Archive for July, 2010

Aircraft Crashes Into Building, Terrible, just terrible. I wonder how the folks in those buildings felt?

July 31, 2010

Media Matters: Conservatives’ perpetual dishonesty machine

July 31, 2010

Sent: July 30, 2010 09:00 PM
Subject: Media Matters: Conservatives’ perpetual dishonesty machine

Media Matters for America July 30, 2010
The Weekly Update from Media Matters for America –>

Media Matters: Conservatives’ perpetual dishonesty machine

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh regularly tout their supposed accuracy and often claim their critics never prove them wrong. Fittingly, this in itself is a complete falsehood. Limbaugh and Beck are wrong for a living, but have been rewarded for their perpetual wrongness by assuming the role of the two most important cogs in the conservative media.

Every day, the conservative noise machine — Fox News, Beck, Limbaugh, and other prominent conservative talk radio hosts and bloggers — hurl false accusations with the hopes of damaging the Obama administration, Democrats, and progressives politically. Make no mistake: this is the primary motivation for the majority of the stories they promote. Pesky things like “facts” and “reality” are, at best, a trivial concern.

Often, these attacks are baseless, easily debunked, and laughably absurd — yet conservative media outlets rarely (if ever) offer corrections when they are proven wrong. Instead they either double down on their attacks or simply ignore that they were wrong in the first place and move on to the next overhyped bit of nonsense.

While it may seem like a minor story in the grand scheme of things, one example from this week perfectly exemplifies the utter lack of journalistic standards endemic to conservative media.

Early this week, conservatives were in their usual panic mode over what they claimed was evidence that the Obama administration “backed” or “preferred” the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the terrorist better known as the Lockerbie bomber. As we pointed out, reports — often the same reports these conservatives were linking to in order to make their arguments — indicated that the administration wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned, with the stipulation that if he were to be released, he should remain in Scotland rather than risk him receiving an “extremely inappropriate” “welcoming reception” upon being transferred to Libya.

Fox News twisted reality to claim that the “U.S. Backed Freedom, Not Prison, for Bomber.” Matt Drudge splashed a huge headline across his website announcing that the “White House Backed Release Of Lockerbie Bomber.” Pam Geller — whose deranged rantings have earned her frequent appearances on Fox News and bylines on Andrew Breitbart’s “Big” websites, Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, and the American Thinker — called for a “special investigation” and a “charge of treason” for Obama.

Rush Limbaugh — while bragging, as he often does, that he was “executing assigned host duties flawlessly” with “zero mistakes” —claimed that Obama “backed the release” of the Lockerbie bomber because he wanted to “make nice with the Muslim world.”

Late Monday, when the State Department released the administration’s correspondence with the Scottish Ministry of Justice, it confirmed in unambiguous terms that the administration was “not prepared to support Megrahi’s release on compassionate release or bail,” and that “it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence.”

So, after this story completely fell apart, did conservative media figures correct the record and let their readers/listeners/viewers know that the administration did not “support” or “prefer” the release of the Lockerbie bomber?

Of course not.

Conservative blogger Jim Hoft — whose ongoing popularity and influence in conservative media says a lot about their complete indifference to accuracy and credibility — linked to the letter and proclaimed that the administration “preferred” his release. This was akin to pointing at the ground and saying “this is the sky.”

Fox Nation, almost 48 hours after the story had completely fallen apart, still had the following headline and image on their front page:

And you can be sure that in a few months, whenever Sean Hannity or anyone else in the noise machine decides to twist a news story to claim that the Obama administration is “weak on terror,” they’ll point to the time the administration supposedly “preferred the release of the Lockerbie bomber” in order to buttress their point.

It’s a perpetual dishonesty machine.

If this were an isolated incident, perhaps it would be possible to (partially) excuse conservative media outlets for their shameless performance “covering” this story. But as we detailed this week, the right-wing media routinely promote fake stories (for example, the epic freak-out over the imaginary Obama proposal to “ban sport fishing.”)

For another good example of how the perpetual dishonesty machine works, have a look at this segment from Tuesday’s Fox & Friends. In it, Glenn Beck, Steve Doocy, and Peter Johnson Jr. seized on reports of the U.K. supposedly “admit[ting] its socialized health care is a mess” in order to attack health care reform. They rehashed some old favorites from conservatives’ misinformation campaign about health care reform, claiming that we “modeled” reform on the British system and fear mongered about imaginary “death panels.” Neither of these attacks were true when they appeared last year, they weren’t true this week, and they won’t be true the next time Fox’s hosts bring them up. 

This pattern is undeniable, and at this point is just expected behavior for the conservative media. The larger problem is that “mainstream” outlets still frequently treat garbage from conservative media figures as newsworthy, and ombudsmen at major newspapers like The Washington Post regularly chastise their colleagues for not seizing on conservative nonsense faster.

It says a lot about the state of the media when Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and other prominent media conservatives can be caught pushing a blatantly false story, offer no correction, and have their behavior met with a collective shrug. Conservative media outlets retain their unfortunate power and influence over the public discourse because they are able to lie largely without consequence.

They did it all this week, they did it all last week, and they’ll do it again next week.

Dishonest damage control: Shirley Sherrod edition

Though conservative media outlets mostly avoid accountability for their shameless dishonesty, occasionally, one of their overhyped “scandals” blows up in such epic fashion that they are forced to publicly defend themselves. Fittingly, their defenses often rest on provable falsehoods.

In the wake of Shirley Sherrod’s firing and (attempted) rehiring, Fox News, Andrew Breitbart, and conservative media figures have transitioned into damage control mode, a large, shameful part of which entails attacking Sherrod as a radical Marxist race-baiter.

While Breitbart (whom Sherrod announced plans to sue this week) deserves a hefty dose of criticism for revealing yet again that he is a dishonest hack, it’s worth taking a closer look at Fox News’ role in this story. 

Fox originally defended their journalistic integrity by unequivocally stating that they did not cover the story prior to Sherrod’s resignation. Among the Fox personalities making this argument were Dana Perino, Steve Doocy, Glenn Beck, and James Rosen. As we pointed out repeatedly, Fox News did cover the story prior to her resignation on both and, and Bill O’Reilly taped his segment calling for Sherrod’s resignation before she stepped down.

Fox News VP Michael Clemente eventually conceded to Politico that Fox had covered the story online before Sherrod resigned, which he blamed on a “breakdown in the system.” Give me a break — Fox should not get a pass on this one. How low a bar has Fox set in terms of journalistic responsibility that they think a legitimate defense for their behavior is saying “well, only two of our websites and our top-rated TV host planned to run with this story before we got the facts straight, so we mostly did a good job.” Really?

The fact that Sherrod happened to resign before O’Reilly’s segment aired has absolutely no bearing on the lack of journalisticresponsibility inherent in O’Reilly’s segment in the first place. And Fox’s online coverage of the story, coupled with their past transgressions, seem to indicate not that there was a “breakdown in the system,” but that the “system” doesn’t even exist.

Glenn Beck’s dangerous game

On July 18, an apparently deranged ex-convict named Byron Williams packed his truck with guns and allegedly set out to kill employees at both the ACLU and the Tides Foundation in the hopes that his actions would “start a revolution.” Williams’ mother indicated that her son was angry because of his unemployment and “what’s happening to our country.” According to her, Williams watched television news and was upset by “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.” Sound familiar?

While the ACLU has long been a bogeyman for conservatives, the Tides Foundation is far more obscure and hasn’t earned nearly as much attention from the right-wing media. There is, however, one media figure who has made the little-known Tides Foundation a focal point of his attacks: Fox News’ Glenn Beck.

As we detailed, Beck has repeatedly demonized the Tides Foundation on his Fox News program – referencing the organization at least thirty times by our count. Beck often includes Tides in his bizarre conspiracy theories, and has referred to them as a “shady organization” that is a “major source of revenue for some of the most extreme groups on the left” and wants to “warp your children’s brains.”

In the wake of the attempted attack, Beck has stood by his attacks on Tides, going so far as to brag about “turning the light of day” on Tides while also pointing to their inclusion on his blackboard as “the first time that I really realized its success.”

Beck’s denial of any responsibility for this incident is complicated by his almost-daily use of overtly violent rhetoric. Among many, many other examples, Beck has:

  • Suggested Obama is pushing America toward civil war and deliberately “trying to destroy the country.”
  • Capped two weeks of violent fear mongering about progressives by warning that when their attempts at a “soft revolution” fail, eventually progressives “just start shooting people.”
  • Said the “people around the president” support “armed insurrection” and “bombing.”
  • Repeatedly insinuated that the Obama administration will kill him.
  • Used a quote from Jefferson to launch into a warning about coming “rivers of blood.”
  • Compared himself to “Israeli Nazi hunters” and announced that “to the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter.”
  • Included in his advice to Liberty University grads that they should “shoot to kill,” and that graduates “have a responsibility” tospeak out, or “blood…will be on our hands.”
  • Informed viewers that the “world is on edge” and said that “those who survive” will “stand in the truth” and “listen.”
  • Said that some progressive groups don’t have “a problem with blood in the streets.”

And just today, Beck claimed the present day will seem like good times “when we’re behind barbed wire and just eating rock soup.”

Despite the fact that he routinely suggests progressives are going to kill or imprison his viewers and listeners, Beck tries to thread the needle by urging his followers not to resort to violence.

As Media Matters’ Matt McLaughlin asked this week, what does it say about Beck’s rhetoric and his audience that he feels it necessary to tell his followers not to kill people?

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

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Target and Best Buy: Make it right!

July 31, 2010
Hey, I’m not sure if you’ve heard this yet, but Target and Best Buy have together contributed over $250,000 to a political group working to elect a candidate for Governor of Minnesota with ties to a Christian rock band that advocates violence and death to gays. Will you join me in signing on to this open letter asking them to make it right by donating an equal amount to pro-equality candidates?

To take action on this issue, click on the link below:… If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.
If you no longer wish to receive email messages sent from your friends on behalf of this organization, please follow the link below:…

Job Opening: Social Media Maven

July 30, 2010
From: Lawrence Lessig
Sent: July 29, 2010 07:22 PM 
Subject: Job Opening: Social Media Maven

Fix Congress First


Change Congress is hiring A SOCIAL MEDIA MAVEN (aka, “Maven”)(logo in the works).

Maven will be charged with cultivating Change Congress’s social media community. Using whatever tools make sense, s/he will drive messaging and activity to grow the community of activists eager to wrench fundamental change in DC.


Endless social media (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, etc.) experience;

  • Endless passion for the cause of fundamental change;
  • Endless energy to leverage the political events of the moment into a continuing narrative about why fundamental change is necessary.


    Working with sister organizations, you will feed the community regularly and well, with messaging around news events, candidates, organizations, and activism connected to the cause of changing Congress, as well as petitions where appropriate;

  • Working with researchers, you will identify stories relevant to the cause, and feed the community with those stories;
  • Working with leaders from the reform community, you will feed the Change Congress blog, either with your own content, or with invited content;
  • Working with your own imagination, you will plot strategies for driving energy to this movement;
  • In 10 years time, you will be thought of as the one person who understood how social media could change the world, because you will have changed the world using social media. (How management will assess this requirement is still under review.)

    This position is currently part-time, though it will grow with demonstrated success. We will agree on a regular level of output, and on targets to measure success. You will be wildly underpaid given the work you’re doing (saving democracy), but you’ll feel very good about it.

    Please, only qualified, serious candidates need apply. Submit your resume to Include 2-3 paragraphs or a link to a YouTube video (joke) (maybe) telling us why you would be perfect for this job.

    And if you’re not the perfect person, please pass this along to that person.


    Larry Lessig

  • Fish: 5 for the Grill

    July 29, 2010

    Sent: July 29, 2010 10:00 AM
    Subject: Fish: 5 for the Grill

    Amazing salmon, deep-fry tips, and surf ‘n’ turf gone wrong | 07.29.2010

    fired up Man Tested Recipes

    Amazing Salmon Marinade

    Wise MenWise Men

    Tips, ideas, and straight talk from fellow cooks.

    NOW Participates in Launch of Campaign to Protect and Strengthen Social Security

    July 29, 2010
    From: NOW Media Relations
    Sent: July 29, 2010 09:13 AM
    Subject: NOW Participates in Launch of Campaign to Protect and Strengthen Social Security

    Trouble reading this email? View it online

    NOW Press Release

    For Immediate Release
    Contact: Mai Shiozaki w. 202-628-8669, ext. 116

    NOW Participates in Launch of Campaign to
    Protect and Strengthen Social Security

    Statement of National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill

    July 29, 2010

    The National Organization for Women is glad to be a part of this large and diverse coalition to strengthen our country’s most important and successful social insurance program — Social Security. Speaking on behalf of NOW’s 500,000 members and contributing supporters, my message is simple: Social Security is especially vital to women, who would be disproportionately harmed by cuts in benefits.

    The “three-legged stool of retirement” is meant to consist of a pension, personal savings, and Social Security. But all too often, women have neither a pension nor savings. In fact, fewer than one in three women has income from a pension. Moreover, after a lifetime of wage discrimination, women are far more likely than men to have little in the way of personal savings. The situation for women of color is particularly dire. According to a recent report by the Insight Center, women of color often have no personal savings, or even negative net worth, as they head into retirement.

    As a result, Social Security is the mainstay for millions of older women. Every year, a major share of the nearly 24 million women age 62 and older who receive benefits are kept out of poverty because of Social Security. Often that monthly Social Security check is their only income.

    We call upon the members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to act responsibly and reject any effort to reduce entitlement program benefits — now or in the future. Raising the retirement age to 70 would be an especially cruel benefit cut, forcing a hardship on millions of women (and men) who have physically demanding jobs, as our sister organization the Older Women’s League (OWL) has found.

    If anything, Social Security benefits should be improved — especially for elderly women, because many exhaust their savings as they grow older, and for disabled, divorced and never-married women who have had modest incomes and have been unable to save and invest for retirement. Reducing benefits for these women would be calamitous.

    Rather than cutting Social Security and putting millions of women’s financial security at risk, the Fiscal Commission should address the real causes of the deficit — unfunded wars, irresponsible tax breaks for the wealthiest, and an economic crisis caused by financial regulatory failures. Women are watching the commissioners, but will we be invisible to them? | Press Room | Support NOW’s Work

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    July 29, 2010
        Why did the chicken cross the road?

    That, my friends, is why the chicken crossed the road!







    Watch live: Don’t miss this important event

    July 27, 2010
    From: Jehmu Greene/Women’s Media Center
    Sent: July 27, 2010 10:43 AM
    Subject: Watch live: Don’t miss this important event

    Dear Daniel,

     In the midst of the Great Recession — or “mancession” as some have labeled it — it is more important than ever that women continue to increase their education on key financial issues. To help shed light on the financial perspectives of women, the Women’s Media Center (WMC) is proud to partner with Prudential Financial on the release of their 2010 Biennial Study of Financial Experiences and Behaviors Among Women.

     Please join us by viewing a livestream of this important event — the release of Prudential’s 10th anniversary edition — today from 12:00 to 2:00 (EDT) at!  We will start with a press briefing followed by a SheSource luncheon featuring Trish Regan, anchor of CNBC’s The Call. An Emmy-nominated correspondent, Regan also reports for CNBC’s documentary unit, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, The Today Show and the Chris Matthews Show.

     Thanks to The Paley Center for Media for hosting this important discussion. We look forward to welcoming you online!


    Jehmu Greene
    President, Women’s Media Center

    Will you sign Barack’s birthday card?

    July 27, 2010
    From: Michelle Obama
    Sent: July 27, 2010 10:11 AM
    Subject: Will you sign Barack’s birthday card, Daniel?

    Daniel —

    Every year, our family tries to come up with a fun way to wish Barack a happy birthday.

    And this August 4th, when he turns 49, I have something new in mind.

    This has been a big — and hectic — year for him. After signing the Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform into law — and completing his first year as president — I think it’s safe to say we will remember it for a long time.

    And I know full well how much he credits this movement, and the work of supporters like you, for the change that we’ve accomplished.

    So I’m putting together a birthday card that I would like you to sign. Together with other Organizing for America supporters — and me, Malia, Sasha, and Bo — we’ll wish him a happy birthday and let him know that we’re ready to take on the year ahead alongside him.

    Will you wish Barack a happy birthday with me?

    Wish Barack a happy birthday

    This year also brought a lot of surprises — some good and some bad.

    Supporters like you have helped him make the best of it — by contacting Congress to help push stalled legislation forward, by re-engaging supporters in the political process, by giving back with service projects across the country, and so much more.

    And while we can’t know what the coming year will bring, all of us, working together, will continue pushing forward for change.

    Will you help make this a memorable birthday for Barack and wish him a happy 49th?

    Easiest Chocolate Ice Cream Ever –

    July 27, 2010

    Easiest Chocolate Ice Cream Ever –
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