They say you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. But the 44th President of the United States doesn't seem to be worried about that.
President Barack Obama, still with no fear of being overexposed, made the rounds on five Sunday morning talk shows on Sept. 20 to make another attempt at winning the hearts and minds over on his vague health care proposal.
According to Obama, alleging he wasn't doing any "media-bashing," mentioned the three major cable news networks by name, and said they were the ones enabling the "rude" behavior that some of their on-air voices have decried by giving it so much attention.
After a summer swoon, you would think that the evening newscasts of the Big 3 networks would start to recover a bit now that many Americans are back from vacations, kids are back in school, and fall routines are getting established or re-established.
So far, you would be wrong.
It's early, and there's still plenty of time this fall to recover, but during the time period after Labor Day, the broadcasts primarily anchored by Brian Williams at NBC, Charles Gibson at ABC, and Katie Couric at CBS:
Are down a combined 28.5% from their peak in late January during the first full week of Barack Obama's presidency.
Have lost a combined 37.7% of their audience in the 25-54 demographic during the same time period.
Are down year-over-year compared to September 1, 2008, the week after Labor a year ago, by 8.9% overall and 18.1% in the 25-54 demographic.
At 19.55 million, are basically drawing audiences no larger than they were during this past (for them) miserable summer.
Time Magazine's Joe Klein leveled another accusation of racism against Tea Party protesters today, employing fallacious arguments that could be torn apart by any student of basic logic.
Tea Party protesters, by Klein's account, are similar to the caricature of the 1990s religious right: "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command," in the words of the Washington Post. Klein takes that WaPo adage and adds 'racist' to the end.
The Tea Party protesters are scared above all, Klein asserts, "by an amorphous feeling that they [sic] America they imagined they were living in--Sarah Palin's fantasy America--is a different place now, changing for the worse, overrun by furriners of all sorts: Latinos, South Asians, East Asians, homosexuals...to say nothing of liberated, uppity blacks...
An evening after trumpeting President Jimmy Carter's racism charge (“An overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man”), NBC led Wednesday night with the “fallout” as Andrea Mitchell proposed that though “many thought” the “racial divisions” were “healed by the election of the first African-American President,” Carter's “blunt comments” have “prompted us to re-examine our assumptions about race” -- as if everyone is like those at NBC who adjust their views based on what Carter says.
Mitchell proceeded to smear the tea party activists, corroborated by just two racist posters the network managed to find:
In a season of angry protests, there are ugly signs that some of it is not rooted in bailout fatigue or suspicion of big government. Mixed in the anti-Obama crowds over recent weeks, racial slurs against the President of the United States. All that, plus an unprecedented interruption of the President's speech to Congress prompting Jimmy Carter's blunt comments first broadcast on Nightly News last night.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele shot back at CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after the anchor tried to smear conservatives with racism on Wednesday’s Situation Room. The CNN anchor pointed out a racist sign at a Tea Party, and Steele replied, “Don’t hold up one person as an example of behavior by everyone.” The RNC chairman also rebuked Blitzer after the anchor pointed out the GOP’s dearth of minorities in Congress [audio clips from the segment are available here].
Before he introduced Steele, Blitzer played a clip from former President Jimmy Carter, who attributed “overwhelming portion of the intensely-demonstrated animosity towards President Barack Obama” to racism. He then asked the RNC chairman for his take on the Democrat’s remarks. Steele replied that Carter was “just dead wrong....I am, like a lot of Americans, concerned and disagree with the President’s policies and approaches from the stimulus spending to this health care strategy. Am I a racist because I disagree with that? I don’t think so.”
ABC and NBC on Tuesday night joined the effort to undermine the anti-Obama tea party participants by smearing them as racists as ABC framed a story around the proposition “some prominent Obama supporters are now saying” the opposition to Obama is “driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President,” while NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how “former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about” the supposed racism. Williams alleged “a certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march in Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.” (MP3 audio of Williams, Video below)
With “OUT OF LINE?” on screen beneath what appeared to be pictures from the August town halls, ABC anchor Charles Gibson set up the piece from Dan Harris who recited a litany of liberal presumptions:
They've waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil, raised questions about whether he was really born in this country, falsely accused him of planning to set up death panels, decried his speech to students as indoctrination and called him everything from a fascist to a socialist to a communist. And all that was before Mr. Obama's speech was interrupted by a Representative who once fought to keep the Confederate flag waving over the South Carolina state house. Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President. (MP3 audio,Video below)
CNN's efforts to smear Obama critics as racist gained visibility on Monday's Situation Room when the usually more sensible Wolf Blitzer, with “RACIAL TINGE TO TEA MOVEMENT” as the on-screen heading, set up a story on how, “most disturbing,” within the tea party crowds there's “a very small but vocal minority, they're targeting President Obama's race.” Though reporter Elaine Quijano said “we have to emphasize by far most tea party protesters are not casting their arguments in what could be seen as a racial light,” she nonetheless proceeded to treat as newsworthy how “a small but passionate minority is also voicing what some see as racist rhetoric.”
In decrying the racism, CNN gave national cable air time to what she described as a “controversial image that's been circulating on the Web since July,” a “doctored image circulating on the Internet and even some protesters signs like this one in Brighton, Michigan, portraying President Obama as a witch doctor.” Brighton, Michigan? So, not at the more newsworthy big national event Saturday in DC I presume.
Quijano soon went to Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page who saw race as the common denominator: “People are not just mad at Obama. They're mad at Jesse Jackson, they're mad at Reverend Wright, they're made at Al Sharpton, they're mad at people who have nothing to do with Obama except they all happen to be black.” Without questioning the supposition, Quijano warned: “Page says the vehement racial resistance that's emerged is another sign any notion of a post-racial society after Barack Obama's election was wishful thinking.”
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), also known as the Black Press of America, which is a non-partisan 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization, has decided to show its disapproval of South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's "You Lie" remarks by canceling a convention in the state.
"Rep. Wilson's remarks were racist, disrespectful and a disingenuous violation - not only of President Obama - but to the institution of the presidency and only solidified our position and the importance in not spending Black dollars where Black people are not respected," NNPA Chairman Danny J. Bakewell Sr. said in a statement.
The conference was scheduled for January according to Fox News. Bakewell said the 69-year-old organization, which includes 200 black community newspapers across the country, would exercise its ability to harm the state economically.
Left-wing “comedian” Bill Maher is setting the news agenda for CNN. Literally. With “Motivated by Race?” on screen, CNN anchor Don Lemon previewed his 7 PM hour Saturday night by citing Joe Wilson, “town hallers yelling at lawmakers” and those “refusing to let kids hear the commander in chief. And on and on and on. What's behind it? Is it racial?”
In the subsequent segment, Lemon revealed his motivation was Maher, who Friday night on his HBO show charged racism drove Wilson's “you lie” shout and those concerned about Obama's address to school children (NewsBusters item). Lemon announced: “I was watching Real Talk, Real Time with Bill Maher and I was like 'finally someone's talking about this, finally someone is talking about this.'”
You would think MSNBC would have learned after getting caught in a deliberately doctored piece of video, which tried to portray town hall protestors as white racists. The video showed a man ‘packing heat' outside an event where the President was speaking, but was edited in such a way as to conceal the fact that the man was actually African-American.
Yet, the opposite has occurred. MSNBC seems more determined and emboldened to portray conservatives and Republicans as racists. How? By continually defining those who oppose the President, an African-American man, as nothing more than angry white men of questionable intelligence.
Since that video aired (and was immediately exposed as altered by NewsBusters Kyle Drennen on August 18th), MSNBC has continuously hammered home the message that town hall and Tea Party attendees, conservatives, Republicans, or generally anyone who opposes the President, is racist. A list of examples follows after the jump (bold mine throughout and each example contains a link):
Friday night on his HBO show, Bill Maher tried to discredit critics of President Barack Obama, including those concerned about his talk to school children, by smearing them as racists – before he pointed to a Drudge Report headline, “POLL HELL: OBAMA NEGS RISE,” as somehow an example of the ways “some of the right-wingers are always dropping subliminally racist messages.”
Maher first took up Congressman Joe Wilson's “you lie” shout at Obama: “To heckle a President, to shout in the middle of a speech, would he have done that if it was a white President? I don't think so. I think this is a southern guy who thinks 'I can do whatever I want when it's a black guy speaking.'”
Moments later on Real Time, Maher raised “the folks who did not want the President of the United States to speak to their children. No one who is sane would think the President was going to make a partisan speech to school children. And yet, there's something about that,” recalling “I grew up in an all-white town in northern New Jersey” and “I remember hearing parents talk when I was a kid, you know, they didn't want black people just talking to their kids. That's what this reminded me of.”
On Wednesday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez used a recent pro-Texas secession rally in Austin to renew attention on Governor Rick Perry’s April 2009 speech to a tea party where he appeared to endorse this political view. Sanchez, along with CNN political analyst Roland Martin, later strongly hinted that Governor Perry could be painted as a racist for using “states’ rights” language.
Sanchez began the last segment of the 3 pm Eastern hour with a clip from a rally organized by the Texas Nationalist Movement, where Republican Debra Medina (who was not identified by the anchor or by the on-screen graphics) quoted from Thomas Jefferson in her plea for Texas secession: “Stepping off into secession may, in fact, be a bloody war. We are aware. We understand that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”
Liberal New York Times reporter turned liberal nytimes.com blogger Timothy Egan made one of his occasional forays into the print edition with a Wednesday column on his favorite topic, conservative extremism -- "Hunting Wolves, And Men." Egan insisted: "For years, Idaho officials have been trying to convince businesses that their state is not a hotbed of hate-filled rubes, gun-toting racists and assorted nut jobs getting their information from Glenn Beck."
Egan addressed the tempest in a teapot of Rex Rammell, a minor Republican candidate for Idaho governor who made a crude remark about hunting for Obama. The left-wing Huffington Post blog jumped on Rammell a few days ago, and today it jumped to the Times via Egan:
They started hunting gray wolves in the high reaches of the Rocky Mountains on Tuesday, the first time in years that people have been allowed to shoot for sport this genetic cousin of man's best friend.
For those who hate wolves and long for the era when they were wiped off the map, and for those who welcomed back this call of the wild, the last few days have revealed some dark feelings in the changing West -- and some strength of character as well.
A Republican candidate for governor of Idaho, Rex Rammell, was at a political barbecue last week when somebody brought up the tags used by wolf hunters, and then made a reference to killing the president of the United States.
Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz and the brain trust at ThinkProgress probably won't like this, but CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer thinks the Glenn Beck boycott won't have an impact on NewsCorp's (NASDAQ:NWSA), the parent company of Fox News, bottom line.
During the "Stop Trading" segment on "Street Signs" Aug. 24, Cramer explained that Unilever (NYSE:UN) was going all out with its advertising, by not avoiding shows that might offend someone's political sensibilities. Cramer said that strategy was paying off for Unilever, whose stock is up 10 percent since July.
"When I look at it, it's very interesting because there's an article in the same magazine, Ad Age magazine, about how like Unilever is spending like mad, and that they're going to be, Unilever had a spectacular quarter," Cramer said. "My take is that whoever is just trying to parcel and figure out where to be in the Fox News or where to be in the MSNBC, ought to take their cue from Unilever, which had the best quarter of all packaged goods because they flooded all media and it showed that those who pulled back, whether it be from Glenn Beck, or whether it be from Olbermann, didn't do as well as Unilever, which was all in during this period where the rates went down."
You probably already knew Jeanane Garofalo was no fan of conservatives, Republicans or just about anything that could be described as right of center. But the former Air America host and MSNBC regular really has a low regard for conservative activists.
Following MSNBC coverage of ObamaCare protesters legally carrying guns, on Thursday, the Second Amendment Foundation condemned the liberal network for "using deceptively-edited video from a Phoenix, Arizona anti-tax rally on Monday to invent a racial stereotype in its on-going effort to demonize and marginalize American firearms owners as ‘racists.’"
As NewsBusters reported on Tuesday, MSNBC correspondent Contessa Brewer, along with Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan and pop culture analyst Toure, depicted all gun-carrying protesters as being "white," "racist," and even a threat to President Obama’s life. Brewer cited one such gun-toting protester, but used highly edited video footage that did not reveal the man was actually African-American.
On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer fretted over health care reform protesters legally carrying guns: "A man at a pro-health care reform rally...wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip....there are questions about whether this has racial overtones....white people showing up with guns."Brewer failed to mention the man she described was black.
Following Brewer’s report, which occurred on the Morning Meeting program, host Dylan Ratigan and MSNBC pop culture analyst Toure discussed the supposed racism involved in the protests. Toure argued: "...there is tremendous anger in this country about government, the way government seems to be taking over the country, anger about a black person being president....we see these hate groups rising up and this is definitely part of that." Ratigan agreed: "...then they get the variable of a black president on top of all these other things and that’s the move – the cherry on top, if you will, to the accumulated frustration for folks."
Not only did Brewer, Ratigan, and Toure fail to point out the fact that the gun-toting protester that sparked the discussion was black, but the video footage shown of that protester was so edited, that it was impossible to see that he was black. The man appeared at a health care rally outside of President Obama’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, Arizona.
On Wednesday, the CBS Early Show once again feared a rise in right-wing extremism as co-host Russ Mitchell cited a report from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "A report out this morning says anti-government and white racist militias are regrouping around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it is in part a reaction to the election of America’s first black president." [Audio/video (1:21): Mp3 | WMV]
The CBS morning show touted a similar report from the liberal group on April 15, with co-host Harry Smith declaring: "The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report found 926 active hate groups in the country. That’s up more than 50% from just 2000...And they say part of it is because of the election of President Obama." Smith went on to describe how that report coincided with a controversial Homeland Security report that was released at the same time.
The Wednesday story was reported by correspondent Bob Orr, who cited anecdotal evidence:
Are you opposed to ObamaCare? Willing to attend a town hall to express your disapproval? Odds are good you're a racist. Just ask Cynthia Tucker . . .
As Clay Waters has noted, Paul Krugman alleges that racist motives are at the heart of the town hall protests against ObamaCare. On this evening's Hardball, Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was willing to get specific, estimating that "45 to 65%" of the protesters are motivated by racism.
During the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer wondered: "Is a poster of the President as the Joker racist? The posters in Los Angeles and elsewhere show the President as ‘The Dark Knight’ version of the Joker above the word ‘socialism.’" She then cited an article from Thursday’s Washington Post making the accusation.
Brewer spoke with the author of the article, Phillip Kennicott, and asked: "nobody seems to know who came up with this.... have you been able to get any further in finding out who’s behind it?" While not knowing who put up the posters, Kennicott went on to recite some of the main points of his piece: "Well, I go back to the original context of the Joker in the Batman films. And these films have always been about urban fears, and quite simply, those fears code in many ways, black. They play into anti-African-American stereotypes."
A skeptical Brewer pointed out: "But we – and we just put it up there – we saw George W. Bush on Vanity Fair as the Joker. I mean, then why would this be racially motivated?" Kennicott then bizarrely argued: "Well, I mean, for the obvious reason that George Bush wasn’t black. I mean in this case, I think what they’re doing is finding an image that actually has undercurrents when applied to Obama that it simply didn’t have when it applied to Bush."
An article in Thursday’s Washington Post lashed out at the viral Obama-as-the-Joker posters, attacking them as promoting "coded," "racially charged" images. Art critic Philip Kennicott smeared the images, which have been showing up in Los Angeles, as flat-out bigoted: "The charge of socialism is secondary to the basic message that Obama can't be trusted, not because he is a politician, but because he's black." [Emphasis added]
In the August Style 6 piece, Kennicott provided this incendiary take on the poster campaign: "Obama, like the Joker and like the racial stereotype of the black man, carries within him an unknowable, volatile and dangerous marker of urban violence, which could erupt at any time." The Post writer did acknowledge that a similar image deriding Bush as the villainous character appeared in the Vanity Fair in 2008. But he spun this Joker poster as somehow worse:
That Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge, Mass., police sergeant James Crowley may attend a baseball game together has the Rev. Al Sharpton concerned.
Sharpton had this to say on his radio show on Monday while talking with Gates' lawyer Charles Ogletree, who also teaches at Harvard (click here for audio) --
SHARPTON: Let me start out by asking you, where, what is the status with Dr. Gates? You're his lawyer. Some people feel like we've made enough conciliations. I'm reading now he's talking about going to the ballgame with Sgt. Crowley. I need not tell you, some of us are saying that, wait a minute, enough is enough. What's going on here?
In Frank Rich's Sunday column for the New York Times, "Small Beer, Big Hangover," Rich drained the last dregs out of the White House beer summit, involving the president, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, but not before using it to launch his grand unified field theory of the re-emergence of racism among conservatives in the wake of Obama's victory.
Deploying his usual melodramatic flair (Rich was once the paper's theatre critic), Rich wrapped the Gates arrest controversy together with the Birther brigade, and tied on other events with the slightest hint of skin-color content, like Judge Sonia Sotomayor's impending Supreme Court confirmation.
The White House get-together took place to quell an outcry after Obama, during a national press conference, said the Cambridge police had acted "stupidly" in arresting Gates.
The comforting thing about each "national conversation on race" is that the "teachable moment" passes before any serious conversation can get going.
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann disputed a claim by a New York Times article that there exists a truce between FNC and MSNBC as he accused the Times’s Brian Stelter of ignoring Olbermann’s denial that such a truce existed, and contended that the story was a "misinterpretation" of the Countdown host’s own pledge from June 1 to discontinue Bill O’Reilly’s inclusion in the show’s regular "Worst Person in the World" segment because Olbermann blamed O’Reilly for abortion Doctor George Tiller’s assassination.
During Monday’s "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann awarded the third place dishonor to Stelter: "Mr. Stelter asked me at least twice last week if there was such a deal, and I told him on and off the record there was not, and I told him I rather obviously would have to be a party to such a deal, and I told him that not only wasn't I, but I had not even been asked to be by my bosses. And he printed it anyway, and I had even written to him that this was merely a misinterpretation of an announcement I made here on June 1 that because Bill O'Reilly of Fox News had abetted the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, he'd become too serious to joke about..."
On CNN Sunday, Howard Kurtz asked his "Reliable Sources" guests if Fox News's Glenn Beck should be fired for calling President Obama a racist.
As he pressed the issue, Kurtz must have forgotten how much attention his own network gave to Kanye West's claim in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that "George Bush does not care about black people."
In fact, in the weeks following the destruction of New Orleans, CNN hosts, anchors, contributors, and guests spoke openly about West's remarks, as well as whether or not the government's response to that disaster was racist.
Despite this, Kurtz asked his guests the following questions Sunday (video embedded below the fold):
As Dem pundits go, I normally find Kirsten Powers among the more reasonable. But on this afternoon's Fox News Watch, Powers propounded an incendiary theory of the Gates/Crowley incident: that the sergeant "lured" and "tricked" Gates into coming outside so he could arrest him.
Panelist Jim Pinkerton had just made the point that it was only the conservative media, by focusing attention on the matter, that saved Sgt. Crowley from a "miserable life in Cambridge" at the hands of Prof. Gates, Harvard, the NAACP et. al, when Powers jumped in . . .
After Sgt. James Crowley did a good job at his post-beer press conference, a condescending Chris Matthews—apparently surprised that a policeman could handle himself well in such a situation—said "I think we've got our Susan Boyle here."
Here's how Matthews ended the post-Crowley press conference kibitzing on the 7 PM edition of Hardball:
Were you, like me, surprised to see that Biden turned up at the beer fest? I hadn't picked up any prior indication he was going to be there. To the contrary, check out what Pres. Obama said just before the event:
A short time earlier from the Oval Office, Obama had done what his aides had been doing for days: lowering expectations.
"I noticed this has been called the 'Beer Summit.' It's a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys," Obama told reporters. "This is three folks having a drink at the end of the day."
Are liberals less racist and/or more knowledgeable about racism than others? Donny Deutsch evidently thinks so. On MSNBC this afternoon, Deutsch asked a black academic to give him an example of racism he'd encountered because "as liberal as I am, I can't understand because I've never walked in your shoes."
Prof. James Peterson of Bucknell was a guest in MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour, during which Deutsch served as sidekick/kibitzer to host Tamron Hall. Peterson was in to comment on this evening's impending beer fest among Pres. Obama, Sgt. Crowley and Prof. Gates.