Barton apologizing to BP (photo via flickr)
The word has gone out to the conservative establishment that Obama can't "win" on the BP oil spill and that labels, accusations, and lies are needed to change the framing of the story from one in which the president takes deliberate and necessary action to one in which he's let the country down. Last week, Rep. Joe Barton sparked the meme that Obama is a "shakedown" artist who is pressuring a private corporation into action. Although his peers in his own party ran for cover after Barton's comments, conservative opinion leaders are taking up the torch, spinning and conniving, trying to rewrite history. Media Matters looked at the meme and found that at least "62 recent instances of media conservatives defending BP, 38 of which occurred on the Fox News Channel, Fox Business, the Fox Nation, or the talk shows of Fox News hosts."
One example was from Rush Limbaugh, who has blamed the Sierra Club for the spill.
"In reality, [Obama] didn't teach constitutional law. ... What Obama taught was Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, and how to use the Constitution to shake down corporations through race and grievance lawsuits. That's what he taught students at the University of Chicago. Much like he is doing to BP."
Another example comes from former Republican House Leader Newt Gingrich:
Obama "is directly engaged in extorting money" from BP. On the June 17 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich responded to Barton's comments by stating that the Obama administration "is directly engaged in extorting money" from BP.
A more complete list appears on Media Matters website. What's at work here is a despicable attempt to whitewash history and destroy a presidency, all while the spill rages on and the Gulf remains in peril. The never ending attacks on the legitimacy of this president is shameful. All criticism is not valid, and voters will make dishonest politicians pay in the November election and in 2012. In the meantime, I hope these conservative commentators can swallow their bile, just for a bit, and remember the ecosystem and way of life in the Gulf need their help, too.