LGBT people. Several confirmed speakers will be familiar faces to consumers of right-wing media:

    Among the right-wing media personalities slated to speak at the conference:

  • Fox's Cal Thomas Predicts Collapse of Civilization After Marriage Equality Rulings

    Blog ››› ››› LUKE BRINKER

    Cal Thomas

    Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas has joined the chorus of right-wing commentators proclaiming national doom in the wake of the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decisions last week.

    In a July 1 column for, Thomas condemned the high court for its rulings striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and dismissing the Proposition 8 case on the grounds that its supporters lacked standing. Like his Fox colleague Todd Starnes - who tweeted that the Supreme Court had "overrule[d] God" - Thomas accused the Court of poking its finger in the eye of the Almighty

    The Supreme Court has narrowly, but effectively, removed another standard on the way to full acceptance of its right to redefine marriage and raise itself to a level higher than the Creator.

    What or who is to stop them? Various religious-political groups formed over many years to confront cultural erosion are in retreat and increasingly ineffective.

    Thomas then proceeded to reprise his claim that a nation that embraces marriage equality will soon condone polygamy and pedophilia:

    Polygamist groups have made it known they wish to be next in line to enjoy full constitutional protection for their lifestyle. Utah was forced to outlaw polygamy before admission to the Union. Can it, should it, revert to its previous practice and who has the authority to say "no"?

    There are people who favor sex and marriage between adults and children. On what basis should they be denied their "right to happiness"? 

    Today's "that goes too far" easily becomes tomorrow's "right" with a morally vacuous media leading the charge and a morally exhausted people who are afraid to say "stop," for fear they'll be labeled "bigots."

    Among the developments Thomas cites as the basis for the nation descending a slippery slope into accepting polygamy and pedophilia: "The New York Times recently editorialized in favor of transgender rights."

    In Thomas' estimation, the advance of equal rights for LGBT citizens will lead to nothing less than civilizational collapse: "History is full of examples of empires that collapsed from within before they were conquered from without."

    While Fox's relatively tame reaction to the Court's rulings suggested that the network was wary of leading a crusade against marriage equality, its willingness to grant moral scolds like Thomas a platform indicates that bigotry and anti-gay misinformation still enjoy an outlet there.

  • Fox's Cal Thomas Repeats Myth That Marriage Equality Leads To Polygamy, Child Marriage

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA

    Fox News contributor and conservative columnist Cal Thomas promoted the popular right-wing talking point that marriage equality would create a slippery slope toward polygamy and marriage with children, despite the fact that this myth has been consistently disproven.

    In a March 12 column for on "what we ought to be asking gay marriage advocates," Thomas posed the question - if same-sex marriage is legalized, what reason can be given for denying polygamous marriages or marriages with underage children?: 

    What advocates for same-sex marriage should be asked is whether they consider any other human relationship worthy of similar constitutional protection and based on what standard? The Constitution doesn't guarantee the right to marry. States, not the federal government, issue marriage licenses. 

    Current laws restrict "underage" marriage, as well as polygamy. If same-sex marriage is approved, what's to stop polygamists from demanding legal protection and cultural acceptance?Justice Antonin Scalia predicted as much in 2003 in his dissent of the Lawrence v. Texas case, in which the Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas. So I ask, if "fairness" and "equality" are the standard, isn't it also "unfair" to "discriminate" against polygamists who wish to live in "loving" and "committed" relationships?

    Since we are rapidly discarding the rules for living and social order set down in a book found in most motel room drawers, what is to replace it? Opinion polls? Clever legal arguments? Fairness? What exactly does "fairness" mean and who decides what's fair? Many things may seem "unfair," but not all can, or should, be addressed by courts. [emphasis added]