Appearing on Fox News this morning, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) peddled the emerging right-wing trope that Barack Obama’s White House energy and climate adviser Carol Browner is a secret socialist. The source of the right-wing paranoia is Browner’s brief participation in a group called the Socialist International’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society.
As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson explained in a thorough debunk, the Socialist International is a “worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties” from Albania to Zimbabwe, intended to foster global partnerships to confront issues like climate change. Its members include the center-left New Democratic Party of Canada, the center-left Israeli Labor Party, and the ruling Labour Party in Great Britain.
Nevertheless, following in the footsteps of the National Review, Glenn Beck, the Washington Times, and Drudge, Inhofe called Browner a “socialist.” But he delved even further into conspiracy-land:
I have other problems with Carol Browner. There’s another organization that a lot of people don’t realize — it’s called the Center for American Progress. This report that came out — this is the group that’s trying for the Fairness Doctrine. Trying to, I think, dramatically upend the First Amendment. And try to stop talk radio and talk TV from being conservative.
FOX: And she was a member of that group?
INHOFE: Yes, she was a member of that group. It’s called the Center for American Progress.
In one fell swoop, Inhofe characterized Browner, the Center for American Progress, and the authors of this blog as part of a grand socialist conspiracy. Watch it:
Inhofe was holding up a copy of a joint Center for American Progress and Free Press report on talk radio, entitled “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.” Inhofe might want to open it up and read what it says about the Fairness Doctrine. The report specifically does not call for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.
A key author of the report said, “There is no need to return to the Fairness Doctrine.” Instead, the report argues, “Increasing ownership diversity [of radio stations], both in terms of the race/ethnicity and gender of owners, as well as the number of independent local owners, will lead to more diverse programming.”
Hewing to the baseless concerns of Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing spends an inordinate amount of time mobilizing opposition on a matter that the left has expressed little interest in pursuing. But don’t believe us — we’re all part of a socialist conspiracy!
The video is now working.
,Brad Johnson has more on the Inhofe interview.
,Keith Olbermann named Inhofe the “worst person in the world.”