The Washington Post’s Colby King took another stab Saturday at impugning and discrediting the Tea Party as a bunch of racists who are little more than an extension of the Confederacy. In a column titled “The rise of the New Confederacy,” King, a regular on Inside Washington, argued: “Today there is a New Confederacy, an insurgent political force that has captured the Republican Party and is taking up where the Old Confederacy left off in its efforts to bring down the federal government.”
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center (MRC), the publisher of NewsBusters. He’s been the central figure in the MRC’s News Analysis Division since the MRC’s 1987 founding and in 2005 spearheaded the launch of NewsBusters.
Baker oversees the selection of the award nominees and “winners” for the MRC’s “DisHonors Awards,” presented at an annual gala, and each week he helps the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard select a “Mainstream Media Scream.” (Full list of all those selected.)
In 2001, Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes dubbed Baker “the scourge of liberal bias.”
For 13 years he compiled and edited the daily CyberAlert e-mail and online report. In late May of 2009 the CyberAlert became an e-mail-only product based on BiasAlert postings on the MRC's Web site. (BiasAlerts since early 2012.)
An avid fan of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey team, in January of 2009 the Washington Post's "DC Sports Bog" took note of Baker's attendance at a Caps game with John Kerry: "The Caps, John Kerry and a Scourge."
Baker lived in Massachusetts through high school, whereupon he fled the liberal commonwealth for George Washington University in DC and, since graduation, a life in Northern Virginia. Full bio on MRC.org.
“After the President vetoed several spending bills, not one story blamed him for the shutdown, but nearly two dozen declared the GOP culpable. Furloughed workers and other ‘victims’ were featured in half the stories.” Sound familiar? That’s from a 1996 Media Research Center study on the battle between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. Yes, the current shutdown showdown is deja vu all over again in who gets blamed.
To help illustrate the very familiar media tone and approach, I’ve put three clips together out of the MRC archive, starting with Bob Schieffer anchoring the Saturday, December 16, 1995 CBS Evening News: “Well, they’ve done it again. Nine days from Christmas, Republicans have forced another partial shutdown of the government because they cannot come to an agreement with the White House on how to balance the budget.”
Resurrecting an ideological tag from the 1980s media era, on Monday’s CBS Evening News, the network’s chief Washington correspondent, Bob Schieffer, fretted over how “ultra-conservatives” in the House – a label he used twice – are making a mess of things.
In defiance of reality illustrated in numerous polls, on Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer scolded Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn when she correctly asserted “there is only partisan support” for ObamaCare. Schieffer cut her off: “Well now Congresswoman, that’s not entirely true. The polls don’t suggest that. Polls say that most people favor it.”
Never mind Rush Limbaugh’s warnings about misguided “low information voters.” CNN stumbled upon some best dubbed “zero information voters” – though one hopes they are never allowed near a ballot box.
Finding confirmation for a Kaiser Family Foundation poll which found 43 percent of those without health insurance “still have no idea about the new exchanges,” one man speculated ObamaCare “has something to do with caring about people” and another demanded to know: “I’m just wondering, as a citizen of America, how come I did not hear of this?”
PBS put its late-night leftism on display on Meet the Press when PBS host Tavis Smiley used his slot, on the Sunday morning NBC News show’s panel, to regret President Barack Obama’s supposed touting of “American Exceptionalism” and claim the presumed desire of conservatives in the House, to shut down the federal government, means “we are going to lose our democracy. It’s that serious.”
Smiley fretted that “the President recently, much to my chagrin, spoke of, advanced once again, this notion of American Exceptionalism, and clearly he isn’t the only one in town who likes to push that notion that we as Americans are exceptional.”
Imagine a major news network anchor, in 1985, telling President Reagan that five years into his presidency rising income inequality wasn’t his fault. Ludicrous, given how the media used the term Reaganomics to denigrate his policies, policies far more successful than President Obama’s in turning around an inherited poor economy.
Yet in a sit-down with Barack Obama for ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos compliantly excused Obama’s failure: “Do you look at that four and a half years in and say, maybe a President can’t stop this accelerating inequality?”
Friday in Russia, President Obama let slip that putting Congress on the hook, or in a political bind, was part of his calculus in asking for their approval for an attack on Syria, but twice on Sunday morning ABC’s George Stephanopoulos misquoted Obama’s admission. Obama maintained: “I did not put this before Congress, you know, just as a political ploy or as symbolism.”
Yet on Sunday’s Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos quoted Obama: “Listen to what he said Friday night in Russia: ‘I did not put this’ – this resolution – ‘before Congress as a political ploy or symbolism.’” Later, on This Week, he again left off the very relevant “just” as he mis-characterized Obama back to White House Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough: “He said his call to Congress was not a political ploy or symbolism.”
PBS’s Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill provided a tag team of Obama idolatry in their interview with President Barack Obama at the White House following Wednesday’s March on Washington anniversary event, gently pressing him from the left and treating him as a victim of racist opposition as Gwen Ifill forwarded the theory “you are a victim of partisan racial gridlock.”
When, in the session carried on the PBS NewsHour, Obama fretted “we have increasing inequality in this society,” Judy Woodruff buttered up Obama by first hailing how “you’ve been able to do -- help the country in many ways,” yet problems – remarkably – still remain, so “how much does it weigh on you that your policies haven’t made more of a difference in those areas?”
Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, who oversees the IRS, made the rounds of four Sunday morning TV talk shows (all but CBS’s Face the Nation) to promote President Obama’s latest “pivot” to the economy, but ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CNN’s Candy Crowley failed to take advantage of the opportunity to press him on the IRS scandal.
NBC’s David Gregory squeezed a question in at the very end of their session, but then didn’t follow up on Lew’s insistence “there’s no evidence of any political involvement.” Gregory: “Mr. Secretary, I’ll leave it there. Thank you as always.”
Once again obscuring any line between MSNBC and NBC News, Brian Williams brought frequent MSNBC contributor Joy-Ann Reid aboard Friday’s NBC Nightly News to praise President Obama’s comments on the Zimmerman-Martin case while he failed to mention she spent 2008 working for the Obama presidential campaign.
Between hailing Obama’s remarks as “extraordinary” and “brave,” Reid painted Obama as the victim of racism: “Everything about the Obama presidency, race has been a subtext to all of it. From the Tea Party which saw differently the Obama bailout of the auto industry from George W. Bush’s and suddenly became a movement, to him being called a liar in the well of the Congress, to him having to show his birth certificate...”
HBO’s The Newsroom debuts its second season tonight (Sunday) at 10 PM EDT/PDT. The preachy and sanctimonious left-wing dialogue from creator/writer Aaron Sorkin often came across as unintentional near-parody of MSNBC’s old Countdown with Keith Olbermann, none more so than in the self-righteous commentary delivered by anchor “Will McAvoy,” played by Jeff Daniels, in the first season finale.
“McAvoy” went on a diatribe about the evils of the Tea Party, a particularly alien from reality plot line given what we’ve learned since that Tea Party groups were victims of government abuse by the IRS.
See no scandal, report no scandal. Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times, came down to DC on Sunday to defend President Obama on the scandals and the economy, stressing the leaks cases is the only supposed scandal she cares about as she contended “I’m just not sure” the leaks cases, IRS and Benghazi “come together and create, you know -- quote, unquote -- ‘an atmosphere of scandal.’”
An atmosphere the New York Times is working to prevent.
Pivoting to the downside for President Obama of the swirling scandals, Meet the Press host David Gregory fretted over “a bigger issue that the President faces, which is where is his agenda left in all this?” Citing a poll showing the public thinks fixing unemployment should be a higher priority than investigations, Gregory despaired: “The President’s coming under fire for losing his scope, effectively, in a second term to rebuild America, to usher in economic restoration.”
“Well, that’s the tragedy for him. It’s a tragedy for all of us,” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman agreed.
Noting “local news stations often don’t have the resources that national stations do,” back on Monday, May 6, FNC’s Bret Baier ended his program with a clip from WJW-TV “Fox8” in Cleveland which made a creative, if not convincing, effort to recreate an event on camera.
The story was about a bear sighting in the Cleveland suburb of Moreland Hills, but, Baier explained, “unfortunately, out affiliate, WJW, did not get a shot of the bear, so instead they improvised.”
Though he had no idea what it was, the annual “Bush Center Warrior 100K” mountain bike ride, which took place over the Memorial Day weekend, upset Bill Maher. “I guess they walked or ran or something on their prosthetic limbs,” Maher sneered about George W. Bush’s ride around his Texas ranch with 20 servicemen, “and I found this to be nauseating. I mean, first he sends them off to war to get their limbs blown off and then he has them over for a barbecue.”
Maher then equated the former President with Ariel Castro, the kidnaper who held captive multiple women for a decade and murdered their un-born babies: “This is like the Cleveland guy having a pizza party for those girls he had in his basement.”
Once again demonstrating the NBC Nightly News is the broadcast arm of MSNBC, anchor Brian Williams – matching what has animated MSNBC hosts – devoted a segment to former Senator Bob Dole railing against the modern Republican Party; ie: conservatives.
With “Fighting Words” on screen, Williams on Tuesday night highlighted comments neither the ABC nor CBS evening newscasts found newsworthy, how the 89-year-old “made it clear in a rare interview this weekend the GOP of his day is unrecognizable. He thinks they should pause, rebuild and start over.”
Not a syllable Friday or Saturday night on ABC, CBS or NBC about any of the several Obama scandals, but on Saturday night ABC’s World News trumpeted President Obama’s role as “consoler-in-chief.”
With “Consoler-in-Chief” on screen, anchor David Muir announced: “President Obama will be in Moore, Oklahoma tomorrow. ABC’s Reena Ninan already there tonight as the President prepares to fill the role he so often has in the last few months.”
“Liberal media bias is an old complaint,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto noted in his “Best of the Web Today” column this past Monday on responses to the Obama scandals, before warning: “The Obama presidency has given it a new and dangerous form. Never has the prevailing bias of the media been so closely aligned with the ideological aims and political interests of the party in power.”
He recognized “the American media remain free and independent, or you would not be reading this column,” but zinged, “to a large extent they have functioned for the past few years as if they were under state control.”
Already moving on from the IRS scandal? On Thursday night, only the CBS Evening News of the broadcast network evening newscasts bothered to note how Lois Lerner, the IRS official in charge of the division which processes tax-exempt applications, was put on administrative leave after she took the Fifth and refused to answer questions at a House hearing the day before. Anchor Scott Pelley squeezed in 20 seconds on it.
Yet, ABC World News and the NBC Nightly News made room to highlight a photo of a 17-year-old Barack Obama and his prom date along with a friend and his date.