UPDATE (3:20 PM): A couple of quotes below the fold demonstrate just how ideologically diverse critics are who note that Fox played no direct role in Sherrod's resignation. Pundits from the Washington Post and National Review weigh in.
Shirley Sherrod placed the blame for her ouster at Fox News's feet. Hardly surprising. She's a liberal (former) member of a liberal administration. More surprising, given the clear preponderance of facts contradicting this meme, is that much of the media has followed her lead.
Ironically, while a number of mainstream media outlets claim that Fox News is responsible for getting Sherrod to resign, Fox's first call for a resignation, made by Bill O'Reilly just before 9:00 pm on Monday, came roughly an hour after Sherrod had actually resigned.
In other words, Fox News exerted no meaningful pressure on the administration to take any specific actions with regard to Sherrod before the administration took those actions on its own accord. FoxNews.com had run a story earlier (no longer available on its site) displaying Breitbart's video and reporting what were then assumed (erroneously, it turns out) to be the facts of the situation - Sherrod had acted in a condemnable, racist manner.
Jonathan Capehart is the early frontrunner to win my Obama Parrot of the Week, the dubious award I hand out on my local TV show to the media member most wantonly toeing the White House line.
On today's Morning Joe, the Washington Post editorialist, trying to suggest the White House was not involved in the firing of Shirley Sherrod, offered a strained theory of how Sherrod misunderstood what she was being told by a USDA official about the White House wanting her gone.
But when Willie Geist asked the obvious question, Capehart's house of cards largely crumbled, forcing Jonathan to beat a hasty tactical retreat. It's actually quite amusing: do check out the video.
Operator, oh could you help me place this call? You see the number on the matchbook is old and faded. Jim Croce, 'Operator,' 1972
The Obama administration, the folks that want to run our health care and who knows how much else of our economy and our lives, can't get a simple phone call through to one of its former officials.
In this afternoon's press conference, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs repeatedly said that the Obama administration, through the person of its Agriculture Secretary, has tried but failed to have a phone conversation with Shirley Sherrod, the USDA official it forced out yesterday.
A local NBC News Washington DC correspondent emceed an event Tuesday night honoring former White House Green Jobs Czar Van Jones.
Jones, for those who don't remember, was forced to resign from the White House after it came to light that he had signed a 9/11 "Truther" petition. He apparently ascribes to a number of radical ideologies, including Marxism and Black Liberation Theology. He was a notable defending of convicted cop-killer (and leftist cause celebre) Mumia Abu-Jamal, and insisted that "white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people of color communities because they don’t have a racial justice frame."
WRC News 5's Wendy Rieger hosted the event honoring this man. "Her involvement is simply to help support the organization," a network spokesman told the Daily Caller, "and she had no involvement in choosing the attendees or award recipients."
The children eager to attend Harlem Success Academies don’t care about partisan politics or ideological turf wars. They just want the best education possible. “The Lottery,” a new documentary by Madeleine Sackler, showcases families desperate for an alternative to the New York Public School system.
The film, playing an exclusive engagement through July 15 at the Starz FilmCenter in Denver, follows four such families who enter a lottery system so their children can attend a prestigious charter school. Strip away the interpersonal dynamics and you’ll find a full-throated argument on behalf of charter schools. And those who think only Republicans support school choice measures will be surprised to see a large number of Democrats eager to give charter schools a try.
"You would think that if you are NASA, your mandate is return us to the moon, take us to Mars.... No, according to the President of the United States, the mandate of NASA is to make Muslim people feel better about themselves," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell quipped this morning on "Fox & Friends."
The Media Research Center founder was referring to the under-reported story of how NASA administrator Charles Bolden told Arab news network al-Jazeera in an interview that President Obama had tasked him with outreach to the Muslim world to "find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."
"We have to hitch a ride with the Russians if we want to go to outer space, but the mandate of NASA is to make Muslims feel better about themselves. You figure that one out," Bozell complained, adding, "You'd think that might be a news story."
The GOP as the party of obstructionism: it's a tried and true media meme, but very often falls a tad short of the truth. Yet on occasion, even stubborn facts are not enough to dispel such accusations.
Some in the media have taken President Obama's recess appointment of Donald Berwick to the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as an occasion to bash purportedly obstructionist congressional Republicans. Just one problem: the GOP didn't hold up the nomination.
In fact, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which would have had jurisdiction over Berwick's appointment, said he "requested that a hearing take place two weeks ago, before this recess." Presumably, Grassley wanted to shine light on some of Berwick's more controversial positions, such as support for the rationing of care and his advocacy of the use of the health care system to redistribute wealth.
Covering the development, Time magazine's Adam Sorensen cast the appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick (pictured at right) as a blow to "hyperbolic" Republicans who hoped to make political hay out of the Harvard professor's confirmation hearings, yet Sorensen failed to carry any criticism of the Obama administration for the "unusual" maneuver or to examine how the move might bode poorly for Democrats given the public's concerns over the impact of ObamaCare on the health-care system.
During the 'Early Wrap' segment on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan with a panel of media pundits: "The almost unknown, practically under the radar, the Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, before committees this week being funny. She was downright funny."
GQ Magazine's Washington correspondent Ana Marie Cox agreed with Smith and added: "...a Saturday Night Live skit made live, in part because she looks exactly like Rachel Dratch. And it's perfect because Al Franken is on the committee. And I kept on watching like waiting for someone to burst into song or Unfrozen Caveman Senator." Radio host Jane Pratt chimed in: "Her joke was good, the Chinese food joke was good." Smith remarked: "Very funny. Sunday night, and Christmas."
On Wednesday's Good Morning America on ABC, news reader Juju Chang noted Kagan's "lively sense of humor" and later asked co-hosts George Stephanopoulos and Elizabeth Vargas "who is going to play her in the SNL skit?" Vargas replied: "I don't think they could be as funny as Elena Kagan was!"
The White House has gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent the press corps from having meaningful access to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Such measures are hardly unprecedented, though they stand in stark contrast to then-candidate Barack Obama's message of openness and press transparency.
But now the White House has outdone itself in media opacity. It apparently blocked a New York Times reporter from sitting in on Kagan's brother Irving's constitutional law class at Hunter College High School. Yes, that's right. The White House is now trying to determine who can or cannot sit in a school class for teenagers.
According to watchdog group Judicial Watch, White Hosue Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest intervened after hearing of Times reporter Sharon Otterman's intention to sit in on one class. "I'm definitely not comfortable with this at this point," Earnest told Kagan, according to documents it obtained from the school.
On Tuesday's Rick's List, CNN's Jessica Yellin harkened back to her college days at Harvard as she defended Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan against charges by conservatives that she is anti-military: "When I was at Harvard, a full decade before she was dean of the law school, there was already institutional opposition to 'don't ask, don't tell'....it steeps the whole university."
Yellin, actually, was a key left-wing student agitator during her time at the university, as revealed in several interviews with The Crimson, the student newspaper at Harvard. She was labeled a "prominent feminist activist in her own right" in a June 10, 1993 profile of Sheila Allen, her first-year roommate and self-proclaimed "dyke of the Class of '93." The then-student certainly earned this label, as she helped resurrect Harvard-Radcliffe Students for Choice after a "relatively inactive period," was a women's studies major, and, in an April 10, 1992 interview, bemoaned how Harvard was apparently opposed to her feminist agenda: "For people interested in women's issues or gender studies, this is an overtly hostile environment."
In a May 1, 1992 article, Yellin expressed how the acquittal of the four police officers involved in the controversial Rodney King arrest was "the most blatant evidence of the indelible racism... in this country."
Chris Matthews keeps painting the Elena Kagan confirmation hearing as a "culture war" between the Obama nominee and the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Newsbusters reported yesterday, Chris Matthews seemed to spin Monday's standoff between Sessions and Kagan as a battle between the senator's rural, unsophisticated Alabama roots and Kagan's Northeastern liberal academic background.
Well, Matthews showed up in even finer form today. Describing Kagan as a liberal Obama prototype from the "high academia" of the Ivy League, Matthews proceeded to frame her opponent, Sen. Jeff Sessions, as the voice of the Confederacy.
Remarking that the hearing has become like a "red state-blue state" battle, Matthews claimed that "listening to Jeff Sessions is to listen to the, really, the Confederacy; to listen to, really the conservative view of the Deep South."
Matthews also oddly added that Republicans want to make Kagan into a "voodoo doll" (repeating himself from the night before), an image associated more readily with New Orleans, Louisiana, than Sessions' boyhood town of Hybart, Alabama.
While ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today spent little time on the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on Tuesday, the CBS Early Show featured a report from legal correspondent Jan Crawford, who cheered Kagan finally being able respond to Republican "attacks" in a "very agile" way.
Good Morning America devoted only a single news brief early in the 7AM ET hour to the hearings as news reader JuJu Chang noted how Kagan "will be questioned by Republicans who say she is too liberal and too political." Chang added: "Kagan promised to take a modest approach to judging."
On Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell offered only a brief 7:09AM report on the hearings: "Weeks after her nomination, seated in silence for hours, finally Elena Kagan gets to make her case....[she] describes herself as a daughter of the American dream." O'Donnell described the arguments from both sides of the aisle: "No surprise, Democrats praised her intellect and the chance to broaden the Supreme Court....Saying they would be respectful, Republicans did not hesitate to get tough. From abortion rights to immigration, they found various ways to call her liberal." In an 8:04AM news brief, news reader Natalie Morales declared: "Republicans portrayed Kagan as a liberal activist with no judicial experience. Kagan promised an even-handed approach to the law."
Did you know that calling attention to an area where a Supreme Court justice nominee is from, which happens to be a well-known bastion of liberalism, is bigoted?
If you didn't, you want to take a look at the wisdom of Salon.com's Joan Walsh. In her June 28 post "It's not even coded bigotry anymore," Walsh argued that references to SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan's Upper West Side of Manhattan roots are bigoted -since the neighborhood has Jewish features, references to it are anti-Semitic and as she puts it, "not even coded."
"That said, Republicans on the Senate Judicial Committee are trying to make the case she's outside the mainstream of American jurisprudence, by attacking her clerking for (and admiring) legal giant Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice, while singling her out as a denizen of ‘Manhattan's Upper West Side' - you know, the neighborhood known for Zabar's and bagels and, well, Jews," Walsh wrote.
The Monday morning shows on CBS, ABC, and NBC all worked to portray President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a moderate and open-minded legal scholar, downplaying her liberal views. All three network programs also minimized her controversial decision to ban military recruiters on campus while Dean of Harvard Law School.
On CBS's Early Show, legal correspondent Jan Crawford touted Kagan as "an intellectual heavyweight and consensus builder." Crawford noted how Republicans had "several lines of attack" against Kagan and would "try to paint her as a liberal activist." Crawford herself recently described Kagan as having "stood shoulder to shoulder with the liberal left."
On ABC's Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman did a fawning segment on Kagan in the 8AM ET hour, describing the former Dean as "intellectual" and "full of personal charm" during her tenure at Harvard. Shipman claimed that Kagan had "a determination to be open-minded," despite banning military recruiters from the university's campus over the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. On that issue, Shipman explained that despite Kagan's decision being unpopular "among student military vets....Iraq War veteran Kurt White says they were won over by Kagan's persistent outreach, another example of her political skills." Shipman failed to mention that White would be testifying on Kagan's behalf during the confirmation hearings.
When President Bush nominated John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court in 2005, the media did not hesitate to describe both men as "very conservative," but when President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan this year many in the press couldn't seem to identify any liberal ideology. The Media Research Center has produced a video compilation of examples to further demonstrate the obvious double standard. [Audio available here]
During ABC's live special coverage of Roberts's nomination on July 19, 2005, then This Week host and former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos declared: "This is a very conservative man with a strong paper trail that proves it." NPR's Nina Totenberg could hardly contain her urge to label, using the word "conservative" several times during a July 23 appearance on Inside Washington: "John Roberts is a really conservative guy...he's a conservative Catholic....[President Bush] has given conservatives a hardline conservative."
The same labeling followed Alito's nomination months later. CBS's Bob Schieffer opened the October 31 Evening News by proclaiming: “Conservatives wanted a conservative on the Supreme Court, and said the President ought to risk a fight in the Senate to get one. Their wishes have been fulfilled.” Later that evening, on a special 7PM ET hour edition of CNN's The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer described: "...there is a new nomination and new controversy. A battle shapes up as the president picks a staunch conservative who could help reshape the U.S. Supreme Court."
CNN's Carol Costello and Jim Acosta revealed their disdain for a federal judge's decision to overturn the Obama administration's 6-month moratorium on offshore drilling when the expert they interviewed on the June 25 "American Morning" made a convincing case against the moratorium.
Tom Bower, an author who has written extensively on the oil industry, tried to explain the devastating economic impact the moratorium would inflict on an already beleaguered industry, but Costello and Acosta were blinded by ideology: "But isn't safety more important than money?" queried Costello. "Because, I mean, these oil companies make massive amounts of money each day."
Bower, author of "Oil, Money, Politics and Power in the 21st Century," drew the ire of Costello and Acosta for calling the Gulf oil spill an "aberration" and noting the oil industry's "phenomenal" overall safety record.
"But that's what they say, it is just an aberration, but the BP disaster happened," argued Costello. "Nobody thought that could happen either. So, it's just not logical, is it, that argument?"
On Wednesday's Today show, NBC's Chuck Todd touted President Obama's "swiftness" in dealing with the controversy surrounding General Stanley McChrystal comments in Rolling Stone magazine as a "commander-in-chief moment," and hinted that it was a blessing in disguise, given the executive's tanking approval ratings.
Todd led the 7 am Eastern hour with his report on the President appointing General David Petraeus to replace General McChrystal, who was relieved of command following the Rolling Stone interview. The NBC White House correspondent remarked that with the Petraeus appointment, "the President signaled to his team, no more firestorms like this one will be tolerated." After playing a clip of Mr. Obama stating that he "won't tolerate division," he continued that "the President's aides don't expect there will be much division in the Senate, either, where some are predicting Petraeus will have the fastest confirmation in history, and the praise is bipartisan."
Later in the report, Todd used his "commander-in-chief moment" term as he emphasized the apparent good timing of the controversy and detailed the public's decreasing confidence in the President, according to NBC's own poll:
Far-left MSNBC ranter Ed Schultz just can't let facts get in the way of his rank partisanship and liberal propagandizing. His latest whopper, that Gen. Stanley McChrystal was "another problem [President Obama] inherited from the Bush administration," was blatantly untrue, and just earned him a "pants on fire" rating from Politifact.com.
Politifact, which has busted up other untruths propagated by media liberals, noted a valuable lesson for liberals and Democrats: "not everything can be blamed on President Bush." Indeed.
Not only did President Obama not "inherit" McChrystal's command from the previous administration, he "effectively sacked the general in charge to create a vacancy that he then proceeded to fill with McChrystal as his fix-it man," notes Politifact.
We applaud the folks at Politifact for checking Schultz's inane rantings. Welcome to our world!
Did you know that President Obama has nominated for a federal judgeship someone who believes a serial killer and rapist's "sexual sadism" should be a cause to give him a less serious punishment? Probably not, since the media have given it almost no coverage.
Robert Chatigny, nominated for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, believes that sexual sadism should be what's known as a "mitigating factor" in determining guilt and punishment for murder and rape. Counterintuitive as it may be, he thinks sexual sadism should be cause for a lighter sentence.
On top of all this, today NewsBusters sister site CNS News reported that 13 years before Chatigny delayed the execution of one Michael Ross, a serial killer and rapist, he had served as Ross's private defense attorney. Apparently he forgot to recuse himself. Will the media report this tidbit?
A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
The White House says President Barack Obama's administration will appeal.
Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium.
This later paragraph from AP's breaking news report explains why I believe Ken Salazar's dissenting experts from the National Academy of Engineering may have influenced the judge's outlook on the case:
Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
Feldman's take seems to mirror the language of the dissenting experts.
The presidential commission tasked with investigating the BP oil spill is so short on technical expertise and packed with left-leaning politicians and knee-jerk environmentalists that even the Associated Press's resident ClimateGate apologist Seth Borenstein is concerned.
On December 12, 2009, over two weeks after the ClimateGate e-mails first appeared, Borenstein wrote that "the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions." What part of Kevin Trenberth's famous October 12, 2009 assertion that "The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t" did Seth not understand?
Nonetheless, non-skeptical Seth is somewhat taken aback at the lack of expertise in the spill commission's membership:
Obama spill panel big on policy, not engineering
The panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is short on technical expertise but long on talking publicly about "America's addiction to oil." One member has blogged about it regularly.
Plenty of prominent media figures were upset with President Obama over his substandard address to the nation last night (full text). While most are distraught, none seem to be doing what should be the essential journalistic task of the day: pointing out all of the factual misstatements the president made.
So, in absence of a serious attempt at fact-checking from the legacy media, let us undertake some of our own.
In all, the president misrepresented the federal government's--and especially his cabinet's--role in creating the conditions that led to the spill, the state of the nation's oil reserves, and his own administration's involvement with BP. Futhermore, his transition from discussing the Gulf spill to advocating "clean energy" legislation was a huge logical leap, and one that necessarily misrepresents the problems the nation faces with regard to energy.
A tale of two disasters: On ABC’s Good Morning America this morning, weatherman Sam Champion’s piece included reaction from several residents of Florida, Alabama and Louisiana to President Obama’s oil spill speech, and found three outright critics and no defenders of the administration’s handling of the disaster. One woman exclaimed: “What I would have liked to heard from him – that he actually had a plan.”
The kindest review came from a man in Alabama who merely hoped the federal response would improve: “I think we're seeing a change in how he's handling the situation. And I hope it's for the better.”
Five years ago, after President Bush spoke in New Orleans a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast, ABC assembled a focus group of six people displaced by the storm, and taking refuge in Houston’s Astrodome. But to the evident astonishment of ABC’s correspondent, not one member of that group would denounce President Bush, but instead leveled their criticism at local officials who failed to prepare the city ahead of time.
Has it dawned on the MSM that the only thing that would have carried any weight today would have been Joe Sestak unequivocally stating that he wasn't offered the Sec. of the Navy job? He didn't. Sure, Pres. Obama's mouthpiece issued a denial.But if there was any way under heaven that the White House could have strong-armed Sestak into flatly stating that no one offered him the Navy post, it would have happened. It didn't.
Instead, all Sestak says is that Pres. Clinton offered him some measly advisory board position, which he rejected. And indeed, Sestak tells a reporter that Clinton told him that "Rahm Emanuel" had mentioned the possibility of an advisory board position. So we know Emanuel was in the mix. Sestak is quoted as saying that he only had "one phone call" with Pres. Clinton. But he never said he didn't subsequently hear from Emanuel or some other senior Obama aide.
Just how desperately does the MSM want to bury the Sestak job-bribe story? Yesterday we reported Time editor Rick Stengel's risibly feigned ignorance of the matter.
On Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough broke off a colorful metaphor to describe the liberal media's see-no-evil approach to the subject, saying the MSM wouldn't cover the story "if Rahm Emanuel announced it in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue wearing nothing but a Speedo."
Mika Brzezinski broached the subject by mentioning that she had gotten "hammered" by her husband and friends for her criticism of the MSM's failure to ask the tough questions on the matter.
On the one hand, you might say it was the least surprising coming-out since Ricky Martin announced he was gay. On the other, it was refreshing to hear Mika Brzezinski say words we knew to be true but at least in my case had never heard her unequivocally pronounce before: "I'm a Democrat."
Mika made her declaration in the context of arguing that just because she's a Democrat doesn't mean she shouldn't ask tough questions about the Sestak job-offer allegations or Pres. Obama's handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mika also took a surprising shot at her fellow MSMers for failing to ask the tough questions . . .
President Obama's nominee to the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Robert N. Chatigny, holds a disturbing fringe opinion that sexual sadism should be a legal mitigating factor. In fact, Chatigny put this belief in action while presiding over the case against the "Roadside Strangler" where he did everything in his power to keep serial rapist and killer Michael Ross from getting the death penalty. (WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT)
Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander responded online to yesterday’s NewsBusters post on Frum’s Tuesday Style section review of the new book Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One. Alexander wondered "Was Frum too biased to review book on Rush Limbaugh?"
He suggested the problem wasn’t Frum’s anti-Limbaugh bias, but that the Post should have disclosed something to readers about Frum’s record of lamenting Limbaugh -- such as suggesting he's "kryptonite" for Republicans. The book review editor claimed she was somehow unaware of their corporate cousin Newsweek’s "Why Rush Is Wrong" cover story last year:
Post Book World Editor Rachel Shea said she was unaware that Frum had written last year's critical Newsweek piece, which was headlined: "Why Rush is Wrong." But she said she was aware of debate Frum had stirred over how the GOP could best position itself with voters. And she said The Post chose Frum precisely because "it's no surprise where he was coming from."