Ringside Seat: The Metamucil Conspiracy

While there are a few foundations that give awards for service to the cause of liberalism, most of the cash prizes top out in the four figures. Which is why we might be just a tad jealous that our conservative friends, if they play their cards right, might grab themselves a Bradley Prize, given to those who have gone above and beyond the call of conservative duty; it comes with a check for a cool $1 million. This year's awards were given out last night, and one went to Roger Ailes, the CEO of Fox News, who certainly deserves it. Ailes did say he'd be giving the money to charity, which is nice, and given that his total compensation last year was $21 million, he can certainly spare it.

In his speech blasting the Obama administration and liberals in general, the head of the "fair and balanced" news network took time to repeat one of the most oddly persistent conspiracy theories about the Affordable Care Act. "The federal government is about to hire 16,000 more IRS agents to enforce health care," Ailes said. "We don't need more people with guns enforcing our health care! Hi, granny, get your hands up, we're tired of telling you this, but take your Metamucil." You'll be shocked to learn that the federal government is not actually "about to hire 16,000 more IRS agents to enforce health care." This bit of paranoia has been slithering around the right for years; if you're interested in where it came from and why it's utterly bogus, you can read this explanation, or this explanation, or this explanation. As you can gather, one fact-checker after another has debunked the idea. And yet it persists, not just in the fever swamps, but among people like Ailes, whom you could argue is the most influential Republican in America.

So we'd say to those conservative friends of ours: This is why we liberals charge that you're more dishonest than we are. It isn't that you can't find examples of prominent Democratic politicians saying things that are untrue. You can. But this kind of thing—when someone on the right makes up a phony number or a phony claim or simply an outright lie, and then one Republican after another picks it up and repeats it again and again and again—sure seems to happen a lot more on the right. But maybe we're wrong. Maybe there are lots of examples of provably false claims running around in elite circles on the left, getting passed on to the public by important politicians and people with big media megaphones. But it's awfully difficult to think of any.

So They Say

“IF THE GOP IS THIS STUPID, IT DESERVES TO DIE"

— AnnCoulter.com

Daily Meme: Waiting for SCOTUS

  • Another day, another Supreme Court cliffhanger. The three big opinions of the season—affirmative action, voting rights, and same-sex marriage—have yet to drop.
  • To quote Keanu Reeves, "Whoa, deja vu." The same exact thing happened with the big decisions last year. In fact, the summer rush is part of a longer trend.
  • But, the long wait means that pundits and prognosticators have little to do but fill that hole of silence with speculation.
  • Many think that Fisher v. the University of Texas will be announced first, given that it was argued last October...
  • ... and everyone's eyes are on Kennedy for how the decision could go down.
  • Adam Winkler, a con law professor at Berkley, says, "It's really surprising that it's taken this long for the court to issue an opinion. It's almost unheard of for the court to take the entire term to decide what really is a straightforward case."
  • The voting-rights case and the affirmative action case together could undermine civil rights in a truly awful way
  • SCOTUSblog—the high court of Supreme Court junkies—predicts that the same-sex marriage rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA will come down on June 26 or 28
  • The wait feels a lot like when gay-rights activists were waiting to hear aboutLawrence v. Texas and Goodridge v. Department of Public Health ten years ago.

What We're Writing

  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a classic of American literature that documented the lives of poor Southern white tenant farmers. The book came out of a never-published article originally commissioned by Fortune magazine, which,writes John Lingan, might be a more compelling read for our time.
  • Rand Paul is trying to build a road from the GOP to evangelical Latinos. But, as Sarah Posner writes, the Kentucky senator and the Republican Party just don’t understand them.

What We're Reading

Poll of the Day

Most Americans can’t decide whether NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a traitor or a hero, according to a recently released Reuters/Ipsos poll. Of those who did make a decision, 31 percent said he is a patriot, while 23 percent named him a traitor. Most of those polled were undecided on whether he should face trial.

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