Mitt Romney recently told CBS’s Scott Pelley that a leader would “say which of those things that you should take out of the budget that are no longer essential,” and when pressed to be specific, Romney nominated "the subsidy for PBS,” and subsidies for Amtrak, the NEA, and the NEH. This raises one obvious question. In moderating tonight's first general election debate of 2012, can longtime PBS star Jim Lehrer be fair to a candidate who wants to zero out the subsidy for PBS?
In his 1992 memoir A Bus of My Own, Lehrer confesses he could sound like a “PBS superpatriot” in lauding his own newscast. For his own career at PBS, Lehrer professed he loved how Watergate “crumbled” Nixon’s plans to “crumble us” in liberal taxpayer-funded broadcasting:
Talk about missing the elephant (or is it donkey?) in the room – on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes reported that Senator John Kerry is "playing Mitt Romney in mock debates" with President Obama before Wednesday's debate. But she didn't once mention that Kerry's debate skills didn't help him in 2004, when he lost a presidential race to President George W. Bush.
Cordes did note that "Romney and...Kerry know each other well. They're both longtime politicians from Massachusetts." She also twice emphasized that Obama's campaign was "working hard...to try to lower expectations about his performance" during the upcoming presidential debates.
Even if an elite journalist is actually committed to being fair, unless he actively fights to overcome the worldview of the vast majority of his colleagues, bias is going to creep into coverage. It’s only natural since reporters are humans.
But what if we had a news media where you actually had questions which were contrary to the liberal Democrat worldview? Hard to imagine, granted, but our friends at Investor’s Business Daily have done just that. Here are just a few that they would like to see asked of President Obama:
On Friday's World News on ABC, substitute anchor David Muir filed a report which warned that the winner of the first presidential candidate debate may have to take advantage of a "'cares about you' moment," as the report seemed more preoccupied with Mitt Romney as the candidate more likely to fail in such a moment.
Muir set up the report by harkening back to an audience question in 1992 that left then-candidate Bill Clinton giving an answer which suggested he could "connect with average problems" better than then-President George H.W. Bush.
Election Day is still six weeks away, but the all important battleground state of Ohio will begin early voting -- both in-person and via absentee balloting -- on Tuesday, Oct. 2. At least a third of likely voters in the Buckeye State are reportedly expected to cast their ballot before Nov. 6.
So in an attempt to drum up support and enthusiasm, as well as sympathetic press, Democratic lawmakers in Ohio are encouraging students and union workers across the state to camp outside of their respective board of elections office overnight in order to be among the first to vote the following morning. Dutifully helping out the Democrats, MSNBC Live anchor Thomas Roberts interviewed state senator Eric Kearney (D-Ohio) about the upcoming publicity stunt called "Sleep Out the Vote." Kearney explained the basis of the idea as such:
Norah O'Donnell made it clear on Monday's CBS This Morning that her job as anchor is to repeat her stick-a-fork-in-Romney mantra and boost President Obama. On the issue of the upcoming debates, O'Donnell asserted, "We already know he [Romney] has high negatives - perhaps, a likeability problem." She later asked if "we see the competitive President Obama...or will we see the cool, constitutional law professor?"
The anchor couldn't be bothered to bring up the continuing unrest in the Middle East; the related issue of the Obama administration's changing story as to what happened in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya; or the new developments in the Fast and Furious controversy.
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal on Saturday morning to discuss the letter MRC president Brent Bozell and more than 20 other conservative leaders and media personalities wrote to executives of ABC News, CBS News, CNN and NBC News.
"I would simply say we have a news media that doesn't hold the Obama Administration accountable. It's trying to destroy the Mitt Romney presidential campaign," Graham said. "That is not what ‘objective’ news media does." (See video and transcript below, MP3 audio available here).
At the top of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory announced Mitt Romney was backed "against the wall" in the presidential race and proceeded to ask both New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Obama advisor David Plouffe: "Is the race over?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Christie rejected the notion and suggested Romney's performance in the upcoming first debate on Wednesday would reset the campaign, Gregory incredulously replied: "Why isn't it too late to believe that the presidential debates, after you announce your running mate, after you have your own convention including keynoter Chris Christie, that you can restart with the presidential debates?"
It’s been four years since Barack Obama beat John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States, but that hasn’t stopped some in the media from putting McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, in the crosshairs. In this morning’s broadcast of Good Morning America, ABC News’ David Muir detailed the dynamics related to the home stretch of the presidential campaign. It was here that he snuck in a gratuitous swipe at Gov. Palin:
Can we stop calling the hosts of the presidential debates "moderators"? They're left-erators. It's time for the old media godfathers to end the pretense that they're fair and neutral observers of the American political scene. And it's time for the GOP to stop perpetuating these rigged exercises in futility.
Last week, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the names of 2012's chosen referees: CNN's Candy Crowley, PBS's Jim Lehrer and CBS's Bob Schieffer will preside over the three presidential debates; ABC's Martha Raddatz will host the sole vice presidential debate. While the debate panel trumpeted the gender diversity of its picks, the chromosomal diversity is far outweighed by the political uniformity, class conformity and geographical homogeneity of the group.
New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter made a little news at the end of his Saturday report on the picking of the moderators for the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates: "Criticism Greets List of Debate Moderators."
Dismissing conservative concerns of liberal bias on the part of moderators as a predictable Rush Limbaugh talking point, Stelter focused more on liberal concerns about the historical lack of black and female moderators, and reported that PBS political host Gwen Ifill was "livid" about not being chosen (old-time PBS hand Jim Lehrer was coaxed out of retirement to fill the bill insetad).
Towards the close of today's MSNBC Live, anchor Thomas Roberts presented a segment featuring three New Jersey teenage girls who started a petition on the left-leaning Change.org website demanding female moderators for the upcoming presidential debates. The young ladies succeeded in getting 180,000 signatures for their initiative.
But rather than simply hailing their civic activism, Roberts decided to expoloit these girls to slam Rep. Paul Ryan over his no vote for the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- which does nothing to equalize pay for women but simply expanded the statute of limitations to file suit in court -- by saying "do you think he's going to have a tough time defending his no vote to Martha Radditz when he gets asked about that?"
ABC’s Martha Raddatz is perhaps the freshest face of the Old Media veterans chosen as a moderator by the Commission on the Presidential Debates. After five years at National Public Radio, Raddatz has handled a variety of serious Washington beats for ABC since 1999. She's married to journalist Tom Gjelten, who's worked for NPR for 30 years. Raddatz has also been married to Obama's FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and journalist Ben Bradlee III, son of the former Washington Post executive editor.
Is Raddatz objective? The Commission could have considered Raddatz fawning all over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “cool” and “trending” on May 9, 2012:
The Jurassic Press is missing much in their reporting on the $50 billion bailout of General Motors (GM). The Press is open channeling for President Barack Obama - allowing him to frame the bailout exactly as he wishes in the 2012 Presidential election.
The President is running in large part on the bailout’s $30+ billion loss, uber-failed “success.” And the Press is acting as his stenographers. An epitome of this bailout nightmare mess is the electric absurdity that is the Chevrolet Volt. The Press is at every turn covering up - rather than covering - the serial failures of President Obama’s signature vehicle.
Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee talked to Andrew Goldman for the New York Times Magazine, who used a media myth to give Huckabee a platform to call the Republican Party "hyperorthodox" and excessively ideological: "Mike Huckabee Likes Romney. Really."
Goldman's opening question basically begged Huckabee to bash the GOP: "During the Republican primary debates, audience members booed a question from an active serviceman who was gay and shouted, “Let him die,” about a hypothetical gravely ill patient without insurance. Is this different from the party that you know and love?"
During the May 9 edition of ABC’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg made a surprising revelation to members of the audience. During an interview with Fox’s John Stossel about his new book, "No They Can't: Why Government Fails But Individuals Succeed," Goldberg disclosed that she was a member of the NRA. [Video below the jump.]
On Thursday’s edition of Morning Joe, Zeke Emanuel, former health policy advisor for President Obama, completely distorted and misrepresented the controversy surrounding ObamaCare, and found no pushback from the Brew Crew, naturally.
Emanuel started out the segment making the ridiculous claim that no "credible legal scholar" would doubt the constitutionality of the individual mandate in ObamaCare. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday’s edition of his eponymous program, MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir and his liberal panel continued their staunch defense of Bill Maher while ripping into Rush Limbaugh. MSNBC contributor and former Democratic National Committee communications chief Karen Finney gave her tortured defense of the media's double standard:
You know, he is a public person. Sandra Fluke is not a public person. Bill Maher is a public person. Sarah Palin is a public person. You could make the argument whether you like what Bill Maher says or not, when you are in the public arena, you do put yourself out there in a way that a private person asked to testify in Congress should not expect to be attacked. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reviewing Wednesday's Republican debate on Thursday's Today, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd spun hard for Democrats: "You know, there was something about last night's debate that I know the folks in Chicago, meaning the Obama re-election team, felt pretty happy about....it felt like the shift was a little bit too much to the right and away from the middle." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd detailed the reasons why the Obama camp would be so pleased by the debate: "They felt that the conversation the Republicans were having, 20 minutes on earmarks, you know. Another 10 or 15 minutes on contraception....as much criticism was being leveled at the Bush administration as it was on the Obama administration. The tacks to the right on immigration." Todd concluded: "I'm not sure right now the Republican brand is – is helping itself with these debates."
David Gergen had some harsh criticism for the remaining Republican candidates for president Wednesday.
Appearing on CNN's post-debate show, Gergen said, "For a lot of women it sounds like four white guys who are out there telling them, 'Here’s how we’re going to control your lives'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander noted how the Republican primary "has increasingly become laced with references to religion" and predicted that in the upcoming GOP debate on CNN, "[Rick] Santorum is likely to be peppered with questions about his remarks on what he called the President's 'phony theology.'"
Later in the report, Alexander touted Mitt Romney being drawn into the issue: "Romney has tried to narrow his focus to the economy. But at a town hall meeting on Tuesday he was asked how he would protect religious freedom and answered by attacking the President." After a sound bite of Romney describing how President Obama "hangs around" with people who have a "secular agenda," Alexander dutifully forwarded the White House defense: "The Obama campaign quickly fired back, calling Romney's comments 'disgraceful.'"
Republicans are deceitfully playing with words to avoid being slammed as homophobes, racists, and bigots, claimed CNN contributor L.Z. Granderson on Tuesday morning's Newsroom. Anchor Kyra Phillips simply let Granderson air his liberal diatribe without any challenge, and no conservative guest was brought on to respond.
Republicans "aren't fighting for Muslims and mosques," said Granderson of their claims of "religious freedom," but simply "fighting for Christianity." [Video below. Click here for audio.]
Former Clinton adviser Dick Morris on Monday accused ABC’s George Stephanopoulos of being a “paid Democratic hitman.”
Appearing on Fox News’s Hannity, Morris also said Stephanopoulos was “under orders” to ask Mitt Romney all those contraception questions during ABC’s January 7 Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire (video follows with transcript and commentary):
So a guy whose contract was terminated by NPR on a phony pretext for not toeing the liberal line enough, including writing a book ("Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It") which indicted the modern civil-rights movement for, well, undermining Black America, now appears to want eliminate "Constitution" and "Founding Fathers" from the lexicon of Republican candidates -- and possibly, it would appear, from political discussion in general -- because, well, they're racial code words. How ironic.
That is what Juan Williams outrageously claims in his latest column at the Hill today (bold is mine):
Playing off the “best picture” nominated motion picture, The Artist, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night created its own version of the black and white silent movie – but with a twist, using video clips from NBC’s Republican presidential debate of the night before.
FNC ended Thursday’s Special Report with the pretty inventive video created by Kimmel’s staff. Bret Baier set it up by suggesting the Republican candidates “are trying a new tactic and they’re taking to heart a long ago era, a different kind of movie.”
Bloomberg's Jeanne Cummings got a much-needed lesson Friday about money not being everything in politics.
After she claimed on PBS's Inside Washington that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's revival in the race was all due to multimillion dollar donations from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer correctly replied that the former Speaker's ascendancy resulted from his debate performances in South Carolina not money (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters previously reported, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich severely admonished CNN's John King for beginning last Thursday's debate in South Carolina with questions about the former Speaker's ex-wife.
King asked Gingrich about this highly-publicized incident on his program Tuesday, and the former Speaker told his host, "You didn't have to take the bait. You didn't have to pick it up. You could have ignored ABC" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a confounding decision, the Republican candidates agreed to a second debate, to be held tonight in Tampa, moderated by NBC’s Brian Williams who, along with Politico’s John Harris, back on September 7 repeatedly peppered the then-larger Republican presidential field with liberal talking points and Democratic agenda items. Below, an excerpt from my September 8 post, with illustrative video:
Williams hit Texas Governor Rick Perry from the left on his state’s poor economic indicators (“no other state has more working at or below the minimum wage”) , chastised him for cutting education funding and, citing how “your state has executed 234 death row inmates,” demanded to know whether he’s “struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?” More examples and video below.