On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Thalia Assuras reported on a down-trodden family who had their spirits lifted by an invitation to the Obama Inauguration: "...struggling Americans like Telisha and Kenny Brown...Unable to pay their rent, they turned to an interfaith shelter for families, with their boys, Donovan, 12, and Dylan, 9. They had planned to celebrate the inauguration in their tiny apartment...But now the Browns will have a front-row view to history. Here in Washington, D.C."
Assuras went on to explain that: "They'll be part of a glittering fantasy world,thanks to a dream realized by Virginia millionaire, Earl Stafford...Months before the election, Earl had a spiritual inspiration to bring those less fortunate to the inauguration, no matter what the cost." In the report, Stafford exclaimed: "It was providential, I was inspired by the Lord to do this." Assuras described how: "Stafford bought a million dollar hotel package of rooms, food, and an inaugural ball, to accommodate homeless people, wounded veterans, the terminally ill, and others selected by social service organizations, at least 300 rubbing shoulders with dignitaries."
Near the end of the segment, Assuras asked 12-year-old Donovan Brown: "Is it special because it's Barack Obama?" The boy replied: "Yes." Assuras concluded her report by declaring: "For this family, January 20th offers something new...Hope for a brighter future." The camera then focused in on a 2009 Obama calender in the Brown’s apartment.
Four years ago, the Associated Press and others in the press suggested it was in poor taste for Republicans to spend $40 million on President Bush’s inauguration. AP writer Will Lester calculated the impact that kind of money would have on armoring Humvees in Iraq, helping victims of the tsunami, or paying down the deficit. Lester thought the party should be cancelled: “The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?”
Fast forward to 2009. The nation is still at war (two wars, in fact), and now also faces the prospect of a severe recession and federal budget deficits topping $1 trillion as far as the eye can see. With Barack Obama’s inauguration estimated to cost $45 million (not counting the millions more that government will have to pay for security), is the Associated Press once again tsk-tsking the high dollar cost?
Nope. “For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy,” a Tuesday AP headline advised. The article by reporter Laurie Kellman argued for extravagance, starting with the lede:
Aratani began her Metro section front-pager finding that left-wing organizers known for over-the-top histrionics and disrupting congressional hearings face "a new problem: how to make demands without appearing adversarial" (emphasis mine):
Australia is and has been, through both Democratic and Republican administrations a staunch and steadfast ally of the United States. The Aussies have fought alongside American forces in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and the U.S. and Australia are partners in a free-trade agreement. Given that, readers of the Washington Post should reasonably expect reporters and editors at the paper to understand the propriety of President Bush hosting former Prime Minister John Howard at Blair House in the closing days of his administration, especially since Howard was in town to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Post writer continued in his second paragraph by reminding readers of a gripe that liberal journalists have been fixated on even as President-elect Obama brushed off the "inconvenience" as no big deal:
Jan. 14 Update: "AP's Early-AM Revision Flushes Many Details, Calls His Tax Problems 'Goofs'"
Timothy Geithner, pictured at right in an AP photo, is Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary.
Mr. Geithner will, among many other duties, oversee the Internal Revenue Service.
How odd, to say the least, that Mr. Geithner has had persistent tax filing and payment problems going back over 15 years involving self-employment taxes for both himself and his paid help, as well as with the employment of someone who for a time did not have proper legal status to remain in the country.
You would think that such things might place a cabinet nominee, especially to head Treasury, in jeopardy, and to cause the president who nominated him to have second thoughts. After all, in 2001, Linda Chavez's nomination as Labor Secretary went down in flames over matters relating to an illegal immigrant whom Chavez had sheltered in her home a decade earlier. Also, in 1993, Zoe Baird withdrew as Bill Clinton's nominee for Attorney General over the employment of illegal-immigrant domestic help and her failure to pay the related employment taxes on a timely basis.
But Geithner's nomination is apparently getting the all clear, with pliant Republicans giving the okey-dokey, and press outlets like the Associated Press giving his problems the relatively no-big-deal treatment.
Here are some excerpts from tonight's AP story by Brett J. Blackledge (stored here for future reference when there are subsequent updates; 5 AM Update: The link did indeed change; an alternate link that seems to match what AP had up at its own site at the time of this post appearance is here):
Back in the summer of 2003, members of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater on Cape Cod sponsored a public forum with the memorable title, "Dissent=Democracy: A Teach-In on the 'New McCarthyism' ".
Speaking as panelists were historian Howard Zinn, authors Norman Mailer, Sebastian Junger and Marge Piercy, actor and playwright Eric Bogosian, director Andre Gregory and other left wingers. The event was organized by Jeff Zinn, son of Howard and a director at the Wellfleet theater.
Yet for a public gathering devoted to "dissent" and one equating it with democracy, something was conspicuously absent when it came to the panel -- dissenters.
Here's how it was described in a story that ran in the Cape Cod Times on Aug. 8, 2003 --
The high-wattage panel of writers, artists and performers (Jeff) Zinn pulled together for the forum, the proceeds from which benefit the theater, purposely does not include people from the political right.
"They've got their own forums," Zinn says. "I'm not required to provide balance; I'm not PBS."
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta hyped the forthcoming inaugural address of President-elect Barack Obama during a report on Tuesday’s American Morning: “...Barack Obama’s inaugural address may be more than the speech of his lifetime. Historians and speechwriters say it could be one for the ages, if he can rise to the occasion.” He reenforced this sentiment with clips from a former Clinton-Gore speechwriter who predicted that it’s “a pretty good certainty that you’ll have schoolchildren reading this speech hundreds of years from now” and a professor who claimed that “it’s almost impossible for Obama to fail.”
Co-host John Roberts introduced Acosta’s report, which started 25 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, by focusing on the “great anticipation about the inaugural address” and how many “expect it to stand with some of the greatest ever presidential inaugural speeches.” Acosta began with his “speech of his lifetime...one for the ages” line,” and played a clip from Obama’s 2004 speech at the Democratic convention. He echoed Roberts’s earlier lines by stating how “the stage is being set for an address that’s destined for the history books.”
Can you feel the excitement, the energy, the mystical unity our country is taking on since Barack Obama's election? The Seattle Times sure can.
President-elect Obama is bringing America together, and luckily for reporter Sanjay Bhatt, he had the high privilege of dutifully writing a 42-paragraph metro section story about Obama fans Teresa Pelayo, Sam Song and Tabetha Thomas. The Times took the story out of relative obscurity in the paper's local section to rest on the paper's Web site front page.
But wait, it gets better! These three close friends used to be rivals for delegate slots to the 2008 Democratic Convention. Who said Obama can't perform miracles? The Seattle Times sure didn't:
Starting this week, MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter is evolving from a printed hard-copy product to an all-electronic Web and e-mail publication, complete with audio and video clips of the worst quotes from each issue.
Every two weeks, Notable Quotables offers a concise summary of the liberal media’s most outrageous and/or humorous eruptions, and the very best quotes are harvested once a year so the journalists can receive “awards” at our annual DisHonors dinner in Washington, D.C.
To give you a flavor of what’s in each issue, here are the most obnoxious quotes from this week’s (January 12) edition. If you've been a subscriber to the print edition, or if you’d like to sign up for our new HTML or plain-text e-mail, please go to www.MRC.org/subscriptions.
Now that Barack Obama is assuming the presidency, partisan criticism is suddenly so passé. Just ask Chris Matthews. In the course of cheerleading anchoring the MSNBC coverage of Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing today, Matthews suggested that the media shouldn't cover the Republican National Committee's criticism of Clinton.
The comments came during the Hardball host's chat with Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. A few minutes earlier, Matthews had assured us that those who had the privilege of knowing Hillary personally were aware of what a "wonderful" person she is. Then it was time to attack Republicans for refusing to join the Hillary love-fest.
Invoking the threat of "religious fundamentalists abroad" and tacitly comparing them to religious conservatives in the United States, Newsweek's Lisa Miller advises President-elect Obama to ditch the practice of having clergy offer prayers at the presidential inauguration:
Our new president might use his Inauguration then to showcase the values that have made this country great: pluralism, moderation—and the separation of church and state. Though not as politically expedient, the better choice might be to pray in private.
Miller wrote her article for the January 19 print edition in light of a lawsuit "filed by the atheist gadfly Michael Newdow." While she noted that "[e]ven some of Newdow's ideological allies are steering clear," Miller went no further in exploring whether it may be Newdow who is showcasing a modern value that threatens the country's greatness: the filing of spurious lawsuits.
Instead, Miller sought to show that historians are uncertain just how traditional the role of religious faith plays in presidential inaugurals. Indeed, as far as Miller is concerned, the convention is all too recent and worse, a musty relic of the Cold War (emphases mine):
The night before the inauguration, Dave Hughes reported Saturday on his DCRTV.com blog, "Virginia's Inaugural Black Tie and Blue Dominion Ball" will be emceed by two anchors at Washington, DC's Gannett-owned CBS affiliate (WUSA-TV channel 9 which is airing ads to sell tickets, see screen capture) while Del Walters, a veteran reporter/anchor until a few years ago for the local ABC affiliate (WJLA-TV channel 7), will produce the event. Amongst those scheduled to join "9 News Now" anchors JC Hayward and Lesli Foster at the National Air And Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport: Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and former Gov. Doug Wilder as well as Democratic Congressman Jim Moran.
The Commodores will provide musical entertainment and the Web site for the affair lists actress Jenna Elfman and astronaut Buzz Aldrin as among the "celebrity hosts." As for whether Obama will make the trek out to the Virginia suburbs for the January 19 gala, Waters hoped: "Like all of Washington and Northern Virginia, we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will celebrate along with the 1.95 million Virginians who turned this once red state blue."
The ball's home page shouts: "A Celebration of a Dream Fulfilled!"
According to Sun-Times columnist and long-time Chicago journalist, Carol Marin, journalists at Barack Obama news conferences have come to realize that Obama has pre-picked those journalists whom he will allow to ask him questions at the conference and many of them now "don't even bother raising" their hands to be called upon.
One wonders why journalists are allowing this corralling of the press? Would they have allowed George W. Bush to pre-pick journalists like that? Would they meekly sit by and allow themselves to be systematically ignored, their freedom to ask questions silenced by any Republican? Would journalists so eagerly vie with one another for the favor of Bush like they are Obama's?
CNN correspondent Alina Cho devoted an entire report on Monday’s American Morning program to how the Obama presidential run has apparently served as an inspiration for ad campaigns by big corporations. Cho zeroed in on how the Pepsi logo and the Obama campaign logo were “strikingly similar,” both using “swirls of red, white, and blue,” despite the fact that Pepsi has used the color scheme since World War II.
Cho introduced her report by heralding how “[c]hange is coming to Madison Avenue” and explained how Obama might be a model for advertising agencies: “Think about it -- Obama is a winning product and he won on the promise of hope. So now companies like Pepsi want to use the same message in their campaigns, but will it work?”
The correspondent played a clip from an ad for the soft drink giant’s new “Optimism Project,” and asked, “Commercial or campaign message? It’s all about optimism, with a logo that’s all too familiar. But this has nothing to do with Barack Obama -- it’s an ad for Pepsi.” She also played clips from two advertising experts who highlighted the apparent sensibility of using hope as a tool to sell products.
Last week, Fox News Channel's uber-host Bill O'Reilly (of his eminently popular Factor) declared a preemptive unilateral journalistic disarmament with the incoming Obama Administration on it's humongous spending proposal intended in the Administration's words to "stimulate" the economy.
Speaking with CNSNews.com's Nicholas Ballasy, O'Reilly, who regularly describes himself as a "protector of the regular folks," announced he is going to vacate his duties as said guardian with regard to President-elect Barack Obama's projected $1+ trillion outlay.
That's a great deal of money that will be taken from the "regular folks" for redistribution by Obama, yet O'Reilly says he will not scrutinize the titanic Socialistic effort. In fact, what he's seen so far - he's "fine with." Worse still, he says ANY negative analysis of the plan is "just cheap shotting" Obama.
This is the treatment the vapid vastness that is the Lamestream Media gives Obama; we have come to expect a little more from Fox News. O'Reilly, the station's flagship face, seems to be less than interested in providing the governmental oversight we need from the Channel on which we are counting as the sole source of objective Obama Administration coverage.
His statement in it's entirety is transcribed below the fold.
Interviewing President-elect Barack Obama for Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos zeroed in on criticism of including tax cuts in the “stimulus bill” and repeatedly pressed Obama about naming a special prosecutor, a 9/11-like commission or at least getting “your Justice Department to investigate” what an e-mail Stephanopoulos showcased on screen described as “the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.” On taxes, Stephanopoulos demanded: “Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs?” He soon yearned: “But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?”
Stephanopoulos put this e-mailed question up on the screen from “Bob Fertik of New York City,” failing to note he's a left-wing activist with “Prosecute Bush & Cheney!” at the top of his Web site: “Will you appoint a special prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.?” As Obama expressed reticence, Stephanopoulos pushed for alternatives to drag national security officials into the legal process: “So, no 9/11 commission with independent subpoena power?” Not giving up, he offered another way to go: “So, let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?”
One celebrates movies that people actually watch and the other celebrates movies that critics think people should watch.
“Milk,” the biopic starring Sean Penn about Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official, perfectly illustrated the divide between “the people” and “the critics.”
Critics loved the movie, as evidenced by a 92 percent favorable rating on the aggregate film review site Rottentomatoes.com and the eight nominations “Milk” received from the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Sean Penn received the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Milk, and the entire cast garnered the Best Acting Ensemble at last night’s Critics Choice Awards ceremony.
While I wouldn't hold my breath for say Chris Matthews to notice, the story works against the mainstream media portrayal of the Obama inauguration as such a must-attend historic event that the nation's capital will be deluged with visitors hoping to get as close as they can to Obama's radiant aura (emphasis mine):
"I'm blown away by how little demand there is," said Tania Odabashian, vice president at Corporate Apartment Specialists in Northern Virginia.
"Initially, we were flooded with calls from people looking for [inaugural] housing. For about four or five days, the phone would not stop ringing. . . . But now we have apartments as low as $150 a night that we can't get rid of. I've rented one two-bedroom in Tysons Corner. We have six or seven apartments inside the Beltway that will probably end up empty."
Chris Matthews won't be working alone. Back in November, the Hardball host said it was his job to make Barack Obama's presidency a success. Today, another TV journalist expressed a similar sentiment. Tavis Smiley has declared that "we're all working for Barack Obama" and that "we have to help make Obama a great president." [H/t reader dronetek.]
The host of Tavis Smiley on PBS was a guest on Morning Joe. Reacting to Harry Reid's claim last week that he doesn't work for Barack Obama, Smiley said Reid should "put down the crack pipe." Smiley added "we're all working for Barack Obama." It soon became clear that was no passing quip, but a literal description of how he sees his role.
In a news report that sounded like an Obama campaign commercial, CBS Early Show correspondent Kelly Wallace declared: "Facing the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, the Obama Administration is asking for the biggest stimulus plan in history. An estimated $775 billion to prop up a very sick economy." In the report, Wallace cited Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for Global Insight, who exclaimed: "We really need something big, bold, and swift to kick start the U.S. economy. And I think the Obama plan looks like it meets almost all those criteria."
Wallace ran through some of the key talking points of the plan: "Roughly $300 billion of that relief money will go directly to tax cuts for 95% of American workers...For businesses, a proposed $100 billion in tax incentives and refunds to jump start job creation...Of the 3.2 million jobs that the Obama Administration says will be saved or created, a million will come from a $25 billion investment in infrastructure...while making a long-term investment in renewable energy and other green initiatives." Wallace concluded her report: "Obama is confident he can get his stimulus plan passed within two weeks of taking office. Some economists believe the sooner, the better."
Updated below: In late 2001, "Punisher" storyline had threat against President Bush's life.
Spider-Man will swing to the rescue at the Obama inauguration in the Marvel comics universe, USA Today's David Colton reported in a January 8 story for the newspaper's Life section. Colton's story sought to portray the move not merely as a money-maker for Marvel but part of a storied tradition of graphic novel artists of including the commander-in-chief in comic book cameos:
In a growing world of Barack Obama collectibles, one item soon may be swinging above the rest.
On Jan. 14, Marvel Comics is releasing a special issue of Amazing Spider-Man #583 with Obama depicted on the cover. Inside are five pages of the two teaming up and even a fist-bump between Spidey and the new president.
On Thursday’s Newsroom program, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta indirectly compared the Obama family to the pregnant Virgin Mary and St. Joseph looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem during a report about the unavailability of the Blair House: “...[I]t’s still not clear why there wasn’t enough room at the inn for the Obamas. The 70,000 square foot complex is actually bigger than the White House. There are 119 rooms, 14 guest bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, four dining rooms, dry cleaning facilities, an exercise room, and a fully-equipped hair salon.” Acosta also played clips from two sympathetic liberals who bewailed the situation.
Acosta began his report by presenting the lack of accommodations at the presidential guest house as a “Washington mystery.” He then played his first clip from Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University who unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Maryland in 2006. The on-screen graphic described Lichtman, who ran on anti-war, pro-abortion platform in the primary, as merely a “presidential historian.”
Prompted by the CBO's forecast of a $1.2 trillion annual federal budget deficit, the NBC Nightly News on Wednesday commiserated with the challenge ahead for the incoming President. “On our broadcast tonight, facing facts,” Brian Williams teased, “President-elect Obama confronts the hard realities he's up against, deficits as far as the eye can see.” A dire Williams proceeded to lead with how Obama will take over “during one of the most challenging times in the modern history of the United States.”
From the White House lawn, Chuck Todd piled on: “You know, it's becoming a cliche to say that the problems Obama is inheriting are among the worst ever, but I tell you, the realities of the situation on the economy hit home hard today. As Obama took the podium, he was greeted by the dire news that before he spends one dollar to stimulate the economy, he'll be adding to a deficit that is now 13 digits long...”
Do you think Ronald Reagan got such empathetic treatment in January of 1981 when he was about to assume office at a time of soaring interest rates, raging inflation (12%), high unemployment (7.5%) and a declining GDP? Or, just maybe the media were more concerned about his proposed “tax cuts for the rich”?
Shortly before noon today, CNN anchor Tony Harris turned to producer Tyson Wheatley for a look at the latest from CNN's "iReport" desk. Wheatley proceeded to show Harris and the viewers at home some of the art work done by CNN's "iReporters," including one item that evoked an image from a promotional poster for 2004's Mel Gibson film, "The Passion of the Christ." [audio excerpt here]
Here's the CNN.com transcript, you can view the video embed at the right (h/t fellow NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein):
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Michael Crowley, editor of the liberal magazine The New Republic, about some of Obama’s recent appointments, including former Clinton chief of staff, Leon Panetta, for CIA director: "Dianne Feinstein, had her, you know, was -- her feathers were ruffled to say the least. Is this just the way of the Senate saying you've got to go through us first? Or is there real opposition to Leon Panetta?"
Crowley explained that their was some "real opposition" to Panetta: "Now, a little bit controversial here...some people are concerned that Panetta does not have an intelligence background. Has never worked at the agency, never had a national security-specific job." However, Crowley quickly added: "Other people say he is a competent, tough, good organizer, and someone Obama trusts. So, looks like he's going to have a smooth confirmation after a little bit of initial complaints." Smith agreed and remarked: "Somebody who can connect the dots, maybe. That's the most important thing."
A bureaucrat serving under Obama Education Secretary-designate Arne Duncan spent $70,000 on espresso machines for Chicago's school system, according to a January 7 report in the Chicago Tribune. Of course, Duncan's name was not mentioned and his ties to the incoming presidential administration were left out of the 13-paragraph story:
One Chicago Public Schools manager must have really been jonesing for a cup of coffee when officials say she spent nearly $70,000 of the district's money to buy 30 cappuccino/espresso machines for a high school program.
But five months after the machines were purchased, 22 remained unopened, one disappeared and three were being used at two schools—though not in the culinary arts program for which they were intended, the district's inspector general said Tuesday.
Officials in a department dealing with work-school programs allegedly separated the purchases to make them appear they came from 21 different schools and were under $10,000.
If the Senate was currently controlled by Republicans, and a black Congressman, in response to Roland Burris not being seated as president-elect Barack Obama's replacement Tuesday, accused that body of racism, do you think media would have reported it?
Probably every hour on the hour, right?
Well, on Tuesday, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) said: "I believe sincerely that if Roland Burris had not been an African-American, then he would be appointed. They think that they are above the law, and although they might not be termed racist, their action is racist."
Oddly, despite tremendous media coverage of Burris's refused seating Tuesday, Rush's comments went largely unnoticed:
While he was anchoring live coverage of the Roland Burris Senate drama on MSNBC this morning, anchor Chris Matthews interrupted his discussion with Newsweek's Jonathan Alter to narrate pictures of Barack Obama being driven to the White House for a luncheon with all of the living U.S. presidents.
Matthews celebrated the moment by proudly announcing poll numbers that showed Obama and the ex-Democratic presidents having higher approval ratings than the Republicans, particularly the "kid" George W. Bush.
Reuters.com is syndicating a January 7 Hollywood Reporter story informing the world that "HBO lands rights to inaugural ceremony," but this raises the question; why are parts of the inauguration being auctioned to the highest bidder for exclusive coverage? Shouldn't all of the inaugural festivities be available to every American and not relegated just for the TV network that has the most cash? Why is this vaunted man of the people allowing exclusive coverage of his big day to go to a station not available to all Americans equally?
It makes one wonder if the Democrat's claims of being interested in equality and fairness is all but hot air when the money is hitting the table?
HBO is claiming that they will offer the program for free, not pay-per-view, and that it will be broadcast to folks without the HBO channel on their cable service. But it will still be just on cable. Naturally, for those without cable at all, well, these people are out of luck. So much for Obama's big day being for ALL the people. I guess it's only for those with cable.