The mainstream media is of course replete with liberal opinionistas who criticize Republicans far more harshly than Democrats. That is nothing new. It is truly shocking, however, when supposedly "objective" news outlets employ even more egregious double standards than the openly-biased commentators.
The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto caught the Associated Press employing one such double standard over the weekend. The AP's Ben Feller penned quite a sob story about the president's response to the Gulf spill, saying that Obama is "having to work through unforeseen problems" and made sure to note that his "ability to calmly handle many competing issues simultaneously is viewed as one of his strengths."
A contrast with the AP's rheotroic on the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina reveals quite a discrepany in the organization's views on the executive's accountability for natural disasters. That New York Times columnist Frank Rich and uber-liberal mudslinger Bill Maher have both had harsher words for the current president and his response to the Gulf spill speaks volumes.
Editor's Note: The following originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
Bill Maher a racist? Who’da thunk it? Actually, anyone who pays even remote attention to the far-left comedic mouth piece could have figured that out pretty quickly. Yes, Bill, I am calling you a racist. This accusation which he so glibly levels at anyone slightly to the right of Che Guevera may come as a shock to him. But he is too busy heaping his moral superiority upon those lynch mob troglodytes who inhabit “fly-over country” to ever bother to take a look at himself. If he did, he might come to realize that being truly colorblind or, to borrow a Hopey McChange slogan, “post racial” means more than fist-bumping Will.I.Am at a Golden Globe after after party. It means truly seeing the world through the prism of individual not racial identity politics.
Not letting a good crisis go to waste, MSNBC’s left-wing rabble-rouser Ed Schultz insisted on "Morning Joe" today that the BP oil spill reinforces the need for new legislation to restrict corporations from engaging in political speech.
“I really believe that this what is happening in the Gulf is a classic [example] of how we do need campaign finance reform,” implored Schultz. “It’s all interconnected.”
To provoke this remark, "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist tossed Schultz a softball while plugging the liberal activist’s new book.
“One of the things you talk about a lot on your show and write about in the book is the relationship between money and politics,” declared Geist. “So what you have essentially, you could say, is a form of legalized bribery. I contribute to you, Senator Schultz, and you carry out my interests in Washington. What do we do to change that? We all know that’s the problem. We all know people are acting on behalf of corporations and not people.”
"It took about three days" after Katrina's landfall in New Orleans for the media to attack the Bush administration for acting "too little, too late," but after April's oil spill it took "about four weeks before you heard any criticism of any substance on the networks," Media Research Center's Rich Noyes told Fox's Clayton Morris on the Saturday, May 29 "Fox & Friends." Noyes and MRC analyst Kyle Drennen wrote about that double standard three days earlier on NewsBusters.
Playing devil's advocate, Morris noted that in the initial aftermath the damage of the BP oil well blowout was grossly underestimated, perhaps accounting for the lack of critical response by the media.
Noyes granted that point, but argued that only explains about "the first week or so" of the media's silence. In fact, it took normally partisan Democrats like James Carville coming out to complain about the Obama administration's reaction before the media took up the torch on the issue, when "it should be the other way around," the MRC Director of Research argued.
For the full interview, click on the play button in the embed at right.
NPR's Juan Williams on Sunday spoke an astonishingly inconvenient truth about the Gulf Coast oil crisis: "[President Obama] just hasn't conveyed that he really cares about this issue, and that he's not off to the side watching."
This was in stark contrast to Time's Joe Klein who said this weekend, "This is more Bush's second Katrina than Obama's first," and New York Times columnist Frank Rich who on Sunday blamed the oil spill on George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and Rand Paul.
No, Williams, participating in bonus online coverage of "Fox News Sunday," made it crystal clear that unlike many of his colleagues in the Obama-loving media, he's not carrying the administration's water on this critical issue facing the nation (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, relevant section at 5:50):
A rather startling thing happened on Sunday's "Meet the Press": David Gregory asked White House Energy Adviser Carol Browner if in response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, America should start drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
After a lengthy discussion about what went wrong in the Gulf to cause the current crisis, Gregory asked his guest, "Is the problem that we're drilling in water that's just too deep?"
He continued, "Should you even rethink your own approach to the environment to say, 'Maybe in the Arctic Wildlife Reserve [Refuge], we ought to be drilling there. We ought to be going into shallower waters so that this can be done more safely?'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
With the Gulf Coast oil spill appearing to spin out of control, the Obama-loving media are now working overtime to shelter the President from any possible blame.
Exhibit A: New York Times columnist Frank Rich's pathetic piece published Sunday.
Almost incomprehensibly, "Obama's Katrina? Maybe Worse" is more of hit piece on the Bush administration than a serious analysis of the failings of the current White House to do anything to prevent the environmental disaster slamming the Gulf Coast after that oil well exploded almost six weeks ago.
But that's just the beginning, for Rich actually ends up pointing fingers at Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and Rand Paul:
On Saturday, the Associated Press informed its readers that President Obama cannot be expected to focus all of his attention on the Gulf Coast oil spill.
The reason? Presidents have to juggle a number of pressing issues at a time, and what with America being in a recession, Obama simply can't afford to give sole focus to this disaster.
Too bad the AP wasn't so understanding in 2005 when President Bush was perceived as being detached from the suffering in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Back then, the wire service was quick to mention vacation plans and peddle accusations of the federal government not caring about the poor.
But what a difference with a Democrat in the White House: as BP's efforts to plug the leak continue to fail, there is increasing danger of Americans putting partial blame on an ineffective government - and we just can't have that.
The AP's Ben Feller helpfully published a reminder that there's more going on in the world than oil pumping into the water in the Gulf:
On her CNN Headline News show Thursday night, Joy Behar thought the "Obama's Katrina" language from Republicans was odd, since the "Bush/Cheney administration" is responsible for both disasters. Steve Kornacki of Salon.com insisted "all of the insults, all of the criticisms that were hurled at the Bush right after Katrina, they are just dying to throw back at the Democrats."
Behar replied: "But isn't this sort of like the same problem, the Bush/Cheney administration started it and now this poor guy has to mop it up. I mean, they deregulated the oil industry, right? And is it ever a good idea to deregulate such a huge corporation like that? That's a bad idea."
Behar proclaimed that it bothered her that this could hurt Obama politically when he had nothing at all to do with it and deregulation was all Bush's fault:
CNN on Friday aired allegations that BP bused temporary workers into the Gulf Coast of Louisiana as a dog and pony show for President Obama's visit to the area.
"Now, if true, some other words might apply, a sham, a crock, an insult to the people down here who need help, real help, not to mention an attempt, if the allegations are true, to BS local leaders, Gulf state governors and the President of the United States," said Anderson Cooper at the beginning of Friday's program bearing his name.
The almost eight-minute segment included an interview with Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts who said, "Well, basically at about 7:30 this morning on school buses, a number of workers came in, approximately 300 to 400."
Oddly, Cooper never asked the Councilman, or anyone else involved in the segment, how BP got those school buses (video follows with commentary, full transcript at end of post, h/t NBer Gary Hall):
“Eight years of the Bush-Cheney administration removing regulations” has made it so “now the oil industry is too big to regulate,” former Time magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson fretted on Friday's Political Capital show on Bloomberg TV.
Defending Barack Obama against the notion the gulf oil disaster is “Obama’s Katrina,” Carlson, a columnist for Bloomberg News, argued on the weekly Friday night program hosted by Al Hunt:
The government is prepared for natural disasters, as in Katrina, if government is willing to act - which it wasn't in Katrina. Corporate disasters are another matter. The government doesn't have the equipment or the expertise. They can only oversee it.
And by the way, you know in a natural disaster government has an agency. We don't have an agency. What we had was eight years of the Bush-Cheney administration removing regulations. Now the oil industry is too big to regulate.
Shortly before 2 PM CDT, CNN”s Ed Henry cited a dismissive remark President Barack Obama made during his visit to Louisiana which could undermine his “I feel your pain” message, “but,” Henry observed live from a beach in Grand Isle:
If George W. Bush had made a comment like that along the beach after Katrina, you can imagine the kind of criticism he might get.
Henry recounted how a little earlier a New York Times reporter – displaying some surprising pushback against environmentalist exaggeration – pointed out to Obama how there are tar balls “'even when there's not an oil spill,'” so: “'How do we know this is from the oil spill and not just tar that's washed up? I've even seen it,' the reporter said, 'it's even popped up in my bathing suit.'”
To which, Henry recited, “the President made a little joke, saying 'I want to hear a little bit more about that tar in your bathing suit, maybe we'll hear about that sometime.' Which is just an offhand moment. Don't want to make too big of a deal out of it. But if George W. Bush had made a comment like that along the beach after Katrina, you can imagine the kind of criticism he might get.”
Barack Obama finally gave a press conference on Thursday, and many on the right immediately noted some tough questions that were sorely absent.
Anticipating this eventuality, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh penned ten questions of his own that he would have asked the Commander-in-Chief if he had been invited to yesterday's festivities.
As you listen and/or read his queries, try to imagine any Obama-loving media member having the nerve to ask such things as well as the look on the President's face if they were actually posed (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Good Morning America's Elizabeth Vargas on Friday played defense for the White House, suggesting that a Gulf Coast official might be ignorant for attacking Obama's response to the oil spill as slow. Vargas huffed, "President Obama said in his news conference yesterday, that, quote, 'Those who think we were slow in our response or our response lacked urgency don't know the facts.'" [Audio available here.]
She complained to Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, "Do you think he was talking about you?" It didn't seem to occur to Vargas how insulting that might sound, given that Nungesser is on the ground in Louisiana.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared again on last night's "Hannity" for the weekly look at the MSM's liberal pathology in a segment entitled "Media Mash."
The first topic: the liberal media are slowly waking up to the president's incompetent handling of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Mr. Bozell compared that to how it took a mere 72 hours after Katrina's landfall in New Orleans for the media to slam then-President Bush.
The NewsBusters publisher also addressed how Sam Donaldson compared Mexican President Felipe Calderon's scolding Arizonans for their anti-illegal immigration law to how President George H.W. Bush rebuked the Communist Chinese after the Tiananman Square Massacre.
For the full segment, click the play button on the embed above at right.
The White House press corps just loved President Obama's press conference anecdote meant to prove the pressure he's under and responsibility he's taking (“When I woke up this morning, and I'm shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says: 'Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?'”). The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all showcased the clip, with fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos incorporating it into his lead:
Good evening. The buck stops with him. President Obama acknowledged today that the worst oil spill in American history is his crisis by quoting his daughter.
Earlier in the day, wrapping up ABC's live coverage of the afternoon session, Stephanopoulos was “struck” by the soundbite: “Pretty clear what the President was trying to convey today, Jake [Tapper]. He is in charge. I was struck in that final answer he even brought Malia back into this.”
Back to Thursday night, CBS's Chip Reid began his report by playing the bite, setting it up: “Well, Harry [Smith], if there's one thing the President made clear today it's that pressure to plug that hole is coming from everywhere.” Over on NBC, Chuck Todd introduced the video: “As if realizing he had not yet driven home the message that he came to the East Room to make, the President at the very end made it personal.”
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Thursday attempted to critique Barack Obama's handling of the oil spill, but felt it necessary to point out how "intellectual" and "focused" the administration usually is.
She prefaced her gentle disapproval by exclaiming, "...There was a lot of criticism- and we're not analogizing this to Katrina- but there has been a lot of criticism in the past of decisions made on war and peace and on Katrina by the George W. Bush administration."
Mitchell gingerly added, "And many people praised Barack Obama's White House because it was so intellectual and so focused on problem solving and fact getting. But is there a lack of passion?"
On the one hand, you might say it was the least surprising coming-out since Ricky Martin announced he was gay. On the other, it was refreshing to hear Mika Brzezinski say words we knew to be true but at least in my case had never heard her unequivocally pronounce before: "I'm a Democrat."
Mika made her declaration in the context of arguing that just because she's a Democrat doesn't mean she shouldn't ask tough questions about the Sestak job-offer allegations or Pres. Obama's handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mika also took a surprising shot at her fellow MSMers for failing to ask the tough questions . . .
CNN's Anderson Cooper first defended the Obama administration's initial response to the Gulf oil leak and then criticized him from the left on Tuesday's AC360: "A month ago, it seemed like the federal government was on top of this. They were beating back claims...that this was Obama's Katrina." He later continued that "it doesn't seem like there's much pressure being applied to [BP], if it's there at all."
Cooper brought on CNN senior political analyst David Gergen and liberal presidential historian Douglas Brinkley for a panel discussion on the environmental disaster 25 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour. The anchor included his apologetic of the early response by the administration in his first question to Gergen: "David, I mean, a month ago, it seemed like the federal government was on top of this. They were beating back claims by conservatives that this was Obama's Katrina, and now, it seems that may have been premature."
ABC political strategist, and prominent Democrat, James Carville appeared on Wednesday's Good Morning America to condemn Barack Obama's response to the oil spill.
A very emotional Carville surprised host George Stephanopoulos, a friend and former colleague in the Clinton White House, by shouting, "And it just looks like he's not involved in this! Man, you have got to get down here and take control of this!" [Audio available here.]
Carville, a resident of Louisiana, attacked, "Put somebody in charge of this and get this thing moving! We're about to die down here!"
"When the oil slick first spread, we learned the Interior Department's chief of staff was rafting down the Grand Canyon, and now that it's reached our shores, the president is in California raising money for Barbara Boxer, while the head of the EPA makes plans to raise more campaign cash in New York City," said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee
"Clearly, this Administration's priorities are grossly misplaced when vacations and campaign fundraisers are more important than focusing on one of the greatest environmental disasters in our nation's history."
Clearly it's a GOP talking point, but still, after the media made so much out of Dubya's "heckuva job" comment, you'd think, for better or worse, that more blame would be placed at Obama's feet (Kanye West, call your office).
Doesn't everyone remember in 2005 when George W. Bush's Press Secretary Scott McClellan (bless his back-stabbing heart) called reporters into the West Wing of the White House and scolded them for asking too many questions about Hurricane Katrina? That followed a similar admonishment earlier in the year about the press's obsession with anything and everything to do with the Iraq War.
You don't remember those things? That's because they didn't happen. Oh sure, someone will be able to find examples of McClellan, as well as successors Tony Snow (RIP) and Dana Perino occasionally expressing irritation with reporters for their silly and/or repeat questions on these and other subjects. But summoning them to the West Wing for a beatdown? Hardly.
That's what Obama administration Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is said to have done last Friday with White House reporters. Here's the full text of audio that can be heard at Breitbart; a somewhat expanded text report, along with a the continually updated original graphic screen-grabbed and incorporated into the image at the top right, are at Capitol News Connection:
CBS and NBC on Tuesday night reached deep into a Washington Post story – specifically, the 20th paragraph of a 24-paragraph article – to pluck out a quote in order to demonstrate a “frustrated” President Barack Obama has been angry about the gulf oil spill. “A frustrated President Obama says ‘plug the damn hole,’” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News. She soon elaborated:
Frustration over the spill has been simmering for weeks, even in the Oval Office. We learned today that in the first days of this crisis an angry President Obama snapped at a meeting, quote: ‘Plug the damn hole.’ The President will head to the gulf coast on Friday, his second visit in about four weeks.
The NBC Nighty News plastered the quote on screen, as Brian Williams announced:
We also learn more today about the President's frustration. A Washington Post article saying President Obama bluntly told an aide in the Oval Office: ‘Plug the damn hole.’ That hasn't happened yet, but the President is heading back there Friday.
He may be out of office, but Cheney Derangement Syndrome lives on.
This time, and just like other times in the past, "The View" co-host and host of her own HLN show, Joy Behar used the BP oil spill to attack the Bush administration, specifically former Vice President Dick Cheney by suggesting he was really behind the oil spill. Her source - it was an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and aid to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson.
"There is a lot of blame to go around, obviously," Behar said on the May 25 broadcast of "The View." "But I was listening to this guy, Lawrence Wilkerson. Who was the -- he is now a retired army colonel and he worked with Colin Powell during the Bush administration. He was the undersecretary to him. And he says, and I quote him, ‘The whole oil spill can be laid at Cheney's feet.'"
What is it about oil spills that make liberals so slippery?
Come to think of it, this isn't fair. What is it about oil spills that make liberals more slippery than usual? There, that's better.
The fact that oil companies receive federal subsidies doesn't sit well with Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation magazine and occasional guest host on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show. Sitting in for Maddow on May 21, Hayes lambasted libertarian GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul for not condemning subsidies to the fossil-fuels industry --
HAYES: The very idea of government subsidies runs counter to the libertarian governing philosophy. And yet when they're in power, when conservatives are in power, reflexively pro-business conservatives have no problem with them. They chuck their supposedly principled free-market ideals right under the wagon the first time BP comes calling.
From the "Did I Say That Out Loud?" Department: "Crashing Vor" on the Daily Kos asserted on Tuesday morning that a good crisis should never go to waste. The Gulf oil spill must be exploited, and the greens must "use this moment, use the deaths of species and the suffering of people who depend on them, in the most cynical, calculated way, as bad as a Republican after 9/11, to make real, lasting change in how we address the costs of our way of life." That means a command-and-control "climate change" bill. Get it now, before stupid Americans lose interest:
There is only one possible redemption in this horror, and even that is a slim chance. If the enormity of what has happened in the Gulf can hold the country's atrophied attention long enough, and if we can mobilize fast enough, we might, just might, be able to bring about a positive change from this:
Real and comprehensive energy and climate legislation.
We must act now to force our legislators to write law with teeth and real effect, law that requires consumers pay the true price of the carbon they burn, law that requires business to pay the true price of the carbon they spew, law that includes the costs of things "no one could have anticipated" into the price of doing business.
It may have taken over a month, but media outlets are finally beginning to point some accusatory fingers at Barack Obama for his deplorable handling of the Gulf oil spill.
On Monday, WCBS-TV in New York actually asked the question, "Could the oil spill in the Gulf become for President Barack Obama what Hurricane Katrina became for President Bush?"
Reporter Marcia Kramer surprisingly answered, "Some in our area think so."
She then interviewed New Yorkers with negative views of how the man currently residing in the White House has handled this crisis (video available here, partial transcript and commentary follow, h/t PoliJAM):
On Monday’s Tonight Show on NBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory appeared as a guest, and, while Gregory seemed to initially defend Tea Party activists against suggestions by Jay Leno that the movement has had a double standard in its treatment of President Bush and President Obama, Gregory also questioned the ability of its members to take part in "governing" as he asked: "How do you have a movement predicated on not governing and then seek to govern?"
Gregory also seemed to agree when Leno asserted that deregulation policies, which he alleged that Tea Party activists endorse, have led to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:
JAY LENO: Well, to me, BP is a perfect example. BP seems to have done this on their own. They don't pay attention. They essentially make their own rules because they pay off everybody. That's what the Tea Party wants. That's unregulated and look what happened.
DAVID GREGORY: Right, but in this case, right, you have a breakdown of regulations that led to getting contracts and their technology breaking down. But, right, I mean at some point, the government is the only entity that can clean up after a huge mess...
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, May 24, Tonight Show on NBC:
Bill O'Reilly on Monday offered an obviously satirical solution to the Gulf oil spill that has generated some ire from the usual suspects on the left: "stuff every member of NBC News in that hole."
As readers are well aware, the Fox News personality has had an ongoing war with General Electric and its television subsidiary over its dramatic left-leaning approach to covering the news.
With that in mind, while chatting with the folks from Fox & Friends by phone Monday about a variety of issues, O'Reilly made the following tongue-in-cheek remark when the subject of the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico surfaced (video follows with partial transcript):