Radio hosts like Mark Levin and Web sites like Canada Free Press are mocking President Obama’s statement in a press conference yesterday with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, where he compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to U.S.-Canada relations. What? Levin called him a "moron" for the comparison.
But ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to notice. They acted like a press release service for Obama on their newscasts Thursday night and Friday morning, offering Obama 18 soundbites adding up to 215 seconds, often ending in applause. Only Chuck Todd on NBC Nightly News aired a soundbite from anyone other than Obama.
Has Slate’s John Dickerson been replaced with a pod person? If not, the CBS Political Director is exuding signs of schizophrenia – or sheer forgetfulness. While in January Dickerson counseled the president to "go for the throat" of the Republican Party, in today's piece at the online opinion journal he's calling for Obama to court Republicans on a "grand bargain" to avert the looming debt crisis.
Today, Mr. Dickinson used anecdotes and Sun Tzu axioms to convey the point that Obama should not be such an agitator if he wants a deal to solve our fiscal woes.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews is the "real face of character assassination," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell argued on the March 21 edition of Fox News Channel's Hannity program. The Media Research Center founder and president reacted to just the latest instance of the Hardball host bashing Tea Party conservatives as racist, xenophobic, and anti-gay. "On Monday night, he was so off on his attacks on CPAC" that the non-partisan media criticism site Mediaite.com "called it grossly unfair and inaccurate." Two nights later, Matthews practically wrote off as insufficiently black African-American politicians like Mia Love, Herman Cain, former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who identify strongly with the Tea Party movement.
Also discussed on the "Media Mash" segment was a new Pew survey showing MSNBC is 85 percent commentary to 15 percent news reporting [watch the full Mash segment below the page break].
Are congressmen four times as important as the President? CNN spent over four times more airtime questioning claims made by Rep. Michele Bachmann against President Obama than it did on President Obama's falsehood on the sequester.
Three weeks ago, CNN reporter Dana Bash corrected President Obama's statement that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester. Her report aired four times on CNN that weekend, for a total of three minutes of coverage. In contrast, Bash's confrontation with Bachmann got over four times more coverage this week.
Zurprise, zurprise: Zbig wouldn't go to war to stop Iran getting nukes. On Morning Joe today, Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser had some advice for President Obama: tell Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that America will not go to war against Iran.
Attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would surely be an act of war. Yet doing so might well be the only way to prevent the ayatollahs from getting the A-bomb. Unfortunately, neither Joe Scarborough nor anyone else on the panel including daughter Mika asked Brzezinski flat out whether he would encourage America to stand by while Iran got nukes. But it's hard to intepret his words otherwise. And of course, Zbig is the man who called for the U.S. to shoot down Israeli warplanes on the way to Iran. View the video after the jump.
After President Obama scolded NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd as "incorrigible" for asking too many tough questions during a Wednesday press conference, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams mocked Todd's grilling and agreed with the President: "He is incorrigible, come to think of it. Our own Chuck Todd called out today in Jerusalem, and guilty as charged, truth be told." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing a clip of Obama lecturing Todd, which completely edited out any of the challenging questions, Williams explained: "Both leaders had opening statements, the actual press conference part was limited to two questions from Israeli journalists and two questions from the visiting Americans. So when our own friend Chuck Todd asked a multi-part question, he got called out for it."
It's easy to tell when a television series is a success because elements from the program start popping up in the oddest places. The latest example of this is the History Channel's wildly popular “The Bible” miniseries, which featured an actor representing the devil in last Sunday's episode. Soon after, Glenn Beck asked in a tweet if anyone else thought the character looked exactly like President Obama.
On the following day, CNN's Erin Burnett accused the “right-wing radio host” of having an “ugly history” of demeaning the Democratic occupant of the White House by calling him “That Guy,” “Satan” or “the Antichrist.” Beck responded on his Wednesday program by calling the accusation “complete hogwash” and “a blatant smear.”
During a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, President Obama lectured NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd for asking too many questions: "Chuck, how many do you got? Do you guys do this in the Israeli press? You say you get one question and then you add like five?...You see how the young lady from Channel One, she had one question, she was very well behaved, Chuck?...I mean, you're just incorrigible." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Perhaps it was the content of Todd's questions, rather than the number, that the President objected to: "I want to follow up a little bit on the peace process....you said you weren't going to let this slip to your second term. We're in your second term with the Mideast peace process. What went wrong? Why are we further away from a two-state solution?... what do you believe went wrong? Did you push Israel too hard? What do you wish you would have done differently?"
Brace yourselves, for NBC's Andrea Mitchell - on MSNBC no less - actually criticized Barack Obama Wednesday.
During a News Nation segment about the President's trip to Israel, Mitchell said his relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "one of the worst" she can remember going all the way back to her years covering Ronald Reagan (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Seventy-percent of the White House staffers who made the top annual salary of $172,200 in 2012 were men and 30 percent were women, according to a White House report on staff compensation.
In addition, men on the White House staff are paid, on average, $86,260.89 and women are paid, on average, $76,162.65. That means the average man on the White House staff is paid about $10,098--about 13 percent--more than the average woman.
Will Dick Cheney is evil jokes ever go out of style?
On NBC's Tonight Show Tuesday, host Jay Leno joked that the folks at the History Channel considered casting the former Vice President in the role of Satan in their hit miniseries The Bible, but they decided he was too evil (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Does Mika Brzezinski see Barack Obama as the Messiah? Mika dismissed the notion, but Joe Scarborough had a very different point of view.
As today's Morning Joe rolled live footage of President Obama's arrival in Tel Aviv, former Bush foreign policy advisor Dan Senor couldn't help sarcastically observing "the Messiah has returned to Israel." Mika Brzezinski feigned dismissiveness, asking: "are you kidding me?" Retorted Joe Scarborough: "no, he's channeling you." View the video after the jump.
Barack Obama is considered to be one of the least accessible presidents in decades.
Despite this, Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman told NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno that he can get the President on the phone if he wants to (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
At the Washington Post's Post Politics blog on Monday, Juliet Eilperin revealed that the White House has notified participants invited to the April 1 Easter Egg Roll that the event "is subject to cancellation due to funding uncertainty surrounding the Executive Office of the President and other federal agencies."
Eilperin only considered the White House's latest obvious example of "no petty and partisan gesture left behind" a partisan matter when a Republican who hasn't held political office for 15 years objected (bolds are mine):
"If ever the mainstream media reaches a point where they recognize that if we destroy this nation and destroy the economy, they, too, will be destroyed, I think at that point they will start asking the tough questions and helping to move the population in the right direction."
So predicted Dr. Benjamin Carson on Fox News's Hannity Monday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Good Morning America's Reena Ninan on Saturday let Barack Obama off easy. The ABC reporter allowed the President to escape blame for the sad story of a group of Iowa sixth graders who had their White House tour cancelled. Ninan blandly explained, "The tour canceled the result of automatic spending cuts brought on by the sequester."
Parroting Obama, she reminded, " In an interview with ABC News, the President said, don't blame him." Ninan then played a clip of the President swearing, "This was not a decision that went up to the White House." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] That comment is inaccurate and Obama was contradicted by his own White House Press Secretary on Wednesday. Good Morning America has yet to cover the discrepancy.
The devil, you say. Actually, the devil, they say. Sunday night’s episode of the hit series “The Bible” on the History Channel featured an appearance by Satan, who as, depicted, looked familiar to many viewers. Feel free to judge for yourself. Spoiler alert: Barack Obama is the one on the right.
The MailOnline reports that “Twitter exploded into life during the airing of the episode.” Among those struck by the similarity in appearance between the devil we don’t know and the devil conservatives do was Glenn Beck, who tweeted, “Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?”
A true "watchdog press would be all over" President Obama's "moving the goalposts" on the federal budget, NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes told Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney on Monday's Varney & Co.
Instead, the media are falling down on the job, failing to note how the president has broken promise after promise on federal spending, both from his 2008 campaign and subsequently as president:
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its 2013 pity party -- er, annual report -- on the State of the News Media (home page; full overview).
Two things struck me in my initial scan-through: First, the whining about newsroom cutbacks, which are largely related to pervasive bias and misplaced priorities; second, the characterization of newsmakers' improved ability to take their cases directly to the public "without any filter by the traditional media" as some kind of automatically negative trend.
We should give credit to the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward, with help from AP Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta and writer Alan Fram, for calling out politicians and other gun-grabbers who have been abusing a two decades-old gun-related statistic and passing it off as if it's still factual.
That's nice, but Woodward could have saved many words, mountains of paper, and tons of bandwidth by telling readers in plain English that claims such as one made President Barack Obama that "as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check" have never, ever been true. Instead, the AP reporter used 13 paragraphs, at one point excusing researchers who came up with a 30-40 percent estimate even "with a clear picture eluding them." There was never any defensible basis for their "estimate." Excerpts from Woodward's Wednesday item following the jump:
ABC News really knows how to cause a coffee spit-take. All you have to do is introduce George Stephanopoulos talking to President Obama and put these hyperbolic words on screen: “No Holds Barred.”
Someone should tell the geniuses at ABC that’s a term suited for competitive wrestling. It doesn’t describe Democrat chit-chat that demonstrates about as much as dramatic confrontation as other morning TV fare, such as “Bubble Guppies” and “Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends.”
In an interview with former Bill Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos at ABC (transcript here), President Barack Obama claimed that “We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt." Despite his claim, no one can know that for sure, but it's at least consistent with what he said during the 2012 presidential campaign ("we don't have to worry about it short term").
Obama's elaboration on the debt topic, however, was not consistent: "In fact, for the next ten years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place." Ten years is long-term by any reasonable definition. His statement directoly contradicts what he said In October 2012: "... it is a problem long term and even medium term." Of course, ABC's subsequent coverage of that interview by Jonathan Karl didn't note the President's change of tune, and went further to assist Obama by presenting a misleading visual and by misstating the relative size of this year's officially projected deficit to that seen in fiscal 2009.
In Monday's New York Times, in a report which appeared online late Sunday, reporters Richard W. Stevenson and John Harwood devoted considerable space to the idea that President Obama's latest "outreach" effort is primarily an attempt to "salvage a big deficit-reduction deal," and not a political ploy to show voters in the 2014 congressional elections that he's really interested in achieving a compromise when no genuine desire exists.
Steven Hayes at the Weekly Standard believes it's the latter ("For Obama, It's All About 2014"), as should anyone, probably including the reporters just cited, who is on the mailing list of Obama's permanent campaign known as Organizing For Action. On Thursday, three days before the Times reporters tried to convince America that Obama is in deal-making mode, OFA, which self-evidently tailors its message to the White House's true desire went into over-the-top scaremongering mode in an email from proven prevaricator Stephanie Cutter (bolds are mine):
While NBC and CBS both highlighted a quote from an anonymous senior White House official labeling President Obama's recent budget meetings with members of Congress "a joke," ABC managed to leave the controversial remark out of its coverage of the budget negotiations, with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos even failing to ask the President about it in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
In a National Journal article posted Tuesday morning, Ron Fournier recounted: "'This is a joke. We're wasting the president's time and ours,' complained a senior White House official who was promised anonymity so he could speak frankly. 'I hope you all (in the media) are happy because we're doing it for you.'"