We're interrupting our Republican Senate 2014 Marathon this week for a brief note on the media. (But contribute to Scott Brown immediately, and please don't vote for the third-party, tea party candidate in Louisiana, right-wingers! Remember: Obamacare cannot be repealed without 66 votes in the Senate.)
I've barely been paying attention to the news, except to check Senate polls every night, because, as some of you may have noticed, I've been in the bat-cave under Swiss Guard protection, writing my next book. But based on only about an hour of media consumption a week, I've recently noticed mainstream "news" outlets telling huge whoppers, long ago disproved and forgotten.
First, this past Sunday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof repeated the canard about guns being dangerous to their owners. A "study in the journal Injury Prevention," he wrote, "found that the purchase of a handgun was associated with 2.4 times the risk of being murdered and 6.8 times the risk of suicide."
No kidding. As a lifelong subscriber to Injury Prevention, I could have told Kristof that people who live in crime-ridden neighborhoods or who have friends or professions that increase their likelihood of being killed -- or who plan to commit suicide -- are astronomically more likely to buy handguns than people whose lifestyles do not put them at such risks.
My own study, soon to be published in Injury Prevention -- and which I expect will similarly amaze Nick Kristof! -- establishes that people in hospitals are twice as likely to die within five years as people not in hospitals. To paraphrase Kristof: People think hospitals can save their lives. Nonsense!
And don't even get me started on my study on people in ambulances.
Second, once the MSM figured out how to blame a white guy for a black athlete punching his fiancee, and the only news was about Ray Rice and -- the true villain -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell, MSNBC's Toure repeated the old chestnut about emergency room admissions for domestic violence spiking on Super Bowl Sundays.
As I have noted at least a half-dozen times, this was a nonsense statistic invented by feminists and then cited as fact by a slew of major news outlets, culminating in a public service announcement during the 1993 Super Bowl that reminded viewers: "Domestic violence is a crime!" Finally, Washington Post reporter Ken Ringle, realizing that he was, in fact, a reporter, asked, Where'd you get that figure?
He called all the experts who had been cited as sources for the statistic. All of them told him it wasn’t true. "That's not what we found at all," said Janet Katz, professor of sociology and criminal justice and an author of one oft-cited study allegedly establishing the Super Bowl-wife-beating nexus. She said football games bore no relationship to emergency room admissions for domestic violence.
A week after Toure recycled this hoax from the '90s, MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski said on "Morning Joe": "Super Bowl Sunday has the highest rate of domestic violence."
So at least they correct their mistakes quickly over there.
Finally, The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig is doggedly pushing the hoax about Obama getting more threats than any previous president. (They don't make 'em like Ken Ringle anymore.)
Even after being corrected by an MSNBC host, Frances Rivera, last Sunday, Leonnig plowed ahead with her thoroughly disproved thesis, based on what someone had told her -- it was at either a DNC fundraiser or a Volvo dealership. And yes, Leonnig really was corrected by an MSNBC host for pushing an America-is-racist fabrication, which is like having Joseph Goebbels say to you, "Hey, lighten up on the Jews, would you?"
Leonnig's source may be New York Times archives. Or it could be the archives from any mainstream media outlet in America, where the "more threats" rumor originated and was pumped out a mile a minute to an unsuspecting public for two solid years following Obama's announcement that he was running for president.
But then, in 2009, the head of the Secret Service finally told a congressional panel that it was complete bunk.
In the middle of being browbeaten by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton about the huge, unprecedented danger facing President Obama, then-Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan dropped the service's usual practice of refusing to comment on threats against the president to say, under oath: "The threats right now, and the inappropriate interest that we are seeing, is the same level as it has been for the previous two presidents."
Leonnig even recycled the old folk tale about Obama's receiving Secret Service protection "much earlier than other candidates."
How many times do we have to disprove this gibberish? The reason Obama's Secret Service protection started earlier than usual is that campaigns start earlier than usual. Obama declared he was running for president on Feb. 10, 2007. Three months later, he got Secret Service protection.
Reagan announced he was running for president on Nov. 13, 1979. You know when he got Secret Service protection? That same day. And you want to know why? For the exact same reason as Obama: He was a major-party candidate and he asked for it.
Most hilariously, Leonnig actually broke down the (non-existent) excessive threats to Obama, telling MSNBC viewers that the increased threats used to come from Americans angry because Obama is black, but now they're mostly from people angry about Obamacare.
(I wonder if the non-existent disproportionate threats go up on Super Bowl Sunday!)
In fact, the historical record shows that, apart from the occasional random nut, the people most likely to assassinate a president are leftists, socialists, communists, Palestinian activists, crazed environmentalists and communitarians, who have been responsible for every politically motivated presidential assassination attempt since at least 1900. (See "Mugged," Chapter 14.)
Reagan took an assassin's bullet to the chest within two months of becoming president. Jerry Ford was shot at twice within 13 months of assuming the presidency. But we still have to hear about angry right-wingers terrorizing President Obama.
The theme of all these liberal fantasies is that the greatest threat to women, minorities and liberals are right-wing white men with guns -- especially on a Super Bowl Sunday. (Referees are beheaded at soccer games in Brazil, but liberals are terrified of America's national sport.)
White men are even threats to themselves, should they be foolish enough to purchase a gun.
Reagan's and Ford's attempted assassins, by the way, consisted of two liberal women and a deranged white man -- who was acquitted by a black jury. Despite Kristof's warning about guns, all three of them are still alive. And out of prison.
Oh -- and the two nuts who recently breached Obama's White House security? They're named Ortega and Gonzales.