If there is one thing the right-wing has been good at it is at creating synergy. A right-wing think tank puts out a set of talking points and right-wing talk radio picks it up and sells it and right-wing TV (aka FOX) reports on the "growing controversy" that has been bubbling up. The result creates the appearance of a spontaneous story arising from a series of "unrelated" media commentary.
Well, today for the first time I witnessed an example of left-wing synergy.
Media Matters for America, David Brock's new media watchdog organization, posted the following item on Friday:
Hannity repeated distortions of Kerry record even after conceding similar attacks on McCain were "not fair"
Even after conceding on the May 12 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes that attacks on Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) voting record -- which were similar to a claim made by co-host Sean Hannity earlier in the show about Senator John Kerry's record -- were "not fair," Hannity repeated the same distorted claim about Kerry's voting record on the May 13 Hannity & Colmes. Specifically, Hannity repeated that "[Kerry is] a guy that voted against every major weapons system."
HANNITY: You know, Senator, when Reagan was winning the Cold War, John Kerry wanted a nuclear freeze. When he could have voted for the death penalty for terrorists in '89, he didn't do it, the ones that kill Americans. He voted -- After the first World Trade Center bombing, he had he Kerry Amendment. Ted Kennedy couldn't ever vote for it. It would have cut $6 billion from our intelligence community. He's voted against just about every major weapons system we now have.
He is -- and he's the most liberal senator. He could be your friend, but he's the most liberal senator, according to the "National Journal." He is what he is, and to point this out in his record is a fair thing to do, isn't it?
MCCAIN: He'll have to defend his own record.
I would be accused of voting against numerous weapon systems, because I voted against defense appropriations bills because they're loaded down with pork. And they're obscene today with all of the pork-barrel spending and multi-trillion dollar deficits. I'll probably vote against the defense appropriations bill this year. I was accused of voting against breast cancer research because that was on a defense appropriations bill that I voted against, so...
HANNITY: But on defense issues, the most important issue of our time, that your guy is George W. Bush, right?
MCCAIN: He is my guy. I'm campaigning for him. I'm supporting his re-election. I want him to be re-elected. I believe he has led this nation with moral clarity. But I was also subjected to allegations of being against things like breast cancer research, which was on a defense appropriations bill.
HANNITY: I remember. That's not fair. I understand.
MCCAIN: So he'll have to defend and explain his own record.
Notwithstanding his May 12 exchange with McCain, on the May 13 Hannity & Colmes, Hannity repeated his claim that Kerry "voted against every major weapons system."
This is the kind of crap that Hannity engages in all the time. And Media Matters is not the first one who has called him on it (MM credits Bob Somerby with bringing this incident to their attention). But usually any left-wing criticism of things like this withers on the vine because it never leaps out of its original media frame.
However, this afternoon, as I was driving to have lunch with my wife, I tuned into Al Franken's show. He brought up this very story, including exact clips of the two moments Media Matters highlighted in their report. But Franken didn't mention where he got the story from. He just seemed to "spontaneously" report on the same thing that MM reported on Friday.
Now if we only had a left-wing news channel to report on the "growing controversy".