Routine sexist attacks from the National Rifle Association’s media outlets are undermining the organization’s political effort to reach out to women as a growing demographic.
On August 25, NRA magazine America’s 1st Freedom attacked prominent gun safety advocate and Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts. As Gawker’s Adam Weinstein explained, the article featured images of Watts “as a cutout mom with kitchen and housekeeping accoutrements, because moms oughta know their place!” The accompanying article accused Watts of lying about being a stay-at-home mom, because she had for a time run a PR firm out of her house while raising her children.
This offensive depiction of a woman from NRA media seems in stark contrast to the political arm of the NRA, which the very same day debuted several new ads narrated by women — in a series titled “Good Guys” — promoting the message that guns are a sign of empowerment for women and that women are an important part of the NRA community. One features a woman lauding the importance of “Mom and Dad”; one stars a woman emphasizing the “courage" it takes to be one of the "Good Guys." Another ad released earlier this month also featured a female narrator driving a pickup truck and attacking Everytown for Gun Safety founder Michael Bloomberg, telling him to “keep your hands off our guns.”
Right-wing female commentators have long argued that “guns are the great equalizer between sexes in crimes against women,” falselyclaimingthat guns make women safer. CNN’s S.E. Cupp, The Blaze’s Dana Loesch, and Fox News’ Katie Pavlich have regularly appeared on cable news and published books to promote the NRA as a pro-women organization.
But as Media Matters noted in a feature on the NRA’s annual meeting, 2014 seemed to mark a shift for the organization towards focusing increasingly on women and moms. In part that shift is monetary, as advertisers see women as a largely untapped market. It also seems, however, that the shift is in part in response to gun safety organizations, including Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, who increasingly emphasize how dangerous guns can be for women in abusive situations.
This recent recognition of women by the NRA is undermined, however, by the attack on Watts and the numerous misogynistic and sexist comments from NRA commentators and spokespeople.
Just two months ago, for example, an NRA commentatorfetishized assault weapons by comparing them to attractive women. Noir, a Sunday web series hosted by NRA News commentator Colion Noir, aired two separate ads that at first appear to feature a narrator describing stylishly-dressed, flirtatious women (“Her Jimmy Choo’s can’t be comfortable, but you’d never know it … She’s the kind to tell the bartender how to make her drink”), only to reveal at the end that he was describing a gun the entire time. One of the ads aired just days after a mass shooting in Isla Vista, California, which was reportedly inspired by the shooter’s admitted hatred of women.
Last year, the NRA featured Fox News’ Sean Hannity as a keynote speaker at the 7th Annual NRA Women’s Leadership Forum Luncheon, despite his association with a group whose leadership has claimed that one of America’s greatest mistakes was allowing women to vote.
NRA News host Cam Edwards once attacked Glamourmagazine’s Women of the Year Awards for making “the world a more dangerous place for women,” because the event honored victims of gun violence, including Pakistani education reformer Malala Yousafzai, and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) — who was wounded during a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona.
Most outrageous is NRA board member Ted Nugent, whose rampant sexism - including calling Hillary Clinton a “toxic cunt,” comparing abstaining from drugs and alcohol to avoiding “fat chicks,” telling a CBS producer “I’ll fuck you, how’s that sound?”, and featuring a nude, bound woman with a grenade in her mouth on an album cover — has never been a problem for the organization.
Gun safety advocates and progressives have also been talking about women more lately, as part of a new push to recognize the dangers guns pose to women in domestic violence situations. The presence of a gun in an abusive situation increases the risk that a woman will be murdered by 500 percent, and women are more than three times as likely to be murdered when there is a gun in their house even when domestic violence isn’t a factor. In fact, more women in the U.S. were killed by an intimate partner using a gun from 2001 to 2012 than the total number of troops killed in action in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
As for the argument that those women could have defended themselves if they had a gun, The Atlanticexplained that according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers interviewed women across 67 battered women’s shelters, and found that nearly a third of them had lived in a household with a firearm. “In two-thirds of the homes, their intimate partners had used the gun against them, usually threatening to kill (71.4 percent) them. A very small percentage of these women (7 percent) had used a gun successfully in self-defense, and primarily just to scare the attacking male partner away.”
The NRA doesn’t want to talk about the realities of domestic violence. Instead, they prefer to fearmonger about liberals attempting to “insult” women by “taking” their guns. But they can’t have it both ways, talking about women as nothing more than sex objects and housewives one day, and liberated gun owners the next.
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 & Friends, 8/21/14]
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 Star, 8/13/14]
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 Independent, 7/11/14]
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.”
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]
Sean Hannity was so condescending and disrespectful to Ferguson Committeewoman Patricia Bynes tonight that if this were another era and she had a been a man, he would surely have called her “boy.” Even as Bynes tried to have an adult conversation about African American feelings about the killing of Michael Brown.
Apparently, Hannity is horrified that Bynes told MSNBC viewers that the Ferguson protests are not just about the killing of Brown but also about police brutality, racial profiling and racism. To me, this is not only uncontroversial but old news.
However, I suspect Hannity was looking for a (racial) fight. With a resentful edge in his voice, Hannity said to Bynes, “You don’t know if this case is about police brutality, do you?”
Bynes replied, “There is no way that a young man who is unarmed should have two shots in his head. That’s a little excessive. That’s what we mean when we say police brutality.”
As Bynes later clarified, she was not calling the police officer guilty but talking about a larger issue. And I might have some sympathy for Hannity’s concern that the officer be given the presumption of innocence had he not behaved so rudely to a woman who was attempting to have a civil dialogue with him.
Hannity – while trying to paint Bynes as unreasonable – obviously had no interest in hearing anything she had to say. His behavior was reminiscent of his shocking treatment of a Palestinian-American guest a few weeks ago.
Instead of responding to Bynes’ concerns, Hannity tried to demean her:
Let me educate you about the legal system in America. …In our system of justice, a person is innocent until proven guilty and there are eyewitness reports tonight that the officer suffered severe facial injuries, had an orbital eye socket fracture and was – that Michael Brown charged at him. What if that turns out to be true?
Bynes replied, “We have lots of eyewitnesses that are saying something different. That’s what the courts are for. …I didn’t say that he’s guilty. But we do have issues of police brutality in our community.”
Hannity kept up his unwarranted attacks: “You’re the judge, jury and executioner here? …How do you know in this case?”
And even worse: “Legally, let me educate you again. If he was charging at the police officer, the police officer by law, that would be defined as justifiable use of force. You’re aware of that, right, Committeewoman?”
“I am very much aware of that,” Bynes answered. “But there is no way that an unarmed man should have two shots in his head and four in his body. …I think you need the education here. …The officer does have the right to defend himself. But two shots to the head? I think he’s doing too much. …A logical person can agree to that.”
Hannity interrupted for the umpteenth time. “You don’t know. And I don’t know. But you’re making claims. You should be a better leader for the community and wait ‘til the facts come in.”
In case that isn’t bad enough, compare Hannity’s behavior with this woman to his respectful treatment of racist Mark Fuhrman the night before. Fuhrman not only didn’t wait for the facts, he announced he had them on the Hannity show and went on to adjudge Michael Brown as the “aggressor.” Without a peep of complaint from Hannity.
The lament has spread all across the media spectrum this week, as the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri unfolds and people search for answers to the police killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
"Obama Should Go To Ferguson, Pronto," urged a Businessweek headline, beseeching the president to fill a leadership vacuum on the ground in Missouri. “Obama, can’t you see black anger in Ferguson?” asked Marc Lamont Hill in a CNN essay. Writing at Daily Beast, Stuart Stevens lamented that Obama had “lost faith in his voice in Ferguson”; that he was “increasingly uncomfortable with the role of healer-in-chief,” while the Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach urged Obama to give another “national address” on race because that’s what the crisis demands.
Maureen Dowd’s New York Times column today’s mocks Obama as a “the most ordinary of men” with a “bored-bird-in-a-gilded-cage attitude” who is unwilling to engage with the issue of racial strife.
Most of the of the do-something commentary has adopted the same premise: Obama could help the Ferguson crisis by giving a speech about race or addressing the situation more forcefully, but he won’t. He won’t use his powers. (See: The Green Lantern theory that Obama could convince a recalcitrant GOP Congress to pass legislation if he only tried.)
That premise though, and most of the commentary, completely ignores the corrosive role of the right-wing media in America, how it has spent years trying to silence and intimidate Obama on the topic of race, and how it’s used some of the most offensive, guttural rhetoric and personal attacks to do so.
Through Obama’s two terms, most of the Beltway press has remained strangely silent about the astonishingly ugly race baiting that now passes for mainstream conservative media commentary. That same press corps is now turning a blind eye to the tangible damage that kind of rhetoric has done to public debate, or the chance of public debate, and how the right-wing media has tried to implement a heckler’s veto on Obama; to effectively shout him down.
It’s fine for pundits to yearn for open dialogue and rhetorical leadership from the White House. It’s less helpful for them to ignore the unpleasant realities of nasty partisan politics in the age of Obama. It does no good to pretend race baiting hasn’t become a badge of honor and a professional path to success for lots of right-wing pundits.
For Obama to aggressively insert himself into the Ferguson story now is to invite a right-wing media hurricane that would likely rage for weeks. How do we know? Because again and again we’ve seen President Obama’s attempts to engage on similar issues act as a lightning rod for these angry voices, quickly making it impossible to focus on the pressing issue at hand.
In case people forget, since becoming president Obama has talked about race relations during national flashpoints. He addressed the topic just six months into his first term after prominent Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested at his own home by a Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer who was investigating a report of a break-in.
Denouncing Obama’s response, Glenn Beck condemend the president on Fox as a “racist” with “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” (Sean Hannity backed up Beck’s “racist” claim. So did Rupert Murdoch.) That same week, Beck pointed to health care bill provision as evidence Obama supports reform as a form of “reparations”; to ”settle old racial scores.”
Obama returned to the issue in 2012 after unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watchman. (“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”)
Conservative media again responded to Obama’s comments with naked race-baiting:
Shortly after President Obama delivered brief, heartfelt remarks on the slaying of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, conservative website The Daily Caller writer Matthew Boyle published a front-page story implying that the President’s remarks were spurred, in part, by “Black Panthers.”
Obama spoke out again in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing Martin. (“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”) After his remarks, Sean Hannity wondered if Obama compared himself to Trayvon Martin because “he did a little blow,” while his colleagues denounced the president as ”Race Baiter In Chief,” and said he was “stoking racial tension.” One far-right blogger announced, “Good Lord - He’s stoking a race war.”
And all along, the most-listened-to radio host in America has bombarded the president with racial invective:
A national conversations about race, by definition, includes all corners of society. But the conservative flank of American politics has made it clear that not only doesn’t it want to have a discussion about race or racism (racism has been eradicated, in case you hadn’t heard), but they will apologetically attack the president if he tries to heal that wound. They’ll say he’s un-American, that he’s loyalties aren’t with the stars and stripes, and that he wants to destroy what makes America great.
On August 14, Sean Hannity condemned the president [emphasis added]:
And, predictably, president Obama took precious time away from his luxurious Martha’s vineyard vacation to address the [Feguson] situation. Now, his comments mark yet another instance of the president injecting himself into local law enforcement matters.
Over at The Daily Caller, they claimed Obama’s condolences extended to Michael Brown’s family in Ferguson represented a political ploy, timed to increase African-American turnout in the midterm elections.
But wait, Fox News can stop the president from speaking his mind? The sounds preposterous and defeatist, right? But when you add up six years worth of unhinged racial fear mongering from the conservative press and portions of the Republican Party, when you acknowledge that reality, you begin to understand the hesitation.
I’m not suggesting right-wing media hate and the fevered, irrational Obama loathing it tries to generate should stop the president from advancing his agenda. But to pretend the dark force doesn’t exist today in American politics is to miss one of the hallmarks of the Obama presidency.
Sean Hannity is lashing out at President Bill Clinton for not moving forward with a 1998 missile strike aimed at Osama Bin Laden that the military thought was likely to fail. But that same year, Hannity actually attacked Clinton for approving a different mission to kill bin Laden, claiming he was trying to distract from Monica Lewinsky.
SkyNews Australia recently aired audio of President Clinton stating in a speech shortly before the September 11, 2001 attacks that he “nearly got” bin Laden with a proposed December 1998 cruise missile strike in Kandahar, Afghanistan, but decided not to approve the attack because it would have killed hundreds of innocent Afghans.
Clinton’s comments were no revelation — the 9-11 Commission Report detailed how intelligence and military leaders recommended against the strike, citing significant flaws that included up to 300 civilian casualties, the possible destruction of a nearby mosque, and low likelihood of killing bin Laden.
But on the July 31 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity responded to the audio by lashing out at Clinton, saying that the former president “didn’t do it and look what happened to this country as a result just one day later. America changed forever on 9/11/2001. What Bill Clinton didn’t seem to understand on September 10, 2001, he had a chance to prevent that day of infamy from ever happening.”
Hannity’s comments stand in stark contrast to his reaction in August 1998, when the Clinton administration responded to al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by launching cruise missiles at the terrorist group’s camps in Afghanistan, “probably” missing Bin Laden himself “by a few hours.” Hannity responded at the time by criticizing Clinton, suggesting that the attack may have been an effort to distract the American people from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Hannity repeatedly referenced “Wag The Dog,” a 1997 film in which presidential advisers fabricate a war in order to cover up a presidential sex scandal.
On his August 20, 1998 program — just hours after the strikes — Hannity repeatedly asked his guests if they “see a ‘Wag the Dog’ scenario here.” He went on to explain, “I do a radio show here in New York, and this story broke about 2:00, and I was on the air at 3:00, and every line was jammed and every person was saying the same thing, that in their minds, they’re thinking the scenario is ‘Wag the Dog,’ divert attention away from the crisis that is going on in Washington.”
Hannity went on to explicitly state that the timing of the attacks was due to “political motivation” (via Nexis):
HANNITY: Congressman, FOX News has learned that the president was presented with the military option going back to August the 12th. The president did not take that option at that time. As a matter of fact, it been done for political motivation.
And I only raise the question because, in part, look at what the president put the nation through for seven and a half months. Look at the president that let his wife and all his supporters lie for him. Look at a president who looked the American people in the eye — and who could imagine a scenario like this — wagging their finger at them and said, “I want you to listen to me. I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.”
There is no moral authority any longer, Mr. Congressman.
According to the 9-11 Commission, the eight-day delay between when Clinton was first briefed on the Pentagon plans for strikes on August 12 and their execution was due to "considerable debate" over which targets would be hit and the need to inform congressional and international leaders. Ironically, the report also concluded that “the ‘wag the dog’ slur” was one of several factors that “likely had a cumulative effect on future decisions about the use of force against” bin Laden.
This would not be the last time that Hannity would criticize efforts to stop bin Laden. He was one of many conservatives who criticized then-Sen. Barack Obama by mischaracterizing Obama’s campaign trail statement that he would act unilaterally if he received “actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets.” As president, with the strong support of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama approved just such a mission, which resulted in bin Laden’s death.
On Friday’s edition of The Young Turks, host Cenk Uygur let fly with a scathing critique of Fox News host Sean Hannity, who made waves this week by coming unglued and shouting down a Palestinian guest on his show.
Uygur noted after playing some of the Hannity segment that “if you support Palestinians or are worried about civilian deaths in Gaza” on Fox News, you are “sympathizing with the terrorists.”
He went on to charge that Hannity intentionally cut off, interrupted and contradicted guest Yousef Munayyer, so that when he got a rise out of Munayyer, he could point to him and say, “See? Angry Muslims. That’s how they are, they’re full of rage.”
Uygur said that Hannity is “a big blockhead. I mean, it’s, he has no logic, he has no rationality, it’s super-easy to dismiss him.”
When asked if he would ever appear on Hannity’s show, Uygur said, “I’m not gonna ask to be on his show. If he wants to have me on, great, I’ll kick his ass all day long.”
“If he doesn’t have the power to cut your mic,” he went on, “you think that pussy could ever dare to get in a real debate where he doesn’t control the mic?”
From the 07.25.2014 edition of TYT Network’s The Young Turks:
Tony Perkins fancies himself to be a GOP presidential candidate kingmaker, so it will be interesting to see if any not entirely crazy Republicans will join the above careening clown car crowded with the cavalcade of crackpots who failed in 2012, some of whom (Paul, Perry, Santorum) are expected to make a 2016 run. Ted Cruz won last year’s Values Voters Summit presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote, the largest margin ever seen in that poll’s history and light years ahead of runners-up Frothy Mix and Ben Carson, who barely landed in the double digits.
Conservative media are pushing the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration deliberately created the humanitarian immigration crisis on the Southern border for political reasons. The rhetoric echoes claims from Republican politicians, most notably Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who said he didn’t want “to be conspiratorial,” but the administration may be “in on this somehow.”
Child migrants have surged across the border in recent months to flee violence in Central America. President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to respond to the crisis, as the mass migration has overwhelmed existing detention facilities and border resources.
The president has publicly discouraged the migration, stating in an ABC News interview on June 27: “That is our direct message to the families in Central America: Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.” PolitiFact called the claim that Obama planned the border crisis “pants on fire” false, writing: “Many of the factors behind the surge of children lie outside the control of the administration. No expert we reached gave any credence to the idea that the administration planned this crisis on the border.”
Gov. Perry has responded to the humanitarian crisis by suggesting the Obama administration is secretly coordinating the effort. In a June 17 Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Perry said: “We’re doing our part to make sure we can keep our citizens as safe as we can. But the federal government is just absolutely failing. We either have an incredibly inept administration or they’re in on this somehow or another. I hate to be conspiratorial, but how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?”
The potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate subsequently appeared on ABC on July 6 and said Obama may have an “ulterior motive” on the crisis.
Other Republican politicians have also suggested President Obama is deliberately creating the border crisis. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told conspiracy website WND, “If you don’t see them bring reinforcements down there to seal the border, that means that, yes, it’s a Cloward-Piven maneuver to flood the country until we get to the point where we are an open-borders country that welcomes everybody, legal and illegal” (“Cloward-Piven” is a reference to a right-wing conspiracy theory that believes progressives are attempting to overwhelm capitalism, leading to its collapse). Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) similarly claimed it’s “an open secret Obama is trying to flood Texas with illegals to make it into a blue state.” Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) told Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs on June 10 (via Nexis), “Everything that Barack Obama’s doing is intentional, deliberate … This is deliberate, Lou, and all Barack Obama’s asking for is more money to do more of the same.”
Despite evidence to the contrary, many members of the right-wing media have followed their Republican partners in accusing Obama of having “planned” and “orchestrated” the crisis for political gain. Here are ten examples:
Rush Limbaugh Speculates “This Whole Thing Was Planned In Advance By Somebody.” Speaking on the June 24 edition of his radio program, Limbaugh said: “Somebody needs to go to the Oval Office. I don’t know who. I wouldn’t want to be the guy, but somebody better make tracks to the Oval Office right now and tell Obama that this whole thing was planned in advance by somebody. Don’t wait for the newspapers on this — and they’re not gonna trust me when they hear about it.” Limbaugh’s website headlined his remarks, “Obama Regime Planned the Influx of Illegal Alien Children at the Border.”
Newt Gingrich: There’s A “Deliberate Policy Of Maximizing The Number Of Illegal Immigrants.” The CNN host wrote on his website on June 27 that the crisis “is a direct result of deliberate Obama administration policy that encourages illegal immigration” and “appears to be a deliberate policy of maximizing the number of illegal immigrants allowed to stay in the United States.” Gingrich added: “If you have any doubt consider that the Obama administration is deliberately encouraging this surge in illegal immigration, consider that instead of focusing on controlling the border and stopping people from entering illegally, we now have our government using our tax money to hire ‘escort services for unaccompanied alien children.’”
Sarah Palin: “Opening Our Borders To A Flood Of Illegal Immigrants Is Deliberate.” The Fox News contributor called for Obama’s impeachment in a July 8 Breitbart.com post, citing Obama’s allegedly “purposeful” actions with regard to the immigration influx:
Without borders, there is no nation. Obama knows this. Opening our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his fundamental transformation of America. It’s the only promise he has kept. Discrediting the price paid for America’s exceptionalism over our history, he’s given false hope and taxpayer’s change to millions of foreign nationals who want to sneak into our country illegally. Because of Obama’s purposeful dereliction of duty an untold number of illegal immigrants will kick off their shoes and come on in, competing against Americans for our jobs and limited public services. There is no end in sight as our president prioritizes parties over doing the job he was hired by voters to do. Securing our borders is obviously fundamental here; it goes without saying that it is his job.
Lou Dobbs: “All Of This Is Orchestrated By This Administration.” Dobbs stated on the June 26 edition of Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight: “All of this is orchestrated by this administration. Anybody who doesn’t understand that hasn’t got the common sense that, you know, God gave a goat … The fact is that this administration is working in concert with the Central American governments.”
Monica Crowley: "He Created This Crisis, He Orchestrated It, And He’s Perpetuating It." The Fox News contributor added on the July 10 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co. that Obama “wanted the chaos” to pressure Republicans on immigration reform and to turn red states blue.
Jeanine Pirro: “One Conclusion: Barack Obama Is Intentionally Using The Immigration Crisis As An Excuse To Change The Demographics And Ultimately The Electorate.” Pirro added on the July 12 edition of her Fox News program Justice with Judge Jeanine that Obama is using a “Trojan horse” of children to advance his political party, his agenda and his legacy.”
Peggy Noonan Suggests Obama “Let The Crisis On The Border Build To Put Heat On Republicans.”Noonan accused the president of trickery for political gain in her July 11 Wall Street Journal column.
Allen West: “A Planned Event By The Obama Administration.” The Fox News contributor and former Florida congressman wrote on his website on July 3, “it seem [sic] harder to believe it was not a planned event by the Obama administration. That’s not that conspiracy theory - it’s trend analysis.” West wrote on July 14: “I believe the whole immigrant surge is purposeful” and asked if it’s to turn red states blue.
Dinesh D’Souza: Obama Wanted Border Chaos To Put “Republicans On The Defensive.” The conservative filmmaker and campaign finance felon claimed on Fox News on July 15 that Obama wants the crisis to “put the Republicans on the defensive and say, listen, either you give me amnesty or I’m just going to let these people start coming across the border and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Bryan Fischer: “This Is All Deliberate On The Part Of President Obama.” American Family Association’s Fischer added on the July 14 edition of his program that it was part of his “anti-American agenda” to transform the country.
Last night, it was the Hannity show’s turn, via a “debate” about “some of the most outrageous rhetoric” from the left” – which just happened to solely include comments from NOW president Terry O’Neill.
Hannity chose for his debate the ever hate-filled and hate mongering Dana Loesch. Loesch seems to particularly despise feminists. On The Kelly File in April, she sneered that she didn’t know the goal of another feminist conference other than “to raise up the next generation of women into old cat ladies.” She added, “It was like watching Mean Girls with less attractive women. …You don’t have to “get” progressives. They “get” themselves.” She’s a charmer, alright.
Not surprisingly, Loesch brought her special brand of hostility to this segment. She started off with a condescending response to the other guest, former NOW president Patricia Ireland. “So the idea that women are somehow being denied anything – Look, my rights have not changed after this ruling, Sean, and women who work for Hobby Lobby, they still have access to birth control, as provided by Hobby Lobby,”Loesch said.
Of course, DL had to act like a smart-ass on national television and Ireland was correct.
The Muslim law student who who posed a question at a conservative panel on Benghazi this week appeared Thursday on Fox News’ “Hannity,” where she was confronted about why she chose to use the microphone to speak about American Muslims instead of those who were killed in the Benghazi attacks.
Host Sean Hannity recreated a bank-and-forth that took place at the Benghazi Accountability Coalition panel at the Heritage Foundation between the student, Saba Ahmed, and panelist Brigitte Gabriel, president of ACT! for America. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank had described Gabriel and her fellow panelists’ reaction to Ahmed as ”ugly taunting,” a characterization that some disputed based on a video clip from the event.
Hannity kicked off the discussion by asking Ahmed why she chose to focus her question on the treatment of Muslims in America.
"The forum was talking about Islamic jihadists. So I asked a question about Islam," Ahmed said. "So I didn’t see how that was irrelevant. It was directly related to what the panel was about."
Gabriel then accused Ahmed of derailing the direction of the Benghazi panel discussion.
"The whole symposium was about Benghazi," Gabriel said. "And she took the limelight instead of standing up as an American, caring about how four Americans are dead, asking something about what we can do to hold our government accountable."
"The whole panel was about accountability," she added. "Yet she took the limelight asking a question that was completely not discussed, out of the blue. She might as well be asking, ‘why are we wearing green today?’"
Hannity continued to press Ahmed on Sharia law, urging her to say that it was wrong to force women to wear head scarves, to require four male eyewitnesses to prove rape and to allow stoning of women and homosexuals.
"This is happening in the name of your religion, this is my point," Hannity said. "I have every belief that you’re probably very moderate in your own personal views, but this is happening in the name of your religion. If it were Catholic and it was happening in the name of my religion, like the sex scandal, I spoke out. I said it was intolerable. Will you speak out?"
"Well, I am speaking out. I’m against some of the barbaric practices around the world. I think Islam has been misused by a lot people —" Ahmed said before Hannity cut her off.
Notorious misinformer Glenn Beck appeared on Fox News to push various myths about the Common Core education standards while promoting his upcoming live movie We Will Not Conform.
On June 12, Fox’s Sean Hannity hosted Beck, a former Fox host and founder of TheBlaze network, to discuss the Common Core State Standards, which were adopted in 2010 by 45 states and the District of Columbia. “Political turbulence” surrounding the standards, however, has led a few states to opt out of Common Core, following months-long smear campaigns from right-wing media figures, including Beck andFox. Beck even wrote an “angry and ignorant" book titled Conform, which spent 222 pages lobbing ridiculous attacks against the standards and public education in general.
On Hannity, Beck plugged his July 22 live movie, which will also feature fellow Common Core misinformer and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. After Hannity explained that Beck was “going to show in this movie how to defeat Common Core,” Beck claimed that Common Core opponents are “winning on this.” He then propagated a series of myths about the standards, including that Common Core is about “control, manipulation, [and] propaganda” and that it takes away freedom from teachers, despite polls showing that teachers support it. Beck even likened Common Core to education in China because it “use[s] propaganda in the classroom” to “shape these minds to get them to be good little boys and girls for the state.”
Given that he launched his campaign against Common Core by stating, “We will not save our country unless we save it first from this attack,” Beck’s live movie promises to be yet another absurd ruse in his constant, fact-free crusade again Common Core.
Fox News host Sean Hannity quickly covered for conservative radio host Mark Levin on Tuesday after Levin used coarse language to urge Republicans not to make inroads with women or communities of color.
“Stop chasing ethnic groups, stop chasing genitalia,” Levin told Hannity. “Talk to the American people. Talk about liberty, opportunity. Explain to them that [President Barack] Obama’s wrong, and that we need to unleash the American people and unleash the economy.”
“You might be making news with that ‘genitalia’ remark,” Hannity responded. “But those that don’t know you don’t know your sense of humor.”
The “joke” appeared to be a rebuke to recent GOP efforts to avoid making themselves look intolerant,particularly regarding issues related to immigration and african-american voters. The party has also been accused of conducting a “war on women” due to its consistently conservative — at times radical — views opposing reproductive health rights.
Hannity noted that Levin was one of several radio personalities who supported Tea Party challenger Dave Brat’s upset win over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th congressional district earlier in the day. Brat’s campaign facebook page features pictures of not only Levin, but Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, among others.
The page also contains pictures of former President Ronald Reagan, and both Hannity and Levin compared Brat’s win to Reagan’s winning the support of the “Moral Majority” movement as he rose to the top of the GOP in 1980.
“People are yearning for a leader,” Levin told Hannity. “They do not like the status quo, whether it’s defended by Republicans or Democrats.”
Levin then accused the Chamber of Commerce, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of marginalizing other conservatives.
“This isn’t a joke to the American people,” he said. “This is their future. And we see the country slipping away — at least, the kind of country that we want — and why is it so hard for these guys to articulate our principles? They talk about Reagan, but they’re rockefeller republicans.”
Earlier this year, Levin said on his radio show that marriage equality “affects society” in a way similar to incest. Last year, he also called for “cockroaches” to be purged from the Republican Party.
On May 29, Duck Dynasty star turned GOP darling Phil Robertson gave a keynote speech at the Republican Leadership Conference (RLC). His speech, which focused on religion and encouraged Republicans to “get godly,” is the latest milestone in the controversial reality TV star’s meteoric and unexpected rise in national conservative politics.
Robertson’s presence at the RLC perplexed Fox News’ Juan Williams, who questioned why the GOP had embraced a figure who gained national notoriety after making a number of homophobic and racist statements in an interview with GQ. During a May 31 appearance on Fox’s Cashin’ In, Williams asked what Robertson’s rise in conservative politics said about the GOP:
BOLLING: I don’t know, I don’t know Juan, what about it? I think he’s big business, and I think it’s probably good for the GOP. No?
WILLIAMS: No, are you kidding me? What does it say, Eric, that GOP makes a hero out of a guy that says black were happy with slavery and segregation, and gays are to be damned. Is he the chief of outreach for the GOP, or is he the chief of internal self-satisfaction?
But Williams’ own network is at least partly responsible for the GOP’s fawning relationship with Robertson, having worked for months to whitewash his offensive comments and prop up the reality star as a beacon of American Christianity.
Fox’s fascination with the Duck Dynasty family predates Robertson’s GQ interview. But when A&E announced in December that they had placed Robertson on a hiatus over his comments, the network went into damage control mode; Fox’s Sean Hannity described the comments as “old fashioned traditional Christian sentiment and values,” while Fox reported Todd Starnes claimed Robertson was just reflecting “the teachings of the Bible.” Even Megyn Kelly came to Robertson’s defense, calling him a “Christian guy” and criticizing LGBT activists for trying to “shut down the debate.”
After A&E reinstated Robertson, Fox News snatched the first ’exclusive’ interview with the Robertson family as part of the network’s “All American New Year.” Since then, Fox has continued to whitewash Robertson’s rhetoric by repeatedly depicting him and the Robertson family as besiegedChristianheroes.
Fox’s attempt to turn Robertson into a kind of religious martyr is part of the network’s broader effort to depict blatant homophobia as a part of mainstream Christianity. From Robertson to Brendan Eich to the Benham brothers, Fox News has seized on opportunities to depict opponents of LGBT equality as victims of a culture war in which Christians are persecuted because of their views on homosexuality. By whitewashing Robertson’s comments, Fox News has been able to depict his critics as “anti-straight,” anti-Christian bigots, paving the way for his faux-victimization story to evolve into a full on conservative rallying cry.
Following his speech at the RLC, Robertson appeared on Hannity where he admitted he was “surprised to be chosen to speak at the event. ‘I’m not a political person,’ he said. ‘I guess the GOP may be more desperate than I thought to call somebody like me.’” It was an uncomfortable message on a network that can’t seem to find an anti-gay figure too extreme to champion.