On Wednesday, during an interview with Dick Cheney, "Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer continued to badger the Vice President and quizzed Cheney about the month-old story of the pregnancy of his lesbian daughter, Mary. (Hat tip to Drudge) Cheney bluntly responded to the CNN anchor, " I think you're out of line with that question." That comment came after Blitzer, who appeared to be attempting to drive a wedge between conservatives and the Vice President, quoted a Focus on the Family statement, from December 6, 2006:
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 5:35pm on January 24, follows:
Wolf Blitzer: "Your daughter Mary, she's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby. You're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting, for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family: ‘Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn't mean it's best for the child.’ Do you want to respond to that?"
Dick Cheney: "No, I don't."
Blitzer: "She's obviously a good daughter."
Cheney: "I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question."
Vice President Dick Cheney squared off with CNN host Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday in a contentious, multi-part "Situation Room" interview. Blitzer seemed to openly adopt the mantra and talking points of the Democratic Party. In fact, in a tease for the interview, Blitzer promised, "The Vice President takes on his critics, including me." Cheney, whose wife Lynne aggressively sparred the cable anchor back in November, told Blitzer that a question about administration blunders was "hogwash." Elaborating on a clip of Democratic Senator Jim Webb, the "Situation Room" host asked Cheney about Bush failures:
Wolf Blitzer: "And it’s not just Jim Webb. It’s some of your good Republican friends in the Senate and in the House are now seriously questioning your credibility because of the blunders, of the failures. Gordon Smith– Gordon Smith--"
Dick Cheney: "Wolf. Wolf. I simply don’t accept the premise of your question. I just think it’s hogwash."
Blitzer: "That what? That there were no blunders? The President himself says there were blunders."
ABC’s Rosie O’Donnell called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush on Wednesday’s coffee klatch, “The View” (video available here):
Someone I believe should call for the impeachment of George Bush to let the world know…I’ll tell you why. Listen…I think we should do it so the world knows that the nation is not standing behind this president’s choices, that the nation, a democracy, feels differently than the man who was leading as if it were a dictatorship, and that we represent this country. He does not lead as a monarch.
Isn’t that special? Yet, as Allah over at Hot Air wrote of this segment, this wasn’t even the most idiotic thing Rosie said on Wednesday:
Kate Zernike's front-page profile of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (featuring a large picture of Pelosi shaking Bush's hand at last night's State of the Union address) opened with a celebration of Pelosi's femaleness and ends with "poignant commentary" by the left's new favorite Bush fighter, Democrat Sen. James Webb of Virginia.
"The first two words of the evening on Tuesday were evidence of how much has changed here: 'Madam Speaker,” boomed Congressional escorts, 'the president of the United States.'"
With the president mentioning "global climate change" in his State of the Union, CNN’s Miles O’Brien was happy he finally mentioned it. But, of course, he’s not doing enough and "more drastic action is needed.". Because his proposals are voluntary and not mandatory, it is "essentially toothless." O’Brien featured Gene Karpinski of the liberal League of Conservation Voters to call for "mandatory caps on global warming," but featured no contrary view.
The CNN anchor then predicted a very grim future.
Miles O’Brien: "Bush’s remarks were a small concession to what an overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe is a huge problem. They say in the coming decades, climate change will melt glaciers, flooding coastal areas as see levels rise. It will likely increase the frequency of extreme weather events like catastrophic hurricanes and it could lead to entire species going extinct, such as polar bears which are already struggling as their arctic habitat melts."
Leftists always complain that FNC’s "Hannity & Colmes" is a perpetually uneven match, a game of Strong vs. Weak where Sean Hannity always gets to be more aggressive and that other Colmes fellow is timid. On the PBS "NewsHour," I’d say the situation is reversed. Mark Shields is the Hannity that always sounds a strong partisan tone, and David Brooks is the timid guy, willing to tone it down for the face time and, as Bill Clinton once put it, "preserve his viability" within the network he’s on.
After the State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Shields remembered Bill Clinton’s 1998 speech as a "rhetorical home run" and really drove home how great that prickly Jim Webb was: "I think that the old line that freshmen should be seen and not heard was totally repealed and revoked." After lauding the Webb speech’s eloquence and memorability, Brooks helpfully added: "Mark said ‘A star is born.’"
On Wednesday’s "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith pressed Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain on the war in Iraq and the president’s handling of it, but in a subsequent interview with Democratic presidential hopeful and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Smith only had softball questions. For instance, Smith wondered what Obama was thinking while he was listening to the president’s speech and what running for president has taught the Illinois Senator. Smith also neglected to question Obama regarding his inexperience.
Mr. Smith first talked with Senator McCain, and Smith spent much of the interview discussing Iraq. Given the tone of the interview, it seems unlikely that McCain will be the media sensation he was in 2000. During today’s segment, Smith first wondered if President Bush even deserved another chance on Iraq:
As reported by NewsBusters here, here, here, here, and here, the media were foaming at the mouth last week about the hit television series “24” being a “neocon sex fantasy.” Yet, these same press outlets seemed less interested this week to report on the not-so conservative themes present in Episode 5 (video teaser available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
Maybe the greatest example of this glaring hypocrisy was how the terrorist introduced in Episode 1, Hamri al-Assad, was brought to the American government’s Counterterrorism Unit in Los Angeles to be debriefed by the head of the division. Almost straight out of the landmark film “Dr. Strangelove,” this fictional mortal enemy was suddenly right in the heart of the nation’s defense structure, and by the end of the episode, was shaking hands with Bill Buchanan, the head of CTU-Los Angeles.
Tom Brokaw popped up on this morning's Today show to analyze the President's State of the Union address and join Meredith Vieira in casting doubt on Bush's ability to sell his Iraq policy. After Vieira asked how Bush's low approval ratings affected his ability to promote the new surge in troops to Iraq, Brokaw responded: "The question is, now, seven years into his presidency and more than three-and-a-half years into this war does he have any credibility left when he says, 'This is how it will work,' because so much of what he has said about Iraq has not worked the way that he described it."
Then a little later Vieira set up Brokaw on how people outside of the U.S. viewed the policy: "What about with the rest of the world? Where do you think they stand in terms of this troop surge?" To which Brokaw opined: "I think the rest of the world is standing back and saying, 'You got yourself into it, you find a way out of it.'And that's a dilemma. I know that members of the Iraq Study Group are not happy that the President has not embraced any of their diplomatic suggestions that he made, that they made about talking to Iran and talking to Syria again about rebuilding the alliances. This is a White House that it's, in its own bunker at the moment."
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a columnist at a liberal newspaper saying bad things about Democrats. In this case, it’s especially odd given that the targets of the disaffection were primarily media darlings Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
On January 18, CBSNews.com posted an interview that "Public Eye" blogger Brian Montopoli conducted with business correspondent Anthony Mason. In the interview, Mason explained how he wound up reporting the business beat and why he thinks the media have a tendency to be critical of business, as well as admitting that the media in general have a liberal bias in story selection. You can find the full blog post with a link to the interview audio here.
I also took the liberty of clipping a few sound bites from his interview. It runs almost two minutes and can be found here.
In January 2006, Mason made similar comments about the media's coverage of American business:
The battle of the cable news networks rages on, and gets funnier and funnier by the minute. In this latest installment, a Fox News spokesperson has deliciously disparaged one of CNN’s biggest stars.
As reported by the New York Times (emphasis mine throughout):
A Fox News spokeswoman, Irena Briganti, said CNN was mainly looking for publicity in attacking its higher-rated rival. Of Mr. Cooper’s comment, she said, “Yet another cry for attention by the Paris Hilton of television news, Anderson Cooper.”
What was this recent fracas about? You’ll never guess:
At the beginning of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Bush graciously discussed Nancy Pelosi and her history making role as the first female Speaker. He also congratulated Democrats on their new majority status. This, however, wasn’t enough for Paul Begala. The CNN contributor appeared on a post-speech edition of "Anderson Cooper" and digressed into a rant about how Bush referred not to the Democratic Party’s success, but, rather, the Democrat majority. According to the always polite Begala, this is something only the "kook right," "the fringe" and the "Rush Limbaugh crowd" engages in:
Paul Begala: "At the very beginning, [Bush] opened with this beautiful grace note to Nancy Pelosi, talked about how her father, Thomas D'Alessandro, had served in the House, and the daughter had grown up to become Speaker. It was beautiful....And then in the very next paragraph -- I have it marked here on the White House text -- he congratulated the new ‘Democrat’ majority, as he said. Now, the White House transcript says ‘Democratic.’ There is a difference. My party's the Democratic Party. But the sort of kook right, not the responsible Republicans, but the fringe, the Rush Limbaugh crowd, likes to call my party the Democrat Party. They think it's some sort of insult or something. And frankly, I guess it is insulting. Why would you do that when you're the president of both parties and the majority of your country now is affiliated with the Democrat Party? Why would you say that?"
In a fit of rapture over newly elected Democrat Jim Webb, going so far as to speculate that he might be presidential ticket material for team D, Newsweek's Johnathan Alter left the lede at the bottom of this piece. Too bad those who might appreciate it most will likely never get to the bottom of Alter's little Webb romance.
A Powerful Response Jim Webb tore up his party's playbook—and helped point the Democrats in a new direction.
Alter also failed to point out that a poll Webb used to claim the military doesn't support the war actually favors increasing troop numbers, as proposed by Bush - that item at bottom.
In his review of last night’s State of the Union address, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales praised the performance of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, who apparently did a fine job of sitting in his chair and looking senatorial. “He looks so venerable and distinguished by now that it’s hard to get a bad picture of him,” Shales gushed. “In fact he seems more and more to resemble Claude Rains as a veteran white-haired senator in Frank Capra’s classic movie 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.' Life imitating art’s imitation of life.”
Three years ago, Shales was similarly ecstatic at Kennedy’s ability to strike a pose. “The best reaction shots were those of Ted Kennedy, whose stature seems to grow right along with his nose year after year after year. Kennedy has now reached a grand moment in the life of a senator; he looks like Hollywood itself cast him in the role,” Shales wrote after the 2004 State of the Union. “Kennedy looked great, like he was ready to take his place next to Jefferson on Mount Rushmore.
Q. How do you know a presidential candidate has thin national-security credentials?
A. When he has to cite his undergraduate major as evidence of his experience.
Barack Obama made the morning show rounds today. The amiable Robin Roberts interviewed him on ABC's Good Morning America. Inevitably, talk turned to his presidential prospects.
Roberts: "You're calling for a slight withdrawal of troops and I need to ask you this -- are you concerned that your lack of experience, when it comes to foreign policy, may hurt your chances in the run for the White House?" [Note Robin's apologetic "I need to ask you."]
Obama: "Well, actually, my experience in foreign policy is probably more diverse than most others in the field. I'm somebody who has actually lived overseas, somebody who has studied overseas. I majored in international relations.
The Washington Post’s coverage of their favorite new Senator, Virginia’s Jim Webb, whom Post writers describe as a "self-styled warrior-poet," was predictably folk-hero favorable after his typically prickly and pompous Democratic attack after the State of the Union address (although the Post account did avoid the word "Macaca.") Post reporter Michael D. Shear, a crucial part of Team Webb in taking down Sen. George Allen, shyly noted Webb became a "a folk hero among liberals and Democratic bloggers" for telling President Bush to shove off at a White House reception for new members of Congress. (Apparently, he had long been a folk hero to Shear, Tim Craig, and the editors of the Post.)
The headline characterized Webb’s speech as a "Blunt Challenge to Bush." Post editors also liked the words "aggressive" and "forceful," and a "blunt" manner that won voters’ hearts. There was no notion anywhere in the story that as Bush honored "Madame Speaker" and offered his olive branch (and the wallets of taxpayers) to the Democrats, that Webb responded to bipartisan overtures by slapping Bush around. Webb and a praising Harry Reid were the only sources in the story. Shear began:
As Americans, we all enjoy the right to criticize the president. But particularly on august occasions like the State of the Union, most agree that the office of the presidency is entitled to a modicum of respect. Or not -- at least in Meredith Vieira's case.
David Gregory set the stage on this morning's "Today,"with his depiction of W's mood:
"The president was more modest in his approach, he appeared humbled, a real sense that he reconizes that it's going to be difficult to keep both Democrats and Republicans on board here as he tries to persuade the country to stick with him on Iraq."
That's when Vieira put her own vulgar stamp on matters:
"Yeah, not exactly like a dog with his tail between his legs but obviously no posturing, either."
In response to president Bush's State of the Union Address, the Washington Post's main criticism (by reporter Glenn Kessler in the "news" section, not the editorial page) seems to be that Bush doesn't understand who "the enemy" is in the Global War on Terror. Yet as the Post proceeds to knock what they perceive as Bush's simple minded rhetoric with today's news article they only reveal it is they, rather, that has no idea who our enemies are.
In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.
The headline was "President's Portrayal of 'The Enemy' Often Flawed." The Post's conception of "flawed" is just as ill considered as they imagine the president's to be and their analysis adds up merely to mirror the conception held by many Europeans.
Once again, a National U.S. paper "arguably" chooses sides with Europe's interests over that of America.
On the bright side, during MSNBC's State of the Union Coverage, correspondent David Shuster pointed out a couple of "misleading" claims made by Senator Jim Webb in the Democratic Response. After critiquing some of President Bush's statements, Shuster moved on to focus on Webb's speech. In response to Webb's complaint that wages "are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth," Shuster countered that "when you compare wages and salaries to cost of living," as economists normally do, "the sky is not falling in the way that Jim Webb suggested." And in response to Webb's complaint about manufacturing jobs being transferred overseas, Shuster pointed out that "high-tech jobs are coming to America." (Transcript follows)
A few minutes after President George W. Bush finished his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, ABC News White House reporter Martha Raddatz scolded him for repeating “sad echoes” of things he's said “so many times in the past.” As if that makes Bush's warnings, about the threat from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda or how terrorists could come to the U.S. if we lose in Iraq, any less of a realistic threat.
Raddatz lectured: “I thought tonight there was some sad echoes of things he said so many times in the past. When he got to this global war on terror, when he got to Iraq, and you heard him concentrate on that global war on terrorism, those were the sad echoes. He brought up al Qaeda again, he brought up Osama bin Laden. He brought up Zarqawi in Iraq, who died many, many months ago. That's what he concentrated on. He avoided, to a great degree, the sectarian violence which is really the major problem in Iraq and once again, told Americans that if we didn't succeed in Iraq that the terrorists could come to the United States. And he's said that so many times in the past.”
While interviewing Senator Hillary Clinton Tuesday during MSNBC's State of the Union coverage, Chris Matthews referred to "ideologues on the right" who opposed her health care plan from 1994, saying they had planned to "kill this baby in its bassinette." Matthews wondered if Senator Clinton still felt the "sting of that strategy on the other side." (Transcript follows)
Below is a transcript of Matthews's question to Senator Clinton:
Matthews, to Hillary Clinton at 10:47pm EST.: "Back when you were working so hard on health care, back in the 90s, in the early 90s, and you really thought you could get some kind of compromise at the end, I believe, and the word came from the ideologues on the right, 'Kill this baby in its bassinette. Do not let them get a compromise health care bill that they can get credit for.' Do you still feel the sting of that strategy on the other side?"
Appearing on MSNBC's State of the Union coverage, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw praised President Bush for talking about global warming in his speech, lamenting that it was a subject the "Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to." Brokaw obverved that Bush had used the term "global warming" for the "first time since he's been President." Brokaw: "I think that you can give him an A for identifying the priorities that had been before this country for some time, and that the Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to. Global warming, he used that phrase for the first time since he's been President." (Transcript follows)
Just a couple of minutes before 9pm EST Tuesday night, as viewers awaited President Bush's State of the Union address, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer cued up Anderson Cooper to inform viewers of how there would be an “issue that’s presumably going to be thunderously missing from this speech.” Cooper explained: “Yeah, of course, you’re talking about Hurricane Katrina, you’re talking about the Gulf Coast states and Mississippi and the rebuilding of New Orleans. No mention of that in this speech tonight. That is certainly going to upset a lot of people in the Gulf Coast region who already feel that the country has moved on, that Washington has forgotten them. In the State of the Union, the President, as we have been told so far, will make no reference to New Orleans or to Mississippi, the rebuilding there. So much still needs to be done there, obviously, and we will not be hearing about that tonight from this President.” (Hat tip to MRC's Rich Noyes)
While TV listings suggested all three broadcast networks would stick with SOTU coverage until the late newscasts, CBS was the first network out at 10:27 Eastern time, and NBC followed about three minutes later. CBS had to make time for Charlie Sheen's character having sexual performance problems on "Two And A Half Men," while NBC burned a rerun of "The Office."
ABC was the only network to stick to news, as Charles Gibson interviewed presidential contenders John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. Perhaps the campaign moment of the night, causing the glee for arrogant liberals, was when Gibson mildly suggest the Democrats still "distrust" President Bush on policy, and Senator Clinton laughed and said "We are an evidence-based party." As opposed to Republicans, who apparently believe truth has a liberal bias, as Stephen Colbert jokes. The other pukey moment was ABC political analyst George Stephanopoulos praising Jim Webb's typically pompous address as clearly composed by a writer. Stephy called the speech "lyrical." As if you could hear harps playing in the background?
CBS’s live coverage of the State of the Union speech was dominated by gloom for President Bush Tuesday night. Anchor Katie Couric described Bush as "resolute, yet resigned." In the very first seconds after Bush concluded, Couric jumped in with the fact that CBS News polls showed President Bush had an 82 percent approval rating at State of the Union time in 2002, just months after 9/11, and now "reverse it," CBS’s approval rating number for Bush was 28 percent, an "all-time low." CBS has traditionally held the lowest poll number of the media outlets. The other polls in the current time period aren't great either, but found numbers between 31 percent (Newsweek, also traditionally low) and 39 percent (LA Times-Bloomberg).
Couric then turned to Bob Schieffer, and stressed it was odd that Bush went from opposing nation-building in the 2000 campaign to now favoring the spread of democracy. (It could be argued you can support democracy-building without doing the tougher work of nation-building.) With a pessimistic tone, Couric asked "Has he changed any minds tonight?"
One phrase you won't find in the AP/Times articles is "pro-life." Why? As Reuters widely reported in 2004 (here), the paper adheres "to a strict Times policy banning the phrase 'pro-life' as offensive to people who support abortion." (The paper appears only to allow the phrase if a person is being quoted using it.) Does the AP have the same policy as well? The AP article alternates between using the words "abortion foes" and "abortion opponents" to label pro-lifers in its article. In their headline and the first paragraph, the Times scrubbed the AP's use of the word "foes" and replaced it with "opponents." What's going on? (By the way: In 2004, this ridiculous policy of banning the phrase "pro-life" resulted in a hilarious episode in which the Times scrubbed the words in an opera review and replaced it with "anti-abortion" - even though the opera had nothing to do with abortion. Read the hilarity here.)