Tag Archives: media matters

Breitbart Lies About Shirley Sherrod: do facts actually matter anymore?

By John

[This post has been edited to correct the spelling of Breitbart and Sherrod]

Update: here’s the full original video from the NAACP site, also via TPM:

Update II: go here to sign a petition to support Sherrod being reinstated.

While the NAACP is receiving death threats over their call for the ‘tea parties’ to repudiate racists elements in their midst, the rightwing republican blogs are getting the vapors over a very deceptively edited tape of an Ag Department official who is made to appear to admit to blatant racism against a white farmer. The conveniently redacted video is of a black woman, Shirley Sherrod, explaining how she encountered racial tension and her own mixed feelings, 24 years ago, before working through the difficulties, helping the white family keep their farm and becoming friends with them.

I first saw the video at redstate, although it was first put out by Brietbart’s Big Government site, the same site that put out the very deceptively edited ACORN videos, which created an equally untrue perception. It was clear that it was strategically cut, literally it stopped Sharrod in mid sentence when it appeared she was going to explain how her first reactions were mistaken.

TPM is working on getting the whole, unedited, tape, which a local production company is holding until it gets permission from the local NAACP chapter to release it.

Sharrod has spoken to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and CNN — Media Matters has the video, which I can’t embed. I’ll put it up here as soon as it’s available in a format wordpress supports.

So, do the actual facts matter here? Or are we just going to accept the false rightwing republican narrative that has counter factually smeared Shirley Sharrod, just as they did to ACORN, Van Jones, Dawn Johnson and countless others?

[From the AJC article] The wife of the white farmer allegedly discriminated against by the USDA’s rural development director for Georgia said Shirley Sherrod “kept us out of bankruptcy.”

Eloise Spooner, 82, awoke Tuesday to discover that Sherrod had lost her job after videotaped comments she made in March at a local NAACP banquet surfaced on the web.

But Spooner, who considers Sherrod a “friend for life,” said the federal official worked tirelessly to help the Iron City couple hold onto their land as they faced bankruptcy back in 1986.

“But Tuesday morning, Sherrod said what online viewers weren’t told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund.

Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with the farmer and his wife.

“And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.”


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Is there a coming rightwing and Fox ‘News’ tipping point over being all anti obama, all the time?

Update: Greg Sargent at Plumline notes that even Joe Scarborough presses Cantor over Barton keeping his job. Scarborough is pretty forthright in questioning Cantor and even uses somewhat harsh, for morning tv, language:

I’ve written before that I have very little respect for Scarborough, and he’s only criticizing Cantor over Barton because it’s bad for his party, but at least he’s facing reality.

Original post: Yesterday, Fox ‘News’ morning host Gretchen Carlson announced that, while ‘presidenting is hard,’ hosting a tv show is just as tough.

Media Matters Eric Boehlert asks whether Fox is approaching a tipping point over its attacks on Obama over seemingly every single thing, including the Gulf oil spill, which is inducing it into a full throated, though highly unpopular, defense of the multi national oil corporation that is threatening the region’s habitats and economies for generations to come:

Fox News is programmed for Obama dead-enders, that much is clear. They’re the radical minority of political hyper-partisans who hold as a matter of faith that Obama is a Manchurian candidate. It’s not just that Obama was born in Kenya and isn’t truly of this country, or culture, and that his policies are misguided and wrong for America. It runs much deeper. It’s that Obama ran for the Oval Office with the explicit plan to ruin America from within once he was elected. He ran for president in order to destroy this country by stripping it of its freedoms and liberties and transforming the United States into some sort of socialist or communist outpost.

That’s how far out on the ledge Fox News now operates. And FYI, if you view the world from that demented perspective, it probably does look like BP got jobbed. (Just like of course the Clinton White House sold nuclear secrets to China during the `90s; Democratic presidents are a treasonous bunch.)

As I said, the dead-enders represent a radical minority. And yet they have an entire right-wing media complex set up explicitly to whet their Obama-hating appetite. There is no thought put into the rhetoric anymore, or their partisan jousting. Instead, the content revolves around a very simple premise: If Obama did it, it’s wrong. Not just wrong. More like, if Obama did it, it’s evil and dangerous and ghastly and un-American.

So the stimulus bill was evil and un-American. Bailing out GM and Chrysler was evil and un-American. Passing health care reform, of course, was evil and un-America.

But securing $20 billion from BP to pay for the cleanup and to compensate working Americans for the damage done to their livelihoods. That was evil and un-American?

According to Fox News it was.

Joe Barton, Rand Paul and Sharon Angle are at the vanguard of the rigthwing Republican meltdown. Even now, in summer when most people don’t pay much attention to politics, especially in a midterm year, they are getting unfavorable attention and their numbers are suffering, although Barton appears to be in no real danger. But it’s not just their own numbers and images that are being hurt by their extremism, hence their exile to media Siberia.

But as the elections near and immigration reform is variously brought to the fore of pubic discourse, the rightwing Republicans face a tough dilemma. They not only need to continue stoking their extremist base, they are on audio and video tape doing so in the past. They also need to appeal to more moderate voters who are repulsed by what they see as dangerous demagoguery.

The appeals the rightwing Republicans need to make to the two different demographics are mutually exclusive: as they cater to one group, they anger and repel the other.

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The Party of Hypocrisy: the label Republicans (and some Democrats) deserve and that progressives must make stick

I wrote yesterday that progressives should turn the recent flurry of rightwing Republican hypocrisy into a long term narrative of double standards that comes to the forefront of everyone’s mind every single time they see, hear or think or Republicans and rightwingers of any affiliation.

This is certainly happening in response to the continuing over the top examples of hypocrisy and has been an ongoing project of some outlets.* However, as far as the larger message from progressives goes, the notion of Republicans and rightwingers as consummate general practitioners of hypocrisy has not been a recurring theme.

In fact, what is unusual about this particular moment when we are experiencing a surge in stories about Republican and rightwing hypocrisy is not that the level of such hypocrisy has increased, but only that the coverage of that hypocrisy has increased.

And if the past is any guide, this recent uptick will be temporary unless progressives make a concerted effort to keep it at the forefront of the national narrative.

If we know a well is poisoned, we know that any water from that well is not fit to drink. This was true yesterday. It is true today and it will be true tomorrow. Any water from that well, no matter how shiny and clean the bucket seems to be, cannot be trusted to be safe.

Progressives need to establish the fundamental belief that Republicans and rightwingers — of any or no affiliations — are water from the poisoned well of hypocrisy. In time, some Republicans who are not hypocrites might gain positions of influence in their party and will not deserve that label. But, as seems obvious, this is not the way things are today.

In the mean time, if we want to avoid another 8 or 16 years of Republican rule under the leadership of Palin, Beck, O’Reilly and Limbaugh, it is the job of progressives to ensure that there is a virtually hardwired link in the mind of every voter between Republicans and rightwingers and the general — and predictable — practice of unrestrained hypocrisy.

You can check out the full Gingrich from the Daily Show last night here.

* Note, of course, that this is by no means an exhaustive, let alone any where near complete, list of recent and ongoing efforts to document and archive Republican and rightwing hypocrisy. Please feel free to provide other examples in the comments if interested.

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Rationalizing hypocrisy and bad ideas: how to remind voters why they rejected the Republicans

The recent take downs of Palin and Limbaugh for their hypocrisy of use of the term “retard” are good models for how to counter such illogical positions. Colbert’s dissection of the double standard from last night’s show is one of the better ones I’ve seen.

The same is true for the weird rightwing jab that Obama is somehow dependent on teleprompters. This is gold for the committed rightwingers but leaves everybody else shaking their heads. Of course, Palin’s use of note cards during the speech and palm reading during the pre vetted Q&A session makes the hypocrisy even more evident, as does the defense of Palin for doing so.

Below are two examples of defense of these double standards from the commenters at redstate. Note that they seem completely oblivious to the cognitive dissonance they engage in. That is an artifact of hyper partisan speech that has completely left rationality behind.

But, while they might not see their own hypocrisy, it is glaringly obvious not only to those on the left, but also to any one who is not already a committed Obama hater mired in reactionary groupthink. The Dems need to remind independents of what they will be in store for if they vote for the current slate of rightwing Republicans as a means of protest.

They also need to remind them that, along with all the usual hypocrisy, come ideas like privatizing social security, ending medicare and declaring war on Iran.

Here are some redstaters defending Palin’s use of crib notes and giving Limbaugh a pass on the use of “retard.” Although it has to be said that not everyone over there is enamored of Palin and the author of this post criticized Palin’s hypocrisy over use of term, labeling his post “Sarah blew it,” which drew these as the first two comments:

you are WRONG, she answered him perfectly on that question….
JadedByPolitics Tuesday, February 9th at 5:11AM EST (link)
because Rush was doing it satirically did you hear him or did you pick up your talking points from Media Matters? BTW when you live by the PC code you will die by the PC and that is what she made Rahm do and for that she is CORRECT!

I suspect in a debate with The idiot and his Teleprompter she and her palm would SMACK him around. Sarah Palin hit is out of the park in the past week at advancing Conservative Values as she had the entirety of the LEFTIST media watching her every word and of course then there are those like YOU who want to batter her as well but so be it because she is STILL STANDING and what she is saying is gaining traction in America and when the populace likes what they hear they vote OUT Democrats!

Without his TOTUS Obambi is a bumbling idiot
nessa Tuesday, February 9th at 5:19AM EST (link)
he is barely capable with the damn thing. Soon it will be whispering in his ear so he doesn’t screw up corpsman or some other equally difficult word. The tingler and the rest of the lame stream media praise his ability as an orator, but like the rest of obambi’s history, there is nothing to back that up. An orator can speak without the TOTUS, Obambi is reduced to a mumbling idiot without his. I’d rather write an entire speech on my hand than rely upon the TOTUS and the words of the man behind the curtain that feed the great and powerful Oz.

Again, their double standard is invisible to them but is shockingly obvious to everyone else. We need to remind voters that this hypocrisy is not just a fodder for jokes but is emblematic of their entire approach to governing and campaigning.

For a while the Party of No was a good counter to the rightwing Republicans. We should now change that to the Party of Hypocrisy. These issues will stick in people’s mind and make it that much easier for them to see the hypocrisy that is so rife in so much else of what the rightwingers and Republicans preach to the rest of us.

An added benefit is that, as is seen on this thread and elsewhere, such blatant adherence to double standards also drives a wedge between various factions even of the redstate community. This is even more true of the broader rightwing Republican coalition.


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Democrats will probably apologize for Limbaugh’s anti semitism

The major voice of the rightwing is in the news for this kind of bad crazy:

Rush: He’s assaulting bankers. He’s assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there’s starting to be some buyer’s remorse there.

Then he says the ADL should apologize to him:

Calling for Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to apologize to him, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that he was referring only to what “Jew-haters” believe when he made comments about Jewish people on Wall Street. In fact, while Limbaugh did discuss what he said people with prejudice believe, he also clearly stated — as fact and in his own voice — that “a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there’s starting to be some buyer’s remorse there.”

At the same time, the Democratss appear to be considering dropping the pre existing conditions safety for people over 19.

This leads to the inevitable question: why are the Dems, every hour on the hour, shooting themselves in their feet? Why, when the opposition is led by troglodytes like Limbaugh, are they seemingly incapable of getting out their message?

I’ve been thinking about the ludicrously bad job they have been doing on propagating their message. A lot of the Republicans’ success is down to structural issues: the corporate media likes their positions much better and most journalists are either completely on board or play along because they’ve become accustomed to their paychecks.

But, despite its status as the sole official news source, nobody in the USSR was buying what Pravda was selling. Progressives could be a great avenue to get around the misinformation put out by the rightwing Republicans and their corporate bosses.

However, the Democrats have so neutered their actual policies that progressives are not feeling inclined to carry any of their water. This is not the first time this pattern has been enacted, which leads to another inevitable question: is this what the Democrats want?

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Haiti, hate and scary willful ignorance

[Updated to acknowledge that Brzezinski might have been jokingly proposing what Palin also might have said. Thanks to reader Brienne.]

Light posting this week for a variety of reasons.

The Red Cross has a text donation option that automatically adds $10 to your phone bill. Text “Haiti” to 90999.

Pat Robertson is typically demented in his response to Haiti. What kind of person sees this and blames the victims for a supposed ‘deal with the devil’ their ancestors supposedly made? His dementia is sad but the number of people who believe he has a direct line to god is truly scary.

Rush Limbaugh is concerned that Obama will benefit from the Haitian tragedy. But remember, allegations that he is racist are absurd smears propagated by the left wing media.

Sarah Palin revamps the “all of them” answer in response to a gotcha question from that noted left wing radical Glenn Beck about who her favorite founding father is. TPM notes that as the crew of Morning Joe joked about her flailing answer, Mika Brzezinski says her favorite founding father is Lincoln. Really.

[Update: But reader Brienne notes in the comments that Brzezinski might have been mocking a possible Palin answer rather than reflecting her own sentiment. Although, it was in an exchange when the others were naming their favorite founding fathers, so the conclusion that Brzezinski was also listing her particular favorite also seems plausible. Please watch and add your interpretations.]


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Shillgate Denialism: why the rightwing Republican corporate shills aren’t getting traction with ‘climategate’

While our friends at redstate Trike Force HQ and elsewhere are busy prostituting themselves to corporations that profit greatly from selling dinosaur era fuel, all their jumping up and down is profiting them little.

They think they have debunked the climate change ‘myth’ conclusively. They are of course wrong, but, trapped in their self amplifying echo chamber, they are largely oblivious to this particular aspect of reality. Of course, they do believe the “MSM” (“main stream media”) are playing their obvious role in the international conspiracy to trick the public into believing in AGW (anthropogenic global warming). Their explanations of the motivations for the vast green conspiracy were always vague and nebulous, but lately seem to revolve around some sort of scheme to enrich Al Gore.

Environmental issues are probably not in and of themselves election deciders for most people. However, they are a strong, if sometimes less attended to, undercurrent that helps shape not only how people vote in individual elections, but also the very foundation of their worldview. This is another in a long string of societal questions that the rightwingers and Republicans have been on the wrong side of.

By attempting to appear credible while obtusely denying global scientific consensus, they are loosing not only a generation of young people who are still working out where they stand socially and politically and who care about climate change — they are also hurting their ethos with others and, even more broadly damaging, they are yet again showing themselves to be completely lacking in intellectual honesty and any interest in rational civic discourse.

So how do progressives, liberals and like minded Democrats respond to this epochal rightwing and Republican failure? Satire, mockery and ridicule.

I read or heard this description recently, but I can’t recall the source: the rightwingers and Republicans have been reduced to a coalition of cynical liars and the willfully ignorant. Neither segment of the alliance is very open to reason and persuasion.

But we’re not trying to appeal to them. Max Bumenthal provides a good description of the sado masochistic impulses that propel so many of them to a rightist authoritarian world view. They are the 20-25% who love the Cheney family television road show and think Bush was the most bestest president since St Ronald the Dyed and they are a lost cause.

However, there’s a much more amorphous and ill defined group, including many younger people, who either have not formulated their worldview or who are true independents and can, at least potentially, vote for either party or even a third one.

This group is open to reason and persuasion — we persuade them by being reasonable. And, at this point in the rightwing and Republican devolution, the reasonable response is satire, mockery and ridicule.

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Perino: no terrorists attacks occurred during Bush administration

From Media Matters and Huffington Post:

No, really. She actually said that. And she wasn’t joking. And, of course, Hannity and the other guest didn’t bat an eye or, y’know, remind her about the almost 3000 people who died eight years ago or about the fatal anthrax letters.

This is a sad follow up to my last post. In today’s rightwing echo chamber, Perino gets to say that, despite the fact that the worst instance of terrorism in United States history occurred under Bush’s watch, in fact, no terrorist attacks actually occurred under Bush’s watch.

This is what passes for accurate and intelligent analysis for rightwingers and Republicans.

And the really weird part is that she wasn’t intentionally or consciously telling a lie. As far as she, her fellow rightwing Republican talking heads, and most of her Fox ‘News’ audience are concerned, she uttered the god’s honest truth.

If for a moment, they allowed a vague recollection of Sep 11 2001 to enter their consciousness, they would quickly mitigate it by reminding themselves that, of course, those attacks as well as the anthrax letters were in truth Clinton’s fault.

You can’t blame a new president for the mess the previous one left. Well, if the new president is not a Republican, then of course you can do that, but that’s another story.

Update: Via Media Matters, Perino obviously explains that, obviously, it’s your obvious fault for misunderstanding her obviously obvious meaning. Obviously.

Here’s a clip from the comment section:


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The Party of No: I object! I object! I object! I object! I object!

Not having a plan of their own, the rightwingers and Republicans can only try to keep actual plans from being heard.

The teabaggers have taken over the party and the party has adopted the teabaggers methods of red faced screaming and tantrum throwing. It is willful and pridefully deliberate ignorance on parade and it is ugly and pathetic.

All they can do is try as hard as they can to stop debate. It is the old rightwing and Republican fear — fear that a public program designed to help people and stop outrageous corporate abuses and legal crimes will actually work and do what it is meant to do.

The version of health care reform under debate is woefully imperfect and must be improved on in the short and long terms. But it is something. Something that will have positive effect on many, many people’s lives.

And the rightwingers and Republicans are afraid of just such a good example. It proves their theories about public programs and private business interests are backwards and, literally, dangerous to our health.

Here, via Think Progress and Media Matters, is what they have reduced themselves to:

Update: Sam Stein at Huffington Post has news of Rep King losing his mind:

3:02 PM ET — Rep. King contemplates wrapping Capitol building with health care bill. Ten minutes after Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-M.D.) took to the House floor to relay the tale of a young boy who died because a tooth infection went untreated and spread to his brain, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was trying to literally wrap the Capitol building with the legislation.

The House, on Saturday, began what should be a lengthy process of debating and voting on the final language of reform. But not everyone was willing to simply sit through the event. Outside, King and others were leading a mob of angry tea-party protesters in a round of bizarre and disruptive shenanigans.

About 20 feet off the House floor, at the entrance to the lawn in front of the Capitol building, King and two colleagues were wielding a massive copy of the 1,900-page bill, rolled up around a wooden poll. A man accompanying a clearly excited King, suggested that they wrap the legislation around the building.

“Let’s do it,” he proclaimed. “Let’s wrap the building.”

A security guard, looking on disapprovingly, patiently urged them not to try. “You can’t do that sir,” he said. “You can’t do that.”

In the background, the tea party protesters who had gathered for a second day of railing against health care’s passage were dispersing. Sensing a lost opportunity, King turned to go back outside, asking his co-conspirator to grab the rolled up bill.

A Hill aide tells the Huffington Post that he and others have been plotting to tape pieces of the bill to the Capitol building for several days.

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Republicans: Dem wins = voter fraud; Rep wins = will of the people

TPM and Media Matters have good pieces up about rightwingers and Republicans already alleging voter pre fraud. That there is no evidence of this happening in 2006 or 2008 does not keep sites like redstate.com from alleging past and future fraud.

Does anyone want to place a wager on the accuracy of this prediction: rightwingers and Republicans will only protest close races in which the Republican (or, in NY23, the Conservative) party candidate loses; they will assert an overwhelming mandate and validation of the entire populace, not to mention the clear lack any fraud committed by their side, in races their preferred candidates win.

Meanwhile, their only plan of action in the health care reform discourse is to take up Michelle Bachman’s idea of storming congressional offices and the capitol itself, running down random congress people, staring deep into “the whites of their eyes” and demanding guv’mint stay out of their medicare and social security.

Of course, they’ve also said this and this.

A long term winning strategery if there ever was one…

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