California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is proposing a new insurance surcharge to plug a budget gap that conservative critics are calling a tax. And objectively speaking, it really is a tax. But the L.A. Times was careful to avoid attributing the T-word to the idea.
Here's the teaser from the Times Web site's front page:
Gov. urges levy on insuranceBy Marc Lifsher and Evan HalperPlan calls for 1.25% assessment on all residential and commercial property policies to fund firefighting. Foes call it a tax.
For general discussion and debate. Most obvious talking point: What the heck happened yesterday in New Hampshire?
How do you feel about the outcome? Are you angered by how wrong the pre-primary polls were? How do you feel about McCain's comeback?
How important was this result to the players, in particular Clinton, Obama, McCain, Romney, and Huckabee? In the end, do Iowa and New Hampshire EVER decide a nominee? Are the press making much more of these two campaign events just to drive ratings? Will we look back months from now wondering why we got so excited about what happened in these two states?
Finally, how important was Hillary's crying game Monday to her victory Tuesday? Did the incredible focus this received push her over the top, or was this irrelevant? Will we look back on this as the crocodile tears that made a president?
See Bonus Coverage at foot: "Clinton campaign spent 24 hours slicing and dicing each other."
Could the great irony be that the strong woman won because . . . people felt sorry for her? That's not just some right-wing media critic talking. It's a view emerging from left-wing circles. Apparently the libs are angry that the MSM was too biased towards Obama, so much so that it drove people to Hillary out of spite or sympathy.
Take the comments of Air America host Rachel Maddow during last night's MSNBC election coverage, in a remarkable exchange with Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews. Who has been singled out for blame by the lefty blogosphere? None other than Matthews himself, who regularly waxed euphoric about Obama, going so far as to claim a week ago that an Obama victory in Iowa would bethe greatest story of the century.
On his blog The Daily Nightly, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams took offense at "spinning" about his Obama-swooning patter on MSNBC about how reporter Lee Cowan admitted they've found it hard to remain objective about the Obama phenomenon. NBC, biased? Williams said "rival political efforts" (the Clintons?) charged him with bias and that's "just ridiculous." The anchor demanded viewers look at NBC against and judge the "quality and fairness of our journalism." But isn't that a little like Gary Hart challenging reporters to look for Donna Rice? Exhibits of Cowan's liberal bias on the campaign (not to mention NBC's) have been posted here at NB. From the anchor's blog:
Lee admits "...it's almost hard to remain objective..." which as he implies is our goal in our work every day. He's referring to what all of us who have covered campaigns have felt from time to time: it's impossible to get the long view...the view from 40,000 feet...while operating at sea level, and inside the bubble.
Lee was talking about the swirl of excitement that has hit the Obama campaign after Iowa -- the crowds, the hoopla -- all of it. Today we learned that rival political efforts were spinning this as some kind of "bias" on the part of either Lee, or me, or this News Division, and that's just ridiculous. My response is as it always is in these situations: look at it again, listen to what's being said, and judge us by the quality and fairness of our journalism.
During MSNBC's live New Hampshire primary night coverage, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw warned that poll results getting ahead of the voters could turn the public against the media, but then blamed the inaccurate polling on how “people probably are not as honest with pollsters.” Chris Matthews, who urged an “inquest” on the polls which all had Barack Obama well ahead of Hillary Clinton in the Granite state when Clinton actually won, saw “an ethnic factor here.” Matthews extrapolated on his theory involving “Archie Bunker,” the bigoted 1970s TV character:
I've always thought that pollers, people, pollsters who call people up and ask them how they're going to vote, speak in perfect English, and standard English, they speak with a kind of a politically correct manner and it encourages a politically correct answer. I've often thought that if an Archie Bunker voice were to come over the phone, and ask people how they're going to vote, you'd get a more honest answer.
During the 11pm EST hour, Brokaw warned: “I think that the people out there are going to begin to make judgments about us -- if they haven't already -- if we don't begin to temper that temptation to constantly try to get ahead of what the voters are deciding...” He soon, however, blamed the voters: “I think people probably are not as honest with pollsters when they get called anymore because they're called constantly and they do change their minds. We're in a culture now, Chris, in which attention spans are very short, which people make quick decisions and change them equally quickly.”
On Tuesday's The Situation Room, CNN's liberal political analyst Donna Brazile, formerly an advisor to both Bill Clinton and Al Gore, hinted that she was racially offended by some of the former President's recent attacks on Barack Obama. Invoking Clinton's labeling of Obama as a "kid," and his accusation that some of Obama's claims are a "fairy tale," Brazile expressed that, "as an African-American," she found Clinton's comments "depressing." Brazile: "For him to go after Obama using 'fairy tale,' calling him a 'kid,' as he did last week, it's an insult. And I tell you, as an African-American, I find his words and his tone to be very depressing." (Transcript follows)
On NPR’s evening newscast All Things Considered on Tuesday night, anchor Melissa Block talked to primary voters in Milford, New Hampshire, and the liberal ones were very expressive. One touted Hillary as "Mother Earth...a mother to take care of the country," and another broke down into tears at the similarities in the hopes inspired by Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy. She began with Steven Shaheen, making no effort to confirm or deny whether he was related to former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen:
STEVEN SHAHEEN: I just feel the country needs a woman to run this country. I think it needs like a Mother Earth. It needs a mother to take care of the country.
BLOCK, struck by the analogy: Mother Earth.
SHAHEEN: That’s how I feel, I mean, personally. She struck me as the person with more experience, she seems, you know, with a lot of intelligence, a lot of education, and it's a gut feeling inside — can't really put words to that.
At what point, exactly, did we come to hate humans for having the arrogance to assume they are wiser than beasts?
The "we" in that equation belongs squarely to the camp of the loony radical left, which now broadcasts that hatred for humans on the Air America radio network. How low can this disgraceful failure of a radio venture go? One of their newest hosts goes by the radio name "Lionel." (His real name is Michael LeBron.) "Lionel" unfurled a rather unique take on the tragic incident at the San Francisco Zoo, where a tiger mauled a teenager to death.
He cheered for the tiger.
Then he cheered the death of Steve Irwin, the beloved "Crocodile Hunter" of TV fame.
How is that for a more visible example of a more virulent strain of Bush Derangement Syndrome?
The infected in question is a very long and very public sufferer, the New York Times' Frank Rich, and he just uttered said symptom on MSNBC.
Rich offered up his usual expert delusional analysis that the thus far flight of Democrats from the Hillary Clinton camp is not a result of her myriad unexamined scandals, her woefully unattractive personality or the reality that the "Ready" candidate is not really all that ready, having accomplished very little herself.
On the day of the New Hampshire primary, the "Today" show booked former Clinton administration Secretary of State and Hillary Clinton supporter Madeleine Albright to praise Hillary's credentials to be "a great commander-in-chief," and slam Bush foreign policy as she declared: "Internationally I don't think I've ever seen such a mess."
On to promote her new book, Memo To The President Elect, Albright did receive one skeptical question about whether the Clinton administration had done enough to stop al Qaeda. However that didn't stop "Today" co-host Ann Curry from asking for Albright's foreign policy advice:
ANN CURRY: Bottom line, people feel very hopeless about our being able to improve relations with other nations, of finally being able to restore peace. Through your, through this effort in creating this book is there, is there hope? What would be the most hopeful thing you can say to the American people?
Were it not for the leftward-leaning news media, Democrats would have a much tougher time getting their agenda out. This is a point which journalists now and then will admit. Another such admission was made earlier today by NBC anchor Brian Williams who said the following:
I interviewed Lee Cowan, our reporter who covers Obama, while we were out yesterday and posted the interview on the web. Lee says it's hard to stay objective covering this guy. Courageous for Lee to say, to be honest.
I was especially fascinated when Thomas wrote wistfully of the golden days when America had an "old order – a large, more politically moderate voting public...In 1970, at about 6:30 pm at least two or three nights a week, about half the country could be found watching the evening news on one of the three major networks. The broadcasts tended to be fairly sober-minded, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand presentations by trusted anchors like Walter Cronkite."
It’s understandable that media elitists would mourn for the Nixon era, when conservatism was still a small remnant and most Republican office holders were almost as liberal as the Democrats. But the idea that there were no hyperbolic divisiveness or harsh rhetoric, with the Vietnam War raging and the radical left on the march, is just bizarre. It’s even more bizarre to claim that biased liberal anchormen like Walter Cronkite, lobbying LBJ to get out of Vietnam, were fair and balanced in their presentation.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman appeared touched by Hillary Clinton's emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. She exhibited no skepticism about the outpouring, describing it as "unexpected, spontaneous emotion." Not surprisingly, Shipman also speculated that Clinton could benefit in the polls from the event.
The ABC reporter rhapsodized, "From this woman in particular, who remains stoic publicly even as her emotional world caved in, who has cultivated such an image of strength and invulnerability, it was a surprise that just might pay off." Much of the segment related to crying in politics and whether it's now thought to be acceptable. However, Shipman clearly appeared to be fascinated with the New York senator's display of emotion in response to a question from a voter. She added, "And it's so fascinating when you are the first woman to make a serious stab at the presidency, every move, every emotion is fraught and scrutinized."
Are Hillary Clinton’s recent troubles the result of unfair press coverage? According to "The View’s" Joy Behar they are. On the January 8 edition of the ladies chat show, the co-hosts discussed Senator Clinton’s recent emotional breakdown when Behar exclaimed, "I feel like crying for her now. I feel so bad about how the press has been vilifying her."
As is expected for a woman who frequently gets her factswrong, the facts simply do not back her up. Even the allegedly "conservative" Fox News gave the New York Senator a softball interview. Since the fall, several negative stories about Senator Clinton broke that the network news simply did not pick up. Some of the most prominent examples include news that former President Bill Clinton left his wife in charge of Clinton Library documents that have not been released, and raising an extremely high amount of money from poor Chinese immigrants.
Following an interview with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, who said of Barack Obama: "It makes people feel good to see someone who has managed to get where he has, a black American who won out in Iowa..."
The segment began with analysis of Clinton’s "display of emotion," which Schieffer thought was "rather touching." Schieffer even referenced former Democratic Senator and presidential candidate, Bill Bradley, who cried on camera, and declared "So at least, I guess we've come to accept that people can cry on camera and that's not a sign of weakness." Smith concluded: "It certainly got her back on the front page."
Following this discussion of Clinton, Smith went on to ask about Barack Obama:
As NewsBusters reported, CNN aired an advertisement on Monday for its "Nancy Grace" program on Headline News in which a picture of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) was highlighted in a promo about this fall's "incredible crime stories".
Amazingly, the esteemed Senator from Kentucky was sandwiched between shots of convicted Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, OJ Simpson, and other high-profile crime figures of 2007.
NewsBusters has been informed that after a number of CNN producers were sent our article on this subject, a senior CNN official contacted McConnell's office to apologize for the incident.
Apparently, the ad is being immediately pulled, and a full internal investigation is being launched concerning the matter.
It’s better late than never, might be what vaccine manufacturers are thinking right now.
The pharmaceutical industry had maintained all along that there’s no proven link between a vaccine preservative called thimerosal and autism. CBS had been unwilling to concede that notion until last night.
“In health news tonight, new research finds no link between mercury in vaccines and autism in children,” Katie Couric said on the January 7 “Evening News.” “Suspicion had focused on a vaccine preservative called thimerosal, which contains mercury. Thimerosal was eliminated from most vaccines in 2001, but since then a study in California showed that, instead of going down, autism cases there continued to climb.”
Chicago Tribune Public Editor Timothy J. McNulty addressed reader discontent over his paper's decision to include in its January 6 paper that week's syndicated Parade magazine insert featuring an outdated cover story and interview with the late Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. The story was written and the magazine published days before Bhutto's murder.
McNulty shared some reader e-mails as well as feedback from Tribune editors, making a point to emphasize that the Trib has no control over Parade's editing nor publication schedule and that the Trib did include an editor's note in the paper about the outdated nature of the Parade insert.
But while McNulty did a good job dealing with this particular controversy, he failed to look at a larger issue that the Parade incident fleshes out: the logistical and editorial weaknesses of traditional print media in a 24/7 news cycle, and how that could push more news consumers away from print and towards online media.
Forget the label "old media," the Parade distribution model in this case seems jurassic, woefully outdated given the nature of the modern news cycle, and particularly so if the Sunday magazine wishes to report on anything of global political import rather than say Hollywood fluff.
Because the Trib's handling of the matter seems ham-handed, it also calls into question the relevance and reliability of newspaper print editions in an unforgiving, 24/7 media universe that's becoming more and more dominated by Internet-based media.
Following a rather tough interview with Hillary Clinton yesterday, on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith took a more sympathetic tone: "It is no wonder that all anyone is talking about, it seems, especially up here, is Hillary Clinton in that rare display of emotion."
In a taped interview with Clinton, Smith began by asking, "Do you think sometimes the fact that you are Hillary Clinton gets in the way of what you're trying to say?"In response, Clinton shared this observation: "You know, it could...one of the most common things people say to me on rope lines and in crowds is, oh, my gosh, you're so much nicer than I thought or you're so much prettier, you're so much this or that."
Smith then went on to ask about Clinton’s teary moment and worried about the campaign’s toll on the Senator:
There was a moment earlier today when you were in a diner, and a woman, a supporter of yours, turns to you and says, 'how do you hold it together?’...And you didn't quite hold it together...Because people will see this and interpret it in a million different ways, not the least of which is, well, the campaign's getting to her.
All D.C. area NewsBusters readers (and those traveling in DC this week) are invited to the National Press Club on Thursday night to hear MRC president L. Brent Bozell III discuss his new book Whitewash: What The Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will.
Will Brent boast that this expose is ruining Hillary's campaign? The party starts Thursday with a "Book Rap" at 6:30 pm, followed by a reception and book signing at 7:15. The Press Club is downtown at the intersection of 14th and F Streets (near the Metro Center subway stop).
If you'd like to attend, send an RSVP to Meghan Snyder at Shirley-Banister Public Affairs (email@example.com) or call 703-739-5920.
Instead of focusing on Hillary Clinton’s third-place finish in Iowa, her struggling poll numbers, or the typical horse-race questions, CNN’s John Roberts asked the former first lady about a number of issues, including the Iraq war, Social Security, and the principles that she would "stand on in good times and bad times." In his last question, Roberts asked Clinton, "What will be the underpinning of your decisions?" Her answer: "The United States Constitution first and foremost."
The first segment of the Roberts/Clinton interview aired 22 minutes into the 6 am hour of Tuesday’s "American Morning." Roberts first asked Clinton about her choice to go back to the "aggressive style of compare and contrast" that she last used before the Iowa Caucuses. She highlighted the apparent need that the Democratic candidates be compared and contrasted.
For the second day in a row, "Good Morning America" provided a gushing forum for Hillary Clinton's spin. On Tuesday's program, co-host Diane Sawyer asked the presidential candidate about her emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. The ABC journalist sympathetically wondered, "Is it different when a woman shows that kind of emotion and (sic) a man does?"
Sawyer certainly never broached the subject of whether Clinton contrived the wavering voice. Instead, she gingerly questioned, "Are you surprised so much is being made this morning?" Regarding the '08 candidate's recent defeat in Iowa, the GMA host carefully asked, "With those numbers coming in, what does President Clinton say to you at night or first thing in the morning? Is there a pep talk?" Sawyer followed up by speculating, "Does Chelsea write you notes and leave them under the door?"
One has to wonder if Robin Givhan is still atoning for what the Left perceives as a grievous sin against Hillary Clinton: expressing distaste for Hillary Clinton showing a bit of cleavage on the Senate floor. How else can you explain the fashion critic's January 8 Style section front-pager gushing over Hillary's emotional moment at a campaign event in New Hampshire yesterday (emphasis mine):
For a brief moment at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, N.H., Hillary Clinton let slip a glimpse of uncontrolled emotion. In response to a question from an empathetic voter who wondered how she remains upbeat and "so wonderful," Clinton's voice cracked as she conceded that the nonstop campaigning -- and all it entails -- is not easy.
I think we are finding our newest MSM mantra about how evil Americans in general are and Republicans in particular are. Mark this as an example of that with the fear that Barack Huessein Obama will get assassinated. This time the New York Times is raising the specter on their The Caucus blog in a report by Sarah Wheaton.
Today, in Dover, Francine Torge, a former John Edwards supporter, said this while introducing Mrs. Clinton: “Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” passed the civil rights legislation.
The comment, an apparent reference to Senator Barack Obama, is particularly striking given documented fears among blacks that Mr. Obama will be assassinated if elected.
This is an obvious attempt to pump up Obama by an MSM who is starting to feel that their choice, Hillary, is wounded. I think the MSM is trying to switch candidates by raising Obama up to mythic status. These faux assassination fears are built on equating Obama with Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. -- but more often Kennedy. This sort of thing elevates Obama to the hero status that the left heaps upon Bobbie as well as serving to fan the all-Americans-are-racists talking point that the left is so in love with.
Of course, as fellow NewsBuster and Business & Media Institute staff writer Jeff Poor notes, it's highly unprofessional and misleading for media outlets to gin up fears of recession this early (emphasis mine).:
Apparently, Gen. David Petraeus wasn’t Time magazine’s man of the year, and Newsweek is much less impressed. They proclaim "It’s far too early to declare Gen. David Petraeus, 55, the general who tamed Baghdad." Their new interview by Larry Kaplow and Bebak Dehghanpisheh (try saying that three times fast) began like this:
NEWSWEEK: How did the Anbar Awakening movement [of Sunni sheiks allying with U.S. troops] start? How much of that was planned, and how much was luck?
The fellows at Newsweek weren’t just being impertinent. They were reflecting some Petreaeus adviser who eagerly said "yes" to that question.
On Monday, the "most trusted name in news" ran an advertisement for its Headline News program "Nancy Grace" dealing with "incredible crime stories" this fall.
In the fast-moving montage, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Kent.) picture was spliced in between what appears to be convicted dog abuser Michael Vick and missing Bolingbrook, Illinois, resident Stacy Peterson. A picture of her husband Drew, who is implicated in her disappearance, followed, with a final shot of OJ Simpson.
Isn't the Internet wonderful? It wasn't long before folks in the conservative blogosphere uncovered the fact that the "Iron my Shirt" guys that disrupted yesterday's Hillary campaign stop in Salem, New Hampshire are radio geeks trying to create a radio stunt. Just about every major news outlet reported the stunt as a real political protest. Only one of them bothered to look into the thing to try and track down the real motivation of the disrupters.
The AP reported it straight and their report was typical of most other MSM outlets.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign stop was interrupted Monday when two men stood in the crowd and began screaming, "Iron my shirt!" during one of her final appearances before the New Hampshire primary.