Media Matters uncovered some startling audio of Fox News executive Bill Sammon boasting about how he repeatedly engaged in on-air speculation about President Obama he believed was untrue.
“At that time, I have to admit, that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.”
Contacted by Howard Kurtz to clarify the comments, Sammon just confirmed that they were true.
In an interview, Sammon says his reference to “mischevious speculation” was “my probably inartful way of saying, ‘Can you believe how far this thing has come?’” The socialism question indeed “struck me as a far-fetched idea” in 2008. “I considered it kind of a remarkable notion that we would even be having the conversation.” He doesn’t regret repeatedly raising it on the air because, Sammon says, “it was a main point of discussion on all the channels, in all the media”–and by 2009 he was “astonished by how the needle had moved.”
This is a pretty shocking admission, and as Greg Sargent notes, an entirely inadequate explanation:
Sammon is conceding that the idea did indeed strike him as far fetched in 2008, even though he and his network aggressively promoted it day in and day out throughout the campaign. And he’s defending this by pointing out that the idea ended up gaining traction, as if this somehow justifies the original act of dishonesty!
This isn’t entirely surprising from the network that continues to air Glenn Beck and his litany of false attacks. It’s just another reminder of why groups like our online community Faithful America and numerous others are committed to asking advertisers to Drop Fox unless they commit to a higher standard of honesty.
The US Census Bureau reports the Hispanic population is rapidly growing. It accounted for more than half of population growth in the United States in the last decade. 1 in 6 Americans now identifies as Hispanic, as do 1 in 4 American children. And since the vast majority of Hispanics are Catholic (with a growing segment identifying as evangelical or Pentecostal), it’s also important to note that Public Religion Research Institute recently found that Catholic support for gay marriage and civil unions is on the rise.
Conventional wisdom says that while the Hispanic population leans progressive because of immigration, their Catholicism makes them, as a whole, more conservative on social issues. The census report finds otherwise. Latino Catholics support marriage equality more than their white counterparts and far out pace white mainline Protestants, black Protestants, and white evangelical Protestants.
The one caveat is that support for civil unions among Latino Catholics is relatively low, demonstrating a divide between those who support full marriage rights for LGBT couples and those who prefer no legal recognition of same-sex relationships. But on the whole, Latino Catholics are more supportive of marriage rights for LGBT couples than any other religious-ethnic group. Going forward, their opinions will be increasingly more important in determining national policy on this issue.
Yesterday, Think Progress brought to our attention a movement afoot from extreme right-wing legislators in the U.S. House to cut off food stamps to families of workers participating in labor strikes. As the attacks on working families rage on in many states across the country, national political leaders have apparently decided to use food– the most basic necessity of life– as a political weapon.
Intentionally withholding food stamps from workers trying to provide for their families by standing up for better pay, safer working conditions, and fair benefits is morally troubling. The basic requirements for survival should not be tools for advancing narrow partisan agendas. So, to help put things back in perspective:
One of the scariest things about college graduation — besides feelings of ohmygoshwhatamIgoingtodowithmylifenow — was the realization that I was about to be kicked off my parents’ health insurance. I knew that if I didn’t find a job with health benefits soon, I would be left either without adequate coverage or with unaffordable premiums (and jobless to boot).
Thankfully, I was able to find a job and health insurance. But many people my age were not so lucky and were forced to buy overpriced insurance on the individual market or go without pray they wouldn’t get hit by a car or twist their ankle.
The Affordable Care Act, which turned one year old on Wednesday, fixes this.
Young adults now have more and better health care options — most significantly the ability to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
With jobs even less plentiful than when I graduated back in 2005, I know this small but important change is a huge relief for both young adults and their parents.
The White House has also been getting the word out, including via a personal phone call from the President to Erick Moberg, a college senior who under the old rules would have been kicked off his parents’ insurance but who can now take a year off to prepare for medical school without worrying about how he’ll get health insurance coverage.
Adam Serwer thinks Senator Durbin’s upcoming hearings on Muslim civil rights are flawed:
While lacking the neo-McCarthyist premise of King’s approach, Durbin’s hearings are still too broad to be of any use. Instead of holding hearings broadly premised on “Muslims’ civil rights,” Durbin should hold hearings dealing with specific civil rights complaints from the Muslim community.
If the goal of these hearings is actual investigation and education, then Adam’s right that specific topics would be more informative. But I think in this case the substance of the hearing is a secondary goal to the symbolism, and I would disagree that Durbin’s efforts are useless.
In reality, I bet that the only people who pay close attention to any given hearing are those who know a lot about the issues already. And the more specific a topic, the more likely it seems to get relegated to the world of “boring policy talk” by the media. (There’s a reason King’s hearings entered the national debate while Lieberman’s similar investigation of the Fort Hood shooting went largely unnoticed.)
The real value of a hearing like this is the broad public attention it can bring to an issue and the message it sends about the government’s priorities. Better still if it produces a compelling moment that makes the evening news (i.e. Ellison’s tearful testimony last month or Stephen Colbert on immigration last year). While digging into specific topics such as law enforcement techniques and Shariah bills would be preferable from an investigative standpoint, the general point that Muslims face unfair discrimination is an easily understandable argument that the public also needs to hear more about.
The biggest problem with King’s hearings isn’t that they put image over substance, it’s that the general image they convey is dangerous, divisive and contrary to American values. If all Durbin’s hearing does is help counter the message that Muslims are an out-group that abets terrorism and reassure Muslims that not all elected leaders view them with suspicion, it’ll be a worthwhile endeavor.