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Conservative media figures have wrongly accused Muslim groups and leaders of failing to denounce the violent acts of the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), despite the fact that numerous Muslim religious authorities, advocacy groups, and Imams have come together to denounce the Islamic State’s un-Islamic crimes against humanity.

Conservative Media Figures Complain That Few Muslim Voices Are Denouncing The Islamic State  

Fox & Friends: “We Aren’t Hearing Much” Condemnation Of ISIS From Muslim Groups Like The Organization Of Islamic Cooperation Or Al-Azhar. On the August 21 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Anna Kooiman claimed that “we aren’t hearing much” from Muslim countries and groups in response to the brutal acts of violence committed by the Islamic State, while the network’s Middle East and terrorism expert Whalid Phares called on Islamic organizations Al-Azhar and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to condemn the terrorist group:

ANNA KOOIMAN: But what should other countries be doing? Specifically Muslim countries and what about Muslim groups? We aren’t hearing much from them this morning.

[…]

Why do you think it’s so important for Muslims across the country and all over the globe to speak out against ISIS?

WALID PHARES: The first institution should be Al-Azhar University, the equivalent of the Vatican in Egypt. They could do a lot by delegitimizing the work of ISIS. And second, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, it represents 57 Muslim governments. Some of these governments have criticized ISIS, but they need to coordinate at the international level. [Fox News, Fox & Friends8/21/14]

Sean Hannity: “Where Are The Muslim Leaders” Speaking Out Against The Islamic State Terrorist Group? During the August 12 edition of Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, in a segment titled “The Silence of Muslims,” Hannity claimed that Muslims leaders have not been proactive in denouncing the “rise of radical Islam” and acts of terror committed by the Islamic State:

SEAN HANNITY: As we witness the rise of radical Islam all across the globe, and thousands of innocent non-Muslims are being terrorized for their faith, I can’t help but wonder, where are the Muslim leaders? Now, since September 11, 2001, radical Islamists have attacked all the places that you see there highlighted on the map on your screen, including, let’s see, New York, Madrid, Moscow, London, Washington, D.C.

So the question is, will prominent Muslims denounce and take on groups like ISIS, Hamas, and condemn and also fight against their unthinkable acts of terrorism?

[…]

We see this group ISIS - ‘convert or die.’ Why do I sense there’s not enough outspoken Muslims saying, you know, ‘We condemn this. This is not our religion. Stop doing acts of terror in the name of our religion.’I don’t hear those voices that loudly. [Fox News, Hannity,8/12/14]

ABC News’ Laura Ingraham: We’re Not Hearing Enough, “If Any,” Condemnation Of The Islamic State From The Muslim Community. Laura Ingraham, host of syndicated radio show The Laura Ingraham Show and contributor for both Fox News and ABC News, argued on August 11 that few, “if any,” in the Muslim community have condemned the Islamic State, asking, “Where are those people”:

LAURA INGRAHAM: And it would be nice if more in the Muslim world coming out and condemning what the Islamic State is doing. You’re not hearing enough of those voices, if any. I mean, where are those people? [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show,8/11/14]

In Reality, Top Muslim Leaders And Groups — Like The Organization of Islamic Cooperation — Have Condemned The Islamic State  

The Organization Of Islamic Cooperation: The Islamic State Has “Nothing To Do With Islam,” Has Committed Crimes “That Cannot Be Tolerated.” As the Vatican’s internal news source reported, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 1.4 billion Muslims in 57 countries around the world, condemned the Islamic State’s persecution of of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq, saying the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” is a “crime that cannot be tolerated.” According to the Vatican:

The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they ‘have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.’ [Vatican Radio, 7/25/14]

Al-Azhar: Islamic State Is Corrupt And “A Danger To Islam.” Lebanese paper The Daily Star reported that Al-Azhar’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, Egypt’s highest religious authority, denounced the Islamic State as a threat to Islam and said that the group both violates Sharia law and humanitarian law: “[They] give an opportunity for those who seek to harm us, to destroy us and interfere in our affairs with the [pretext of a] call to fight terrorism.” [The Daily Star8/13/14]

Arab League: “Strongly Denounced” The “Crimes Against Humanity” Carried Out By The Islamic State. On August 11, Nabil al-Arabi, the Arab League Chief, denounced acts committed by the Islamic State in Iraq as “crimes against humanity,” demanding that they be brought to justice. According to Al Arabiya News, he said in a statement that he “strongly denounced the crimes, killings, dispossession carried out by the terrorist (ISIS) against civilians and minorities in Iraq that have affected Christians in Mosul and Yazidis.” [Al Arabiya News, 8/11/14]

Turkey’s Top Cleric: Islamic State’s Threats Are “Hugely Damaging,” “Truly Awful.” Turkey’s highest ranking cleric, Mehmet Gormez, decried the Islamic State’s declaration of a “caliphate” and argued that the statements were damaging to the Muslim community, according to Reuters:

"Such declarations have no legitimacy whatsoever," Mehmet Gormez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, the highest religious authority in Turkey, which, although a majority Muslim country, has been a secular state since the 1920s.

"Since the caliphate was abolished … there have been movements that think they can pull together the Muslim world by re-establishing a caliphate, but they have nothing to do with reality, whether from a political or legal perspective."

Gormez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging.

"The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization," he told Reuters in an interview. [Reuters, 7/22/14]

CAIR Repeatedly Condemned The Islamic State As “Un-Islamic And Morally Repugnant.” In a July 7 statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called the terrorist group “un-Islamic and morally repugnant,” noted that the Islamic State’s “human rights abuses on the ground are well-documented,” and called on other Muslim community leaders to speak out against the violence. CAIR reiterated the condemnation of the Islamic State as “both un-Islamic and morally repugnant” on August 11, and on August 21, CAIR once again condemned the group, calling the killing of American journalist James Foley “gruesome and barbaric”:

We strongly condemn this gruesome and barbaric killing as a violation of Islamic beliefs and of universally-accepted international norms mandating the protection of prisoners and journalists during conflicts.

The Geneva Conventions, the Quran - Islam’s revealed text - and the traditions (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad all require that prisoners not be harmed in any way. There can be no excuse or justification for such criminal and bloodthirsty actions.

We also call on those holding Steven Sotloff and other prisoners to immediately release them unharmed so they may return to their loved ones. [Council on American-Islamic Relations,7/7/14; Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/11/14; Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/20/14]

The Muslim Council Of Great Britain: “Violence Has No Place In Religion.” The Muslim Council of Great Britain condemned the Islamic State’s actions and expressed that they do not represent Sunni Muslims, according to The Independent. Shuja Shafi, a member of the council also said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion. It is prohibited for people to present themselves for destruction.” [The Independent7/11/14]

The Islamic Society of North America: The Islamic State’s Actions “Are To Be Denounced And Are In No Way Representative Of What Islam Actually Teaches. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) released a statement denouncing the Islamic State “for its attacks on Iraq’s religious minorities and the destruction of their places of worship.” ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid said, “ISIS actions against religious minorities in Iraq violate the Quranic teaching, ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’ (Surat al-Baqara 2:256),” adding, “Their actions are to be denounced and are in no way representative of what Islam actually teaches.” [The Islamic Society of North America, 8/9/14]

100 Sunni And Shiite U.K. Imams: The Islamic State Is An “Illegitimate, Vicious Group.” As the Huffington Post reported, 100 Sunni and Shiite Imams from the U.K. came together to produce a video denouncing the Islamic State, releasing a statement that they wanted to “come together to emphasise the importance of unity in the UK and to decree ISIS as an illegitimate, vicious group who do not represent Islam in any way.”  

[Huffington Post, 7/12/14; YouTube, 7/11/14]

Saudi Arabia’s Highest Religious Authority: Terrorists Like The Islamic State Is The “Number One Enemy Of Islam.” On August 19, Al Jazeera reported that Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the country’s top religious authority, said that terrorism is anti-Islamic and said that groups like the Islamic State which practice violence are the “number one enemy of Islam”:

Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilisation, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims. [Al Jazeera, 8/19/14]

Muslim Public Affairs Council: Condemned The Islamic State And Called For “Stand Against Extremism.” On August 20, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) released a statement condemning “the barbaric execution of American Journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).” MPAC urged “all people of conscience to take a stand against extremism” and offered condolences to Foley’s family. MPAC also noted the importance of countering ISIS and other extremist groups by working “to empower the mainstream and relegate extremists to the irrelevance they deserve.” [Muslim Public Affairs Council, 8/20/14]

h/t: Michelle Leung and Ellie Sandmeyer at MMFA 

Laura Ingraham’s opinion on the merits of a protest movement seem to vary considerably from month to month. Ingraham recently characterized protestors in Ferguson, Missouri as a “lynch mob” and downplayed the story as a “local, criminal” story, but in April the radio host helped to elevate the standoff between scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy and federal law enforcement agents while suggesting his supporters’ violent threats against the government constituted a mere “act of civil disobedience.”

Police in Ferguson, Missouri are currently using heavy force to crack down on citizens protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, at the hands of an officer of the mostly white St. Louis County Police Department. Journalists have been arrested on baseless or suspect justifications, and events in the St. Louis suburb have exploded into a national news story.

On August 14, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham complained that the events were receiving too much attention and suggested Brown’s death was nothing more than a “local, criminal” story. Ingraham, a nationally syndicated radio host and contributor for both ABC and Fox News, blamed the media for sensationalizing and nationalizing the story, claiming the media presence “perpetuates the unrest and the discontent on the ground.”

"You bring in the satellite trucks," Ingraham said, "And then people start playing to the cameras on scene."

Ingraham’s disdain extended to the protestors, whom she grotesquely equated to a “lynch mob.”

Ingraham struck a much different tone earlier this year, when racist Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy refused to comply with court orders instructing him to remove his trespassing cattle from federal land.

Conservative media outlets hyped the situation at the time, and gun-toting, (mostly white) militia members subsequently streamed into Nevada from across the country to confront federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management with threats of violence. As some protestors set up sniper positions with guns aimed at federal officers, and others warned that enforcement efforts against Bundy would be met with violence, Ingraham appeared on Fox News to help nationalize the story and suggest the NV protestors were merely engaged in “an act of civil disobedience.” The Bundy Ranch confrontation, according to Ingraham, was the front lines of a larger, national battle against federal government land grabs, and she characterized the use of 200 agents needed to enforce the law as ”a ridiculously disproportionate response.”

On her radio show at the time, Ingraham even characterized Bundy’s supporters as ”new Freedom Riders,” likening them to a renowned group of civil rights activists who protested segregation in the 1960s.

h/t: Brian Powell at MMFA

Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham baselessly suggested that Muslims aren’t condemning the violent tactics employed by the extremist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), though in reality many prominent Muslim voices have strongly denounced the group.

Recent news reports have documented shocking acts of terror that have made ISIS the “most feared organization in the Middle East.” The group has warned Christians that they must either “convert to Islam or die,” and according to Secretary of State John Kerry, its “grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide.”

During an August 11 conversation about ISIS’ threats against Iraqi Christians with the National Review's Nina Shea, Laura Ingraham claimed that few, if any, Muslims have spoken out against the group:

INGRAHAM: And it would be nice if more in the Muslim world coming out and condemning what the Islamic State is doing. You’re not hearing enough of those voices, if any. I mean, where are those people?

But in reality, many Islamic leaders have strongly denounced ISIS, and thousands more Muslims have gathered to promote messages of peace.

Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation which represents 1.4 billion Muslims in 57 countries around the world, condemned ISIS’ threats against Christians in Iraq, saying the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” is a “crime that cannot be tolerated.” In an interview with Reuters, Turkey’s highest ranking cleric, Mehmet Gormez, similarly decried ISIS’ threats against Christians and argued that the statements were damaging to the Muslim community: “Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization.”  

In a July 7 statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called ISIS’ actions “un-Islamic and morally repugnant.” CAIR noted that the group’s “human rights abuses on the ground are well-documented” and called on other Muslim community leaders to speak out against the violence.  The Muslim Council of Great Britain’s Shuja Shafi also said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion. It is prohibited for people to present themselves for destruction.”

h/t: Ellie Sandmeyer at MMFA 

mediamattersforamerica

H/T: Caitlin MacNeal at TPM

Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham has a plan to deal with undocumented immigrants that is so radical that even Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called it “draconian.”

On Wednesday’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Ingraham explained how she would reform the immigration system in the United States.

“First thing you do is starting deporting people, not by the hundreds, not by the dozens, by the thousands,” she said. “And that means entire families, not just a father or a mother. But we keep families unified by deporting all people who are here illegally.”

Ingraham proposed that federal, state and local law enforcement would work together to find all of the “illegal aliens.”

Next, she said that the United States should block all visas to countries who would not repatriate their citizens.

“Number three, I think there has to be an end to this thing called birthright citizenship, some people call it anchor babies,” she continued.

In addition to punishing companies that hire undocumented workers and building a wall along the southern border, Ingraham also proposed making it impossible for immigrants to get housing or use banks. And she would deny any government services like welfare to people who have an undocumented immigrant living in their home.

“Why are you allowed to enter into a rental agreement to live in this country?” she asked. “That should not be allowed. So, there are a lot of common-sense steps that we can take.”

O’Reilly pointed out that “mass deportations” and effectively forcing all immigrants to be homeless would meant that “the Republican Party would become obsolete.”

“You do that kind of a draconian action, mass deportations would be draconian,” he argued. “I think that there is a better way to do it without destroying the Republican Party, which absolutely I believe would happen.”

Watch the video below from Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, broadcast July 3, 2014.

Dear Laura, you know you’ve gone way overboard when even Billo The Clown (who’s been very critical of undocumented immigrants) thinks your proposals to deal with the immigration problem are draconian. 

h/t: David Edwards at The Raw Story

mediamattersforamerica:

At least 15 Fox News personalities recently campaigned with organizations that were either created or heavily-funded by the billionaire Koch brothers.

No wonder these same Fox figures defended and praised the Kochs on-air. 

Just days after Rep. Eric Cantor was ousted in a Republican primary, right-wing media are outraged at the ideological credentials of his likely replacement as House majority leader. Conservatives are calling Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “dimwitted,” “pro-amnesty,” and “just another in a long line of big spenders who thinks the Democrats in charge of government are the problem, not government itself.”

The Washington Post reported that McCarthy is the “overwhelming front-runner” to be the majority leader after he “appeared to have consolidated ranks in almost every corner of the House GOP caucus and seemed well positioned to win next week’s snap election to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor.” The Los Angeles Times similarlyreported McCarthy “is all but assured of becoming the next House majority leader.”  

Cantor has endorsed his “dear friend” McCarthy, stating: “He’d make an outstanding majority leader, and I will be backing him with my full support.”

But the prospect of McCarthy replacing Cantor has drawn strong condemnation from conservative pundits, including radio hosts Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, who campaigned against Cantor.

On his June 10 broadcast, radio host Mark Levin said Republicans need “a conservative in that slot, not that dimwitted McCarthy.” On June 12, Levin said that McCarthy has positions that “are identical to Cantor’s and Boehner’s. He’s a moderate Republican, he’s pro-amnesty. He was the Republican whip. Do you know what the Republican whip means? It means whip them into line. Whip the votes into line. He not only went along with [House Speaker John] Boehner and Cantor on all these issues, but he was the enforcer.” Levin also tweeted, “House GOP learned nothing from Cantor defeat; pushing disastrous McCarthy for majority leader.”

Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham said on the June 11 edition of Fox & Friends that McCarthy is “kind of joined at the hip” with Cantor and Boehner on immigration reform. She added that if “they put Kevin McCarthy in there, I think they’re creating more problems for themselves.” On her radio show on June 12, Ingraham said McCarthy “is more out there on immigration reform, I think, coming from California too, than Eric Cantor was. So if you loved Eric Cantor, you’re going to just — you’re going to have a man crush on Kevin McCarthy. That’s going to work out really well for us.”

Erick Erickson wrote a June 11 RedState post headlined, “Not McCarthy.” The Fox News contributor wrote that “McCarthy is not very conservative and, for all of Cantor’s faults, lacks Cantor’s intelligence on a number of issues. Lest we forget, McCarthy had several high profile screw ups as Whip and has not really seemed to ever improve over time.” In another post called “The Stupid Party,” Erickson wrote that McCarthy “is just another in a long line of big spenders who thinks the Democrats in charge of government are the problem, not government itself.”

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein wrote that if “Republicans respond to the shocking primary defeat of Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., by elevating his handpicked successor Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., it would be beyond tone-deaf. It would be pure absurdity.” Klein went on to complain that McCarthy “voted for a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that included spending that was unrelated to providing emergency aid, fought for the farm and food stamp bill, fought reforms to the federal sugar program, and backed an extension of the corporate welfare agency known as the Export-Import Bank.”

Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor tweeted that “GOP picking McCarthy shows DC elites are not serious about listening to grassroots. They need to lose more elections” and ”#GOP desperate to lose base by backing McCarthy. #tonedeaf.”

Conservative blogger Jim Hoft tweeted on June 11: “Death Knell: @EricCantor says he will support Kevin McCarthy for Majority Leader - No Thanks.” 

H/t: Eric Hananoki at MMFA

Conservative radio host and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham made good on her promise to primary any Republican candidate who didn’t share her anti-immigrant views, actively campaigning against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) by endorsing his victorious opponent Dave Brat and making appearances at rallies to support him.

Cantor Loses To Challenger Dave Brat In VA Primary Upset

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Loses In Primary To Dave Brat. On the night of June 10, Rep. Cantor lost in the Republican primary to his conservative challenger Dave Brat, widely considered a longshot to win the race:

Meet Dave Brat, an economics and ethics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, who launched a long-shot — and ultimately successful — bid to oust House Majority Leader Eric Cantor from his seat representing Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

Brat, who admits that he has supported several Cantor candidacies over the years, says he mounted his improbable primary campaign because the House GOP’s No. 2 leader has lost touch with his constituents, “veering from the Republican creed.”

"Years ago he had a good conservative track record, but now he’s veered off," Brat told ABC News during an interview on Capitol Hill in May. "If you go to Heritage and look at their score, I think he’s at about a 53 right now. I mean, that’s an F-minus." [ABC News, 6/10/14]

Brat Attacked Cantor’s Views On Immigration In Campaign. The Wall Street Journal reported that Brat “has repeatedly accused [Cantor] of supporting amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally”:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who goes before GOP primary voters on Tuesday, has faced a sharp attack from his underfunded opponent, who has repeatedly accused him of supporting amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally.

[…]

Back home, Mr. Cantor has responded to the attacks by emphasizing his opposition to “amnesty,” while also making sure that no pro-immigration legislation reaches the House floor, at least for the moment.

It was somewhat unexpected, mostly because Mr. Cantor is not exactly a champion for an immigration overhaul. He says he supports citizenship for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but he has yet to introduce much less schedule a vote on this idea. He personally blocked a vote this spring on an amendment to a defense policy bill that would let young illegal immigrants brought to the country by their parents earn green cards by serving in the military. And when he put his agenda out for House action in June, immigration was conspicuously absent.

Still, Mr. Brat has attacked him relentlessly on the issue. [The Wall Street Journal6/9/14]

Ingraham Blasted Republicans For Supporting Any Pathway To Citizenship

Ingraham: Republican Politicians Supporting “Special Pathway” For Undocumented Immigrants ”Are In Violation Of Their Oath Of Office.” During a discussion with Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) on the February 4, 2014 edition of her radio show, Ingraham told him that “we don’t want any bill,” adding:

INGRAHAM: As far as I can tell, any Republican who stands up and says ”We are going to give a special pathway to the people who are here illegally” are in violation of their oath of office. That is my take on it. And I think we have millions of people across the country who are ready to throw all of you out of office unless you stand up for the American worker. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show2/4/14, via Media Matters]

Ingraham Advised Boehner To Step Away From Immigration Reform “Trap.” On the July 10, 2013 broadcast of her radio show, Ingraham likened immigration reform to a “trap” and stated that she was pressuring Boehner to make sure that he ultimately “walk[ed] away from this trap set” by congressional Democrats and other immigration reform supporters. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 7/10/13

Ingraham: Immigration Reform Will Be “The End Of The Republican Party.” On the April 17, 2013 edition of her radio show, Laura Ingraham claimed that immigration reform “will be the end of the Republican Party as we know it.” [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show4/17/13]

Ingraham Repeatedly Stumped For Anti-Immigrant Candidate Brat

Ingraham Blog Promotes Dave Brat Rally Appearance. On June 2, Ingraham’s blog promoted her appearance at a rally for Dave Brat, touting his “consistent, principled stance against Amnesty.” The post, which includes a statement from Brat, cites an upcoming House vote on amnesty as a reason to support Brat: “A new report shows that House Leadership is eyeing a vote on Amnesty just 5 days after the June 10th primary is over. Is this a coincidence? Vote Brat and stop amnesty once and for all.” [LauraIngraham.com, 6/2/14

DuringBrat Rally, Ingraham Says She Wishes Cantor Had Been Traded For American Prisoner Of Taliban. At a June 4 rally for Dave Brat, Laura Ingraham said she wished Obama had traded Eric Cantor for Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held captive by the Taliban:

INGRAHAM: I kind of wish, thinking about this, that President Obama would have thought this through a little bit more. And maybe, for getting Sgt. Bergdahl out of captivity, instead of sending five Taliban MVPs over there, he could have just traded one Eric Cantor. [MSNBC, The Last Word6/10/14]

Ingraham's Website Posts Election Day Reminder: Vote Brat, Stop Amnesty. An Election Day post on Laura Ingraham’s blog slammed Eric Cantor for “announcing that he will work with Barack Obama to pass amnesty for illegal children,” and told readers to instead “VOTE DAVE BRAT TODAY.” [LauraIngraham.com, 6/10/14]

Ingraham Blamed Cantor For The"Enticement" Of Immigrant Children In Humanitarian Crisis. On the June 3 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham blasted congressional Republicans and Democrats who support any kind of immigration reform, including Rep. Eric Cantor, for the “enticement” of the immigrant children into the country, which she described as “an invasion facilitated by our own government.” [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 6/3/14, via Media Matters]

Ingraham Attends Henrico, VA Rally For Brat. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham’s attendance at a June 3 rally for Virginia congressional candidate Dave Brat:

Dave Brat drew some star power Tuesday night in the final week of his bid to beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 7th Congressional District’s Republican primary.

Laura Ingraham, a conservative radio talk show host, author and political commentator, attended a Brat rally at a country club in Cantor’s Glen Allen neighborhood in Henrico County. [Richmond Times-Dispatch6/3/14]

Fox Personalities Tout Ingraham’s Role In Brat’s Defeat Of Cantor

Fox News Personalities Praise “The Power Of Talk Radio” For Dave Brat’s Unseating Majority Leader Eric CantorDuring the June 10 edition of The Kelly File, Fox’s Brit Hume claimed Laura Ingraham and other conservative radio show hosts’ support of Dave Brat helped him to defeat Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Hume added, ”There are parts of this country where if Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter, and Mark Levin are on the radio supporting you, that’s worth a lot. … In the right place, with the right constituency, those people hold real power.” Kelly chimed in that it was “the power of talk radio.” [Fox News, The Kelly File6/10/14, via Media Matters]

Fox’s Kelly: Ingraham’s Support Was “Instrumental” In Brat’s Victory Over Cantor. During Fox News’ live coverage of Rep. Cantor’s primary defeat, Fox host Megyn Kelly said Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, and others “were instrumental, perhaps, in causing this event tonight.” When she interviewed Ingraham later in the show, Kelly more firmly called her “instrumental” in Cantor’s defeat, noting that “she campaigned for Brat, she rallied for Brat, and must be very pleased with the results tonight.” During her interview, Ingraham continued to warn the GOP away from immigration reform. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor6/10/14]

h/t: Media Matters For America

Conservative radio host and Fox, ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham used a sound bite from a Taco Bell commercial to mock the plight of hundreds of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America who are being held in a makeshift shelter in southern Arizona.

The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that nearly 60,000 unaccompanied children who will make the dangerous trip from Central America over the next year fleeing violence will require care. In Nogales, Arizona, the Department of Homeland Security made available a warehouse to house thousands of children, but according to local media outlets, it has not been without problems. CBS Houston reported that some of the children have complained to the consul of Honduras that the food provided by the shelter is making them sick.

On the June 10 edition of her radio show, Ingraham responded to this news by dismissing the children’s plight, saying, “I bet there are a lot of American kids who would like free food before they go to bed at night.” She followed her comments with a sound clip from a Taco Bell advertising campaign of the 1990s, in which a chihuahua says repeatedly, “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”

Ingraham is no stranger to controversial sound effects. On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech”, the radio host used the sound of a gunshot to cut off a sound bite of civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) — a man whose skull was infamously fractured by a state trooper on “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, AL, in 1965.

She also repeatedly engages in smearing and denigrating immigrants.

h/t: Brian Powell at MMFA

mediamattersforamerica

The Obama outrage engines are revving up at Fox News and across the conservative media landscape as conservatives shift, temporarily at least, from Obamacare and Benghazi and set their sights on the unfolding scandal involving backlog waiting lists at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals. The serious allegations that dozens of veterans died while awaiting treatment from Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, and that VA managers there created a secret waiting list to hide how long men and women had to wait to see a doctor, sparked a resignation and Congressional hearings.

The Fox condemnations have been especially loud, and sweeping. And yes, they’ve been mostly directed at the president.

"If only Barack Obama’s team treated our veterans as well as they treat the mega-donors to the Democrat [sic] party," lamented Laura Ingraham on Fox & Friends. For days, a parade of Fox talkers have condemned Obama for the story. One even accused the administration of “criminally negligent homicide.”

The heated right-wing response stands in stark contrast to the muted coverage Fox News provided for the last major controversy involving failed medical care for returning soldiers. In February 2007, the Washington Post, following up on original reporting done by Salonexposed shockingly poor conditions inside the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Those revelations also sparked resignations and Congressional hearings.

But back then, of course, George W. Bush was president and back then Fox News wasn’t as interested in the story. (It took Bill O’Reilly six weeks following the publication of the first Post expose to conclude that the Bush administration had badly bungled veterans care at Walter Reed.) And Fox worried journalists were paying too much attention to the scandal.

Numbers highlight the striking disparity in coverage.

Over a six-week period during early 2007, as the Walter Reed story continued to generate headlines, Fox aired a total of 28 reports and discussions on the topic, according to a search of programs archived by Nexis. By contrast, in just the last seven days Fox has aired more than 30 segments on the VA story. (According to TVEyes.com, “VA” was mentioned more than 250 times on Fox between May 14-20; 100 more mentions than on CNN and MSNBC.)

In 2007, key talkers such as Sean Hannity and Charles Krauthammer were all amazingly silent on Fox, for weeks at a time, about the wounded veterans scandal. During that time, Hannity failed on camera to condemn the deplorable Army hospital environment, or hold the administration accountable. The same lack of interest was shared by Krauthammer: Not once did he discuss Walter Reed on the air during his more than one dozen primetime Fox News appearances in the months of February and March in 2007.

Today? With a Democrat in the White House, both men are in high dudgeon mode over the unfolding VA story:

Krauthammer

"At some point, you’ve gotta ask, ‘Where has he been, and where is the competence, the elementary competence, he promised when he ran in 2008?’"

And Hannity:

Meanwhile, in 2007 Think Progress noted that on March 2, as the veterans scandal escalated, and one day after the secretary of the Army resigned, the story was of little interest at Fox. That day, Fox mentioned “Anna Nicole Smith,” who had generated tabloid headlines when she died three weeks earlier, 121 times. But “Walter Reed” was referenced just ten times on March 2, 2007. By contrast, MSNBC and CNN mentioned the veterans hospital 84 and 53 times on that day, respectively.  

While Fox shied away from the Walter Reed story seven years, it simultaneously wondered if the rest of the news media were paying too much attention to the scandal. During a March 10, 2007 discussion on Fox News Watch, host E.D. Hill noted, “The media first brought the scandal to light. But now, are they also in danger of overdoing it?” She later pressed a guest: “Is all of this just slightly overdone?”

Note that the disturbing Walter Reed story has been unraveling for years. Steve Robinson, director of Veterans Affairs at Veterans for America, had told Salon, “What we are talking about is a systemic problem where soldiers are left unattended in the barracks. They are sharing medications. They are drinking like alcoholics,” and waiting for treatment.

Indeed, Salon’s Mark Benjamin spent years prior to 2007 diligently detailing the troubling and widespread shortcomings for Americans veterans who returned to Walter Reed from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fox’s look-away coverage from Walter Reed mirrored how the conservative press ignored the growing veterans scandal for years. “If the right-wing media had broadcast the story, hidden in plain sight,” Steve Young wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “the right’s water-carriers could have helped avert years of misery for many of our veterans.”

More from Young, a U.S. veteran, in March 2007:

But you heard nary a peep of indignation from O’Reilly against the Republican Congress, which, for the last six years, not only stood by and allowed Walter Reed to happen but actually conspired in the abomination.

The one constant in the VA and Walter Reed coverage from Fox has been that in both instances, pundits erroneously suggested the deep flaws in veterans care represented the failings of “government-run" health care. That knee-jerk partisan response was widespread within the conservative media in 2007.

From Rush Limbaugh:

If you want government-run health care, if you want to see what it’s going to be like, take a look at the mess that supposedly exists at Walter Reed and some of these other hospitals. It’s classic.

What’s “classic” is how Fox and friends determine their level of outrage about failed veteran care based on who occupies the White House.

h/t: Eric Boehlert at MMFA

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative filmmaker and author charged this January with violating federal campaign finance laws, allegedly said that while he might eventually admit his guilt, he would initially plead innocent because it would give “him a window of opportunity to get his story out there.” Conservative media have been happy to lend him a hand in doing so.

In January, federal prosecutors announced that D’Souza was being charged with filtering excessive campaign donations through straw donors to Republican Wendy Long, a friend of his who lost her 2012 campaign to unseat Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. D’Souza pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to The New York TimesD’Souza’s lawyer is claiming that the conservative pundit is being “targeted…because of his consistently caustic and highly publicized criticism” of President Obama. (The prosecution has called these claims “entirely without merit.”) The Times alsoreports that prosecutors claim to have a recording made by the husband of a woman D’Souza was “involved with romantically” who was “one of the alleged straw donors.” According to the woman, D’Souza said that if he were eventually charged, he might plead not guilty to help “get his story out there”:

Prosecutors also said they had obtained a copy of a recording made surreptitiously last October by the husband of a woman Mr. D’Souza was involved with romantically around the time of the donations, when Mr. D’Souza was separated from his wife. In making the recording, the husband was not acting at the government’s direction, prosecutors said. The woman, Denise Joseph, was one of the alleged straw donors.

Ms. Joseph was recorded as saying that Mr. D’Souza had told her that if he were charged he might plead guilty, but would initially plead not guilty because that “gives him a window of opportunity to get his story out there,” the government said. Ms. Joseph had no comment, her lawyer said.

Conservative media have been crucial in helping D’Souza “get his story out there” — his allies on Fox News, talk radio, and right-wing online outlets have loudly and repeatedly claimed that D’Souza is a victim of persecution because of his political beliefs.

The day after the indictment was announced, Matt Drudge tweeted that the charges against D’Souza and a former Republican Virginia Governor were evidence of Attorney General Eric Holder “unleashing the dogs” on “Obama critics.” Rush Limbaugh saw the case as proof the Justice Department was “trying to criminalize as many Republicans and conservatives as they can.” ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham announced on her radio show, ”we are criminalizing political dissent in the United States of America. Welcome to the Brave New World of retribution justice.”

Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones, in an alarmed video posted on Youtube with the title “Emergency: Obama Launches Purge,” called the situation “like Nazi Germany.”

Fox News, which has repeatedly hosted D’Souza since the indictment, reacted to the news by claiming ”the left are rediscovering their inner Stalin.” During an interview the week after the charges were announced, Hannity labeled D’Souza “the latest victim to be targeted by the Obama White House.” Fox Nation linked to Drudge’s conspiratorial tweet and a handful of other articles on conservative websites, asking their readers to “Sound Off” on whether there is a “COORDINATED, VAST LEFT-WING CONSPIRACY.”

This conservative media narrative about the case has now become central to D’Souza’s defense. Per the Times, the trial is “about a month away.” 

h/t: Ben Dimiero at MMFA

Fox figures praised armed supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy as good, patriotic, hard-working Americans, ignoring their threats of violence against Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents and indications that they were willing to put women in children in the line of fire.

Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy Refuses To Pay Grazing Fees, Resulting In Standoff With BLM

Los Angeles Times: Bundy Refused To Pay Grazing Fees For Use Of Federal Land.  As the Los Angeles Times reported on April 7:

Bundy is battling with federal officials over his cattle’s grazing on 150 square miles of scrub desert overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. He has refused to pay BLM grazing fees since 1993, arguing in court filings that his Mormon ancestors worked the land long before the BLM was formed, giving him rights that predate federal involvement. His back fees exceed $300,000, he says. [Los Angeles Times4/7/14]

AP: Court Ordered Bundy To Pay Fees Or His Cattle Would Be Confiscated. Bundy refused to pay the fees he owed, and so the BLM attempted to carry out court orders to confiscate his cattle to settle the debt:

A federal judge in Las Vegas first ordered Bundy to remove his trespassing cattle in 1998. The bureau was implementing two federal court orders last year to remove Bundy’s cattle after making repeated efforts to resolve the matter outside court, Kornze said, adding the rancher has not paid grazing fees in 20 years. [Associated Press, 4/13/14]

AP: BLM Halted Cattle Confiscation After Armed Militias Showed Up To Protest. As the Associated Pressreported, after the Bureau of Land Management began confiscating Bundy’s cattle, armed  ”states’ rights protesters, including militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals’ return to rancher Cliven Bundy,” leading to the BLM’s decision to halt the confiscation:

Federal land managers say “escalating tensions” led them to release all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.

Bureau of Land Management Chief Neil Kornze announced an abrupt halt to the weeklong roundup just hours before the release.

"Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public," Kornze said in a statement. [Associated Press, 4/13/14]

Sen. Harry Reid Calls Armed Protestors “Domestic Terrorists”

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sen. Reid Called Bundy's Armed Supporters “Domestic Terrorists.” At an event hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) called armed protesters supporting Bundy ”domestic terrorists,” saying, “Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots, are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal4/17/14]

Bundy Repeatedly Threatens Violence Against BLM Agents

Las Vegas Sun: Bundy Said He Would “Do Whatever It Takes” To Protect His Cattle. In 2013, Bundy told the Las Vegas Sun he would “do whatever it takes” to prevent the government from seizing his cattle:

[T]he rancher insists his cattle aren’t going anywhere. He acknowledges that he keeps firearms at his ranch and has vowed to “do whatever it takes” to defend his animals from seizure.

"I’ve got to protect my property," Bundy said as Arden steered several cattle inside an elongated pen. "If people come to monkey with what’s mine, I’ll call the county sheriff. If that don’t work, I’ll gather my friends and kids and we’ll try to stop it. I abide by all state laws. But I abide by almost zero federal laws."Bundy’s wife Carol told the Sun that she owns a shotgun and is prepared to use it:

Carol Bundy said her husband is not a violent man, just a person who will protect what he owns. For that matter, so is she.

"I’ve got a shotgun," she said. "It’s loaded and I know how to use it. We’re ready to do what we have to do, but we’d rather win this in the court of public opinion." [Las Vegas Sun9/23/13]

Bundy's Response To Question About Resorting To Violence: ”I Didn’t Say I Wouldn’t Carry A Gun.” On the April 10 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham asked Bundy whether he would resort to violence to settle the dispute:

INGRAHAM: When you said you would do quote “whatever it takes,” to stop the government from impounding your cattle, what did you mean by that? Did you mean you would resort to violence?

BUNDY: What I said was — I didn’t say I wouldn’t carry a gun. [The Laura Ingraham Show4/10/14, via Media Matters]

Fox Figures Praise “Patriotic” Bundy Supporters

Fox’s Earhardt: Bundy Supporters Are “Good, Hardworking Americans.” On the April 18 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt expressed outrage at Sen. Harry Reid’s comments that Bundy’s supporters are “domestic terrorists,” saying:

EARHARDT: And then the question this morning, the government’s reaction to all of this. They’re pulling guns on these individuals, on Harry Reid’s community. These are folks that live in Nevada, these are good, hardworking Americans. So they disagree and the government goes out there and pulls guns and now Harry Reid’s calling them terrorists? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/18/14]

Fox's Morris: Supporters Were “Protesting Peacefully.” In a later segment during the April 18 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Clayton Morris claimed that, “Suddenly people are there protesting peacefully, arguing against government intervention here … and all of these police and folks roll in with guns and sniper rifles pointing at them.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends4/18/14]

Fox’s Napolitano: Ranch Protesters ”Shows You The Resistance Of Patriotic Americans.” Fox contributor Andrew Napolitano and Bill O’Reilly discussed the Nevada standoff on the April 17 edition of The O’Reilly Factor. Both conceded that Bundy’s actions were illegal, yet Napolitano called his supporters “patriotic” and downplayed their threats of violence:

O’REILLY: But here’s the fact. The federal government sent more force in to handle Cliven Bundy’s cows than they did to Ukraine. Right, I mean we can’t even get binoculars over there for those people but we have all of this.

NAPOLITANO: It shows you the attitude of the federal government today, and it shows you the resistance of patriotic Americans — Americans whose voices were silenced at the scene by being moved three miles away. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor4/17/14]

Fox’s Starnes: Bundy Supporters Are “Law-Abiding” Patriots.  On the April 17 edition of Hannity, Fox contributor Todd Starnes told guest-host Eric Bolling, “The idea that you’ve got the Senate Majority Leader going out there and calling law-abiding American citizens — patriots — domestic terrorists for protesting against their government is beyond the pale.” [Fox News, Hannity4/17/14]

Fox Guest: Why Were Guns Pointed At “Hardworking Ranchers”? During the April 17 edition of Fox News’s The Kelly File, frequent Fox guest and conservative filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch demanded an explanation from Sen. Harry Reid as to why guns were pointed at “hardworking ranchers”:

LYNCH: That man [Sen. Reid], I want an explanation from him. I want to know why it is that I had M-16s pointed at my face. Why those M-16s were pointed at women and children and hardworking ranchers. I want an explanation. Because the more I keep on looking at my footage — that looked like Afghanistan. [Fox News, The Kelly File4/17/14]

Bundy Supporters Who Fox Praised Were Armed, Threatened Violence

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Armed Militia Members Mobilized For Armed Confrontation.The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on April 9 that armed militia members were joining Bundy in his standoff with the BLM:

From near and wide, armed men are trickling toward Cliven Bundy’s ranch, where the rancher’s fight with the federal government has become a rallying cry for militia groups across the United States.

[…]

They say they are prepared for armed confrontation, but they insist they will not be the instigators if bloodshed happens. [Las Vegas Review-Journal4/9/14]

Reuters: Many Supporters “Wore Military Fatigues And Carried Rifles And Pistols.” Reuters reported on April 17 that many of Bundy’s supporters carried rifles and pistols:

A number of Bundy supporters wore military fatigues and carried rifles and pistols and had traveled from California, Idaho, Arizona, Montana and beyond. Most kept their handguns holstered.

[Former Arizona sheriff Richard] Mack, who wore his gun on his hip, and other Bundy supporters interviewed by Reuters said they would not shoot first but would retaliate if fired upon. [Reuters, 4/17/14]

Review-Journal: "Serious Bloodshed Was Narrowly Avoided" At The Protest. The Las Vegas Review-Journal also reported that:

On Wednesday, that dispute teetered at the edge of deadly conflict, when Cliven Bundy’s family members and supporters scuffled with rangers from the Bureau of Land Management sent to protect the federal roundup of Bundy’s cattle on public land. [Las Vegas Review-Journal4/9/14]

Huffington Post: Former Sheriff Wanted To Put “Women Up At The Front” If A Shootout Occurred. According to the Huffington Post, former Arizona sheriff and Bundy supporter Richard Mack proposed putting women on the front lines if a shootout with the BLM occurred and claimed he “would have put my own wife or daughters there”:

"We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front," he said on Fox News, according to TheBlaze.com. "If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers."

[…]

"If they’re going to start killing people, I’m sorry, but to show the world how ruthless these people are, women needed to be the first ones shot. I’m sorry, that sounds horrible. I would have put my own wife or daughters there, and I would have been screaming bloody murder to watch them die. [Huffington Post, 4/15/14]

Reuters: Bundy Supporter “Aimed His Semi-Automatic Rifle” At Federal Agents. On April 17, Reuters reported on the aftermath of the Bundy ranch protest, writing that during that during the standoff an armed protester aimed his gun at federal agents:

Flat on his belly in a sniper position, wearing a baseball cap and a flak jacket, a protester aimed his semi-automatic rifle from the edge of an overpass and waited as a crowd below stood its ground against U.S. federal agents in the Nevada desert. [Reuters, 4/17/14]

sniper

          Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Urquhart

KLAS-TV Las Vegas: Militia Man Joining Bundy Protest Said “We Provide Armed Response.” On April 10, a local Las Vegas news station KLAS-TV reported that one militia man coming to support Bundy said, “That is what we do. We provide armed response … We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.” [KLAS-TV Las Vegas, 4/10/14]

h/t: Olivia Marshall at MMFA
mediamattersforamerica

Poor Bill O’Reilly. His tender fee-fees were so hurt by a sign saying “Nobody died for our “sins” Jesus Christ is a myth” it’s threatening his whole Easter or his whole faith or something. And persecuted Christian Laura Ingraham is suffering right along with him!

Doesn’t this sound like grievance mongering?

O’REILLY: If you are in Madison, Wisconsin and you go to the Capitol Building, you may be very insulted this Holy Thursday.

O’REILLY: Fair minded people know that’s appalling.

INGRAHAM: Every Christian holiday, we see something like this.

O’REILLY: They want to hate and disparage people like you and me.

INGRAHAM: I am praying for the redemption of the nasty folks over at (Freedom From Religion Foundation). I don’t know if it will work or not.

O’REILLY: These people want to insult - and that’s what it is - it’s insulting. They want to insult people with whom they disagree. And there’s no reason for it.

INGRAHAM: The culture is already predominantly atheistic. …So, they have enormous power, I think, already in the culture that doesn’t address religion at all. But that’s not enough for them. They want to mock and demean. …This doesn’t surprise me at all. I expect this to happen. …Why is it always the Christians the only ones that get the mud slung at them? I don’t know why it’s just Christians.

So what do you think O’Reilly’s reaction would be if two African Americans had this discussion about being stopped and frisked by the police for no reason? I think we have a good idea.


H/T: Ellen at Newshounds.us

h/t: Kenneth Vogel and  Mackenzie Weinger at Politico