On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Jeff Glor discussed Barack Obama’s latest cabinet picks with New York Times editor Marcus Mabry: "We'll start with Tom Daschle, potentially, secretary of Health and Human Services." Mabry approved of the choice: "...he's going to be the czar for over -- for overhauling the American health care system. That is a huge job and incredibly important. He knows how to get it done. He knows the Senate. He's going to help President Obama actually get it through." Mabry made no mention of a Wednesday New York Times article that highlighted Daschle’s numerous potential conflicts-of-interest in the position. In addition, no liberal label was applied to Daschle or any of Obama’s picks.
Glor then briefly mentioned Obama’s attorney general pick, but did not ask Mabry to comment: "Eric Holder, we know about. We've been talking about him for a couple days. He seems to be Barack Obama's pick for Attorney General." Holder, who was deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton, helped approve the pardon for convicted tax evader Marc Rich. Glor then discussed the possibility of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano being named Homeland Security secretary. Mabry provided little evidence of Napolitano’s qualifications: "Well, she's a real tough one when it comes to border security. Governor Napolitano, will be a woman in an incredibly important job."
Finding Michelle Obama to be the "First Lady of Fashion," ABCNews.com's Luchina Fisher wondered if the president-elect's wife could save the fashion industry.:
Michelle Obama will soon be the nation's first lady and mom in chief, but others are expecting even grander things from her, like saving the fashion industry.
And who in their right mind would think that?:
"We're all obviously trying to look at the silver lining," designer Norma Kamali told ABCNews.com. "Where do we look for hope, an opportunity to create good feelings for the customer? There is real hope with Michelle Obama. I think she can keep women interested in purchasing."
With “Any Regrets?” as the on-screen heading, Katie Couric pressed “independent Democratic” Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to atone for campaigning with unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate John McCain and criticizing eventual winner Barack Obama. Couric's first question in the interview excerpt aired on Wednesday's CBS Evening News: “Do you feel as if you owe President-elect Obama one?” Couric next pushed Lieberman to take back an attack: “You said, on whether Senator Obama is a Marxist, you said quote: 'It's a good question to ask.' Are you sorry you said that?” Couric proceeded to relay another Democratic complaint/aspersion against Lieberman:
What really irritated -- even enraged -- some Democrats was your speech at the Republican National Convention. Did you understand at the time how nervy that might seem to some Democrats? How inappropriate?
"It's one thing to cover the honeymoon and it's another to be in bed with the honeymooners," NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell quipped of the Obama-fawning mainstream media while on the November 19 "Fox & Friends."
"It is a sheer embarassment," the Media Research Center president continued, noting that a network executive he talked to said "there are seasoned professionals, who may be liberals, who are just shocked at what's happened to their industry." [audio available here]
In another segment on the same program, Bozell talked about the media's double standard in reporting on crimes involving immigrants.
During Tuesday evening’s “No Bias, No Bull” program, Washington Post national political correspondent and CNN contributor Dana Milbank implied, perhaps inadvertently, that the incoming Obama adminstration was like the North Vietnamese advancing on Saigon in 1975. Host Campbell Brown asked Milbank about the “backlog of at least 2,000 pardon applications” to the Bush administration before the president leaves office early next year, and he replied, “Yeah -- it sort of has the feeling of the last helicopter off the embassy roof in Saigon.” [audio available here]
Milibank made the remark during his regular “Political Daily Briefing” feature, which aired at the bottom half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Earlier in the segment, the Post correspondent, as well as Brown, commented on Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman keeping his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Brown stated that “despite supporting John McCain, despite saying some pretty nasty things about Barack Obama on the campaign trail, Senator Joe Lieberman is going to keep his coveted chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.” Milbank agreed with this labeling of some of Lieberman’s past statements about Obama in his reply: “It’s amazing -- looks like a full amnesty for Joe Lieberman. He said some awful things about President-Elect Obama, and now he gets -- I don’t think you could even really call it a slap on the wrist there...”
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "...it may be the hottest ticket in the country right now, a ticket to Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Millions are expected to try and watch the swearing in. But we're going to show you why tickets are almost impossible to get." The 2008 April Fool’s edition of the Media Research Center’s Media Reality Check featured a fictional quote from Early Show co-host Harry Smith: "CBS's Harry Smith sounded like a teenage groupie on the April 1 Early Show: ‘Obama's rock star status is reaching historic levels. His rallies attract more fans than a Hannah Montana concert and seats are impossible to get. Believe me I've tried.’"
Chen later introduced a report on the Obama inauguration by proclaiming: "Inauguration fever is sweeping Washington. The city's mayor believes 3-5 million people may turn out to witness President-elect Obama's swearing-in." However, in the report, correspondent Thalia Assuras talked to Howard Gantman of the Joint Congressional Committee for Inauguration, who predicted a much smaller turnout: "We've printed 240,000 tickets. So that's a minimum, we expect at least that many people. For this event, we could see half a million, some projections have come in for a million or more."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who conceded the obvious to Jay Leno that “I'm partial” to the “remarkable political reality” of Barack Obama, on Tuesday's Tonight Show regretted Obama cannot be inaugurated sooner than on January 20. “The President looks like he's already in the locker room with a towel around his neck. It looks like he's taken off,” Matthews complained before insisting “we need a President pretty soon.” The host of Hardball fretted about the long wait to get Obama into office, warning:
I'm getting worried because it's about another couple of months before we get a President and I'm worried about this country falling between the cracks because we've got one President who's sort of already retired and we got another President who's politely tip-toeing around the job. Who's leading us right now? It scares me.
After a quip from fellow guest “Larry the Cable Guy,” Matthews reiterated his point: “I think we've got too much time between elections and taking over.”
Eight years ago when incoming President George W. Bush named Senator John Ashcroft as his choice for Attorney General, the broadcast network evening newscasts applied ideological labels and highlighted opposition to him from liberals, but Tuesday night with President-elect Barack Obama's pick of Eric Holder for the same position, the anchors avoided any ideological tags or controversies and hailed him as an “historic” pick which fulfills Obama's promise of “diversity.”
ABC's Charles Gibson noted Obama's promise of “diversity of political party, of gender, of geography and of race” and reported “Eric Holder would be the first African-American” Attorney General. In December of 2000, the late Peter Jennings stressed how Ashcroft is “from the conservative wing of the Republican Party. And some of the positions he's taken as a politician have galvanized liberal opposition to his nomination today.”
Katie Couric, on CBS, trumpeted Holder as “another historic choice,” but eight years ago Dan Rather decided “anti-abortion groups and the self-described Religious Right could not be happier” with Ashcroft who is “known for his tough anti-abortion stand. Planned Parenthood immediately urged Congress not to confirm him.”
On NBC, Brian Williams simply summarized Holder's resume as “a veteran lawyer, former U.S. Attorney, number two person at the Justice Department during the Clinton administration. If confirmed, Eric Holder would be the first African-American to become the nation's top law enforcement officer.” Filling in for Tom Brokaw in 2000, Williams referred to Ashcroft as a “conservative Missouri Republican Senator” and asserted the selection “calms the far right politically.”
At 78, Larry Eagleburger hasn't lost his fastball. Since leaving government, he might actually have added some MPH. Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, the former Secretary of State in George H.W.'s administration warmed up with some rough words for Barack Obama and Christopher Hitchens . . . then absolutely rubbished Bill Richardson.
Andrea Mitchell had invited Eagleburger on to assess the list of potential Secretary of State nominees. While he wasn't wildly enthusiatic about Hillary, she was his pick among those under serious consideration. When Mitchell suggested that Bill Clinton's foreign policy experience might prove useful, Eagleburger unloaded on Obama's lack of experience..
60 Minutes viewers got better economic rationality Sunday night from President-elect Barack Obama than from the journalist who interviewed him. CBS's Steve Kroft proposed: “People are comparing this to 1932. Is that a valid comparison, do you think?” Obama didn't accept the comparison: “Well, keep in mind that 1932, 1933 the unemployment rate was 25 percent, inching up to 30 percent. You had a third of the country that was ill housed, ill clothed...” But Kroft wouldn't let go of trying to paint the America of 2008 as dire as 1932. Eight minutes later in the interview, when Obama related how he was reading briefing papers and had read about Abraham Lincoln putting political rivals in his cabinet, Kroft returned to the Depression: “Have you been reading anything about the Depression? Anything about FDR?”
In between in the generally light and friendly interview centered on getting Obama to outline his plans, Kroft cued up Obama to reiterate his campaign promises, such as: “How high a priority are you placing on re-regulation of the financial markets?” Kroft also pressed Obama to say whether he will “take early action” to issue executive orders “to shutdown Guantanamo Bay” and “change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops?”
“People who elect a new President are eager for the change to take place. The sooner the better,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth argued in his Friday column in which he asked, coincidentally just a week-and-a-half after Barack Obama's election: “Why wait until late January to turn the Oval Office over to a new President elected in early November?” He proposed: “We should move the President's inauguration up to the first Tuesday in December, one month after the election.” After all, “the time lag” is “too long in these modern times when crises need the earliest possible attention.”
President Bush's gracious hosting of President-elect Barack Obama at the White House this week raises this simple but important question: Why wait until late January to turn the Oval Office over to a new president elected in early November?...
According to a Friday New York Times article by David Kirkpatrick, Barack Obama has reassigned Fairness Doctrine proponent, former FCC Commissioner Henry Rivera, from heading his FCC transition team: “At least one official initially involved in the transition appears to have been reassigned because of concern about his lobbying or legal work. Henry Rivera, a former Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communication Commission who was involved in planning for the agency’s transition, has dropped out of that role because he had represented clients on communications policy in the last year, the newsletter Communications Daily reported Friday.”
Kirkpatrick went on to report on Rivera’s new position in the Obama transition team: “Instead, on the list that was made public on Friday, Mr. Rivera was listed on the team handling science, technology, space and the arts.” Despite the reassignment, it is unclear if Rivera’s influence over a future FCC appointment has diminished. As the Media Research Center’s Seton Motley explained on FNC’s Your World With Neil Cavuto, Obama will have the opportunity to appoint a member to the FCC in 2009, possibly opening the door to a reimplementation of the Fairness Doctrine.
During Friday’s Situation Room, CNN correspondent Richard Quest predicted that the international community would react favorably if Hillary Clinton would become the next Secretary of State: "Absolutely amazed, outstanding reaction -- I’ve little doubt. Remember, Hillary Clinton is an international superstar, known around the world. There would be some reservations, bearing in mind everyone saw the bruising Democratic primary....But no question, the gravitas -- the authority that she would bring would be welcomed around the world." He later made a bizarre analogy about European reaction to the election of Barack Obama: "You’re talking about people who have been like starving men, who have suddenly been given a food [sic] and a meal and it tastes brilliant to them."
Imagine if you will, President Bush or Gov. Sarah Palin saying the following in a sit down interview or a Sunday morning show appearance:
We had a crisis, we kicked it down the can.... These are – just taking those two examples, these are crises you can no longer afford to kick down the can.... The crisis we have here, the American people know we have one and they are ready and willing to start to tackle those problems. You cannot afford now to kick those down the can any longer.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would have their share of guffaws at the gaffe. The Daily Show might use it as a "Moment of Zen" and other broadcast and print outlets would be sure to get their licks in.
Yet neither President George W. Bush nor the Alaska governor said those things. President-elect Barack Obama's chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel did, much to Politico's delight. Yet rather than heap scorn on Emanuel, reporter Carol Lee found the Illinois Democrat's "Rahmbonics" endearing, comparing them favorably to beloved baseball icon Yogi Berra's way with words:
Remember back during the campaign, when the Obama folks and their MSM cohorts adamantly denied that their man was a liberal? That National Journal study that ranked him the most liberal senator? Nonsense! Very misleading. After all, this is the man who doesn't believe in a red America and a blue America, but in the United States of America. Someone with a history of reaching across partisan lines [even if no good examples were handy at the moment].
So . . . remember all that? Well, forget it. Now that Obama is safely ensconced in his Office of the President-Elect, the MSM can let the [ill-concealed to many of us] cat out of the bag: yes, he's a liberal. Big time! In fact, Obama is nothing less than the second coming of the biggest American liberal icon of all time: FDR! Rick Stengel announced the news on today's Morning Joe.
The November 12 story by staffer Michael Shear began by noting that Obama "campaigned as an anti-Washington candidate" and that his transition team "made it clear" that the president-elect "would seek to build on that theme over the next two months."
As evidence of that, Shear explained the transition team's rules "that restrict how federal lobbyists can participate" in the Obama transition. Yet Shear failed to note how the standard has shifted over the course of Obama's campaign (emphasis mine):
Dahlia Lithwick, a Slate senior editor, is newly miffed at the constant Obama fundraising emails she's received. Oh, she didn't mind them as the campaign was going on, she says, but now that Big "O" is fairly elected, Lithwick is tired of them. One gets the feeling, of course, that this has been building in her for some time -- a sneaking dread mounting with each demand for cash. She even ends her Slate piece telling Obama that as far as she is concerned he should consider himself "cutoff" from her wallet.
Too bad she seems completely clueless that his constant grubbing for donations have moved from the voluntary stage to the mandatory stage now that she has helped elect him. She even mentions that she wants to get back to "panicking about her 401(k)" which is also amusing since the party she supports is now saying that they want to take possession of her 401(k)! Does she even know this?
Lithwick's Slate posting seems to say a lot about a media that really never did get to truly see Barack past his glitzy exterior. It was all hope-n-change. Only the "change" ends up being that every last penny in her pocket AND her 401(k) is going to go to her email buddy, Barack.
"Nightline" co-host Terry Moran on Monday fawned over every detail of Barack Obama's White House meeting with President Bush and insisted that that since the President-elect arrived in Washington D.C. wearing sunglasses, this was an example of the "Obama cool on display." Moran, who has regularly gushed over every aspect of Obama's election and transition, narrated the Democrat's interactions with the current president. As video of Bush and Obama played, he breathlessly related, "You could see the power shifting though. Look at Obama putting his arm on Bush's back, letting the President go first."
Moran awkwardly brought up the issue of past commanders in chief who owned slaves and asked, "And you had to wonder that if in fact the [White House] is haunted, what the spirits of those former presidents, many of whom were slave owners themselves would have made of what happened there today?" (An aside: 12 of 43 presidents owned slaves. Is that "many?")
A lot of liberal media bias boils down to word choice and the loaded connotations they can bring in service of a liberal slant. The headline for a November 11 Baltimore Sun story about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was no different.
"Bishop denounces U.S. abortion rights" read the loaded headline, which evokes in readers the sense of a stern cleric inveighing against a "woman's right to choose" rather than concerned clergy worried about the loss of life and trauma to pregnant mothers caused by abortion.
The article itself gave a more nuanced portrait than the stark headline announced, reporting that Francis Cardinal George expressed his concern in terms of the incoming Obama administration's record on "social justice" and "universal human rights":
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Breaking news. A new CBS poll out this morning shows the change in mood in America after Barack Obama's election." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later touted the poll results: "A changing of the guard in Washington is changing American attitudes. A CBS News poll out this morning shows that most Americans have good feelings about Barack Obama. 71% say they're optimistic about the next four years with him as president."
Compare those poll results with those reported on the CBS Evening News on December 17, 2000 by then-anchor John Roberts, shortly after George W. Bush was elected: "A new CBS News poll out tonight shows that the majority of Americans are satisfied with the outcome of the election, though there were only five points separating them from those who weren't. When asked if Bush legitimately won the election, 53 percent said yes, compared to 40 percent who said no." Roberts also looked at one of President Bush’s first policy proposals: "A narrow majority of Americans also believe that Bush has enough public support to pass is $ 1.3 trillion tax cut...But on Capitol Hill, opinions run from lukewarm to dead set against it."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed Barack Obama’s foreign policy goals with foreign correspondent Lara Logan and asked about Logan’s July interview with the president-elect: "...he said many times during the campaign, that Afghanistan, and not Iraq, needs to be our central focus in this war on terrorism. And this morning in the Washington Post we're seeing that's he's already tackling strategies in Afghanistan. What do you think? How important will this be for him?" Logan replied: "Well, there's no question that Afghanistan is a very pressing and immediate problem because the gains the U.S. made during the invasion seven years ago have been slipping away more...You really cannot separate Afghanistan and Pakistan. And Obama understands that, that's one of key things that he said to me."
Later, Rodriguez asked about Obama’s policy towards Iran: "...what I thought was interesting in this article in the Washington Post, is that President-elect Obama is reportedly considering talks with Iran as part of this new Afghanistan strategy. Do you think the two will go hand in hand?" Logan followed Obama talking points: "Well, he said from the beginning he has no problem sitting down with Iran if it is in the United States’ best interest, because he believes that dialogue is important...it's absolutely critical that the United States reaches some kind of understanding. They've been losing ground to Iran inside Iraq since the invasion of Iraq and that is really a very, very serious problem that has not been dealt with to date."
British premier Gordon Brown, a former chancellor of the Exchequer -- analogous to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury -- delivered a thinly-veiled entreaty to President-elect Barack Obama to eschew trade protectionism in a November 10 speech, reports Kevin Sullivan of the Washington Post Foreign Service. Post editors buried Sullivan's 18-paragraph article on page A15:
LONDON, Nov. 10 -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday warned that trade protectionism would worsen the global financial crisis, a remark widely perceived as aimed at U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.
In a speech lauding the "global power of nations working together," Brown called for "rejection of beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism that has been a feature in transforming past crises into deep recessions."
Obama's campaign rhetoric struck some allies as protectionist, particularly his calls for tax incentives to discourage companies from relocating jobs away from the United States.
News services in Israel are on fire with talk that Barack Obama has just sent a supporter of the terror group Hamas as his envoy to Syria and Egypt to relay news of his policies to come. Last September Israel's suspicions were heated up about "former" Obama advisor Robert Malley being sent to Syria with a George Soros funded group. It was then claimed by Egyptian sources that Malley was still working as an advance man for Obama which angered Israelis because six months earlier Malley announced that he had held "regular meetings" with Hamas. At that time, Malley's comment caused the Obama camp to hurriedly distance the candidate from any connection with Malley. But, with the election over, it seems that Obama's claims that Malley didn't really work for him are not quite true. It also seems that we already have the very first example of Obama sticking his finger in the eye of our allies in Israel. Naturally, the U.S. press is not reporting this news.
In September of this year, Robert Malley caused consternation among people that stand against the terror group Hamas when he went to Syria to work for a group called the International Crisis Group -- a George Soros funded NGO also chaired by other doyens the far left. Some thought that he was secretly there as an Obama advance man, but there is no real proof that he was there in that capacity at that time so the story died down.
A Financial Times reporter who endorsed Obama but worried about his economic policies has taken a fresh look at the President-elect's post-election economic policy ideas, and doesn't like some of the big ticket items he sees. [See related blog entry by Jeff Poor here]
In his November 10 op-ed "The choices that confront America," British journalist Clive Crook reserved some of his harshest criticism for Obama's openness to bailing out Detroit's floundering automakers (emphasis mine):
The greatest danger of all is that the valid case for a strong stimulus takes under its wing spending proposals that create an ongoing obligation, have no true investment rationale, and represent a waste of public money now and in the future.
The bail-out currently being sought by the big US carmakers falls squarely into this category. Managers and unions have conspired for years to drive US-owned, US-based car manufacturing into the ground. Now they seek public subsidy to pay for investments they should have undertaken in any case, and to sustain wages and benefits that comparably qualified workers in other industries cannot hope to enjoy.
Why a worker in a US-owned car factory deserves more generous treatment than any other kind of US worker escapes me. Asking those other workers to pay for these privileges seems to add insult to injury. Perhaps President Obama will be able to explain.
"Controversial." "Onerous." "Ideologically offensive." These are the words used by Washington Post reporters Ceci Connolly and R. Jeffrey Smith to describe the pro-life policies of President George W. Bush. The liberal slam came in an article about some of the early actions President-elect Obama will take when he is inaugurated next year.
"Obama Positioned to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions" was carried in the November 9 edition of the Post. The story revealed that Obama is "now consulting with liberal advocacy groups" in order to create a hit list of "the most onerous or ideologically offensive" regulatory and policy initiatives of the Bush administration. Two of the top three initiatives singled out in the Post's story are pro-life: embryonic stem cell research and abortion funding. The other is global warming.
Mike Barnicle, come on up here and accept this morning's Lanny Davis Award for shameless defense of the indefensible. You've earned it. Not merely did the Morning Joe panelist excuse Barack Obama's nasty jab at Nancy Reagan, he actually claimed that we need more of those kind of "jokes" from our presidents.
Joe Scarborough began the discussion by asserting that whereas mayors, governors and other lesser officials can get away with what Obama said about the former First Lady, it is unbecoming in the mouth of a president. The Morning Joe host also suggested that had George W. Bush made a comparable crack about a beloved Dem First Lady, the New York Times would have taken him harshly to task. Leaping to Obama's defense, the former Boston Globe columnist didn't merely don the wetsuit: Barnicle went full bathysphere.
The co-chair of Barack Obama's Transition Team, Valerie Jarrett, appeared on Meet the Press this weekend and used, shall we say, an interesting word to described what she thinks Barack Obama will be doing in January when he's officially sworn into office. She told Tom Brokaw that Obama will be ready to "rule" on day one. It's a word that reflects the worst fears that people have for Obama the "arrogant," the "messiah," that imagines he's here to "rule" instead of govern.
Jarret told Brokaw that "given the daunting challenges that we face, it's important that president elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one."
To show how foolishly hyperbolic the Old Media and the ignorati in our universities are, the Associated Press issued a dire report that breathlessly informed us all that Barack Obama is facing a "nation in crisis" and it's all "just like Lincoln and FDR." The AP even gets an historically illiterate university professor to sonorously declare how Obama is "one step away" from Lincoln and FDR. But a review of our nation's real history shows that the America Obama will inherit is in nowhere near the state of crisis that Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to deal with. But, in the end, this isn't about real reporting or true historiography but about pumping Obama up and trying to shoehorn him in among what are considered by many our greatest presidents before he's even taken office.
The absurd hyperbole and wild stretching of the historical record to give gravity to Obama's reign is transparent for its effort to force readers into imagining that Obama should be given a mandate to do anything he wants. I'd suggest that the reason this foolish overestimate of our state of national "crisis" is being ladled out to an unsuspecting public is because the AP realizes that Obama did not get a mandate vote and the AP fears that Obama might face more resistance than it would like to his starkly socialist policy proscriptions. So, the AP is trying its best to break down those barriers beforehand.
Message to Scott McClellan: when your guy's gaffe merits a screaming headline at Drudge [see after the jump] about how he's had to apologize for what he said, he's messed up. Big time. But that didn't stop Pres. Bush's former press secretary—turned Soros-paid scrivener—from going on TV and proclaiming that Obama turned in a flawless performance in his debut presser today as president-elect.
McClellan appeared on MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," David Gregory's post-election vehicle taking the place of "Race for the White House." In an odd bit of balance, McClellan, who endorsed Obama, was on with former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart. Mika Brzezinski guest-hosted for Gregory. Lockhart went first, and predictably proclaimed that Obama "made no mistakes" in his press conference today. No prize for candor, but what do you expect? Then it was McClellan's turn, and he went into parrot paradigm [with no offense to the baby red-front macaw I'm bringing home tomorrow].