On Friday's "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos turned a statement that Barack Obama made about corrupt Islamic dictatorships and made it into a metaphor on congressional Republican opposition to the President's stimulus bill. Speaking of the difficulty Obama has had with passing his multi-billion dollar spending bill, Stephanopoulos instructed, "And to borrow a metaphor from the President's inaugural address, he might have to replace his open hand with a clenched fist." [audio excerpt available here]
In comparison, during the President's inaugural address on January 20, Obama spoke to the Muslim world and asserted, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo seemed to understand Stephanopoulos' linkage. He complained, "Who knew that the clenched fist would be about Congress? We thought he was talking about foreign people, foreign countries, then."
Appearing on Wednesday’s O’Reilly Factor on FNC, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft discussed his campaign interviews with Barack Obama that have been spliced together to create a CBS News DVD, ‘Obama: All Access,’: "Well, they were dying to have somebody come out, especially '60 Minutes,' very early on to kind of explain their campaign...we developed a nice rapport."
Host Bill O’Reilly asked Kroft about the documentary: "...what does it say to people other than ‘go, go Obama?’" Kroft replied: "It's an historical document. And I think we'll probably sell a lot of copies to libraries and things like that. Maybe to some -- maybe to some Republican political consultants." O’Reilly followed up: "Is there cheerleading in it?" Kroft responded: "No, I don't think so. It's -- we've taken the interviews and it is a straight narrative of the campaign."
However, during the CBS News documentary aired on Sunday, December 28, 2008 and re-aired this Sunday, Kroft pulled out the pom-poms: "...on the campus of George Mason University in the Virginia suburbs, where Obama held his first campaign rally, just two weeks after establishing an exploratory presidential committee...It was our first exposure to what came to be known as 'Obama-mania.' You sensed immediately that something unusual was going on, something rarely seen in American politics... 5,000 students had turned out to see him...he urged his young audience to cast aside its cynicism of politics and engage the system, evoking the words of Martin Luther King."
The mainstream media hasn't bothered to hide its infatuation with President Obama. They get physical thrills at the sound of his voice. His inauguration caused them to reach for religious imagery. Now that he's in the White House, they want us to know us what a breath of cultural fresh air he is - more informal, healthier and family-centered. Unwittingly, though, they're also showing a man who listens to hateful rap music, scarfs fatty foods and doesn't practice what he preaches on environmental responsibility.
Take for example the fluffy pieces that closed ABC and NBC's Jan. 29 evening news programs. On "Nightly News," Brian Williams gave nearly three minutes to the new White House dress code. "It was an article in this morning's New York Times that told the wider world what folks in Washington were already buzzing about," Williams said, "the change in style surrounding the Obama White House."
Obama has relaxed the "jacket required" policy of President Bush's Oval Office, and has been photographed at his desk in shirtsleeves. The reason? He keeps the Oval Office very warm.
Over on ABC, reporter Jake Tapper also noted the temperature change as part of his larger report on the president's typical day. "America's first Hawaiian-born president keeps the Oval Office warm causing economic advisor Larry Summers to break out in occasional sweat."
Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration “to buy merchandise with any depiction” of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people “that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations.”
All the Presidents going back for “generations” before Obama were “evil”? Williams likely meant to say past presidential victors were seen as the “lesser of two evils,” but a greater percent of voters cast their ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58.7%) -- when plenty of Americans outside the media were excited about re-electing that President -- and George Bush in 1988 (53.7%) than chose Obama (52.8%).
Williams soon insisted “none” of his personal excitement over Obama's presidency “is about a party” since, he quite seriously maintained, “none of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center.” Yet, Williams proceeded to trumpet how “we have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture” and tout how Obama “has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man.” Then, the “down the center” Williams endorsed Obama's “stimulus” plan: “If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years...”
Proving that four years can make quite a difference, ABC's “Good Morning America” featured an excited, hyperbolic open for the show's special edition on the inauguration of Barack Obama. As the program began last Tuesday, an ABC announcer trumpeted, “This morning, a new dawn: Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope.” [Audio available here.]
So, how did ABC begin “Good Morning America” on January 20, 2005, the day George W. Bush was sworn in for a second term? A voice simply announced, “This is a special edition of 'Good Morning America.' The second inauguration of George W. Bush.” That's it. In contrast, the Obama open heaped generous praise on the new Democratic president. “The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America,” the unidentified person exclaimed.
At the end of Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, commentator Andy Rooney did some of his usual thinking out loud, praising Barack Obama: "I've lived through the election of a lot of American presidents -- more than ten, I think -- and about half the people I knew at the time hated one or the other of the two candidates...Maybe I'm reading the wrong newspapers and listening to the wrong people, but I'm not hearing anyone who hates Barack Obama." Perhaps Rooney should stop listening to his own network’s fawning Obama coverage and consult the 46% of the country that did not vote for the Democratic president.
Rooney touted some of the president’s early decisions: "I think we've got ourselves a really good president with a funny name...Obama has frozen the salaries of people in the White House who are making more than $100,000...Obama has put limits on lobbyists who infest Washington. He reversed Bush's policy of making it hard to get information out of our government through the Freedom of Information Act." Rooney concluded his fawning by declaring: "Obama just looks good every time he does anything."
In mid-December, the Washington Post decided it would feature a special classifieds section on Inauguration Day in which readers could, for a fee, offer a special message to the new president. Buried within the announcement was this requirement: "All ads must be congratulatory in nature. The Washington Post reserves the right to reject any notice." However, bizarre and oddly stilted messages apparently made it through the screening process just fine.
In one ad, Callie (no last name) wrote, "Dear Malia and Sasha,-I need a babysitter....??" [Emphasis added] One Douglas F. Ryder oddly instructed, "I want to help allow people to create their own economy. I see results and would like to help others. My way of helping improve the economy. [sic]" Alex Barriger asked President Obama to keep an eye out for him on the big day: "I will be in the crowd in front of the Capitol today to witness this historic moment."
This person, who identified himself as a volunteer, continued: "You should have my resume on file...I figured this was the best way to get in touch with you." Considering the rather unusual poem that was recited by Elizabeth Alexander during the Inauguration, maybe President Obama should have gone with the one submitted by Ellen M. Overby.
Barack Obama’s inauguration was hardly a triumph of media objectivity, with reporters competing to see who could be the most adoring of the new Messiah-President. As always, the latest edition of MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables newsletter has the most obnoxious liberal media quotes from the last two weeks.
Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the quotes that are contained in the January 26 edition; to see the whole set, you can sign up for the free e-mail newsletter or visit www.MRC.org on Monday (the whole package should be posted by Monday afternoon).
A Day When Even the Seagulls Were Awed
“We know that wind can make a cold day feel colder, but can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer? It seems to be the case because regardless of the final crowd number estimates, never have so many people shivered so long with such joy. From above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.” — ABC’s Bill Weir on World News, January 20.
Sean Hannity debuted his “Media Mash” segment Friday night on his FNC show with NewsBusters Senior Editor Tim Graham as the guest expert to comment on a series of clips, most familiar to NB readers, of the most sycophantic inaugural coverage. Under the “Morning Bias” heading, Hannity ran a bunch of sappy pro-Obama clips from Tuesday coverage, all of which NewsBusters has showcased:
CNN's Campbell Brown on Thursday night framed a panel segment around Rush Limbaugh's comment that he wishes President Obama will fail if success means implementing socialist policies, a remark she characterized as matching his usual “outrageous” outbursts and which “has a lot of people crying foul out there.” Guest Mark Halperin, editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time magazine and the former political director at ABC News, then denounced Limbaugh as “off-key” from the “mainstream media” and “congressional Republicans” -- as it that's a bad thing -- and thus declared expressing the view “a big mistake.”
Brown played a clip of Rush Limbaugh telling FNC's Sean Hannity that he wants President Obama to fail, as Limbaugh wondered: “If his agenda is a far-left, collectivism -- some people say socialism -- as a conservative...why would I want socialism to succeed?” As if that were some sort of over the line concept, Brown asserted “outrageous [is] Limbaugh's stock and trade, but this has a lot of people crying foul out there.”
A lot of people in what Limbaugh dubs the “drive-by” media, apparently, as Halperin scolded Limbaugh for straying from the establishment's party line:
Thursday’s CBS Early Show focused on an important aspect of the Obama Administration as co-host Julie Chen declared: "...in a meeting yesterday with senior White House staffers, President Obama showed a lot of love. That's right. The president is a man hugger. We counted nine man-to-man hugs." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez added: "Nothing wrong with that."
Chen then asked co-host Harry Smith: "Man of the show, Harry, how do you feel about the man hug?" Smith replied: "I think it's real." Rodriguez asked Smith: "Did he [Obama] ever man hug you?" Smith then recounted: "You know, I got one about a year ago in Wilmington, North Carolina. We were waiting for an interview, we had, you know, really great access. And he came in -- I have never told this story on the air before -- he came in, and he gives me one of these [Smith grasped Rodriguez’s hand and place his other hand on top]...and he says, ‘Harry Smith, how you doing, my brother?’" Rodriguez was touched: "Awww...He had you."
After being nominated for an academy award on Thursday for his role in the movie ‘Milk,’ actor Josh Brolin appeared on the CBS Early Show, where co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked: "...you played 'W.' You were here on the show talking about it. How did it feel to see him at the inauguration? Did you feel bad for him at all?" Brolin responded: "I don't know, personally? No, I think personally, I do. You know, watching him take off in the helicopter. But then I was also part of the, you know, the group that waved good-bye happily politically." Rodriguez and fellow co-host Harry Smith both laughed at the remark.
Earlier, Smith asked about Brolin about his role in ‘Milk,’ about the first gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk, and his murder: "Playing this San Francisco supervisor. This is the guy who ends up killing Harvey Milk. You were so -- you make such a commitment in this role. You made this guy real." Brolin explained his desire to be in the movie: "When I read it, I thought it was a really important film...And then the timeliness of it because of Prop 8, I think it's an incredible movie, I'm glad that there's so much notice for it." On December 10, Smith declared the movie, which also stars left-wing actor Sean Penn, was "...a must-see for everybody."
Tuesday's broadcast media inaugural coverage "really was over-the-top" with journalists falling over themselves to describe the Obama ceremony in glorious overtones, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell told the crew of "Fox & Friends" earlier this morning.
"Look, Obama is their investment. They did the best they could to elect him," and now the media will avoid sharply criticizing the man they helped put in office, the NewsBusters publisher told Fox News Channel viewers, appearing via video link from the MRC's new studio in Alexandria, Va. [audio excerpt available here]
Yet even if they wanted to critically cover the new president, the downsizing of the mainstream media ensures that they don't have the staff to provide the public with hard-hitting reporting, Mr. Bozell added.
ABC's World News on Wednesday night used limited news time to feature a silly piece with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring “world peace” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!” Reporter Jim Sciutto touted how “we heard children around the world expressing hope and fascination with the new American President.” Viewers heard a boy in Russia yearn for “peace, democracy and friendship” and a girl in the United Arab Emirates assert “he's interested in giving peace to the world and stopping wars,” all before a boy from Indonesia promised: “He's going to change the world and make world peace.” From Gaza, a kid hoped Obama will “prevent Israel from attacking us.”
From Pakistan, Sciutto relayed, “hope for an American President with a Muslim father.” A boy then wished “he can make the citizens of the U.S. recognize that we, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims.” And what story on foreign reaction would be complete without input from France? A French girl: “I think that he may stop the war in Iraq. At least I hope he will.”
In addition to his regular pundit responsibilities at Fox News and sometime column in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove has taken it upon himself to do the job of the MSM--reporting the news.
Yesterday, my colleague, Noel Sheppard, noted the lack of coverage of President George W. Bush's homecoming in Texas. Only Fox News was present to cover what was, in Sheppard's words (and I agree), "one of his finest speeches ever." Thanks to Fox News, we have documentary evidence of this speech.
Were it not for Karl Rove, we might not have any similar evidence of President Bush's hearty farewell at Andrews Air Force Base. From Greg Pallowitz at NRO's Media Blog, video after the jump.
While performing at the inaugural ball honoring America's military veterans, some wounded vets are reported to have walked out on funk Musician George Clinton over a perceived on stage insult to George W. Bush.
The Washington Times is reporting that during the Heroes Red, White and Blue Inaugural Ball a white towel with the word "[Expletive] GEORGE" spelled out on it was displayed by band members of George Clinton and the P. Funk All-Stars.
Among the five "Scenes From an Inauguration" letters the Washington Post published from readers in its January 21 edition, one took the cake for over-the-top left-wing derangement.
The letter, by one Ed Burke of Warrenton, Virginia, launched a screed at Chief Justice John Roberts, calling his mistake reciting the presidential oath for Barack Obama "a disgrace" whether it was "through design" or "an amazing lack of preparation."
Of course, most observers -- apart from Joe Klein -- regardless of political leaning would say it was likely an innocent rookie mistake, this being the chief justice's first of hopefully many inaugurations to come. Yet the Post saw fit to publish Burke's melodramatic screed.:
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith aired an interview he did with photojournalist Scout Tufankjian, who has followed Barack Obama since 2006: "Two years and some one million photographs later, Tufankjian's first book, 'Yes We Can.' She was the only independent photojournalist to cover the Obama campaign from start to finish."
Smith asked Tufankjian: "And had you ever met anybody like him before?" Tufankjian responded: "No.You can be so sick of him, and, you know, having heard the same speech and you're tired, you haven't slept, and I haven't seen my boyfriend in six weeks, and I haven't had a decent meal in ages, and I'm crabby and I'm angry and he smiles at you and it just kind of knocks you over."
Tufankjian also explained her motivation for the book: "For people, years from now, I want them to see this is -- this is what this moment in history was like this is how it felt. This is how I saw it...[Obama supporters] thought this guy's going to be president, he's going to change my life, he's going to change my kids' life, he is going to change the country."
Time magazine columnist and Obama apologist Joe Klein opened his January 21 piece by exulting in how "stunning and cathartic" it was to hear President Barack Obama begin to recite the presidential oath of office:
A man named Barack Hussein Obama is now the President of the United States. He came to us as the ultimate outsider in a nation of outsiders — the son of an African visitor and a white woman from Kansas — and he has turned us inside out. That he leads us now is a breathtaking statement of American open-mindedness and, yes, our native liberality.
It didn't take long for Klein to go from singing Obama's praises to cursing the outgoing president and the chief justice he named to the Supreme Court. It seems his Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) may be mutating into a new virulent strain, JRDS, which should last the length of John Roberts's tenure:
"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to claim that the stock market's 330 point drop on Inauguration Day indicated the need for a swift confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Stephanopoulos, a former top Democratic aide, asserted, "The reason they want to get Geithner confirmed and in place so quickly, they want to have a complete overhaul of this financial rescue package within days."
According to Stephanopoulos, Geithner, who faces questions for not paying $34,000 in taxes since 2001, has "run into a little bit of trouble" on the topic. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer prompted the ABC anchor to tout more Democratic spin when she asked, "But every president wants his first day to have a sentence, a headline. What is the sentence beneath the meetings [Obama is having on Wednesday]?" Stephanopoulos helpfully retorted, "Help is on the way, I think is the sentence."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Shelia Macvicar declared: "Playing on television sets around the world, the inauguration of this U.S. president became an extraordinary global event. From his father's ancestral homeland in Kenya, where celebration mixed with expectation...Newborn babies now bear the names of the first couple, Barack and Michelle."
From there, Macvicar went to France: "In the splendor of a grand hall in Paris, emotion overwhelmed." One French woman exclaimed: "Martin Luther King say that we shall overcome. We did today." Finally, to the Middle East: "In Gaza, they've seen presidents come and go and not much change, but, still, maybe this really is something new." A Palestinian man explained: "This is good. This is what we are looking for." Macvicar concluded: "As this president begins work, he has been greeted with an abundance of good will, and the burden of even greater expectations."
Following Macvicar’s report, co-host Julie Chen described a trip to Paris just prior to the election: "That was on October 31st. Everyone I ran into on the trip, they were calling it then the Obama election. Not the election, the Obama election." Co-host Harry Smith added: "Well, we were very fortunate yesterday, because both of us were on the Mall during the -- during the speech and during the swearing in and thereafter. And it really -- I have to say it was one of -- a remarkable experience." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez also chimed in: "Yeah. People were jumping up and down, weeping, strangers embracing. It was a beautiful thing."
Back in December, you may recall, slapped around a Catholic priest and parochial school principal for pulling an Obama book off the shelves out of concern that it may push values contrary to Catholic moral teachings. Tomaso quipped that at least the priest didn't conduct a book burning.
Yesterday was a historic day, for on January 20, 2009, listening to inaugural poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander's attempt at poetry, I actually missed Maya Angelou's attempt at the same 16 years earlier.
Yes, it was that bad, and if you watched the inauguration, you know it, as does every liberal journalist who heard it as well.
During a short segment on Wednesday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts responded to the excited demeanor of the crowds attending President Barack Obama’s inauguration by labeling the festivity “Barack-stock.” Earlier in the segment, correspondent Carol Costello dubbed it “a gigantic love fest” after she stated how there were no serious incidents or arrests involving the approximately 1.5 million people in attendance for the inauguration.
The three-minute segment, which began 20 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, focused on the reactions of those in attendance on the National Mall for the swearing-in of President Obama. After giving her “gigantic love fest” label, Costello gave a gushing account about what it was like to be in the middle of the crowd there: “Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was -- it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That’s what it felt like yesterday.”
At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reflected on Barack Obama’s inauguration: "Politics, and patriotism, and the presidency. It is the place where the secular and the religious merge. And one of the sacraments of our national religion is the inauguration...So it was that as many as 2 million pilgrims made their way to Washington and the Mall to witness this most sacred event."
Smith continued to use religious language throughout the report: "As the oath was recited, as the speech was delivered...emotions were laid bear. Tears were shed...An inauguration is a renewal of faith...A confirmation that the republic, and our belief in it, endures."
Smith later concluded the segment by hoping: "And the agenda and the problems, you just hope that some of the momentum, some of the inspiration of yesterday, can continue to filter through the culture." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez agreed: "I thought the same thing. I was standing there with everyone, thinking back to the last time that I was on the Mall watching an inauguration. It was 1989 and I was a college student here in Washington. And there I was yesterday, older, not quite as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and yet, more optimistic, because you couldn't help but get caught up in that euphoria and that optimism and that hope. And waking up this morning, you just hope, you know, you have your fingers crossed that it continues."
On Monday's inaugural edition of the "NBC Nightly News," well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new president, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed, "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone." (audio excerpt available here)
He added, "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts." Cowan, the man who once announced that covering Barack Obama made his "knees quake," closed the segment by rhapsodizing, "And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear." It was, he said, "An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared."
NBC's Andrea Mitchell encapsulated the veneration for Barack Obama and what his inauguration means to the media elite as she began a Tuesday NBC Nightly News story about her day watching the festivities: “It may take days or years to really absorb the significance of what happened to America today, even for those of us who were lucky enough to have a very close up front view.” Showing a clip of the new President saying “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear,” Mitchell proudly trumpeted: “His very name opening doors, as did his speech, to the rest of the world.” And while most saw a sea of people waving flags, Mitchell saw something more meaningful for Obama, though it reflected more about her: “The mass flickering of cell phone cameras on the mall seemed like stars shining back at him.”
She also touted “the final blessing from a civil rights icon, the Reverend Joseph Lowery, changing the tones of official Washington,” but his prayer hardly saw a unified nation. In the soundbite she aired, he lectured the American people: “We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”
Nightline's slug for its Tuesday night story about President Obama's inauguration: “America the Beautiful.”
With that iconic song title on screen over images of Barack Obama being sworn in as President, President Obama and Michelle Obama walking during the parade and views of the crowd, at the top of the program ABC's Terry Moran plugged a segment:
America the Beautiful: The nation and the world pause to witness an extraordinary milestone as nearly two million people come together to hail the new chief and celebrate an era of change.
Offering the most hyperbolic take of the night on the crowds who attended President Obama's inauguration, on World News ABC's Bill Weir delighted in wondering “can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer?” He decided it can indeed since “never have so many people shivered so long with such joy” while “from above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.” Weir was certainly awed.
Meanwhile, over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams must have been as awed as those seagulls since he contended he could “feel” the masses watching from around the nation: “While it was unfolding today here in Washington, you could feel the millions around the country who were watching it all.”