Assembling a panel to discuss how the presidential contenders' marital histories may affect their candidacies, "Today" resorted to one of its favorite tricks this morning -- faux balance, in which a loyal Dem is which is matched with a renegade former Republican. Former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers was paired with Bay Buchanan, who served as her brother Pat's campaign manager when he left the GOP and ran against George W. Bush as a third-party candidate in 2000.
The strategy paid dividends from NBC's perspective, as two of the roughest shots at the Republicans were taken by Bay. Consider these two bombs Bay dropped.
Regarding Rudy: "If they [responding to a question about Rudy] will treat their wives this way, with such disregard, their children, allow this kind of marriage to collapse in a public way, the voters don't have a prayer of a chance. You can't believe a word the man says."
Regarding Newt: "His first marriage, divorce, is going to be very critical, he delivered the divorce papers to his wife who was in a hospital bed being diagnosed with breast cancer. I can't find a lot of women who are going to vote for a man who did something like that."
Unbelievably, disgraced newsreader, Dan Rather, claimed at a recent festival that American journalism "has in some ways lost its guts" and that the MSM has "adopted the go-along-to-get-along (attitude)."
As reported by CNETNews.com, Rather was a keynote speaker at the South by Southwest Interactive festival this past weekend where he gave a 2 hour talk on the shape of journalism and the Internet.
One has to wonder to which "gutless" American media he is referring? Is it the same media that was so weak-kneed as to leak damaging national security information, the same media that just "goes along" to undermine the war effort at every opportunity? Is it the same one that goes out of its way to malign the US and Israeli governments? It is that MSM Rather imagines has somehow gone soft?
ABC's World News on Sunday served as the latest example of media reluctance to label liberal public figures as "liberal" while more freely labeling conservative or moderate public figures as "conservative." During a story on the Democratic party's division on whether to push for a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq, correspondent John Hendren labeled those Democrats who oppose such a timetable as "conservative Democrats," but when discussing Democrats who support a faster withdrawal, he simply referred to them as "those who want to end the war and bring the troops home" or "those favoring immediate withdrawal."
Notably, the congressional Democrat who was featured as a supporter of a timetable, California Representative Lynn Woolsey, has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 4.3 percent. And for the year 2006, the liberal Americans for Democratic Action awarded Woolsey a rating of 95 percent. Tennessee Representative Jim Cooper, who was labeled by Hendren as a "conservative Democrat," received a lifetime rating of 27.3 percent from the American Conservative Union and, for the year 2006, Americans for Democratic Action awarded him an 85 percent rating. (Transcript follows)
...among other format changes under the new Rick Kaplan era.
PublicEye editor Brian Montopoli passed along the usual talking points senior management in broadcast news outlets always give when they are trying to save a sinking ship. You know the drill. "This time, more hard news. We swear!"
Unfortunately Montopoli left out some hard news in his own March 12 blog post:
Clarification (Ken Shepherd | 10:26 EDT): The story in question was written for The Hollywood Reporter and the photo was provided by Reuters.
Yahoo News picked up a Reuters article on Yahoo that reports actress Eliza Dushku of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Tru Calling” and “Bring It On” fame has a new show lined up called, “Nurses.”
The article is a tiny little story that isn’t worth much time, except for the accompanying picture. The pic is a file photo from a 2004 John Kerry benefit concert, and a two and a half year old photo with such a visibly identifying background should have sent this photo to the back of the pile.
Potential political bias aside, I think the photo editor should have done Dushku a favor and chosen a different picture because of that outfit alone.
Question: When you’re a liberal, how do you know if you’re on thin ice, especially the kind that you’re claiming is melting all over the planet due to global warming?
Answer: When even papers like the New York Times are publishing articles skeptical of the junk science you’ve been peddling across the questionably warming globe.
Sure, soon-to-be-Dr. Gore has kind of won an Oscar for his schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” even though all he got to take home that evening was Tipper and all the food she was able to stuff into her pocketbook at the buffets thrown in his honor.
However, it must have been a quite shock to find out that the leftists working for Punch Sulzberger were going to publish a not so adoring article after all that oohing and aahing Gore received from the Hollywood elites just days prior (h/t Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
CBS anchor Katie Couric contended Monday night that the “self-evident” truths in the Declaration of Independence -- “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” -- are denied by the lack of health insurance for many Americans. Introducing a piece on a doctor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City who treats the poor of Harlem, Couric adopted a very liberal definition of basic rights as she added “good health” and asserted on the CBS Evening News:
“More than 46 million Americans have no health insurance. So when it comes to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and good health, all men are not created equal. A doctor here in New York City learned that lesson early in his career. He's spent the last 40 years trying to level the playing field for the poorest of patients.”
Just as they did last Spring, the broadcast networks, particularly ABC and NBC, have begun hyperventilating about gas prices, specifically a 30 cent price increases per gallon which they characterized as “shooting up” and “soaring.” On Saturday, NBC Nightly News anchor John Seigenthaler teased: "Pain at the Pump: Gas prices going up more than 30 cents in a month. How high will they go?" Referring to an increase in a month from $2.20 to $2.53 a gallon, he soon insisted: "Gas prices are soaring again."
ABC anchor Charles Gibson made gas prices his lead story on Monday night, teasing: “Gas prices are not just creeping up again, they're shooting up.” Reporter Dean Reynolds listed the higher prices around the nation, complete with a woman at a gas pump whining about the “ridiculous” price, before acknowledging prices are “in concert with the annual switch from winter grade to summer grade fuel” and that “unforeseen problems at refineries and pipelines, together with record demand for gasoline in January and February, have combined to push prices higher and higher." In other words, supply and demand. Nonetheless, Reynolds asserted: “All of which leads to questions about oil company profiteering."
Q. How do you know the liberal American media are doing their best to bury a good-news story about Iraq?
A. When an official Chinese communist news outlet gives it more coverage than the MSM.
When the UK recently announced that it was reducing the number of its troops in Iraq by 1,600, the news was the subject of massive media coverage in the United States. In addition to innumerable MSM news reports on the development, pundits filled the airwaves with hours of dire conjecture as to whether the British move signalled the collapse of the coalition, etc.
But when news comes that another member of the coalition is proposing to send more additional troops to Iraq than the UK is withdrawing, MSM reaction has been the proverbial cricket-chirp.
NewsBusters previously reported that the AP, NBC's "Today," and ABC's "Good Morning America" reported as a curiosity some Mayan priests who complain that President Bush brought evil spirits with him to Guatemala.
Well, CBS's Peter Maer didn't want to be left out apparently. He wrote up a little something at "Couric & Co.," Katie Couric's e-sandbox on CBS's Web site.
Maer's account, like the others mentioned, seems to leave out two key facts for their readers.
It’s probably not that surprising that some on the far Left were complaining that the Fox News Channel was going to host a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates in Nevada later this year. They were probably completely unaware that Fox News co-hosted (with the liberal Congressional Black Caucus Institute) two Democratic debates during the last presidential campaign.
What is surprising is that former Democratic Senator John Edwards, who smilingly participated in both of the Fox debates in 2003 (picture at left), decided that he could not participate in a debate hosted by Fox. “I said, ‘Why are we doing Fox?’ I said, ‘No, tell them no,’” Edwards told the Washington Post’s Dan Balz.
Folks, you can’t make this stuff up. However, I sincerely beg all readers to properly stow potables, combustibles, and sharp objects before proceeding further.
An expedition to the North Pole to bring attention to global warming was cancelled due to the extraordinarily cold weather. I kid you not. As reported by the Associated Press Monday (emphasis mine throughout):
The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment.
"Ann said losing toes and going forward at all costs was never part of the journey," said Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition.
I’m verklempt, and having difficulty typing through the tears of laughter. But, unlike our intrepid explorers, I must go on for the benefit of mankind:
Here are the facts: The federal deficit is "down sharply"...
WASHINGTON - The deficit for the first five months of the budget year is down sharply from a year ago as the growth in government tax collections continues to outpace growth in spending.
...and "down sharply" means more than 25 percent over last year.
The Treasury Department reported that the deficit from October through February totaled $162.2 billion, down 25.5 percent from the same period last year.
The federal deficit was up 0.6 percent to $120 billion in February...
That improvement came even though the deficit in February hit $120 billion, up 0.6 percent from last February's deficit of $119.2 billion.
...but that's normal for this time of year as the numbers get skewed up because the government is sending out more money in the form of tax refunds to earlier tax filers.
One factor that contributes to higher deficits in February are the refund payments the Internal Revenue Service is mailing out during the month to people who have filed early tax returns. The February 2006 imbalance was the largest monthly deficit for that year.
Now, as a lifelong resident of the Free State, I can attest that Maryland is a fairly liberal state and it spends at the state and county levels in a fairly liberal manner. Today's Washington Post characterized Democratic Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's first budget proposal as detrimental to the county's public schools.
"Leggett to Offer Cautious Budget: 6% Increase Would Shrink School Request," read the headline to Miranda S. Spivack's Metro section front pager.
What makes the Leggett budget so cautious compared to the last one sought by his predecessor, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan?
Perhaps because Duncan's last budget, Spivack noted, increased county spending by 9 percent. Of course both 6 and 9 percent growth rates for county spending well outpace the growth in the U.S. gross domestic product.
[Updated 5:20pm EDT] For the second time in a week, a media organization has seriously reported on the "evil spirits" that President Bush’s trip to Latin America will bring. During a 7am news brief on the Monday edition of "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo noted that Bush’s visit to a sacred Mayan ruin has resulted in protests. According to Cuomo:
Chris Cuomo: " President Bush's tour of Latin America stops in Guatemala today where he'll meet with that country's president. President Bush will also visit a sacred Mayan ruin today, making some protesters angry. They say President Bush will only bring, quote, 'evil spirits' to the site. On Sunday, during the President's nearly seven hours in Colombia, demonstrators clashed with police. The situation was so dangerous, a decoy motorcade was used on the way back to the airport."
Liberal Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) entered friendly territory as he appeared on the March 12th edition of The View to promote his new book Positively American. Rosie once again called for impeaching the president and pressed Senator Schumer to agree. Rosie’s nutty charge of "treason" was too much even for fringe liberal Joy Behar.
O’Donnell: "Do you think that anyone will call for the impeachment of George Bush in Congress?"
Schumer: "Probably not. Because usually impeachment is when you've committed a crime."
The ultra-left echo chamber blog Firedoglake is continuing to excel in its pursuit of the worst in political hysteria. This time, the notorious blog articulates its wish for Karl Rove's demise by describing the hyper-violent murder of the early twentieth century Russian mystic Rasputin. The post is titled 'Rovesputin', and features an image of Rove superimposed on a painting of the unfortunate advisor to Czar Nicholas.
FDL was founded by Jane Hamsher, who made her big name by posting a picture of Joe Liebermann in blackface on The Huffington Post,and then being forced to apologize for it. She is also known for being the producer of the ultra-violent film Natural Born Killers. According to Wikipedia, "Hamsher had an uncredited cameo in the film as a female demon." Hamsher has recruited a fine group of contributors to FDL, and the result is a continuing escalation of conspiracy-theory rhetoric.
NBC's Matt Lauer and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had a really hard time buying their colleague Andrea Mitchell's line of thinking that Senator Chuck Hagel might go places by appealing to anti-war Republicans. On this morning's Today, Mitchell proclaimed of a potential presidential run by the Nebraska senator: "Hagel would give Republicans an anti-war alternative..." But just minutes later Lauer and Scarborough scoffed at that idea as even they couldn't choke down that odd bit of Andrea's analysis:
Matt Lauer: "Alright Chuck Hagel, he's a guy who's come out strongly against the war, that upset a lot of loyal Republicans and yet conservative on just about every major social issue. So what's his biggest challenge right now? Is it name recognition?"
While I'm traipsing about in the Notable Quotables archive, let's bring some context to the media's enjoyment of Mayan priests purging the "bad spirits" of Bush on his Latin America trip. If the president meets with public opposition on his trips, that can be newsworthy. But plucking out colorful anti-Bush anecdotes can demonstrate that the "news" is sometimes what the reporter is eager to find, and not the whole picture. Ten years ago, the networks were not always eager to find anti-Clinton angles on Latin America trips. Instead, in this case they used a Clinton trip to make the case that America was too obsessed with Whitewater: