Yesterday I tackled how Newsweek's Howard Fineman was attacking Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul for picking a fight that the liberal media, in fact, was whipping up.
Today, it's Fineman colleague Ben Adler and his insistence that conservatives are fixated on smearing both Elena Kagan and softball players everywhere as gay.
Adler made his argument in his May 20 The Gaggle blog post, "What Is With Conservatives, Gays, and Softball" by picking apart a comment Fox Business Network's John Stossel made on Fox News Channel in which he defended Paul's comments regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964.What annoyed Adler most was Stossel's quip that gay softball leagues, for example, should not be forced to admit straight players:
The gay softball team? The proverbial black student association has long been every anti-civil-rights pundit's favorite shibboleth, but why suddenly gay softball team? Do gay people have separate softball teams that don't allow straight people to play for them? If so, it's still an awfully random example. Oh wait, no it isn't, it's a dog whistle to everyone who thinks that women who play softball are gay, and that therefore Solicitor General Elena Kagan is gay. Stay classy, John.
There are two problems with this. First and foremost, it was gay groups that first made a stink about an innocuous photo by the Wall Street Journal that was clearly selected as a clever tease for a story in the May 11 edition. The headline and caption for the Kagan-playing-softball photo were as follows:
"Although the Gulf spill has lowered the percentage of Americans who support offshore oil drilling, a new Pew Forum poll finds a stunning 54 percent still support it," an incredulous Erbe wrote, adding, "So it will take more than a major, irreversible environmental disaster to persuade gas glugging Americans to trade in their pickups for hybrids. I see."
To Erbe, it can't possibly be that average Americans are more even-keeled than their hot-headed, grandstanding congressmen who would capitalize on a disaster for crass political gain. No, it's that oil-addicted American idiots across the fruited plain just aren't following the example of their betters on the Hill:
The general election campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak has started "ugly," according to Jay Newton-Small. In her May 20 Swampland blog post, the Time magazine staffer offered as evidence the former's press conference yesterday in which:
[H]e spent much of the speech blasting Sestak. In his 7-minute opening remarks he said “I” or “me” 52 times – including the thank yous – and “Joe or “he” 43 times.
Newton-Small did go on to note that "the beginning of a general election is all about defining your opponent" and added that:
"In a 7-2 ruling [on Monday], the Supreme Court expanded Congressional powers just a mite, by allowing the federal government to keep sexual predators in prison beyond their terms if they are deemed too dangerous to be released," U.S. News & World Report contributor Bonnie Erbe noted in a May 18 Thomas Jefferson Street blog post.
[T]he two dissenters were arguably the most conservative on a majority conservative court: Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. One would think that law and order conservatives would be more concerned about keeping sexual predators away from the public than about a very minor expansion of federal powers. Apparently not.
Of course that's a patently unfair cheap shot and Erbe knows it. Thomas's dissent in U.S. v. Comstock (scroll to page 36 at this link)-- published to the Supreme Court's Web site on May 17 -- clocks in at a brief 23 pages, easily readable for a journalist, especially one who graduated cum laude from Georgetown Law in 1987.
Taxpayers may be forced to foot a portion of the bill for a new movie that has become a stark -- and violent -- message against the recently passed Arizona immigration law. The liberal political stance is nothing new in the movie world. That the film is still being considered for indirect public funding, however, is quite striking.
An online trailer for the film "Machete," released on Cinco de Mayo (and embedded below the fold), begins with the title character saying he has a "special message...to Arizona!" That special message, as the New York Post writes, seems to be "They just f---ed with the wrong Mexican."
Some commentators believe that the film could actually provoke violence. But at the very least, "Machete" seems to be making a very strong and provocative political statement about an extremely divisive issue -- while at the same time applying for tax breaks from the Texas state government. So Texans may be forced to help pay for a statment to which -- if national polls are any indicator -- many are opposed.
While the 10-paragraph article in itself didn't raise any bias alarm bells, I was disappointed but hardly surprised that the Post buried the story on the last page of its A-section.
Gardner's article focused on how Palin, "[s]peaking to a breakfast gathering of the Susan B. Anthony List in downtown Washington on Friday" observed that liberal pro-choice feminists are hypocrites for on the one hand insisting that women can hold fulfilling careers while being mothers but at the same time those same feminists hold out abortion for young women who might feel their unwanted pregnancies are an inconvenience obstacle to career or educational goals.
That observation led Post staffer Jonathan Capehart, no Palin acolyte he, to concede Palin makes a "very interesting point":
If you think it's odd for Chris Matthews to blame Dick Cheney for the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Daily Kos will go one further. The Kosmonaut with the byline "RFK Lives" is blaming Ronald Reagan:
For 30 years, our public policy has been dominated by this basic creed. Whether it was telecom deregulation, financial deregulation, welfare "reform," regulatory "reform," or most any other issue, the Reaganite philosophy almost invariably prevailed. Whether it was Gingrich, Greenspan, W, Cheney, or anyone else playing the tune, they were all using St. Ronnie's sheet music.
We have, sadly, reached the logical end result of Reaganism.
Enraged voters, too dumb to appreciate the purveyors of pork . . .
That was Mike Allen's take on Morning Joe today. Politico's chief political correspondent labelled "absurd" the decision of Utah and Nevada voters not to re-elect Bob Bennett [done deal] and Harry Reid [likely goner]. And why is it such a bad mistake? Because Bennett and Reid are proven pork providers for their states.
Allen offered his analysis in response to Mike Barnicle's suggestion that in the current political climate, bringing home the bacon might actually backfire on politicians.
One can't help but be a bit stunned at the audacity of an organization built by Morton Halperin and George Soros lecturing others on "astroturfing." But that same audacity -- not the good Barack Obama kind -- is taken to extremes when that same organization alleges a corporate conspiracy where there simply is none.
Think Progress's Lee Fang was practically giddy that he had uncovered the next vast right-wing conspiracy, proclaiming that a powerpoint "obtained" by the website "reveals how the telecom industry is orchestrating the latest campaign against Net Neutrality" via layers of astroturfing "front groups."
In reality, the powerpoint was the creation not of the giant telecoms that quite openly oppose Net Neutrality, but rather of six students in a contest at a "think tank MBA" program held by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. The whole project cost under $200. And far from being "secret," as Fang claimed, the powerpoint was posted online, as was the audio of the students' presentation to the contest's judges. Some astroturf!
In the latest example of a pattern of opacity, the White House has cut off the press's access to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Kagan has extensive ties to journalists, which only serves as a testament to this administration's determination to control the message on its major initiatives, including Kagan's nomination.
"Tell her we're deeply frustrated," one reporter told White House press secretary Robert Gibbs of the administration's refusal to grant Kagan a traditional interview with the press. Kagan did do a short interview with a White House staff member released only online, in what CBS White House correspondent Peter Maer called "Kagan 'in her own words' without anyone else's words."
Washington Examiner White House correspondent Julie Mason was harsher in her criticism. The White House interview "doesn't count toward the administration's 'accountability' totals," she wrote on the paper's Beltway Confidential blog. "It's just another campaign commercial, masquerading as openness."
The mainstream media often have little use for religious folks, except, of course, when they sing from the same hymnal on an issue dear to liberals.
We've seen it before with how the media bash the Catholic Church as behind the times when compared to its American laity who are decidedly less conservative on sexual mores, abortion, and women or married persons in the priesthood. Yet when Catholic bishops come out against say the Arizona anti-immigration law, the media all but stand and cheer the bishops for trying to lead their flock in opposition.
Ever since the passage of Arizona's new immigration law, the Left has been attacking anything associated with the state. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann continued the trend by going after Arizona's major league baseball team for what he claims is a lack of diversity.
When the story broke involving five high school students sent home by school administrators for daring to wear the American flag on Cinco de Mayo, the once universally-beloved film critic Roger Ebert had a choice. He could either side with the students and school administrators repressing free speech or he could side with those having their speech repressed. Not surprisingly (he is a leftist, after all), Ebert sided with the repressors. Worse, with this Tweet, Ebert equated wearing the American flag as just as offensive as wearing the Soviet hammer & sickle.
Today, Ebert responds with the usual leftist refuge of last resort: How dare you question my patriotism!
Which is more newsworthy: hearsay accounts of racial slurs unsupported by video evidence of the alleged incident, or video of a protester calling for violent revolution against the federal government, the imposition of socialism, and the annexation of the Southwestern states for Mexico?
If you chose the latter, you're probably not a journalist of the self-proclaimed "mainstream" variety. The legacy media has been largely silent on video of Los Angles schoolteacher at a La Raza protest of the recently-passed Arizona immigration law literally calling for the violent overthrow of the United States government.
"There's 40 million potential revolutionaries north of the border, inside the belly of the beast," Los Angeles high school history teacher Ron Gochez told a frenzied crowd, referring to the 40 million Latin Americans in the United States. He went on to claim that teaching or writing a book "is not part of the movement," and that his followers needed to go a step further -- to literal revolution (video embedded below the fold - h/t Jawa Report).
One of the worst ways that the lack of ideological diversity in America's newsrooms shows forth is in the media's treatment of sensational accusations against the current president.
Oftentimes, explosive allegations against presidents are either untrue or drastically overstated: George W. Bush deliberately lying to get the U.S. to war so he can cash in or deliberately ignoring Hurricaine Katrina due to his hatred of black people (a la Kanye West), Bill Clinton's supposed involvment in the drug trade, truthers, birthers, so on and so forth.
Journalists do the public a service by rebutting absurd conspiracy theories and wacko charges. In recent memory, though, they have taken a much greater zeal toward stamping out allegations against Democrats, particularly President Obama, a stark contrast to the kidglove or even promotional attitude they took toward books by liberal authors alleging all sorts of anti-Bush absurdities.
World Net Daily-affiliated author Aaron Klein recently discovered this when he sent his new book, "The Manchurian President," to members of the media he hoped would review it. He got some very angry responses. Here are some of the more colorful ones:
The anti-capitalist left seems to despise all privately owned media outlets as hopelessly servile lackeys of the robber barons. But even through this dark lens, Fox News is still the worst. Raccoondog on the Daily Kos says in the wake of the Gulf oil spill that it is "by design a criminal enterprise" and Sarah Palin is guilty of "criminal imbecility." [Image at top right also from Daily Kos.]
Mostly unreported or downplayed by the corporate media, which every day that passes lengthens its record of complicity in its masters' crimes (and I'm not even thinking here of Fox News, which is by design a criminal enterprise), the oil industry has seen thousands of accidents injurious to the environment just in the last quarter century.
Daily Kos may be an almost official stop of the Democratic Party -- today's top ad demands you help the Arizona Democrats fight the new immigration law -- but it's certainly not a religious website. In fact, last Friday, the blogger "HumeSkeptic" declared that all religions pale in comparison to earth worship:
In so far as all morality is fundamentally based on preservation, betterment and continuation of life, there is no higher morality than environmentalism.
The Washington Post is making the transition from a powerhouse liberal newspaper to a network of powerhouse liberal blogs. While the paper's Old Guard is worried that the move will tarnish the Post's supposed reputation for political neutrality, it should be seen more as a embrace of the agenda the Post has evinced for years.
"Traditionalists," wrote Politico today, "worry that the Post is sacrificing a hard-won brand and hallowed news values." One such "traditionalist," Rem Rieder of the American Journalism Review, said a more openly-liberal approach to reporting, mostly done online in the form of various blogs, would be "a danger to the brand."
To the extent that the Post still pretends to be objective -- and to the extent that its readers believe that claim -- then yes, an opinion blog-centric approach is tarnishing the brand. But for those who acknowledge the Post' consistently liberal approach to the news, the only change is the way that that news is delivered.
About 45 minutes ago, Red State's Caleb Howe reported that a package filled with a white powder was sent to the office of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Brewer, picture right in a file photo, has become a controversial figure since she signed into law a bill giving state authorities more power to determine an individual's immigration status.
Andrew Staubitz, the chief of Phoenix's Capital Police Department, told Howe that a state employee opened an envelope addressed to the Governor and found a "powdery white substance." The first floor of the Arizona Capitol was closed for about half an hour. Paramedics were called, but the employee required no further medical assistance. The powder was sent to a lab where it is undergoing tests.
Will the media report this event as vehemently as they have other instances of purported political violence? Will they extrapolate a larger threat posed by opponents of the new immigration law as they repeatedly have with the Tea Party movement (even though it has been completely devoid of violence)? Or will they apply the journalistic scrutiny to this incident that they failed to apply to the claims of members of Congressional Black Caucus who said protesters had shouted racial slurs at them? We will see.
This is how the Post covers the conservative movement: Find someone who doesn't even understand the traditional values that made our nation great and then assign him to report on the right. Throw in the fact that Weigel loves to bash conservatives and he's the ideal Postie. At the same time, the paper hired a hard-core lefty in Ezra Klein to advocate for the left. It's a ridiculous double standard. The Post should be both embarrassed and ashamed.
For his part, Lewis, a conservative writer, lamented that Weigel, whom he considers generally "accurate and fair," has taken to his Twitter feed to bash average Americans as "bigots" for working to protect traditional marriage in state law:
For many far-left MSNBC fans, one conservative on the cable network is one too many. Combine a tired tirade against Joe Scarborough of "Morning Joe" with the inanity of a Hollywood leftist's lame attempt at media commentary, and you have one entertaining Huffington Post column.
"Are the programmers at MSNBC nuts?" asked legendary actor Donald Sutherland (pictured right) on Sunday. "They give us refreshing afternoons with Chris and Ed, put us to bed with the clarifying sensibilities of Rachel and Keith and then, idiotically, wake us up with Mr. Small Mouth."
Yes, Sutherland did just use the terms "refreshing" and "clarifying sensibilities" in reference to Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann, respectively. And no, apparently he was not being sarcastic. Then comes the Scarborough-bashing:
Former leftist agitator Brandon Darby took the mainstream media to task today for toeing the administration line on supposed right-wing violence while ignoring the leftists who actually pose a threat to the nation's security.
Few know the measures political violence better than Darby (pictured right). He spent years as a radical leftist/anarchist, espousing hatred for the United States and advocating violent revolution. Eventually he realized the error of his ways, became an FBI informant, and helped foil a plot to bomb the 2008 Republican National Convention. So he knows a thing or two about radical, violent leftists.
What are his thoughts on the media's coverage of recent political violence (and the lack thereof)? He wrote at Big Government today that "the Mainstream media is currently peddling the Obama Administration myth that patriotic Americans, many of whom have served in our military or who otherwise have an American flag hanging proudly in their front yards, pose a grave threat to our nation’s security."
April 28 was apparently Abortion Uber Alles day at the liberal Web site Daily Kos. Aimee Thorne-Thomsen of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project stated that the number of women who receive abortions is “too low” in “Keep Abortions Safe and Legal? Yes. Make it Rare? Not the Point.” A separate article blasted the new law in Oklahoma that makes it mandatory for woman to receive ultrasounds by making crude comparisons and calling it “blackmail.”
Even though 1.21 million abortions were performed in 2005, this was not enough for Thorne-Thomsen. She wrote, “On the other hand, if those 1.21 million abortions represent only the women who could access abortion financially, geographically or otherwise, then that number is too low. Yes, too low.”
Some conservatives don't bother reading or quoting from the Daily Kos because it's just too bizarre to take seriously. This would certainly be a good exhibit: Fox News is the network of "exterminationist rhetoric."
There's no doubt in my mind that Glenn Beck is the closest thing we've had to a Neonazi leader in America in a long long time, and he's by far the most dangerous conservative to have emerged in my lifetime in terms of the violence he's inspiring in American citizens.
His eliminationist rhetoric has already inspired an American Neonazi to murder police officers.
Will Fox News ever pull him off the air for his eliminationist talk? No. The network itself is a rabid supporter of exterminationist rhetoric and the consequences of it.
National Public Radio correspondent Nina Totenberg severely misquoted a conservative legal scholar to make it seems as if he considered Clarence Thomas a radical Supreme Court justice. An examination of his full statement clearly demonstrates that this was not what he actually said.
In an April 16 NPR segment, Totenberg, picture right in a file photo, sought to paint radical Berkeley law professor, and Obama nominee to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, as the left's equivalent to Justice Thomas. She quoted Curt Levey, executive director of the conservative Committee for Justice as saying "Goodwin Liu is not your typical liberal. He’s very far out on the left wing, even in academia. So I think you could think of Liu as the Democratic Clarence Thomas." (Audio embedded below the fold.)
But the spliced audio in Totenberg's segment actually mis-represented what Levey said. He was not comparing Liu's and Thomas's stances on constitutional law. Here is his full statement, according to Big Journalism's Matthew Vadum (italicized portions quoted by Totenberg):
Last month I noted Newsweek's Liz White's complaint about the term "ObamaCare" being used as shorthand for the Democratic health care legislation. White griped that the term was "ominous-sounding" and favored by the legislation's conservative opponents as reasons why mainstream media outlets should eschew the term.
Now a full 27 days later, White is back at it with her complaint about the term "ObamaCare." This time, she's citing none other than liberal Comedy Central "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart to back her up:
Stewart immediately jumps on O’Hara’s slip, calling him out on using the “derogatory” phrase and firing back by referring to O’Hara’s book as a “tea-bagger book.” O’Hara stammers for a few seconds and tries to defend his word choice, but concedes to calling it the health-reform bill instead. (It’s a law, by the way.)
Last month, I took on this same issue. Should the bill be called Obamacare, or is that phrase, as Stewart puts it, derogatory by nature?
In her April 26 piece, the Newsweek staff writer cranks up the melodrama volume knob to 11, lamenting that Democrats are not the reliable vehicle for the pro-abortion lobby that they were 30 years ago (emphasis mine):
Update - 12:48 PM | Lachlan Markay:David Brooks weighs in. See his thoughts below.
One of the gripes about online journalism often aired by the Helen Thomases and the Chuck Todds of the world is that online news consumers will only consume news that reinforces their worldview or political beliefs. A new scholarly study challenges that assumption.
The study, conducted by Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro, both of the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that there is "no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time." In other words, contrary to Old Media's accusations, the Internet is not an overwhelmingly polarizing force.
The study found that the Internet exposes people to ideas that they do not normally encounter in face-to-face interactions during their daily lives. Though this should come as little surprise -- with the wealth of information the web provides, how could it not regularly challenge worldviews and preconceptions? -- it is perhaps worth reminding the skeptics.
Here's the thing about the vast right-wing conspiracy: it doesn't really exist. The left's latest attempt to invoke the notion has ended in rebuttals from commentators on both sides of the political spectrum.
Conservative blogger Ben Domenech noted the White House's apparent desire to appoint a homosexual to the Supreme Court. He noted in a post at the New Ledger that at least three nominees -- Pam Karlan, Kathleen Sullivan, and Elana Kagan -- are gay. The White House vehemently denied the latter. The left was not happy.
Huffington Post contributor Sam Stein quoted a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, who alleged a "shameless … whisper campaign" started by the "far right," echoing other groups' statments to the same effect.
But there is no evidence of any such campaign. Indeed, the extent of the evidence offered by Human Rights Campaign and other left-wing groups seems to be that propagating rumors regarding sexual orientation is "straight out of the right-wing playbook."