The 10 Most Ridiculous Right-Wing Outrages of 2011
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Two ardent anti-Muslim rightbloggers with their own CPAC panels were outraged. Pam Geller said the whole event had been "corrupted and compromised by the Muslim Brotherhood... look at the panels, they're either clueless or complicit." David Horowitz of NewsRealBlog told his CPAC auditors Khan was "sponsored by his longtime patron Grover Norquist," implying the former Bush official was in on the whole dirty Islamicist deal.
A flyer denouncing "Grover Khan" was circulated at CPAC; suggesting this two-headed beast was trying to "boil the Conservative frog slowly" so "he'll stay in the pot till he's cooked."
In 2009, the Department of Justice sponsored a conference in a swanky Washington DC hotel that charged $14.29 per attendee for a breakfast of fresh fruit, coffee and muffins, and “rental fees for the workshop space and conference rooms." That's not exactly an exorbitant fee, but in September, when the DOJ's inspector general issued a report – later corrected – suggesting that the department had paid $16 per muffin, “Muffin-gate” was born, a symbol of wasteful government spending that the right latched onto like … well, like a right-winger latches onto a faux scandal involving the Obama administration.
In what may be the most “meta” conspiracy theory of the year, Fox's Steve Doocey suggested that the only reason the network's endless parade of half-cooked scandals never caught on was the mainstream media's hopeless liberal bias. But when Huffington Post's Sam Stein looked at the media's coverage of Muffin-gate, he found that of 223 news stories that mentioned the “$16 muffins” from September 20-28, only 37 attempted to correct the record.
4. Mussolini Also Leaned on Ford
In 2011, Ford ran an ad featuring a customer saying that he'd chosen not to buy a car from one of the company's bailed-out Detroit competitors because, “I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw.” The company planned on airing the ad for four weeks, and did just that – not much of a story.
But then a Detroit News opinion columnist, citing no sources whatsoever, wrote that, “Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy.” Ford denied the charge, repeatedly, but as you might imagine, a right-wing meme that will probably be with us forever was born.
5. Holidays Bring Out the Crazy
Holidays can be stressful, and some people go a bit batty when they roll around. But at Fox News, which basically invented the right's laughable “war on Christmas” (derived from the fact that retailers tend to wish their diverse customers "Happy Holidays”), everyone goes crazy, year in and year out.
They took it to new heights of madness in 2011. Sean Hannity decried the casualties incurred in the “war on Easter.” On Fox and Friends, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade told us all about the “all-out assault on Halloween” (with schools across the country “doing everything from banning costumes to even removing the holiday because it may offend immigrants”).
Right-wingers also freaked out when Obama gave a three-minute Thanksgiving Day speech without mentioning "God." They also lost it when the White House announced that the Obamas were taking a 17-day vacation in Hawaii to mark the season. (As Media Matters noted, “President Reagan took a 25-day vacation in August 1983, and President George W. Bush took 27-day and 25-day vacations in August 2001 and August 2002, respectively.”)
Because Obama was scheduled to be out of town on December 20, the first day of Hanukkah, the White House threw an early party to mark the occasion, and the date then became “Hanukkah-Gate,” which was offered as further evidence that the administration “hates Jews.”