After President Joe Biden and Democrats in the House and Senate were closing an exceptional week of success after success on Saturday, pulling into a Senate vote that would transform the U.S. response to climate change, combat inflation, lower Medicare prescription drug prices and the federal deficit, and increase the energy supply, The New York Times published an article attacking the American president, depicting him as weak and ineffective, while speaking primarily, almost entirely, only to Republican pollsters, strategists, and politicians.
Critics, journalists, and even some New York Times readers are calling out the paper of record, and its top reporters.
“In Senate Battle, Democrats Defy Biden’s Low Standing (for Now)” was the title of the Saturday article that essentially was a megaphone for the MAGA crowd, published in the Times’ politics section.
The article’s subhead made clear what readers could expect: “’The billion-dollar question,’ as one Republican pollster put it, is whether Democratic candidates in crucial Senate races can continue to outpace the president’s unpopularity.”
“In a Senate split 50-50,” wrote the Times’ Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman, “Democrats on the campaign trail and in Congress have zero margin for error as the party tries to navigate a hostile political environment defined chiefly by President Biden’s albatross-like approval ratings,”
Rather than describe historic legislation as productive for the American people, and literally, a massive undertaking that will have positive global effects, the Times reporters opted to frame the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a partisan, political scheme.
“In Washington, Senate Democrats are racing to bolster their position, pressing for a vote as soon as Sunday on a sweeping legislative package that represents their last, best sales pitch before the midterms to stay in power.”
Dan Froomkin, editor of Press Watch, latched onto the Times article and reporters.
“The only context that matters to these blindered horse-race analysts is Biden’s approval rating. The lies, the conspiracy theories, the threat to democracy,” he noted, presumably referring to Trump, “are irrelevant.”
Soledad O’Brien, the well-known former CNN anchor who now is chair of the Starfish Media Group, which she founded, and host of “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien,” and is a frequent critic of the media offered her thoughts:
“It’s so gross,” she responded.
“And it gets worse,” Froomkin added. “Look who they quote: Republican pollster, anonymous Republican strategists, dude who runs Republican Super PAC, Mitch McConnell, one Dem pollster, Republican strategist, Republican Senate candidate, Republican Senate candidate, Republican strategist…”
Indeed, Haberman and Goldmacher quote “Robert Blizzard, a Republican pollster,” “Republican strategists involved in Senate races, granted anonymity to speak candidly,” “Steven Law, who leads the main Senate Republican super PAC,” “Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader,” “Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster,” “Corry Bliss, a veteran Republican strategist,” Joe O’Dea, a GOP candidate, GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters, “Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist advising a super PAC supporting Mr. Masters,” and “Christina Freundlich, a Democratic consultant.”
That’s seven Republicans, an unknown number of unnamed anonymous GOP strategists, and two Democrats.
In a negative article about President Joe Biden, The New York Times didn’t include any quotes from President Joe Biden or the White House. Not even anonymous ones.
The Times almost entirely ignored Biden’s accomplishments from the past week chocked full of wins.
Here’s how Haberman and Goldmacher served up those facts:
“With a strong job report on Friday, long-stalled legislation moving and gas prices on the decline — albeit from record highs — it is possible that Mr. Biden’s support could tick upward.”
By contrast, on Sunday the Associated Press reported on Biden’s “legacy-defining wins,” including noting that a “summer lawmaking blitz has sent bipartisan bills addressing gun violence and boosting the nation’s high-tech manufacturing sector to Biden’s desk, and the president is now on the cusp of securing what he called the ‘final piece’ of his economic agenda with Senate passage of a Democrats-only climate and prescription drug deal once thought dead.”
That economic agenda is what the Times called “a sweeping legislative package that represents their last, best sales pitch before the midterms to stay in power.”
A CNN opinion piece Friday noted “Joe Biden sure is suddenly notching up an impressive string of victories. And they’re not minor. In fact, Biden is on a roll when it comes to both domestic and foreign policy.”
Over a week ago, NBC News’ senior national political reporter Sahil Kapur noted, “If this deal passes,” referring to the Inflation Reduction Act, which did pass on Sunday, “Biden will have inked wins on: Drug pricing, Climate/ACA $$, Higher taxes on corporations, $1.9T Covid rescue plan, $1.2T infrastructure law, New gun law, Chips/China bill, KBJ on SCOTUS, 73+ lower court judges, VAWA re-up, Postal reform.”
He adds: “This is not a trivial agenda.”
That list did not include all the wins Biden had last week before the IRA passed, including: 528,000 jobs added in July, unemployment at a 50-year low (3.5%), the killing of terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri, CHIPS Act passage, PACT Act passage to help veterans affected by toxic burn pits, and gas prices dropping daily.
Meanwhile, others continued to blast the Times’ reporting.
“Hard to believe this kind of bad, ‘conventional wisdom’ reporting is still happening, where they’re saying Biden is ‘albatross’ around Dem candidates’ necks and it’s all…a mystery….” tweeted Michelangelo Signorile, a veteran journalist, SiriusXM Progress host, and writer of books and a Substack newsletter.
Some New York Times readers in the paper’s own comments section were equally critical.
“Times pundits fail to distinguish between ‘job approval’ polls versus the relative popularity of the two parties’ agendas,” wrote Baxter Jones. “Republican candidates have no agenda beyond tax cuts for their big contributors, banning all abortions, voter suppression, and abolishing Obamacare with no clue of how to replace it. Oh, and climate change denial.”
Another reader wrote: “Nothing about abortion or extremism? No Democrats to quote? I hope there will be a follow up from a Democratic perspective.”
“Wow!” wrote yet another reader. “I can’t believe the premise of this article is so simplistic. Nothing is happening in this election other than how popular Joe Biden is. No mention of the anti-choice crowd and the shellacking they took in Kansas. Or how voter registration has vastly increased across the country since the Dobbs decision. (And one of the authors is a woman, presumably of liberal bent.)”
“No mention of the fact that the recent legislation passed (and passing, as I write this on Saturday night) by the Democrats is wildly popular with wide swaths of the populace, and even more popular with narrow swaths such as veterans,” they continued.
“If all you have to do to control the congress is lambast the incumbent president, then we should start doing that the moment another Republican gets into the White House. Whence all this ‘hate Joe Biden,’ stuff. Populism, or right-wing radio with nothing else to sell? I hope most Americans are smarter than that.”
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Stephen Miller: Arrest ‘Commie’ Teachers, Use Government Power to ‘Defeat Evil’
Former Trump aide Stephen Miller told the MAGA activists gathered near Washington, D.C. last week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that conservatives must be willing to use power more aggressively against their opponents. He railed against district attorneys and other officials for not arresting teachers who violate new state laws that restrict teaching on race, gender, and sexuality.
Miller, an architect of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies, has been promising MAGA activists that if Trump returns to the White House, he “will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown.” Miller’s America First Legal group is part of the far-right Project 2025, which has prepared a battle plan for the movement to “take the reins of government” in a new Trump administration. The Heritage Foundation, ringleader of the Project 2025 scheme, was at CPAC recruiting foot soldiers willing to carry out the plan.
In a recent article for Political Research Associates’ “The Public Eye” magazine, I noted that Project 2025 reflected a “movement-level, ideological shift away from a libertarian mistrust of government power and toward an authoritarian view of government power being used ruthlessly—whether as a righteous force wielded to advance a ‘biblical worldview’ or turned against an ‘administrative state’ supposedly captured by a radical Marxist left.”
Miller provided ample confirmation about the MAGA movement’s intentions, down to his dismissal of libertarianism as “a terrible ideology” that might be fine for academic debates but not in the real world, where he said public officials have a responsibility to “defeat evil.”
Excerpts from Miller’s appearance on a Friday, Feb. 23 CPAC panel:
Call it a mental illness, call it a spiritual failing, call it a moral deficiency, call it weakness, softness, or just being pathetic. There is something really broken in the conservative brain. They’re afraid not only of conflict, we know that. But there’s an even deeper fear, a deeper fear than all that, which is having power, and using power. Conservatives are addicted to the language of libertarianism, which is fine–you know, it’s a terrible ideology, but in an academic setting, okay, have these debates. …
You elect a state supreme court justice, you elect an Attorney General, and so on and so forth, to have an office with specific powers, duties, and responsibilities, with the expectation that they will use that authority to defeat evil, to protect the good, and to accomplish positive change in society. And you have to use that power fearlessly. …
A number of states, for example, have passed laws, saying that you can’t have this in the curriculum, or you can’t have that in the curriculum, and you can’t teach DEI and so on and so forth. Without exception, I can promise you, all the commies in the classroom changed the name of their lecture, changed one word, changed one little paragraph in the syllabus and did the exact same damn thing every single day because they’re communists and that’s what they do. Were they sued? No! Were they arrested if they broke a law and it’s applicable? No! Did any D.A. anywhere, if you’re talking about trans issues, think of arresting somebody for abusing children with trans ideology? No, we write blog posts about it. That’s what we do. So until we get serious, all the way down to the local DA, all the way up to the state A/G. and every office in between, including judges, electing people who have power and will use that power and measure their success by change in the real world, then we aren’t going to be able to beat the left.
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
‘We Need to Turn Mickey Mouse Into a Nazi’: How the Far Right Openly Plots to Attack the Left
“Mickey Mouse has to become a Nazi.”
That was the astounding clarion call by far-right host Michael Knowles at The Daily Wire on Wednesday.
We’ve entered the era of right-wing agitators, activists, influencers, and provocateurs setting the agenda for America’s national conversation. They’ve upstaged and supplanted the GOP politicians, political strategists, and pundits who conspire behind closed doors, or in smoke-filled back rooms, targeting their political opponents – like Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, and Eric Cantor did on January 20, 2009, just hours after Barack Obama was sworn into office.
“On the night of Barack Obama’s inauguration, a group of top GOP luminaries quietly gathered in a Washington steakhouse to lick their wounds and ultimately create the outline of a plan for how to deal with the incoming administration,” PBS’s “Frontline” reported a decade ago, in 2013. “After three hours of strategizing, they decided they needed to fight Obama on everything. The new president had no idea what the Republicans were planning.”
Now, it’s being done out in the open. On camera. On social media. On right-wing websites. And they’re bragging about it.
Why does Mickey Mouse have to “become a Nazi”?
Mickey Mouse, of course, is the iconic, now 95-year old cartoon character, the beloved brainchild of animators Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks.
And a top influencer of America’s far-right, a “culture war” commentator who wrote the Ted Cruz-endorsed book, “Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds,” now wants his supporters to change the American public’s perception of the anthropomorphic mouse, from a playful, kind-hearted hero to a “Nazi.”
The description of Michael Knowles’ book reads: “A New Strategy: We Win, They Lose,” “The Culture War is over, and the culture lost,” and, “The Left’s assault on liberty, virtue, decency, the Republic of the Founders, and Western civilization has succeeded,” which may help explain why he wants Mickey Mouse turned into “a Nazi.”
“Mickey Mouse has to become a Nazi. He has to. Because Disney is a very, very evil corporation that wants to trans your kids and fill their heads with all sorts of crazy ideas, and Disney’s gotta go,” Knowles declared (video below) Wednesday, which Media Matters first reported. It was not just an attack on Disney, but on the left, LGBTQ people, and especially transgender people, who are now being used as a verb and a slur: “trans” and “transing.”
“Disney’s gotta go, guys. You heard all the Disney executives talking about their not-so-secret LGBTLMNOP agenda. You’ve seen what Disney has done in recent years, so much so that the governor of Florida had to take political action against them to stop Disney from trying to interfere in the democratic process in Florida to stop the libs from transing your kids. OK?” Knowles told his supporters.
Disney was legally (and pretty quietly) exercising its constitutional right to free speech by opposing Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” law. The company is now suing the governor in a First Amendment lawsuit.
“Disney is really, really bad,” Knowles continued. “And so, one of the best things that we can do right now is make the Disney characters toxic. And coincidentally, call it providentially, whatever it is, the Disney character is now in the public domain.”
The original, 95-year old version of Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain and no longer protected by copyright.
“And what this means is we need to turn Mickey into a Nazi because Nazis are bad. We’re not gonna turn Mickey into a Nazi because the Nazis are good. You see, I’m quite anti-Nazi. I assume you are as well. In fact, being a Nazi is the worst thing you can possibly be today and for a very long time. So, we need to turn Disney into the worst thing it can possibly be, and it can be done.”
“In fact, I’m shocked that the mischievous people on places like 4chan and other internet boards haven’t done this already,” Knowles continued, in an apparent call to action. “Mickey Mouse has to become the most odious kind of symbol in the entire world. And we have the ability to do it, not using any major institutional power, just through the power of memes by pseudonymous accounts on random internet boards. That’s what’s gotta happen because Disney’s bad, and Disney’s gotta go down.”
This is, of course, merely the far-right’s latest attack on America, on American ideals of equality, dignity, kindness, and respect. Not to mention what turning Mickey Mouse into a “Nazi” would do to the countless innocent children who adore him.
It’s being done, out in the open, and it’s been done before.
Remember right-wing outrage at “CRT,” something most conservatives had little to no understanding of yet insisted it was evil, racist, and destroying America? Remember all the wild, sometimes violent, school board meetings, where parents claimed their kids were being taught “CRT,” and that being white is bad?
You may remember Christopher Rufo, the far-right activist who intentionally engineered Critical Race Theory (CRT), a college-level school of thought designed to examine social structures for systemic racism, into a fear-mongering right-wing nationwide panic. Rufo, a messaging maven and senior fellow at the conservative think tank the Manhattan Institute who’s been called an “avowed propagandist,” publicly schemed to create his CRT frenzy.
He’s proudly said he wants to “have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory,’” and “put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.”
For a while, it worked, until the frenzy wore down and conservatives turned their focus to other non-issue “issues,” like DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), drag queen story hours, “wokeness,” and LGBTQ children.
“Mr. Rufo has taken aim at opponents of a new Florida law that prohibits teachers in some grades from discussing L.G.B.T.Q. issues and that critics call ‘Don’t Say Gay,’” The New York Times reported in 2022. “He declared ‘moral war’ against the statute’s most prominent adversary, the Walt Disney Company. And he has used the same playbook that proved effective in his crusade on racial issues: a leak of insider documents.”
Rufo also bragged about being behind the movement to oust Harvard President Claudine Gay, the university’s first Black woman in that role. He openly admitted to Politico it was his “goal…to topple the president of Harvard University.”
And he openly discussed his plans on social media
We launched the Claudine Gay plagiarism story from the Right. The next step is to smuggle it into the media apparatus of the Left, legitimizing the narrative to center-left actors who have the power to topple her. Then squeeze.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) December 19, 2023
He then bragged about his “playbook” to Politico.
“It shows a successful strategy for the political right,” Rufo told Politico’s Ian Ward. “How we have to work the media, how we have to exert pressure and how we have to sequence our campaigns in order to be successful.”
“I’ve stolen some of the earlier tactics from previous generations of the American left and weaponize them against the current regime,” Rufo continued, openly admitting and explaining how he “is teaching conservatives how to hack that system.”
Rufo openly bragged about this in his Wednesday op-ed at The Wall Street Journal, “How We Squeezed Harvard to Push Claudine Gay Out.”
This is now the far-right’s playbook: openly strategize on how to attack and “topple” American icons and institutions, liberal policies and beliefs, some of the very foundations of what makes modern-day America America. And they’re not just targeting programs designed to expose and combat racism, or programs designed to improve diversity, or university presidents, and not just iconic American institutions like Disney and Mickey Mouse.
They’re targeting truth itself.
Watch Knowles’ “Nazi” remarks below or at this link.
Daily Wire host plots to smear Disney: “We need to turn Mickey [Mouse] into a Nazi” pic.twitter.com/HbuUiUmNBK
— Jason S. Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) January 3, 2024
Jim Jordan, a ‘Significant Player’ in Trump’s Efforts to Overturn Election Results, Running for Speaker of the House
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan unexpectedly announced Wednesday morning he will run for Speaker of the House after several far-right Republicans ousted Kevin McCarthy Tuesday. Jordan, a far-right Republican who supported McCarthy, reportedly was “deeply involved” with, and a “significant player” in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Chairman Jordan, who created and also chairs the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, has used both platforms to further Republicans’ false claims on a wide range of issues.
Just two weeks ago, CNN reported, “Jordan made false claims in his opening remarks at a Wednesday hearing at which Jordan and other Republicans pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Justice Department’s handling of investigations into former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.”
In his Wednesday “Dear Colleague” letter announcing his run for the Speakership (below), Jordan made clear his positions, while claiming the Republican House “majority has had success in the first nine months of the 118th Congress. We should be proud of what we have achieved together in these divided times.”
According to Legiscan, which tracks all legislation across the country at the state and federal level, the Republican House this year has had just eight bills signed into law.
One suspended the debt ceiling for a specified period of time. One, passed and signed into law on Saturday, avoided a shutdown of the federal government.
Others, for example, “require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps,” and “establish a task force on improvements for notices to air missions.” One focused on “Trade between the United States of America and Taiwan.” One will “designate the clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Indian River, Michigan, as the ‘Pfc. Justin T. Paton Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic,'” and one will “take certain land located in San Diego County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, and for other purposes.”
In his letter Jordan also railed against “Far-left progressive policies” which, he says, “are destroying our communities, our security, and our future,” followed by a list of regular GOP claims like “soaring crime across the country,” and “an administration with open-border policies.”
But if Jordan is elected, the nation would have as second in the line of succession to the presidency a Speaker who The New York Times has reported, “was deeply involved in President Donald J. Trump’s effort to challenge the 2020 election outcome.”
In May of last year, the Associated Press reported on Jordan’s efforts to help Trump overturn the election:
“Rioters who smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, succeeded — at least temporarily — in delaying the certification of Joe Biden’s election to the White House,” the AP wrote. “Hours before, Rep. Jim Jordan had been trying to achieve the same thing.”
On January 6 of this year, exactly two years after the 2021 insurrection, David Corn at Mother Jones warned: “House Speaker Fight Shows Election Deniers Who Tried to Overthrow Democracy Still Control GOP.”
That Speaker fight ultimately ended with Kevin McCarthy being handed the gavel after fifteen attempts, and ended Tuesday afternoon when eight of his own House Republicans, led by Matt Gaetz, essentially fired him.
“Trump coup accomplices Jim Jordan and Scott Perry have become two of the GOP’s biggest powerbrokers,” Corn wrote, adding: “Perry and Jordan stand out for their significant participation in Trump’s anti-constitutional and arguably criminal caper.”
As Corn and others have noted, the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack deemed Jim Jordan “a significant player in President Trump’s efforts.”
Jordan, the January 6 Committee wrote, according to Mother Jones, “participated in numerous post-election meetings in which senior White House officials, Rudolph Giuliani, and others, discussed strategies for challenging the election, chief among them claims that the election had been tainted by fraud. On January 2, 2021, Representative Jordan led a conference call in which he, President Trump, and other Members of Congress discussed strategies for delaying the January 6th joint session. During that call, the group also discussed issuing social media posts encouraging President Trump’s supporters to ‘march to the Capitol’ on the 6th.”
In February of 2022 CNN reported, “Newly obtained records show Trump and Jim Jordan spoke at length on [the] morning of January 6.”
“Two sources who have reviewed the call records tell CNN that Trump spoke on the phone at the White House residence with Jordan for 10 minutes on the morning of January 6. That afternoon, Jordan took to the House floor to object to the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, and pro-Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol.”
Jordan also refused to obey a subpoena lawfully-issued by the House January 6 Committee. He was unanimously referred to the House Ethics Committee in December of 2022, which Republicans gutted when the officially took the majority in January.
Read Jordan’s letter below or at this link.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 4, 2023
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