Obama adviser John Podesta today apologized for comparing House Republicans to the Jonestown cult led by Jim Jones. The Washington Post’s Web site reports: Podesta made the remark in an article in Politico Magazine , saying that the Obama administration should focus on using executive action because it is “facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress.” Although Podesta was speaking this fall before being hired by the White House, he quickly apologized to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) through a post on his Twitter account.
The Post and other media outlets didn’t note that “Reverend” Jim Jones, founder of the San Francisco People’s Temple, in truth numbered Democratic politicians, not Republicans, among his admirers.
On CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper today, Tapper reported on a woman who’s very happy with the way ObamaCare is working:
TAPPER: That's not a yes. Park is still working on fixes, but Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which is running the site, resigned. The Web site does have some satisfied customers out there, such as Flora Brewer of Fort Worth, Texas, who says she found coverage similar to what she has now, but for a lower price.
FLORA BREWER, SATISFIED WITH OBAMACARE: Well, I'm very happy with this coverage. They said, oh, yes, we have got your application. We have got you. You're -- you're enrolled.
Many mainstream media pundits are undoubtedly displeased that a good portion of the public doesn’t approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance. But today’s nomination of Janet Yellen for Federal Reserve chairman gave some of them a chance to wax nostalgic for another Democratic president and the time Yellen worked in the Clinton White House. On today’s 3:30 pm segment of CNN Newsroom, anchor Wolf Blitzer reminisced with chief political analyst Gloria Borger and international business correspondent Richard Quest:
BORGER: Jack Lew, who is now treasury secretary, was there as a budget director. Those were the good old days.
In case you haven’t noticed, the government shutdown is all the GOP’s fault. Today’s Chicago Tribune wanted to make sure readers knew that with a front-page headline titled “Hard-right bloc sticks to its guns: Shutdown stalemate continues as lawmakers in safe seats hold sway.” The article reports that some House Republicans “have chosen to defy Washington’s traditional norms of conversation and compromise.” You know, those norms that have served America so well as we headed to a $17 trillion debt.
Viewers who watched last evening’s ABC World News with Diane Sawyer were told of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll “showing 70% of Americans disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations.” What they weren’t told is the same poll found 61% disapprove of how Democrats are handling the breakdown while another majority, 51%, disapproves of Obama’s approach.
White House staff aren’t the only ones looking for sob stories about folks affected by the government shutdown. The media are doing what they can to assist. Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, lends a hand with “Shutdown becomes real for local residents.” The article begins:
Edgar Mullins, of Richton Park, and Justin Jones, of Chicago Heights, became victims of the federal government shutdown on Thursday.
They lined up early in the morning in front of the Social Security Administration office in Chicago Heights.
The office was open for business but wasn’t offering new or replacement Social Security cards, the reason Mullins and Jones were there.
The September 19, 2013 article “Pope Francis: Church cannot be 'obsessed' with gays, other bans” on The Chicago Tribune’s Web site notes:
In a remarkable change from his predecessor Benedict, who said homosexuality was an intrinsic disorder, Francis said that when homosexuals told him they were always condemned by the Church and felt "socially wounded", he told them "the Church does not want to do this".
Contrary to what a typical reader might conclude, Pope Benedict wasn’t expressing a personal opinion on homosexuality. What he said comes directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The Chicago Tribune’s Web site obituary today on former Congressman E. Clay Shaw (R-FL) notes his role in passing 1996’s sweeping welfare reform. The article states the legislation was “(b)acked by Republican leaders and then-President Bill Clinton.”
While it’s true that Clinton has for years taken bows for signing welfare reform, the authors err in not separating Clinton’s words from his actions. Yes, he did pledge in 1992 to "end welfare as we have come to know it," but after the election didn’t do much about it. In an August 1, 1996 Baltimore Sun piece, authors Carl M. Cannon and Karen Hosler wrote:
After assuming office, his administration took 17 months to propose a welfare reform plan -- a version supported by neither congressional Republicans nor Democrats.
Today President Barack Obama criticized Republicans for, among other transgressions, “phony scandals.” Press secretary Jay Carney’s used the term multiple times this week. It seems Obama’s pals in the media like that theme.
“Amos ‘n’ Andy” was so controversial that in 1951 the NAACP demanded it be taken off the air for its derogatory portrayal of blacks. By 1966, the NAACP won a victory by stopping the show’s reruns from airing.
But at Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Saturday morning forum this week, “Amos ‘n’ Andy” was back in fashion. Chicago talk show personality Cliff Kelley emceed a panel discussion. Warming up the crowd, Kelley placed his arm on the shoulder of Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree and tried a little humor: (video here)
Many in the mainstream believe that the Republican Party is an elitist organization of the affluent while Democrats represent the party of the people. If that ever were true, it certainly hasn’t been for many years. Yet the myth persists.
A recent example is The Chicago Tribune, which last week on its Web site headlined “Wealthy Bruce Rauner announces for Republican governor race.” Yesterday, The Trib went with “Bill Daley to explore run for Illinois governor.”
OpenSecrets.org determined that in 2010 Daley’s “average net worth was an estimated $28.7 million.” It doesn’t appear that throwing a benefit for him will be necessary any time soon. Yet his prosperity isn’t even referenced by The Tribune. Only rich Republicans are newsworthy there.
With attention drawn to government surveillance of citizens, some in the media are recalling that this has long been an issue. Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, did so in a recent column, "Do you want security or freedom?":
When Communists were suspected of conspiring to undermine our country, innocent political activists were targeted in the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s. The FBI wiretapped Martin Luther King Jr. because he was campaigning for civil rights.
That was not the reason for King’s wiretap, which was carried out by the FBI after Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy authorized it on October 10, 1963. Kennedy believed that two of King’s associates had ties to the Communist party.
Mainstream media’s limited reporting on the murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been obvious. You might think that CNN, the self-styled “Most Trusted Name in News," would pay more attention to a case involving over 250 criminal counts, including ones for first-degree murder.
You’d be wrong. Today, CNN’s Newsroom occupied six hours of air time. The Gosnell trial was mentioned only twice. Anchor Wolf Blitzer reported:
In Philadelphia, the 72-year-old abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell is awaiting his fate. He's accused of first degree murder for allegedly killing babies born alive during late term abortions. Jurors are now in their fifth day of deliberating after not reaching a verdict Friday.
On CNN’s Situation Room today, anchor Wolf Blitzer spoke of the 1995-1996 Federal government shutdown:
BLITZER: Yes, I would be shocked if there were a government shutdown. The Republicans lived through that back in the '90s and it didn't exactly work out well for them. I would be shocked if they went down that road and the president went down that road right now. I'm sure they will work that out.
So how bad was the political fallout for Republicans? That year the GOP nominated the uninspiring Sen. Bob Dole as their presidential nominee. Despite such a lackluster top of the ticket, House losses were only in the single digits. As former Speaker Newt Gingrich has noted “it was the first time in 68 years that Republicans were reelected to a House majority - and the first time that had ever happened with a Democrat winning the presidency.” On the Senate side, the GOP picked up two seats.
While some in the mainstream media harp on the purportedly horrendous effects of possible across-the-board spending cuts on March 1, there is also an effort to distance President Barack Obama from responsibility. An example of this is on CNN, which has shown more than once today a report on the sequester by chief business correspondent Ali Velshi. An excerpt:
VELSHI: The forced budget cuts were created during the 2011 debt ceiling debacle. They were passed by Congress and signed by the White House.
So “the White House” signs bills into law? That’s funny. On August 2, 2011, the day the Budget Control Act became law, Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer told his audience:
Happening now, President Obama signs a bill to raise the debt limit, avoiding an economic debt crisis for now.
Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor in over 80 years. Democrats have controlled the Illinois governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature for more than a decade, with Democrats ruling the Illinois House for 28 of the last 30 years. No matter, Chicago violence is the fault of Republicans. We learned that this morning on CNN Newsroom when anchor Carol Costello asked her “Talk Back” guests about Retired Lt. General Russel Honore’s suggestion to use National Guard troops to curb murders in Chicago. Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman astutely pinpointed the reason for Chicago’s carnage:
And let's be very clear about what's happening in Washington today and why it's undermining the city of Chicago, because there's a mindset now in our government, in Washington, from the Republican members of Congress, that sequestration is an acceptable way of doing business, that we can in fact engage in these massive irresponsible cuts that no one thinks is a logical approach to budgeting.
After CNN televised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Congressional testimony on the Benghazi attack, on the 5 pm segment of The Situation Room Wolf Blitzer provided some analysis, including an interview with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Then Blitzer announced there was breaking news. He turned to CNN national correspondent Jim Acosta, who reported that Beyonce had - hold onto your remote here - lip-synced "The Star Spangled Banner" at President Obama's inauguration Monday:
President Barack Obama's campaign may well be in trouble in the United States, but he still is adored by many foreigners. The mainstream media want us to know that and today's Chicago Tribune print edition carries two separate pieces to emphasize it. One, appearing on page 3, is "The American way, seen through English eyes," an interview with a British reporter covering the election from Chicago. Asked who Brits favor, Laura Harding replies:
It's probably a pretty safe bet to say that we're much keener on Obama than on Romney, just because he seems far more in line with general British politics than Romney. Things like Obamacare are very much in line with the kind of health care system we have in the U.K.
As soon as Romney pledged not to cut military spending (incorrectly implying that was an Obama proposal — something he has done before) Obama pounced, portraying Romney as woefully uninformed about how a modern military measures its strike force.
On Sunday's CNN Reliable Sources, host Howard Kurtz spoke of President Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention:
Bob Cusack, Obama gave a pretty good speech overall. The media acted like it was terrible. And it seems to me that perhaps we have set a standard for him that (if) he doesn't he doesn't hit the stratosphere, he has somehow failed.
The media acted like it was terrible? Kurtz must not have been watching CNN immediately after Obama's speech. Observed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer: "Anderson, he clearly still has that oratorical skill that he's always had over these many years." CNN chief national correspondent John King opined: "I think a very smart, well-crafted speech, both strategically and tactically." CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said, ". . .I thought it was a very strong speech."
Last night on WGN-TV's News at Nine program, anchor Jackie Bange began a story:
A guidance counselor at Rich Central High School in south suburban Olympia Fields is on administrative leave after publishing a somewhat racy book he wrote that focuses on sex and women.
What constitutes somewhat racy at the station calling itself "Chicago's Very Own"? Part of the answer is in an article appearing on the Chicago Sun-Times's Web site. Written by Casey Toner, it reports on Bryan Craig's book titled "It's Her Fault." Some excerpts:
Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey didn't like "2016: Obama's America," a movie that's surprised many with its box office appeal. In a review on the Los Angeles Times's Web site titled "'2016: Obama's America' goes by the book,'" Sharkey is sharply critical, writing that the movie doesn't demystify President Barack Obama, but rather "does more to illuminate its filmmaker, Dinesh D'Souza, and his ego instead." Moreover, "it's intent on laying out the arguments of a man who has given the same lecture countless times."
I have to wonder how seriously Sharkey approached the movie. She misquotes a tag line, saying that it's "Love him, hate him, now you know him," when in fact it's "Love him, hate him, you don't know him." She praises career leftist Michael Moore for his supposed objectivity:
But Moore's work and the genre itself come with an implicit understanding that whatever truths emerge, they were ultimately forged by the process, not set in stone beforehand.
On Friday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Ashleigh Banfield didn't begin her program with news that unemployment in 44 states has worsened, a story that CNN's Web site reported. No, she devoted the first 12 minutes of her program to a real burning issue: Mitt Romney's tax returns.
She spoke of President Barack Obama's offer to accept five years of GOP candidate Mitt Romney's tax returns and demand no more. The offer is as big a joke as Vice President Joe Biden, yet Banfield discussed it with CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser and Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston. Banfield injected her own theory:
USA Today's Web site features an Associated Press report with the headline "Housing starts, jobless claims in good shape." For the many readers who just scan headlines, that sounds encouraging. Yet by the second paragraph the article notes "that construction of single-family homes and apartments dipped 1.1% in July compared with June. . ." And by the third paragraph:
Housing has been making a modest comeback this year. But even with the gains, the rate of construction and the level of permits remain only about half the 1.5 million annual rate considered healthy.
Yesterday on Fox News's Special Report, senior national correspondent John Roberts did a segment on the controversy surrounding gay marriage. A version of his report also appears on the Fox News Web site. In it, Roberts interviewed a gay marriage proponent saying that young Republicans "overwhelmingly support the freedom to marry." And then:
Roberts: It isn't just young Republicans who are changing their minds. Conservative David Blankenhorn fought fiercely for Prop 8, California's measure to ban gay marriage. In June, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times with the headline: "How My View On Gay Marriage Changed". Blankenhorn is now fully in favor of same-sex marriage.
Liberals look to government, often the Federal government, for solutions to almost everything. Chicago's murder rate is appalling, with at least six people killed and another 31 shot last weekend. So to whom does Chicago Sun-Times columnist Stella Foster turn for help? President Barack Obama.
On the newspaper's Web site today appears Foster's plea, titled "Letter to President Obama: Please help address city violence." The article also appears in the newspaper's print edition with the headline "Dear Mr. President: Help our city!" It begins:
PRESIDENT OBAMA, you came into your hometown of Chicago last weekend to attend the backyard wedding of the daughter of your personal friend and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett in your Kenwood neighborhood. I am sure the affair was lovely and heartwarming. Hopefully, your schedule, one day soon, will allow you to return to Chi Town to spearhead an anti-violence rally of huge proportion to speak out against the senseless gun violence that has overwhelmed various areas of our city. . .
On CNN Newsroom this morning, anchor Carol Costello reported on "Nuns on the Bus:"
"Normally, you see nuns working in their closely knit communities and religious orders. But a group of nuns in the United States, they are hitting the road," she reported. "They are taking a bus on nine-state tour. They are protesting the Ryan budget cuts they say will hurt the poor the most. The nuns are in Milwaukee today and that's where Ted Rowlands is. So the nuns are jumping into the political fray."
Setting aside any pretense of objectivity, MSNBC host Martin Bashir and guests ferociously attacked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a segment of Thursday's program. In a discussion with Professors James Peterson and Michael Eric Dyson, Bashir bemoaned the pernicious impact of money in politics, particularly money raised by Romney. (video here)
Bashir: Professor Dyson, isn't that the problem that you have here a vacuous candidate who doesn't have any principles, who is surrounded by cash from individuals who have an agenda?
Naturally, Dyson was more than pleased to pile on, warning of a plutocracy representing "the vapidity and vacuity of an empty suit whose ideological perspective is shaped by the cash that flows into him." To lend intellectual strength to his contention, Dyson quoted from the hip hop song "Cash Rules Everything Around Me."