Nothing ruins my Sunday more than a pundit defending his or her politician by completely misrepresenting a law and nobody on the program in question bothering to challenge the falsehood.
Such happened on the recent installment of ABC's "This Week" when Democrat strategist Donna Brazile said of President Obama's pathetic response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, "The administration has been constrained by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which basically gives the responsible party the lead role in trying to not only fix the problem, but contain the problem."
Well, why don't we look at the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and see if Brazile was right (video and transcript follow with details about this law and commentary):
Barack Obama's presidency goes the way of Jimmy Carter's if he doesn't get control of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
So said New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper on the most recent installment of "The Chris Matthews Show."
As the opening segment's discussion concerning the spill moved to a close, the host surprisingly asked his panel if Obama can continue to "blame the previous administration, the oil patch guys, Bush and Cheney" for the disaster.
Readers will likely find the answers quite surprising (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria on Sunday worked overtime trying to defend Barack Obama's pathetic response to the Gulf Coast oil spill while chastising his colleagues in the media for having the nerve to criticize the president.
In the opening segment of his "Fareed Zakaria GPS" aired on CNN, Zakaria asked, "Have we all gone crazy?"
He continued, "In dealing with the serious problem involving technical breakdown, engineering malfunctions, environmental fallout, regulatory mishaps, the media has decided to hone in on one central issue above all others: presidential emotion."
With a chyron at the bottom of the screen asking, "What does the media want the President to do," Zakaria told viewers, "The truth is that what's happening in the Gulf is a terrible tragedy, but there is very little the federal government can do in the short-term to actually stop the spill" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews on Friday got himself marvelously smacked down by a Louisiana Congressman.
In an at times heated discussion about energy policy with Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.), the "Hardball" host continually bashed the GOP.
"The smartest move for your party is to screw things up for the next couple of years, right through November, get the country completely bollixed up, and they will vote Republican out of desperation, and you will have more power," said Matthews. "Is that the strategy of the Republican Party this year?"
When Scalise refuted this claim, Matthews added, "If the Titanic sank today, you know what the Republicans would be saying? Don`t be telling the shipping lines they need more life rafts or life preservers."
Scalise marvelously responded, "If the Titanic sank today, I`m sure the president would try to blame it on George Bush" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Reports are surfacing that BP is finally considering a suspension of its shareholder's dividend, but what could have been done differently to avert the public relations nightmare BP is facing? Two CNBC hosts had some ideas about that, and about what could have happened if BP chose not to play ball.
Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett shared their thoughts on the "Stop Trading" segment of "Street Signs" June 11. According to the "Mad Money" host, Obama could have set a foul precedent for multi-national businesses if BP (NYSE:BP) didn't agree to make some concessions on how it is handling its day-to-day operations in the wake of this ecological crisis.
"I think that this is a, a stock that represents great value but you're dealing with the government," Cramer said. "I saw that Nancy Pelosi, she's the second most powerful person in our country, saying that they shouldn't be paying a dividend. I mean, this is one of those situations where I know, the president's approval ratings are down and what you got to do is you got to go after BP if you're the president. I'm not saying I would do it but I'm saying if I were the president of the United States, BP is public enemy number one and you're not even going to listen to what the British say. You just gotta say, ‘Guys, here's the deal, we're not, we're not going to have any dividends here. And just you know, take it or leave it, partner, because this is a company that needs U.S. ball play."
The June 21 Time cover article told the sad stories of those affected by the BP oil spill and explored mistakes, mishaps and unfortunate events that have combined to compound the disaster. But in “The Gulf Disaster: Who’s Asses Need Kicking?” author Bryan Walsh went ultimately to spoiled American consumers both for refusing to grant government unlimited power over business, and for demanding mobility facilitated by inexpensive fuel.
“We accept the business argument that regulation is an evil that isn’t necessary, rather than a necessary evil, and then we’re surprised when a rig blows and disaster ensues,” Walsh tutted.
He called the current regulations “toothless” and explained that a current problem is, “the tendency of too many government overseers to get too friendly with the industry they’re supposed to be monitoring.”
If you ask the media, George W. Bush is to blame for everything from the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill to Al and Tipper Gore's broken marriage. What's more, the media are insisting, it's Democrat Hillary Clinton who deserves praise for paving the way for Republican women having success on Tuesday's primaries, not Sarah Palin.
That's just skimming the surface of the loopy stuff the liberal media have churned out recently and which NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell was brought on last night's "Hannity" to address.
Also discussed on the June 10 "Media Mash" segment, the media's sensitive treatment of disgraced columnist Helen Thomas, who abruptly "retired" following a controversy regarding her suggestion that Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to Germany and Poland [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]:
BRENT BOZELL: If I were Helen Thomas, I wonder, what is she more offended by, conservatives who call her a socialist and a radical, or her liberal friends who've all gone on national television to say she's senile? And if it is true that she is that senile, what was she doing in the White House all these years? Here's a woman who has spent decades with this anti-Semitic vicious vitriol that she spews out. And here they are all marching behind her.
We all know the BP oil spill is a huge mess. It's going to be costly to clean up - but just how much? And while some outspoken critics are calling for BP to eliminate its dividend, they probably aren't realizing the residual effects.
"Couple of things - I mean, it is water under the bridge, it is over and you will have to live with it," Gheit said. "BP will have to live with it. We have to remember one thing -- BP bought 10 years ago, Amoco, Arco, a very large American corporation with a lot of people working for BP today. And the retirees are pensioners from the Amoco and Arco days. So by cutting the dividend we're penalizing completely innocent people that worked very hard for many years. And now, the dividend is the way they support themselves. So, I don't understand."
Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds employed sarcastic irony this morning when he wrote that "Obama’s hate speech is promoting violence against BP." Well, it's at least clear that the blame game out of Washington isn't helping the situation.
Reynolds is referring to a report from TV station WREG in Memphis about an incident involving property damage at a local BP station, and other instances that have occurred in other parts of the country (video is at the link):
Bullets Shatter Glass at BP Gas Station
(Southaven, MS) -- Windows at the BP Gas Station on Highway 51 at Custer Drive were shot out overnight. Folks who work at the store believe the suspects were expressing anger over BP and how it's handling the oil spill.
"I believe that would be the reason," said Alex Saleh. "We don't have any enemies." He said nothing was taken from the store after the windows were destroyed.
It's been more than 50 days since a BP oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, beginning a massive leak of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Miles of beaches have been soiled and birds, turtles and other sea creatures have died. But the most disturbing pictures of the disaster weren't available to the public for more than 40 days.
That was when many people finally witnessed Louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican, literally covered in thick brown oil. Why so long? Because federal agencies including the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were preventing the press from reaching many areas affected by the disaster.
CBS, Associated Press, Mother Jones and The Times-Picayune have all complained about local and federal authorities and and British Petroleum contractors inhibiting their reporting.
But while many in the news media blame BP, the real culprit may well be the Obama administration. When asked, Obama and other administration spokespeople say the U.S. government is in charge of the oil spill cleanup.
On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez twice highlighted how "several Republicans want to keep the cap on what oil companies pay for spills at $75 million" and how apparently that's about "how much they [oil companies] spend on campaign contributions to politicians each year," but omitted that President Obama was the top recipient of money from BP during the 2008 election cycle.
Sanchez first made those statements during a segment just after the beginning of the 3 pm Eastern hour, as he reported on left-wing organization Code Pink's interruption of a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier on Wednesday. Before playing a clip of the protest, the CNN anchor stated how Diane Wilson "disrupted a Senate hearing this morning by pouring oil all over herself." He continued that Wilson "was arrested, but not before she interrupted Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is tied, many would argue, to big oil in Alaska."
At this point, it may be safe to say that “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough is no more Republican than Arlen Specter. After all, the show’s “conservative” host takes almost every opportunity to defend the current administration and dismiss Obama's critics.
On June 9, the panelists were reviewing the Obama administration’s response to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Scarborough asserted, “A poll yesterday shows that more people think that the government is mishandling this than Katrina, which is just, I think, ridiculous.”
Fellow MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell agreed, and noted that the president and his team have been down in the Gulf working hard. And then Mitchell asserted that Obama could have diminished criticism if a week earlier, he had "gone down there and stayed and had a meal with the people, eaten some shrimp.” [MP3 audio avaiable here]
UPDATE - 6/9, 5:45 PM | Lachlan Markay: One of CNN's primary sources for this piece has endorsed the notion that "Rev. Wright's anger about the domestic and foreign policies of the USA are well rooted – and documented – in the current reality of the USA." Details below the jump.
The excuses keep rolling in to explain why President Obama is seemingly detached from the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Wednesday, CNN.com reached a new low by blatantly playing the race card: President Obama is afraid to look angry in public because white people historically haven't liked angry black men.
This conclusion was offered by four supposed experts (all of whom were sympathetic to Obama), with no one else mentioned to provide any ounce of skepticism.
Apparently CNN's logic goes something like this: Obama grew up being afraid of offending white people, so he developed a natural aversion to public displays of emotion, which means his cool response to the oil spill right now is the final product of white bigotry.
When a protectionist law is enacted and nearly a century later it is inhibiting a recovery from major ecological catastrophe, it's probably time to scrap it or at least temporarily waive it.
But instead a nearly century old provision known as the Jones Act of 1920 is wielding the wrath of unintended consequences. According to the Heritage Foundation, this protectionist measure was put in place to defend the American maritime industry, but is endangering far more jobs than it is protecting.
"The Jones Act, which is supposedly about protecting jobs, is actually killing jobs," Heritage co-authors James Dean and Claude Berube wrote in a June 8 The Foundry post. "The jobs of fishermen, people working in tourism and others who live along the Gulf Coast and earn a living there are being severely impacted. There are also additional private sector jobs which are NOT being created in the United States since the Jones Act effectively prices U.S. based companies out of the ability to be competitive on the competitive global market. As we strive to develop new technologies for a cleaner environment at sea, the Jones Act continues to hobble our own capabilities, sometimes with devastating results."
I believe the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the fault and responsibility of British Petroleum, and I believe they should be held accountable and made to pay for stopping the leak, cleaning up the water, beaches and wetlands, even if it takes every cent the company makes for the next ten years.
I believe that they should be sued by the feds, the state government and the families who are suffering from the millions of gallons of crude oil that's not only poisoning their waters but also threatening their very way of life.
And having said that, I want to say this.
Now is not the time for lawsuits, finger pointing, meaningless meetings and bureaucratic BS.
Now is the time for action and all energy should be focused on getting the spill stopped and the mess cleaned up.
The mainstream media seem to have boiled down the president's reaction to the Gulf spill to two caricatures: either he has failed to satiate public appetites by feigning outrage, or he is succeeding by acting angry. Whereas journalists rightly expected President Bush to do something about Katrina--and excoriated him when he supposedly didn't do enough--the media seem content listening to Obama speak.
That the president may not be doing everything in his power, like, say, meeting with the CEO of British Petroleum, seems not even to cross their minds. So the only critique of the president that remains is one of style. By focusing on what the president has said--rather than what he has done--and how he has said it, the media have diverted (albeit unintentionally) attention from the administration's actual response to the spill to its emotional and verbal response.
Obama and his predecessor both accepted responsibility for the spill and Hurricane Katrina, respectively. But the mainstream press took the former at his word; they rightfully held him accountable for his administration's actions. No such accountability is present in the media's reporting on Obama's response to the Gulf spill.
Jon Stewart Tuesday evening absolutely tore apart Barack Obama's pathetic response to the Gulf Coast oil spill.
Early in the almost ten minute segment of "The Daily Show," the host chided the President's comments to NBC's Matt Lauer Monday, "We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick."
Stewart called Obama's strategy "AssQuest 2010 - The Search for Kickable Ass!"
After showing how the President referred to the situation in the Gulf as "complicated," the "Comedy Central" star then demonstrated to viewers how this is the same excuse Obama has given to solving all the problems facing the nation including the financial crisis and healthcare.
This led Stewart to wonder if the President's favorite movie must be "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin.
In the end, "The Daily Show" host marvelously concluded, "I'm glad that you are looking for an ass to kick, but right now I gotta tell you, the ass has been kicking you" (video follows with commentary, vulgarity warning):
Huffington Post writer and author of poetry and fiction, Anis Shivani, demonstrated what we have seen in bits and pieces throughout the liberal MSM, though it is rarely seen in such dramatic and sweeping fashion. Shivani harnessed all of the rational thought he could muster, gathered a bevy of intelligent rhetoric, armed himself with a cache of well-reasoned arguments and... quickly dispensed with them prior to writing his recent column.
The gist of the piece? Every major catastrophe to hit America can be traced to one singular event - George Bush and the 2000 Presidential election results.
Shivani starts off by listing examples of American catastrophes - 9/11, Enron, Katrina, Wall Street, the BP spill.
He then explains (emphasis mine throughout):
"It all began with the Florida election theft in 2000 (all of the now-familiar excuses were first used in full force, in total conjugation, for this first disaster). It gave a signal to everyone managing and regulating and overseeing any kind of operation, public or private, that henceforth it was the day of the jackals, that accountability and honesty and certitude were out the door."
For good measure - and in tune with his liberal colleagues - the BP oil spill is singled out as being directly Bush's fault:
MSNBC continued its defense of President Obama against “racist” critics Tuesday morning. The network’s show “Morning Joe” featured a panel of journalists discussing just how some opponents of President Obama’s agenda refuse to support him–because the President is either a Democrat or African-American.
After host Joe Scarborough and Time's Mark Halperin ripped the Drudge Report for its headline painting President Obama as “going street,” Dee Dee Myers and Norah O’Donnell jumped in to offer their two cents about racially-motivated oppositions to President Obama’s agenda.
First, Halperin mentioned poll numbers showing voters as distrustful of Obama’s ability to improve the economy from President Bush’s term.
“A lot of that is white working class voters who don’t have confidence in [Obama] because he’s a Democrat, but for some of them clearly also because he’s African-American,” Halperin said.
Scarborough then asked Myers, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, if race was an indeed an issue in the backlash against Obama in the BP Oil Crisis. “Yes,” Myers affirmed.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour claims that the media's coverage of the Gulf oil spill is doing far more damage to his state's economy than the spill itself.
"The coast is clear," Barbour quipped on Fox News Sunday. "The truth is we've had virtually no oil." Barbour criticized media coverage generally, and Fox in particular. Shep Smith, whose show airs at 4pm and 7pm on weekdays, has been one of the loudest voices reporting on the spill.
Barbour claimed the media are responsible for "the biggest negative impact" on Mississippi. "The average viewer on this show thinks that the whole coast from Florida to Texas is ankle deep in oil," he added, and "of course it's very, very bad for our tourist season."
Maybe President Barack Obama watched a little too much of the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night. The language seems to have rubbed off.
Paul Bedard at U.S. News and World Report caught an interesting exchange on CNBC this morning about Obama's use of "ass" in an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer. Obama asserted to Lauer that he wanted to know "whose ass to kick" over the oil spill in the Gulf.
Squawk Box co-host Becky Quick criticized President Obama for using "the A word" on the Today show, saying he set a bad example for kids.
"If you're the president of the United States and you go on the Today show, which is a morning show, where you're going to have a lot of kids who are sitting around watching this, I think you choose your words a little more carefully," Quick said.
"I think using the a-word on the Today show when you're talking to Matt Lauer, yeah, that disturbs me," Quick said.
Quick said that it's "silly" to use inappropriate language to prove that you're mad.
The roundtable panel for today's Morning Joe took a stab at President Obama's frustration with the media for being critical of his BP oil spill response. The segment began with a clip of President Obama's testy, self-defensive comment to NBC's Matt Lauer, wherein the commander-in-chief blustered that he was determined to learn "whose ass to kick" for the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Time magazine political analyst Mark Halperin found the President's anger at the media "ironic" because, "no one in the modern era has ever gotten into the Oval office with the press as glowing as Barack Obama did. For him, this is a new experience." [WMV video available here; MP3 audio available here]
Host Joe Scarborough seemed to share Halperin's sentiments and argued that the President needed to "grow a layer of skin" because: "If you're a Republican politician and a member of the press doesn't come up and like slap you in the face when you come to Washington, you're grateful. You're like a beaten dog. You'll take whatever crumbs they throw you. This guy gets adulation for years, years, and he hates the press. I just don't get it."
What's really staggering is that while some in the mainstream media are starting to realize how much the press have gone easy on Obama, they're announcing these revelations with a sense of detachment from the problem, as though it’s merely an observation, not an indictment.
The following exchange was aired during the June 8 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
How's this for outside-the-box thinking - use nuclear explosives to stop the BP oil spill that is ravaging the Gulf Coast?
According to some of the panelist on Fox News Channel's "Forbes on Fox," using nuclear materials would be a more expeditious way to solve this calamity.
"That's right, nuke it." "Forbes on Fox" host David Asman said on the show's June 5 broadcast. "Some scientists do advocate this. The Soviets apparently succeeded in doing it. Here is the video they say actually shows it. And now some at ‘Forbes' agree, nuke it.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, was one of the strongest proponents of using nukes for fear that the relief well option could be thwarted by a hurricane.
Chuck Todd “hated” to say it but just had to get it out anyway–would the BP oil spill, arguably the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history, be a “missed opportunity” for Congress to capitalize on “disaster” to enact energy legislation should it fail to do anything in its wake?
Discussing what the reaction of Congress and the Obama administration should be to the spill during an interview with Tom Daschle on MSNBC's June 4 “Daily Rundown,” Todd asked:
So if energy legislation isn’t taken up and dealt with, this would basically be–I hate to put it this way–a wasted disaster?
This probably didn't make the cut for Chris Matthews' upcoming special, "Rise of the New Right," just for comparison purposes when it comes to angry conservatives versus their counterparts on the left. However, this could qualify for hateful speech.
Left-wing bomb-thrower and syndicated radio host Mike Malloy, made some angry remarks on his June 3 program about stalwart conservative Minnesota congresswoman, Michele Bachmann. Bachmann has been critical of the Obama administration's response to the Gulf Coast/BP oil spill and thus angered Malloy, who labeled Fox News host Glenn Beck as Bachmann's "pimp."
"Glennnnn, Glennnnnn, Glenn Beck, one of, one of your streetwalkers has wandered way off the reservation," Malloy said. "Glenn! Glenn! Michele Bachmann! Oh never mind. Glenn is the hypocrite who criticized the journalists for invading the privacy of Sarah Palin's kid and then two days later, going on a 20-minute screed mocking 11-year old, Malia Obama."
On his Friday program, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough lashed out at critics who have chastised his show, “Morning Joe,” for covering the political angle of the BP oil spill. Referring specifically to Twitter users, the MSNBC anchor called them “stupid” and “dumb,” and instructed them to “shut up.”
“The people on Twitter who are whining about us covering a very important part of this story are whiners and beyond that they’re just stupid,” fumed Scarborough.
The rant continued:
They need to shut up, okay. If you’re too stupid to follow this, just turn to SpongeBob, okay, and watch it with your kids, and drool out the left side of your mouth because you’re too dumb. You don’t understand politics and you’re going to hurt yourself watching this show.
After falsely claiming that oil companies pay no federal royalties for offshore drilling, an assertion later undermined by one of her own guests, Rachel Maddow rewrites the history of the oil industry's last 40 years.
"We've had a lot of response to the NBC News archival footage that we played this week showing just how much hasn't changed in the past 30 years of oil drilling disasters," told her MSNBC viewers May 28. "You may recall that we played news coverage this week of the 1979 Ixtoc oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. And that footage made clear that from failed blowout preventers, to junk shots, to top kills, to booms, to dispersants, to undersea plumes of oil, oil disasters and oil disaster response looks the same now as it did 30 years ago."
"The only real technological progress the oil industry has made in the past 30 years is figuring out how to drill in ever deeper water," Maddow claimed. "It was unsafe in 200 feet of water 30 years ago. Now the progress is that today it's unsafe in 5,000 feet of water. ... No one in the oil industry wants to say it and no one in America wants to believe that it is true and I include myself in this. But honestly, we have no idea how to drill safely offshore. We know how to drill offshore, but we do not know how to drill safely offshore. Because the oil companies have never been made to care too much about that before."
Not only that, I would hasten to add, we have "no idea" how to send human beings safely into space. Even after losing three astronauts in the Apollo 1 fire of January 1967, seven more perished nearly 20 years later on the shuttle Challenger, followed by another seven fatalities on the Columbia in 2003.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research believes that oil from the leaking deep water rig in the Gulf of Mexico could impact much of America's East Coast by summer.
As reported by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Thursday, scientists using a detailed computer modeling program have created a video image of what they feel is possible in the coming months.
"'I've had a lot of people ask me, ‘Will the oil reach Florida?'" says NCAR scientist Synte Peacock, who worked on the study. 'Actually, our best knowledge says the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida, with impacts that have yet to be understood'" (video follows with more of this report and commentary):
MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday touted Barack Obama's handling of the BP oil spill and enthused, "I think they're doing better now, right? I think the past couple days have been great." It was left to Time magazine's Mark Halperin to offer the non-White House spin. He deadpanned, "Except the hole's not plugged." [Audio available here.]
Reversing the usual positions of a conservative and a member of the mainstream media, Halperin derided, "As long as the President's doing important things like going to rock concerts, I think everybody will understand." A defensive Scarborough shot back, "Nah, that's a cheap shot."
The Morning Joe host, supposedly the voice of conservatism on MSNBC, proclaimed, "...Nobody, when they go to the polls this fall, voting for a Democratic or Republican candidate, are [sic] going to blame Barack Obama and Democrats for not plugging a hole, I don't think."