Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, posted her twice-monthly column Wednesday evening, on the dangers of today’s conservative Supreme Court going “Over the Cliff” in defending...the right to free speech. You read that correctly: A liberal Times reporter is faulting a conservative Supreme Court for being on a "dangerous path" and showing "arid absolutism" by expanding the First Amendment's protections to corporations.
Greenhouse jump-started the discussion with a rarely-cited 1978 Court decision, First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti:
Yo, Rev Al: thanks to Al Gore, we've got the internets. We can look things up. So when, on your MSNBC show this evening, you ripped Republican Paul Ryan for holding a $15-a-head fundraiser, of course we're going to check out how much President Obama pulled in per head at a recent do. Turns out it was . . . $38,500! So what's your point?
On the August 15 "Dylan Ratigan Show," MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan and the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney sparred over the extent to which Big Labor impacts the political process relative to other industries.
Ratigan, who has made a career out of bemoaning the influence that the energy, banking, health care, defense, telecom, and agriculture sectors exert on politics, omitted organized labor from his exhaustive (exhausting?) list. After Carney pointed out that labor unions collectively direct more campaign contributions to political candidates than any other industry in the country, Ratigan sternly corrected him: "That's not right. You can't invent facts...that's a great distortion of facts to make it look like labor controls the government."
It's no secret that most campaigns are heavily funded by big checks from lobbyists, PACs, and rich donors, but President Obama's campaign team is turning away from that assertion, instead showcasing the claim that it is 98-percent-funded by grassroots support. Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, said "we did this from the bottom up," pushing the idea that the $86 million fundraising figure released on Wednesday was fueled almost entirely by grassroots organizers.
While 98 percent of the checks may have come from grassroots donors, it doesn't mean that 98 percent of the money did. Many media outlets are taking the bait and are ignoring the two percent of donors whose contributions may turn out to be a far greater portion of Obama's campaign funds than Messina is making them out to be.
For comparison, eight years ago when then-President George W. Bush was ramping up for his re-election campaign, the media magnified a small fraction of extremely wealthy donors to be the image of his campaign.
The Federal Election Commission, which serves to govern the financing of federal elections, ended its second quarter for presidential fundraising on June 30. Of the Republican candidates who released their numbers, former Gov. Mitt Romney led the Republican presidential hopefuls with $18.3 million, trailed by Rep. Ron Paul with $4.5 million, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty with $4.2 million, and former ambassador and Gov. Jon Huntsman with $4.1 million. Earlier this morning, Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina previewed President Barack Obama's fundraising numbers and placed his fundraising sum at $86 million, far overshadowing any of his GOP competitors.
While the number appears ominous to his rivals, it isn't as staggering as it seems, and might even place Obama behind the mark of where he hopes to be. As National Review's Jim Geraghty explains, Obama's fundraising is actually behind his 2008 pace, and if he keeps the same pace for the remaining seven quarters, will not come close to achieving his goal of $1 billion. Check out more of Geraghty's analysis after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Many people, including yours truly, believe that one of the primary reasons for the Politico's existence is to carry negative stories about Democrats and leftists which the rest of the establishment press then mostly chooses to ignore ("Why should we cover that? It's at the Politico already").
On Friday's Hardball on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews proposed a GOP conspiracy behind the indictment of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards: "Do you think there's politics in this prosecution? Was it just a Republican U.S. attorney going after this guy, sticking around to do the dirty work for the 'R's?" [Audio available here]
Matthews posed that question to Democratic strategist and former Edwards spokesperson Karen Finney, even she wasn't buying it: "You know, I don't know." Undeterred, Matthews continued his bizarre rant: "But this looks like one of those things you read about in third world countries or in India or somewhere or Pakistan, where they get someone who's been out of office a couple of years, get them while they're down, hit them with some incredible charge with campaign funding that nobody's ever heard of before and put them away for a while. It just looks like revenge against the party – against somebody that lost an election."
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted objections to the indictment of former Democratic Senator John Edwards: "Some critics blast the government's case against the former presidential candidate. Why they say what he did may not have been against the law."
Introducing a later report on the scandal, fellow co-host Meredith Vieira similarly proclaimed: "There are growing questions over the indictment of former presidential candidate John Edwards for allegedly using campaign funds to hide an affair. Did the government overreach?" The headline that appeared on screen read: "Bad Guy or Bad Case?; Legal Experts Question Indictment of John Edwards."
The Justice Department is expected to indict former Senator John Edwards as early as Wednesday for violating federal campaign finance laws.
On this weekend's "Chris Matthews Show," the host along with Time magazine's Joe Klein and the Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan said the DOJ should leave Edwards alone (video follows with transcript and commentary):
UPDATE:As seen here, the very earliest AP reports appear to have identified Edwards as a Democrat (the age of the item may not correspond with when the AP subscriber actually received it), but the latest ones, including this item found at AP's home site (as of 12:59 p.m.), do not. UPDATE 2: A mixed bag -- The 6:55 p.m. report from the same AP reporters (pic here) notes that Edwards was the "2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee," and waits until Paragraph 4 to note that the possible indictment stems from the 2007-2008 campaign.
In their 11:29 a.m. report (saved here in case it gets updated, and for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the apparently imminent indictment of 2004 and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, Associated Press reporters Mike Baker and Gary D. Robertson did not identify Edwards as a Democrat, nor did they identify any of his campaign associates (e.g., Andrew Young, Fred Baron) as Democrats. No form of the word "Democrat" appears in the report as it was posted at 11:29 a.m.
Here are the first seven paragraphs of the AP pair's effort:
Kind of disappointing--nothing about Republicans head-butting widows or knocking the crutches from the arms of the disabled. Even so, let's give Damon Silvers credit: the union boss did claim that Republicans "literally deny clothing to foster kids to give rich people tax cuts."
AFL-CIO honcho Damon Silvers made the hysterically hyperbolic claim on Cenk Uygur's MSNBC show this evening.
The paranoid propaganda coming from MSNBC much like a rabid dog is starting to foam from your TV set.
On Monday, Ed Schultz brought on a reporter from Mother Jones to assist him in spreading nonsense about a "vast right wing network [that] is pumping money into states to defeat the wage earners of America and the middle class" with ideas "inspired by none other than Ronald Reagan himself" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
At the top of Monday's Today on NBC, co-host Matt Lauer touted "breaking news" of President Obama announcing his re-election bid: "...the expected announcement comes with a prediction, he could become the first candidate ever to raise a billion dollars." Lauer then added: "Will Republican hopefuls sitting on the sidelines be compelled to dive in as well?"
While fill-in co-host Ann Curry noted the announcement was "not a surprise" the broadcast still lead with a full report on the topic. Like Lauer, White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie highlighted Obama's fundraising efforts while noting the lack of formal announcements from Republican candidates: "The President is already planning fundraising trips this month to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, while the Republican race is still off to a slower start."
Question: What happens when you put Joe Biden, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, and Orlando Sentinel Reporter Scott Powers together in the house of a rich Democratic donor?
Answer: They don't stay together for long, as reported in a Drudge flash late this afternoon (also carried at the PJ Tatler, whose time stamp is about 45 minutes later after adjusting for its West Coast location):
Staffers with Vice President Joe Biden confined an Orlando Sentinel reporter in a closet this week to keep him from mingling with high-powered guests gathered for a Democratic fundraiser.
It's often said that unpopular speech is the type that needs to be defended, since popular speech will rarely face a meaningful threat. Speech that is disagreeable and persuasive will probably seem less appealing than speech that is disagreeable but unlikely to sway anyone to its cause.
It is telling, then, that the New York Times and Washington Post editorial pages vociferously opposed last year's "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling, but defended the court's decision on Wednesday to preserve the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funerals of those who die defending that right.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge introduced a story updating the John Edwards scandal and potential legal charges against the former Senator: "...a grand jury has been looking at evidence that he may have violated campaign finance laws. Now the former Democratic presidential hopeful has hired a political heavy hitter to fight off possible charges."
In the report that followed, legal correspondent Jan Crawford continued to take the focus off Edwards and place it on prominent liberal attorney Greg Craig: "Edwards has now enlisted a heavyweight...Former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig has joined Edwards' team....Experts say bringing him on the case is a sign Edwards is worried about where this investigation is heading." The headline on-screen throughout the segment read: "Bracing For A Fight; John Edwards Hires Fmr. White House Counsel."
Discussing the possibility of Newt Gingrich running for president in 2012, on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge touted "big negatives" for the former House speaker: "...baggage that he brings with him...the government shutdowns back in the '90s, to being forced out as speaker, to the fact that he's on his third marriage, which is probably going to alienate some social conservatives."
Political analyst John Dickerson agreed with Wragge's assessment: "Well, some of that baggage, they're trophies. He can say, 'I fought for these principles harder than anyone else.' But as you say, the personal baggage is considerable. He's not only had multiple marriages but he is an admitted adulterer. That matters in Republican primaries, where religious voters care about that kind of thing."
Thursday’s New York Times led with the Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision in the case pitting Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious roaming enclave that pickets funerals holding signs bearing messages like “God Hates Fags,” against the family of a Marine who died in Iraq, Matthew Snyder, whose funeral was picketed.
For Rachel Maddow, corrections never come easy. But while the MSNBC host has at least offered corrections where she has previously gotten it wrong - granted, with the immense level of sarcasm and snark that is her hallmark - a recent flap with online watchdogs has the indignant Maddow splitting hairs in near-comedic fashion in an effort to avoid admitting she was mistaken.
But the numbers still belie her position.
The exchange began with Maddow's appearance on Leno Tuesday night. She falsely claimed that "of the top ten people donating money in [the 2010 election cycle], seven of them were giving to Republicans." In fact, as NB's Noel Sheppard pointed out, Maddow had it exactly backwards: 7 of the top 10 individual contributors gave more to Democrats than Republicans during the past cycle (and a lot more at that).
On the February 22 edition of "American Morning," CNN's Carol Costello framed the ongoing budget debate in Wisconsin as a struggle between embattled middle class workers and corporatist Republicans with ulterior motives, parroting SEIU President Mary Kay Henry to warn viewers that "corporate America is about to win big time."
"Henry says corporate America save themselves money in wages by lining the pockets of Republicans running for statewide offices," regurgitated Costello. "According to followthemoney.org, in the 2009-2010 election cycle, business interests donated $878 million to candidates running for governor and other statewide offices across the country, that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio."
While those figures are not in dispute, Costello failed to hold Democrats and their Big Labor financiers to a similar standard: "And Democrats say there is another reason Republicans want to gut unions. Organized labor donates hundreds of millions of dollars to candidates like Barack Obama. So if you weaken the unions, you weaken a traditional moneyed supporter of the Democratic Party."
Actor Richard Dreyfuss, for one, berated Citizens United president David Bossie at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference. He compared Bossie to genocidal Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, and wondered whether Bossie was "stacking skulls" in his office (a reference to the remains of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians found in mass graves after Pol Pot's rule).
For the past year, the left has cried foul at the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, which overturned laws prohibiting corporations and unions from broadcast election-related communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. More than a year after the court handed down its decision, misinformation still pervades liberal condemnations of the ruling.
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the far-left magazine The Nation, pushed a near-comical distortion of the truth in a recent column in the Washington Post. She brazenly declared former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold a "victim of Citizens United spending," and linked to an interview with Feingold at The Nation.
Just one problem: in that interview, Feingold explicitly denied that campaign spending played any role in his defeat. Does vanden Heuvel even read the items she offers as evidence - or her own magazine?
Come, let us reason together with our GOP compatriots. But in the meantime, send us some cash to defeat those Republican liars. That was the decidedly mixed message that this fervent hope-and-changer received from Pres. Obama today in his fundraising email on behalf of Harry Reid and his merry band at the Dem senatorial campaign committee.
PBO was clearly trying to channel the new "civility" fad. The email's subject was "Lift Our Country," and contained the prez's earnest admonition that "it is not enough to talk about common ground. We must -- together -- seek it." Can you feel the love?
A bit later, the president informed us that "this is a moment that calls for respect and a seriousness of purpose from lawmakers of every party and persuasion." But just when you thought PBO was about to propose splitting the fund-raising take with his Republican soulmates, the prez couldn't stop himself from taking a typical partisan shot:
Nice to see them finally get their lines straight.
After making a questionable claim without a shred of substantiation, Ed Schultz doubled-down with the assertion that what he said was backed up by the head of a major union. That it was -- but only after prodding by Schultz.
Here's Schultz making the claim on his radio show Jan. 4 (audio) --
Here at NewsBusters, we've documented Ed Schultz's heroic if unsuccessful struggles with the English language. Guess we've got to add math to the subjects where Schultz requires some serious remedial work . . .
On his MSNBC show this evening, Schultz asserted that corporations donate 1000 times more money to political campaigns than unions do. Or as Ed said, in his inimitably muddled manner,: "unions contribute 1/10th of 1% of their money that corporations put into campaigns. Now think about that: 1/10th of 1%. You got the corporate money over here; you got the organized labor money over here."
How off is Ed? The National Review's Rich Lowry has documented that in the last election cycle, three unions alone kicked in $170 million to Dem coffers. So corporations would have had to contribute . . . $170 BILLION to match Ed's alleged 1000:1 pace just for those contributions, ignoring the donations that all other unions made!
Ohio election officials have unanimously dismissed a complaint by the Democratic Governors Association, alleging that the Fox News Channel made an illegal in-kind contribution of nearly $170,000 to then-gubernatorial candidate Republican John Kasich.
The DGA had alleged that the 90 seconds Kasich's campaign web address appeared at the bottom of the screen during an interview on Fox amounted to a political advertisement. The Ohio Elections Commission ruled 5-0 that it did not.
Fox News's legal counsel said the DGA's complaint ran counter to "the whole concept of press coverage."
MSNBC's Chris Jansing thinks that Republicans outraising Democrats in the 2010 midterms is a problem that government needs to fix.
On the December 13 "Jansing & Co.," the daytime anchor fretted, "Do you think it's getting out of hand?" She sardonically added, "Is the sky the limit here?"
Jim Gilmore, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, fired back in support of participatory democracy: "I've always believed that you ought to be able to participate financially in a political campaign without all these limits. The limits are making it very difficult to level the playing field."
The former Virginia governor added that he supports disclosure requirements, but not limits on spending.
Jansing, determined to lambast the Republican fundraising machine, exploited Gilmore's nuanced position to reiterate her argument: "So the Republican groups like the ones who were founded by Karl Rove, those folks should have disclosed where that money was coming from?"
In a softball interview with retired liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Sunday's 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley touted Stevens's opposition to the court ruling on the 2000 presidential election: "He thinks [Bush v. Gore] is one of the Court's greatest blunders....There were many people in this country who felt that the Supreme Court stole that election for President Bush."
Pelley introduced the segment by proclaiming that Stevens "has shaped more American history than any Supreme Court justice alive" and made "decisions that have changed our times." The decisions Pelley focused on were the Justice's most liberal: "It was Stevens who forced a showdown with President Bush over the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and Stevens who tried to stop the court from deciding the presidential election of 2000."
MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann indefinitely … after news broke that he had given the maximum allowable contribution to three Democrats without disclosing it to his employers.
With Olbermann out, MSNBC needed a fill-in, so in steps Chris Hayes, editor of the liberal magazine, The Nation. MSNBC pegged Hayes to fill in for the suspended Countdown host on Friday. His gig was short-lived however.
Several hours after the announcement, Hayes had been dropped. (h/t Weasel Zippers)
For a series of donations to Democratic campaigns in recent years.