During Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe program, one of the main topics of discussion was the victory of Republican David Jolly over Democrat Alex Sink in the special election held on Tuesday to fill the seat in Florida's 13th congressional district that had been occupied for decades by Rep. Bill Young until the GOP official's death last year.
One guest -- Jim VandeHei, editor and co-founder of the liberal Politico website -- declared: “It’s really hard to spin” the loss because this is “bad news for the Democratic Party” as the country heads toward the midterm election in November. “Republicans suck slightly less than Democrats,” he added, “and that’s where they’re getting an advantage.” [See video below.]
When President Bush gave his fifth State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, he sat at 43 percent approval in the Gallup tracking poll, in no small part because of public perception regarding his administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last night, his Gallup approval number was lower a mere 41 percent, doubtless impacted in no small part by the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare and the public's disapproval of the health care overhaul. What's more, some 53 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll slammed the administration as incompetent and 47 percent expressed the belief that President Obama doesn't pay attention to what's transpiring on his watch. As to more objective metrics, the job situation is worse at this point in Barack Obama's presidency than it was the same point in George W. Bush's with higher unemployment (6.7 percent to Bush's 4.9 percent) and a woefully low labor force participation rate (62.8 percent to Bush's 66 percent).
Yet when you compare the Washington Post's front-page treatments of Mr. Obama's January 28 speech and Mr. Bush's January 31, 2006 one, it becomes all too apparent that the Post is eager to help the former spin his way to resetting the narrative for the midterm election year while the paper was all too happy to pound out a drumbeat about how President Bush was an abject failure, a lame duck roasting in the waters of public disapproval. Here's how Post staffers David Nakamura and David Fahrenthold opened up their January 29 front-pager "Obama: I won't stand still" (emphasis mine):
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has been making some fairly conservative arguments on his program as of late. On Thursday’s Morning Joe, for instance, he took his liberal guests to task, blasting Politico’s Jim VandeHei and The New York Time’s Steve Rattner for characterizing the House GOP as a do-nothing, radical conference.
Scarborough insisted that Republicans have stood for the same principles “for 100 years,” while dismantling the relentless claim from liberals that the current House of Representatives is the most extreme in American history:
Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson tied immigration reform to the shooting of Trayvon Martin on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, claiming Republican voters oppose the Senate immigration bill because they believe “immigrants are, you know, people in hoodies.” While the inflammatory line would no doubt be well-received on a liberal network like MSNBC, it seems somewhat unbecoming of a professional political journalist.
Suffice it to say, Carlson was not called out by her fellow panelists for the hyperbolic comment. Carlson also commended Thomas Friedman’s latest op-ed in The New York Times, entitled “If Churchill Could See Us Now,” in which Friedman – who recently held up China as a paragon of greatness, so long as they don’t emulate the “American Dream” – blasted House Republicans for making this country “un-great”:
Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei showed up on PBS’s Charlie Rose Wednesday night, and from the comfort of Rose’s pitch-black studio he tossed aside his journalistic objectivity and aired out his own political opinions – particularly his disdain for Republicans.
Rose had asked his guests -- Politico’s Mike Allen was there, too -- what it would take to fix the country economically and whether Washington was capable of doing it. VandeHei used this as an opening to take a shot at some of the left-wing media’s favorite targets: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
A panel of reporters from the Washington tabloid ganged up on Michele Bachmann on Thursday’s Morning Joe, blasting the Minnesota congresswoman as a “celebrity politician” who will become “irrelevant to politics the moment she steps out of public office.”
Imagine that. Politico has a very negative story on our second-term president.
After over five years during which the online publication has engaged in virtual non-stop fawning over the wonders of Barack Obama -- going all the way back to shortly after its founding in January 2007, when Ben Smith found someone who described him as "frighteningly coherent" -- Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei tonight employed adjectives and described personality traits of their beloved "44" and those surrounding hime which just about anyone with eyes, meaning everyone except all too many members of the establishment press and those who have been deceived by them, has recognized for a long, long time (bolds are mine):
Their disingenuous complaint: The Obama administration supposedly has insurmountable technological and resource edges over the establishment press attempting to cover it. Because of those advantages, VandeHei and Allen claim, in essence (my words, except for the internal quote), "It's not our fault that President Obama is 'a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.' So if you dumb skeptics and conservatives think the problem is media bias, you're wrong. We're powerless against the puppet master." The first four paragraphs of the pair's insufferable dreck, which I believe is all that readers will be able to tolerate, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
It's a classic MSM tactic: delegitimize opposition to a liberal proposal. Suggest that there can be no principled objections, only base motives.
Take the current proposals on "the pathway to citizenship"—AKA amnesty—being floated. On today's Morning Joe, Politico co-founder and executive editor Jim VandeHei proclaimed that it was probably "the right thing to do," but fretted that it would be easy to "demagogue." View the video after the jump.
You don't know whether to laugh or cry upon reading the Sunday night shots campaign Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen at Politico took at Mitt Romney and his campaign.
Maybe these guys really believe that the Romney campaign is the one which still desperately needs a "last chance to move the needle in any significant way in the swing states that will decide the election," and that "Obama is slightly better positioned in the states that will dictate the outcome." If they do, my take is that the Romney campaign is playing possum, and the Politico pair, infused with Beltway naiveté and skewed polling data, are gullibly buying it. Several paragraphs from their effort follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Politico editor Jim VandeHei appeared on MSNBC, Thursday, to blame Barack Obama's poor debate performance on the burdens of the office. The journalist spun, "The President had to be the President, and had to be a candidate, and so he didn't have nearly as much prep time." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
VandeHei did not try and sugarcoat the debate performance itself, knocking the President for thinking he could "just walk on there, play it safe, and do well." But the former political reporter for the Washington Post journalist did offer this whopper about how the triumphant Mitt Romney would be treated going forward: "He has a week or two, I think, of probably pretty positive coverage." The liberal media giving Romney two weeks of positive coverage seems stunningly unlikely.
Let's see. Who has the bigger problem with Libya and the Middle East? Is it the guy who's in charge with a foreign policy in disarray who has described the first murder of a U.S. ambassador in 33 years a "bump in the road"? Or his presidential campaign challenger Mitt Romney?
If we're to believe Mike Allen, Jim Vandehei, and Politico, it's Romney, where "Romney advisers at odds over Libya" was the only thing visible on my computer screen when I went to the web site's home page at 10 p.m. ET. You have to go almost all the way to the bottom of the home page to see stories about how "at odds" Obama administration advisers have been and still are about the U.S. positions on Libya, terrorism, Israel, and the Middle East during the past several weeks. Several paragraphs from the Romney story, wherein one learns that there really isn't much in the way of conflict, accompanied by yet another round of "the polls say Romney's doomed," follow the jump (bolds are mine):
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the press's gushing and fawning over Michelle Obama's speech Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte has been almost sick-making.
So over the top was the praise that Politico's co-founder and executive editor Jim VandeHei said on C-SPAN early Wednesday morning, "The mainstream media tends to be quite smitten with the Obamas" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For sheer arrogance and self-importance, it's pretty hard to top a pair of political pundits at Politico on the power they believe media "insiders" have to tell Americans what Mitt Romney really said and meant in his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican convention Thursday night.
I daresay that most Americans, almost six years after the web site's founding (January 23, 2007, according to Wikipedia), don't even know what the Politico is ("Oh, is that the new bar downtown?"). But by gosh, Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris, in an "analysis" updated early Friday morning, clearly believe that a couple hundred of their colleagues in the media (possibly including themselves), also largely unknown, will be able to take control of Americans' perceptions of Romney's presentation -- and, ultimately, of his campaign (bolds are mine):
The gang at Politico is under fire from liberal friends for a piece by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei alleging major newspapers have a pro-Obama, anti-Romney bias. For example, Devin Gordon, a former Newsweek writer who's now a "senior editor" at GQ, lamented "The house position of Politico, as evidenced by this piece, is that they are fair and their chief competition is not. It's a thinly disguised, fundamentally craven argument for Politico's superiority in the world of political coverage."
Unsurprisingly, the newspapers claimed they were fair and balanced in the Dylan Byers followup: