If Hillary isn't quite getting out the long knives, let's just say she's oiling the scabbard. As we noted earlier, on this morning's "Today" Clinton drew an invidious comparison between herself and John Edwards, referring to him as "on the sidelines" while she's in "the arena."
And after some persistent questioning by Diane Sawyer on today's Good Morning America, Hillary took a little swipe at her other major opponent, Barack Obama.
Sawyer: "Yesterday, talking about Senator Barack Obama, when asked specifically if he is qualified to be commander-in-chief, to be president, you didn't answer, you said 'I'm going to let the American people decide.' You know the office, you know him. Why not say?"
Gee, I wonder whom Hillary had in mind when she blamed her bad image on "radio and cable TV" this morning? She didn't quite name Rush, Hannity et al. as the "evildoers," but there was no mistaking the object of her disaffection.
The comment came in the course of a "Today" interview with Meredith Vieira. Meredith began with a slow-pitch softball, asking whether Hillary believes the public has stopped listening to President Bush. Hillary allowed that "there's a great discouragement about the president's leadership."
But Meredith maximized the MPH with her next question:
"Many voters still have this very negative opinion of you, and some of the words that are used to describe you are not very kind." As Vieira beginning ticking off the awful adjectives: "strident, cold, scripted, phony," Hillary burst into this political season's most insincere laughter.
Meredith took note of Clinton's feigned frivolity: "You're laughing at that. Advisors have said that they want to humanize you. Why do people seem to have that perception of you after knowing you for 15 years."
The Washington Post placed its March for Life story on page A-10 today (making it more of a national than local story), below a story on the Supreme Court striking down a California sentencing law. The account by reporters Michael Alison Chandler and Michelle Boorstein is a respectful recounting of the march and both sides of the abortion debate.
The story was illustrated by color photos, but in a far too common tactic, the Post balanced a picture of four pro-life demonstrators with "Defend Life" signs in daylight against a photo of four or five feminists with "Keep Abortion Legal" signs at an evening Supreme Court vigil. One side turns out tens of thousands, and the other turned out tens. The Post didn't exactly balance its photos when it came to illegal-alien rallies, not to mention the number of column inches was vastly larger.
Proving the pro-life movement is alive and well despite abortion advocates obtaining control of Congress last November, hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates participated in the annual March for Life. The mood was optimistic and positive despite 34 years of legalized abortion since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
Independent confirmation of the size of the crowd, plus additional chances for readers to get a perspective on the number of people present (no aerial shots, unfortunately), is at "Barbara's Public March for Life 2007 Gallery," where Barbara says:
As a former radical leftist, I attended many demonstrations in Washington, DC. Now having attended the March for Life two years in a row, I'm amazed at how under-reported the March for Life is - and all too aware of how that under-reporting contributes to the rampant stereotyping of pro-lifers as middle-aged white males. I actually saw very few of those today! What I saw were hundreds of thousands of people willing to brave the cold (DC had its first snow of the winter the night before) to affirm that a baby in the womb is not property to be destroyed, but a person that those committed to human rights must defend. It's a child, not a choice!
As has been the case for decades, those who are supposed to bring us the news couldn't and/or wouldn't accurately report what was occurring right in front of them:
One of my correspondents on my own site, Publius' Forum, has been trying to clear up a wretched email that was sent to one of our boys in Iraq refusing him service and telling him he should "pull out of Iraq".
Fox News has picked up this story that I have been watching for a few days. I've been trying to ascertain if it was real or another example of an internet hoax -- sometimes it isn't easy to tell these days -- but I think I can safely say it is real at this point. It has been rather hot news in Wisconsin over the last 48 hours, too.
The question is, will we see it farther and wider? Will the MSM pick up this story of our solder being ill treated by Discount-Mats.com, a Muslim owned, Wisconsin based floor mat company?
Army Sgt. Jason Hess, stationed in Taji, Iraq wanted to purchase a few floor mats for use in his station in Iraq and emailed the Wisconsin based floor mat company to ask if they would ship to an APO address in Iraq?
In a very poorly written article in the Washington Post, reporter Christopher Lee seems to find it remarkable that a lot of the health insurance groups that opposed Hillary Clinton-Care back in the early 1990s are now on board with a number of the new efforts at health insurance reform (and I use that last term loosely).
On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann made known his latest conspiracy theory that the Bush administration times the release of news on terror threats for political benefit. As he interviewed Newsweek's Richard Wolffe, Olbermann asked about the recent report from ABC News that al-Qaeda in Iraq had planned on sending terrorists to attack the United States, wondering if it was politically timed before the State of the Union since the administration has a history of "releasing information on what has usually been lame terror threats during or near times of political crisis." Olbermann: "Given the administration habit, it's almost a record of releasing information on what has usually been lame terror threats during or near times of political crisis, is it too cynical to think that the timing of these stories today might be suspicious on the eve of the State of the Union Address with the President going out there virtually naked tomorrow night?" (Transcript follows)
Senator Hillary Clinton sat for interviews aired Monday night on all three broadcast network evening newscasts to promote her presidential candidacy, though only ABC’s World News got her live. CBS’s Katie Couric first pushed her from the left: “You're against sending additional troops to Iraq, and according to our latest poll, 66 percent of Americans agree with you. So why not vote to cut off funding so the President can't carry out this policy?” Couric did note that “some” call her health care policy management in the Clinton administration “a disaster” before worrying: “Even those who approve of you as a candidate have questions about your electability, some of those people. What would you say to them?” The “Couric & Co.” blog features a picture of Senator Clinton and Katie Couric, both smiling, posing together shoulder-to-shoulder.
NBC anchor Brian Williams treated her as a victim of the “burden” of celebrity: “Is it any kind of a burden for you, Senator, that so many opinions are pre-formed? Americans know Hillary Rodham Clinton.” And, in a question not aired, but posted in an online transcript, Williams fretted: “Because you've been a public figure, is it a burden for you to go back and amend or explain issues like health care, the vote for the war, things like that?” ABC’s Charles Gibson dared to raise a unique point: “You are a strong, credible, female candidate for President of the United States, and I mean no disrespect in this, but would you be in this position were it not for your husband?”Gibson pressed her from the right (“Would you take a pledge not to sign a bill that raised taxes?”) and then the left (“Can we finance this war without raising taxes?”) before echoing Couric: “Was your vote to authorize war in Iraq a mistake?”
You gotta love network blogs, if for nothing more they bring out those hidden gems of bias you otherwise wouldn't get from the people behind the camera. Like Ed Deitch, one of the men behind the curtain as it were.
Deitch, a senior producer for the NBC "Nightly News" expressed
bemusement recently on the NBC News "Daily Nightly" blog at the notion that there's opposition to a Bangor, Maine,
ban on smoking in cars with children.
Having hit Chris Matthews hard here in recent weeks, let's give him credit for flashing some real reporter's instincts in going after Hillary aide Howard Wolfson on this afternoon's Hardball on the issue of whether the campaign is conducting opposition research on its Dem rivals.
And while Wolfson wouldn't flatly admit it, by the end of the interview there was little doubt that Hillary's campaign is actively digging for dirt on its Dem opponents.
Matthews: "Let me ask you about opposition research. Is that part of your campaign: checking out other candidates's possible flaws in their resumes? Are you guys going to engage in that kind of politics to win the nomination?"
When Wolfson gave an evasive answer to the effect he and Hillary believe she can win by focusing on her record, Matthews persisted:
NBC's Thursday night comedy "30 Rock" took some good-natured potshots at "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams in a scene that depicted his office as rife with liquor bottles, dirty underwear, pornography ("Junk in the Trunk") and wall graffiti declaring "Katie Couric Sucks." (h/t TVNewser.com)
Documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has directed a new film that takes a look at the evangelical movement in America. Appearing on Monday’s "Good Morning America," she discussed the now disgraced Reverend Ted Haggard who served as a guide for her film crew’s tour of Red State America. Pelosi told host Diane Sawyer that most people think of evangelical Christians as "holy roller Jesus freaks," and seemed surprised that Haggard didn’t fall into that category. During the discussion, both the ABC anchor and the filmmaker appeared to be trying to treat evangelicals with respect. However, each succumbed to the occasional condescending sounding slip-up. Sawyer asked Pelosi whether the trip to conservative parts of America left her feeling as though "you had to get a visa to a foreign country." And later, Pelosi described the journey "as sort of a sociological field trip." It was the "Jesus freak" comment, however, that appeared too much for even Diane Sawyer:
Alexandra Pelosi: [On the Ted Haggard scandal] "I was heartbroken. Because pastor Ted was my tour guide. And he was so good to me. He took me under his wing and said, ‘Let me explain the red states to you’. And it was hard for me to understand, most people think of evangelicals as being these holy roller Jesus freaks, and Ted wasn't like that. And so, it was interesting for me to understand and say, these are good people. He was reasonable. He was reasonable. He was a normal, every day man. And so, it was hard to stomach, what had happened."
Sawyer: "Yes, and I'm going to have everybody write you who wants to write about ‘holy roller Jesus freaks,’ okay?"
In perhaps an ominous sign of the fawning media coverage Senator Hillary Clinton will receive as she runs for president, CBS News correspondent Joie Chen proclaimed that "it may be easier to get an audience with the Wizard of Oz than steal Clinton’s thunder right now." Yet isn’t it the media that is creating this thunder? Monday’s "Early Show" ran four stories pertaining to Hillary Clinton entering the Democratic race for president, including an interview with her top advisor, Howard Wolfson, and to be fair, "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm did ask him some tough questions. Yet, when top tier Republican candidates have announced their intentions, as Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have all formed exploratory committees, the "Early Show" has not provided any coverage at all.
"The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration’s increasingly combative stance toward Iran, saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.
Last Friday, I was shocked to see a series of photographs on the news wires, sent across by Reuters photographer Kevin Frayer, one of the photographers of Qana fame. The pictures illustrated a picture of a large crowd, grieving the death of a ten-year-old Palestinian girl, Abir Aramin, who was reported to have been injured by a stray rubber bullet fired by none other than the Israeli Defence Forces, and whose subsequent death has "enraged" the local Palestinian population.
There were some immediate problems with Mr. Frayer's depiction of these events, though. First and foremost, as someone who is constantly monitoring the news wires, I can comfortably say that there are no pictures on the wire of any anti-barrier protest at Anata during this time, and certainly no pictures of what would be a very injured girl. Furthermore, there are no photos of her in the hospital, a scenario that would obviously be very sympathetic, something which would attract every photographer in the area!
In other words, there is no photographic evidence that the Palestinian version of this story happened at all!
There’s so much to find offensive about Fareed Zakaria’s article in this week’s Newsweek that it’s tough to know where to begin. Put simply, the piece stated rather strongly that President Bush is responsible for a declining rate of democracy around the world.
Of course, one study that Zakaria cited to prove this premise “points out that 2006 was a bad year for liberty, under attack from creeping authoritarianism in Venezuela and Russia, a coup in Thailand, massive corruption in Africa and a host of more subtle reversals.”
Zakaria never addressed what President Bush did to advance creeping authoritarianism in Venezuela and Russia, the coup in Thailand, and the massive corruption in Africa. Instead, he reported the following (emphasis mine throughout):
The Washington Post published no preview story for the March for Life on Monday, despite its massive annual size. But it did have room on the front page of the Metro section to review "Macaca" and how Virginia Republicans "might" (the Post hopes) be ruined in state elections this fall for their insensitivity.
On Page B-4, the Post did have a traffic diagram with the headline "Streets to Close for Antiabortion March." The March is rebutted right underneath the diagram, listing ''ABORTION RIGHTS EVENTS." They reported Planned Parenthood will "toast the Roe vs. Wade anniversary with a benefit tonight featuring actress Kathleen Turner," and NARAL Pro-Choice America "plans a benefit Thursday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel."
On the front page of the Metro section was a story by Macaca specialist Tim Craig headlined "Offensive GOP Words Might Speak Louder Than Va. Transit Deal." It had the typical Post thesis that social conservatives (the "far right") are destroying the Virginia GOP:
If opposing abortion makes you a "social conservative," what does supporting abortion make you? Why, nothing at all, or certainly nothing worth mentioning in NBC's eyes.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell narrated a segment on this morning's "Today" about the three candidates who threw their hats into the presidential ring over the weekend: Hillary, Bill Richardson and Sam Brownback.
O'Donnell described Hillary simply as "Senator Hillary Clinton." Nothing about her views on abortion.
O'Donnell identified Bill Richardson as the first potential Hispanic president, "adding to the Democratic field of potential firsts if elected: Clinton, the first woman and Barack Obama, the first African-American." How nice.
Nothing about Richardson's views on abortion either.
But when it came to the Republican newly in the race, virtually the first words out of O'Donnell's mouth were: "Two-term Kansas senator Sam Brownback isa social conservative who opposes legalized abortion."
With Democrats returning to power in the House and Senate, political reporters touched on how they felt abused and ignored during their time in the minority. But National Public Radio isn’t treating the Republicans now as a minority. They’re treating them as nonexistent in some stories. On Friday’s Morning Edition broadcast, reporter Elizabeth Shogren assembled an entire story on new Democratic proposals to halt global warming, but there were no Republicans, no energy industry representatives, and no warming skeptics. They only heard new socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders saying "one has got to be a moron" not to be concerned.
No one in the Shogren story was a "liberal" (not to mention a socialist – Sanders was merely described as "independent.") The proposed bills weren’t liberal either, just "aggressive." It was the Bernie Sanders-Barbara Boxer bill versus the Dianne Feinstein bill, which seemed conservative by comparison.
The Washington Post, today, seems to be lamenting that this year's White House Correspondent's dinner will somehow be too nice to President Bush. In a piece titled "With Rich Little, Press Corps Is Assured a Nice Impression", the Post sees a "controversy" brewing over the fact that an act has been hired that doesn't treat president Bush as a despised figure.
Being nice (to a Republican) simply isn't an option to the Washington Post, it appears.
Stung by criticism that comedian Stephen Colbert went too far last year in his remarks at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner, the group announced last week that it had lined up a different kind of entertainer for its next dinner on April 21: impersonator Rich Little.
Will the rise of blogging and "citizen journalism"* have a positive effect on news coverage of politics? I'd have to say yes. Kate Werk at Small Dead Animals posted the other day on a different reason this will be so:
The distinction between national and local is an important one. [...] I find
the local reporting by mainstream affiliates in my part of the country
to be, by and large, reasonably thorough and not nearly as tainted by
the political "default setting" that infects much of national and
international coverage. [...]
Indeed, one wonders how different our perceptions of the national
mainstream media might be if the chattering quasi -experts, political
mouthpieces and overpaid anchors were sent into early retirement, and
replaced with editing teams that simply compiled reports submitted by
local affiliates and journalists in the field.
Removing the conclusion-drawing, forecasting and speculation that
currently infects hard news could go a long way towards restoring the
credibility of a troubled industry and the confidence of that "former
audience" - those news consumers who have turned to the internet, not
for its speed, but for the sources - to fact check, cross-check and provide context.
The emergence of blogging as a source of national news can bring out information that the elitist, liberal press can't or won't report.
Today (Sunday, January 21, 2007), the Los Angeles Times toasted Sen. Hillary Clinton's entrance into the 2008 race. Her announcement of a presidential exploratory committee was met with a whopping 2,050-word, front-page article ("Clinton joins 2008 race for president") (see image).
As we reported on Wednesday (here), the Times celebrated Sen. Obama's announcement of an exploratory committee with front-page treatment, accompanying photos, and a generous 1,469 words.
But how has the Times been treating similar announcements by Republicans?
With the love-fest that is currently going on over Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois), it is certainly no surprise when a group of mainstream media members gets together to discuss Hillary Clinton’s shortcomings. Yet, it is quite odd to hear someone like Chris Matthews state that the current frontrunner for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination – and a former first lady – is a female incarnation of one of the biggest left-wing failures in decades (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated). (Please also see update with a humorous photoshopped picture of the one to the right!)
To set this up, the panel in the first segment of Sunday’s “The Chris Matthews Show” was discussing presidential candidates. As they moved in Al Gore’s direction, Norah O’Donnell stated that Democrat party leaders are concerned about Hillary’s chances in the general election, and that a more senior and experienced candidate like Gore might be the ticket so to speak.
That precipitated this rather shocking exchange between O’Donnell and Matthews:
This one was pretty deplorable. On Sunday’s “The Chris Matthews Show,” the liberal host said something truly disrespectful about a former House Speaker, and a highly-regarded member of the political establishment (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
In the predictions segment, the New York Times’ David Brooks said:
Newt Gingrich is going to come in a close second in one of the first three Republican primaries, be on the cover of Time and Newsweek. He will have his moment, and he will be the alternative for whoever the real nominee is.
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” did a wonderful sketch last evening that in one fell swoop made fun of “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the media’s sycophantic enthrallment with the former first couple from Arkansas (video available here).
The skit began with the mock Matthews gushing over finally getting the chance to interview Madame Clinton. After he finally composed himself, the first question he asked admittedly was “actually written by a member of [her] staff.”
Sounds about right, correct?
Then, the mock Matthews said that he’s got some questions of his own, and demurely asked, “Is it all right if they’re about Iraq?”
Another Democratic presidential candidate, another chance for ABC's George Stephanopoulos to push for higher taxes on energy. On Sunday's This Week, when just-announced candidate Bill Richardson outlined how his energy policy would be based on conservation and improved technology, listing how “it's going to take more efficient air conditioning, it's going to take green buildings, it's going to take fuel-efficient vehicles,” Stephanopoulos jumped in: “Higher gas taxes?” The Governor of New Mexico rejected the plea from Stephanopoulos: “No, you don't have to do it with taxes. You need a conservation effort that every American participates in, inspired by the President.” Stephanopoulos remained unpersuaded, proposing: “But aren't higher energy taxes the best way to get people to conserve?”
On the December 3 This Week, as recounted in my NewsBusters item, Stephanopoulos told Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a then just-announced Democratic candidate for President, that "just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?" Stephanopoulos followed up by pointing to Europe as a model to emulate: "Couldn't we become independent much more quickly if we had the kind of energy tax you see in Europe?"
As Riehl posted Saturday evening, Stark was rather cocky leading up to this debate stating at his own website that “CNN will want to hire me as a sanitation engineer because I will have mopped the floor with Mr. Riehl.”
Well, the reality is that CNN might indeed want to hire Stark as a janitor, for he certainly didn’t come across as qualified to do much else as this video of the segment (provided courtesy of Ms Underestimated) clearly demonstrates.
Don't look for ABC's Cokie Roberts to turn up anytime soon on that comfy couch featured in Hillary's announcement video, enjoying one of those cozy "conversations" Clinton claims to want.
Appearing on This Week today, Roberts left little doubt that she views Hillary as a seriously flawed candidate - if not person. Roberts began by damning Hillary with faint praise:
"I think she's got a lot of great attributes: she's a very disciplined candidate, she's very smart, she can raise more money than God, she has a terrific staff, she's been through a presidential campaign or two and knows how rough it is, which is really important as everyone at this table knows. And I think that all works for her."
Roberts than inserted the shiv: "What works against her is that issue of anger. And not just anger, sort of coldness."