In a confounding decision, the Republican candidates agreed to a second debate, to be held tonight in Tampa, moderated by NBC’s Brian Williams who, along with Politico’s John Harris, back on September 7 repeatedly peppered the then-larger Republican presidential field with liberal talking points and Democratic agenda items. Below, an excerpt from my September 8 post, with illustrative video:
Williams hit Texas Governor Rick Perry from the left on his state’s poor economic indicators (“no other state has more working at or below the minimum wage”) , chastised him for cutting education funding and, citing how “your state has executed 234 death row inmates,” demanded to know whether he’s “struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?” More examples and video below.
Given his high unfavorable rating, Newt Gingrich “cannot win a national election,” MSNBC’s very liberal host Lawrence O’Donnell insisted early Saturday night when it became clear Gingrich would win the South Carolina primary, “it’s impossible.” O’Donnell’s assessment, however, is held beyond left-wingers animating MSNBC shows.
Saturday night, Fox News veteran Brit Hume asserted: “Republicans in Congress will be terrified to run with this man for fear they will lose the House and the Senate.” Sunday morning on ABC, George Will imagined “people are waking up who are running for office as Republicans – from dog-catcher to Senate – and they’re saying, ‘good God, Newt Gingrich might be at top of this ticket.’”
Newt Gingrich wouldn’t have won the South Carolina primary if not for two journalists who served as his perfect foil at two debates in the days before Saturday’s contest, Juan Williams and Charles Krauthammer contended Saturday evening on FNC.
“I was expecting a check,” quipped Williams who had challenged Gingrich Monday night about comments “intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities.” Williams suggested he and CNN’s John King, “the guy who asked him about his problems with his second wife,” split the check 50-50.
Bill Moyers returned this month to PBS stations to once again peddle his far-left hatred of conservatives. On Friday night he took to HBO to discredit the Republican presidential field with the first refuge of liberals unable to sustain an argument: racial smears.
To Bill Maher’s delight, Moyers charged “the delusional fringe has come in from the margin and runs” the Republican Party before he alleged Newt Gingrich is “playing the race card” and so, he maintained, in some sort of attempt at humor: “I would have been very glad that I saved my Confederate money because if he is elected in November, I’ve got enough to get access to the White House, you know – of Confederate money.” Very funny.
Diane Sawyer remains enthralled with the far-left “Occupy” protesters. Last October she championed “the Occupy Wall Street movement” by ludicrously claiming “it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries -- every continent but Antarctica.” (There are fewer than 200 nations.)
On Tuesday night, she trumpeted “Occupy igloos” at “Camp Igloo” – in Switzerland, not Antarctica.
“With Huntsman gone,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl despaired Monday night, “the field of Republican candidates has lost the only candidate who favored civil unions for gay couples and said he was concerned about climate change.” In his World News report, Karl recalled how Hunstman once “tweeted: ‘To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.’”
Over on the CBS Evening News, Jan Crawford noted how Huntsman was more popular with the news media than with Republicans: “Huntsman’s campaign never really took off, except among newspaper editorial boards.”
CBS’s Bob Schieffer decided his viewers needed a special warning about how far out of the mainstream an upcoming guest dwells, plugging at the top of Sunday’s Face the Nation how he’d have as guests Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – and then: “for context on how it’s going, we’ll bring in South Carolina’s very conservative Senator, Jim DeMint.”
Another bit of evidence emerged Thursday about how deeply ingrained anti-conservative hatred is inside America’s newspapers, even amongst those who don’t cover politics.
John Kelly, a Washington Post lifestyle columnist inside the “Metro” section best-known for raising money for Children’s National Medical Center and Sunday “Answer Man” columns about DC-area history, used the passing of a local radio legend to disparage syndicated radio hosts as “right-wing nutjobs unspooling their wacky conspiracy theories.” (Hat tip: DCRTV)
ABC on Tuesday night decided to showcase one guy yelling at Mitt Romney, as if it proved how media-liberal distortions of Mitt Romney’s “I like to fire people” remark will surely hurt him and follow him to South Carolina. Reporter David Muir showed video of Romney, in the middle of a crowd, holding a baby.
“But if you rewind the tape and play up the sound,” Muir explained from Manchester in setting up a re-play. Viewers then heard the voice of one man shouting: “Are you going to fire the baby? Are you going to fire the baby?” ABC helpfully put those words on screen.
Sad news came Sunday (January 8) that Tony Blankley, the long-time leading conservative thinker, author and columnist, who served House Speaker Newt Gingrich and later ran the editorial pages for the Washington Times, passed away at age 63.
In pointing out how Barack Obama only won in 2008 by a slim margin, so this year’s Republican nominee doesn’t have to win over all that many Americans, ABC’s Jake Tapper on Sunday morning listed the media amongst the factors “going” for Obama four years ago: “You had the media, perhaps, tilting on the scales a little bit.”
That’s an understatement, but a noteworthy realization when it comes from the chief White House correspondent for a major network.
An hour before CNN screamed “Breaking News” Thursday night over the Boston Globe’s endorsement of Jon Huntsman (basically for not being “pushed” to the right like Mitt Romney), the CBS Evening News trumpeted the presidential bid by Huntsman who “has flown under the radar, despite his impressive resume. He's the chopper-riding popular two-term Governor of Utah with a picture-perfect family...”
Reporter Bill Whitaker’s glowing story hailed Huntsman’s economic plan as “deemed best of the campaign by the Wall Street Journal,” before approvingly touting: “Unlike most of the Republican field, he believes humans contribute to climate change.” Whitaker soon cued up Huntsman to confirm: “You’ve also called yourself ‘the sane Republican.’”
Showing how no left-wing effort to raise taxes is too silly or embarrassing for ABC News to embrace, World News on Wednesday night jumped to promote a Web video, created by a group founded by a former Howard Dean operative and “featured contributor” to the Huffington Post (Rick Jacobs), to impose a higher state income tax rate on Californians earning over $1 million.
“First it was Warren Buffett,” anchor Diane Sawyer glowed in citing her hero, “and now it is reality TV star Kim Kardashian. What could they have in common? Both center stage on the question of fairness in the way the country taxes the rich versus the middle class. Some big unions in California have created an ad saying people like Kim Kardashian are the reason the tax code has to change.”
In a series of CBS Evening News reports Monday night on how the top Republican presidential contenders plan to reduce the deficit, reporter Dean Reynolds pleaded to Newt Gingrich: “Absolutely no tax increases?”
Reynolds proceeded to note “critics are doubtful” about the impact of Gingrich’s plans to reduce regulations and cut federal spending: “They say that fewer regulations could spur some productivity, but they also say that to really reduce the deficit you would have to include some combination of spending cuts and tax increases.”
Three weeks after CBS’s 60 Minutes delivered a friendly sit-down with President Barack Obama in which Steve Kroft gently chided him for being too willing to compromise with Republicans, the show didn’t even attempt a matching approach to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Instead, Lesley Stahl relayed a portrait painted by liberals (“He’s working on humanizing his image, and presenting himself as more reasonable”) as she blamed him for “gridlock” and offered a caricature of Cantor as an “inflexible” ideologue putting Tea Party politics ahead of passing Obama’s beneficial policies.
Stahl abandoned any pretense of journalistic objectivity, repeatedly pressing Cantor to “compromise” – to agree with Obama on the rationality of raising taxes more, touting how even Ronald Reagan had recognized the need to hike taxes.
In her next to last week hosting This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour moderated a show-long debate, touted as “The Great American Debates,” devoted to the proposition: “There’s Too Much Government.” George Will and Congressman Paul Ryan took up the affirmative case, squaring off against Robert Reich and Congressman Barney Frank. But Amanpour was hardly neutral.
She began by framing the debate around the “conundrum” that “people who oppose big government still want to collect their entitlements” and, without any matching ideological policy arguments presented to Reich and Frank, pressed Ryan and Will with liberal contentions, such as how “during the Great Depression the government did create big programs to get people back to work. Why shouldn’t they do that right now, why shouldn’t there be that kind of action?”
A departure tonight from my usual Saturday offerings of news media/politics-related humor clips. Instead, something a bit more light-hearted about an until now un-chronicled historic breakthrough.
Tom Hanks has produced a bunch of HBO mini-series, including Band of Brothers, The Pacific and John Adams, and Thursday night on CBS’s Late Show he made some fun of himself as he presented a promotional clip for a new “mini-series event” in which he will star. It will tell the story of “Bert Loomis,” inventor of a certain revolutionary breakfast food product.
“After 13 years with ABC News, correspondent Jim Sciutto is leaving the network and TV news. He’s moving to China where he’ll be Chief of Staff to U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke,” TVNewser’s Chris Ariens reported Thursday in noting the latest journalist to join the Obama administration, this time working for Locke, the former Democratic Governor of Washington.
Sciutto should certainly feel comfortable promoting Obama’s interests and how he is a blessing to the world since that’s what he used his ABC News position to do. The night after Obama’s inauguration, for instance, Sciutto delivered a piece for World News with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring “world peace” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!”
The passing Thursday of Christopher Hitchens, at age 62 from cancer, reminded me of one of his finest moments, which occurred on a Friday night five-and-a-half years ago when he gave the finger to the pretentious, left-wing Los Angeles studio audience of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.
As he laid out the case for how it’s Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who wants World War Three, not George W. Bush, Hitchens cited how Ahmadinejad “says the Messiah is about to come back.” Maher quipped: “So does George Bush, by the way.” That caused a loud eruption of audience applause and cheering, which led Maher to clarify: “That's not facetious.”
CBS’s Steve Kroft challenged President Barack Obama a few times during the two-part 60 Minutes interview aired Sunday night, but managed to ignore the scandals (Solyndra, Fast & Furious and collapse of MF Global run by ally Jon Corzine) while mostly cuing up Obama to knock down criticism of him or pressing him with complaints from the left that he hasn’t done or gone far enough: “They thought that you were gonna be bolder.”
“Since the midterm elections, you made an effort at bipartisanship. It hasn’t worked out that way,” Kroft fretted in crediting Obama with the noble effort before seemingly conveying the liberal complaint the stimulus didn’t spend enough: “There’s a general perception that the stimulus was not enough. That it really didn’t work.”
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour just can’t comprehend why Jon Huntsman, with his “eminently sensible” anti-conservative positions, could be losing to Newt Gingrich who is full of “bombast” and “does say some pretty alarming things, some might say outrageous things.” More upsetting, Hunstman is supposedly “reversing” himself on those “eminently sensible positions.”
Interviewing Huntsman, who appeared from the Granite State, Amanpour noted on Sunday’s This Week that “you are at the bottom of the pack despite the fact that some independents, for instance, in New Hampshire call you the sanest one running,” yet “ what you’re offering does not seem to be resonating. It appears that the Newt Gingrich, sort of bombast and brash in your face against Obama, is what’s resonating.”
“In the presidential campaign,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley announced Thursday night, “President Obama fired back today at Republican opponents who criticized his foreign policy using words like ‘timid,’ ‘weak’ and ‘appeasement.’”
Over on ABC, fill-in anchor David Muir trumpeted “a very pointed response from President Obama” to the charge he’s had a weak foreign policy as an admiring Muir maintained “you can almost see him choosing his words as the question is asked.” Both then played Obama’s response from a late morning news conference:
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday evening promised a look “back at some of the hits, runs and errors” of Newt Gingrich’s years as Speaker of the House, but other than a sentence from Lisa Myers about how “working with President Clinton, Gingrich piled up real achievements: a balanced budget, an historic welfare reform,” she focused her entire piece on how “his speakership also was marked by chaos, polarization, and incendiary remarks.”
Her first witness: NBC’s own Joe Scarborough, who feigned concern that Gingrich “hurt the Republican Party and more importantly, to a lot of us, the conservative movement moving forward.”
A not so creative liberal fantasy. Dan Rather “got it right” in his 2004 story about President George W. Bush’s avoidance of National Guard duty, a hit piece discredited because of Rather’s reliance on forged documents, the President of the imaginary “UBS News”cable channel will declare in an upcoming HBO drama helmed by left-wing writer Aaron Sorkin.
A TV Newser item on Monday about how HBO has decided on Newsroom to be the title of Sorkin’s new series which will center on “fictional cable news anchor Will McCallister (Jeff Daniels) and his News Night staff at the fictional cable news channel UBS,” included a telling excerpt from the script for the pilot:
“The first line in Barney Frank’s political epitaph,” The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes predicted on Monday’s FNC Special Report upon news the longtime liberal Democratic Congressman won’t seek re-election, will “be the housing crisis.” But that isn’t what those who decide the first draft of history considered relevant.
ABC, CBS and NBC didn’t mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as they instead touted him as “one of the most familiar, powerful and colorful characters on Capitol Hill” (ABC), as “the Congressman who co-authored the overhaul of financial regulations after the crash” (CBS) and all noted his sexual orientation. NBC’s Brian Williams: “Among his legacies – besides his legendary sharp tongue – he was the first Member of Congress to publically acknowledge he was gay back in 1987.”
“Bring the Family: Looking for Adventure with the Kids” reads the tag line over a weekly series of tips to Boston Globe readers suggesting what to do with them on weekends. In Saturday’s “g” section, the headline announced the “what,” a bizarre recommendation to expose them to a volatile, unsanitary and politically heated situation: “Occupying Boston with the kids.” The who: “Globe reporter Mark Shanahan and his daughter, Julia.”
Shanahan, who “covers the comings and goings of Boston’s celebrity class in the newspaper’s daily ‘Names’ column,” decided “it was time to visit Dewey Square so my 11-year-old daughter could see for herself what Occupy Boston is all about, to hear what the protesters are saying about ‘corporate greed’ and ‘income disparity,’ and maybe to get a few ideas for our next camping trip to Baxter State Park.”
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live this past week put together a pretty entertaining video dubbing Republican debate audio into the animated Charlie Brown Thanksgiving show. FNC’s Special Report played most of it Wednesday night where fill-in anchor Shannon Bream set it up as a “creative mash up that pairs the Peanuts gang with the 2012 GOP field at the Thanksgiving table.”
Picking up on a blog post by a far-left group devoted to silencing Rush Limbaugh, ABC’s World News on Monday night dedicated an entire story to one word used by the conservative radio host, a comment the other networks failed to find newsworthy. “Loaded words,” fill-in anchor Georgre Stephanopoulos ominously teased, “the First Lady booed at a NASCAR event. Now Rush Limbaugh weighs in, hurling a racially-charged word at Michelle Obama.”
Soon, a “word” became “words” when Stephanopoulos later plugged the upcoming hit: “Still ahead on World News, Michelle Obama booed at a NASCAR event and now Rush Limbaugh hurls racially-charged words at the First Lady.” (updated with video below)
Highlighting Grover Norquist’s upcoming appearance on 60 Minutes, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, on Face the Nation, pointed to the anti-tax hike pledge Norquist asks politicians to sign as “one of the problems” undermining the failed “super-committee.”
After ruing the pledge with Republican Senator Pat Toomey, a super-committee member, Schieffer later also hit a Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin, from the left on taxes: “Would you be willing to raise taxes if that’s what it takes to get our financial footing?” Manchin: “You don't need to raise taxes.”)
Substitute ABC anchor David Muir opened Thursday’s World News by hyping “masses of people taking to the streets here in New York City,” before reporter Dan Harris referenced “this massive protest march tonight” and “this big protest.”
Yet over on the CBS Evening News, Jim Axelrod noted how though “organizers promised tens of thousands demonstrators disrupting business as usual here in New York,” they didn’t show up: “Frankly, we’ve seen a fraction of that number -- closer to a thousand.”