There's a certain irony to my column today. The author whose op-ed piece I'm about to criticize grew up hunting and shooting in Iowa, and still owns several guns. I grew up in Jewish neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens where about the only concealed items were tzitzis - undergarments men wear to remind them of Biblical commandments. I've never owned a gun and my forays into shooting have been limited to Boy Scout camp and one adult session at a trap range - or was it skeet?
Talk about your Dubious Distinction Awards. In his recently-released videotape, Adam Gadahn, né Pearlman, a nice boy from California turned Al-Qaeda spokesman, names Sy Hersh as a “sympathetic” personality, along with British MP George Galloway and Brit journalist Robert Fisk. As per the Counterrorism Blog, Gadahn "asks . . . Hersh to 'reveal more' than what was published in a New Yorker article on the war."
The New Yorker article in question was one of a series Hersh has written critical of the Bush adminstration's Iraq policy. In a speech last year Hersh claimed that the US government is being taken over by a neo-con "cult":
The Brahmins might no longer rule the Bay State, but their tradition lives on in the editorial room of the Boston Globe. And what better occasion than Labor Day for the elitist Globe to condescend to workers in a manner that might have brought a smile to the lips of a Lowell or Cabot?
The topic of Labor Day, 2006 is one in great fashion in MSM circles: the horrors of Wal-Mart - and the joys of unionism. According to the Globe, "unionized workers earn on average $1.52 an hour more than those in similar occupations without union representation."
Alack - in the Globe's mind - Wal-Mart workers are too dumb to realize this. With a paternalistic pat on the head, the Globe observes: "[Wal-Mart] employees don't like to think they are patsies." Translation: they are patsies; they're just not smart enough to realize it.
Among political consultants, the general rule of thumb is that a disapproval rating of 40% spells a candidate's near-certain defeat. After all, virtually no one who disapproves of a candidate will vote for him, while approving of someone is no guarantee of a vote.
Hillary Clinton's disapproval rating of 44% in a recent Time magazine poll thus bodes very ill for her presidential prospects. Yet the Sunday Times of London has managed to put a rosy gloss on what would have most politicians looking for another line of work. Pollyannas the Times of the poll results:
"Only 44% viewed her negatively, figures that President George W Bush can only dream of at the moment."
It was a rollicking episode of 'The Long & The Short of It' this morning, and even taking my personal biases into account, it was hard not to score it 2-0 for the tall man. The regular Sunday-morning feature of Fox & Friends Weekend pits long, conservative Newsday and TCS columnist Jim Pinkerton against short, liberal Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News.
The opening topic this morning, in a match refereed by FNC host Kiran Chetry, was a report that retired General and former Dem presidential nomination-seeker Wesley Clark will be issuing on behalf of Democrats this week, intended to "detail the failures of Republicans" on national security.
The ostensible topic was the NFL fantasy-league draft that members of the Today show crew recently conducted. But in sharing her strategy for making draft picks, Campbell Brown might have unintentionally offered hope to Republicans looking nervously to November and beyond.
Campbell admitted to weekend co-host Lester Holt that she knows little about football. So in making her picks, Brown said she simply adopted this strategy: "I picked the ones who looked tough and mean."
It wasn't easy, but I battled my way this morning to the end of Frank Rich's pay-per-view column, Donald Rumsfeld’s Dance With the Nazis. Tempting as it was, I didn't turn the cyber-page despite prose that you might find in the dictionary next to the definition of 'turgid'. Take Rich's description of Donald Rumsfeld's recent remarks: "[a] toxic effort to impugn the patriotism of administration critics by conflating dissent on Iraq with cut-and-run surrender and incipient treason."
My persistence was rewarded with two nuggets from the column's concluding paragraphs. First, as a certified spokesman for MSM sentiment, Rich made clear that in liberal media-land, Iraq is not part of the war on terror. Rich dismissed Pres. Bush's assertion that Al-Qaeda and our foes in Iraq are part of the same “ideological struggle of the 21st century.” Sniffed Rich:"One more drop in the polls, and he may yet rebrand this mess War of the Worlds."Movie titles aside, and messy as it might be, we are indeed engaged in a new kind of world war. And if more proof were needed that the MSM doesn't understand that, here it was.
I don't know about you, but by the end of the Bush-bashing festival that was the MSM's coverage of the one-year Katrina anniversary, I was about ready to climb up on my roof with a bedsheet message begging to be evacuated by helicopter.
Neal Gabler also has a complaint about the Katrina anniversary coverage: there wasn't enough of it.
On this evening's Fox News Watch, Gabler made his comment in the context of the panel's discussion of the John Mark Karr fiasco. Griped Gabler:
"The embarrassment isn't that he wasn't guilty, the embarrassment is the disproportionate amount of coverage he got even if he had been guilty. The problem is there [were] virtually no [TV news] minutes devoted to Katrina on the eve of the Katrina anniversary."
Republican? Want to make a "remarkable political comeback"? Become the functional equivalent of a Democrat. At least that would seem to be Good Morning America's advice. A segment of the ABC show focused this morning on the transmogrification of Arnold Schwarzenegger from a Republican who muscularly confronted the Democrats in Sacramento to one working hand-in-glove with them.
The spark for the segment was the deal Arnold has worked out with the Dem-dominated legislature to cut carbon emissions 25% over the next 15 years. Co-host Kate Snow hailed it as "a bold move made despite resistance from the Bush administration." She then turned things over to senior national correspondent Claire Shipman, who had earlier scored an interview with the governor.
That's not a typo in the headline. According to this Wall Street Journal article reprinted in the Star-Telegram, "on average, GM pays $81.18 an hour in wages and benefits to U.S. hourly workers, including pension and retiree medical costs."
But in his vituperative rant against the Big Three U.S. automakers, Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson manages to ignore the huge labor cost advantage enjoyed by non-union Toyota.
How much of an advantage? According to that same article, "Harbour Consulting President Ron Harbour estimates Toyota's total hourly U.S. labor costs, with benefits, at about $35 an hour." That's right, GM's average labor costs are 130% higher than that of the US operations of its Japanese rival. That translates into a $1,000/vehicle average labor-cost advantage enjoyed by Toyota. Thank you, UAW!
During the course of a conversation with former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin on this afternoon's show, Tucker Carlson described himself as "a real conservative."
But it was just a few minutes earlier, chatting with New Republic editor-at-large Peter Beinart, that Carlson mentioned in passing that he hadn't supported President Bush for president in 2004.
When Carlson stated that he had been wrong to support the war in Iraq [and now opposes it], Beinart retorted:
"You've just made a statement which almost guarantees that you're going to have to support the Democratic candidate in 2008 because there's virtually no chance we're going to have a Republican candidate who says they were wrong to support the war in Iraq. So I congratulate you on flipping over to the other side."
Replied Carlson: "Well I doubt I'm going to support the Democratic candidate. Whether I'll support the Republican candidate is a whole separate question. I didn't last time, I may not this time."
In a recent comment on an editorial cartoon in the Boston Globe showing an all-white group of execs gloating over increasing profits as a bedraggled worker hangs by his hands, I noted that the Globe's commitment to "diversity disappears when portraying corporate meanies."
Great news - just two days later, the Globe has rediscovered diversity! Oh, to be sure, the two corporate meanies in Dan Wasserman's cartoon are both white males. One even sports a suspiciously Nixonian five-o'clock shadow. But an African-American does turn up - as the victim.
The cartoon accompanies a Globe editorial condemning the tobacco industry on the heels of a study "showing that tobacco companies increased levels of nicotine in most cigarette brands by an average of 10 percent between 1998 and 2004." The Globe alleges this was a corporate plot to keep smokers hooked.
I kept waiting. Dutifully wading through Paul Krugman's subscription-required kvetch over the economy, The Big Disconnect, I figured I'd eventually be rewarded for my perseverence with his proposed solutions - if only to be able to critique them. But the New York Times columnist's economic nostrums never came.
Krugman's basic complaint is that workers haven't shared in the fruits of the extended economic expansion. This is Krugman being late to the MSM party noted here, here, and here. Even so, he chooses to ignore the reporting in his own paper that flatly contradicts his own allegation that "most workers have seen their wages lag behind inflation and their benefits deteriorate." As Ken Shepherd of NB and MRC noted yesterday, the New York Times itself has acknowledged that, as per recently released data, wages are actually increasing at a 7% annual rate even when adjusted for inflation!"
Do you remember the scene in The Naked Gun where Leslie Nielsen, as police detective Frank Drebin, pretends to be a major league baseball umpire in order to be able to search the players to see who might be the assassin?
The very first pitch is dead over the heart of the plate, but Frank hesitates before finally, timidly, calling 'strike.' The crowd roars in approval. Frank gets a taste for the positive feedback, and by the third strike is bellowing out his calls, making flamboyant hand gestures, even doing a moonwalk.
A similar phenomenon might be occuring with Keith Olbermann. As noted here, in a closing 'Special Comment' on last night's show, he accused the Bush administration of representing "a new type of fascism." Daily Kos and Democratic Underground exploded in paroxysms of joy, and deluged the show with thousands of approving emails.
If 'Today' were ever to air the opinions of a think tank co-founded, say, by a former Reagan administration official and free-market economist Milton Friedman, and funded by large corporations, it's inconceivable that the show would fail to identify the organization's conservative leanings.
Yet Today didn't feel the need to do the obverse when relying extensively - for purposes of talking down the economy - on a liberal think tank founded by a former Clinton official and far-left economists and largely funded by Big Labor.
From a New York Times editorial to a Boston Globe political cartoon, the MSM has been beating the drum this week to talk down the economy in the face of more good economic news. The liberal theme du jour has been that wages haven't risen along with corporate profits.
To judge by the outraged defense of Democrats and the MSM that Matt Lauer and Tim Russert advanced on this morning's Today show, the Bush administration's arguments on fighting the war on terror are hitting home.
NBC reporter Kelly O'Donnell set the tone with this little shot at the president:
"While the president has cautioned not to politicize what he is talking about, he was greeted here in Salt Lake by 2,000 invited members of the public who carried signs, there was music playing - a campaign-style event - and we were told this was intended to counter some of the war demonstrations led by people like Cindy Sheehan."
Preliminaries over, it was on to the main event, the Lauer/Russert tag team.
Looking back, it all seems so predictable. The relentless criticism, the countless sneering jabs from Keith Olbermann directed at the Bush administration were building to an inexorable climax. It came tonight. Olbermann flatly accused the Bush administration of representing "a new type of fascism."
Though the denouement was inevitable, the proximate cause of Olbermann's tirade was Donald Rumsfeld's speech to the American Legion on Tuesday in which he suggested that opponents of the war in Iraq have adopted the same attitude that slowed a military response to Hitler. Rumsfeld asserted that radical Islam represents "a new type of fascism."
Bush supporters who think that the MSM's sports pages might offer a respite from Bush-bashing should think again. MSNBC managed to slip a sneak attack on the president into a seemingly innocuous article on the recent collapse of the Boston Red Sox.
Wrote MSNBC contributor Bob Cook, criticizing Sox General Manager Theo Epstein [pictured here]:
"Epstein might be better [sic] keeping his mouth shut for a while. His recent, unfoundedly optimistic pronouncements have him sounding like President Bush on Iraq."
Shades of William Jennings Byran's 'Cross of Gold'! The Globe didn't go totally Mel Gibson's 'Passion' on us this morning. But Dan Wasserman's cartoon does show workers being hung by the hands on rising corporate profits. This was the Globe's subtle way of commenting on news it reported yesterday that wages aren't rising as fast as profits. The Globe predictably overlooks the fact pointed out in this Investor's Business Daily article that:
Ah, the MSM, where bad news is good, and good news . . . can't be allowed to go unchallenged. So long as a Republican is in office, that is.
Take gas prices. Over the last year the MSM has had a field day with a profusion of stories on 'soaring gas prices.' 'Today' reached an absurd apotheosis on August 7th. As reported here, Ann Curry envisioned the absolute worst: a decrease of less than 1/200th in world oil supplies leading to more than a 1/7th jump in crude oil prices - a 1:28 cause-and-effect ratio. In dollar terms, Curry fretted over the possibility that the shutdown of a BP pipeline in Alaska could cause crude oil prices to leap $10/barrel.
We've been tracking prices since then and providing regular updates at the original column. Guess what? Crude was about $75/barrel on the day of Ann's report. Since then, rather than spiking to her imagined $85/barrel, it has slumped to $69 and change. Whoops!
That might be the only way to explain Carlson's odd defense of Warren Steed Jeffs, the polygamist leader arrested today. On his MSNBC show of this afternoon, Tucker was outraged that Jeffs had been placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list:
"His crime was wanting to enter into life-long arrangements with women, or facilitating that between a man and . . . was this guy trying to undermine America, destroy our way of life or murder our citizens? No! What the hell was he doing on the Top Ten list?"
Is it news to anyone that Michael Brown thinks he got a bum rap on Katrina? As shopworn as was his concatenation of complaint this morning, Matt Lauer treated it with the enthusiasm of a Live at Five reporter on the scene of a fresh accident out on county route 11.
You knew this was coming: Lauer got things off to a Bush-bashing start with the famous "you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" clip of the president congratulating Brown for his work at the beginning of the relief effort.
Matt moved things along with a series of 'helpful' questions/comments:
Lauer: "You warned the president and no help arrived?"
Brown says he did.
Lauer: "The stupid talking points [defending the relief efforts] should be thrown out the window when people are dying."
Lauer: "Do you think that you have been handed all of the blame for this situation? Should the president share the blame?"
A New York Times editorial and an op-ed piece by one of its house columnists have something interesting in common this morning: stamp-your-feet frustration with the way the world is and an inability to suggest what should be done about it.
In The Falling Paycheck, the Times editorial board complains that real wages aren't keeping up with the economy's continued expansion. "American employees have not shared in the wealth they’ve helped to create," laments the Old Gray Lady. Sure sounds as if the Times subscribes to the 'surplus value' theory of labor. And we know who came up with that.
We all knew that the one-year Katrina anniversary was going to be a festival of MSM Bush-bashing. And while Good Morning America certainly fulfilled that expectation this morning, who could have guessed that they would have thrown in a two-fer - the beginnings of the beatification of Bill Clinton?
Check out the graphic. Move over, Jimmy Carter: ABC has proclaimed Bill Clinton the new Philanthropist-in-Chief! Interviewed by Robin Roberts, Clinton allowed as to how if he had been in charge during Katrina "I might have done something more just because I feel so close to the area." Darn that 22nd Amendment!
Earlier on, Charlie Gibson ensured that America wouldn't forget what was portrayed as a low point for Pres. Bush during Katrina. As the screen showed W peering down at the devastation from a plane window, Gibson told us that with regard to government plans to deal with future hurricanes:
"There's a certain doubt, even though it's all on paper, whether it would actually work. Because one of the sad parts of this is that there's been an erosion in confidence in government . . . I think everybody
To reduce the number of people trying to enter the US illegally . . . pay them more once they get here. Sound illogical? Not if you're a Boston Globe editorialist.
You knew where this editorial was headed from the headline, 'Scapegoating Immigrants,' and if there was any doubt, when a few short paras in the editorial referred to 'undocumented workers' rather than illegal immigrants, you could have stopped right there. For that matter, you might have saved yourself the time when you picked up the paper, or opened to the web site, and noticed that it read 'The Boston Globe' at the top.
If once is an aberration, and twice a trend, what's three times?
The first time Joe Biden told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that he was "praying," it got my attention. By the third time - using the variant "I pray to God" - I was thoroughly curious. Then something happened at the end of the interview that might provide a clue as to Joe's sudden bout of religiosity.
By the way, Biden claimed to be 'praying' in response to various pieces of evidence that Wallace confronted him with suggesting that, at long last, the security situation in Iraq might be improving. Biden repeatedly responded that he was 'praying' that Wallace was right, all the time suggesting that in fact there was no real reason for optimism.
"Comrade. Potato production 70% below target for 4th year in row in five-year plan!"
"True, Kommissar. But we have solution. Will implement training and preparation program for workers!"
"Budem - let's drink!"
The ostensible purpose of this morning's New York Times editorial was to exult at the results of a study finding that 4th-grade charter school students performed worse than their public school counterparts, even when controlling for socio-economic background. Like a tiger on the smallest of mice, the Times pounced on this one result to proclaim that it was "Exploding the Charter School Myth." As an unreconstructed supporter of the union-dominated public school oligopoly, the Times naturally welcomes any evidence that there is no reason to alter the existing paradigm.
The New York Times might be thankful that it is not on trial with Dan Abrams serving as prosecutor. The impassioned argument he made against the journalistic value of the Times' lengthy account of the Duke rape case in today's paper, Files From Duke Rape Case Give Details but No Answers, might have sent the paper to the Big House for years to come.
Interviewed by Tucker Carlson, Abrams, who until taking over as head of MSNBC had his own justice-oriented show on the network, came out guns ablazin'.
"I thought it was shameful. I think it was an editorial on the front page of what is supposed to be the news division of the newspaper."
Remember George H.W. Bush? The one who was derided by the MSM for his lack of toughness? The man Newsweek put on its cover with the sneering headline "Fighting the Wimp Factor"?
Scratch all that. As per this morning's “Today” show, it turns out H.W. wasn't a wimp at all. Not only was he a 'diplomat', above all he was someone who knew how to successfully fight a war in Iraq.
What caused “Today” to catch a bad case of SORS: Sudden-Onset Revisionism Syndrome? It's that old truism at work: the MSM is willing to praise a Republican who is out of power . . . for purposes of bashing one still in office.
”Today” used the occasion of W's visit to his father's home in Kennebunkport this weekend to raise the question "Like Father Not Like Son?" Narrating
On this evening's Hardball, Matthews pleaded with Buchanan to take back the Republican party from neo-conservatives. In closing an earlier segment with guest Joe Biden, Matthews had taken a shot at neo-cons: "Unfortunately we have been carried into Iraq by the dreams of the ideologues."
When Buchanan came on, Matthews took that same notion one step further:
"Pat, when are the traditional conservatives in this country who believe in less government, less role in the world, like yourself, though you might be more extreme than some, George Will, Bill Buckley, when are you guys going to retake your party from the neo-conservatives and stop these overseas campaigns?"