The continuing left-wing furor over George Stephanopoulos's perfectly valid question about Barack Obama's associations with a known terrorist reminded me of something I wanted to blog earlier in the week before it erupted: an admission of a leftward bias on the part of the media from BET founder Bob Johnson.
Interviewed by the Charlotte Observer Tuesday, Johnson said that the "liberal media" want Obama to win, partly out of racial pandering but also because he is more liberal than Hillary Clinton (whom Johnson supports).
"They sort of dislike Hillary for her vote on the war. They don't want to see Bill and Hillary in power again," Johnson is quoted as saying. "So Obama comes in and runs a smart campaign. But that's not the Second Coming, in my opinion, of John F. Kennedy, FDR or the world's greatest leaders."
Reporting that “ABC News is getting hammered by the mainstream and liberal media,” as if they aren't the same, FNC's Brit Hume led his Thursday “Grapevine” segment with examples of the left-wing outrage over Barack Obama being pressed at Wednesday's debate on subjects the media consider off limits. Hume highlighted how “the left-leaning Washington Post TV writer Tom Shales said anchors, quote 'Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos turned in shoddy, despicable performances,'” (Noel Sheppard's earlier post on Shales).
Hume proceeded to note how Greg Mitchell, Editor of the Editor & Publisher trade magazine, “said it was quote, 'perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years.'” Naturally, Keith Olbermann brought him aboard Thursday's Countdown to expound further.
Recycle videos, buy used cars, eat non-Nabisco cookies, and drink microbrewery beer. These are among the highly laughable suggestions promoted at the Daily Kos as part of their proposed boycott of ABC and Disney because Barack Obama was finally asked some tough questions at Wednesday's Democrat debate in Philadelphia. It was only 23 minutes into the debate before the boycott thread was posted at the Daily Kos with the outraged title of Tomorrow We Take On ABC, and Disney. It is hard to figure out which is funnier, the boiling outrage over the fact that their blessed messiah was asked challenging questions or the incredibly lame ideas for the proposed boycott. Here is a sampling of the Kossack inadvertent comedy act:
keep watching the videos you already have. SHARE them with other parents who would otherwise buy the Disney DVD, and don't buy Disney in the future. And talk to your kids about the power of the corporate media and the RESPONSIBILITY of the consumer to use their power as a balance. Spoken as a mom of a 7, 10 and 11 yr old. Yes, I do have these crazy, nerdy conversations with my children.
In a bunch of presidential debates this season the Republicans have come under tougher scrutiny than the Democrats, but the mainstream media didn't care. However, when Barack Obama and some left-wing journalists complained about questions to him during Wednesday's debate on ABC, the network evening newscasts found the kvetching newsworthy. CBS plastered “Debate Backlash” on screen as Katie Couric touted an upcoming Thursday night story.
CBS reporter Dean Reynolds explained: “He was even grilled about his flag pin, or lack thereof. A series of questions that aides say left him dispirited. But the debate, hosted by ABC News, came in for scathing criticism. Its own Web site logged more than 15,000 hits, most of them negative.” Reynolds concluded by feeling Obama's pain: “Obama said today that what you saw during the debate was the rollout for the Republican campaign against him in the fall. So it must have been painful for him to have it come out during a debate with a fellow Democrat.”
ABC hardly stood by Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. David Wright cited “a grueling round of questions focused on issues such as Obama's patriotism, and his more controversial friends” -- though Wright only highlighted Jeremiah Wright and ignored William Ayers. After a clip of Obama complaining about how it was “45 minutes before we heard about health care. 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq. 45 minutes before we heard about jobs,” Wright ran four comments, three of the four critical of ABC: “Today, in Philadelphia's Redding market, we met plenty of others who shared those views.” A man declared: “I felt they wasted a whole hour, a good hour, talking about nothing.” Wright then read this e-mail: “This so-called debate will be shown to my communications students as an example of what shoddy journalism looks like.”
If the anger from the left over Wednesday night's debate on ABC continues to manifest itself this way, an old phrase concerning women will have to be altered to "Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned."
For those not getting the so-called joke, "In Memoriam" is a segment near the end of each installment of "This Week" when folks that have died the previous week, including military members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, are memorialized.
In this video (embedded upper right), it is Stephanopoulos himself being so "honored," as the text rolls across the screen:
Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos actually asked some tough questions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during Wednesday's Democrat presidential debate on ABC.
Yet, the Washington Post's television critic Tom Shales wasn't happy about this, and actually felt the event represented "another step downward for network news" wherein the moderators "turned in shoddy, despicable performances."
What follows are some of Shales' key criticisms (emphasis added throughout, picture courtesy NYT):
The Democrat presidential candidates are squaring off against one another Wednesday in Philadelphia, and, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, co-moderator George Stephanopoulos thinks this could decide the nomination:
"There hasn't been a debate in weeks and the stakes couldn't be higher, there's no question about that," he said. "That's especially true for Sen. Clinton. Pennsylvania is a must-win state. It's the first debate since Texas and Ohio and a lot has happened since then."
With this in mind, Stephanopoulos was interviewed Tuesday by WOR radio's Steve Malzberg who had some marvelous questions he'd like asked of the two candidates (seven minute audio available here, picture courtesy ABC):
While it is currently conventional wisdom in the media that there was no Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, as evidenced by the media's failure to correct Barack Obama's recent claim that "there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," for several years dating back before the Iraq invasion, there have been media reports of former Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's connections to Osama bin Laden, and his use of Iraq as a base to plot terror attacks against other countries before the war. In fact, four years ago, the NBC Nightly News claimed not only that there was an Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the invasion, busy plotting attacks against Europe, but that the Bush administration intentionally "passed up several opportunities" to attack terrorist bases in Iraq "long before the war" in 2002 because of fear it would "undercut its case" for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. (Transcripts follow)
Not only does it represent the epitome of good-natured cool, it comes in stark contrast to the patented glare that Hillary aims at those who draw her ire. We've often illustrated the death-ray genre here at NB; you'll find a representative image after the jump from last night's debate.
Obama's gesture speaks largely for itself, but let's don our amateur body-language expert hat:
Tuesday night's Democratic debate brought an unexpected political analogy to mind: Hillary Clinton has become Bob Dole.
That point became eminently clear in the debate multiple times but especially during her attempt to rebuke NBC debate moderators Tim Russert and Brian Williams by evoking a recent "Saturday Night Live" episode which accused the press of being "in the tank" for Barack Obama.
"In the last several debates I seem to get the first question all the time," Clinton said. "I don't mind. I'll be happy to field it. I just find it curious if anybody saw 'Saturday Night Live,' maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow."
Those remarks, while slightly better phrased, are strikingly similar to Bob Dole's "where is the outrage" lament while running against Bill Clinton in 1996. Both candidates:
After a lengthy hiatus due to the Hollywood writers' strike, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" returned to the airwaves last evening, and began with a skit deliciously mocking CNN's recent debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
SNLer Kristen Wiig I believe, apparently impersonating CNN's Campbell Brown who hosted the debate -- although looking much more like Suzanne Malveaux -- introduced the festivities by comically and quite accurately stating (h/t Tim Graham):
Like nearly everyone in the news media, the three of us are totally in the tank for Senator Obama. Now let's meet the candidates. Just four years ago, Barack Obama was known only as a brilliant, charismatic and universally admired member of the Illinois State Senate. Today he is one of our nation's truly visionary leaders. And soon, knock on wood, the first black president of the United States.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed Hillary Clinton and wondered if she would step aside for the good of the Democratic Party: "More important for you to be elected, or for a Democrat to be in the White House a year from now?"
Smith began the interview by asking Clinton: "And you stopped, you paused, you drew a breath, and you said you were honored to be there with Barack Obama. And I whispered, as you said that, 'valedictory.' Was that the beginning of the end of your campaign?" Smith went on to wonder if a long drawn-out nomination fight was "worth it"given Obama’s lead:
And I thought I saw some of the fight leave your body last night. I thought I saw there was almost a sign of body language like this guy has won ten states in a row. He has a significant lead in delegates. You know, is it worth going after every single vote tooth and nail for the next two, three, four weeks?
It's not a very long run. It'll be over by February 5th. -- Hillary Clinton, 'This Week,' Dec. 30, 2007.
That was Hillary less than two months ago. Here she was on this morning's Today.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: So no matter what happens in Texas and Ohio, you will go on.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well Meredith, I don't make predictions. I never have, I never will. I just get up every day and, you know, do the best I can to, you know, let people know what I have done and what I am doing and what I will do.
If it's true, as Hillary Clinton claimed during last night's debate, that Barack Obama needs Xerox to copy other's rhetoric, maybe Clinton could use another piece of 20th-century technology: Memorex.
The remaining Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are squaring off for what may be their final battle in Texas. The two will be debating tonight at 8:00pm Eastern. The debate will be carried on both CNN and Univision.
Join your fellow NBers either here on this thread or in the live chat and share your comments about the event. Web video for the television impaired is here.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith analyzed Thursday’s Democratic debate with Democratic strategist Joe Trippi and the left wing editor of "The Nation," Katrina Vanden Heuvel, who called the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "a historic first,"while referring to Republicans as the "Grim Old Party" and "a restricted white men's club." Vanden Heuvel went to say that, "You also had a sheer -- the difference in policy knowledge and competence between Obama and Clinton and the Republican field to me was staggering."
This analysis of the Democratic debate followed Thursday’s analysis of Wednesday’s Republican debate, which featured Smith and CBS Political Correspondent and former Robert Kennedy speech writer, Jeff Greenfield, with no Republican guests.
Later in the Friday segment, Vanden Heuvel used a prior "Early Show" news brief about a suicide bomb attack in Iraq to claim "Yeah, I mean, you have a surge that isn't working. Look at the piece you just did." Smith made a feeble attempt at balance by replying, "Well that's arguable." Vanden Heuvel went on to shill for Obama "You have McCain of endless war -- of endless war without accountability and you have two candidates, Obama arguably wants to end this war and end the mind set that brought us into this war."
To recap the previous night’s Democratic debate, "Today" featured two liberal commentators to analyze it. It might be fair had "Today" interviewed two conservatives the previous day to analyze the Republican debate. They did not. Instead, they went to former Carter speechwriter and Obama supporter Chris Matthews.
The February 1 edition of the NBC morning show turned to known liberals Paul Begala and Rachel Maddow. Host Matt Lauer did identify Begala as a Democratic strategist and called Maddow’s radio network, Air America, "liberal." However, "Today’s" bias is obvious giving air time to two liberals and none to conservatives.Perhaps, in the elite media world, former Democratic staffer Matthews is "conservative" because of recent left wing blog attacks for his anti-Hillary comments.
Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, and one of the three members of the mainstream media who asked questions at Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, neglected to mention Hillary Clinton’s previous waffling on the subject of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants when he asked the former First Lady about the issue. "Senator Clinton, Senator Obama has said that he favors allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, and you opposed that idea. Why?"
As CNSNews Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey noted after the November 15, 2007 Democratic debate (where Clinton answered that she did not support licenses for illegal immigrants), Clinton, with that answer, contradicted what she had said in an interview with the Nashua [N.H.] Telegraph on October 17, 2007, almost a month earlier. In the interview, Clinton voiced support for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, stating that "it makes a lot of sense." When Tim Russert asked Clinton about the issue at the Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia two weeks later on October 30, she gave, as Jeffrey put it, "a long and apparently contradictory series of answers about whether to give illegals driver's licenses."
The Republican presidential candidates, minus Rudy Giuliani, are having their last face-off tonight at the Reagan library at 8pm ET. The event will be broadcast on CNN and is hosted in cooperation with the Politico and the Los Angeles Times. You can also watch online here.
Post your comments on this thread or join the live NB chat.
Living in the DC area, Chris Matthews has surely been stuck in traffic more than once behind someone sporting the classic NRA bumper sticker: "If Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns." Was Chris was listening too intently to NPR to consider the the truth of that pithy aphorism? You might think so, considering his anti-gun rant that seemed to assume that criminals, rather than law-abiding citizens, will obey restrictions on gun ownership.
On this evening's Hardball, riffing off Mitt Romney's Second Amendment defense during last night's GOP debate, Chris took aim at National Review's Deroy Murdock, a Giuliani backer.
The biggest news out of last night's GOP debate could be the hit taken by John McCain's reputation for straight talk.
For whatever reason, McCain chose to deny the undeniable: that on more than one occasion he has admitted not understanding the economy as well as he should. When the debate ended it took MSNBC no time to document the record. And a bit later, in the post-debate coffee klatsch, Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman unloaded on the Arizona senator for his fudging.
It's quite a sight to behold when media "has-beens" start drinking the doom and gloom Kool-Aid offered up in the media.
Sam Donaldson, who covered the Reagan White House for ABC and who now is a contributor to the network's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," last night told a gathering in Georgetown that the U.S. economy is going "in the dumper" and criticized the Democratic presidential candidates for not capitalizing on it.
Not that there was much doubt, but let's make it official: MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski is firmly in the Obama camp. The capper came during today's opening segment of Morning Joe. After Chris Matthews offered a plausible explanation for Obama's "present" votes in the Illinois senate, David Shuster used an apt metaphor to describe Barack's less-than-trenchant rhetorical style.
DAVID SHUSTER: It's in Barack Obama's interest to say it as sharply as you [Matthews] just did, and his inability to sort of navigate in these debates, like the giant aircraft carrier trying to make a turn. If he could make the point as simply as you just did he would be fine but the way he's trying to explain and defend everything, it's like a guy who skis down a hill who makes these wide, swooping turns, and after awhile, you know, that's not, you don't get down very fast that way.
That's when Mika made her allegiance unmistakable.
You don't suppose NewsBusters has become Matt Lauer's guilty pleasure; one having a salubrious effect on his thinking? The Today co-anchor this morning suggested an MSM double-standard on the Dem and GOP races and acknowledged the success of the surge.
Matt's guest during the first half-hour was Tim Russert, impressively fresh despite red-eyeing to NYC after moderating last night's Nevada debate. Lauer, after playing clips of the candidates' take on Iraq, suggested that the war is no longer the winning issue the Dems once thought it was.
MATT LAUER: How much of a tightrope are they walking with the apparent success of the surge over the last couple months, how difficult is it for these Democratic candidates to score points on Iraq right now?
The New York Times's Michael Cooper and Michael Luo covered the Republican debate Thursday night in Myrtle Beach, S.C., hitting the theme of a "faltering" Fred Thompson, lashing out in a desperate bid to salvage his campaign.
"Fred D. Thompson tried to salvage his faltering presidential campaign at a debate Thursday night with a barrage of sharp attacks on the 'liberal' policies of Mike Huckabee, the fellow Southerner whom he clearly sees as a rival in the South Carolina primary.
"The performance by Mr. Thompson, which including several pointed one-liners, capped a debate that showed the altered terrain of the Republican field as it moved beyond contests in Iowa and New Hampshire."
The Times portrayed Thompson as an aggressor and Mike Huckabee turning the other cheek.
See updates for Huckabee, Thompson responses to this story at bottom.
Scratch Joe Scarborough from the list of those praising the performance of Fred Thompson at last night's South Carolina debate hosted by Fox News. With panelists Willie Geist and Mika Brzezinski in supporting roles, the Morning Joe host went off on Thompson today with stunning vitriol, deriding him as "Freddie boy" "pathetic," a "lapdog" and a "hatchet man" for John McCain.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Last night it was so painfully obvious that Fred Thompson went to John McCain yesterday morning [affecting deep Thompsonesque voice] "if I can stay awake through this debate, I'll attack Huckabee for you."
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The press corps, for the most part, there are exceptions, loathe Mitt Romney. And the press corps loved to see all of the Republicans [at the ABC debate this past Saturday night] kicking the tar out of him, and they were all sitting there smirking. But I thought it was too much. I think if you're sitting at home in New Hampshire, you sit back after a while and you say, first of all, why does John McCain hate personally so much. But secondly, why are they all attacking Mitt Romney? He must be the guy with the ball; he must be the guy who's ahead.