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9 years ago
Don't Like the Right Wing Propaganda Blaring Everywhere you Go From a TV. Turn It Off with a TV B Gone Universal On/Off Remote for North America. (At User's Risk Regarding Laws and Property Rights.)
9 years ago

GEORGE WILL'S SELECTIVE APPROACH TO POLLS.... In his latest Newsweek column, conservative George Will thinks President Obama is doing wonders for the Republican Party. As proof, he offers this tidbit.

[Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] of the Mona Lisa smile says Congress will pass something because Obama will sign anything. McConnell notes, however, that never in his 25 Senate years have Republicans polled close to Democrats when the question is: Which party do you trust most to deal with health care? Until now. Last week's polling: Democratic Party, 41; Republican Party, 39 -- a statistical dead heat.

I'm going to assume that Will is relying on Rasmussen data -- Rasmussen tends to offer numbers Republicans want to hear -- to characterize Dems vs. GOP as being in a "dead heat" on health care.

But a more credible look at the data suggests Will needs to broaden his polling horizons. The latest Washington Post poll, which was published after Will's deadline, asked Americans who they trust more to handle health care reform. A 48% plurality sided with President Obama, 36% prefer congressional Republicans.

A CBS News poll taken two weeks ago asked, "Regardless of how you usually vote, who do you think has better ideas about reforming the health care system: Barack Obama, or the Republicans in Congress?" Half (50%) of respondents backed the president, only 23% sided with Republicans.

And for that matter, an NBC News poll taken in mid-August asked, "Do you generally approve or disapprove of the way that Republicans in Congress are handling the issue of health care reform?" A 62% majority said they disapprove of the GOP's handling of the matter.

Will honestly seems to think health care reform is helping the Republican Party thrive. There's ample evidence to the contrary.

—Steve Benen 2:45 PM Permalink  | Comments (22)

9 years ago

CHUCK THE CANTANKEROUS.... Yesterday in Ohio, President Obama noted how easy it is for Republican critics to attack health care reform, while refusing to step up with a GOP reform plan of their own. "You've heard all the lies," the president told union members. "I've got a question for all those folks: What are you going to do? What's your answer? What's your solution? And you know what? They don't have one."

On CNN this morning, John Roberts asked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about the charge that Republicans aren't offering a credible alternative. The question apparently left Grassley with no choice but to attack CNN and embrace circular, foolish, run-on sentences. (via John Cole)

"...I would be working towards a bipartisan effort. And if we don't get a bipartisan effort, then, of course, there are so many things in what I've been working towards that could easily go into my plan or a Republican plan and then don't forget that there's already four Republican plans out there introduced by other members of our caucus. But because we're the minority party, you at CNN and other places haven't given our plans much publicity because I suppose we're in the minority and you want to help the president so much so that I hope that if we -- if we don't have a bipartisan plan, that you'll start giving some attention to the Republican plans that are out there."

Remember, this is the guy Democrats have been counting on to negotiate in good faith and strike a bipartisan compromise on health care reform.

If you cut through the meandering nonsense, you'll note that Grassley refers to "my plan," without noting that he's never actually produced a plan. He adds that there are "four Republicans plans out there" with their own plans, without noting that none has been embraced by the GOP leadership, and the proposals themselves are impossible to take seriously.

Let's be clear about this. Are there random GOP proposals out there with a few co-sponsors? Yes, there are. But when observers note that there's no Republican alternative to health care reform, that's entirely legit. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters in July that GOP lawmakers were putting "the final touches on our bill," which, he said, would hopefully be available "soon." That was 47 days ago, and no one's heard a peep about their bill since.

As for the exchange on CNN, John Roberts was apparently defensive after Grassley's baseless accusation, and "assured" the conservative Iowan that the network will "redouble our efforts to illuminate Republican plans."

There was no need for Roberts to be apologetic, but if CNN wants to take his pledge seriously, that strikes me as a great idea. By all means, focus a bright light on the competing visions of health care reform between Democrats and Republicans, "illuminating" GOP proposals to address their idea that Americans are already over-insured, and protect insurance companies at all costs.

CNN will "redouble" its efforts to "illuminate Republican plans"? I can hardly wait.

—Steve Benen 1:30 PM Permalink   | Comments (23)

9 years ago

MSNBC yanked Pat Buchanan's Hitler defense from its site yesterday. No word on whether the column will affect his role as a political pundit for the network.

9 years ago

She's got what it takes to interpret the news for you. (Not that there's much difference from this.)

9 years ago
Reading The Pictures: The Barack "School Yard" Panic: How Much A Racist Thing?

Publisher of the visual politics blog, BAGnewsNotes

2009-09-04-shaw_obama_speech.jpg I'm not saying demonizing Obama's outreach to school children directly parallels this old McCain campaign ad, but I do think it's interesting revisiting.

9 years ago
The Real Town Hall Story

Health-care reform is said to be in trouble partly because of those raucous August town-hall meetings in which Democratic members of Congress were besieged by shouters opposed to change.

But what if our media-created impression of the meetings is wrong? What if the highly publicized screamers represented only a fraction of public opinion? What if most of the town halls were populated by citizens who respectfully but firmly expressed a mixture of support, concern and doubt?

There is an overwhelming case that the electronic media went out of their way to cover the noise and ignored the calmer (and from television's point of view "boring") encounters between elected representatives and their constituents.

It's also clear that the anger that got so much attention largely reflects a fringe right-wing view opposed to all sorts of government programs most Americans support. Much as the far left of the antiwar movement commanded wide coverage during the Vietnam years, so now are extremists on the right hogging the media stage -- with the media's complicity.

Over the past week, I've spoken with Democratic House members, most from highly contested districts, about what happened in their town halls. None would deny polls showing that the health-reform cause lost ground last month, but little of the probing civility that characterized so many of their forums was ever seen on television.

"I think the media coverage has done a disservice by falling for a trick that you'd think experienced media hands wouldn't fall for: of allowing loud voices to distort the debate," said Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, whose district includes Columbus, Ohio.

At her town halls, she said, "I got serious questions, I got hostile questions, I got questions about how this would work, I got questions about how much it will cost. I also got a lot of comments from people who said it's important for their families and businesses to get health-care reform."

Rep. Frank Kratovil hails from a very conservative district that includes Maryland's Eastern Shore and says it didn't bother him that he was hung in effigy in July by a right-wing group. "As a former prosecutor, I consider that to be mild," he said with a chuckle. The episode, he added, was not at all typical of his town-hall meetings, where "most of the people were there to express legitimate concerns about the bill, wondering about how it was going to impact them" and wanting "to know the truth about some of the things that were being said about the bill."

The most disturbing account came from Rep. David Price of North Carolina, who spoke with a stringer for one of the television networks at a large town-hall meeting he held in Durham.

The stringer said he was one of 10 people around the country assigned to watch such encounters. Price said he was told flatly: "Your meeting doesn't get covered unless it blows up." As it happens, the Durham audience was broadly sympathetic to reform efforts. No "news" there.

Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas is one member who did attend gatherings dominated by boisterous opponents of health reform.

At a meeting in Waco, a man asked him what constitutional authority the federal government had to get involved in health care. Edwards replied, "Article One, Section Eight," which empowers Congress to provide for the "general welfare of the United States." Then Edwards asked the man if he opposed "the federal government being involved in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and children's health care." The man said he was, and the room roared its approval.

"I will wear it as a badge of honor that I was shouted at by people who oppose Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and children's health," Edwards said. The shouters, he added, did not speak for most of his constituents, but for "the Ron Paul libertarian position that represents 2 to 5 percent of the country."

When I reached Rep. Tom Perriello last week, he divided the crowds at the 17 town halls he had held to that point in his largely rural Virginia district into three groups: conservatives, for whom the health-care battle is "about big government, socialism and all that"; the left, for whom "it's about corporate accountability"; and a "middle" for whom "it's about health care costs" and the problems with their coverage.

But the only citizens who commanded widespread media coverage last month were the right-wingers. And I bet you thought the media were "liberal."

9 years ago

* CNN's Lou Dobbs hasn't been making as many headlines lately, but he's planning to be involved in a very disturbing event in about two weeks, which will be even more offensive than his usual broadcasts.

9 years ago

BUCHANAN TURNS THE CRAZY TO 11.... Ethan Porter asks the right question, and then answers is the right way: "Just how crazy is Pat Buchanan? Pretty goddamn crazy."

The reason this comes up is because the MSNBC personality and former Republican presidential candidate asks in his latest column, "Did Hitler Want War?" Buchanan believes the answer is "no."

As it turns out, the piece has generated a fair amount of interest today, and it crashed Buchanan's servers. But once it's back up, Buchanan's creative argument deserves a look.

[W]here is the evidence that Adolf Hitler, whose victims as of March 1939 were a fraction of Gen. Pinochet's, or Fidel Castro's, was out to conquer the world?

Adam Serwer responded, "That whole invading Poland thing was clearly just a big misunderstanding. He didn't want war, he just wanted to arbitrarily annex whatever part of Europe he felt like having -- the response was clearly overblown, and maybe even a little rude."

Buchanan also argued that by 1939, Hitler "was surrounded by allied, friendly or neutral neighbors, save France," and had no interest in confronting Russia. Matt Yglesias makes quick work of this.

The need for a German-Soviet war to obtain lebensraum was long at the center of [Hitler's] thinking. That's why Generalplan Ost was prepared in the early years of the war and called for German occupation of vast swathes of Soviet territory. The answer to Buchanan's riddle of how Hitler intended to invade Russia when Russia and Germany were separated by Poland is, of course, that Hitler intended to conquer Poland, the very thing that Buchanan is perversely trying to deny he intended to do.

The real question for Buchanan is why, if Hitler had no intention of marching through Poland into Russia, did he follow up his conquest of Poland by breaking the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and invading Russia? The answer, of course, is that Hitler wanted to conquer Eastern Europe and the western USSR from the beginning.

It's so rare to see tacit defenses of Hitler's military strategies in modern American journalism. That Pat Buchanan sure is ... unique.

Anyone want to lay odds on whether this interferes with Buchanan's role as a high-profile political commentator? I'm guessing his status in the media establishment goes unaffected. It always does.

—Steve Benen 5:00 PM Permalink| Comments (34)

9 years ago

* The far-right is not at all happy about Jon Henke's efforts targeting WorldNetDaily. It's a sign that Jon is doing the right thing.

9 years ago

The Reality-Based Community: There's been a lot of hand-wringing about the financial troubles of newspapers, but now it's quite obvious how reporters are handling the situation: they are just moonlighting for the insurance industry and the RNC. Nice work if you can get it.

9 years ago

* CNN's Lou Dobbs hasn't been making as many headlines lately, but he's planning to be involved in a very disturbing event in about two weeks, which will be even more offensive than his usual broadcasts.

9 years ago
Media Blind to GOP Hypocrisy in Health Care Debate

award-winning journalist and author

The Republicans protesting health care reform are the same people who have brought us an avalanche of governmental regulations dictating the availability of women's reproductive health care.

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9 years ago

john stossel demotivational poster_7dc3f.jpg

Here we go again. ABC's resident Glenn Beck wannabe, John Stossel, whines in a recent blog entry that all critics of President Obama are labeled racists by his supporters. To prove his point, he cites an article by a right wing pundit who has been consistently wrong about issues of race -- Jonah Goldberg.

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s supporters promised that his election would allow America to “transcend race."

But of course that hasn’t happened. Jonah Goldberg writes:

It was Obama’s supporters who hinted, teased, promised, and prophesied that Obama would help America “transcend race.” But now, it is they who shrink from their own promised land…

From Day 1, Obama’s supporters have tirelessly cultivated the idea that anything inconvenient for the first black president just might be terribly, terribly racist.

Without one shred of evidence to back up his assertions, Stossel ends his screed with this:

Come on. Every president eventually is criticized by the media – even one as “transcendent” as Obama. The President’s supporters should engage his critics with facts, not charges of racism. Read on...

Facts? If Mr. Stossel wants facts, he sure picked the wrong person to quote on his blog. The fact is, that racism is driving the heavy resurgence of right wing militias in this country. It is a fact that threats against our newest president have skyrocketed, and his race plays a huge role. The Minuteman movement is based on extreme racism and xenophobia, and all of this is being perpetuated daily by Republican politicians, Fox News and the titular head of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, who gleefully aired a parody about President Obama called "Barack the Magic Negro."

I'm not trying to say that all critics of President Obama are racists, but there's no denying the fact that racism permeates much of the Republican Party, it's punditry and media. Oh and there's this, this, this and this -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Hey Stossel, if you're going to make these broad allegations, you need to come to the table with more than just quotes from Doughy Pantload wetting himself over Janeane Garofalo.

9 years ago
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(h/t Heather)

Malkin once again proves that there's nothing so low that she won't do it. You may remember that she attacked 12-year-old Graeme Frost over the SCHIP vote and posted personal information about his family. Well, now she's lowering the bar and attacking an 11-year-old girl. (Malkin link here)

At least she's an equal-opportunity smear artist. I know this happened a few days ago, but I had to address it. Bob Cesca covered it with his post: Malkin and Fox News Are Stalking Children Again

It's a brand new conspiracy involving President Obama and an 11-year-old girl. The plot? To ask a question at a town hall meeting.

Scary. Run for your lives and all that.

Rewind to Tuesday afternoon when an 11-year-old girl asked President Obama a question about the "mean things" she observed on various protest signs outside. Malkin and other wingnuts swooped into action, investigating and exposing the girl's parents as -- shock, horror! -- supporters of the president. The girl's parents even donated some money and volunteered on the campaign.

Mind blowing, I know. It's like the Donald Sutherland scene in JFK.

But considering that there were literally millions of volunteers associated with the president's campaign, and considering that tickets for the event were available online where millions of supporters of the president typically hang out, it stands to reason that a few actual, you know, supporters would manage to acquire tickets.

Yet beyond this earth-shattering information uncovered by Malkin that Obama supporters attended an Obama event, there isn't any evidence whatsoever that the 11-year-old girl was coached or scripted by the White House. None. And, it goes without saying that Malkin and Fox News Channel are entirely ignorant of the fact that similar Bush events were revealed to be literally and entirely staged and scripted with attendees having to sign loyalty oaths.

Sean Hannity had Malkin on his Fox News show to try and justify her actions. I mean it's sickening. And yet networks like NBC put her on the TODAY show as if she's a credible person.

Malkin: The lie about the astroturfing is very important and I spent a lot of time today on my own blog talking about these Obamacare human stage props that OFA and HCAN have put forth. And yesterday in Portsmouth we saw it with that little girl who's mom happened to be a very invested and close ally of the Obama administration....

The lie is that she denies any astroturfing has been taking place at the town halls. I won't even post the information because it's been so heavily covered, but the words "truth and "lie" are interchangeable with Michelle so why bother giving her evidence when she clearly knows about it.

Eric Boehlert writes:

Wasn't Malkin's infamous, and

9 years ago
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Sen. Bernie Sanders' appearance on the Rachel Maddow show last week really stuck in Bill O'Reilly's craw like a chicken bone, so he tried to spit it out by naming Sanders a "Pinhead" on The O'Reilly Factor last night.

Here's what Sanders said:

Sanders: We need to do grass roots organizing. I'll tell you what else we need to do. We need to understand that it is very, very hard for the president or anybody else to take on, not just the Republican Party - that's the easy part - to take on all of right-wing talk radio which covers 90 percent of talk show hosts, a whole FOX Network which is nothing more than an arm of the Republican Party.

O'Reilly's response: To make fun of Sanders' thick New England accent and insist that Sanders' charge was "false" -- though of course he had no way of proving otherwise. Especially since Sanders is saying something every sane person who watches Fox (admittedly, those numbers are shrinking) can see for themselves.

Though to be more precise, Fox actually is an arm of movement conservatism, and the GOP is the movement's political home. So they are both components of the same ideological movement, which means that Fox isn't really an arm of the GOP, but rather its ideological partner and cohort. The difference, though, is purely a matter of nuance, since the result and effect are exactly the same.

9 years ago
Health Care Mobs = Swift Boat Vets. And The Press Plays Dumb, Again

Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America

The mini-mob members have been treated as deeply important newsmakers by the press during a slow summer news month. Sound familiar?

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9 years ago
Lou Dobbs Tours Single-Payer Systems Abroad and Realizes, Holy %#&!*% They're Good + Video "USA Vs Denmark" 
Has CNN's government-out-of-my-face bloviator actually had a change of heart when it comes to Obama's health plan? "Is doing nothing better than doing something?"...Watch video "Lou dobbs - USA vs Denmark" and decide for yourself. Left is usually right?
9 years ago
Fox News' Glenn Beck : TOO NASTY FOR THE GECKO 
Geico Pulls Ads From Glenn Beck Show Over Obama "Racist" Remarks... Several Other Companies Jumped Ship Last Week ... Ruppert urdoch is fuming!!!
9 years ago

I just contacted Lou Dobbs' advertisers and told them that Mr. Dobbs' irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric has consequences.

One consequence is that I will no longer be purchasing their products.

Here is the list:

9 years ago
Republican Apologist Lou * Dobbs Sort Of Sorry For Saying Dean Could Be Stopped With "Stake Through His Heart" 
CNN : Lou Dobbs is expressing some regret for referring to former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean as a "bloodsucking leftist" who could only be stopped if one "put a stake through his heart."
9 years ago
Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs Enflame Scary Right-Wing Rage

The conservative playbook has been laid bare, and it's ugly. How long until their overheated
9 years ago
Idiot Nation

by Hunter

Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 09:00:03 AM PDT

Ugh. I just have to highlight this again, as perfect example of Everything. Sarah Palin, determined to battle healthcare reform:

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Seriously? I mean, come the flying monkey hell on. How is it that this hollow-headed dimwit doesn't get run out of town for statements like that? Obama's going to come murder her son?

The whole Republican party can absolutely make stuff up, no question about it, 100% lies, no factual basis whatsoever, outrageous, known false stuff about euthanasia and "death panels" and denying care to people that are no longer "productive", stuff that's right out of the most venomous propaganda playbooks around, weird-assed, depraved, paranoid stuff that would be perfectly at home in a Henry Ford tract about the secret methods of the evil Jews or the like -- and not a goddamned news outlet on the planet is making a story out of the fact that these supposed leaders of their party are gleefully lying through their teeth about all of it, or that the "teabaggers" carrying these selfsame lies into public meetings aren't just angry Americans with a different point of view, but people spreading known, 100%-goddamn-freaking-false-and-false-from-the-very-first-time-it-was-uttered bullshit, and intentionally doing it so loud that they hope nobody can possibly shout them down.

There's no "he-said, she-said" on a statement like "Obama's coming to murder my handicapped child." There's no damn panel of talking-head experts that need to be involved, there's no need to call on a lefty and a righty to have an honest to God televised freaking debate over where or not Obama is really going to go appoint a new government panel devoted to the task of murdering America's mentally handicapped kids. There's no Gigantic Public Calling to have the Wall Street Journal or some other Fail-in-a-fishwrap rag devote column space exploring how Americans may be "divided" on the probability of future government child-killing squads.

What. The. Hell? If outright, astonishing, venomous child-murder-related death propaganda by some of the most prominent figures of a nation's political-supposed-discourse is not big, come-on-and-get-your-goddamn-Pulitzer-already news, what the hell is?  But no -- all we get from such luminaries as the big boys of CNN these days are public statements about how even their own damn pundits can lie their asses off about whatever made-up disproven bullshit conspiracy crap they want, because that's just the way free speech is supposed to work, you pissant little asshole commoners.

I sure to hell hope all these news outlets are being paid off or something, because I would hate to find out, ten years from now, that they really were ignoring the circuslike butchering of democracy out of star-spangled, crap-flinging, head-in-the-ass incompetence. They had better be on the take, and not really this goddamn unwilling to do their jobs just as a matter of dimwitted, bullshit-peddling laziness.

9 years ago
Fox News' Glenn Beck's Republican fans turn health forum into 'near riot'

Pearlstein: GOP Propagating Falsehoods In Attacks On Health-Care Reform
The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage.

By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition.

They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems. The Republican lies about the economics of health reform are also heavily laced with hypocrisy. While holding themselves out as paragons of fiscal rectitude, Republicans grandstand against just about every idea to reduce the amount of health care people consume or the prices paid to health-care providers -- the only two ways I can think of to credibly bring health spending under control. When Democrats, for example, propose to fund research to give doctors, patients and health plans better information on what works and what doesn't, Republicans sense a sinister plot to have the government decide what treatments you will get.

By the same wacko-logic, a proposal that Medicare pay for counseling on end-of-life care is transformed into a secret plan for mass euthanasia of the elderly. Government negotiation on drug prices?

The end of medical innovation as we know it, according to the GOP's Dr. No. Reduce Medicare payments to overpriced specialists and inefficient hospitals? The first step on the slippery slope toward rationing. Can there be anyone more two-faced than the Republican leaders who in one breath rail against the evils of government-run health care and in another propose a government-subsidized high-risk pool for people with chronic illness, government-subsidized community health centers for the uninsured, and opening up Medicare to people at age 55?

Health reform is a test of whether this country can function once again as a civil society -- whether we can trust ourselves to embrace the big, important changes that require everyone to give up something in order to make everyone better off. Republican leaders are eager to see us fail that test. We need to show them that no matter how many lies they tell or how many scare tactics they concoct, Americans will come together and get this done.

If health reform is to be anyone's Waterloo, let it be theirs.
9 years ago
The Laws of Punditry

There's nothing a winger pundit can do to become discredited.Indeed, if your baldfaced lies help torpedo a major progressive initiative, they're actually an asset. And, no, the damage can never really be undone.

9 years ago


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Glenn Beck, of all people, is shocked, shocked we tell you, at the kind of langugage that's being used to describe the ginned-up teabaggers who are invading health-care forums with the intent of disrupting them and destroying the discourse these events are intended to engender.

Yesterday on his Fox News show, he brought on Republican pollster Frank Luntz to shake his head:

Luntz: And for the comments of people like actress Janeane Garofalo ... it's hateful. And it's awful to use that word, Glenn. But what's coming out of the White House, the language that they are using, and that you see also occasionally from L.A., is pure hate.

This, on the Glenn Beck show.

At least Beck had some vague awareness of this irony, and mentioned it a little earlier in the exchange, though without having thought through its implications:

Beck: I'm looking at the words you used here: "right-wing extremists," "desperate Republicans," "angry mobs," "the mob", "manufactured anger," "Brooks Brothers brigade." I don't remember hearing these words coming from the Bush White House. And I'm not a defender of the Bush White House by any stretch of the imagination. But I don't remember anyone saying anything like that coming out of George Bush's ... realm. There are political hacks that said some awful things, um, but this? Really? Did we call Democrats "mobs"?

Luntz: It's character assassination is what it is. And it's something that was learned under the Clinton administration. They began this in '94, '95, we saw this with the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, when anyone said, 'Hey, what happened here?', if you challenged the Clinton administration, they went after you, they went after your family, they went after your business. It's a viciousness that you see on the left.

Beck: Look, there is -- there was -- I'm a political, um, um, talk-show host and anchor. I have said vicious things. That's different than the administration coming out and saying these kinds of things. You have an official endorsement of this kind of talk is dangerous in this country, .....

Continue reading »

Tags: Fox News, Frank Luntz

9 years ago


ABC's John Stossel is a buffoon of the highest order...and I believe that's being generous. Stossel has long shilled for right wing and corporate interests, and right on cue, he jumps head first into the health care debate and he's not pulling any punches -- Insurance company profits are more important than sick Americans:

"Insurers agreed to abandon some of their most controversial practices, like denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing medical conditions."

That's from the first paragraph of today's New York Times "news" story on health insurance.

Do the Times writers and editors take pride in their economic cluelessness? They take it as fact that denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions is "controversial," and that abandoning the practice shows "good will."

In the entire debate over health care reform, I have seen no greater example of why we need a public insurance option (actually, we need a universal plan) than Stossel's blog post.

Doing that may be required by Congress and cheered by the New York Times, but that doesn't make it a good thing for America. It doesn't even make it insurance. It's welfare. We can debate whether such welfare is good policy, but let's discuss it honestly. Calling welfare "insurance" muddies thinking. Read on...

The only mud here lies between Stossel's ears. If someone with a pre-existing condition is paying for their insurance policy, it's not welfare, unless you're a corporate shill who only cares about company profits and not people. Health insurance companies need to be returned to non-profit status, for the good of the country.

9 years ago

Fox New$ : Glenn Beck's Obama "Racist" Attack Costs Him Advertisers 
Fox News' Glenn Beck is feeling the consequences of his controversial comments on the July 28 episode of "Fox and Friends," when he said that Barack Obama was a "racist" who had a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."
If you haven't done so already, please sign our petition to Beck's advertisers, and ask your friends and family to do the same. Moving forward, we'll keep you informed about effective ways you can pressure the advertisers to withdraw their support from Beck's show.
Here's a list of some contact info for sponsors

According to TVNewser, Beck advertisers Proctor and Gamble, and Progressive Insurance have all pulled their ads from Beck's 5PM ET show. This comes in the wake of groups like's efforts to get companies to distance themselves from Beck.
9 years ago
Rupert Murdoch Plans Charge for All News Websites By Next Summer 
Times and Sun readers to pay as loss-making Murdoch declares end to free-for-all. The billionaire media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, said quality journalism is not cheap and so he intends to charge for all his websites. NO ONE LISTENS TO HATERS any more!
9 years ago
CNN Dives Head First into Television Payola

Political journalist, best-selling author and syndicated newspaper columnist

In the age of Television Payola, regular "news" contributors never have to choose between television time and corporate shilling -- the shills get the best of both while the audience loses.

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9 years ago
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Everyone but Fox analysts pretty much celebrated yesterday's release of the two American women held hostage in North Korea, thanks to Bill Clinton's diplomatic efforts.

On Fox and elsewhere on the right, as Ben Armbruster at Think Progress observes, it's all a bunch of sour grapes, claiming that we gave Pyongyang a propaganda victory. All of which goes to prove the old adage that ideologues think ideas are more important than people.

The worst of the bunch, though, had to be that sewer-dwelling toe-sucking gnome, Dick Morris, on Fox and Friends this morning with Gretchen Carlson, during which he called Clinton's successful negotations "ridiculous":

Carlson: How are we supposed to get the girls home, though, Dick? And I only have 30 seconds. How are we supposed to get them home?

Morris: I don't know. I don't know. Maybe they don't come home. Maybe they go to North Korea and live with the consequences of their decision to go there.

These people are really beyond redemption, aren't they?

9 years ago

WE HAVE A WINNER.... The competition has been fierce, but I think we can safely hand out the award for The Most Spectacularly Ridiculous Column Written About Health Care Reform to Pat Buchanan. This 840-word monstrosity is hard to read without wincing.

Ed Kilgore does a terrific job highlighting the blisteringly stupid errors of fact and judgment Buchanan makes, but let's quickly run through the highlights.

Buchanan's basic pitch is that health care reform will necessarily prompt the government to encourage senior citizens to die. In fact, the far-right demagogue said "there is little doubt as to what is coming" -- a U.S. system that resembles "de-Christianized Europe," where, apparently, governments routinely try to snuff out their grandparents.

Beneath this controversy lie conflicting concepts about life.

To traditional Christians, God is the author of life and innocent life, be it of the unborn or terminally ill, may not be taken. Heroic means to keep the dying alive are not necessary, but to advance a natural death by assisting a suicide or euthanasia is a violation of the God's commandment, Thou shalt not kill.

To secularists and atheists who believe life begins and ends here, however, the woman alone decides whether her unborn child lives, and the terminally ill and elderly, and those closest to them, have the final say as to when their lives shall end. As it would be cruel to let one's cat or dog spend its last months or weeks in terrible pain, they argue, why would one allow one's parents to endure such agony?

Yes, the same man who helped popularize the phrase "culture war" in 1992 believes health care reform should be defeated because its proponents' moral and spiritual failings might lead to the death of millions.

Buchanan proceeds to compare the non-existent Democratic campaign to kill off old people to "Hitler's Third Reich, marrying Social Darwinism to Aryan racial supremacy."

As Kilgore concluded, "So in one short column, Buchanan manages to associate 'Obamacare' with the intentional infliction of pain on seniors to encourage them to commit suicide, as part of an anti-Christian and proto-Nazi drive to destroy 'the sanctity of life.'"

I'd just add that Buchanan, merit notwithstanding, remains a prominent political figure. A column like this would, under sane circumstances, make him something of a laughing stock, and yet we can probably measure in days, if not hours, how long it will be before he's back in front of a national television audience.

—Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink  | Comments (35)

9 years ago

* This Washington Post article is really awful. Seriously, it's horrible.

9 years ago

Here's Glenn Reynolds marveling that tea bag riots keep popping up spontaneously at Democratic health care town halls across the country.

--Josh Marshall

9 years ago
The Village

I think things like this are quite telling. Who do Villagers talk to when they want to "know" something?

9 years ago
‘Honorary Texan’ Sean Hannity pledges to ‘stop this move towards America and socialism.’.....Hannity presumably misspoke about ending “this move towards America.” Or perhaps, he was speaking in code to Gov. Perry’s core constituency who wants to secede from the Union.

9 years ago
Media whore, Lou Dobbs a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network's "no bias" brand. And on top of all that, his ratings are slipping.
9 years ago
Voices From Above Silence a Cable TV Feud 01 Aug 2009 On June 2, Bill O’Reilly made the extraordinary claim that "federal authorities have developed information about General Electric doing business with Iran, deadly business" and published Mr. Immelt’s e-mail address and mailing address, repeating it slowly for emphasis. Then the attacks mostly stopped. Shortly after, Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, told producers that he wanted the channel’s other programs to follow Keith Olbermann's lead and restrain from criticizing Fox directly, according to two employees.
9 years ago
Unfair to the Unbalanced: When Fair and Balanced is Not Required

Do we really need to be respectful of the views of the scarily unhinged, tragically misinformed, or strategically dishonest?

9 years ago
Why I Urged CNN to Take Dobbs Off the Air

J. Richard Cohen is president of the ...

Dobbs' ratings game is so dangerous because there is a segment in our society that is not ready to accept the fact that we have a black man in the White House.

9 years ago
A Revelatory Look at D.C.'s Media Matrix: Yes, These People Really Believe They Decide the "Facts"

Political journalist, best-selling author and syndicated newspaper columnist

Many reporters believe that by posing something as a question, it includes no opinion. This makes no sense: imagine a reporter asking Bush, "Why do you love killing Iraqi children?"

Read Post | Comments
9 years ago
Op-Ed Contributor: Obama, Gates and the American Black Man

The much-publicized incident between a professor and a cop is emblematic of precisely nothing at all. Rather, it is a made-for-cable-TV tempest in a teapot.

9 years ago
Pentagon Furious at Fox News Analyst for Calling For Execution of Captured Soldier 
Fox News analyst Ralph Peters said on July 19 that the Taliban should murder 23-year-old Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl.
9 years ago
J.P. Freire: ‘I Can’t Remember Anyone Saying’ The Bear Market Was Obama’s Fault

Today, ThinkProgress Editor-in-Chief Faiz Shakir appeared on MSNBC opposite the Washington Examiner’s J.P. Freire to discuss President Obama’s handling of the economy. During the segment, Faiz brought up the fact that many conservative pundits have a habit of blaming stock market downturns on President Obama, a charge which Friere said was “made up”:

FAIZ: Remember back in October, November, December, January of this year, when Karl Rove and so many Republican pundits were going on TV and saying the market is failing because of President Obama? That the market was reacting because President Obama was now in office? What happened to that? Have their memories just completely been forgotten here?

FREIRE: I think that’s a brilliant strawman you made up. I can’t remember anyone saying that.

FAIZ: Are you kidding me?

The set reacted with uproarious laughter to Friere’s convenient memory loss. “I can’t believe JP doesn’t remember that,” said MSBNC’s Tamron Hall. “People were tracking the stock market and how many days Obama had been in office and comparing the two.” Co-host David Shuster chided Freire’s “selective amnesia.” Watch it:

For J.P.’s benefit, here’s a reminder of some right-wing rhetoric regarding Obama and the stock market:

KARL ROVE: “How much of it is the market saying, ‘You know what? The economy is not in a good place and we’re looking at the future, and how much confidence should we have in the team that’s coming to make the economy better?’” [Fox News, 11/20/08]

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “Yesterday the Dow fell another 4.24% to 6763, for an overall decline of 25% in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama’s policies have become part of the economy’s problem.” [3/9/09]

LOU DOBBS: “[T]he stock market has lost 20 percent since this president was sworn in. He has his own bear market. That’s the definition of a bear market, a 20 percent decline. This is now the Obama bear market.” [CNN, 3/9/09]

SEAN HANNITY: “Obama, since he’s elected, has tanked the markets.” [Fox News, 3/10/09]

A slew of Fox News pundits, in fact, had blamed stock market downturns on Obama. Today, the Dow closed above 9,000 for the first time since early January. We’re eagerly awaiting conservative proclamations of the Obama bull market. The GOP’s more recent efforts to blame job losses on Obama ring as hollow as the “Obama bear market” attacks did.

Update David Shuster responds on Twitter: picture-1
Update More fear-mongering over an Obama bear market in October and November 2008.
Update Steve Benen offers his own debunk, quipping, "'I can't remember anyone saying that'? I can't remember any conservatives not saying that."
Update Jew Lewinson put together this video documenting the evidence.

9 years ago

CNN KEEPS SCRAMBLING TO DEAL WITH DOBBS FIASCO.... Adam Serwer noted yesterday that the whole Birther movement "is probably hurting CNN more than it's hurting the GOP." That's a very persuasive point. The fact that the Republican base has more than its share of nuts is well established, but CNN wants to be taken seriously, and Lou Dobbs' strange obsession with nonsense makes that difficult.

According to a Media Bistro report today, CNN President Jon Klein contacted some "Lou Dobbs Tonight" staffers yesterday to explain that the Birther story is baseless. Klein reminded the staffers that he asked CNN researchers to investigate the matter, and found that the allegations are baseless. "It seems this story is dead," Klein said in his email, "because anyone who still is not convinced doesn't really have a legitimate beef."

But Dobbs is still Dobbs, and the legitimacy of a story has no bearing on what he puts on the air.

Specifically, Klein told the show's staffers that Dobbs "should be sure" to explain to CNN viewers that the Hawaii Health Department went paperless in 2001, but the official record of Obama's birth is now an official electronic record, just as all birth records in Hawaii are for those born after 1908.

Dobbs interpreted those instructions from the head of CNN by telling viewers:

[A] number of Americans are asking, why not? The left-wing media has attacked me because I simply asked the question. Meanwhile, the state of Hawaii says it can't release a paper copy of the president's original birth certificate because they say the state government discarded the original document when the health department records went electronic some eight years ago.

That explanation, however, has not satisfied some critics. Joining me now....

And with that, Dobbs did yet another segment on the imaginary story -- the one the president of CNN declared "dead" -- including an interview with a right-wing congressman supporting the Birther legislation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center argued today that it's time for CNN to show Dobbs the door. That would likely make Dobbs something of a conservative martyr, but a) he'd quickly get picked up for Fox News; and b) it's a chance I'd be willing to take.

—Steve Benen 4:40 PM Permalink   | Comments (31)
9 years ago
Wanker of the Day

Jon Klein.

9 years ago

FIRST HAM, THEN A DOOR.... There's nothing wrong with the administration's conservative detractors looking for misguided stimulus expenditures. The White House has said the money would be spent wisely, and if far-right activists want to watch the administration like a hawk, making sure there's a legitimate explanation for every penny, fine.

But could they at least get their facts straight before throwing a fit?

Earlier, we talked about the right's claim that the administration used $1.19 million of taxpayer funds to buy just two pounds of ham. In the real world where the grown-ups live, the Department of Agriculture actually spent $1.19 million of taxpayer funds to buy 760,000 pounds of ham -- that's 380 tons -- to be distributed to local organizations that assist low-income Americans through food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens.

Also yesterday, Drudge said $1.4 million in recovery funds went to "repair a door" at Dyess Air Force Base's "bldg 5112." Fox News' Glenn Beck was outraged, and said this is proof that "they're just peeing your money away."

"Wow, what happened to that door?" Beck asked. "That's a lot of repairing, you know. Can we buy a new one, and cheaper?"

Wouldn't you know it, that's completely wrong.

[U]nder the "View all project descriptions" link on the page to which the Drudge Report linked, actually states that the government awarded AFCO Technologies nearly $1.2 million to replace gas mains on the base, and $246,100 to repair doors in Building 5112. A Department of Defense document listing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects in Texas states that the doors that were repaired in Building 5112 are "hangar doors."

Moreover, a May 5 press release from the Dyess Air Force Base stated that the money awarded for the gas main project "may have saved eight jobs" and that the base could "now possibly hire two more employees."

So, once again, all of the relevant details of the claim are either demonstrably false or wildly misleading.

Better conservatives, please.

—Steve Benen 11:20 AM Permalink  | Comments (24)

9 years ago

* Lou Dobbs continues to embarrass himself and his employer.

9 years ago
Fox News Host, Brian Kilmeade, Apologizes For Racist "Pure Species" Comment 
Brian Kilmeade apologized Monday for controversial racist comments he made on the July 8 episode of "Fox and Friends."
9 years ago

David Gregory still needs to be fired.

NBC's Gregory to Sanford's Office: "Meet The Press Allows You To Frame The Conversation As You Really Want"

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9 years ago

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