Archive for the ‘National Politics’ Category

Maricopa Mess

March 29, 2011

Longtime Fiesta Bowl Chairman John Junker has been relieved of his duties in light of research that shows that 21 people associated with the Fiesta Bowl were reimbursed by the Bowl for political contributions totalling at least $46,539.  As a result the Arizona Republican Party has an unwanted headache and the Bowl may lose its standing as a member of the BCS.

As I said, this could prove to be something of a nuisance to the GOP in Arizona.  Those receiving targeted contributions include (but are not limited to) the party itself, Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, Governor Jan Brewer and the Republican members of the Arizona Congressional delegation.  The report specifies that there is no suspicion that the politicians and entities in receipt of the contributions was aware of the scheme by Junker to funnel Bowl money, but that sort of detail often gets lost in the retelling.  The campaigns will likely find it expedient (if not necessary) to return the contributions and it may cause an investigation by the Federal Elections Commission and other legal entities.  To say nothing of the politically uncomfortable innuendo.

And of course the Bowl itself could be even more severely harmed.  Certainly its reputation has been tarnished.  Inasmuch as it would ever be possible for a key member of the modern major college football system to be held up as a paragon of virtue, its not possible for the Fiesta Bowl.  It will apparently now be required to beg for its BCS life, though in a positive it is 3 years before the current cycle is completed, and its unlikely they would get demoted in mid-cycle.  But a lot of institutions that are naturally risk-averse now view the Fiesta Bowl as being risky.  And the BCS would see very little risk in getting Jerry Jones on the phone to see if he would like to put his new facility and the Cotton Bowl into the BCS rota.  It goes without saying that the Fiesta Bowl would lose a lot of money and prestige if it goes out of the BCS and into the consolation pile.  At present I would assume the game could survive at the level of being one of the nicer non-BCS games, but if this scandal goes deeper it could kill the entity entirely, at least in its present form.  I have to think there is long-term room on the vast bowl schedule for a game in an Arizona NFL dome.

The obvious question out of all this, assuming we have all the relevant facts, is what was John Junker thinking?  $46,000 divided over a number of statewide political entities is quite frankly a drop in the bucket.  This money didn’t improve the Republican Party’s station in Arizona one iota and its not enough I wouldn’t think to get Mr. Junker much cache in political circles as go-to “bundler.”  Time will tell if there is more to the story.

GOP in Wisconsin Trying to Destroy the Democratic Party

February 20, 2011

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC explains it much better and more thoroughly than I could:

http://www.politicususa.com/en/rachel-maddow-wisconsin-truth

The sad thing, the angle that Maddow leaves out, is the large numbers of “little people” who should be on the Democrats’ side of fights like this one are instead so blinded by rage at government excess that they joined the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party and are aiding monied interests in their attempts to take America back to the Gilded Age.  Democrats in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere are fighting an uphill battle until they do a much better job of getting working class whites to see the many good things government does for them and to look out more for their own economic self-interest and worry less about sideshow social issues.  Or perhaps until current demographic trends continue, but that is a separate and much longer-term discussion.

Media Matters Fox News Aiding Republicans Who Want to be POTUS

January 9, 2011

Below is a re-posting of an email from Media Matters for America:

Media Matters: Fox’s 2012 GOP Influence

In a November ad for their special series “Fox News Reporting: The Challengers for 2012,” Fox News promised “unrivaled access” to “the GOP’s top White House contenders.” Such access, however, isn’t hard when correspondents just have to walk down the hall.

That Fox News helps Republicans get their message across to their conservative base — long documented and publicly acknowledged by Republican officials — is nothing new. But what’s unprecedented is the level of influence one news organization can exert on a party’s presidential primary, and the rest of the media’s coverage of that primary, by simple fact of who is on its payroll.

Fox News employs five Republicans considering runs for the GOP nomination: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and John Bolton. All five regularly appear on the network through exclusive contracts and all five have used their employment to position themselves for their respective runs.

Take the cases of Rick Santorum and John Bolton — two potential candidates who have so little chance of winning the nomination that Fox didn’t even include them in their twelve challenger profiles.

Both would largely be out of the public spotlight if not for their Fox News contracts, yet Santorum — who lost his Senate seat to Bob Casey (D-PA) by 17 points in 2006 — has appeared on the Fox programs America’s Nightly Scoreboard (twice), America’s Newsroom (twice), The Willis Report (twice), America Live, On the Record (twice) and Varney & Company (twice, as a “special guest”) in the past two weeks.

During the same time, Bolton has appeared as a foreign policy and national security expert on America’s News HQ (where he has a regular weekly slot), Follow The Money, America’s Newsroom (twice), America Live, Fox & Friends, Hannity, On the Record, and Varney & Company (as a “special guest”!).

On the other side of the spectrum is Sarah Palin, who has little trouble attracting attention. But as her TLC program and public comments indicate, Palin prefers a certain type of attention in which she can tightly control the messaging. It’s no wonder then that her media appearances have mostly come within the friendly confines of Fox News, where she can pass on debunked theories and pal around with conservative opinion makers like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.

After leaving public office in disgrace, Newt Gingrich signed his “first television deal since leaving Congress” with Fox News in 1999. Since then, Fox News has treated him like royalty during his attempted rehabilitation. Gingrich has hosted Fox News Specials on college costs, religion, international gangs and bird flu (yes, bird flu). On one day in 2009, Fox dispatched a reporter to provide round-the-clock coverage to a Gingrich-convened “Jobs Summit.” Last year, during a typical softball interview, a Fox “straight news” program directed viewers to Gingrich’s GOP tour and website.

Mike Huckabee is the only Fox candidate with a regularly scheduled show, the weekend talker Huckabee. Huckabee’s show has always been closely tied to his political machine: the show was first announced in a statement posted on his political action committee and, according to the New York Post (via Nexis), “not, as is customary, from the network.”

Since then, Huckabee has unsurprisingly used his program to position himself for a potential political run. The former Arkansas governor has used Fox News’ airwaves to grow his PAC and email lists directly (he touted the address of an email catcher website run by his PAC) and indirectly, through regular solicitations to give “feedback” to MikeHuckabee.com, which conveniently links to his PAC and an email signup page. Huckabee has also used his program’s guest list as an extension of his PAC.

But why wouldn’t Huckabee run? Again, Fox News’ influence comes into play.

In November 2009, Huckabee remarked on Fox News Sunday that if he doesn’t run for president, it’s because “this Fox gig I got right now” is “really, really wonderful.” Last month, conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg wrote that there’s “growing buzz” that Huckabee “may not run because he’s got a big new contract with Fox News in the works” (a Huckabee aide responded that there were no Fox talks). Financial considerations could also come into play for Palin, who reportedly makes $1 million a year with Fox News.

According to Politico, Fox “indicated that once any of the candidates declares for the presidency he or she will have to sever the deal with the network.” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos noted that the Fox candidates may actually delay their announcements to reap the benefits of the Fox cocoon for as long as possible. Reporter Claire Shipman replied that Fox’s “very healthy platform” allows the Fox candidates to keep visible without spending money early.

The potential delay of their “official” announcements means that the Fox candidates can also compile staff and resources while still cashing a paycheck.

Huckabee, Palin and Gingrich have Fox-promoted groups ready to convert to campaign mode if each chooses to run. Santorum has already hired a staff member (for his PAC) in the important primary state of New Hampshire and, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader, is “expected to formally” announce “in the spring.” And Bolton is reportedly “very serious about a presidential bid and has begun to speak with potential staff.”

During this non-“official” period, the Fox candidates can also cite their Fox contract as a reason to decline appearances on other news organizations who may offer a tougher environment than Fox (a low bar). Indeed, Politico reported that “C-SPAN Political Editor Steve Scully said that when C-SPAN tried to have Palin on for an interview, he was told he had to first get Fox’s permission — which the network, citing her contract, ultimately denied. Producers at NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC all report similar experiences.”

Fox’s 2012 situation has a parallel in something that happened in the 2010 midterms with former Fox News host and contributor John Kasich.

After leaving Congress in 2001, Kasich openly considered running for higher public office and joined Fox News to keep himself in public view. A former Kasich pollster told the Columbus Dispatch in 2002 that Kasich was “leaving himself in a position so that if something happens, he is as well-situated as somebody else.”

On March 27, 2008, the Dispatch reported that Kasich announced “he is paving the way now for a gubernatorial bid” and quoted Kasich stating: “I’m going to go forward even more aggressively, and we’re going to continue to ramp it up (for a gubernatorial run).” But Fox News didn’t take him off the air — presumably because he still hadn’t “officially” announced his candidacy — and by the time he formally announced his bid on June 1, 2009, Kasich had logged more than 100 Fox News segments as a guest host or contributor.

In a column last November, Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race author Dick Morris wrote that the “GOP primaries of 12 will be held on Fox News. … we will see all the candidates on Fox News. Not just in debates, but in frequent appearances on the opinion and news shows on the network.” For once, it seems Morris is right.

Weekly Media Matters Update

August 21, 2010

Dr. Laura and Fox News . . . a typical week at Media Matters:

Media Matters: Incendiary rant exposes Dr. Laura (again)

The year was 1998, and radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s celebrity was soaring. A media group had recently paid $71.5 million for her program — the biggest radio deal at the time — and the Los Angeles Times reported that she had the “fastest-growing show in radio history, a program now aired on 450 stations in the United States, 30 in Canada — where she is the No. 1 talk radio personality — and in South Africa.” Schlessinger would soon begin discussions on hosting her own national TV show.

Just a few years later, Schlessinger began to stumble. In 2001, her syndicated Paramount television show was cancelled after a brief run, and in 2002, the New York Daily News reported that Schlessinger’s radio audience had lost several million listeners.

Schlessinger’s troubles then — just like now — began with incendiary remarks aimed at a minority group. During the 1990s, Schlesinger blasted “homosexuality” as “a biological error,” “deviant behavior, a dysfunctional behavior,” and linked gay men to pedophilia and child molestation. Schlessinger also touted “therapies which have been successful in helping a reasonable number of people become heterosexual.”

When Paramount announced it had signed Schlessinger to a TV talk show for the fall of 2000, the group StopDrLaura.com successfully “waged a campaign to dissuade companies from sponsoring the show.” Dr. Laura debuted to “disappointing” ratings and Paramount “had difficulty attracting national sponsors to the show,” forcing the studio to sell ads at reduced rates (LA Times, 9/22/00).

In the spring of 2001, Dr. Laura — to no one’s surprise — was cancelled. Schlessinger blamed the cancellation on gay rights groups such as StopDrLaura.com and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), telling Larry King that “political correctness” “overpowers and overwhelms the United States of America today. … This was strictly about trying to destroy my voice.” Schlessinger defenders claimed that critics were trying to silence her “1st amendment” rights.

Nearly ten years later, the same controversy over Schlessinger played out again — this time over racially tinged remarks to an African-American caller.

To give you a refresher, during the August 10 edition of her program, Schlessinger took a call from an African-American woman seeking advice on dealing with the resentment she felt when her white husband didn’t speak out about racist comments his friends made. During the discussion, Schlessinger used the n-word 11 times, and told the caller that she had a “chip on [her] shoulder.” Schlessinger added that “a lot of blacks voted for Obama” due to race and said that the caller shouldn’t “marry out of [her] race” if she didn’t “have a sense of humor.”

After Media Matters posted audio of Schlessinger’s racial rant, groups such as GLAAD, Women’s Media Center, and UNITY Journalists of Color joined Media Matters to hold Schlessinger’s “advertisers accountable and find out exactly where they stand.”

Like in 2001, Schlessinger appeared on Larry King Live to claim that her “First Amendment rights have been usurped by angry, hateful groups who don’t want to debate. They want to eliminate.” Schlessinger announced that she was ending her radio show to “move on to other venues where I could say my piece and not have to live in fear anymore that sponsors and their families are going to be upset, radio stations are going to be upset, my peeps, as I call them, are going to be upset.”

Some conservatives predictably rallied around Schlessinger. Michelle Malkin lauded Schlessinger for having “battled political correctness for years.” Sarah Palin — who’s scheduled to join Fox News colleague Glenn Beck at his 8-28 rally to “reclaim” the civil rights movement — defended Schlessinger’s n-word rant by claiming Schlessinger has been “shackled” by her critics, and took to Twitter to tell Schlessinger, “Don’t retreat… reload” after her “1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist.”

The First Amendment argument is as silly now as it was ten years ago. “Censorship, in the legal sense, really only occurs when the government is trying to prevent you from saying something. I think that actions that GLAAD has taken regarding Dr. Laura is the way we in the American system expect the system to work, and Dr. Laura has a right to say what she’s doing,” explained Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press executive director Lucy Dalglish on the June 15, 2000, edition of PBS’s NewsHour.

The purported media critics at NewsBusters, meanwhile, bizarrely accused Media Matters of censorship because we were part of a campaign targeting advertisers. The criticism is strange considering NewsBusters and its parent, Media Research Center, also target advertisers of content they view as offensive. Indeed, MRC president Brent Bozell told the LA Times in 2000 that while he didn’t approve of the anti-Dr. Laura cause, “It’s perfectly acceptable for an organization to lobby to cancel a program they think is inappropriate. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all.”

At the end of the day, however, Schlessinger’s racial rant is only the latest in recent public displays of racially loaded rhetoric by right-wing media figures. The question, as it was in 2000, is whether the audiences will hold figures responsible for their rhetoric.

Shouldn’t the GOP be paying Fox?

In April, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of Fox News parent company News Corp., responded to a question from Media Matters’ Ari Rabin-Havt by stating that he doesn’t “think we should be supporting the tea party, or any other party.” Yet on Monday, Bloomberg News reported that News Corp. contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. The large donation caps off more than a year and a half of pro-Republican activism during the Obama administration by Fox News hosts, reporters, and “political analysts.”

Because it might be hard to keep track of Fox News’ pro-GOP activism in all 50 states, here’s a brief recap:

  • GOP fundraisers / events. Fox News hosts and “political analysts” have frequently spoken at or hosted fundraisers or events for Republican organizations and candidates. Recently, Fox News employee Dick Morris — who’s received money from GOP parties — announced that he’s planning to stump for more than 40 Republican candidates.
  • On-air endorsements. Fox Newsers regularly make on-air endorsements for Republicans. Fox Business host Eric Bolling, for example, told viewers they could “save” the country in 2012 by putting “a Republican in there. Turn it over in 2010.”
  • Endorsing statements. Fox Newsers regularly release statements in support of candidates through their political organizations or social media accounts. Sarah Palin, for example, makes endorsements through her Facebook page, while Mike Huckabee endorses candidates on his Huck PAC website. Fox News has promoted both Huckabee and Palin’s outside ventures.
  • Behind-the-scenes / campaign roles. Last year, Dick Morris worked as a paid consultant for unsuccessful Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos. Fox News contributor Karl Rove, meanwhile, has been offering campaign advice to Republicans, such as the House Republican Conference and Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul.
  • Political fundraising groups. Fox News hosts and contributors are raising money for Republican candidates and causes using political action committees, 527 and 501(c)(4) organizations. These fundraising groups are also promoted on Fox News.
  • Frequent softball candidate promotions. Fox News has frequently opened its airwaves to promote Republican candidates such as Republican gubernatorial candidates Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, and Senate candidates Marco Rubio, Mark Kirk, Scott Brown, Sharron Angle, and Rand Paul. Angle summarized Fox News’ friendly haven for GOP candidates when she suggested that she prefers to appear on Fox because they let her raise money.
  • GOP in exile. Fox News boasts a long roster of possible 2012 presidential candidates on its payroll, such as Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Fox News, in turn, gives them exposure and air time while they decide whether they want to run for office.
  • GOP issue advocacy. Fox News has frequently pushed conservative misinformation about the Obama administration and various other issues. Perhaps most notably, Fox News became the voice of the opposition against health care reform earlier this year.
  • GOP events advocacy. Fox News has heavily promoted pro-Republican and anti-Democrat events such as the April 15 Tax Day Tea Parties, the Tea Party Express bus tour, and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s anti-health care reform rallies.

As The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart noted, “If anything, the Republicans should be paying Fox News millions and millions of dollars.”

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Media Matters research fellow Eric Hananoki.

Dick Morris Came to Columbiana County

August 15, 2010

And yet, we are told, its the members of the media on the Journolist listserv that are the only ones with weak ethics:

http://www.reviewonline.com/page/content.detail/id/534637/Morris-foresees-change-in-House–Senate.html?nav=5008

I wonder how much Morris was paid for his stop in Hanoverton?  And, for the record, I have read independent news stories that state the national GOP is not putting money into the Charlie Wilson or Zach Space defeat efforts even though those are districts McCain carried in ’08, for what that is worth.

The Shirley Sherrod Saga

July 21, 2010

Plenty of anger to go around here, but most of mine is directed at the incompetence of the Obama Administration, specifically of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  How do you fall for this?  Andrew Breitbart specializes in making misleading videos that tells fictitious, or at least extremely misleading, stories about liberals.  Furthermore Fox News played a large role in creating the Tea Party movement.  The White House had to know that the NAACP would be on Breitbart’s short list with ACORN out of the way, and they had to know that Fox News would be looking to take down the NAACP after it requested Tea Party action against its racist elements.  Of course the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has spent the past week denying there are any racists in the Tea Party movement, the plain evidence of the racial epithets against Congressman and Selma survivor John Lewis and other incidents notwithstanding.  There has also been the attempt to point out black racism with the dismissed voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panthers (Black Panthers are racist?  Shocking!).  But it should have surprised no one when Breitbart and Sean Hannity did an edit job on the video of a speech at an NAACP function given by an employee of the Agriculture Department named Shirley Sherrod.

Which begs the question; why did Vilsack fire her summarily?  Would it have really harmed anything to spend a day or two at least investigating things, getting her side of the story, making sure that was the full story?  To my knowledge the thing wasn’t even a story on neutral media until after the poor woman was fired.  Now of course its a huge story and everyone looks bad.  If Vilsack and the White House had shown some of Obama’s customary rationality and patience it would have only been Breitbart and Fox News that looked bad.  The White House did a very poor job of knowing thy enemy.

John Kerry Endorses Kevin Youkilis for All Star Game

July 6, 2010

Got the following e-mail from the 2004 Democratic nominee this afternoon:

Hello Adam,

Hope you had a terrific Fourth of July — and I hope you’ll afford me what the Senate calls a “point of personal privilege.” All 3 million of you in the johnkerry.com community have done incredible work these last seven years on some of the biggest fights of our lives. This isn’t one of them. But it’s not small potatoes either if you’re a Red Sox fan. (If you’re a Yankees fan, read no further.)

Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox is an All Star in anyone’s book. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played, he hustles, he has a great bat and a glove to match, and he brings with it the kind of intensity we respected for years in guys like Trot Nixon. Youk deserves to be in the All-Star game — while the team has grinded it out in spite of injury after injury, he’s been a rock. But now he needs to win a fan vote to make it to Anaheimn next week.

You can vote for him by clicking here.

The stakes are also just a little personal: in the fan voting, currently Nick Swisher of the Yankees is in first place. Swisher’s having a fine year, but Youk is better in just about every category, batting average, slugging, homeruns, everything and he plays Gold Glove defense to boot. Please don’t let anyone say that Swisher beat Youkilis because Sox fans have gone a little soft after ’04 and ’07. Let’s show we’re still the most ravenous fans in baseball.

Please vote Youkilis in.

Thanks,
JK

Sorry John, not a member of Red Sox Nation.

Do Fiscal Conservatives Want a Double Dip Recession?

July 5, 2010

I’m just wondering, what with all the recent clamor, and not just from the Tea Party crowd, about lowering the debt, not extending unemployment benefits because of the drop in the bucket it would add to the debt, and etc.  The United States is not Greece and the recovery is still in its infancy.  Should we worry about the debt once the economy is strong again?  Absolutely.  When the economy is strong we should pay down the debt, even get ourselves into surplus if we can.  But if we pull back too soon, and right now is almost certainly too soon, we can plunge the economy back into recession, perhaps a deep one like the 1930s.

Also while discussing economics, and I’m not sure if this paragraph will encourage or discourage my friend Brian from chiming in, but I would like to suggest to the Tea Partiers two things about the “bailout”.  1) It wasn’t Obama’s baby, but George W. Bush’s and 2) it worked.  Its easy to decry giving hard-earned taxpayer dollars to wealthy bankers and financiers.  Trust me, as a Democrat its very easy for me to decry corporate welfare!  But it was necessary.  Those large financial institutions were under the very real threat of failing, and if they failed it surely would’ve lead to another Great Depression.  But with the bailout that crises was averted and the money has been paid back.  It was the necessary thing to do, and I frankly wish more politicians of both parties that backed President Bush at the time had the courage and chutzpah to stand up and defend it now.

General Stanley McChrystal

June 22, 2010

If anyone is looking for the full Rolling Stone article:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236

Who in General McChrystal’s staff, or he himself, thought this article was a good idea?  I don’t think Obama has any choice but to accept his resignation.  A lot of this article is very interesting and says a lot to recommend General McChrystal. But having that much public negativity towards your civilian colleagues and bosses can’t happen.

Weekly Media Matters Update

June 5, 2010

Glenn Beck and other usual favorites in this week’s e-mail:

Media Matters: The Glenn Beck Conundrum

Let’s start with a multiple choice question.

When Glenn Beck opens the week by spending more than 15 minutes addressing his despicable attack on President Obama’s 11-year-old daughter and says he has “never” dragged an opponent’s family “into the debate,” is he:

A Correct. This was an unprecedented departure from his usual behavior.

B Wrong, and well aware he is being dishonest.

C Wrong, and somehow either oblivious to his history or self-deluded enough to convince himself he is right.

Option A is categorically false. As we have detailed extensively, Beck’s attack on Malia Obama was merely the latest in a long string of smears of the first family. For example, last April — in a video that truly needs to be watched to appreciate how unnecessarily vicious it is — Beck cracked himself up while brandishing a cane and repeatedly mocking Obama’s aunt’s “limp.” It’s unclear how this information was relevant to Obama’s aunt’s visa status, which is what he was purportedly discussing.

On multiple occasions, Beck has attacked President Obama’s parents, blaming them for raising “the most radical president ever.” His attack on Malia Obama wasn’t even his only attack on the President’s children last week. Beck speculated that Sasha and Malia may think “Jews are destroying the world” because of their exposure to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

So, Beck is absolutely wrong when he claims he has “never” dragged an opponent’s family into the debate. There is no wiggle room here — which leaves us with the final two options. He is either willfully lying to his viewers, or has become so untethered from reality that he actually believes his own falsehoods.

Therein lies the Glenn Beck Conundrum. (For additional illumination of this, watch this segment from last night’s Daily Show in which Jon Stewart demolishes Beck’s ridiculously false claim that only Beck and Fox News aired Israeli footage of the flotilla raid.)

Of course, it’s not unusual for Beck to completely misrepresent his own behavior. In addition to his inaccurate explanation of his attack on Malia, on his radio show on Wednesday, Beck attempted to clear up what he perceived as possible confusion over his comparison of American progressives to Nazis in Germany, saying that “anyone who thinks that they are mimicking Nazi Germany or whatever — or they think that that’s what I’m saying — that’s not what I’m saying at all.”

If that’s not what he’s been “saying,” it’s hard to decipher what his point was when he repeatedly compared various Obama administration officials and Al Gore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Not to mention the countless other times he has portrayed Obama and perceived progressive policies as Nazi or Hitler-like.

Beck also said during his explanation of his smear of Malia that he hoped the attack is his “bottom,” adding, “All Friday, I asked myself, how could it have happened?” The suggestion is clear: Beck had been driven to anger that was totally out of character. Contrary to Beck’s suggestion, vicious personal assaults on his perceived enemies and their families are not at all out of character for him. Among other examples, Beck has:

  • reportedly retaliated against a rival radio host by calling the rival’s wife and mocking her for having a miscarriage. On the air.
  • enumerated the various people, including Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), that he wanted to “beat to death with a shovel.”
  • reportedly attacked Terri Schiavo’s husband, Michael  — after he had previously run segments mocking Terri’s condition — as a “murderer” who sired two “bastard” children
  • attacked Katrina victims as “scumbags,” adding “I didn’t think I could hate victims faster than the 9-11 victims.”
  • reportedly resorted to “vicious personal assaults on fellow radio hosts,” including lobbing “exceedingly cruel, pointless” “fat jokes” aimed at an overweight rival host during his time as a DJ in Louisville, Kentucky.

This behavior led Beck biographer Alexander Zaitchik to remark in an interview with Media Matters’ Joe Strupp this week that he “wasn’t prepared for the depth of Beck’s mean streak.”

Proving Zaitchik’s point, mere days after suggesting that attacks on opponents’ families were out of character, Beck joined co-host Pat Gray in impersonating Al and Tipper Gore, laughing about the dissolution of their marriage.

While addressing his attack on Malia Obama, Beck also lamented that he doesn’t “know why we’re not having real conversations” in America. This was during the same show wherein he compared the current state of our country to the biblical story of Moses and the films Star Wars and Robin Hood, and cited a supposed epic national division between supporters of Woodstock and the Apollo Project.

This is also the guy who once illustrated President Obama’s policies by mimicking pouring gasoline on a person, who frequently suggests progressives will resort to violence against conservatives — including last week saying “eventually they just start shooting people” — and who has spent much of the past year and a half scrawling absurd conspiracy theories on a chalkboard. But Glenn Beck “doesn’t know why we’re not having real conversations.” OK, then.

Which brings us back to the Glenn Beck Conundrum.

Which is it, Glenn? You are either willfully lying to you viewers, or you are completely, provably wrong — yet somehow convinced you aren’t.

Regardless, one thing is certain: When you say that you’ve never dragged people’s families “into the debate,” you certainly aren’t right.

And if you don’t want to answer that, at least let us know why you spent several minutes on your radio show today promoting the book of a raging anti-Semite who praised Hitler and denounced the Allies.

Conservatives not giving up on the overhyped Sestak/Romanoff “controversies” any time soon

More than a week after the wheels came off conservatives’ latest attempt to drum up a phony scandal, media figures like Dick Morris are still pushing the idea of “impeachment.”

And, it’s still overblown nonsense.

In the past couple of weeks, conservative media figures have relied on a series of myths and falsehoods to promote the supposed scandal involving the White House’s conversations with Democratic Senate candidates Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff concerning those candidates taking positions in the administration.

To recap a few of the big ones: With Sean Hannity leading the charge, conservatives have claimed that the Sestak offer violated federal law. This has been systematically debunked by both Media Matters and legal experts. Hannity, among others, has repeatedly suggested that the Sestak offer violated the bribery statute, as well as a series of other laws. Legal experts, including former Bush ethics adviser Richard Painter, have repudiated this idea.

On to Romanoff: Conservatives claim Romanoff was “offered a job” to exit a Senate race. He wasn’t. They claim the White House committed a crime during the Romanoff conversations. It didn’t. They have claimed the White House lied about the discussion. Wrong again.

Lost in all of this is the staggering hypocrisy of conservative media figures. As numerous historians and legal experts have noted, this kind of conversation is commonplace (including among right-wing heroes like Ronald Reagan). But for truly A-grade, gold medal hypocrisy, we turn (as we often do) to Karl Rove. Rove, who insisted the Obama administration violated a federal statue in its Sestak conversations, once reportedly offered someone from the other political party a job to prevent him from running for re-election.

After Scooter Libby was indicted, several members of the conservative media decried what they deemed “criminalizing politics.” No longer the party in power, many of these same media figures have rushed to declare that the White House’s “garden-variety” politics broke laws.

While this is all par for the course for the noise machine, supposed “mainstream” press outlets have fallen down on the job merely by giving this ridiculousness the attention and oxygen it needs to survive. The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder captured this problem well in an article ripping the media’s reporting of the Sestak and Romanoff “controversies” [emphasis added]:

More potentially pernicious than liberal bias, than the false equivalences bias, than really just about any other bias that journalism that inject into a public discussion of a story is the power that comes from merely selecting which subjects to cover. Whatever the collection of facts about White House officials attempting to influence primary elections is, it is not a scandal. It is not the type of story that journalists with credibility and experience should be selecting to cover. It’s the type of story that journalists ought to resist covering, precisely because the act of giving it attention elevates the arguments that don’t correspond with the truth. If journalism is good for anything, it is to provide what Republican Bruce Bartlett calls “quality control” over the narrative. Well, a big mess just slipped by.

Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be cleaning up this particular mess for a while.

Sarah Palin hates oil spills, honesty

Speaking of messes, the BP oil spill continues unabated, which has given conservative media figures ample opportunity to act like clowns. They haven’t disappointed.

Kicking off the trend of conservatives ludicrously blaming environmentalists for the catastrophic BP oil spill, Sarah Palin took to Twitter this week with her usual blend of condescension and dishonesty:

Palin clearly implied that her slogan “drill, baby, drill” — which was eagerly co-opted by Fox News — was only about drilling in places like ANWR, not offshore. It’s a typically Palin-esque way to deflect blame. Big problem, though: It is outrageously, jaw-droppingly false.

As Media Matters’ Simon Maloy noted this week, Palin repeatedly, explicitly promoted offshore drilling while on the campaign trail. And, to top it off, last month Palin said that the BP spill should not change the state of our offshore drilling during an interview with Greta Van Susteren.

Despite Palin’s suggestion that the spill somehow vindicated her position on drilling, it did no such thing. Now do you get it, Governor?

Sadly, Palin and fellow conservatives’ attack on environmentalists for the oil spill was not the only depressingly inane media coverage of the oil spill this week.

Enter Fox & Friends Brian Kilmeade.

On Wednesday, Kilmeade seamlessly transitioned from attacking the Obama administration for announcing a criminal investigation into BP’s role in the oil spill to praising Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s call for accountability for BP. Kilmeade complained that the Justice Department’s announcement had “just tank[ed] the stock market,” adding, “Was that smart?” Only a few minutes later, Kilmeade praised Jindal for “taking action” and saying to BP “you’re going to be held accountable.”

To follow Kilmeade’s logic here: Accountability is good as long as it is both theoretical and discussed by a Republican, but bad when it is concrete and announced by a Democrat.

Kilmeade wasn’t alone in attacking the Justice Department for its criminal investigation of BP. He was joined by Charles Krauthammer, Peter Johnson Jr., Stuart Varney, The Washington Times, BigGovernment.com, and Rush Limbaugh.

Editor’s note: This wrap-up was going to include a section on James O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart’s latest dishonestly edited videotaped escapades. However, like everyone else, we found their exposé on extended lunch breaks for Census workers during training to be incredibly boring.

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Media Matters’ Ben Dimiero.