Acting as if President Barack Obama is uniquely burdened by the responsibility of protecting the nation from a terrorist attack or overseeing a war, Diane Sawyer and Bob Woodward marveled at how he’s taken on the job despite the terrible world George W. Bush left for him, in awe of his recognition that terrorists setting off a nuclear device in U.S. city would be a “game changer” and how he dictated “a six-page document” outlining Afghan war strategy – a level of presidential engagement never before seen in “American history.”
Setting up an eight-minute segment on Monday’s World News pegged to Woodward's Obama's Wars book (an abridged version ran later on Nightline), Sawyer relayed how “Woodward said, quote, ‘the saber-rattling Bush administration had not prepared for some of the worst case scenarios, ones the new President was handed in the Oval Office.’”
As if the terrorist threat was unknown, Woodward empathized with Obama: “Imagine the high of being elected on that Tuesday and then they come in two days later and say, ‘by the way, here are the secrets. It's a drumbeat. They're coming. They're planning. They're plotting. They're communicating.’”
Interviewing David Axelrod on Sunday’s This Week, Christiane Amanpour asked him to explain why “people don't appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda” that President Barack Obama has “accomplished,” then with Senator Mitch McConnell she denigrated Republican Senate candidates who are Tea Party favorites: “Are you not afraid that their somewhat, one would say, some might say bizarre statements, their sort of fringe quality might actually turn people off?” She also condescendingly demanded of McConnell: “What is Christine O'Donnell's qualification for actually governing? What is Sharron Angle's actual qualification for governing?”
In a third segment, she cued up Jordan’s Queen Rania to confirm “Islamophobia” mars America: “You've seen the reaction and the fallout from the Islamic center, but it goes broader than that. Do you see a sort of a dangerous Islamophobia in the United States?”
While she repeatedly pushed Axelrod about why Democrats were delaying a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts for “the middle class,” with McConnell she tried to discredit extending the tax rates for everyone, childishly describing how “there's also this huge thing that the people of the United States are worried about, and that is the deficit, and keeping the tax cuts will add trillions to that.”
With House Republicans set today (Thursday) to unveil their “Pledge to America” if they win a majority of seats in November, a look back at how then-NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw derided the Contract with America when it was announced on Tuesday, September 27, 1994. “Today,” Brokaw declared on the newscast he anchored from in front of the White House, “GOP congressional candidates were summoned to Washington and given a battle plan. However, as NBC's Lisa Myers tells us tonight, it is long on promises, but short on sound premises.”
In the subsequent story, Myers cited the GOP's promise of “tax cuts for just about everyone” while also pledging “more money for defense and a balanced budget amendment.” She countered: “An independent budget expert called it standard political bunk.” Myers also poked at term limits, noting Newt Gingrich “already has served 16 years...Gingrich said any term limit bill will apply only to future members of Congress.” She mused in concluding her piece: “And politicians wonder why voters are cynical.”
Video clip, from the MRC's videotape archive, is of Brokaw's introduction followed by the entire story from Myers. Audio: MP3 clip. Extra treat: The video begins with a Today show promo narrated by Katie Couric: “The latest on the OJ Simpson case. Can celebrities get a fair trial?”
“Star power: Three megawatt political giants hit the campaign trail,” Diane Sawyer touted at the top of Tuesday’s World News, focusing on “First Lady Michelle Obama now joining former President Bill Clinton and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the power hitters on the campaign trail.” Yet, ABC advanced the hope Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton offer Democratic election prospects, while treating Sarah Palin as an after-thought and painting her as just a self-promoter, all before a giddy Sawyer turned to George Stephanopoulos to expound on Bill Clinton’s brilliance: “Let's talk about former President Clinton's advice to President Obama – is he going to take it?”
Jonathan Karl relayed “we learn on a day that the White House also announced that the First Lady is about to hit the campaign trail. The White House calls her the ‘Closer.’ And with time running out for congressional Democrats, they're sending her in.” Plus, “former President Bill Clinton is out on the campaign trail, too, and now he's offering the President some free advice” to ask voters to give Democrats two more years and only vote them out in 2012 if they fail to deliver.
ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full stories Monday night on how an old video clip showed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about how, as a high-schooler, she had “dabbled into witchcraft.” CBS, however, used O’Donnell to pivot to marveling at how other Tea Party-affiliated Senate candidates remain viable despite what CBS considers exotic views.
“Christine O'Donnell's witchcraft comments may have spooked some Republican leaders,” Nancy Cordes related on the CBS Evening News, “but her fellow Tea Party Senate candidates are living prove that unusual assertions are not necessarily campaign killers.” Cordes elaborated with some contestable summaries of positions expressed:
Take Kentucky's Rand Paul who questioned the historic civil rights act, but is still tied with the Democrat in a recent poll. Nevada's Sharron Angle is neck and neck with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even after she advocated an armed insurrection against the government. And Utah attorney Mike Lee is crushing his Democratic rival even though Lee favors dismantling Social Security and eliminating unemployment benefits. Priorities he shares with Alaska's Joe Miller.
In selecting which excerpts, from his sit-down with former President Jimmy Carter, to showcase on Monday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams began with the not so humble boast from Carter that “I feel that my role as a former President is probably superior to that of other Presidents, primarily because of the activism and the injection of the Carter Center into international affairs,” but also decided to highlight Carter's blast at Fox News for “totally distorting everything possible concerning the facts” and having “no regard for the truth.”
Williams cued up Carter, who is making the rounds of friendly media to promote his new book, White House Diary: “How do you think it came to be that such high numbers of people believe that this American-born Christian President is either foreign born or a Muslim or both?” Carter answered:
I think the number one factor is Fox News. It's totally distorting everything possible concerning the facts. And I think their constant hammering away at these false premises about our incumbent President has a major impact on the consciousness of America. A lot of well-meaning people, including many of those in the Tea Party movement, believe what is said in this constant hammering away by Glenn Beck and by others who have no regards for the truth.
CBS broke into summer re-runs of 60 Minutes to let Lesley Stahl promote Jimmy Carter’s new book, White House Diary, which he maintained delivers “absolute unadulterated frankness” and which she described as an “often harsh critique” of his presidential term. She, however, was far from harsh toward him.
Noting an “image of ‘a failed President’ haunts the Carters,” Stahl trumpeted: “Carter argues that despite the image of failure, he actually had a long list of successes, starting with bringing all the hostages home alive,” as if that wasn’t because of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration. Stahl proceeded to tout as a success his installation of “solar panels on the roof of the White House.”
Absolving Carter of responsibility, Stahl contended he “was cursed by a dismal economy, poor relations with Congress, and a nightmarish standoff over 52 Americans held hostage by Iran.” Yet, “when all is said and done, and many will be surprised to hear this,” Stahl insisted, “Jimmy Carter got more of his programs passed than Reagan and Nixon, Ford, Bush 1, Clinton or Bush 2.” She empathized with his treatment from an unappreciative public: “And yet, as I say, there's the sense that you were a failed President.”
On Wednesday, CBS’s Bob Schieffer contended the rise of Tea Party candidates “is very much like 1964” when the Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater who “was far to the right of most of the people in his party, and they lost in a landslide.” On Sunday morning, another liberal media thinker moved ahead eight years to forward George McGovern’s 1972 Democratic debacle as the proper analogy: “Sarah Palin is really the Republicans' George McGovern.” (So, does that make Barack Obama the modern day Richard Nixon?)
On ABC’s This Week, when host Christiane Amanpour wondered if the Tea Party is “a fad” or “something much deeper?”, Peter Beinart, former top editor of The New Republic and now a senior political writer for The Daily Beast, as well as an associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York, asserted:
The Tea Party is now the Republican Party. I mean I think what we're seeing in the Republican Party is something akin to what happened to the Democratic Party between 1968 and 1972 in which the forces of George McGovern took over the Democratic Party, overthrew the Democratic Party establishment and moved it substantially to the left.
Newsweek veteran Evan Thomas, who announced a few weeks ago his intention to leave the financially-failing magazine and teach journalism at Princeton, issued a ringing call – in defense of federal spending – for why he hopes Congress and President Obama cannot agree on extending any of the Bush tax cuts, so income tax rates rise next year:
God knows the federal government desperately needs that revenue, so this is one case where I think gridlock is a good thing.
Not exactly in line with the thinking of Tea Party voters. (Audio: MP3 clip)
On this weekend’s Inside Washington, the magazine’s former Washington bureau chief, Assistant Managing Editor and, most-recently, editor-at-large, encapsulated the political/media class’s priority – keeping government spending safe – as he argued:
“There are calls for a criminal investigation of another rising GOP star,” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News, after citing Sarah Palin's speaking appearance in Iowa, as she elevated a publicity gimmick from a left-wing organization staffed by veterans of Democratic congressional offices. Though O'Donnell “took the spotlight today at a conservative summit in Washington,” Couric warned: “There may be trouble ahead for her. A watchdog group intends to call Monday for a criminal investigation of what it says is her chronic abuse of campaign funds.”
Reporter Nancy Cordes painted O'Donnell as a hypocrite, charging that “even as she preached a return to fiscal conservatism, O'Donnell's own unorthodox spending habits were starting to come under heavy scrutiny,” asserting “the unemployed O'Donnell used campaign funds to pay for meals, gas, bowling trips, and personal rent, even long after the campaign had ended.”
Cordes legitimized CREW by misleadingly describing the obviously liberal outfit as “the non-partisan watchdog group” which “is urging the U.S. attorney in Delaware to open a criminal investigation.” Sloan got a second soundbite to declare: “It's not sloppiness, it's out-and-out theft.”
ABC’s World News whored itself out Thursday night to a hapless effort by the White House to prove its “stimulus” spending created a lot of jobs. “Still ahead on World News,” an easily impressed Diane Sawyer hyped, “We have the list! That White House stimulus, the top success stories. An exclusive report.” Jon Karl proceeded to highlight “the greatest hits of the stimulus program,” including a payout to the owner of MSNBC, but the White House examples he touted totaled a piddling 418 jobs.
Sawyer announced the “President's stimulus program” of $818 billion was “designated to create or save millions of jobs” and though “Republicans say it's been largely unsuccessful,” the “White House is firing back, and our Jon Karl has a look at the top of the list, the ones that have worked the best.” Previewing a report to be released Friday by the Vice President’s office, “100 Recovery Act Projects that Are Changing America” (AP dispatch), Karl trumpeted how “the White House will detail the top 100 stimulus programs in the country. We have an exclusive list at what they considered the greatest hits of the stimulus program.”
Karl began with a project in New Jersey “where a toxic area contaminated by an old electronics plant is being transformed into a new industrial park, thanks to $30 million stimulus dollars” and, he raved, “the project has already created 68 jobs.”
Following a story on how “big primary victories by fringe candidates open a rift in the GOP,” in which Jeff Greenfield warned “moderate Republicans worry that if the Tea Party movement drives the GOP too far to the right, it could jeopardize their prospects in November and in 2012,” CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric fretted: “Does this mean moderate Republicans are becoming an endangered species?”
Hardly an original thought, however, from Couric. From a quick perusal of the MRC's archive, I discovered that on NBC's Today show back in 2005 she worried about whether “the religious right has too much influence on the Republican Party” and, after listing some non-conservative positions held by “moderate Republican” Senator Arlen Specter, empathized with him: “Do you feel like an endangered species these days?” (Specter, of course, a few years later fled the GOP for the Democratic Party where he was promptly defeated in their primary.)
Couric teased Thursday's newscast by characterizing conservative Republican winners as “fringe” players: “The party crashers. Big primary victories by fringe candidates open a rift in the GOP.”
The night after a Tea Party candidate in Delaware stunned the GOP establishment, the CBS Evening News blamed voter “anger,” tried to marginalize Christine O'Donnell as an “ultra-conservative,” relayed the contention of establishment Republicans that Tea Party wins will lead to a re-run of the GOP's 1964 debacle, and highlighted how more Americans blame George W. Bush over President Barack Obama for the economy followed by how most side with Obama on not extending the current tax rates for those earning $250,000 or more.
All in a day's work for Katie Couric.
She led by declaring “American voters are in one angry mood” as “nearly three out of four registered voters say they're dissatisfied with or angry about what's going on in Washington,” though the new CBS News/New York Times poll actually found just as many “satisfied” as angry and twice as many “dissatisfied but not angry” over “angry.”
In the lead story, Nancy Cordes described how Christine O'Donnell “beat a veteran moderate Congressman who was considered a general election shoo-in” while “polls show O'Donnell's ultra-conservative social views make her a decided underdog in this blue-leaning state.” Her proof of O'Donnell's “ultra-conservative” views: a vintage video clip in which O'Donnell sounded eerily like Jimmy Carter: “Lust in your heart is committing adultery.” Following a soundbite of a Delaware Republican saying he'll vote for the Democrat, Cordes identified O'Donnell's November opponent sans any ideological tag: “And that's giving new life to the Democrat in the race, Chris Coons.”
NBC tonight (10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT) debuts a new drama, Outlaw, centered on a conservative Supreme Court justice who, as a gambler and a philander, is a hypocrite played by Jimmy Smits. Realizing his political misdirection, he resigns from the court so he can become a crusading lawyer for liberal causes. But the program is so awful, even MSM TV critics are ridiculing it. (Joe Scarborough has at least one cameo in it.) “The show is so ludicrously dumb that your eyeballs will hurt from rolling so much,” Hank Stuever warned in Tuesday's Washington Post.
In USA Today, Robert Bianco pleaded: “Surely NBC's joking. There's awful, and then there's atrociously, hilariously awful -- a line NBC and Jimmy Smits soar across with Outlaw.” He proceeded to describe the show's premise:
A gambling, womanizing, conservative Supreme Court justice who chucks the court to become a crusader for the outcast and oppressed? That's not a prime-time show, it's a Saturday Night Live sketch. We meet Smits' Justice Cyrus Garza as he's being thrown out of a casino for counting cards. Outside, he stops to debate a case he's due to decide with a pretty ACLU protester (because you know those justices, yak, yak, yak) -- whom he then beds. But her words move him, and he resigns to become a trial lawyer.
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus raced to her keyboard on Tuesday night to express her upset with the result of the Republican Senate primary in Delaware. In “Why Christine O'Donnell's victory is scary,” posted at 10:15 PM EDT on the paper’s “PostPartisan” blog for its opinion writers, she seemed more scared by Mike Castle’s defeat than by Christine O’Donnell’s win.
While Democrats may be “delighted” by the prospect of facing O’Donnell, Marcus declared: “I’m despondent.” But not, of course, because it means the Democratic candidate will beat O’Donnell. No, the Post’s deputy national editor from 1999 to 2002 (bio) is “despondent” because it ends her dream of “a more robust cadre of moderate Republicans” in the Senate and the “ripple effect” means incumbent Republicans “will be that much more watchful of protecting their right flank,” which will cause them to “be that much less likely to take a political risk in the direction of bipartisanship.” Horrors.
Indeed, Marcus feared “a bolstered Jim DeMint caucus, following the disturbingly powerful junior senator from South Carolina: Sharron Angle (Nev.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Ken Buck (Colo.) -- plus the two other incumbent-slayers of the primary season, Mike Lee in Utah and in Joe Miller in Alaska. Scary.”
Emily Lenzner, Executive Director of Communications at ABC News for its DC-based shows, who spent eight months in 2007-2008 as editorial producer for This Week with George Stephanopoulos (for whom she also toiled inside the Clinton White House), has left ABC News for Anita Dunn's “strategic communications firm.” SKDKnickerbocker announced Monday she'll be a Managing Director with the firm led by Dunn, the Obama administration's Communications Director in 2009. SKDKnickerbocker's “About” page boasts:
We helped Barack Obama by being the only firm in America to do direct mail and television advertising for his 2008 presidential victory. We helped SEIU fight to stave off millions of dollars of healthcare cuts.
Their “Case Studies” page, which touts work for a bunch of liberal candidates, highlights “FAR-REACHING ROLE IN ELECTION: Obama for America.” That page trumpets: “No other firm had as far-reaching a role in President Obama's election...with Anita Dunn serving as one of the top officials of the campaign and the firm producing both television advertising and direct mail for the campaign.”
Giving Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer an unusual evening newscast platform to plug a book, on Monday’s NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams brought viewers back to the Left’s ten-year-old grudge, cuing up Breyer to agree: “Do you think Bush v Gore hurt the credibility of the modern court?” Breyer replied with a simple “yes” and Williams suggested: “Irreparably?” “No,” Breyer said in rejecting Williams’ overwrought premise, so Williams pressed: “For how long?”
Williams introduced the September 13 segment by marveling:
We can’t remember a sitting justice on the U.S. Supreme Court ever stopping by our studios here, but it happened today. We spent some time with Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Clinton and residing on the liberal side of the court. Justice Breyer is out with a new book today. It’s about how the court works, including mistakes the court has made over the years. I started out by asking Justice Breyer, given his love of the Supreme Court, if he's concerned that just one percent of those Americans polled, in a recent survey, knew his name?
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour used Sunday’s This Week to again shame Americans for their presumed irrational intolerance and Islamophobia as she railed against the ignorance of too many Americans, provided a friendly forum to Iman Faisal Abdul Rauf, whom she prompted to ridicule Sarah Palin, and then brought aboard a group of three “leading thinkers on faith” to “discuss religious tolerance and Islamophobia in America.” That brings Amanpour’s show tally to six guests in favor of the Ground Zero mosque versus zero opposed (four today, two on the August 22 program).
Unmentioned by Amanpour or her guests: A report presented Friday by former 9/11 Commission Co-Chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton about, according to Reuters, a needed “wake-up call about the radicalization of Muslims in the United States.” The report warned: “The U.S. is arguably now little different from Europe in terms of having a domestic terrorist problem involving immigrant and indigenous Muslims as well as converts to Islam.”
At the top of Sunday’s show, Amanpour noted the 9/11 anniversary and used it to frame her agenda: “Nine years later, the growing hostility towards American Muslims.” In a lengthy set-up piece leading into Rauf, Amanpour fretted that “the plans to build an Islamic center close to Ground Zero have whipped up anti-Muslim sentiment” and insisted: “Not since 9/11 has the country seen such anti-Muslim fervor.” She asserted “Muslim-Americans are feeling vulnerable, with attacks on mosques in California, Wisconsin, and Tennessee. And the latest fuel poured on the fire, a threat to burn Korans...” And “these tumultuous events have created a global backlash. From Washington, to the Vatican, to Afghanistan.”
For the American Spectator online, Quin Hillyer, one of the speakers, wrote an informative piece on what he described as “the single best compendium of American conservative movement beliefs” and its adoption at a gathering of about 90 college students and a few 30-something “elders” (including MRC President L. Brent Bozell III's father) at William F. Buckley Jr.’s home in Sharon, Connecticut.
In a piece in Friday’s Investor’s Business Daily, “The Magnificent Legacy of the YAF,” K.E. Grubbs Jr. recalled “M. Stanton Evans was charged with drafting a statement of principles” and observed: “The Sharon Statement would last as the late 20th century's single most elegant distillation of conservative principles.”
Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf chose ABC's Christiane Amanpour to spend “several hours” with on Thursday in New York City, and just as she did back on the August 22 This Week when she featured Rauf's wife and an ally, she again served as his public relations agent, forwarding his claims without challenge. After passing along his denial of any deal to move his project, Amanpour gushingly relayed meaningless blather about his great concern: “The imam went on to tell me that this whole issue is so sensitive because he has to really take care of sensitivities here in the United States and abroad.”
Amanpour proceeded to tout that he's now back from an overseas trip “all about interfaith dialogue and trying to reach the moderates,” and he warned, as he did on Wednesday's Larry King Live, that if he doesn't get his way Muslims will murder Americans. Amanpour, however, didn't describe that as a protection racket or suggest he's employing blackmail. Instead, she just paraphrased his spin that his warning -- about his vanity – is “a matter of vital national security” to the U.S.:
He says that this has become a huge international issue, the issue over the Islamic center in Manhattan and also the threatened Koran burning. And so everybody, all over the world, not just here in the United States, is watching. And he felt, and he said to me, that he thought it was a matter of vital national security not to give in or to move that Islamic center.
“Anti-Muslim bigotry is a problem, but it is only exacerbated by the media's tendency to exaggerate and sensationalize it,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto observed Wednesday in looking at the media’s focus on the threat, to burn Qur’ans, by one widely condemned Florida pastor with barely a few dozen followers. On Wednesday night, for the second night in a row, two of the three broadcast network evening news shows led with Terry Jones (ABC and CBS on Tuesday, CBS and NBC on Wednesday.)
But what I found amusing is how network journalists decided Sarah Palin, the Pope – and even Pat Robertson – are now sources of wisdom worth publicizing. Over aerial video of the Vatican (screen capture below), Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News: “Tonight, despite condemnation from the Vatican and a personal plea from Muslims, that Christian minister in Florida is going ahead with plans to burn copies of the Qur'an.”
“This is the news,” an excited Diane Sawyer announced on ABC, “not only is Billy Graham's son Franklin trying to reach out to him, so is Sarah Palin.” Terry Moran relayed how “late today, Sarah Palin tweeted her opposition, writing: ‘Please stand down.’ And long-time televangelist Pat Robertson blasted Pastor Jones this morning.”
If your income tax rate stays the same next year, would you consider that a “tax cut”? ABC anchor Diane Sawyer sure seems to think so. Adopting the Obama/Democratic spin as fact, that maintaining the same income tax rates in place since 2003 constitutes a “tax cut,” even though taxpayers would pay the same amount on the same income, she led Wednesday's ABC World News:
It will be the big battle to the finish line in November, and this is the question: How big a tax cut will you get next year?
In her very text sentence, however, she incongruently, but accurately, recognized Obama's wish to return rates for some to their pre-2003 level would constitute a hike: “And should taxes increase on the wealthiest Americans?”
As if Huffington’s book does any such thing, Sawyer wondered: “What if we pulled together in one place all the innovative ideas for creating jobs?” The generous on-screen heading beneath Huffington’s picture: “Change Agent.” After highlighting Huffington’s wish to absolve troubled mortgage-holders of much of their responsibility, Sawyer trumpeted:
Arianna Huffington's new book is called Third World America, and on her Web site, she's been gathering innovative solutions to keep that Third World from happening.
The articles posted on the Huffington Post page with “innovative solutions,” a page the ABC segment displayed, sound more like the usual liberal carping: “Work Until You're Dead? That May Be the Only Option for Many Americans,” “Thousands Crowd Atlanta Area Housing Authority for Section 8 WAITING LIST, Fights Break Out,” “The 10 Highest-Paid CEOs Who Laid Off the Most Workers: Institute for Policy Studies” and “Income Inequality: ‘The Most Profound Change In American Society In Your Lifetime.’”
Reporting ABC News President David Westin's plan to step down at the end of the year, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz noted “some early missteps” during his 13-year tenure, such as “a comment after the Sept. 11 attacks, for which Westin apologized, that journalists should offer no opinion about whether the Pentagon had been a legitimate military target.”
That apology was promoted by an MRC CyberAlert item in October of 2001 which put into play an answer Westin delivered during a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism seminar. Barely six weeks after the 9/11 attack, Westin was remarkably reticent about expressing an opinion, contending that's improper for a journalist to do so – how quaint:
The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....Our job is to determine what is, not what ought to be and when we get into the job of what ought to be I think we’re not doing a service to the American people....As a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.
With the rise of the Tea Party, their push for constitutional limits on government power and admiration for the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, I thought I’d use this last holiday of the summer as an opportunity to post an item from the MRC’s archive which exposed how a major cable network once tried to discredit George Washington’s moral authority in history, and thus the legitimacy of the Revolutionary War.
In an A&E movie, aired in 2000, on George Washington crossing the Delaware, The Crossing, he is persuaded that just like the hired-gun Hessians, his opposition to British taxes means he too is fighting “for profit.” Jeff Daniels, playing George Washington, decries the Hessians: “You want me to weep for those bastards, men who kill for profit?” General Nathanial Greene counters: “Our own cause is, at its heart, a fight against British taxation, is it not? In the end sir, we all kill for profit -- the British and the Hessians, and us.” That convinces Washington.
“That spin is no surprise,” a 2000 MRC CyberAlert item noted, “when you learn that the screenplay was written by a communist. Really.”
The late Peter Jennings, shortly after the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994: “Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week.”
Washington Post Associate Editor Eugene Robinson, a frequent guest analyst on MSNBC, in his Friday column on polls showing voters will throw out Democrats, again, in November: “This isn't an ‘electoral wave,’ it's a temper tantrum.”
More Jennings from 1994: “Parenting and governing don't have to be dirty words: the nation can't be run by an angry two-year-old.”
And more from Robinson this year: “The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.”
Filling in for Bob Schieffer as host of Face the Nation, Early Show co-host Harry Smith brought his liberal sensibilities to the Sunday show, pressing his economic panel to agree the Bush tax cuts should not be extended, the stimulus was too small and so another would be wise – even suggesting a return to an FDR-era government make-work jobs program: “What about, say, something like a new WPA?”
Presuming the pre-2003 levels are the real rates, Smith questioned Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times: “Is now the time to continue cutting taxes if there is this overwhelming deficit out there?” He soon cued up White House economic adviser Laura Tyson to agree with his premise: “Should the Bush tax cuts stay in place for the middle class but be rescinded for the top wage earners?”
Turning back to Morgenson, Smith showed exasperation with public opposition to government spending programs as he wondered if the stimulus wasn’t big enough:
I want to go back to the stimulus because as so many of these Congress folks are going back out of their districts and people complain about the size of government, they're complaining about the deficit, they're complaining about TARP and who knows what all else. As we're standing here looking at it right now, just if you can step away, was the stimulus big enough?
A Washington Post news story earlier this week served to demonstrate that mainstream media journalists apply the same prism overseas as they do domestically when covering illegal immigration and the Ground Zero mosque: When an overwhelming majority of the public goes against the media’s position, journalists see division and portray politicians sharing the majority position as causing rancor.
Case in a point: An article from Paris on page A6 of the Tuesday, August 31, Washington Post, “Crackdown on Roma divides French: Unease grows as Sarkozy razes camps, expels residents,” in which the newspaper’s Edward Cody led: “Much of France has returned from summer vacation in a rancorous mood, disturbed by a crackdown ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy against illegal Roma camps and naturalized immigrant youths who attack police in troubled suburbs.” Yes, the French people are “disturbed” that the police are reacting against immigrants who attack them.
Cody proceeded to assert “the unease over the action against illegal Roma immigrants, most from Romania and Bulgaria, has been particularly strong, with the expulsions drawing criticism at home and abroad.” Indeed, “for many, such policies undermine France's idea of itself as a haven for exiles and a beacon for human rights. Similar fears of intolerance were raised in July when, at Sarkozy's urging, the National Assembly passed a law banning women from wearing full-face Islamic veils in public.”
The Labor Department announced the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a point, to 9.6 percent in August so, as the AP noted, it “has exceeded 9 percent for 16 straight months,” while the economy lost 54,000 jobs. Yet, without avoiding the dire numbers, ABC, CBS and NBC managed to find a “mixed picture,” “mixed bag” or even a “silver lining” for President Obama and Democrats two months before election day.
“It's a mixed picture here, but it's giving some encouragement to those who are out there looking, some who are hanging onto their jobs and their businesses by a thread,” Brian Williams insisted on Friday's NBC Nightly News. On the CBS Evening News, fill-on anchor Erica Hill saw “a bit of a mixed bag” before Anthony Mason asserted that “weak as the job numbers were, they were better than Wall Street expected” and he touted: “With American businesses creating 67,000 jobs in August, the private sector has now added jobs for eight straight months.”
Over on ABC, fill-in anchor David Muir elevated Obama's spin, teasing World News: “More jobs lost and the President, just today, taking the Republicans on. Are they standing in the way?” He introduced the subsequent story: “This country lost another 54,000 jobs in August, and the President today took on the Republicans, saying they're the ones blocking help for small business.”
In a list of famous Americans with a parent (or both) born in another country, the un-bylined last page “Back Story” of this week’s Newsweek listed “BARACK OBAMA (Kenyan Father)” on the page headlined: “What’s So Scary About an ‘Anchor Baby’?” The brief text below the headline, and on top of the diaper, made clear the magazine’s attempt to undermine those suggesting citizenship should no longer be automatically conferred on anyone born within the United States:
There’s a movement afoot to alter the 14th amendment, the one that guarantees citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil. Combine this with anti-immigrant policies like Arizona’s and you begin to question the idea of America as a melting pot -- as a nation of mothers and fathers welcomed here to seek better lives. But the country has benefited richly from their sons and daughters (right).
An “anchor baby” is a child born to parents in the U.S. illegally, so is the magazine suggesting that Obama’s father, as well as parents of the 32 others in their list, were all illegal aliens at the time of the births of their famous offspring? Talk about flinging scurrilous allegations and encouraging the “birther” crowd.