Picture
By: Amy Lutz

There was a time when most bloggers were just guys who lived in their parents’ basements harping about the latest conspiracy theories. Not surprisingly, they were often not taken seriously. However, times have changed. With the dominance of new media forms and the exponential increase in online communication over the last decade, bloggers have become quite powerful. Countless scandals have been exposed and politicians removed from office because of the work of online opinion writers. Perhaps someone should tell that to Juan Williams. Earlier this week, during a debate with conservative columnist Michelle Malkin on Fox News, Williams remarked that his opponent was “just a blogger.” Williams, in his own opinion, is a “real reporter,” and should therefore be taken more seriously. I’ll try to get past the condescension in Juan William’s statement in order to make sense of his point. Ok I tried, I can’t do it. To discount bloggers and put them in the proverbial corner is both disrespectful and naïve.

Maybe Juan Williams just has a bad case of sour grapes. His livelihood is threatened by bloggers every day. As “real reporters” face a shrinking job market, bloggers are popping up all around cyberspace. They’ve filled the journalistic void caused by the lack of fair reporting in the media today. Hundreds of thousands of bloggers, old and young, male and female, have taken to doing the job that mainstream journalists and reporters often neglect: searching for the facts and revealing the truth. Many are not even paid for it. Such bloggers write because they want to, not because they’re being paid by a large news outlet. When bloggers do the job that journalists like Williams fail to do, they hold these “real reporters” accountable.

Please read more at The College Conservative

 
 
Picture
By: Amy Lutz

The birthers are coming! The birthers are coming! And here I was thinking they had faded away like crocs and silly bands. Apparently I was wrong. Recently, claims that the President was not born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as Commander-in-Chief have been brought to the forefront yet again. “Birtherism” was seemingly put to rest in 2011 when the President released a “Certificate of Live Birth” showing that he was in fact born in Hawaii in 1961. Unfortunately, that was not enough for the small number of people still waving the birther flag. Recent events have done nothing but refuel the movement.

The seemingly unquenchable fire of birtherism was reignited this month when Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett petitioned Hawaii to verify the certificate released by the White House in 2011. Breitbart.com released a 1991 booklet from the President’s literary agent which stated that Obama was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” In addition, a 2004 AP story was recently discovered which referred to the “Kenyan-born Obama.” That whirlwind of birther fuel was certainly enough to rally the movement. Yet, these claims still stand upon shaky ground.Please read more at The College Conservative


 
 
By: Amy Lutz

Though it should not be a surprise, once again, our leftist media has targeted Sarah Palin with a barrage of vindictive commentary (just to clarify to the overly-sensitive liberals reading this, by using the word “target,” I don’t mean to be violent). This time, commentators on poorly rated networks such as CNN and MSNBC have taken issue with Palin’s account of Paul Revere’s ride in 1775. It appears that this is the first occasion leftist commentators such as Chris Matthews have cared about historical accuracy, but I digress. During a recent trip to Boston, Sarah Palin said the following of that night in 1775: “He who warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms,” said Palin, “by ringing those bells, and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.” The left went crazy, attacking Palin’s intelligence, integrity, character, and just about everything they could think of. They attacked here assertion that Revere had “warned the British,” stating that this was simply not true. As usual, the assaults were vicious and unfair. The always eloquent and accurate Chris Matthews said of Palin’s statement: “Oh, God. That speaks for her credentials more than anything else. I remember Steve Schmidt said after meeting her and listening to her saying she doesn't know anything.” After the firestorm erupted, Palin clarified her statement to Chris Wallace on Fox: “Part of Paul Revere’s ride — and it wasn’t just one ride — he was a courier, he was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed.” Despite this addition, the left has yet to let up their attacks. Many commentators are still vindictively commenting on Palin’s statement and its accuracy even though it is not fully inaccurate. And since when do we trust liberals when it comes to history? One of their best weapons is the perversion of historical fact to fit their own agendas.

Well, let’s set the record straight. Although, I will admit, Sarah Palin has made her fair share of gaffes in the past, I would not classify her Paul Revere comment as one of them. Let me explain. Before Revere’s famous ride, he organized the “powder alarms” which were designed to warn communities that the British were planning on stealing gunpowder in order to disarm the Americans. This alarm system included the “bells and warning shots” Palin referenced. In order to eliminate the alarms, the British attempted to quarantine Boston. As an alteration to the system in the face of the quarantine, the lanterns hung in the Old North Church on the night of Revere’s ride were meant to activate the powder alarms and warn Americans that “The British were coming.” That same night, Revere set out to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the advancing British troops, but was captured on the way there. In a letter written by Revere himself, he recounted being questioned by a British officer: "He asked me if I was an express. I answered in the affirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and added, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that there would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up." That sure sounds like a warning to the British to me, and written in Revere’s own words nonetheless. Just like Bill Clinton said, “It’s the economy, stupid,” hey liberal media, “It’s the truth, stupid.” This story might be obscure and unknown to most (including MSNBC anchors), but Sarah Palin appeared to have been fully aware of its truth. Unfortunately, even in the face of Palin’s apparent vindication, the left continues to mercilessly attack her credibility, and the credibility of most right-leaning politicians for that matter. This harsh treatment has revolved around the former vice presidential candidate ever since her emergence onto the political scene. Just think back to January on the day of the horrific shooting in Tucson. Many left-leaning commentators and politicians were quick to blame Palin (and other conservatives) for the attack because she had “targeted” Kathy Lee Gifford’s district as one that could be taken by Republicans in the midterm elections. Well, just so the left knows, the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner was declared schizophrenic (not surprisingly), meaning that his actions were the result of an insane mind, not a political map. I’m still waiting for the apologies to Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and all blamed conservatives.

Now, compare Palin’s media treatment to that of the Unquestioned Messiah, Barack Obama. The President has had his fair share of gaffes, perhaps even more than Palin, but they are rarely even mentioned by our leftist media. One of the most offensive comments he has made occurred when he was speaking on the Tonight Show about his “bowling prowess:” “No, no. I have been practicing...I bowled a 129. It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something.” Excuse me? The President made a blatant joke about the Special Olympics, which showcases the handicapped, and the media ignored it. Granted the President did apologize for the comment, but the leftist media did not barrage him with criticisms like they are currently directing at Sarah Palin. Another favorite Obama gaffe of mine occurred when he was speaking of a natural disaster in my home state: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed.”  For the President’s information, that tornado only had 12 casualties. I’m pretty sure I would have heard if ten thousand of my fellow Kansans died. On another occasion, the President tried to make a point about health care using a mail analogy, but in the end just created a self-defeating argument: “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? It's the Post Office that's always having problems.” If I’m reading that correctly, Obama stated the two private businesses, UPS and FedEx, are more successful than a government-run program: the Post Office. And he calls himself a big-government liberal! Yet again, what did the media have to say about the comment? Nothing. Perhaps the most famous, and most comical, Obamaism occurred when the President overestimated exactly how many states made up our Union: “I've now been in 57 states -- I think one left to go.” Now, we conservatives have all had a good laugh over the comment, and rightfully so, but few of us actually think that the President believes that there are 57 states. I’m the first to admit that it was a simple mistake and does not at all reflect on Obama’s intelligence. In fact, although I disagree with just about every decision the President has made, I acknowledge that he is a very well educated man. Chris Matthews gave a great display of liberal hypocrisy this past April when having a discussion with Michael Steele. When Steele brought up the “57 state” comment, Matthews called it a “misstatement” and brushed it off. Comparing Matthews’ comments on Palin’s Paul Revere statement and Obama’s gaffe shows exactly how biased our media is. In fact, for conservatives, it’s a double standard.

Every time a conservative opens their mouth anymore, they are annihilated by the media. Yet, when liberal politicians make a mistake, it’s silent. Most of the media is so in the bag for the Obama administration and the liberal establishment that they cannot present an accurate account of the news. This is why liberals like to attack FoxNews for being “too conservatively biased.” Yes, Fox has conservative commentators like Bill O’Reilly hired to give his opinion on the news, but the network really appears to be to the right because it’s surrounded by the liberal media. It’s only conservative by comparison. The liberal media, unlike Fox, often spends most of its time tearing down conservatives, especially Sarah Palin. Liberal “journalists” spend so much time trying to discredit Palin, frankly, because she’s a threat. She does not fit into the “rich white male” stereotype that they have imposed on the conservative movement. She’s a conservative woman who is truly unpredictable (seriously, Sarah, are you running or not?). Liberals can’t seem to force her into a box and that frustrates them. So they attack her with every weapon in their arsenal. The same goes for “untraditional” politicians such as Allen West and Michelle Bachmann. The media’s treatment of the President; however, is definitely a horse of a different color. For most of them, Barack Obama is untouchable, so much so that he’s reached “Messiah” and “Savior” status to many liberals. He can do no wrong. In fact, he even gives Chris Matthews a “thrill up his leg.” Well, liberal media, if you need a savior, take him and see how far that gets you. Conservatives, on the other hand, will rely on the American ideal. We don’t need a savior to make progress. We believe in the American dream that liberals have tried to convince us is dead. To move forward, we do not need an Unquestionable Messiah to lead us or a biased media to tell us what to think. Conservatives will “question with boldness” in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson. All we need to succeed is the self-reliance, entrepreneurship, and innovation that made the United States of America the exceptional nation it is today.  

 
 
By: Amy Lutz
On February 19, 2009, on CNBC, Rick Santelli launched what has now come to be known as the “rant that launched a thousand protests.”(1) “This is America!” exclaimed Santelli to a passionate crowd on the floor of Chicago’s futures exchange. “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills? Raise their hand. (Traders boo) President Obama, are you listening? … We’re thinking of having a Chicago tea party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan- I’m going to start organizing.” And as the traders on the floor burst into raucous applause and shouts, the Tea Party was born. Although a few smaller gatherings had been held in the weeks before Santelli’s outburst, the CNBC correspondent served as the spark for the raging wildfire that is now know as the Tea Party.

The Tea Party emerged as a product of spontaneous combustion. Rick Santelli’s outburst created a nationwide, grassroots phenomenon that has fascinated conservatives and liberals alike. Although some like to label political figures such as Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin the “leaders” of the movement, the Tea Party has no actual national leader. It is important to note that this new phenomenon is a “movement,” not simply a group of people. Dozens of different groups of people with different, yet similar, views make up the Tea Party movement. Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party Express are two examples of differing groups caught under the umbrella of the movement. There is no unifying web site or hierarchy of authority for the entire Tea Party. All of the Tea Party groups advocate for small government and fiscal responsibility, but even among these similar groups, there can be radically differing opinions. For example, this past summer, the former president to the Tea Party Express, Mark Williams, was removed from his position after labeling President Obama as an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug” and posting a blog depicting a satirical letter from “we coloreds” (former slaves) to Abraham Lincoln. (2) Also, because the Tea Party Express was hesitant to eject Williams, the entire organization was severed from the Tea Party Federation, which is a collection of 85 different Tea Party groups. This event makes the clear case that the Tea Party is a movement filled with differing opinions and groups, and not a single organization. The offensive comments of one man should in no way reflect poorly upon the entire movement. In fact, the Tea Party Federation’s ejection of Mark Williams and the Tea Party Express should shine a positive light upon the Tea Party. The Tea Party Federation saw a clear example of extremely prejudiced comments and rooted out the source.

Despite the fact that the Tea Party does not have a single leader, this does not stop its opponents from labeling certain conservatives and libertarians such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, “leaders” of the Tea Party movement. Although their views may align with the movement, their views and comments (almost always taken out of context) should not represent the views of millions of people. The first, and perhaps most cited, “leader” of the Tea Party is Sarah Palin. Love her or hate her, it is very difficult to argue that the way Sarah Palin is treated in the media is downright disgusting. During the 2008 campaign, the mainstream media did its best to smear and destroy Palin in every way possible. The attacks became so frequent that comments made by the impeccable Sarah Palin impersonator, Tina Fey (who was actually quite hilarious) were cited as comments made by the real Sarah Palin. Because of this, most people still assume that “I can see Russia from my house,” actually came from Sarah Palin instead of Tina Fey, from whom the comment really originated. I could spend hours breaking down every comment Palin has made, but to stick with the Tea Party theme, I’ll focus on a comment made by the former governor which has caused her to be attacked for apparently “condoning violence.” (3) This past spring, Palin tweeted “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: Don’t Retreat, Instead- RELOAD!” and was subsequently harassed by democratic lawmakers. Is this really the left’s best evidence of “violence” from the Tea Party? Before responding to this, let me first stop laughing hysterically. How is this violent? Is it because she used the word “reload”? If so, America, our republic is over. Prepare yourself for a new regime of over-excessive political correctness.

In addition to the attacks on Sarah Palin, a firestorm has perpetually raged against political commentator Glenn Beck. Obviously Glenn Beck is over the top and seems to make an offhanded, controversial comment every few months. Although he has absolutely nothing to do with the Tea Party (he actually started the 9/12 Project), Beck is perpetually grouped with the movement as a way of reducing their credibility. The most controversial comment Glenn Beck made over a year ago occurred when he called President Obama a “racist.” (4) He made this comment in response to President Obama’s labeling of his own grandmother as a “typical white person;” a comment that has not been clarified, by the way (5). Recently, Beck clarified his statement by stating: “I have a big fat mouth sometimes and I say things, and that’s not the way people should behave.” He went on to explain that he mistook the president’s position on liberation theology as racism. Yes, the statement Beck made was an over-exaggeration, but he has since revised it and one controversial statement by a political figure who is not officially tied to the Tea Party should not destroy the reputation of the entire movement.

As the Tea Party movement has swelled in the past year, so have the cries of racism. This seems to be the most common charge against the Tea Party, but little, if any, proof has been brought forth to back this claim up. Democrats like to claim that the n word was hurled at John Lewis after the heath care vote as he walked with Nancy Pelosi and other congressmen. Even though there were thousands of people with cell phones and cameras around the group as they walked arrogantly through the crowd, mocking Civil Rights leaders, no proof has ever been brought forward. Blogger Andrew Breitbart has even offered $10,000 to anyone who can prove that these claims are true. (6) No one has stepped forward to claim the reward. Please, opponents of the Tea Party, stop using “racist” to describe the movement (and to describe all opponents of the president as well). Simply throwing out the word “racism” constantly with nothing to back it up does nothing more than water down the word and dilute the cases of true racism.

In addition to being labeled as racist, Tea Partiers are constantly attacked for being “violent” as well. This claim is even less believable than that of racism. Again, I will ask, where is the proof? Sarah Palin using the word “reload” is not violence. Disagreeing with the president’s policies is not violence. You want an example of violence? How about the beating of Kenneth Gladney by SEIU thugs outside a Russ Carnahan event last year? (7) In August 2009, Kenneth Gladney, and African American man was selling “Don’t Tread on Me” flags outside a Russ Carnahan event and was approached by several SEIU thugs and violently questioned about what he was doing there. One SEUI member reportedly asked: “Why is an n-word like you handing out these flags?” The situation turned worse when Gladney was beaten by the SEIU thugs and eventually taken to the hospital. Six men were arrested later that night and the video of the beating is currently streaming on YouTube. Funny thing about that; the men who were arrested were not Tea Partiers. Imagine that! For all the claims of violence against the Tea Party, I would assume that every act of violence perpetrated in this country came from a Tea Party member. Actually, the men who committed the assault were members of the left leaning union, SEIU. In addition to halting the cries of racism, please stop using “violence” as just another buzzword. If you want to call the Tea Party either racist or violent, at least have evidence to back it up.

No matter what the left does to smear the Tea Party, there is no doubt that the conservative revival that has helped propel the Tea Party movement will have an enormous impact on the elections this November. America in general has a love/hate relationship with the Tea Party. Personally, I have no preference where anyone stands on the Tea Party. What I do have a problem with is smearing the entire movement with inaccuracies and insulting buzzwords like “racist” and “violent.” Here is a lesson to the left: before you try to destroy a movement that encompasses millions of people, check your info. Take a lesson from your Democratic counterpart, former Congressman Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

 

(1)   http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/cnbcs-santelli-incites-traders-in-chicago-calls-for-a-tea-par/1465651/

(2)   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/07/18/2010-07-18_tea_party_express_leader_mark_williams_expelled_over_colored_people_letter.html

(3)   http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20001170-503544.html

(4)   http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/29/beck-amends-obama-racist-comment-questions-belief-collective-salvation/

(5)   http://politics.usnews.com/news/blogs/news-desk/2008/3/21/obama-typical-white-person-comment-delights-clinton-aides.html

(6)   http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2010/03/26/breitbart-offers-10k-reward-for-proof-that-n-word-was-hurled-at-john-lewis/

(7)  http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/08/eye_witness_to_st_louis_scuffl.asp
 
 
By: Amy Lutz
A fallacy is defined as, an incorrect or misleading notion or opinion based on inaccurate facts or invalid reasoning. In the political spectrum, a fallacy can be described as a tactic which utilizes false information or ignorant reasoning in order to sway constituents or the opposition. Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians, Progressives; every person from every inch of the political spectrum has used fallacious arguments in the course of their life. Thankfully, a majority of people are able to pick up on and disregard such fallacies as false. For example, we all know that the ShamWow is not the perfect solution to every mess. No one actually thinks that we will “say wow every time” when we use a ShamWow. This advertisement’s portrayal of the simplicity of the product is fallacious, and anyone who has ever seen an advertisement on television and been fooled knows to think twice before succumbing to such transparent reasoning. This concept works the same way in politics. Unfortunately, a new type of fallacy has been ripping through the mainstream media, seemingly unnoticed, taking ignorant victims along with it. In this fallacy, a media outlet will portray a specific group of people (usually conservatives) who are aligned against, or for, a certain cause as protesting something that is much too broad to be protested. For the lack of a technical term, I call it the “All-Encompassing Fallacy,” and it most often appears concerning illegal immigration, the size of government, and taxation. According to mainstream media outlets that utilize the All-Encompassing Fallacy, people against the Arizona immigration law hold pro-immigrant rallies, instead of pro-illegal immigrant. The mainstream media labels conservative tea partiers as anti-government and anti-taxation, instead of anti-out-of-control-government and anti-over-taxation, respectively. In each of these cases, it’s time to set the record straight.
        The Arizona immigration bill recently provided the spark for the powder keg that is illegal immigration, allowing all Hell to break loose. That isn’t to say that this bill is not an accurate solution and necessary, but this is not a fact even mentioned in the mainstream media. Most, if not all, major media outlets herald the rallies protesting the Arizona law as pro-immigrant and peaceful. Pro-Immigrant? Is it possible to be anti-immigrant? I suppose it is, but such a faction is minute. CNN helped to perpetuate this fallacy when they stated in an April 10th article, “Some counter-protests were also held Monday by people who favor stricter immigration laws, but they paled in size and scope next to the pro-immigration rallies,” referring to the immigration protests held in response to the Arizona immigration bill (http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/04/10/immigration/index.html). In response to this, let me clarify to the mainstream media that there is a major difference between LEGAL and ILLEGAL immigration. The people protesting at these so called “pro-immigration” rallies turn a blind eye to the word “illegal” in their title. When I last checked, the word “illegal” meant that a law had been broken. By phrasing these occasions as such, the mainstream media is encompassing legal and illegal immigrants into one category and ignoring the larger issue. This Arizona law is designed to prevent ILLEGAL immigration, not legal immigration. Legal immigrants are more than welcome to come to America if they go through the right channels. In fact, Americans are most often pleased with an influx of legal immigrants; our ancestors came to this country as legal immigrants after all. By using the phrase “pro-immigrant” instead of “pro-illegal immigrant,” the mainstream media is creating a false dichotomy which degrades those who want tougher ILLEGAL immigration laws and; therefore, support the Arizona law. If these rallies are pro-immigrant, does that mean that people who support the law are anti-immigrant? Of course not! The crafty phrasing of these labels further emphasizes the biased reporting in the mainstream media and solidifies the all-encompassing fallacy.
        On the other side of the political spectrum, the tea party rallies are often met with biased reporting that utilizes the all-encompassing fallacy. In a Huffington Post article by Josh Sugarmann which offensively compares the language of the Tea Party movement to the rhetoric that sparked the Oklahoma City bombing, he labels such rhetoric as “anti-government” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-sugarmann/the-tea-party-gun-lobby-a_b_539358.html).  Again, a distinction needs to be made in regards to “labeling” the tea party movement. If the tea party movement is “anti” anything, they are anti-out-of-control-government, but who isn’t? Regardless of party affiliation, few people are comfortable with reckless spending by elected officials. The mainstream media “encompassed” both people who are anti-out-of-control-government and those who are anti-government into one label to create an inaccurate impression of the Tea Party movement. There are few people who are completely “anti-government” and there is a name for them: anarchists. In no way is the entirety of the Tea Party movement anarchistic. Members of the Tea Party movement endorse candidates, protest or support legislation, and most revere the founders of our country. To say that the movement as a whole is “anti-government” is inaccurate and ignorant.
Another attack on the Tea Party movement that utilizes the all-encompassing fallacy is the suggestion that the movement is anti-taxation. In an article on Tax Day 2009, MSNBC published an article praising President Obama’s planned tax code while attacking the “anti-tax” Tea Parties (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30227452/). In addition to articles such as this, left leaning journalists and commentators have mockingly questioned why Tea Partiers do not realize that our taxes go to public schools, roads, and our military. Of course Tea Partiers are aware of this fact, and the mainstream media’s attempt to portray the Tea Party as ignorant has revealed their own ignorance. The Tea Party movement generally protests EXCESSIVE taxation, not the concept of taxation itself. They do not approve of taxing Americans to death (literally with the death tax) and pushing the national debt off for the next generation. They also disapprove of tax dollars going to things like abortion bankrupt federal programs. Let me emphasize again that there is a difference between taxation and over-taxation; an important distinction that the mainstream media has cleverly neglected.
The mainstream media’s usage of the all-encompassing fallacy spreads much further than the cases above; it can be seen in their portrayal of pro-life advocates, claiming they are anti-choice, and other controversial issues. Logical fallacies, especially the all-encompassing fallacy, infiltrate every outlet and form of media. It’s important to be able to spot illogical reasoning and dig deeper for the real truth. Never let bias prevent the real story from being made known. According to President Obama, “information can be a distraction,” but real information, real knowledge, without the taint of prejudice or bias, is power.