Every now and then, a debate occurs on television that perfectly represents the differences between conservative and liberal ideologies in our nation. Such occurred on Friday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” when the host invited a Democratic strategist and a civil rights attorney to discuss Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-California) comments to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
After he set up the segment, O’Reilly said to his first guest: “I didn't hear this kind of nonsense when Bill Clinton had military action in the Balkans or in Somalia. Why didn't I hear that?” Jane Fleming, executive director of the Young Democrats of America predictably responded:
It's not enough to embrace defeat in Iraq. The United States should preemptively capitulate to Iran too. That's not Noam Chomsky's latest fevered pronouncement, nor the impassioned plea of Cindy Sheehan at the gates of Gitmo. It is the opening paragraph of a column in this morning's Boston Globe by Robert Rotberg. And who is Rotberg? Former President of Lafayette College, former professor at MIT, now Director of Harvards's Kennedy School Program on Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution.
"The only way to promote sustainable peace, stability, and order in Iraq is to forge an unholy alliance with Iran -- and accept Iran's dominant influence in the Middle East. Only by accepting Iranian hegemonic pretensions, odious as they are, can the United States extricate itself somewhat honorably from Iraq."
In case we missed the point, here's how Rotberg concludes his column:
"Churchill mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." - Edward R. Murrow
Give Frank Rich credit for this: he doesn't run from his theater-critic past. Like a mirror-image Churchill, the man now paid by the New York Times to think great thoughts rather than to laugh till he cries mobilizes theater metaphors in his pay-per-view, anti-war opus of this morning, He’s in the Bunker Now.
Rich begins by informing us that President Bush has morphed from Harold Hill in "The Music Man" into Willy Loman from "Death of a Salesman." And we all know what that means.
Cal Thomas had the line of the night on this evening's Fox News Watch. Here's how the conservative commentator explained Americans' dissatisfaction with progress in Iraq:
"Part of the problem here is we have Desert Storm with the 100-hour war. Everybody came home. There were victory marches, General Schwarzkopf leading. The press was full of stories: 'we finally got the Vietnam monkey off our back.' Now we're used to the very quick action. It's not going to happen, except thank goodness Jack Bauer is coming back to make it happen on '24' - that's what we're waiting for."
Lifesite had the report that early Thursday morning’s edition of NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" displayed a character called "the homophobic country western singer." Conan O’Brien introduced him: "Our last new character's heart is in the right place, even if he's a complete idiot. Please welcome the homophobic country western singer." The singer began to play a guitar and sing a song warning Jesus Christ not to make a gay pass at him:
Oh I love you Jesus But only as a friend. You touched my heart but I hope That's where the touchin' ends.
You're always lookin' over me When I need a higher power. But you better look at somethin' else When I'm in the shower.
Tim Rutten writes a weekly column for the Los Angeles Times called "Regarding Media." We have reported on his anti-conservative bias in several past posts, including here, here, here, here, and here.
Today's column (Sat. Jan. 13, 2007) addresses issues surrounding Gov. Mitt Romney's Mormonism. While the overall motive of the article may be well taken, Rutten presents a seriously faulty view within his piece. Rutten asserts that America's "social sanity" and "sensible accommodation" are being "undermined" by the "demands of social conservatives." Begins Rutten,
You can take the man out of CNN - and stick him in Congress - but you can't take the CNN out of the man. As per this Robert Novak column, Steven Kagen, a Democrat elected in November to represent a Wisconsin district in Congress, recently bragged of having insulted First Lady Laura Bush, President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and Karl Rove at a White House function for new members.
The details of Kagen's insults, set forth below, boggle the mind. What kind of person would do something like this? The kind of person that CNN would hire to be a consultant. A quick Googling uncovered the fact that, as per the Democratic Congressional Committee's official web page, Kagen, a doctor, "for seven years was the Allergy Consultant for CNN."
Here is Novak's description of Kagen's vulgar and unseemly actions.
"Newly elected Rep. Steven Kagen, a rich allergist who self-financed his campaign in Wisconsin, by his own account taunted President and Mrs. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential adviser Karl Rove during a White House function for new members of Congress in December.
"Kagen told a group of activists that after he found himself in the restroom with Rove, he blocked the White House deputy chief of staff's departure by holding the door closed. According to Kagen, he then said: "You're in the White House and you think you're safe. . . . My name's Dr. Multimillionaire and I kicked your ass."
On Thursday, NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein wrote about “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews stating “Cheney, of course, who always wants to kill” on Don Imus’s radio program. On Friday, the Fox News website featured this exchange in a “Bias Alert.”
Fox News is taking Bill O'Reilly's campaign against "NBC's turn to the far left" to FOXNews.com. The number three story on the home page this afternoon says: "Bias Alert: Which NBC Biggie Said, 'Cheney ... Always Wants to Kill'?"
According to the article, this was a multiple choice question:
Free Republic, a conservative website familiar to many at NewsBusters, is normally not in the business of breaking news stories. FR's raison d'etre is to serve as a gathering place for conservatives to post and comment on stories found elsewhere in the media - including at NB.
But today comes some interesting investigative reporting at Free Republic, billed as an FR Exclusive. As reported by FReeper Howlin, CNN has recently signed a deal to provide poll data for the '08 prez contest with a polling firm controlled by an avid Clinton supporter.
As might be expected, the New York Times is trying its unlevel MSM best to portray Iraqi reaction to President Bush's recently-announced proposal in the most negative possible light. But the Gray Lady has already been forced to acknowledge that it blatantly misrepresented a key fact in its recent article on the matter. Now, new doubts have arisen about its characterization of Iraqi reaction.
In its article of January 11th, unsubtly entitled In Baghdad, Bush Policy Is Met With Resentment, the Times claimed that the Iraqi government had "offered only a grudging endorsement" of President Bush's proposal and that its response was "tepid."
As supposed evidence of the alleged "resentment," the Times claimed that "the Iraqi leader, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, failed to appear at a news conference," suggesting that he had spurned a scheduled appearance. This notion was reinforced by the legend appearing beneath the Times' photo [displayed here]: "Iraq’s prime minister sent a spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, to address President Bush’s latest policy."
There was only one problem with the Times depiction of PM Maliki having failed to make a scheduled appearance: it wasn't true. The press briefing was a regularly-scheduled weekly event with Government of Iraq spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh and the Prime Minister was never scheduled to appear.
The Times was forced to acknowledge its misrepresentation in a correction published today:
In his culture column this week, Brent Bozell unveiled a new study from the Parents Television Council (cleverly titled "Dying to Entertain") that found that the 2005-2006 TV season was the most violent in recent history. In fact, there has been a 75 percent increase in prime-time TV violence since the 1998 season. Some of the examples of creepiness and gore are pretty extreme. The other inspiration for the column is the debut of "The Sopranos" on basic cable at a price to A&E of 2.5 million smackers an episode:
The latest landmark (or landfill) in the TV world is the arrival of HBO’s pay-cable mob drama “The Sopranos” on the basic-cable channel A&E, where now virtually anyone with cable can watch. How carefully is this show with mature-themed sex, violence, and profanity vetted for general audiences? TV critics wailed that any snip is messing with the “artistic integrity,” but the Hollywood Reporter reassured fans that “a few judicious snips to a series can be made without snuffing its profane soul.”
What is it about the Washington Post where they can't even do reviews of TV shows without attacking some Republican or another?
This time it is the TV series 24 that gets used as a platform to attack the Bush administration, namely in the target of choice, Vice President Dick Cheney.
In a review that is mostly a light hearted take on the adventures (and implausibilities therein) of Jack Bauer and the constant threat to national security -- that always seems to happen only in Los Angeles -- The WaPost slips in a shot at Dick Cheney.
The surprise after five full seasons is that "24" can still surprise. Its theme -- that tough times require unpleasant choices -- remains relevant and compelling (although the series does tend to resolve its national security questions in a way that would please Dick Cheney). More important, its multilayered story lines ripple with suspense; its twists still shock and satisfy.
(My bold for emphasis)
I needn't remind everyone that Vice President Cheney has been under NO indictment for the outrageous and anti-Constitutional sort of proposals that the WaPost imagines for him. In fact, the whole charge against the VP has no provable grounding and is but partisan carping and assumptions.
This is the kind of gratuitous, but sadly prosaic, shot that is meant merely as an expression of the Post's hatred for the administration, adding nothing salient to the piece in question.
Considering that Boxer is from California, it would be interesting to see how the Los Angeles Times reported the Senator's outrageous words. Like I said, it would be interesting to see. There is not a syllable about the exchange in today's paper (Friday, January 12, 2007). Rather, when Boxer's "emotional confrontation" in the hearings was mentioned in today's front-page article, the Times focused on how Boxer "recalled Rice's erroneous prediction to the committee in fall 2005 that the Iraqi army's increasing capabilities would soon permit a drawdown of U.S. troops." Ugh. There was no mention of Boxer's verbal attack at all.
How do you know when someone's gone off the deep end of the liberal pool? When she manages to outdo Keith Olbermann at the art of invective.
On this evening's Countdown, Olbermann and Arianna Huffington were discussing Joe Lieberman's support of President Bush's Iraq policy. Olbermann's opening bid was to suggest, given Lieberman's backing of traditional Dem positions on ethics and global warming and the fact that "he could give the Senate to the GOP if he feels crossed or just feels like it," that the independent Democratic senator from CT was a "necessary evil" from the Dems' viewpoint.
"Necessary evil"? Was that weak beer the best Keith could do? Arianna easily trumped Olbermann's opprobrium: "this is like somebody having a horrible disease and looking at some positive side-effect. Like having terminal cancer and saying 'but, I'm losing weight in the process.'"
Two days after the National Alliance to End Homelessness released its survey which estimated that in January of 2005, “744,313 people experienced homelessness,” the CBS Evening News on Friday picked an earlier, more dire, guesstimate covering an entire year from the group with a self-interest in making homelessness seem as ominous as possible. Introducing an “Assignment America" piece from Steve Hartman on a homeless shelter in Gloucester, Massachusetts that “could be a museum, or at least a bed and breakfast” since it's “350 years old and beautifully restored,” fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell declared, “It's a sad truth: Too many Americans don't have a house to call their own. Over the course of any year, some 600,000 families find themselves homeless, and that includes more than 1.3 million children.” On screen, viewers saw matching numbers attributed to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, but in a study released on Wednesday, the group reported that its month-long survey located “98,452 homeless families."
For Chris Matthews, there is one constant to be considered in analyzing the prospects of the presidential contenders on both the GOP and Dem sides: the presumed bigotry of his fellow Americans.
Kibitzing about '08 on this afternoon's Hardball with a conservative-free panel composed of Chris Cizzilla of the Washington Post, Mike Allen of Time and Howard Fineman of time immemorial, Matthews first handicapped the Dem field in these terms:
"Is the low estimate of [Democrats'] belief in [Hillary's] electability low enough thatthey think that an African-American guy has a better shot than she does? I mean that's a statement, I think, of pessimism about her shot if you shift to him for electability reasons."
While Sylvester included one sound bite from USC's Dr. Joel Hay, she left out his chief complaint with the Democratic plan to institute de facto drug price controls in the guise of Medicare "negotiating" with drug companies to lower prices for seniors on Medicare.
What's more, Sylvester quickly dismissed Hay -- an expert in pharmacoeconomics, the study of the economics of
drug development and distribution -- saying that "common sense" dictates that government "negotiation" can lower drug prices.
NBC’s Brian Williams quickly breezed through news of a court ruling in Mississippi pertaining to Hurricane Katrina insurance claims. But unlike coverage of the case in the Associated Press and The New York Times, the “Nightly News” anchor cast the ruling only as a victory for storm damage victims, without looking at how it could harm the insurance industry or gum up courts by encouraging lawsuits.
Williams told viewers of the January 11 program about “A big legal victory today for a Biloxi, Miss., couple who sued State Farm Insurance for refusing to pay” their Hurricane Katrina damage claim. The ruling could prove helpful to “hundreds of other victims in that region” who could “benefit as a result,” the anchor insisted. All told, Norman and Genevieve Broussard walked out of court with nearly $3 million, Williams added.
The deficit through the first three months of the current fiscal year is almost $39 billion, or 32.7%, lower than last year's comparable figure. Receipts are up a bit over 8%, as the supply-side tax cuts continue their "magic." The real surprise is that outlays have barely budged, actually going up at a rate that is substantially lower than inflation (Psst -- Don't tell Congress that). Will the media notice?
All throughout last night's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews kept pressing the line the administration was headed for war with Iran, so much so, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow felt the need to calm down Matthews. When an agitated Matthews demanded: "Tony, will the President ask Congress' approval before any attack on Iran?,' Snow countered, "You're getting way ahead of yourself, Chris. Nobody here is talking about attacks on Iran." Snow even attempted to tone down the admitted film buff's active imagination as he warned the excitable Hardball host: "Well, you've been watching too many old movies featuring your old friend Slim Pickens is what you're doing now, come on."
Fishing around in the now widely-known Samoan exception to the recently passed Minimum Wage bill (where tuna industry workers there are apparently being paid $3.26 an hour), Andy's Angle cast a wide net and hauled in the following:
The interesting thing, however, is that the largest employer in American Samoa is Del Monte Foods' StarKist Tuna, home to over 75% of the island's workforce. Del Monte Foods, as it turns out, is headquartered in the District of the new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Smelling a whiff of impropriety, House Republicans have thrown up some serious questions about the exemption and who inserted it into the bill.
NewsBusters points out that few in the Mainstream Media will cover this story given their breathless love for the new Speaker. FoxNews has picked up the story, questioning the potential influence Del Monte may have as a major player in the Speaker's District. Doing my own research, however, I've discovered that the impropriety is much deeper. Speaker Pelosi's husband Paul, it turns out, owns something to the order of $17 million in Del Monte stock!
(Editor's Note -- The previous sentence is noted in Wikipedia and has not otherwise been verified.
Commenter #3 at the related BizzyBlog post, claiming to be Tom Elliott of FunkyPundit, says he was told that no one holds more than $14 mil worth of DLM stock [except Heinz]. BizzyBlog Commenter #4 Kevin says that this item was entered into Wiki at 3:04 PM Jan. 12 [GMT, it is believed]; that link is here. The link claiming $17 mil in Del Monte ownership by Paul Pelosi goes to Nancy Pelosi's Wiki page. The Del Monte ownership interest is not claimed at that page. Thus, there is reason to believe that the claim of such ownership interest on the part of Paul Pelosi is suspect.)
I wonder if he stands to benefit should StarKist avoid an additional $2 hike in hourly wages... (actually, for the Samoans, it would be a $3.99 hike from $3.26 to $7.25 -- Ed.)
John Kerry's notorious "stuck in Iraq" statement, echoed by actor Matt Damon, suggesting that the United States military is a last resort for those without the education or finances to pursue other options, has been roundly refuted by Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Bill Carr. Among other areas, Carr has responsibility for recruiting and retenton. Secretary Carr appeared on yesterday's edition of my "rightANGLE" TV show. In addition to commenting on a wide range of recruitment-related topics, Sec. Carr had this to say about the Kerry-Damon remarks:
"Two-thirds of those entering the military are drawn from the top half, so we have a clearly disproportionate, strongly educated, high-aptitude military. With regard to financial status of the parents, that's also misrepresented. The only group that is underrepresented in the military are the poorest. If you look at the zip
According to ex-CNN reporter Judy Woodruff, both her former network and PBS are "God-fearing, America loving" organizations. The veteran journalist, who is now promoting a documentary on young people for public television, appeared on the Thursday, January 11 edition of Stephen Colbert’s "Colbert Report." Before discussing Ms. Woodruff’s new investigative report, the Comedy Central host shifted into his faux-conservative mode and attacked CNN and PBS. This exchange followed at 11:50pm:
Stephen Colbert: "Now, you used to work for CNN. Now, you're doing this documentary, which sounds fascinating, for PBS. Is that– Is it– But, you've gone from, you know, an organization that clearly hates America to an organization that is proto, like, commie. Is it possible to go further left then PBS on television?"
Judy Woodruff: "Now, no. Absolutely not. You know that's not true."
Colbert: "I do not not know that’s true. I do not not know that’s true? Yes. Bill Moyers is, like, got his Mao’s little red book in his back pocket, right? You're wearing a pink outfit."
Woodruff: "PBS is a God-fearing, America-loving organization. Just like CNN."
There’s really no other way of putting this: Keith Olbermann is a disgrace, and the idea that any major media outlet would give him a daily platform to spew his vitriol from is similarly so.
Such an observation certainly comes as no great surprise to NewsBusters readers who have been regularly subjected to videos and transcripts of this man’s vapid and insipid rantings since this blog was first started. Though Thursday night’s “Special Comment” on MSNBC’s “Countdown” was not necessarily out of the ordinary for Olbermann, coming a day after President Bush’s speech to the nation concerning Iraq, its contents were all the more offensive (video available here).
Over at The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez reported GOP Reps. Eric Cantor and Patrick McHenry have found there's a loophole in the new minimum-wage increase: no hike for American Samoa. Why? Star-Kist Tuna is a major employer there, with its headquarters in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district.
Will the media notice? FNC did. But so far, the rest of the political media have treated the minimum-wage as about as controversial as a post-office naming bill. But in 2005, we reported the media's Tom DeLay bashers had a fit about DeLay's Abramoff-lobbied coziness with low wages on the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific. PBS's Bill Moyers show "Now" (handed off to the suitably smarmy David Brancaccio) devoted a show to how DeLay was supporting "virtual slavery" in the Pacific. The slavery charge came not only from Brancaccio, but from liberal Rep. George Miller -- Pelosi's across-the-bay neighbor. Where's the media asking: what about the children of Samoa? Will PBS and George Miller throw a fit about the "virtual slavery" left untouched in Tuna Land?
Here's an open thread for this Friday. As a starter, let me bring to everyone's attention our little "Editors' Picks" box in the sidebar. It's a place where NB's staff keep links that we think are of note on this blog and others around the web.
Associated Press reporter Martin Crutsinger reported this morning that retail sales in December came in better than expected:
Retail sales rose in December at the strongest pace in five months, indicating that the all-important holiday shopping season turned out better than original reports indicated.
The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales increased 0.9 percent last month, the strongest showing since a 1.4 percent increase in July.
The increase was better than the 0.7 percent advance that economists had forecast and provided evidence that consumer spending was ending the year on a firmer footing than initially thought.
The government report presented a firmer tone to spending than initial reports from the nation's big chain retail stores. They complained that holiday sales had fallen below expectations as mild winter weather depressed sales of winter clothing.
Crutsinger then downplayed the year's strong retail results, and used it as an opportunity to get in a few licks about how supposedly tough the economy of 2006 was:
For all of 2006, retail sales rose by 6 percent, a solid showing but down from a 6.9 percent increase in 2005.
That slowdown reflected the fact that consumer spending, after a sizzling start to the year, slowed in the spring and remained at lower levels for the rest of the year as Americans were battered by soaring gasoline prices, rising interest rates and a cooling housing market.
Mr. Crutsinger portrayal of the full-year result as a "slowdown," which formed the linchpin of the rest of that sentence's negativity, overlooked one "minor" detail: Reported retail sales figures include inflation.
Last week saw the dawning of the new Democratic majority and members of the media seemed to be charmed by the event. ABC reporter Cokie Roberts described a photo-op of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her grandchild as "fun" and "completely natural." CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewed Pelosi and pressed her to raise taxes. And "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney became nostalgic for Democrats of old, saying it’s "hard to dislike Jimmy Carter."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann continued his fevered attack on all things Republican and conservative. He’s now accused White House Press Secretary Tony Snow of "bald-faced lying" about a Bush speech. Olbermann’s cohort in liberalism, Chris Matthews, described the Vice President of the United States as someone "who always wants to kill." Later in the week, he told his "Hardball" audience that he was "terrified" of the President’s plans for Iran. Chris, calm down!