President Obama’s budget is finally out -- a mere 65 days late -- and it’s loaded with tax increases.
At yesterday’s press briefing, White House flack-in-chief Jay Carney admitted that middle class tax increases were coming. But if a tree falls in the woods, does anyone hear it? Major media outlets like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and sadly even the Wall Street Journal failed to mention this aspect in their coverage of the budget’s unveiling today. Here's the relevant exchange from the April 9 briefing (emphasis mine):
Lapdog journalist Josh Elliott on Tuesday offered no skepticism about a controversial trip Beyonce and Jay-Z took to Cuba. The Good Morning America news reader insisted that there was nothing troubling about the fact that the music power couple, who raised over $4 million dollars for Barack Obama's reelection, received special permission to visit the communist country of Cuba. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.)
Elliott reassured, "Meanwhile, an uproar over Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba may be much ado about nothing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] After noting that the visit drew "criticism," he insisted that no laws were violated and added, "The trip was reportedly approved by the Treasury Department as a cultural visit." Elliott never mentioned the financial help Beyonce and Jay Z provided Obama, nor did he ask why the vacation was approved. In contrast, Hoda Kotb on NBC's Today deemed the trip "controversial." NBC reporter Natalie Morales offered far more skepticism: "New questions and outrage from lawmakers this morning following Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba."
There was a lousy jobs report from the Labor Department last Friday that has led some people to fear the already soft economic recovery might be slowing down.
Despite this, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, during a lengthy This Week interview with Barack Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer Sunday, didn't ask one single question about that report or the state of the economy.
Something very rare and equally odd happened on MSNBC Friday.
Not only did an anchor criticize President Barack Obama on the air - horrors! - All In host Chris Hayes also accused the current White House resident of engaging in what he called "crazy vagina politics" (video follows with LexisNexis transcript and commentary):
It could easily be argued that one of Barack Obama’s biggest cheerleaders at CNN since the day he threw his hat into the presidential ring in 2007 has been Soledad O’Brien.
This is why one had to laugh uproariously when she ended her final Starting Point show Friday hypocritically saying, “I think if I’ve learned anything over the past year it's that facts matter and we shouldn't be afraid to have tough and honest conversations" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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):
Brzezinski made that suggestion on today's Morning Joe, but Joe Scarborough sarcastically said that the reason Romney didn't pick Portman was that he didn't want to win Ohio. View the video after the jump.
"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):
Betraying his impatience with the Republican Party's insistence that President Obama cut spending, New York Times political reporter Jonathan Weisman sounded shocked that the GOP wasn't simply surrendering its principles in the wake of Obama's four–point victory last November, in Monday's "Republicans Determined To Press On With Air, If Not Vote, of Confidence." (Nice flattering photo of Paul Ryan, by the way.)
A year ago this month, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin stood on the floor of the House and declared that the ideals of small government, privatized health care and rigorous spending discipline captured in the budget plan about to pass the House would and should be central to the 2012 election campaign.
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.
Concerning a Wednesday incident which would surely have received much wider play if it had involved former Vice President Dick Cheney during the George W. Bush administration, Capital News Service reported that one of its reporters was forced by an aide to Vice President Joe Biden to delete photos he had taken at an event in Rockville, Maryland. Based on a Google News search on "Biden Maryland" (not in quotes, sorted by date with duplicates), the Politico's Dylan Byers was the only person in the national establishment press to run an item on the incident -- lending additional credence to the theory that stories the rest of the press won't touch get deliberately buried there with the excuse that "Oh, the Politico dealt with that already, so we don't have to."
Several paragraphs from the Capital News Service report follow the jump (internal link was in original; bolds are mine):
Scott Prouty is the man behind the now infamous “47 percent” video that the media hyped to bring down Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. It’s unbearably stale news at this point, but MSNBC’s Ed Schultz found a fresh hook for resurrecting it recently on his soon-to-be-defunct weeknight program. Prouty insisted that Romney’s invitation to speak at CPAC prompted him to come out of hiding and in the Schultz interview, he insisted he was not really that political a guy when he tended bar at a Romney fundraiser last year, when he surreptitiously recorded the video.
But Schultz, who owns a Canadian fishing lodge, apparently let Prouty on air to tell a fish tale. Today's Washington Post highlighted information in Prouty's background that seems to offer another explanation for why Prouty never came out in the open during the campaign, including evidence from social media postings that he is a committed liberal Democrat.
On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander promoted the first public comments from Scott Prouty, the bartender who secretly recorded Mitt Romney's 47% comments during the 2012 presidential race: "Even today some political observers insist without that 47% tape, we might actually be talking about President Mitt Romney these days. Instead, the infamous comments marked what was really a campaign game-changer. And now months later, the man behind that tape has finally come forward." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Alexander highlighted portions of a Prouty's interview with MSNBC host Ed Schultz on Wednesday's The Ed Show and whitewashed the bartender's obvious left-wing ideology made apparent in the exchange: "Speaking publicly for the first time Wednesday, Prouty, who says he's a registered independent...[said] he arrived at the dinner that night with an open mind."
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):
It will be interesting to see how much national play this story gets. My guess is: "little."
Following up on a matter on which I initially posted last month, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported yesterday that the prosecutor for Hamilton County, Ohio, where the county seat is Cincinnati, is bringing charges related to improper voting against three people – including a longtime poll worker and a nun. In connection with the poll worker, reporter Sharon Coolidge notes something that should earn today's prize for inadvertent deadpan humor (in bold):
While you were watching Rand Paul's historic filibuster and the debate surrounding budget sequestration, an economic theory battle was waging between two of the nation's foremost liberal economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs.
In his most recent salvo published at the Huffington Post Saturday, Sachs spoke heresy to Obama-lovers across the fruited plain including Krugman claiming that following the 2008 financial crisis, "It was the Fed, not the fiscal stimulus, which prevented a fall into depression."
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Ari Fleischer responds to accusation Milbank made about him in this segment.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank made an interesting observation Sunday about the vulgarity prominent in the current presidential administration.
Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, Milbank said, "The number of F-bombs being dropped by this White House, scholars are going to look in the national archives in 20 or 30 years and they're going to be shocked by the language that was coming out of this place" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow mocked Republican party chairman Reince Priebus for listing as a lesson from 2012 "controlling the debate process, getting involved in moderators and networks and all of these other issues so that we don`t have chaos."
Maddow found it odd that the GOP chair would (very sensibly) say "we just can`t have MSNBC, you know, hosting a debate at the Reagan Library only to have their network comment -- you know, make the commentary afterwards for three hours about the debate of the Republican Party. I mean, it’s ridiculous."
President Obama's sequester-related press briefing on March 1 contained the usual fibs. Examples include but are certainly not limited to the following: "We've already cut $2.5 trillion in our deficit," when the entire amount involved is something which might happen in the future; his claim that his State of the Union laundry list "is the agenda that the American people voted for," when many of the items involved were never mentioned during the 2012 campaign; and that the sequester is "happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made," despite the fact that his advisers with his personal approval originated the idea in 2011 and the reality that he was under no compulsion when he signed the bill setting it in place last week.
Since then, while the establishment press has largely ignored it, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler has twice honed in on a relatively small but clearly refutable statement Obama uttered that day: "Starting tomorrow, everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol ... they're going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they've got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real." No it's not.
"I think that for democracy to survive and thrive, I think we need a vigilant media. You know, we now have a lap dog, thrill up our leg, a**-kissing, suck-up, lapdog media. How do we have a thriving democracy when people can't get accurate, fair information? That seems to be hard to me."
So marvelously said Fox News's Sean Hannity on his program Tuesday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It didn't take long for liberal members of the press to spew venom at Ann Romney after she stated during an interview on last weekend's edition of “Fox News Sunday” that she's “happy to blame the media” as one of the reasons her husband, GOP former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney, lost the 2012 presidential election.
The fast and furious insults have ranged from a declaration by Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post that she “is suffering a serious case of sour grapes” and “needs to move on” to a sarcastic Tweet about her from David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix as “still blaming media” even though he “lost count of stories she and Mitt refused to participate in.”
Are bitter conservatives "clinging" to spending cuts? That's the tone of New York Times political editor Richard Stevenson's front-page "Political Memo" Monday, "G.O.P. Clings to One Thing It Agrees On: Spending Cuts," which contained a whopping 13 "conservative" labels (and a couple of "liberals" as well).
Conservative governors are signing on to provisions of what they once derisively dismissed as Obamacare. Prominent Senate Republicans are taking positions on immigration that would have gotten the party’s presidential candidates hooted off the debate stage during last year’s primaries.
For conservatives, it's been truly delicious the past few weeks watching previously devote Obamaites break ranks with their colleagues to finally tell the world that the emperor has no clothes.
A fine example Monday was the perilously liberal economist and media darling Jeffrey Sachs who published an article at the Huffington Post with the headline "How Obama's Politics Led to Sequestration":
Did you know that the mortgage interest deduction was a major contributor to families' distressed circumstances leading to the housing bubble? Or that George W. Bush's (really modest) tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, not the Internet bubble of the late-1990s led the nation from fiscal surplus to deficits?
The reason you don't "know" these things is that they're not true. But the Associated Press's Tom Raum thinks they are, and said so as if they are indisputable facts in an AP analysis piece (or at least I hope it was meant to be that) yesterday. In over 850 words, he also failed to note, while barely acknowleding their existence, that Republicans in the House already acquiesced to $620 billion in tax increases in return for a "whopping" $15 billion in spending cuts during the fiscal cliff deal at the end of last year. Excerpts from Raum's risible writeup follow the jump.
Fox News Sunday today aired the first interview with the Romneys since Election Day.
In it, Ann Romney claimed it wasn't just her husband's campaign that failed to properly characterize him to the public. "I'm happy to blame the media," she said (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward continues to break ranks with his Obama-loving colleagues by holding the President's feet to the fire concerning the looming budget sequester.
Just days after he wrote a piece in the Post exposing the inconvenient truth that it was indeed the White House that initially proposed sequestration during the 2011 debt ceiling debate, Woodward appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday saying that Obama's decision to not send the USS Truman to the Persian Gulf as a result of these deliberations was "a kind of madness that I haven't seen in a long time" (video follows with transcript and commentary):