Conservative media have revived false comparisons of legal abortion to convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell in the wake of a Senate hearing regarding a proposed bill to prohibit states from imposing unusually onerous regulations on abortion clinics, despite the fact that Gosnell’s crimes have nothing to do with legal abortion procedures.
On July 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Women’s Health Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT.) The bill would bar states from enacting laws restricting abortion that are more burdensome than restrictions for similar outpatient procedures.
The hearings sent right-wing media into a frenzy, renewing comparisons between legal abortion and Kermit Gosnell, a former doctor sentenced to life in prison without parole for the three counts of first-degree murder. National Review Online invoked Gosnell in an editorial titled “Gosnell Nation” on July 16. NRO suggested the title of the bill should be renamed to the “Kermit Gosnell Enabling Act of 2014” and provided a detailed description of Gosnell’s horrific crimes, claiming the bill would lead to more cases like Gosnell’s
A July 15 Fox News report on the bill also cited Gosnell, attributing many new state abortion restrictions to a reaction to his crimes.
But Gosnell’s crimes bear no resemblance to legal abortions performed at clinics these state regulations target. The grand jury in Gosnell’s case found that ”Gosnell’s approach was simple: keep volume high, expenses low - and break the law. That was his competitive edge.” And University of California reproductive health professor Tracy Weitz has explained that Gosnell’s actions have “nothing to do with the way in which the standard of care and later abortion procedures are performed in the United States,” and that his practices are “nowhere in the medical literature.”
The Blumenthal bill is intended to prevent the harmful effects on women’s health that the rapid expansion of state abortion regulations, known as Targeted Regulations of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws, has had. TRAP laws target abortion clinics for restrictions not imposed on other clinics that provide procedures with similar risk, like colonoscopies. In fact, such onerous and constitutionally questionable regulations have already driven many abortion clinics in the states to close — which, according to Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller, puts “more women at risk for later term abortions or for illicit abortions outside the medical community.”
Since the news of Gosnell’s horrific crimes emerged, right-wing media have continuously attempted to tie the case to legal abortions — the vast majority of which are safe and occur in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The tweet was sent from the official account for Schultz’s MSNBC program and it included an observation that, by itself, appeared to minimize the plight of the millions of Jewish interned and killed during the Holocaust.
"Gay people were really the ones being persecuted in Hitler’s Germany," read the tweet, which included a screengrab from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website.
It was promptly deleted, but conservative journalists picked it up.
"The MSNBC host Godwined himself before anyone else even said a word with a tweet where he informed the world of who was the ‘real’ target of Hitler’s Final Solution,” wrote Breitbart’s Warner Todd Huston.
"Waiting for Ed Schultz to explain that Irish indentured servants were the real victims of slavery," snarked National Review’s Jonah Goldberg.
Matt Drudge blared the news to his legions of dedicated followers.
Was Schultz really suggesting that homosexuals, and not Jews, were the major targets of the Third Reich?
A subsequent tweet from the “Ed Show” account offered a clue of what Schultz (or his team) was trying to say. It provided a preview of an upcoming segment on the program about Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-TX) comparison of LGBT advocates to Nazis.
In a floor speech last week, Gohmert complained that opponents of same-sex marriage have been labeled “haters.” He said Nazis also gave those they persecuted similar labels.
When Schultz addressed Gohmert’s comments on-air, he used identical language to the deleted tweet and cited figures from the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
"Louie is a little short on his Nazi history. Gay people were really the ones being persecuted in Hitler’s Germany, according to the United States Holocaust Museum," Schultz said. "Between 5,000 and 15,000 gay men were interned in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. These prisoners were marked by pink triangle badges. According to many survivor accounts, homosexuals were among the most abused groups in the camps."
"If Louie Gohmert thinks he’s being persecuted the same way the Jews were being persecuted, he can keep on pretending," Schultz continued.
H/T: Tom Kludt at TPM
National Review Online (NRO) has a problem with feminism and how it’s embodied by Democratic women running for office like Sandra Fluke and Texas State Senator Wendy Davis.
NRO roving correspondentKevin D. Williamson penned a February 6 column decrying modern feminism, which he defined as, “Feminism is the words ’I Want!’ in the mouths of three or more women, provided they’re the right kind of women.”
According to Williamson, feminism is now a “career path,” where cunning politicians can succeed by “defending the position favored more heavily by women than by men [which] becomes, through the magic of feminist rhetoric, anti-woman, even part of a ‘war on women.’” In other words, a policy that appears to be anti-woman may simply be an innocuous proposal with disparate support among the genders that’s become tainted by feminist rhetoric.
The author’s examples of such conniving feminist politicians were California state senate candidate Sandra Fluke and Texas Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, popular targets in the conservative media sphere as of late. “Whatever Sandra Fluke is up to, you can be sure she’s looking for somebody else to pay for it,” Williamson wrote, summarizing her 2012 congressional testimony in support of contraception coverage in health plans as a petulant “‘I WANT!’”
Davis, who conducted a filibuster against Texas’s new abortion restrictions in June 2013, Williamson accused of “thwarting the interests of a majority of those women she is campaigning to govern,” painting her as an opportunist.
Indeed, Williamson’s post is full of invective, but low on the facts regarding the very events he highlights as revealing the “Feminist Mystique.”
Fox News contributor Scott Brown was forced to end his financial relationship with Newsmax after he sent a sponsored email to his list touting dubious Alzheimer’s disease cures from huckster Dr. Russell Blaylock. Brown is one of several conservative media outlets and personalities — including his Fox News colleague Mike Huckabee and conservative magazine National Review — that have helped sell out their followers to Blaylock in recent years.
In recent years, several prominent conservative outlets and personalities have sent emails to their followers touting Blaylock and his dubious medicine:
National Review. The conservative magazine sent an April 20, 2013, email from Newsmax / Blaylock with the subject line: “These 7 Things Activate Alzheimer’s in Your Brain.” (Last week, National Review told Think Progress that it was investigating emails it had sent out touting a separate shady sponsor. According to the magazine’s publisher, “National Review takes all complaints seriously.”)
Dick Morris. On January 18, the newsletter of former Fox News contributor Dick Morris sent a message to its readers stating: “Please find a special message from our paid sponsor, Newsmax Health. Sponsorships like this help to allow us to continue to send you Dick’s commentary free of charge. We appreciate your support. DickMorris.com.” DickMorris.com then enclosed Blaylock’s ”5 Signs You’ll Get Alzheimer’s Disease” pitch.
DickMorris.com also sent an email offer from Newsmax / Blaylock on October 30, 2013, with the subject line: “These 7 Things Activate Alzheimer’s in Your Brain.”
Christian Broadcasting Network. Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network sent an email with the subject line “5 Signs You Could Get Alzheimer’s Disease” on January 9 to its email list. It contained the disclaimer: “This Select Advertising Offer is sent to you by the Christian Broadcasting Network as a paid advertisement and is not necessarily endorsed by CBN.”
CBN also sent an email offer from Newsmax / Blaylock on October 17, 2013, with the subject line: “These 7 Things Activate Alzheimer’s in Your Brain.”
Mike Huckabee. The Fox News host sent the “5 Signs You’ll Get Alzheimer’s Disease” email to his list on January 16, 2013. He wrote: “Please find a special message from our paid sponsor, Newsmax Health. They have important information to share with you. Sponsorships like this help to allow us to continue to send you my commentary free of charge but do not necessarily reflect my views.”
Huckabee also sent an email offer from Newsmax / Blaylock on September 10, 2013, with the subject line: “These 7 Things Activate Alzheimer’s in Your Brain.”
Herman Cain. Cain’s CainTV sent the “5 Signs You’ll Get Alzheimer’s Disease” to its list on November 1, 2012, along with a disclaimer stating it is from its “sponsor partner Newsmax.com - the sort of thing that helps us pay the bills here at CainTV. It carries no endorsement from us, but we appreciate your willingness to receive these messages.”
CainTV also sent an email offer from Newsmax / Blaylock on October 19, 2013, with the subject line: “These 7 Things Activate Alzheimer’s in Your Brain.”
Russell Blaylock’s advice is rated quackery.
Fox News pushed various myths about the latest challenge to the contraceptive mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy falsely accusing the Obama Administration of forcing “religious freedom [to] take a backseat to Obamacare.”
In a January 15 segment on Fox & Friends, Doocy and his guest, National Review Online editor Rich Lowry, discussed a new challenge to the contraception mandate provision in the ACA. This latest challenge, brought by a group of Catholic nuns from the charity Little Sisters of the Poor, argues that the mandate violates the religious freedom of the nuns because they disagree with the use of contraceptives.
This is not the first time Fox News has misrepresented the Little Sisters case. The fact is, the nuns are already exemptible from the mandate, as both Doocy and Lowry initially point out in the segment. All the sisters need to do is sign a form registering their religious objection — a requirement that Lowry calls “wrong” and “perverse.” For his part, Doocy said more Catholics should be given a “bigger carve out” under the ACA because they “just don’t believe in this stuff.”
Doocy and Lowry’s framing of this issue as an assault on religious freedom — “Little Sister vs. Big Government” — is bizarre. Although Lowry begins the segment by admitting the nuns are exempt from the mandate, he still somehow concludes that the administration “should let the nuns off the hook.” This upending of precedent would undermine all similar exemption mechanisms for religious objectors whose stance requires someone else to follow the law in their stead. Doocy undercuts his own argument that the government doesn’t provide enough exemptions for Catholics, who “by and large, stand against abortion and contraception” when he concedes that “they’re more in favor it, for various reasons, these days.” And in fact, 98% of sexually active Catholics use or have used contraceptives in their lives.
Lowry ended the segment by explaining that, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the government cannot substantially burden religious freedom without a “compelling governmental interest.” Whether or not signing a form is a “substantial burden” remains to be seen, but Lowry disingenuously suggests that the only compelling interest at play here is that the mandate apply to everyone, even though the mandate has improved access to contraception and other preventive care services for up to 47 million women. But apparently that’s not compelling enough for Fox News.
National Review Online columnist Mona Charen lamented the marginalization of anti-LGBT bigotry, writing that acceptance of LGBT people is largely due to “fashion” and decrying the affirmation of LGBT youth as “child abuse.”
In her January 14 syndicated column, Charen responded to a recent op-ed in The New York Times urging medical providers to ensure that transgender patients have access to fertility treatment. To Charen, the op-ed marked merely the latest indicator of society’s “obsession with sexuality as identity” and its “undermining of the best interests of children in favor of the self-expression of adults.” The decline of homophobic and transphobic bigotry is evidence to Charen that “[w]e have elevated sexual appetites … to an exalted status” (emphasis added):
There are limitless identities that students could be encouraged to cultivate as they mature. A handful that leap immediately to mind: American, humorist, musician, athlete, debater, nature-lover. Instead, our universities fall all over themselves to encourage unusual sexual identities, from homosexuality and lesbianism to transgender, bisexual, transsexual, and other. It’s all done in the name of “inclusion” and non-discrimination, but, let’s face it, there’s an element of fashion in it.Non-traditional sexual behavior is “in.” There are academic courses on offer at major universities concerning “queer theory,” pornography, and “lesbian gardening.” (Truly.) How can any serious academic treat pornography as a fit subject for college study? It’s more than a devaluation of the life of the mind; it’s an assault on human dignity.
We have elevated sexual appetites — especially unusual sexual tastes — to an exalted status, worthy of study, defining our natures and experiences, and outranking other traits in importance. In many states, there are moves to outlaw psychotherapy that purports to change a person’s sexual orientation. Without excusing or approving abusive efforts to brainwash gay people straight — and there are some hair-raising stories out there of people subjected to “aversion therapy” and so forth — it is interesting that we are being asked to deny people the opportunity to change in only one direction. No one is suggesting that if a straight person wants to become gay and consults a therapist who wishes to help him make that transition, that he should be prevented from doing so.
Perhaps gay activists aren’t campaigning for “ex-straight” therapy because their own experiences bear out the absurdity of the idea that one’s sexual orientation can be changed. But to Charen, simply acknowledging this fact brings “sexual appetites” to an “exalted status.”
Charen proceeded to criticize measures adopted to affirm transgender youth, mischaracterizing a California law that allows transgender students access to facilities that match their gender identities and condemning hormone therapy for transgender youth as “child abuse”:
This is child abuse. Children pass through phases. Nothing permanent should to be done to any child that is not medically necessary. Suppose a child decided that he wanted to be an amputee or a one-eyed pirate? We’ve lost all common sense in the face of this mania for sexual mutability.
Charen’s framing of the California law dovetails with that of other right-wing critics of the law, who have peddled baseless fears about inappropriate bathroom behavior that will result from letting each student “choose” which bathroom he or she wishes to use. In reality, school districts are implementing the law on a case-by-case basis to ensure that students using it really are transgender. Moreover, school districts that have implemented similar policies have reported no instances of inappropriate behavior.
And while Charen thinks it’s “child abuse” to provide hormone therapy to transgender youth, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that gender identity is often established by age four. Contra Charen, children who receive hormone therapy aren’t just going through “phases,” and families seeking hormone therapy for transgender children undergo vetting from medical professionals before being given access to appropriate medical care.
If Charen is truly interested in rectifying cases of child abuse, she could start by confronting the damage done when parents and family members aren’t accepting of their LGBT children and try to ignore their gender or sexual identities. Inconveniently for Charen, that might require discarding her rabidly anti-LGBT views.
Some of the very people lavishing praise on South Africa’s first black president worked tirelessly to undermine his cause.
The world is celebrating Nelson Mandela as a selfless visionary who led his country out of the grips of apartheid into democracy and freedom. But some of the very people lavishing praise on South Africa’s first black president worked tirelessly to undermine his cause and portray the African National Congress he lead as pawns of the Soviet Union.
In fact, American conservatives have long been willing to overlook South Africa’s racist apartheid government in service of fighting communism abroad. Below is a short history, and some explanation, of how conservatives approached Mandela with the hostility they did:
National Review predicts end of white rule would result in “the collapse of civilization.”
After Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, the magazine observed that “The South African courts have sentenced a batch of admitted terrorists to life in the penitentiary, and you would think the court had just finished barbecuing St. Joan, to hear the howls from the Liberal press.” By March of the following year, conservative Russell Kirk argued in the pages of the magazine that democracy in South Africa “would bring anarchy and the collapse of civilization” and the government “would be domination by witch doctors (still numerous and powerful) and reckless demagogues.”
Reagan described apartheid South Africa as a “good country.”
After President Jimmy Carter imposed sanctions on South Africa Reagan reversed course, labeling the African National Congress a terrorist organization. As he explained to CBS’ Walter Cronkite in 1981, the United States should support the South Africa regime because it is “a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals.” In 1985, he told an interviewer: “They have eliminated the segregation that we once had in our own country — the type of thing where hotels and restaurants and places of entertainment and so forth were segregated — that has all been eliminated.” He later walked back the comment.
Jerry Falwell urges supporters to oppose sanctions.
The late Jerry Falwell urged “supporters to write their congressmen and senators to tell them to oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime.” “The liberal media has for too long suppressed the other side of the story in South Africa,” he said. “It is very important that we stay close enough to South Africa so that it does not fall prey to the clutches of Communism.”
180 House members opposed free Mandela resolution.
In 1986, 145 Republicans and 45 Democrats voted down a none-binding House resolutionurging the Government of South Africa to indicate its willingness to negotiate with the black majority by granting unconditional freedom to Nelson Mandela, recognizing the African National Congress; and establishing a framework for political talks. This included Dick Cheney, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Dan Coats, Pat Roberts, Joe Barton.
20 Senators and 83 House members oppose sanctions.
The 1986 bill cut virtually “all U.S. economic ties with South Africa, requiring American companies to cease operating there within 180 days.” Lawmakers had to override Reagan’s veto. Sens. Thad Conrad, Orrin Hatch and Reps. Hal Rogers, Joe Barton, and Howard Coble all voted against imposing sanctions on the regime.
Jack Abramoff leads think tank dedicated to tearing down Mandela.
In 1986, the South African government helped fund and establish The International Freedom Foundation (IFF), a conservative think tank designed to “reverse the apartheid regime’s pariah status in Western political circles” and “portray the ANC as a tool of Soviet communism, thus undercutting the movement’s growing international acceptance as the government-in-waiting of a future multiracial South Africa.” The Washington branch of the IFF listed, among others, Senator Jesse Helms, James Inhofe as advisers. The lobbyist Jack Abramoff led the organization.
U.S. Senator testified in support of the apartheid government.
“In the late 1980s and early ’90s, after returning from his Mormon mission to South Africa,” Flake lobbied for South African interests and in 1987, “testified before the Utah State Senate in support of a resolution expressing support for the government of South Africa while racial segregation laws were enforced — largely to support U.S. mining interests in the region.”
Now, it would be unfair to say conservatism spoke univocally in condemnation of Mandela. A group of upstart Republicans in the mid-80s, led by Reps. Vin Weber, Robert Walker, and Newt Gingrich pushed hard for the United States to take a more critical stance on apartheid.
But this group was bucking the conservative mainstream at the time. “South Africa has been able to depend on conservatives in the United States … to treat them with benign neglect,” Weber said. That has a lot to do with the enduring conservative hostility towards rapid change. Conservatives see broad challenges, even to oppressive systems, as dangerous “revolutionary” change, whereas slower “evolutionary” tweaks in a better direction would be preferable.
Reagan’s South Africa point man, Chester A. Crocker, made this revolutionary/evolutionary binary into one of his three main principles for thinking about South Africa policy. “The circumstances in South Africa do not justify giving up on the hopes for evolutionary change (as distinguished from a revolutionary cataclysm),” he wrote in a famous Foreign Affairsessay. Many in the West, Crocker believed, held “a mistaken assumption that American and South African clocks are synchronized-that our impatience signifies the imminence of the revolution.”
It was Crocker, of course, who was mistaken, writing only about a decade before Mandela was freed from prison. But this skepticism about the possibility and desirability of radical change (Crocker seemed to think any dissolution of the apartheid government would necessarily be in part a violent one), together with the obvious cultural affinity that mainstream conservatives felt with Westernized Afrikaner elites, made conservatives distinctly inclined to view Mandela’s calls for political transformation with jaded eyes.
Heritage Foundation says Mandela is no “freedom fighter.” “Americans nevertheless have reasons to be skeptical of Mandela,” the foundation warned as he planned to visit the United States in 1990. “First, Nelson Mandela is not a freedom fighter. He repeatedly has supported terrorism. Since Mandela’s release from prison and his subsequent refusal to renounce violence, the Marxist-dominated ANC has launched terrorism and violence against civilians, claiming several hundred lives.”
Conservative think tank links Mandela to communists. “When Mandela made his first visit to the United States in 1990, following his release from prison, the IFF placed advertisements in local papers designed to dampen public enthusiasm for Mandela,” Newsday reported. “One ad in the Miami Herald portrayed Mandela as an ally and defender of Cuba’s Fidel Castro. The city’s large Cuban community was so agitated that a ceremony to present Mandela with keys to the city was scrapped.
National Review labels Mandela a “communist” for opposing the Iraq war.
“[Mandela’s] vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise, given his long-standing dedication to Communism and praise for terrorists. The world finally saw that his wife Winnie, rather than being a saintly freedom-fighter, was a murderous thug.”
This positioning of Mandela as being on the wrong side of a divide between “friends” and “enemies” — once communism, in the 2000s Saddam and terrorism — is the most important ideological lesson to learn from this history of hostility to Mandela. Conservatives have a deep tendency to judge foreign conflicts principally by the proximity of each side to the enemy du jour.
The treatment of South Africa in Jeane Kirkpatrick’s famous “Dictatorships and Double Standards” essay, where she argued that authoritarian anti-Communist states were more amenable to transition to democracy than revolutionary socialist governments, exemplifies this point nicely. She listed Jimmy Carter’s more confrontational South Africa policy as an example of the Carter Administration taking “at face value the claim of revolutionary groups to represent ‘popular’ aspirations and ‘progressive’ forces–regardless of the ties of these revolutionaries to the Soviet Union.”
Modern conservatives explaining the movement’s Mandela position in the past 12 hours have repeatedly employed Kirkpatrick-style to argue that conservative positions were, at the time, reasonable. “In retrospect, it’s easy to think of Mandela as the grandfatherly statesman,” Matt Lewis writes, “but the Soviet Union posed an existential threat; it’s not like nuclear weapons weren’t aimed at us. Such a thing has a way of focusing your priorities. In that milieu, one can understand why the U.S. would have been very cautious about anyone who had even ‘dabbled’ in Communism.” Deroy Murdock describes the view at the time as “Nelson Mandela was just another Fidel Castro or a Pol Pot, itching to slip from behind bars, savage his country, and surf atop the bones of his victims.”
Now, both Lewis and Murdock readily admit that this view was in hindsight mistaken. But the overemphasis on the friend/enemy distinction that blinded conservative’s to the justness of the ANC’s cause has hardly gone away.
Investors’ Business Daily, a business newspaper widely viewed as having a conservative editorial page, decided to dip its toes into racial politics over the weekend with a political cartoon about the case of Trayvon Martin. But instead of presenting a valid criticism of the negative reactions to George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict, the publication invoked lynchings— one of the great tragedies committed against Black Americans — to try to make its point.
In an attempt to level criticism at Al Sharpton, the Black reverend-turned-TV host who has been deeply involved in cases of racial injustice, the cartoonist depicted various incidents in which Sharpton has been active as people being hanged from a tree.
Conservative magazine National Review Online also ran the piece as its “Cartoon of the Day.”
This Is Not How You Journalism.
Jim Geraghty wrote an article
And named “most Democrats’ view on immigration reform,” and then linked to Twitter.
Which takes you to…
Jim Geraghty’s Twitter.
Thanks to Donkeylicious for bringing this to my attention. Michael Walsh of National Review Online called for the termination of women’s right to vote last week:
Nevertheless, you’re on to something I’ve been advocating for years now. And that is the repeal of all four of the so-called “Progressive Era” amendments, including the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th, which were passed between 1911 and 1920.
One of those has already been repealed—the 18th amendment, which ushered in Prohibition—which Walsh admits. That’s not really what he’s on about anyway:
The income-tax amendment was a self-evident attack on capitalism and led to the explosive growth of the federal government we currently enjoy today. (Without it, there’d be no need for a Balanced Budget Amendment.) Direct elections of senators has given us, among other wonders, the elevation of John F. Kerry to, now, secretary of state. Prohibition was directly responsible for the rise of organized crime and its unholy alliance with the big-city Democratic machines. And women’s suffrage … well, let’s just observe that without it Barack Obama could never have become president. Time for the ladies to take one for the team.
I suppose we’re supposed to imagine it’s a “joke”, because he takes a jovial tone for the last one. But if so, it doesn’t make sense. He’s dead fucking serious about the other two—three, really, because he only seems to be against Prohibition because he believes it gave Democrats a leg up, which is one of those deaf-to-historical-change moments that lead Republicans to imagine that Lincoln would have anything to do with the modern version of their party—so, as a joke, it falls completely apart. If he hadn’t rolled it up with the other amendments initially, the “joke” defense he clearly has in his pocket would be an easier sell. Something like, “I’ve long advocated for the repeal of 3 of the Progressive Amendments (though one has already been repealed), and hey, ladies, sometimes you make me wish to repeal all four.” It would still be a misogynist joke, but easier to sell as a joke, even if not a very funny one.
I’m trying to imagine the shitstorm that would erupt if a feminist dare say men should forsake their right to vote until they shape up and start voting correctly. It certainly wouldn’t slide under the waters, like this did.
Typical sexism from the far-right.
At least most of them aren’t snickering about the blood clot.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was recently hospitalized after doctors found a blood clot in her head, a condition that ABC News reported was “potentially ‘life-threatening.’” The hospitalization came in the wake of the news in December that Clinton had suffered a concussion after catching a virus, becoming dehydrated, and feinting.
The unhinged concussion response seemed to mark the unofficial return of the Clinton Crazies, that marauding mindset among conservatives who spent the 90’s launching endless attacks against the Clintons; vicious and wildly personal attacks that went far beyond partisan debate. (i.e. Accusations of killings and mass murder.)
What else explains the conservative media’s decision to treat Clinton’s head trauma as being side-splittingly funny? There’s something very disturbing about how it coalesced around its strategy to make fun of her health. I’d suggest there’s also very distasteful about gleefully mocking the health of a woman in her mid-sixties.
But boy, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham thought the story was a hoot:
Ingraham loved the tasteless “Immaculate Concussion” quip so much she went on The O’Reilly Factor that same night and shared it with a national television audience, delighting in the phrase. Host Bill O’Reilly couldn’t contain his laughter. “I haven’t heard that! That’s good!” roared O’Reilly.
Still laughing, Ingraham responded, “Did she really have a concussion? Maybe she did. I mean, who knows.”
In truth, it might be easier to list the Fox talkers who didn’t laugh out loud while discussing Clinton’s faltering health last month. On The Five, Dana Perino chortled when co-host Greg Gutfeld joked Clinton couldn’t have a concussion since she’d been “ducking everything” regarding Benghazi. Later that same night, Sean Hannity’sshared a chuckle with Fox’s Charles Krauthammer for mocking Clinton’s “acute Benghazi allergy.” (A “good line,” Hannity assured his guest.) It was noteworthy that Fox host Greta Van Susteren went out of her way, via her blog, to distance herself from the “sarcastic” and “snarky” Fox News comments about Clinton’s health.
The topic of Clinton’s faltering condition became a running joke for weeks. Right up until the day the troubling blood clot news was revealed, National Review Online editor Jonah Goldberg was still making light of her condition:
In the December 31 issue of The Weekly Standard, readers were encouraged to laugh at the news of Clinton’s head trauma.
Blogger and USA Today columnist Glenn Reynolds recently made sure to share with readers a photoshopped picture of Clinton (with her head attached to a burly man’s body) that suggested she was “drunk as skunk” when she fell and suffered a concussion:
Reynolds also hyped the blatant lie that that Clinton had flown to a “Caribbean resort” for New Year’s Eve.
Reynolds’ baseless behavior was not unexpected. Two weeks earlier he had treated the concussion revelation as one big joke, writing, “HELP, I’VE FALLEN AND I CAN’T TESTIFY ABOUT BENGHAZI”
When Clinton’s doctor recently announced a blood clot had been found during an examine, Reynolds quickly linked to right-wing conspiracist Ann Althouse, who in a pair of blog posts wondered if the “oddities” surrounding Clinton’s health reports stemmed from “fakery.” When critics lampooned her rumor mongering, Althouse insisted she’d been sponsoring “political debate” by raising baseless doubts about the Clinton story.
In the New York Times report about Clinton’s blood clot, the newspaper quoted David Rothkopf, an acting Commerce Department under secretary in the Bill Clinton, who noted the heated politicization of the Hillary Clinton’s health. Beseeching common decency, Rothkopf urged partisan to stop the unseemly behavior and to just act like “human beings.”
For the Clinton Crazies, that’s not always an option.
If there were fewer women and more “male aggression” in Sandy Hook Elementary School, the massacre there never would have taken place, according to a contribution to a leading conservative magazine.
National Review, whose in-house editorial suggested Newtown was the price of the Second Amendment, published a piece on Wednesday from anti-feminist Charlotte Allen suggesting the reason the shooter was able to kill so many students was because Newtown was a “feminized setting:”
There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K–6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female. There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees. Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely. According to reports, she activated the school’s public-address system and also lunged at Lanza, before he shot her to death. Some of the teachers managed to save all or some of their charges by rushing them into closets or bathrooms. But in general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm. Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.
Via Jessica Valenti, who notes that this is extraordinarily “disrespectful to the female teachers and staff at Sandy Hook. Allen mentions their heroism as an anomalous aside rather than exceptional bravery that saved lives. The bravery of the women in Newtown – principal Dawn Hochsprung and psychologist Mary Sherlach who rushed the shooter before being killed, teacher Victoria Soto who died protecting her students, Kaitlin Roig and Abbey Clements who hid their students and calmed them – is remarkable.”
Right-Wing Media React To Obama's Re-Election: War, Impeachment, Revolution | Research | Media Matters for America
Breitbart.com: “The War Begins Now.” A Breitbart.com post titled “#War More Years” by editor Ben Shapiro belittled the Americans who supported the president and wrote:
The answer here isn’t to end the war against liberalism - a philosophy that will bankrupt the country in the long run and steal its constitutional soul in the short run. The answer is to fight back.
The fight does not end with retaking the Republican Party, though. It extends to the palace guard for liberalism - the media.
We will not heel. We will not stop. The defeat of Barack Obama would have launched the beginning of America coming together. But apparently, liberal America prefers to battle for the soul of the country.
And so we battle.
Democracy works. We still believe in democracy. We still believe in the power of ideas. But the only way to win in the battle of ideas is to fight the bullies, as Andrew did. Democracy is not blood; that’s a miracle. But the civil war for the heart and soul of this country is real.
We’ve made gains; perhaps we will even win the popular vote. In any case, the election of 2012 was not the election of 2008. But the battle has only just started.
The war begins now.
#War [Breitbart.com, 11/6/12]
NY Post Compares Obama To Caesar After Re-Election. The New York Post tweeted a post-election front page, showing the president wearing a toga and a wreath with the headline: “Hail ‘O’ Caesar”:
Wall Street Journal: Obama’s Successful Campaign Was The “Definition Of Winning Ugly.” A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that Obama caricatured Mitt Romney’s position “even by the standards of modern politics.” But, the Journal claimed, Obama’s strategy “worked with brutal efficiency — the definition of winning ugly.” The Journal also claimed that Obama benefitted from a “long run of extraordinary good luck” and pinned some blame on Republican appointees who helped Obama such as Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and Chief Justice John Roberts:
[Obama] said little during the campaign about his first term and even less about his plans for a second. Instead his strategy was to portray Mitt Romney as a plutocrat and intolerant threat to each of those voting blocs. No contraception for women. No green cards for immigrants. A return to Jim Crow via voter ID laws. No Pell grants for college.
This was all a caricature even by the standards of modern politics. But it worked with brutal efficiency—the definition of winning ugly. Mr. Obama was able to patch together just enough of these voting groups to prevail even as he lost independents and won only 40% of the overall white vote, according to the exit polls. His campaign’s turnout machine was as effective as advertised in getting Democratic partisans to the polls.
Mr. Obama also benefitted from his long run of extraordinary good luck. Hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast a week before Election Day, letting him rise for a few days above the partisanship that has defined his first term. The storm changed the campaign conversation and blunted Mr. Romney’s momentum. The exit polls show that late-deciders went for the incumbent this year when they typically break for the challenger.
The President owes a debt as well to a pair of Republican appointees in government—John Roberts and Ben Bernanke. By joining four liberals on the Supreme Court in upholding ObamaCare in June, Chief Justice Roberts provided a salve of legitimacy to the President’s deeply unpopular health-care law. It also helped him unify his party around something to protect in an otherwise aimless second term. [The Wall Street Journal, 11/7/12]
Fox’s Todd Starnes: Time To Impeach Obama. Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes wrote that Republicans should begin “impeachment proceedings” after Obama’s re-election:
Fox Regular Trump: “We Should Have A Revolution.” Regular Fox News guest Donald Trump tweeted twice that America needs a revolution after the president’s re-election. Trump later deleted the tweets.
[Media Matters, 11/7/12]
Fox Host Brian Kilmeade: “We’re The Shallowest Country In The History Of Man.” Discussing exit polls that found voters approved of Obama’s handling of the response to Hurricane Sandy, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade attacked people who said their votes were swayed by Sandy:
STEVE DOOCY: (co-host): The October surprise turned out to be something named Sandy.
HEATHER NAUERT (Fox News host): Yeah, who would have thunk that, right? Well, 42 percent of those people we spoke with said the response to the storm was an important issue, and 15 percent said it was the most important issue. So this may have become —
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): I can’t believe those numbers.
NAUERT: Yeah. This may have become a national issue in fact.
KILMEADE: Then we’re the shallowest country in the history of man. One photo-op, walking over a two-by-four, and all of a sudden, he’s handling a storm, which by the way hasn’t been handled well. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/7/12, via Media Matters]
Washington Times Columnist Ted Nugent: “Pimps Whores & Welfare Brats” Now Have A President To “Destroy America.” Washington Times columnist and NRA board member Ted Nugent tweeted in reaction to the president’s re-election that “pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters” won the election:
WND’s Farah: “We Have Allowed Our Fellow Americans To Pronounce Judgment On The Nation.”WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah wrote in his column following the election that Obama’s re-election shows Americans “have turned away from” God and the founders:
For those of us who fundamentally reject Obama’s policies, things are going to get very rough for the next four years. We have allowed our fellow Americans to pronounce judgment on the nation.
That’s what Obama represents to me - God’s judgment on a people who have turned away from Him and His ways and from everything for which our founders sacrificed their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
When you turn away from the ways of God Almighty, this is what you should expect, if you are a student of the Bible and history. [WND, 11/7/12]
NRO’s Steyn: “If This Is The Way American Wants To Go Off The Cliff, So Be It” In a blog post for National Review Online titled, “Live Free … Or Die,” conservative columnist and guest host of The Rush Limbaugh Show Mark Steyn wrote about Obama’s victory in New Hampshire and concluded: “If this is the way America wants to go off the cliff, so be it.” [National Review Online, 11/6/12]
Conservative Blogs Falsely Accuse Biden Of Lying About Playing College Football | Blog | Media Matters for America
Right-wing bloggers are falsely claiming that Joe Biden is “lying” about having played football at the University of Delaware. Contrary to their claims, several newspapers have interviewed people who knew Biden while he played freshman football at Delaware.
More than 20 years of reporting debunks this claim. For instance, a 1987 Washington Post article retrieved from the Nexis database quoted Biden’s father, Joe Biden Sr., saying that he made his son leave the team because of poor grades after his freshman season. A 1987 Los Angeles Times article reported that Biden’s college roommate said the same thing (via Nexis):
"He probably never studied as hard as other people did," recalled Biden’s roommate at the University of Delaware, Donald Brunner, now a senior vice president with J. P. Morgan. Brunner and Biden both played football as freshmen, but Biden then quit the team, Brunner said, under pressure from his father, who thought that he was devoting too much time to sports and not enough to books.
In 2008, The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware, published an article about Biden’s high school and college football days. One of Biden’s teammates at Delaware, Jack Istnick, recounted a story from practice (article available for purchase here):
Every now and then, the freshman players would help the varsity practice.
One day, Biden and Jack Istnick were shagging punts for the varsity so it could work on its kick-coverage teams. This was done at full speed with full contact. The ball was kicked to Biden, who got “absolutely leveled,” Istnick said, “mainly because I didn’t block anyone.”
"The [freshman] coach, Scottie Duncan, looked at me and looked at Joe lying on the ground and said to me, ‘Don’t you like him?’ "
The Breitbart post uses an ellipsis-laden quote from a September 8 speech Biden made at Ohio University as evidence that he lied specifically about having played in a football game there in 1963:
"I came … I was a football player … I came here in 1963 … and we beat you Bobcats, 29-12," Biden said.
BIDEN: Well, I want to tell you, I came — I was a football pl— I came — I came here in 1963. And I had to go back — I just double-checked my memory. You know, you get my age, you’re not so sure [unintelligible]. You know, your glory days look more glorious than they really were and all that.
So, we went back on the Internet, and I just want you to know I came here in — on October 19, 1963, and we beat you Bobcats, 29-12. Now, wait a minute, now, wait a minute. And that’s why I was so happy, I was so happy that when the Bobcats went to Happy Valley, they learned what a bobcat was. Because now, I’ve got bragging rights. Y’all beat Penn State, and so I can say, “Well, they beat Penn State, and 500 years ago, we beat them once.”
BIDEN: The last time I was here, I want to make clear to the press, I didn’t get arrested, but I almost did. Because back in those days — you students won’t appreciate this — men weren’t allowed anywhere near a woman’s dorm. And I got invited into a dorm. I thought I was walking into the — into the — into the waiting room. I got brought into the hallway. And I got escorted out very quickly by an Athens policeman. But — so — true story, unfortunately.
The National Review has repeatedly found itself in hot water over the past several months. In April, the conservative publication fired John Derbyshire for a “webzine” which crossed the line into outright racism. But the magazine’s editors continue to welcome contributions from white nationalist, and noted Islamophobe, David Yerushalmi, as well as anti-Muslim advocates Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, and Daniel Pipes. And in a column published on July 4th by Conrad Black, the magazine took a bizarre turn into defending the mission of European colonialists in Africa and Asia.
Black, a publisher, columnist, and Canadian-born member of the British House of Lords declared that, “most of the world worked better in colonial times,” and went on to list the colonial accomplishments of the British, the Belgians and the Dutch. He surmises:
No one could seriously dispute that almost all of sub-Saharan Africa, all of North Africa except Morocco, all of the Middle East except Israel and Jordan and most of the oil-rich states, and the entire former British Indian Empire were better governed by Europeans.
Black’s casual defense of colonialism fails to even hint at the humanitarian costs of colonial projects in Asia and Africa or the long-term destabilizing heritage left by Europeans in their former colonies.
During the British Raj, Indians suffered some of the worst famines ever recorded. In the Great Famine of 1876-78, approximately 10.3 million people died. During the Indian famine of 1899-1900, between 1.25 and 10 million died. Professors Mike Davis and Amartya Sen explain those catastrophies as stemming from British colonial policies.
The National Review took a principled stand in denying outright racists, such as John Derbyshire, access to their magazine. They should show a similar sensitivity toward columnists who celebrate European colonialism while overlooking, and in some cases denying, millions of deaths in Africa and Asia.