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October 1, 2009
4:13 PM

CONTACT: Media Matters for America

Jess Levin (202) 772-8162

Enough Is Enough

Right-wing machine's targeting of Jennings is latest in smear campaign against administration officials

WASHINGTON - October 1 - Today, Media Matters for America denounced the latest development in the ongoing, highly coordinated, Fox News-driven smear campaign against Obama administration officials and nominees.

Media conservatives recently called for the firing of Department of Education official Kevin Jennings. Their demands, based on made-up claims, follow what has become a clear pattern for the conservative media: launching baseless attacks against administration officials as part of an ongoing witch hunt designed for pure partisan gain.

"There is no line the right-wing media won't cross in their relentless quest to destroy the Obama administration," said Eric Burns, president of Media Matters. "This isn't investigative journalism -- it's a partisan witch hunt. It is time responsible journalists called it what it is. Enough is enough."


The smear campaign underway against Jennings relies on the made-up charge that Jennings "cover[ed] up statutory rape" that he was purportedly informed of 21 years ago. In fact, Jennings' attorney wrote in a 2004 letter that the student involved was 16 years old, which is the legal age of consent in Massachusetts. But conservative media figures, among them Sean Hannity and the Washington Times, have recklessly advanced the smear.

Such indefensible accusations follow a well established pattern. As Media Matters has repeatedly noted, members of the conservative media, Glenn Beck key among them, are conducting a relentless and frequently defamatory witch hunt for "czars" in the Obama administration.

Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools Director Kevin Jennings

  • Hannity and Fox News defended Hastert during Foley scandal

  • Despite evidence to contrary, Fox News machine claims Jennings "cover[ed] up statutory rape"

  • After truncated Jennings' quote, Wash. Times, Fox Nation accuse "safe school czar" of "encouraging" statutory rape

  • More witch-hunting: Fox News targets "safe schools czar" Kevin Jennings

White House science and technology adviser John Holdren

  • Hannity falsely claims science adviser Holdren "advocated compulsory abortion"

  • Hannity again falsely claimed Holdren "has talked in favor of compulsory abortion and sterilization"

  • Fox's Pinkerton: "mad scientist" Holdren "calling for mandatory euthanasia and sterilization and population control"

State Department legal adviser Harold Koh

  • Hannity advances dubious claim that Koh "advocates Sharia law in America"

  • Hannity again claims Holdren "supports compulsory abortion," Koh "says the U.S. should follow Sharia law in certain cases"

  • After Hannity smears Holdren, Koh, Sunstein, Stephanopoulos replies, "I will have to investigate them"

Chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission Mark Lloyd

  • Wash. Times enlists in Beck's crusade against FCC diversity officer Mark Lloyd

  • Beck claims FCC "diversity czar" Lloyd's statement that we need "more people of color, gays" in "important positions" is "un-American"

  • Dobbs now race-baiting Mark Lloyd, FCC's chief diversity officer

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Cass Sunstein

  • Witch hunt continues: Fox goes after Sunstein with false smears

  • Napolitano on Sunstein: "His potential damage is limitless"

  • Fox News' Rosen: "Rats could attack us in the sewers and court systems if all of Cass Sunstein's writings became law"


Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.


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