David Frum is bashing conservative Republicans again – this time for playing hardball with President Obama and using the debt ceiling deadline as blackmail to get what they want. Frum writes in a CNN.com op-ed that the GOP demand for "total surrender" by the president on the debt ceiling debate gives him "horrible flashbacks" to the party's staunch opposition to the health care bill – which failed – in what he deemed the conservatives' "Waterloo."
What details are jumping out at Frum to make him believe that the president is so utterly reasonable and Republicans are reckless in this debate?
First, he seems to bend over backwards to extol Obama's munificence, listing the president's "startling moves" in making concessions on Medicare and Social Security, and large spending cuts to boot.
Eliot Spitzer used his last day at CNN to take a shot at cable news and decry the debt ceiling debate as a "new low for American politics" – although he himself was embroiled in an ugly scandal as governor of New York only three years ago. And he made sure to include a lengthy Constitutional conversation with two of his favorite guests, liberals Fareed Zakaria and Simon Schama.
Schama, a professor of History at Columbia University, has criticized the Tea Party's reverence for the Founders' "infallibility," and snorted that they believed the Constitution to be "quasi-biblical revelation." The Columbia University professor wrote in a June 26 Newsweek piece that "True history is the enemy of reverence."
NBC's David Gregory challenged House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Thursday's Today show, insinuating that Republican efforts to include tax cuts along with closing tax loopholes is not an effective compromise if Democrats are willing to cut entitlement spending.
Gregory seemed to frame the debate around whether Republicans would make the "tough" choice of not cutting taxes, since Democrats were reaching across the aisle with their "tough" choice of cutting entitlement spending. The Today show co-host pressed Cantor, "if Democrats are willing to cut trillions of dollars, which is certainly what you wanted in spending cuts, what is the Republican Party prepared to do in this negotiation that is hard?"
CNN foreign affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria – who has recently had off-the-record conversations with President Obama on foreign issues – noted the president's "restraint" in his dealing with the "Arab Spring" and the conflict in Libya Wednesday. Zakaria previously gave a thumbs-up for Obama's Mideast speech in May and later defended the president's plan for removing American troops from Afghanistan.
The point-of-note is that this is the same analyst whom, according to the New York Times, President Obama "sounded out" while shaping his foreign policy. The two simply had "off-the-record" conversations on foreign issues, according to Zakaria, and the CNN host claimed he was not an advisor to the President.
American Morning co-host Christine Romans used David Brooks' words to press Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Wednesday on the stubbornness of conservative Republicans in the debt ceiling debate. Brooks, the faux "conservative" writer for the New York Times, wrote a scathing column Monday hitting Republicans for their refusal to accept Democrat "compromises" in the debt ceiling debate.
Romans twice referenced critics of the Republicans, first saying that critics fear the "new awakening" of the Tea Party and the 2010 elections as "dangerous for America." Later she read DeMint a quote from Brooks's piece in the Times.
In the wake of liberal rock star Tom Petty telling GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to stop playing his music at campaign rallies, CBS reported past spats between liberal musicians and Republican candidates on Tuesday's Early Show.
As Politico's Martin Kady put it during the segment, the dismayed artist sending the Cease and Desist letter to a presidential candidate is almost always liberal, and the candidate is almost always Republican. The Early Show made sure to emphasize that during a segment where no Republican candidate provided his side of the story.
Conservative Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois twice called out the media for protecting President Obama on Thursday night's In the Arena, and told host Eliot Spitzer to his face that "you're doing a much better job of making [Obama's] case than he did."
Before the interview began, CNN excoriated the verbal war on Capitol Hill that ensued after Obama's criticism of Republicans in his press conference, likening the spat to the frat-house chaos in the movie "Animal House." However, Rep. Walsh minced no words when he came on the show, saying the president was "in over his head," "in denial," and "acted like a 10 year-old" in the presser.
CNN asked Wednesday if a person can follow "both Ayn Rand and Jesus," pulling quotes from both a Democrat and a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights to answer that Christianity and Rand's philosophy oppose each other. Buried deep within the post on CNN's Belief Blog was the contrary view that Christians can adopt certain tenants of Rand's philosophy while rejecting others contrary to their faith.
The question is popular among Christians at odds with the Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), a Catholic, who is a fan of Rand and her defense of capitalism and individualism. The American Values Network (AVN) in particular has tried to make known his endorsement of Rand and pitch it side-by-side with her anti-religious beliefs.
Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) declared her candidacy for president Monday, and CNN provided plenty of snarky commentary with which to welcome her. The network repeatedly took aim at her past gaffes and suggested that she has little chance to win the Republican nomination for president.
In addition, CNN's Anderson Cooper led his regular news cast for two nights in a row touting the congresswoman's "hypocrisy" in championing small government while benefitting from a family farm and her husband's counseling clinic, both of which received federal funds – although Cooper himself admitted the total amount was "relatively small."
Apparently, a pledge to reduce the deficit and cap spending long-term and vote for a strict balanced budget amendment is an extreme measure. CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, reporting on the conservative "Cut, Cap, Balance Pledge," quipped that "it's not exactly cut, cap, and balance. It may be more body-slam and pile-driver."
The pledge, sponsored by numerous grassroots conservative groups, entails signers promising to oppose an increase on the debt limits unless three conditions are met. The conditions are that the spending cuts must reduce the deficit "next year and thereafter," caps on spending must be instituted to bring about a balanced budget, and Congress must pass a balanced budget amendment.
For the second night in a row, Anderson Cooper opened his regular news cast Tuesday touting a story about Michele Bachmann's hypocrisy in benefitting from federal agriculture subsidies. Although his own network, which interviewed Bachmann Tuesday morning, did not report on the matter during that day, Cooper thought it important enough to put the issue as the lead story for the second straight night.
The issue at hand is that Bachmann was a beneficiary of a family farm that received funding from federal corn, dairy, and livestock subsidies – all while railing against federal intervention in the free market. Bachmann was a partner in Bachman Farm Family, LP, and did receive income from the farm owned by her father-in-law and later by others.
On Tuesday's American Morning, co-host Kiran Chetry reported that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is "prone to misstatements" and posed this question to her: "Did you mean to make false statements intentionally or were you just misspeaking?"
"PolitiFact.com, which is a Pulitzer Price winning fact-checking web site examined 26 statements that you made and they found only one to be fully true and 18 to be false," Chetry told Bachmann. "Several of them relating to your criticism of President Obama. Did you mean to make false statements intentionally or were you just misspeaking?"
One disgraced former governor hosted another disgraced former governor Monday night to praise New York's same-sex marriage bill. CNN's In the Arena host Eliot Spitzer brought on former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey to discuss the bill in what turned out to be love-fest in honor of McGreevey's pro-gay sentiments.
McGreevey, a Democrat, announced he was gay in 2004 while he was in office as governor of New Jersey. The announcement came as he resigned from office revealing that he had an gay affair with another man while married to his wife.
It didn't take long for CNN to buy into the hype of New York's legalization of same-sex marriage and pose this question: Is it time for marriage equality in America? CNN asked the question on both the 11 a.m. 12 p.m. EDT hours of Newsroom.
The network referred to the words of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who stated that he believes "it is time for marriage equality all across the country." Cuomo signed New York's same-sex marriage bill into law over the weekend.
Continuing his push to "modernize the Constitution for the 21st century" by talking about "a few revisions," CNN's Fareed Zakaria hosted legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin for a liberal gripe session on his Sunday show Fareed Zakaria GPS. Both criticized the current Electoral College and state representation in the Senate, and also slammed the "grammatical mess" that is the Second Amendment.
One of the "kinks" of the American Constitution, Zakaria complained, is that "the Second Amendment is a grammatical mess, whatever you may think of the right to bear arms." This is liberal code for the amendment needs to be "updated" to their standards.
Fareed Zakaria, CNN's world affairs analyst, hailed President Obama's Afghanistan speech as a "remarkable speech for an American president" Wednesday and defended the president's decision to ignore the advice of his generals on the target dates for pulling troops out of Afghanistan.
"It was a remarkable speech for an American president in the caution, the strategic emphasis, rather than the idealistic emphasis," sounded Zakaria, no stranger to praising Obama's foreign policy speeches. He lauded the president's May 19 Mideast speech as "remarkably comprehensive" and "fair" and "balanced."
We all know how the story ended for the first "Sheriff of Wall Street," Eliot Spitzer. CNN hailed attorney Preet Bharara as the "New Sheriff of Wall Street" in a puff-piece Thursday afternoon, and one can only wonder if his career path will eventually take him to a prime-time slot at CNN as a Democrat mouthpiece.
Bharara was nominated by President Obama in 2009 to be U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In less than two years he has convicted 44 people on Wall Street for insider trading, thus earning him headlines and a complimentary title from CNN.
On Tuesday's In the Arena, fill-in host Christine Romans questioned Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List on the relevance of the abortion issue in the upcoming presidential election. She argued that the central issues, according to polls, are the economy and jobs and that focusing on politicians' stances on abortion might not be a viable strategy.
Ironically, Anderson Cooper opened up CNN's 10 p.m. hour with a "Keeping Them Honest" segment scrutinizing a certain politician's flip-flops on same-sex marriage – President Obama.
It was an obvious contrast in demeanor last week, Eliot Spitzer's lapdog interview of the president of Planned Parenthood and his aggressive sparring with social conservative Tony Perkins. Spitzer simply let Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards air her spin on the organization, but went after the Family Research Council's (FRC) Perkins from the get-go on CNN Thursday night.
Consider the statements Richards made last Wednesday night that Spitzer was content not to scrutinize: Planned Parenthood has received "enormous support" from both Democrats and Republicans, the organization is "very transparent" about its services, Planned Parenthood reduces need for abortions through family planning, and the recent efforts by Congress and state legislatures to cut its funding "were to eliminate access for women to get access to life-saving breast cancer screenings, pap smears, and birth control."
CNN's Belief Blog contributor Jonathan Dudley offered the same tired liberal arguments against a Biblical defense of traditional marriage in a June 21 piece. The same writer who satirically argued that heterosexuals should not be allowed to raise children grilled the Biblical argument as being "riddled with self-serving double-standards."
"I also don't doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating a revision of the Christian tradition," Dudley boldly asserted.
Add CNN's Jack Cafferty to the list of those infuriated by NBC's omission of "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in its coverage of Sunday's U.S. Open. The CNN contributor pulled no punches Monday afternoon as he blasted the "morons" at the network responsible.
"Who does this?" Cafferty asked incredulously after he described the segment opening NBC's golf coverage – a patriotic montage with the recitation of the Pledge by children in the background. The words "under God" and "indivisible" were carefully edited out of the production, but Cafferty reported that many viewers were furious and called into NBC affiliates to vent over the omission.
Is this CNN's idea of objectivity? To discuss a gay marriage bill in the New York state senate, openly-gay CNN anchor Don Lemon hosted a Democratic strategist and a pro-gay marriage conservative Sunday. Given the probability that all three would support the legislation, one can only wonder how an honest debate could have transpired during Sunday's 6 p.m. EDT edition of Newsroom.
National Review's Will Cain has made frequent appearances on CNN recently, including one week earlier on Sunday night's Newsroom to discuss the validity of socially-conservative positions with mainstream America. Cain is a self-described "pro-gay marriage supporter," and presumably was brought on Sunday to represent the "conservative" point of view across from Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria regurgitated his conservative-bashing Time magazine piece on his Sunday show Fareed Zakaria GPS. He opened up his program with the same barrage against conservatives that he launched in Time on Thursday, namely that today's conservatism is woefully divorced from reality like the Marxists of the 19th century.
Zakaria writes that "conservatives now resemble the old Marxists who refuse to look at actual experience." Instead, he argues, they are hopelessly enamored with "policies that are simply recitations of some free market theory taken out of some book based on no actually-existing national economy."
CNN host Fareed Zakaria, also the editor-at-large for Time magazine, derides today's conservative movement as out-of-touch and too abstract in a scathing Time article "How Today's Conservatism Lost Touch With Reality." He argues, "Conservatives now espouse ideas drawn from abstract principles with little regard to the realities of America's present or past."
Of course, if Zakaria is to paint with broad strokes and dismiss the modern conservative movement as entirely lost and ineffective, the reader would expect him to expound upon his point in detail and provide plenty of facts and evidence to support his thesis. His argument is largely devoid of substantial evidence and filled with debatable historical assumptions.
Both President Obama and leading Republican candidate Mitt Romney got into hot water for supposedly making insensitive comments about the economy this week. But CNN's response offers a textbook case of media bias, as the supposedly-objective news network virtually ignored Obama's gaffe while trumpeting Romney's comment.
President Obama poked fun at the ineffectiveness of his own stimulus bill in creating certain "shovel-ready jobs" on Monday and Republicans pounced on the joke, claiming it was not funny when unemployment remains high. However, CNN barely reported the president's joke and the ensuing Republican outrage.
From listening to CNN's pre- and post-Weiner press conference commentary, one could be forgiven for thinking they were already attempting to jumpstart the congressman's political career. Already one former politician caught in a sex scandal is using his prime-time position at CNN to rehabilitate his image.
"Sad" and "tragic" were words used by CNN's political team to describe Weiner's resignation given that he was a "rising star" in the Democrat Party. CNN's Wolf Blitzer told colleague John King, "It's almost tragic, John, because as you've been pointing out, [Weiner] was really the front-runner to become the next mayor of New York City after Michael Bloomberg."
Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest abortion provider, the controversial recipient of government funds, and is criticized by some for its lack of transparency – and yet CNN's Eliot Spitzer gave president Cecile Richards a free pass in a Wednesday night interview.
Could Spitzer's leniency be due to the fact that he enjoyed the endorsement of Planned Parenthood when he ran for governor of New York? Before he was ousted in a prostitution scandal, Spitzer was stridently pro-abortion as the state's governor. Pro-abortion group NARAL's New York PAC bragged that the organization was "central" to his 1998 victory when he ran for Attorney General of New York.
[Update below:] Anderson Cooper last June had advertised CNN's telethon raising money for the Gulf oil spill through the National Wildlife Federation.
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) will be honoring CNN's Anderson Cooper as a "Wildlife Hero" at its 75th Anniversary celebration June 15. A spokesperson for the organization confirmed that Cooper will be receiving the award for his coverage of the Gulf oil spill last year.
The NWF identifies itself as "the nation's largest conservation organization," working through education, preservation of habitats and ecosystems and protection of wildlife.
Although he admitted during the interview to being an admirer of Chris Christie "from afar," CNN's Piers Morgan put the heat on the New Jersey governor early and often during Tuesday night's hour-long interview. To begin the interview, Morgan pulled up a brutal critique of the governor by a political opponent.
Morgan quoted the Democratic president of the state senate who described Christie's political style thus: "Chris knocks you down – like with teachers – and he'll stomp on you, kick on you until he can kill you." When Christie laughed and labeled it "very dramatic, but not true," Morgan had the audacity to challenge him, "Not true?"
CNN's Dana Bash is a new member of the board of trustees for an organization that, as part of its official mission, advocates for "reproductive rights" on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations. The organization, Jewish Women International (JWI), clarifies that its purpose is "empowering women and girls -- through economic literacy; community training; healthy relationship education; and the proliferation of women's leadership."