James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal found a liberal who cheered the recent Supreme Court decision on freedom of political speech: Floyd Abrams, an attorney who represented the New York Times successfully in the Pentagon Papers case in the 1970s. (He’s also the father of former MSNBC executive and host Dan Abrams). In the Journal's Weekend Inteview, Abrams told Taranto it’s ironic that so many media entities support freedom of speech for their companies, but not for non-media companies:
The First Amendment is the lifeblood of the press. Yet most newspapers—the one you are reading is a notable exception—take an editorial position similar to that of the Times. Why? "I think that two things are at work," Mr. Abrams says. "One is that there are an awful lot of journalists that do not recognize that they work for corporations....
The guy has an hour-long television show that isn't the highest-rated program on cable television, but does fairly well considering the circumstances. Yet, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who has expressed his own "unhinged" anger about the Supreme Court ruling that corporations have a free speech right to participate in elections, says there is a deficiency of anger about the ruling.
Olbermann, on the Jan. 22 "Countdown," launched into another one of his abbreviated tirades, or what he calls is a "Quick Comment" and blasted his colleagues in the media for not being as "enlightened" as he thinks they should be.
"I worked full-time in sports for about 20 years and I've worked full- time in news for about 10 years," Olbermann said. "And after yesterday, I must finally say aloud what I have long thought but have been reluctant to voice. The average person in the American news industry appears to be about one-fifth as plugged into the world he or she covers, as does the average person in the American sports industry.
Quip of the day, from columnist Charles Krauthammer on Friday's (January 22) Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC. Baier wondered: “Conservatives, pretty good week?” Krauthammer affirmed:
You know, this is an amazing week. Massachusetts goes Republican, health care dies and the Supreme Court unshackles the First Amendment. It's the best week I've had since spring break in medical school -- and I don't even remember it [laughter from other panelists].
And there was another item which you mentioned: Air America, the liberal talk show network went out of business -- which is a redundancy because nobody was listening anyway.
As the nation's leading newspaper and a beneficiary of the American tradition of free expression, the New York Times would of course celebrate a First Amendment victory at the Supreme Court, right? Well, not exactly.
Friday's lead slot was dominated by the Supreme Court's expected but still momentous decision rejecting limits on corporate campaign spending in elections.
But the subhead to Adam Liptak's story, "Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Campaign Spending Limit," ignored the victory for free speech in favor of dour liberal fears: "Dissenters Argue That Ruling Will Corrupt Democracy."
Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.
The 5-to-4 decision was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment's most basic free speech principle -- that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy.
Even more unhinged than usual, and that’s saying a lot, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivered a tirade Thursday night in a “Special Comment” in which he declared the Supreme Court’s ruling, that corporations have a free speech right to participate in elections, was “a decision that might actually have more dire implications than Dred Scott.” High on sanctimony, Olbermann charged:
This is a Supreme Court-sanctioned murder of what little actual democracy is left in this democracy. It is government of the people by the corporations for the corporations. It is the Dark Ages. It is our Dred Scott.
In full paranoia, Olbermann warned: “Be prepared, then, for the ban on same-sex marriage, on abortion, on evolution, on separation of church and state....for racial and religious profiling, because you've got to blame somebody for all the reductions in domestic spending and civil liberties, just to make sure the agitators against the United Corporate States of America are kept unheard.”
And he tossed in some insults of the tea partiers: “Be prepared for those poor dumb manipulated bastards, the Tea Partiers, to have a glorious few years as the front men as the corporations that bankroll them slowly unroll their total control of our political system. And then be prepared to watch them be banished, maybe outlawed, when a few of the brighter ones suddenly realize that the corporations have made them the Judas Goats of American Freedom.”
The unencumbered ability to sway voters is great for the news media, but journalists are outraged others could re-acquire the same First Amendment rights. Instead of painting a victory for free speech in the Supreme Court's ruling that corporations, non-profit groups and unions can spend money to influence elections, the Thursday broadcast network evening newscasts feared a ruinous future:
“Opening floodgates” to “big money” with “corporate interests having even more of a say” by “attacking political candidates,” resulting in “the real danger...that the candidates are just going to get drowned out” as “special interests” may “take over political campaign advertising.”
“On that subject of big money and power,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer intoned, “a blockbuster decision from the Supreme Court today opening floodgates for companies and unions to spend all the money they want attacking political candidates.” On NBC, anchor Brian Williams previewed “the news today that will result in big companies and corporate interests having even more of a say in American politics and campaigns.”
The Obama presidential campaign indisputably used new media better than any before it to build a virtual army of grassroots supporters, and to wield that army as a powerful tool for fundraising, rapid response messaging, and boots-on-the-ground campaigning.
But the energy that surrounded Obama and his team after the election, and supporters' expectations that President Obama would be the empowering community organizer that was Candidate Obama, fizzled as it became clear--campaign slogans notwithstanding--this administration represented less change then it would have the country believe.
After the election, commentators buzzed about the potential for a small-d democratic upheaval in the American political process that the Obama camp's mastery of new media could bring about. Newsweek summed up the excitement in the lede of an article in late November:
Here’s a shock: Retired New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse donated to the Obama campaign. Greenhouse revealed the donation in a nytimes.com column expressing her ambivalence about McCain-Feingold’s stringent restrictions on campaign speech.
In "Hurry Up and Wait," an Opinionator piece on campaign finance reform posted December 17 at nytimes.com, Greenhouse admitted donating to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008.
Receiving such requests was a new experience for me after my years at The Times, which doesn’t permit reporters to make political contributions. After I left the paper in mid-2008, I made a few contributions: to a respected state judge caught in a nasty retention election, to a Congressional candidate whose campaign was managed by the daughter of a high school friend, to the Obama campaign.
As noted earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yesterday's resignation from CNN by Lou Dobbs was his second during a storied career there. The first was at least partially driven by clear tensions between Dobbs and CNN head Rick Kaplan, a longtime friend of former president Bill Clinton who arrived at the network in 1997.
That Kaplan was driven to protect Clinton, and to risk journalistic integrity while doing so, is virtually beyond dispute. In 1997, as the Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz noted in a 1999 op-ed whose primary purpose was to comment the significance of "the demolition of CNN and Time's story charging that U.S. forces used the lethal gas sarin to attack American defectors in Laos," U.S. News reported that Kaplan "issued a warning to CNN journalists to limit the use of words like 'scandal' in relation to stories on the president's fund-raising ventures."
So you can imagine how beside himself Kaplan must have been when Dobbs, then the host of a business and finance show, went after the Chinese nuclear espionage story in 1999 while his other CNN colleagues and the Big 3 networks were attempting to downplay and ignore it. Brent Baker's CyberAlert from March 12 of that year has the details:
Here was Pres. Obama speaking to his $30,000-a-couple fundraiser tonight in NYC:
"I hope that everybody here is willing to recapture that sense of excitement that comes from a big but achievable challenge, not a superficial excitement that comes from election day, but an excitement that comes from knowing we took on something that had to be taken on."
Those heady days of the Iowa primary victory are history. Ditto candidate Obama's nomination-clinching night speech. Who can forget his immortal words: "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal"?
Michael Moore, the man of many hats - documentary filmmaker, political scientist and now, singer.
Moore has been making the rounds to promote his new movie, "Capitalism: A Love Story." On NBC's Sept. 15 "Jay Leno Show," Moore appeared and was asked what was wrong with capitalism.
"Capitalism is actually legalized greed," Moore said. "There's nothing wrong with people earning money, starting a business, selling shoes. That's not what I'm talking about. We're at a point now Jay, in this country, where the richest 1 percent, the very top 1 percent have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined."
This is a notion that hasn't really gotten any traction anywhere yet, but could Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. be a viable 2012 presidential election candidate?
The hosts of Fox Business Network's "Happy Hour," Eric Bolling, Rebecca Diamond and Cody Willard, contemplated that possibility on their Sept. 14 show, which comes on the eve of a vote on a "resolution of disapproval" on Wilson for calling out "You lie!" as President Barack Obama spoke to a joint-session of Congress Sept. 9.
"First off, House Dems appear set to censure South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson for shouting ‘you lie' at President Obama during last week's health care speech, but Wilson is not backing down," Diamond said. "He told Fox News Sunday he will not apologize to the House tomorrow. Instead, he is turning this - all of this into a fund-raising campaign, claiming he has raised $1 million since the outrage incident last Wednesday. So we are asking, ‘Hit or Miss' on whether Democrats risk turning Representative Wilson into a viable conservative candidate for 2012."
The Washington Posts's first ever “chief digital officer” came aboard the newspaper, where he also oversees Newsweek's online efforts, after three years of working diligently to help elect liberals and Democrats to office -- including Barack Obama. A short profile of Vijay Ravindran, in the July issue of Washingtonian magazine, noted that “Democratic strategist and entrepreneur Harold Ickes,” a veteran of the Clinton administration and 1996 re-election campaign, enlisted “Ravindran to build Catalist, a national voter database for Democratic candidates and liberal organizations. From the fall of 2005 through the election of Barack Obama, Ravindran built systems for Catalist.” His title at Catalist: Chief Technology Officer.
Catalist, which dubs itself “The Future of Progressive Organizing,” lists a who's who of left-wing groups and causes on its client list, from ACORN and the AFL-CIO to Wellstone Action, with MoveOn.org, the National Resources Defense Council and Obama for America (the official Obama campaign) alphabetically in between.
Cancer is a terrible disease. It is a slow, painful way to die, and the best of modern medicine can only sometimes beat back its advances. Also notable: Cancer is a nonpartisan disease, attacking the Jack Kemps and Ted Kennedys of the world with equal impunity. Only a true cynic could see cancer as a political fundraising opportunity.
Enter the appropriately named Senator Arlen Specter, stage left. The media-beloved Specter has been the subject of much discussion recently, following his decision to switch his party affiliation to Democrat. Some in the mainstream media have painted Specter as a consummate moderate, while others have seen in his party switch the death-knell for the Republican party’s electoral aspirations in the Northeast.
According to election fraud lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh, The New York Times decided suddenly to drop all efforts last October to publish stories about the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) because it came to light that ACORN was a big donor to then presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign. The Times is said to have told ACORN insider Anita Moncrief that they were dropping the story because it was a "game changer" for the election and might hurt Obama's campaign.
Heidelbaugh, who worked for the Penn. Republican State Committee in a vote fraud lawsuit against ACORN, told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 that she had found a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign through the inside information from former ACORN worker Anita Moncrief.
And what was this heinous, catastrophic philosophy that caused all our nation's problems? "Americans do best when they own their own home."
Oh the humanity.
Sadly, much as the Times and its liberal colleagues conveniently forgot and/or ignored all American history prior to March 2003 in order to blame the nation's problems on Bush and the invasion of Iraq, the authors of this disgrace omitted and/or skirted over virtually all the relevant pieces of legislation and issues that led to our current financial crisis -- as well as articles on the subject published by their very paper!!! -- instead focusing readers' attention on the following (emphasis added throughout, photo courtesy NYT):
Dahlia Lithwick, a Slate senior editor, is newly miffed at the constant Obama fundraising emails she's received. Oh, she didn't mind them as the campaign was going on, she says, but now that Big "O" is fairly elected, Lithwick is tired of them. One gets the feeling, of course, that this has been building in her for some time -- a sneaking dread mounting with each demand for cash. She even ends her Slate piece telling Obama that as far as she is concerned he should consider himself "cutoff" from her wallet.
Too bad she seems completely clueless that his constant grubbing for donations have moved from the voluntary stage to the mandatory stage now that she has helped elect him. She even mentions that she wants to get back to "panicking about her 401(k)" which is also amusing since the party she supports is now saying that they want to take possession of her 401(k)! Does she even know this?
Lithwick's Slate posting seems to say a lot about a media that really never did get to truly see Barack past his glitzy exterior. It was all hope-n-change. Only the "change" ends up being that every last penny in her pocket AND her 401(k) is going to go to her email buddy, Barack.
Emanuel, who was a senior adviser for former President Bill Clinton throughout the 1990s, was appointed to the board of Freddie Mac upon his departure from the Clinton administration.
"Clinton's going-away gift to Emanuel was a seat on the quasi-governmental Freddie Mac board, which paid him $231,655 in director's fees in 2001 and $31,060 in 2000," Lynn Sweet wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 3, 2002.
Taking a dig at outgoing President George W. Bush while lauding President-elect Obama as a man of letters, Associated Press writer Hillel Italie suggested that well-respected writers are welcoming the arrival of a "literary president-elect." Italie suggested that it was admiration of Obama's writing style and intelligence, not his liberal ideology, that pushed authors Toni Morrison, Ayelet Waldman, and novelist Michael Chabon into the Illinois Democrat's cheering section.
Yet Italie left out of his November 6 story how Morrison, Waldman and Chabon are reliable donors to the Democratic Party and left-wing groups and candidates like MoveOn.org and former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.):
Heard anything about Barack Obama's sleazy online fundraising, where thanks to purposely lax security measures his site is able to receive untraceable donations from obviously fake names? Not if you've been reading the print edition of the New York Times.
Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.
Those two Post stories mark a Woodward-and-Bernstein level of intensity compared to the Times's treatment. A search indicates that the Times has published zero stories in its newspaper on recent revelations concerning the Obama campaign's avoidance of basic security measures to stop illegal contributions.
On Tuesday's Election Center program, CNN anchor Campbell Brown criticized Barack Obama's decision earlier this year to break his November 2007 pledge to accept public financing of his presidential campaign: “For this last week, Senator Obama will be rolling in dough. His commercials, his get-out-the-vote effort, will, as the pundits have said, dwarf the McCain campaign's final push. But, in fairness, you have to admit, he is getting there, in part, on a broken promise.”
Brown's attack, which she made in her regular “Cutting Through the Bull” commentary at the beginning of her program, came 24 hours before Obama is scheduled to run a 30-minute infomercial on five television networks. She began her commentary by describing how “Barack Obama is loaded, way more loaded than any presidential candidate has ever been before at this stage in the campaign. Just to throw a number out, he's raised well over $600 million since the start of the campaign, close to what George Bush and John Kerry raised combined in 2004.”
Three men brought together by their love for American freedom and opposition to communism played a critical, though largely unheralded role, in introducing Ronald Reagan to a national audience, a new book on the conservative movement explains.
Holmes Tuttle, the owner of a Ford dealership in Los Angeles; Henry Salvatori, the founder of Western Geophysical Company; and A.C. "Cy" Rubel of Union Oil Company formed the original "Kitchen Cabinet" of allies and friends to Reagan.
Their story is told in a new book entitled: "Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement." Ron Robinson, executive director of Young America's Foundation (YAF) and his co-author Nicole Holpin, point out that behind the scenes key individuals made strategically important financial contributions to that conservative cause.
If John McCain had gone back on his promise to accept public campaign money, and instead set fundraising records that put him as many as fourteen points ahead in the polls with less than two weeks to go before Election Day, do you think there'd be a lot of media carping and whining about rich Republicans buying the White House?
Probably 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the final vote had been counted, correct?
Yet, despite Barack Obama having gone back on his campaign promise to accept public funds, and reports that he's now over $600 million in contributions, the Obama-loving press don't seem very concerned with liberals buying the presidency.
This obvious hypocrisy struck the Los Angeles Times' Andrew Malcolm Thursday (emphasis added):
When a McCain campaign representative told David Shuster today that the source of much of Barack Obama's fund-raising is unknown, the MSNBC host scoffed, claiming only "right-wing" blogs could believe that and challenging the spokesman to cite a credible source.
Instead of fulminating about the conservative blogosphere, David might want to pick up a copy of Newsweek, which last time I looked had a news-sharing arrangement with . . . MSNBC. None other than Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported those very facts about Obama's fund-raising last week.
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt was Shuster's guest during MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour today.
When Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld testified before the House Oversight Committee Oct. 6, the media criticized his wealth and spending amidst financial turmoil in his company and on Wall Street. But conspicuously missing was the story of Fuld's political contributions.
Conservative opposition to a federal bailout of financial institutions is over campaign donations, not a desire to uphold sound market principles, according to CNBC.
CNBC's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood said Sept. 25 on "Squawk Box" that he had a conversation with "a top Republican member of congress last night" who told him the resistance among conservatives to the $700 billion bailout plan is in part due to Wall Street donations to Democrats.
"‘A lot of our guys have decided that we hate Wall Street ... because they're giving a lot of money to Democrats right now,'" Harwood said he was told by an unnamed source.
"We've talked about how nice the bi-partisan coming together of the far left and the far right to oppose this plan. It was heartwarming, right? That finally brought the fringe elements of both sides together on this," co-host Joe Kernen joked.
On Thursday's "Nightline," co-anchor Terry Moran trashed John McCain for running a hypocritical, dishonest campaign against Barack Obama. He accused the Republican of doing "the kind of thing that George W. Bush and his supporters did to McCain in South Carolina in 2000." The segment, which featured no examples of sleazy campaigning by Barack Obama, began with co-anchor Cynthia McFadden complaining, "Make no mistake, John McCain very well may defeat Barack Obama. But to do so, has he compromised principles in the style that got him this far?"
She also whined, "With just 47 days to the election, is the Straight Talk Express shifting course? Will the real John McCain please stand up?" Moran's tone dripped with sarcasm as he ripped into the Arizona senator's supposed hypocrisy. The ABC journalist fretted that McCain "clearly decided he's got to change. Change a lot, in some ways, in order to win this thing." As old and new clips of the candidate were spliced together, Moran added, "John McCain meet John McCain."
It has already been established (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that the Obama campaign's ad ridiculing John McCain's computer skills, including the claim that McCain "can't e-mail," has several reality-based problems:
McCain has been an e-mail devotee since 2000, if not earlier, receiving help from a loving spouse to respond to messages, and was described by Forbes Magazine that year as "the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist."
The reason McCain gets help with e-mail is that his severe war injuries prevent him from doing many things many of us take for granted, including typing on a keyboard.
Further, the current and previous Oval Office occupants have rarely used e-mail -- the former because he never learned how while in office, the latter because of legal considerations. Future occupants will likely be, and probably should be, similarly constrained.
So it's as clear as can be that Obama's ad is wrong and, intentionally or not, very mean to a man whose physical challenges are a result of beyond-the-call service to our country.
Beyond all that, Kevin Aylward at Wizbang has noted that McCain's 2000 presidential run was effusively praised as a groundbreaking high-tech campaign by a Democratic Internet pioneer in a 2005 book.
Check out this [emphasis added] excerpt from an LA Weekly report on Michelle Obama's appearance at a private fundraiser last Wednesday in the ritzy LA neighborhood of Holmby Hills. Mrs. Obama was addressing a crowd that reporter Patrick Range McDonald described "heavily entertainment-industry."
Obama then moved on to politics, where she first brought up her husband’s vice-presidential choice. “I think it was a really good pick—Senator Joe Biden,” she said, and later added, “People say they have amazing chemistry, and it’s true.”
Obama continued with talk about Biden when she said, “What you learn about Barack from his choice is that he’s not afraid of smart people.” The crowd softly chuckled.
If a hypothetical tabloid owned by, say, Richard Mellon Scaife, had a cover story with scurrilous accusations about Joe Biden, do you think Chris Matthews would be waving it about on camera and Keith Olbermann citing it? Neither do I. But if for some reason they did, would they possibly fail to mention the mag's ownership?
But Matthews saw fit—not once but twice—to display the cover of Us magazine, with its story "Babies, Lies and Scandals" about Sarah Palin. Olbermann alluded to it as well. And who is the owner of Us? Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone . . . and a big-time donor to Barack Obama. How big a donor? You can view his list of contributions here, with an image after the jump.
Now it's true that Matthews discounted the "lies" allegation. But why give currency to dubious accusations—by a magazine whose stock-in-trade is celebrity gossip—by displaying them repeatedly on a national news show? There was no suggestion that Us, unlike the National Enquirer in John Edwards' case, had done any significant independent reporting. This is apparently scandal-mongering, pure and simple. And of course, neither Matthews nor Olbermann mentioned the Wenner connection.