MSNBC's Chris Hayes: Being Wrong Is the Conservative Media's 'Business Model'

On Saturday morning, MSNBC host Chris Hayes laid into National Review's Andy McCarthy for a ten-word link on The Corner blog implying President Obama would be attending his own campaign's badly timed Fourth of July fundraiser in Paris. Hayes wasn't exactly serving a fresh rhetorical breakfast. Hardball sub Michael Smerconish and Maddow sub Ezra Klein both whacked NR for the slip....last Tuesday (probably lifting from New York magazine last Monday).

But Hayes added that to be wrong is to be conservative. "We know that McCarthy later conceded on Twitter what he wrote was untrue. We also know that there's literally an entire media universe in which jokes like this one circulate and soon become folk tales and then turn into facts," Hayes complained.

"And we know that jerking around its readers with wrong information seems to be the business model of a lot of conservative media."

It's a little funny that the same liberal journalists that will spend this week pounding the Obama line that Romney's an elitist with offshore accounts are reflexively protective as Obama raises campaign millions in France. Perhaps conservatives can laugh and point fingers at what Hayes said just before this lecture, that Obama was no socialist:

We know that in the U.S., total taxes as a percentage of GDP are the lowest they've been in 50 years and the top marginal rate is the lowest it's been in nearly 20 years. After World War II, corporate tax revenues represented 40 percent of total federal revenue. Today, they are less than 8 percent. We know, in other words, that no matter what his most unhinged critics say, Barack Obama is most certainly no socialist.

Michael Medved took on the "Democrats' Big Lie" for The Daily Beast;

In the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, Washington drew total funds amounting to just 14.9 percent of the economy, compared to a remarkably consistent 17 to 18 percent during the preceding 50 years.

But this reduction in revenue stemmed directly from the economic collapse of September 2008, and not from the controversial Bush tax cuts. As a matter of fact, during the Bush years, with the lower top tax rate (35 percent), Uncle Sam collected an average of 17.1 percent from the economy in federal taxes—very much in line with historical figures going all the way back to 1951.

The last year of the Bush presidency (2008) produced a healthy 17.48 percent in revenue, before the suffering of the Great Recession pushed much of the middle class into lower tax rates and drove millions of hard-hit Americans off the tax rolls altogether. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s own figures project that revenue for the federal government will be almost back to normal in 2012 (16.62 percent of GDP)—even without the tax-rate increase the president wants to impose the following year.

Last Tuesday, Smerconish lamented National Review illustrated "how to declare President Obama unpatriotic in three easy steps, courtesy of the right." On the Maddow show, Ezra Klein spent a long time reciting right-wing tweets:

Joe Mathis at "Philadelphia" magazine captured a few of the tweets from the right responding. There was this from @FOXNewsmom, quote, "Fitting, comrade Obama campaign to celebrate July in socialist France."

Here`s another, "Would Reagan/Bush/Romney go to Paris on Fourth of July to fund raise? Never. Obama does, showing his desperation."

Or this one, "Why would anyone vote for a guy who hates the U.S. so much?"

But it wasn't just folks on Twitter that got all worked up. It was also high-profile conservative talk show host Lars Larson who bought into the lie.

Quote, "What would you expect the president do on our day of independence? Perhaps give a speech or visit wounded warriors. At least something in America. Not this president. Not Barack Obama."

Actually that is exactly what this president, Barack Obama, is going to be doing tomorrow. He`s not going to be in Paris. He`s going to be right here in America meeting with active duty U.S. service members who are becoming naturalized U.S. citizens at the White House. That's 4,000 miles or so away from Paris....

But this idea is still bouncing around strange corners of the blogo and Twittersphere, at some point, your crazy uncle might corner you and say, my God, did you hear Obama is in Paris for Independence Day? Can you believe that?

Klein lengthened his outrage with an interview with Dave Weigel of Slate.com.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis