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Conservative media in deep over false fishing ban

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have spread the story that President Obama 'wants to ban sport fishing.' Though limits are possibly being considered, no such prohibition has been ordered.

March 14, 2010|By Johanna Neuman

It's the latest craze among the right-wing media -- a claim that President Obama is about to prohibit Americans from fishing on some of the nation's oceans, coastal areas and great lakes.

Actually, the White House has created a task force to study how to better manage the nation's use of its oceans, perhaps with an eye to limiting -- but not eliminating -- areas where sport fishing is allowed. There is, after all, an issue of depleting resources. In fact, the International Game Fish Assn. supports sustainable conservation efforts.

But to hear conservative talk show hosts tell it, Obama has already issued an executive order to ban fishing altogether.

On Fox News' Glenn Beck show, the fire-breathing conservative blasted the White House for a stealth move to deny Americans their God-given right to fish, "done in darkness by executive order." He added: "Forget about the frickin' fish. People are losing their rights. Who's more important: the fish or you?"

Rush Limbaugh also weighed in. The darling of the conservative radio audience said that "fishing is about to become a privilege controlled by Barack Obama" and that Obama "wants to ban sport fishing."

All of this apparently started because a blogger for ESPN speculated that Obama's task force could eventually suggest bans on fishing in certain areas. Lots of other journalists jumped in to point out that no such thing had occurred, but that didn't stop the right-wing flame-fanners from suggesting that it was a done deal.

Maybe the faux controversy about Obama's birth certificate has lost traction.

Or maybe Glenn and Rush can't afford fact-checkers.

A political tie to Tiger's do-over

America is the land of reinvention. Everyone gets a second chance. It's part of the Constitution.

So it comes as no surprise that the best golfer in the world is preparing his comeback on the links. Humbled by a sex scandal, fresh from completing a course in something called sex addiction, talking like a man who hopes to rescue his marriage, Tiger Woods plans to attend the Arnold Palmer Invitational starting March 25 in Orlando, Fla., according to the New York Post.

But for politicos, the bigger news is that Tiger has hired former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer to help renovate his image.

Fleischer is a competent guy. But he never did much to soften Bush's image as a cowboy president. Now, it seems, Fleischer has renovated himself -- forming Ari Fleischer Sports Communications in 2008 to advise sports figures how to deal with the media.

So far Fleischer's track record looks pretty good. He coached Mark McGwire on how to handle press questions about his steroid use after the disgraced slugger had gone into hiding. The public confession helped pave McGwire's path to become a hitting coach for his old team, the St. Louis Cardinals. And he advised the Green Bay Packers during their tumultuous breakup with Brett Favre in 2008.

Maybe Bush will put in a call to Fleischer from Texas. After all, it's never too late to reinvent.

Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics ( ticket), is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. These are selections from the last week.

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