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December 5, 2006

Kicking An 82 Year Old Man: The Right Attacks Jimmy Carter. Again.

Jimmy Carter is not remembered as a great President. Most folks might even consider him a failure, the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia. But why exactly do we hold one of the two Democratic Presidents of the last 38 years in such low esteem?

Isn't this the man that held the country together in the years after Watergate? Didn't he bring decency and honesty back to The White House?

Yes.

Isn't it a great American success story for a man to come from such humble beginnings, serve in defense of his country and then ascend to the highest office?

Yes.

Isn't it remarkable that back in 1979 he declared "The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our Nation. These are facts and we simply must face them." Isn't that leadership and vision?

Continue reading "Kicking An 82 Year Old Man: The Right Attacks Jimmy Carter. Again." »

December 11, 2006

How Long Will The Right Let Us Love Obama?

Senator Barack Obama is a man to be admired, respected and liked. He is more than worthy of consideration for the Democratic Nomination in 2008 and if we were advising Senator Obama, and his equally impressive wife Michelle, our advice would be to run, and run now. A Vice Presidency certainly looks attractive on one's resume, and a national campaign brings valuable experience.

Senator Obama is admired and he is loved. Look at the recent favorability polls and there he is, the Number One Democrat in America. But why? Why is a junior Senator, nationally a virtual unknown just two years ago, now at the top of the national favorability ratings? Is it because of his new book? His great 2004 Convention Speech? His appearance on Oprah? All of these, of course, but in fairness, does Barack Obama truly deserve to be the Democratic leader with the highest national favorability in a recent poll? Hardly.

With complete respect to Senator Obama, where are the long-time Democratic leaders who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country? Where are the other possible Presidential contenders? What about Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry? Where are Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid? Are they not leaders that deserve at the very least to have decent favorability ratings?

Why is Barack Obama "favorable" and not any of the better-known Democratic leaders? And why - of all people is Rudy Guiliani at the top of the list as the Number One leader in our country? The answer is simple, and dramatic.

Continue reading "How Long Will The Right Let Us Love Obama?" »

January 22, 2007

Hillary's Primary Challenge: Shattering The Prism Of The Right

A little over 48 hours ago, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made history when she announced that she had formed an exploratory committee for 2008. She is the first woman to have a legitimate chance to become President of the United States. In fact, she is clearly the front runner, not a long shot.

"I'm in. And I'm in to win." She declared. It was a historic moment.

It is an extraordinary feat by an extraordinary woman. Of course, to win The White House, Senator Clinton will face many challenges and hurdles. But the first may end up being perhaps the most significant. For Senator Clinton and her advisers must find a strategy that makes every voter look at her clearly. Senator Clinton and her advisors must shatter the public's habit of viewing her and her record through the prism of right wing distortions and smears.

This is not a conspiracy theory nor is it an endorsement of Senator Clinton.

But this simply is a fact of modern politics in America. For the past three decades, the right wing has employed a powerful strategy of "$ell and Smear." They insist on being the gatekeepers to public opinion and have developed a powerful machine that tells us who to like - and who to hate.

They $ell their heroes, turning a B-movie actor into the Marlboro Man and President.

They $mear Democratic and Progressive heroes, reducing American success stories such as George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis into humiliated historical footnotes. They destroy our leaders. They destroy those that might become our leaders. There is no Democratic or Progressive leader of any note of the last twenty years that has not been attacked.

Continue reading "Hillary's Primary Challenge: Shattering The Prism Of The Right" »

January 23, 2007

President Bushes "Ozoned" Al Gore, And The World Is Paying The Price.

It's a day of celebration and sadness for those of us who follow the global warming issue. On one hand, Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" received a well-deserved Oscar nomination. Congratulations to all involved but especially Laurie David and Lawrence Bender for their wonderful work in bring the Vice-President's presentation to the big screen.

However, tragically, today the summary and highlights of the definitive report on global warming was leaked. This 1,600 page report will showcase once and for all, that global warming is real, we are causing it and "the future is dire."

So how is it, one might ask, that we didn't take global warming seriously earlier? Especially when we have an an advocate like Al Gore on the national stage.

It's because the right wing ozoned Al Gore. They mocked him for his concern. The called him "Ozone Man." Like pathetic schoolyard bullies, they picked fun at him, made him uncool.

Who led the charge?

In 1992, the first President Bush:

"This guy is so far out in the environmental extreme we'll be up to our necks in owls and outta work for every American."

In 2000, the second President Bush said of Al Gore

He "likes electric cars. He just doesn't like making electricity."

So when President Bush stands up and talks about global warming, think of Al Gore. He stood up fifteen, twenty years ago, and got mocked for his courage and vision.

January 25, 2007

How Long DID The Right Let Us Love Obama?

They destroy our leaders.

In our Dec. 11 post How Long Will The Right Let Us Love Obama, we discussed how the right consciously and over time systematically destroys Democratic and Progressive leaders.

We were prompted to write the post because of a national poll of favorability of leading politicians had just been released and Senator Barack Obama, the brightest new star in politics, was the highest ranked Democratic politician in the poll.

As we studied the poll, we asked why our other great leaders were seen unfavorably by so many? We wrote,

"With complete respect to Senator Obama, where are the long-time Democratic leaders who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country? Where are the other possible Presidential contenders? What about Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry? Where are Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid? Are they not leaders that deserve at the very least to have decent favorability ratings?

... Our point here is not whether you will vote for them, or volunteer for their campaign, or give them money, but do you, the American voting public, have a favorable impression of these leaders?

Continue reading "How Long DID The Right Let Us Love Obama?" »

February 12, 2007

Barack Obama: Don't Be Our Neville Chamberlain

Last Saturday, in the not new news event of the weekend, Senator Barack Obama made it official. He is running for President. He is a strong candidate and a welcome addition to the race. During his remarks, he said this:

"...I came to believe that through this decency, we can build a more hopeful America."
Senator Obama sincerely believes in his vision of a better country, a more hopeful and decent place. But as we checked through the reviews of his announcement, we were filled not with hope, but with concern.

In today's political arena, hope and decency will get you slaughtered. The forces that will line up against the Democratic nominee in 2008 will not be playing a hopeful and decent game - it will be a battle to the death with a neo-conservative, corporatist, authoritarian movement that has spent billions of dollars seizing power over the last forty years. The $mear machine is already directing its guns at Senator Obama with nasty whisper campaigns, racial insinuations, etc.

So would a President Obama be able to work with them, and get them to compromise and put the interests of the country before those of the conservative movement? No. (This has been another episode of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.)

Continue reading "Barack Obama: Don't Be Our Neville Chamberlain" »

February 26, 2007

A Far Too Convenient $mear: Part One

(Note - visit this follow-up post for a link to Tennessee Center for Policy Research tax forms.)

Did you honestly think that the Right Wing $mear machine was going to let Al Gore stand up with the terrific team who created and direct the movie and receive an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth?"

Did you really believe they would stand by and watch a Democratic leader validated for his life's work?

No chance in hell. As we have said here before, They destroy our leaders. Note to Senator Obama: spare us the hope and bi-partisanship talk and help us fight back.

Here's what we know, what we think, what we're trying to find out and how you can help.

Continue reading "A Far Too Convenient $mear: Part One" »

March 1, 2007

The Al Gore Lie Is Halfway Around The World And The Truth Is Sitting In Nashville

There's a tragic but true old expression that a lie can make it half way around the world before the truth can even get its pants on. Sadly, this has been proven true again this week with the $mear attack on Vice President Al Gore and his energy consumption.

Today, we noticed that the lie has made it to Germany. How did this happen and, more to the point, why does it continue to happen?

Continue reading "The Al Gore Lie Is Halfway Around The World And The Truth Is Sitting In Nashville" »

April 4, 2007

As Surely As Night Follows Day - Smears Follow Bush Criticisms

The other day in the New York Times, Bush "campaign strategist" Matthew Dowd was quoted saying he had "lost faith" in Bush. From the article, Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd says he has "lost faith in Bush."

"Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.

In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush's leadership.

He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a "my way or the highway" mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides."

As surely as night follows day the right began the smear campaign. Mr. Dowd, you see, is "emotional" and has "personal problems."

Through Think Progress, White House Claims Dowd Is Too Emotional, Turned On Bush Because Of 'Personal Turmoil' and The Huffington Post has the following video in White House Blames Matthew Dowd's Criticism Of Bush On "Personal Problems":

Picking up on the White House's cue, conservative weblog Captains Quarter's, in Dowd Bails On Bush, writes,

Continue reading "As Surely As Night Follows Day - Smears Follow Bush Criticisms" »

April 9, 2007

Laurie And Sheryl Didn't Make It Very Far Before Exxon Tried To Slash Tour Bus Tires

When Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth won the Oscar for Best Documentary, it didn't take him long to be attacked by the Right Wing $MEAR machine. (And the mainstream media didn't help much but not even checking out the basic facts of the story.)

So this morning when Laurie David and Sheryl Crow kicked off their Stop Global Warming tour, where they are doing outrageous things like discussing the reality of global warming and how concerned college students, aka our nation's future, can become involved, surely you didn't expect the oil companies to let them slide did you. Of course not.

Here are the first couple of shots. One accuses ABC NEWS of letting their on-air talent be used for a "political agenda."

For anyone who wants us to connect the dots, here they are.

1. Newsbusters is a project of The Media Research Center.

2. Media Research Center is, believe it or not, a charitable organization so if you give money to them, you get a tax deduction.

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501 (c)(3) non profit research and education foundation.

3. Media Research recently gave Rush Limbaugh an award for "Media Excellence." We can't make this shit up if we tried.

4. And who gives them a nice $50,000 check every year? And gets the tax deduction? ExxonMobil.

Let's be clear.

Global Warming is not a political issue, it is a scientific fact.

The attempt to turn it into a partisan issue is a political issue and is being done by the Right Wing donors, such as ExxonMobil, who have the most to lose if we move to alternative energies. If you can turn it into a political issue, you can begin to hide the facts.

Know the facts, and you know the truth. So get on the bus with Laurie and Sheryl.

April 11, 2007

Introducing Smoking Politics. And Our Mission To End The Right Wing Strategy Of Fear and $mear

Today, we are launching a new web site, and a new radio show, and continuing a passion and partnership that has been developing over the past year. The site is Smoking Politics and on it we will track, expose and fight back - hard - every single day against the right's strategy of Fear and $mear. We will also host a weekly BlogTalkRadio show, The Smoking Politics Radio Hour, with our first show today at noon Eastern, 9:00 am Pacific. We will be taking calls.

blog radio

Why do we call this project "Smoking Politics?" Because the origins of the conservative strategy of Fear and $mear come out of the golden age of the tobacco companies. The tobacco companies learned that with the right combination of psychological persuasion tactics and media budget that literally anything could be marketed to the American public.

They were so good that they could persuade people to kill themselves - and to hand over their money while they did it. The right saw the success of this strategy - and noted the total lack of facts and morals involved and decided - if people will pay to smoke, maybe they could be convinced to support a right-wing agenda which was equally deadly. Maybe they could actually convince blue-collar workers to accept the right-wing agenda that asked them to give up their health care and pensions so CEOs could buy bigger jets? So they took these tactics into the political realm.

Continue reading "Introducing Smoking Politics. And Our Mission To End The Right Wing Strategy Of Fear and $mear" »

April 24, 2007

SP Alert: Four Hundred Bucks For A Haircut? WTF?

A quick visit to John Edwards's Presidential Campaign web site clearly shows what his passions are and what he wants to talk about. Not necessarily in order of his priority, but John Edwards wants to:

    End the war in Iraq.

    Guarantee affordable health care to every American.

    Fight global warming.

    Eliminate poverty in America.

    Revitalize rural America.

    Restore America's moral authority in the world.

    Help solve the humanitarian crisis in Africa.

It's almost too many critical issues and is more than enough to talk about right?

Well, this past week, we have seen clearly, that the Right Wing doesn't want to talk about these issues. Let's break them down briefly:

Continue reading "SP Alert: Four Hundred Bucks For A Haircut? WTF?" »

May 3, 2007

SP Alert: Dick Cheney Rips Condoleeza Rice For Talking With Syrians.

Secretary of State Condolezza Rice met with the Syrian Foreign Minister today, incurring the wrath of the administration and conservative pundits. Leading the criticism was Vice President Dick Cheney.

In an interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney said Assad has "been isolated and cut off because of his bad behavior, and the unfortunate thing about the "Secretary of State's meeting" is it sort of breaks down that barrier."

Conservative pundits and the White House itself further piled on the Secretary of State. The criticism was direct, clear and very personal.
White House spokesperson Dana Perino strongly criticized "Rice's planned meeting" saying, "We think it is a really bad idea. People should take a stop back and think about the message it sends and the message it sends to our allies," Perino said.

The Heritage Foundation is particularly upset at the incident.
"Rice's meeting is likely to undermine the Bush administration's foreign policy and help the Syrians go back to business as usual - much to the dismay of our Lebanese, Iraqi, and Israeli friends, all of whom want the United States to take a tougher stand against Syria," Jim Phillips, a research fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service .

Yes, we did change all the names in the quotes from Nancy Pelosi to Condolezza Rice to make a simple point.

It is right to talk with the Syrians.

It's hypocritical, repugnant and wrong to point the right wing noise machine at Speaker Pelosi for doing exactly what you're doing.

Bloggers refer to this double standard as "IOKIYAR"

May 15, 2007

We Guarantee Al Gore Will Be Attacked Next Week. We Absolutely Guarantee It.

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce of Smoking Politics

All too often, Democrats are swiftboated, ozoned, attacked and smeared and after the attacks happen, sometimes they respond - sometimes they don't.

We have had enough.

Here's what we know and here's what we're going to do about it.

Continue reading "We Guarantee Al Gore Will Be Attacked Next Week. We Absolutely Guarantee It." »

May 18, 2007

And Away We Go: As Al Gore's Book Gathers Steam, So Does The Smearing.

On Thursday, Time magazine put up on its website an advance article of its cover story on Al Gore's new book, with excerpts.

Immediately the right started the character assassination. Just like we predicted, there's not a word about the merits of Gore's arguments. Not a word. Why do you think that is?

MacsMind, Al Gore's assault on our intelligence:

But perhaps the greatest fraud is that Al Gore is being presented as some sort of intellectual when in fact even his ex-boss knew him to be an uninformed and downright ignorant boob.

Continue reading "And Away We Go: As Al Gore's Book Gathers Steam, So Does The Smearing." »

May 25, 2007

Right Fires Up The Smear Machine Against Obama

As we write this, a fresh, still-steaming smear has been dumped on Barack Obama over at The Drudge Report.

A giant headline - almost as big as our computers' monitors - screams, "MCCAIN AIDE: 'OBAMA WOULDN'T KNOW DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN RPG AND A BONG'," linking (as Drudge so often does) to a post at Politico. (Obama's spokesman replied, "America doesn't need juvenile name-calling from Washington, we need a commitment to end this war and bring our brave troops home." Also see the video clip at the end of this post.)

Continue reading "Right Fires Up The Smear Machine Against Obama" »

May 29, 2007

Drudge Smears Pelosi on Climate Change

In the latest case of the right smearing someone for speaking out about climate change, right-wing blogger Matt Drudge posted a photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning with the caption: "I saw the climate change."

Continue reading "Drudge Smears Pelosi on Climate Change" »

May 31, 2007

As Al Gore's Book Hits Number One, ExxonMobil's Front Group Attacks.

Last week Al Gore released a very thought-provoking book The Assault On Reason. Vice President Gore's book has been very well-received and it quickly reached Number 1 on Amazon's best-seller list and now theNew York Times best-seller list.

The Assault On Reason is a remarkable look at where we are as a country, and where we might end up if we don't alter course. It also is remarkable for this day and age because it was written entirely by Mr. Gore, without the aid of a ghostwriter - something that has not been noted much.

"The Assault On Reason" is an important book that examines how decisions are made in American politics in our day and age. It discusses how changes in our world have made us less reliant on reason and logic and this, in turn, has that led to serious policy mistakes like ignoring global warming, and the Iraq war and occupation.

Continue reading "As Al Gore's Book Hits Number One, ExxonMobil's Front Group Attacks." »

Smoking Politics - Why?

There was a time when this country worked to solve its problems.

There was a time in this country when political campaigns were about issues and solutions and ideas.

There was a time when our legislators honestly debated, and minds could be changed, and bipartisan laws could be passed.

There was a time when America was seen as an honest broker for peace, even in the Middle East. And there was even a time when there were solar panels on roof of the White House.

Ronald Reagan - the "Marlboro Man" - took office as President in 1981 - 26 years ago! That means that people under 40 today don't even remember a time when America "worked" and took care of its people and paid its bills. They don't remember a time when the people rather than the corporations and the rich made the decisions. And it especially means that they don't remember a time when campaigns were about anything other than cheap psychological tricks and smears.

Continue reading "Smoking Politics - Why?" »

June 6, 2007

The Fear Of The Smear.

One of the tragedies of the power of the Right Wing Machine is that it clearly alters how we as a people and our elected officials as a group act.

The most powerful example of this is the 2002 Iraq War Vote. Far too many were concerned about the perception of their votes versus the vote itself.

Here is a tragic review of the vote. It is called "The Iraq War Vote Was 6-94."

This has been bothering me for quite some time. I've been increasingly focused on it lately, maybe it was sparked by attention on Senator Clinton and her not reading the report or on John Edwards via Shrum's book's discussion of how he made his decision, but a simple fact has really come to indicate where we are as country, and how off course we've gone.

In October 2002, prior to the October 12, 2002 Iraq war vote, under lock and key, prepared for our Senators and Representatives by our country's top intelligence analysts, lay a 92 page report about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, and everything we knew about Saddam.

It sat waiting for our elected officials to sign in without staff and read it, 92 pages. No staffers allowed, elected officials only. A five page declassified document was readily available to all but the 92 page document, you had to show up, sign in and read it.

Only six Senators did.

Only six Senators thought that sending our country's bravest off to war to die was worth a few minutes of their time. How long a report would you have read before deciding to send our nation's finest to war?

Now, already by now, minions of Senators are scurrying off emails;

Senator So and So was briefed by his staff. The Senator weighed this vote deeply.

Political pundits and DC journalists are smirking at my simplicity of view on this. "This dumb blogger doesn't get how things are done around here."

Bullshit.

And more Bullshit.

First of all, no one could be briefed on it because staffers couldn't see the report, that's the problem.

Second, I don't care how DC operates. You want to stand up and vote on war, you sit your ass down in that chair and read the intelligence briefing.

There are no excuses.

Here's what I have found out.

Senator Biden read it. Senator Dorgan, no. Senator Nelson (Nebraska) no. Senator Graham, Florida? Yes.


Senator Edwards did not.


Senator Clinton did not.


Senator Kerry did not and had the added hypocrisy of accusing the Bush Administration of not reading it in 2004 during the campaign when he hadn't read it. He got nailed on that.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? No.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, yes. Senator Pat Roberts, yes.

Now is a good time to mention that there were a lot of people who thought going to war in Iraq was far from a slam dunk, like Al Gore and Howard Dean for instance. To me, and this is just my personal opinion, to claim now that you want to end the war and to base your political calculations based upon being anti-war is nothing short of hypocritical opportunism.

Back to the research into the six Senators who actually did their jobs; there are two left in addition to Biden, Roberts, Rockefeller and Graham.

Then I found this courtesy of my friends at MYDD.

"The two Senators who pushed hardest to have the US intelligence community compile an NIE, Senator Bob Graham and Senator Dick Durbin, both voted against authorizing military force against Iraq - largely because the full classified 96-page NIE contained many more caveats and dissents than any of the summaries."

This makes my stomach turn. Furthermore, from an UPDATE on the above MYDD post:

Sen. Bob Graham's floor statement urging his fellow Senators to read the full classifed NIE. Here is Sen. Graham's statement:

"Friends, I encourage you to read the classified intelligence reports which are much sharper than what is available in declassified form," Sen. Graham reports stating on the floor of the Senate in October 2002.

"We are going to be increasing the threat level against the people of the United States." He warned: "Blood is going to be on your hands."

Indeed, here's the update as of today. We're pushing 3,500 American dead.

So who was the sixth? I kept digging. But I haven't had any luck and obviously there are plenty of Senators who are willing to have the idea linger that one of then actually read it. I did find the final vote tally here, 77 to 23. I can forgive those who took the time to read it and voted yes.

I will not forgive any Senator who couldn't be bothered to read the report.

And there's a special place in hell for any Senator who couldn't be bothered to read it, even after being encouraged on the Senate floor by someone who actually had, and then voted yes. What Bob Graham said has become reality, we have made our world a more dangerous place for ourselves and our children. Blood is on their hands just as much as it is on President Bush's.

The mainstream media will forgive them for not reading the report but I won't. And neither should you.

Senators Biden, Graham, Roberts, Rockefeller, Durbin and one other did their duty. No one else did.

note: I would very much like to find out who the sixth Senator was, if you know, or if you are the Senator who did, please email me. I know a beautiful mother whose son went to Iraq and never came home. I want to know for her.

June 7, 2007

Begala : The Media's Double-Standard

Paul Begala has a great piece up at Huffington Post about the media's double standards when it comes to minor mistakes made by politicians. This is driven, undoubtedly, by the conservative noise machine that mocks liberal politicians for the most marginal of errors, while defending or ignoring glaring errors from the right.

The most recent example that Begala notes is when Mitt Romney said that if "Saddam Hussein had open[ed] up his country to IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction."

Hussein, of course, did open up Iraq to inspectors who found no weapons of mass destruction. Or has the press already forgotten Hans Blix?

But, as Begala and Media Matters noticed, there was a virtual media silence on Romney's glaring error.

Contrast, says Begala, to Gore's minor error in the 2000 debate when he misstated the title of a FEMA employee.

In a 2000 debate, Al Gore said that during wildfires in Texas he'd met with the director of FEMA. In fact, Vice President Gore had met with the deputy director of FEMA. Although I had been at the meeting as well, I didn't remember it either. But the press, spoon-fed by the Republican smear machine, used the misstatement to damn Gore as a "serial exaggerator."

This is how the right operates - hone in on a minor error by liberals and mischaracterize it to cast doubt on the individual's integrity. The press uses these to reinforce negative narratives about liberals - Gore as a "serial exaggerator," for example. The press seems willing to use anything the right hands them to back up these phony descriptions.

But when conservatives tout the most egregious falsehoods that result in the deaths of thousands, silence.

It's not surprising that the right operates this way. What else should we expect from a political movement that believes that if you ignore something, it will go away?

But we should expect more from the news media. As Begala so well puts it,

But with all respect to Jon Stewart, that's not what hurts America. What hurts America is when powerful media elites excoriate a Democrat for an insignificant error, but turn a blind eye to a campaign of lies about war.

And how.

June 12, 2007

Smoking Politics Takes On Bozell's Media Research Center

Smoking PoliticsJoin Dave Johnson and James Boyce tomorrow at noon Eastern for Smoking Politics on Blog Talk Radio. Dave and James will be talking about the Media Research Center, the far-right media watchdog founded by right-wing smear merchant Brent Bozell.

Media Reserach Center has been a constant contributor to the pervasive climate of intimidation that James wrote about last week. Both MRC and Bozell have been responsible for a number of smear campaigns going back to the Clarence Thomas nomination. Brent Bozell on C-SPAN

Tune in to Smoking Politics on Blog Talk Radio to hear more about the MRC and Brent Bozell and their role in the rise of the right-wing smear campaign.

And, as always, you're invited to call in to the show and talk with Dave and James about smears, fears, and the politics of attack-and-distract. The call-in number is (718) 508-9604.

Blog Talk Radio

June 17, 2007

Far-Right Lashes Out At . . . C-SPAN?

Lest you think the far-right smear machine is reserved for cynical campaign strategy, take note of the recent attacks on C-SPAN, the cable public service channel known best for airing live coverage of government proceedings.

C-SPAN aired portions of Talkers Magazine's "New Media Seminar" at which far-right talk radio shock-jock Michael Savage was presented a Freedom of Speech Award. Brian Lamb on C-SPAN

Savage's acceptance speech was not aired by C-SPAN, apparently because the talk show host didn't actually appear to give a speech, but instead sent a DVD recording of his speech that was shown to the attendees.

Some of Savage's listeners and fans felt that C-SPAN's decision not to air the presentation of a pre-recorded speech shown to an audience on a DVD was the equivalent of blacklisting, the airing of much of the two day event notwithstanding.

On Friday morning's Washington Journal, host Brian Lamb read through a series of emails he received at Savage's request. His listeners accuse Brian Lamb and C-SPAN in general of being a "dickhead, "nazi," "stalinist," "bed-wetting commies, "liberal ass loser communist," and, of course, "probably a homosexual."

Even a casual C-SPAN viewer is aware that the station regularly broadcasts events from right-wing organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Repeating claims of a mythical liberal media bias is one thing, but this is a case of the far-right viciously attacking a public service station for not supporting the conservative agenda enough.

Think Progress has the video

June 19, 2007

Brent Bozell's Phantom Army

Let every soldier hew him down a bough
And bear't before him: thereby shall we shadow
The numbers of our host and make discovery
Err in report of us.

Macbeth: Act V, Scene IV

During Emperor Justinian I's war against the Goths, the Roman general Martinus conceived a strategy to burn as many campfires as possible so as to deceive the enemy about the size of his army. The plan worked, and the Goths fled. In the United States, Nixon invented the fictional "silent majority" of American conservatives to intimidate the progressives of his day, but Brent Bozell has probably done more than anyone to keep the campfires lit.

Continue reading "Brent Bozell's Phantom Army" »

June 20, 2007

Right Circulating A LIE About Hillary and Take Back America

Here is a lie we should try to nip in the bud.

Hillary Clinton spoke at the Take Back America conference this morning. The Corner on National Review Online is circulating the following lie about the event:

When she declared, "The American military has done its job," boos began to be heard around the room. As the boos increased, Sen. Clinton raised her voice. "The American military has succeeded," she said, to more boos. "It is the Iraqi government that has failed to make the tough decisions." Still more boos. [emphasis added]
I was there. I heard what happened. NO ONE in the crowd booed her for saying "The American military has succeeded." That is simply a lie by a professional propagandist.

Here is a lie we should try to nip in the bud.

Hillary Clinton spoke at the Take Back America conference this morning. The Corner on National Review Online is circulating the following lie about the event:

When she declared, "The American military has done its job," boos began to be heard around the room. As the boos increased, Sen. Clinton raised her voice. "The American military has succeeded," she said, to more boos. "It is the Iraqi government that has failed to make the tough decisions." Still more boos. [emphasis added]
I was there. I heard what happened. NO ONE in the crowd booed her for saying "The American military has succeeded." That is simply a lie by a professional propagandist.

Bill Scher has more, with video to prove it.

Taylor Marsh has more at Huffington Post.

July 8, 2007

Reporting Live Earth News Or Shaping Opinion?

Organizers say Live Earth's internet audience may have been as many as two billion people*. But how is it reported today? Earth underwhelmed by environment pop extravaganza ,

They rocked the world, but as the clean-up at nine climate change gigs around the globe begins, many wonder if the galaxy of pop stars did much to change it.

U.S. and British media were generally underwhelmed on Sunday by Live Earth, the mega-concert organized by former U.S. vice president and green campaigner Al Gore, which, though built on the model of Live Aid and Live 8, created a less positive buzz.

Murdoch's Times of London had this ready, Live Earth fails to pack large-scale punch, and Murdoch's Fox News was ready with this one, reminiscent of the energy-use smear on Al Gore that came out the day after he won the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth (see part 2 also), 'Green' Means Money, Not Environmentalism to Madonna,
Madonna had better clean up her business before she starts cleaning up the world.

... Madonna, who seems to be on top of all her many business endeavors, has actually invested about $2.7 million dollars in companies that are creating the destruction that Live Earth is trying to raise awareness about. She has invested in several companies named as the biggest corporate polluters in the world.

.. The companies include Alcoa, Ingersoll Rand, Weyerhaeuser, and several others associated with oil exploration, digging, and refining including British Petroleum, Schlumberger (a chief competitor of Halliburton), Devon Energy, Peabody Energy, Emerson Electric, Kimberly Clark and Weatherford International.

... one has to wonder why Madonna has put even a penny into the company if she has any feeling for environmental causes. But that's an inconvenient question for the material girl as she prepares to close the Live Earth show live from London.

Nice try, but people do understand the problem and are going to continue to pressure the government for action.

*P.S. MSN reports 9 million streaming, AOL reports 5 million. AND,

Control Room, producer of Live Earth and Live 8, said it found that the on-demand streams in the days after the Live 8 had the most impact, especially after clips were passed around by e-mail.

Live 8 was streamed by users more than 100 million times in the six weeks following the shows.

Live Earth is predicted to be three times bigger with organizers expecting more than 80 percent of the viewership will be on-demand in the days after the event.

So two billion seems high, but one heck of a lot of people did and will tune in for sure.

August 2, 2007

Pat Tillman: Anti-War Leftist Worm Dirt

Pat Tillman was a noted professional football player with a salary over $500,000 a year and a brilliant future ahead of him in the National Football League. The exact opposite of a "Chickenhawk," and after 9/11, Pat Tillman dropped everything, turned down a 3-year, $3.6 million contract and enlisted in the US Army to help his country.

Two years later he died in Afghanistan. The Pentagon told Tillman's family that he was a hero who had been killed by enemy fire. At first, Tillman's death was a useful propaganda tool for the right and a tool to encourage patriotism for the war.

Continue reading "Pat Tillman: Anti-War Leftist Worm Dirt" »

August 28, 2007

Chinese-Americans Give Money To Clinton. The Horror. The Horror.

If it kind of worked once, keep trying it again and again. So once again, the Right is reviving the tired 90s Asian-donations smear on the Clintons.

Headlined at the Drudge Report, the Wall Street Journal has Big Source of Clinton's Cash Is an Unlikely Address,

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. ...
Did you ask them? Is it your business? Actually they did ask them:

But he added: "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."
But they have a Chinese name, so let's do a big story on it.
The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.
And now we get to the root of the big scandal - (queue horror-movie music) Someone is CHINESE-American!

Continue reading "Chinese-Americans Give Money To Clinton. The Horror. The Horror." »

October 11, 2007

Al Gore WILL Be Smeared

If Al Gore Is awarded the Nobel Prize he WILL be smeared. There is no question about it.

On May 15, 2007, we wrote a post titled, We Guarantee Al Gore Will Be Attacked Next Week, We Absolutely Guarantee It. We wrote,

On Monday, Al Gore has a new book coming out next week, titled, The Assault On Reason.

Because he is standing up, telling the truth and because he simply is a Democrat and progressive leader, Al Gore will be smeared mercilessly by the right-wing smear machine. He will be ridiculed, made fun of and mocked. They will tease and make fun of him.

They will rush to say that he is bitter about 2000, crazy, insane, pontificating and out of touch.

They will bring up his utility bills and the boards he is a member of.

They will talk about his kiss with Tipper, her crusade against vulgar rap lyrics.

They will bring up his weight and the beard. And say it's all about 2008.

Continue reading "Al Gore WILL Be Smeared" »

October 13, 2007

New Republican "NASCAR" Smear On Democrats

Republicans are circulating a new smear, saying that Democratic Congressional staffers advised aides to get vaccinations before visiting NASCAR events. It is, of course, just a lie designed to drive the "elite limousine liberal" and "Democrats hate regular people" narratives.

In fact the aides were visiting "health care centers, detention facilities and other operations where they could be exposed to communicable diseases" and the immunizations are routine.

The Drudge Report has been headlining the smear for a several days. Of course Republican talk-radio has been running with it. Here are just a few examples of the spread of the smear:

FOX: Aides immunized before NASCAR race,

Going to a NASCAR race? Better get your shots.

That's the message Rep. Robin Hayes seems to think is being sent as a handful of congressional aides were told to get immunized before a fact-finding trip for a House Homeland Security Committee.

The group was immunized for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and influenza before attending last weekend's NASCAR race in Talladega and this weekend's race in Concord, N.C.


Atlanta: GOP outraged over NASCAR-immunizations advisory


And days after the lie was refuted, the lie continues to spread:

Atlanta TV: Congressman Insults NASCAR Fans

Indianapolis: NASCAR races danger to government workers?

One way the Republican machine spreads this stuff is posting to forums. And here is an example of a "regular person" posting a comment in a sports forum:

It is offensive that the Democrats choose to be vaccinated from Nascar fans. I thought they claimed to be inclusive of everyone and they blame Republicans for having stereotypes. If they went to a football, baseball, or basketball game would they have been vaccinated? NO. It's when they go to a Nascar event that they are vaccinated. Obviously they consider Nascar fans to be a group of rednecks, southerners and Christians that are apparently disease ridden.

Here is another sports forum example.

About Smears

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Smoking Politics in the Smears category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Radio Show is the previous category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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