PBS's Bonnie Erbe hosts that network's weekly news analysis program, "To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbe," is a weekly columnist for Scripps Howard Newspapers, and blogs at USNews.com.
Erbe called for the impeachment of George Bush in February 2006. Anyone looking through her Scripps Howard archive will conclude that she can't possibly be labeled a conservative ideologue -- which is why her take on the attempt by CNN's John Lewis to make it appear as if both the Obama and McCain campaigns are equally hampered by flip-flops is so compelling.
Here's how "A battle of accused political 'flip-flops'," the CNN report at which Erbe takes umbrage, begins:
Days after both men reversed course on major issues, the presidential campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain spent much of Sunday's talk-show circuit working to ensure accusations of "flip-flopping" don't stick.
The Boston Globe published a really weird, yet inadvertently hilarious, editorial in which they claim that because Barack Obama broke his promise to accept public financing of his campaign...that means we need even more campaign finance reform in terms of both more money and legislation. I kid you not. First the obligatory knuckle rap on Obama by the Boston Globe for going back on his word:
SENATOR Barack Obama has presented himself as the candidate of change, but the change he announced yesterday is a throwback to the no-holds-barred rules of campaign finance that prevailed before Watergate. Obama will be the first major party candidate since Watergate to reject public financing in the general election, instead relying on his base of more than 1.5 million donors for a war chest that could easily double or triple the $84.1 he would get in public financing. His decision deals a body blow both to the system of campaign finance and to his own reputation as a reform candidate.
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, during a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," must have thought it was a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama would give up on his pledge that he would accept public financing for his presidential campaign. "If you raised more than a quarter billion dollars in the primary season, would you limit yourself to $85 million in the fall campaign? Duh!" While she did point out Obama’s previous statements affirming his dedication to public financing, both she and Wolf Blitzer used subdued language to describe this broken promise, and tried to spin how this might be a potential issue in the campaign.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)
It's not unusual for journalists to attempt to distance themselves from the appearance of political ties, especially when trying not to be perceived as biased. But saying you do and actually doing are two separate things.
U.S. News & World Report Editor-in-Chief and chairman of Boston Properties (NYSE:BXP) Mort Zuckerman was asked about donating money to Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton's fading campaign by Huffington Post blogger and MSNBC "Morning Joe" regular John Ridley on the May 9 "Morning Joe."
"I wish I could make a contribution, but I'm in the world of journalism and I can't, but thank you for the offer," Zuckerman said.
..... and waits until the 30th paragraph of its online story to reveal it.
The feds seem to be closing in on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- and at least one Chicago television station seems determined to minimize exposure not only of his party affiliation, but of others who have received tainted campaign contributions.
CHICAGO (CBS) ― In an explosive development reaching to the state's highest office, a former high-ranking state official claimed Tuesday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was on hand when he presented $25,000 in campaign money to now-indicted fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko.
Ali Ata, 56, a former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, said Blagojevich then asked Rezko if he had talked to Ata about a job on the state payroll.
Ata said later, after he made a second $25,000 campaign contribution, Blagojevich again brought up the subject of a job and said it should be one in which Ata "could make some money."
Time magazine is using the fact that the Democrat presidential candidates are currently being forced to raise more money to battle each other as evidence that the Democrats are much better at online campaign fundraising than the Republicans. Political blinders were firmly in place on Time writers Michael Scherer and Jay Newton-Small when they triumphantly put forth their reality-challenged thesis of Why Democrats Rule the Web:
Republicans, who once were far ahead of Democrats in whizbang TV technology, let their party fall behind the nerd curve as Howard Dean and later John Kerry revolutionized and then exploited online fund-raising in 2004. Four years later, the Democrats have widened that gap, using the Internet not only to raise cash but also to organize canvassers and plot get-out-the-vote efforts. Republicans say the Democrats' Web advantage is due to not just greater enthusiasm but also smarter strategies...
As a loyal Clinton campaign email subscriber, rarely a day goes by that I don't hear from Hillary or Bill. It's good to know they're thinking about me. But today brings some very troubling news: Hillary is WAY behind on her fundraising goal for TV airtime in Pennsylvania. [screencap below page break]
I had been torn between door hangers and yard signs, when I decided to check out some of the other options, and . . . YIKES! As you'll see from the image, the budget for TV airtime in Pennsylvania is $2.5 million, but Hillary has raised only $129,947. That works out to only 5.1% of the goal!
The title to this article is exactly how I'd write it if I were a political hack trying to drum up a faux controversy for use by other political hacks in the mainstream media. Which is exactly what Sam Stein of the Huffington Post did on February 12th as he broke out the yellowkid journalistic mold for a fantasy leftist hack attack on John McCain headlined in giant font, McCain Received $100,000 From Firm Of Abramoff Notoriety.
Before I comment further on the idiocy of Stein's assertions it is only fair that I mention that there is nothing in his article that isn't true just as there isn't anything untrue in mine here. Barack Obama did in fact receive over $80,000 from the same firm that Stein tries to hang John McCain with. In addition both John McCain and Barack Obama were eclipsed by the $162,450 amount received by Hillary Clinton from employees of the same jaded firm.
As media digest the recent John McCain sex scandal allegations by the New York Times, one side of the story seems destined to get ignored: one of the four co-authors took money from a liberal activist group to fund a hit piece about Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) in 2006.
Before becoming an investigative reporter for the Times, Pulitzer Prize winner Marilyn W. Thompson was editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky.
As Howard Kurtz reported in October 2006, Thompson was in the middle of what one might call a pay for play hit piece against that state's leading Republican figure (emphasis added):
The New York Times's John McCain "bombshell" story, hinted at since December, was unloaded on Thursday's front-page -- and promptly fizzled out among conservatives and liberals alike, who dismissed the story from a four-person team as a strained mix of sex innuendo and old news (The Keating Five?).
It's no wonder if you take a look. This story is all hype and no substance:
There has been significant speculation in the MSM that an upshot of the NYT's McCain piece could be to rally support for McCain from conservatives like Rush Limbaugh who heretofore have been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about the Arizona senator.
Typical was this exchange from today's Good Morning America, which followed an appearance by McCain campaign advisor Charlie Black.
I was offered the privilege on Friday of introducing Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana at CPAC, who gave a nice, staunch speech about conservatism and urged John McCain to "embrace the Right and the Right will embrace you." In my introduction, I noted that Brent Bozell said it used to seem like many Republicans on the Hill were conservative leaders when Reagan was president, since they were carrying out Reagan's work. But now, when Republicans are back in the minority and conservatives are discouraged, there might be five people you can identify as conservative leaders on the Hill. You might debate the other four, but nearly everyone nods their head at the mention of Mike Pence. You can see the Pence video at TownHall.
On one of our issues in Medialand -- the reimposition of a "Fairness Doctrine" to clamp down on conservative talk radio -- Pence has been a stalwart. He received several standing ovations, including these lines on freedom of speech:
In ackowledgment of what he says is the Republican Party's counting on "fear and loathing of Hillary Clinton" to bring together Conservatives and Establishment Republicans behind now presumptive Party nominee John McCain (now that Mitt Romney has suspended his effort), Rush Limbaugh this afternoon announced that he is considering raising coin to assist her in her attempt to win the Democratic nomination over Illinois Senator Barack Obama.
One major flash-point in the January 21 Democratic debate was when Hillary Clinton slammed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for ties to Tony Rezko, an indicted real estate developer. Shortly thereafter a photo from the Clinton administration depicting Sen. Clinton with Rezko and her husband came to the fore, and Clinton subsequently denied knowing Rezko.
Fast forward to today and the Associated Press reporting that Hillary Clinton booster L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took campaign contributions from Rezko. The question remains how much the media, outside the Associated Press, will care:
Romney struck first on the day before the winner-take-all Florida primary. He attacked the Arizona senator for his legislation reducing the role of money in politics, for his position on immigration and for his support of an energy bill that Romney said would have driven up consumer costs.
Funny, seems to me political campaigns are flush with cash and that campaign finance has grown, not shrunk, since 2002. What McCain's bill did do, however, was to enact a ban on so-called soft money, as well as institute bans on third-party issue ads airing 60 days prior to a general election. The issue ad ban was overturned in a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, despite McCain's wishes to the contrary:
Every four years, the media try to offer the Republican electorate advice on what the GOP should do to achieve victory. Buyer beware: those eager to accept the media’s conventional "wisdom" ought to recognize that these are blueprints for Republican domination of Washington only if it’s a domination by the party’s liberal wing. Currently, the simmering stew of conventional "wisdom" suggests that Sen. John McCain is going to emerge as the obvious front-runner for 2008 because his is the winning message for Republicans.
All the recurring media love for McCain – he’s the only candidate who can go on Fox News and call journalists "Trotskyites" and the liberals all laugh – should remind conservatives why they distrusted him in 2000. His victory in the South Carolina primary warmed the hearts of liberal journalists everywhere. To represent the media giddiness, see Jill Zuckman in the Chicago Tribune. It was "a healthy dose of poetic justice as he beat his Republican rivals and vanquished the ghosts of his 2000 defeat under a barrage of scurrilous smears."
But all is back to normal now that the dust has cleared. Not only did most of the media gloss over this ever evolving story but nearly all of them took a pass on the Sun Times latest revelation that Barack Obama has surfaced as an "unnamed political candidate" in a federal indictment against Rezko on corruption charges.
Riled! Angry Romney Rips Reporter Sparks fly as Mitt Romney tells reporters lobbyists aren't running his campaign.
According to anyone else who has watched the video, theirs is a difficult assessment with which to agree.
As we stated when we posted the video last night (video below as well), the Associated Press' Glen Johnson angily interrupts Romney on the podium mid-sentence, already visibly flustered, and only proceeds to become more so as he tries to drive home the semantic difference between a campaign "run"ner and a campaign "adviser".
Of the three broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday, only the CBS Evening News squeezed in a mention of how a California judge sentenced Norman Hsu -- the fugitive donor to many Democrats including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- to three years in prison on a 16-year-old fraud conviction. Unlike ABC and NBC, CBS's Katie Couric didn't lead with the Iowa caucus results, but with “more signs of a looming recession.” Couric's brief item on Hsu:
In California today, Norman Hsu, the so-called fugitive financier, was sentenced to three years in prison. Hsu was convicted of fraud back in 1992 but fled before he was sentenced. While on the run for 15 years, he contributed millions to political campaigns, including $850,000 to Hillary Clinton's campaign which she has since returned.
Hsu, however, also helped Barack Obama, the big winner in Iowa, but that didn't make it into Couric's brief or prompt any interest from ABC or NBC. Back on October 16, the Los Angeles Times reported “a political action committee for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) received $24,500" from Hsu associates.
With as many critiques that I've given Huckabee, I've never questioned him on social issues. I've always thought that was his strong point. But now comes news that those principles may not be so bonafide, at least when money gets involved.
Mika Brzezinski: back on the crime beat with another loopy liberal take on reality . . .
Yesterday, the resident lefty on the Morning Joe panel -- defying the facts of the volunteer guard who stopped the Colorado church shooter -- labeled as "the most inane thing" she'd ever heard the notion that one armed citizen could make a difference.
Today, in a breathtaking bit of revisionist history, Brzezinski tried to credit notoriously lax former Mayor David Dinkins rather than Rudy Giuliani for making NYC safe. So fierce was the return fire from Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough that, as pictured here, Mika ultimately took refuge under a sheaf of paper.
Have you noticed that when a Federal Election Commission complaint against a Republican presidential candidate is made, the press jump on it like a child on presents beneath a tree on Christmas morning?
Yet, when someone files an FEC complaint against Hillary Clinton, you're more likely to see a news item featuring a global warming skeptic talking about how Al Gore is lying to the public about climate change than anything related to the former first lady's seemingly incessant campaign finance indiscretions.
For example, did you hear about this complaint filed on Halloween against she who will be President if the press have their way:
In an interview with Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith wondered how Edwards could possibly have a chance against Hillary Clinton’s perfect campaign: "This woman's got numbers, she's got money, she's got name recognition. I mean, how do you begin to even chip away at that?"
As Smith began the segment, he went so far as speak of the "harshness" of Edwards’ Campaign, a term usually reserved for the Republican field: "His harshest rhetoric is reserved for front-runner, Hillary Clinton. As you go forward then, do you ratchet up the rhetoric?"
Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have a history of fund-raising from shadowy Asian donors. Bill was connected with such donors in a scandal that was never fully investigated due to most of the targets fleeing to their native countries. Now the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Hillary also is gaining money from Asian sources that would seem to merit some investigation. The question is- will the rest of the mainstream media actually follow up and report it?
In a little blast from Clinton's past it's an avalanche of Democrats and their supporters who are turning out to be liars about their military service, lately. We are reminded of the late M. Larry Lawrence, a long time Bill Clinton donor who was such a heavy contributor that Clinton paid him off with the ambassadorship to Switzerland (1993 to 1996). Even The New York Times can't hide this one because since his false service had been confirmed, in 1997 his body had been removed from Arlington Cemetery, an honor that Clinton had strings pulled to bestow upon him after his passing from cancer in 1996 -- an Arlington burial being just another payoff for his huge donations to Clinton's campaign fund.
"Confronted with mounting evidence that M. Larry Lawrence, the late Ambassador to Switzerland, had fabricated a heroic World War II record, his widow decided today to have his remains exhumed from Arlington National Cemetery, where he was granted burial under an unusual waiver."
So what was the story? How was his military service a sham?
Democratic presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton appeared on all five Sunday morning interview shows, but not all raised two controversies of interest to conservatives and, even when they did, not all took a tough approach to her lack of condemnation of MoveOn.org's “General Betray Us” ad and the donations gathered for her by now-captured fugitive Norman Hsu. ABC's George Stephanopoulos and NBC's Tim Russert brought up both matters -- though Stephanopoulos did so in the gentlest way -- CBS's Bob Schieffer asked about Hsu and not “Betray Us,” while Fox's Chris Wallace and CNN's Wolf Blitzer skipped Hsu but raised “Betray Us.”
No one pressed Clinton on how at the hearing with General Petraeus she said his report required “the willing suspension of disbelief.” Only Wallace, on Fox News Sunday, pointed out how Clinton had voted against a Senate resolution condemning the MoveOn ad: “Senator, you have refused to criticize the MoveOn.org ad about General Petraeus. And in fact, this week you voted against a Senate resolution denouncing it.” In contrast, on ABC's This Week, Stephanopoulos presumed Clinton was disturbed by the ad as he asked: “Why not speak out earlier?” On the Hsu case, Stephanopoulos approached the issue from the concerns of other Democrats: “A lot of people look at this and say they're afraid they're going to go back to the days of 1996 when there were some campaign finance violations that many Democrats feel cost President Clinton a couple of points in the final days of the election. How do you assure them that's not going to happen again?” Only NBC's Russert, on Meet the Press, used Hsu to remind viewers of Johnny Chung's illegal 1996 donations to the Bill Clinton campaign.
Not once but twice, Chris Matthews today accused Hillary Clinton of "pimping" for having staged a fundraiser that brought together high-rolling homeland-security lobbyists and the congressmen with power over their pet interests.
Matthews leveled the charge on this afternoon's "Hardball" in the course of an interview with David Bonior, John Edwards's campaign manager. The Edwards campaign, in an email from campaign advisor Joe Trippi, has swiped hard at Hillary over the fundraiser, calling it "corrupt."
I have been following the strange (and mostly unreported) case of fugitive criminal and major Democratic Party fundraiser Norman Hsu since September 5. Paul Mirengoff of the Power Line blog has a post today wherein he notes that the mainstream media, led by the Wall Street Jornal, are finally taking the time to look into Hsu's attempted flight from justice. However, as Mirengoff pointedly notes,
I think the pertinent questions are: Where did the money come from?