President Obama has extensive ties to Goldman Sachs. Yet even given record-breaking financial contributions and sketchy relationships between Goldman executives and Obama officials at the highest level, the mainstream media will not afford Obama the same scrutiny it gave to George W. Bush during the collapse of Enron.
Obama's inflation-adjusted $1,007,370.85 in contributions from Goldman employees is almost seven times as much as the $151,722.42 (also inflation-adjusted) that Bush received from Enron. Goldman was one of the chief beneficiaries of the TARP bailout package -- supported by then-Senator Obama -- and has been a force for -- not against -- Democratic financial "reform" proposals currently under Senate consideration.
Despite the extensive connections between President Obama and Goldman Sachs, the same media that vaguely alleged unseemly connections between the Bush administration and Enron after its 2001 collapse have barely noticed the Obama administration's prominent ties to Goldman (h/t J.P. Freire).
Here's the thing about the vast right-wing conspiracy: it doesn't really exist. The left's latest attempt to invoke the notion has ended in rebuttals from commentators on both sides of the political spectrum.
Conservative blogger Ben Domenech noted the White House's apparent desire to appoint a homosexual to the Supreme Court. He noted in a post at the New Ledger that at least three nominees -- Pam Karlan, Kathleen Sullivan, and Elana Kagan -- are gay. The White House vehemently denied the latter. The left was not happy.
Huffington Post contributor Sam Stein quoted a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, who alleged a "shameless … whisper campaign" started by the "far right," echoing other groups' statments to the same effect.
But there is no evidence of any such campaign. Indeed, the extent of the evidence offered by Human Rights Campaign and other left-wing groups seems to be that propagating rumors regarding sexual orientation is "straight out of the right-wing playbook."
In his end-of-the-show commentary on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer cited a Saturday New York Times article celebrating retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: "that Justice Stevens 'may be the last justice from a time when ability and independence, rather than perceived ideology, were viewed as the crucial qualifications for a seat on the court.'"
Schieffer agreed with that assessment and declared that for President Gerald Ford "sending John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court is not a bad legacy." He concluded: "As Justice Stevens's fine service was being rightly celebrated last week, I couldn't help but think of that as well."
Prior to his commentary, Schieffer spoke with CBS legal analyst Jan Crawford about possible nominees to replace Stevens. Crawford argued that President Obama and Democrats would attempt to "counter" Republican efforts to "beat up on their candidate," "by continuing to portray the Supreme Court as out of touch with everyday Americans."
Mike Barnicle just wrapped up the Obama Parrot of the Week. That's the award I hand out on my local TV show to the MSMer doing his sycophantic best to parrot the Obama party line. Barnicle gave his award-winning performance on today's Morning Joe, in the course of tossing two super-softballs to David Axelrod.
Barnicle's first lob bemoaned the difficulties of governing in this hyper-partisan, cable-TV age. His second softball chastised Republicans for their announced intention to oppose Pres. Obama's Supreme Court nominee. Which raises the question: do the names Robert Bork—or Clarence Thomas—mean anything to Mike Barnicle?
In addition to the softball interview CBS's Harry Smith conducted with President Obama on Thursday, the Early Show co-host also played some one-on-one with the commander in chief on the White House basketball court, declaring on Friday's show: "it's not just talk, there's a little action too, as we bring in Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports to check out the President's basketball skills." [Audio available here]
In honor of Good Friday, at the top of show, Smith used some religious language to describe where the game took place: "This is the sanctum sanctorum....I'm not sure anybody has ever really been down there with cameras before." Meanwhile, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pretended that Smith actually conducted a hard interview: "you ask him all the tough questions...Does he then proceed to take it out on you on the basketball court?"
At one point in the game, Smith jokingly asked the President: "the question is – that everybody wants to know, can you go to your right?" Obama replied: "I can go to my right, but I prefer my left." Smith laughed gleefully in response. Rodriguez remarked that it was Obama's "comfort zone."
The New York Times published a scathing editorial Sunday condemning Americans who have the audacity to request that attorneys who represented terrorists not set national legal policy. The Times smeared them and their elected representatives as McCarthyites, and criticized them for noting that colossal conflict of interest.
"It is not the first time that the right has tried to distract Americans from the real issues surrounding detention policy by attacking lawyers," the Times states of controversy over Attorney General Eric Holder's reluctance to inform Congress who in the Justice Department has represented alleged terrorists, and in what capacity are they now serving.
But the left has done just that -- use nominees' records as means to block their appointments -- and the Times hasn't complained. So why the sudden outrage? Well, the paper's liberal editorial board doesn't mind when the left attacks. But when conservatives demand answers, they are evil McCarthyites on a political witch hunt.
Someone submit the Morning Joe java to Henry Waxman for analysis. There seems to be something in it causing top Dems to experience serious delusions . . .
On today's show, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claimed that the people of her home state of Kansas are "wildly supportive" of the substance of ObamaCare. Unfortunately, suggested Sebelius, they're just too ignorant to know what's in the blessed bill.
Later, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine didn't deny that the Obama admin had engaged in two sleazy patronage deals, involving Joe Sestak and Scott Matheson. Instead, the DNC Chairman laughed off the cynical, and possibly illegal, arrangements. "Life is life," smirked Kaine.
To Morning Joe's credit, the patronage deals and the Charlie Rangel situation were discussed throughout the show. The withdrawal of Dem Rep. Eric Massa from his re-election race, amidst allegations he sexually harrassed a male staffer, was also discussed, though not raised with Kaine. Would an RNC Chairman appearing on the show the day after the Mark Foley affair erupted have gotten a similar pass?
Remember Van Jones? He's trying to make a comeback, and the mainstream media seems to be lending him a helping hand in getting back into the Washington power structure. Jones, in case you don't remember, was the administration's Green Jobs Czar. He resigned after it came to light that his name appeared on a 9/11 Truther petition.
That, it turned out, was not the extent of his wackiness. He led a vigil mourning "the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world." He was an admitted communist and black nationalist. Now, it turns out, he considered Americans who shipped off to Iraq to be human shields for Saddam Hussein "heroes."
He said just that on MSNBC's "The Abrams Report" in 2003, according to a transcript of the show (relevant portion below the fold). I would post video here, but MSNBC refuses to release it:
"I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing." - Joe Biden, 2005
Few Americans would be shocked to hear that members of Congress are not always consistent, and occasionally outright hypocritical. Very often, however, the liberal media attempts to downplay Democratic double standards and highlight Republican ones.
Each recent change in the congressional majority, it seems has brought calls from the newly dominant party for an end to the filibuster. This Democratic majority is no different.
When noting rhetorical inconsistencies, however, the mainstream media has jumped at the chance to note that Republicans, now using the filibuster as a potential means to block Democratic health care legislation, were ardent advocates of majoritarianism in the Senate only a few years ago (as demonstrated in the video below the fold).
It's hardly news that black conservatives are reviled among much of the left. There seems to be a sense among much of the liberal media that they have betrayed their own interests through their conservative principles.
Few, however, would have the (dare I say it) audacity to lump prominent and accomplished African American political figures in with oppressive genocidal dictators and serial killers.
But TheRoot.com, a blog owned by the Washington Post, seems to have no qualms about doing so, as evidenced in its list of 21 "Black Folks We'd Like To Remove From Black History". Among the names are Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele.
Also included on the list: murderous Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin, the notorious "DC Sniper" John Allen Muhammad, Zimbabwean kleptocrat Robert Mugabe and the ruthless father-and-son Haitian dictators "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
In part two of her exclusive interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez worried about the toll the presidency takes on Barack Obama: "Your husband is the target of so many of these partisan attacks....He must get frustrated?" Rodriguez later wondered: "Amid all these frustrations, how does he unwind, how does he let that all go?"
Rodriguez asked about Mrs. Obama's reaction to criticism of her husband: "How often do you have to bite your tongue?" The First Lady explained: "You can't go into this if you're thin-skinned or you're worrying about your husband being criticized or you being criticized." Rodriguez remarked, "And criticize they do," and played clips of Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin as examples of the "frustrating partisan attacks" being launched against the President.
Later, Rodriguez asked about the Obama daughters, Malia and Sasha, and how they deal with the "poisonous environment" of Washington: "Do they not hear the attacks?" Mrs. Obama replied: "Everyone in this country cares about those girls....we have been pleasantly surprised that our children have experienced that kind of good naturedness of this country."
For much of the liberal media, President Obama operates in a vacuum. In their minds, if he says he will do something, he will most likely do it, even if he has a blatant record of not following through on similar promises.
Take Obama's lobbyist rhetoric, for instance. When the President claimed the White House has "excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs" he was telling the truth, sort of. He did not mean, and his staff has confirmed this, that they've excluded all lobbyists from the process, as, you know, a reasonable person would gather. He just meant that some lobbyists that applied for jobs in his administration didn't get them.
As it turns out, there are over 40 former lobbyists working in the White House or some branch of the executive (see chart below the fold).
The New York Times today ran a glowing story on President Obama's upcoming crackdown on lobbyists, never once mentioning his duplicitous statement during the State of the Union.
On Saturday, NB's Noel Sheppard reported on this statement made by Education Secretary Arne Duncan: "I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster. It took hurricane Katrina to wake up the community and say we have to do better."
CNN host T.J. Holmes read that quote aloud during a broadcast. "Of course I agree" with Duncan's statement, said one guest, CNN contributor Steve Perry. The host and correspondents went back and forth about how the hurricane may or may not have helped public schools, never once impugning Duncan's motives.
Contrast this media response with the response to former Republican Congressman from Louisiana Richard Baker's statement regarding Katrina: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." It sparked outrage among the liberal media (h/t NRO's John Miller).
Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took to the WhiteHouse.gov blog today to try to refute a devastating AP report showing that the the stimulus's highway and road funding has done next to nothing to improve the unemployment situation. Though he offered a couple of valid points, LaHood, pictured right in a file photo, actually did very little refuting.
The AP asserts in its report that "there was nearly no connection between stimulus money and the number of construction workers hired or fired since Congress passed the recovery program. The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it."
LaHood points out--fairly--that the AP examines the construction industry as a whole while the seven percent of the $787 billion that went towards funding highway and road construction (roughly $55 billion) only affects the transportation construction industry, not the industry as a whole.
On CNN's American Morning today, anchor John Roberts talked with correspondent Jim Acosta about "the politics" of terrorism. Part of the exchange:
ACOSTA: There is plenty punting going on in Washington, John. Hearings on the Detroit scare are planned for early next month, and the top Republican on that committee has already said there should have been a big red flag next to the suspect's name, and there are plenty of other issues, such as Guantanamo. Republicans are saying the president should shelve his plan to close Guantanamo at this point, John.
ROBERTS: So, shelve Guantanamo, but, at the same time, the president is trying to get some of his key appointments filled. They're being held up. And some of the key appointments that are still vacant are ones that are absolutely essential when it comes to maintaining security at our airports and on our jetliners.
ACOSTA: That's right. Those men and women at the airport wearing the blue shirts that say TSA, they don't have a full-time, permanent boss at this point. The temporary head of the TSA is a holdover from the Bush administration and, right now, the - the current appointee from the Obama administration to take the head of the TSA, a man by the name of Erroll Southers, he is still waiting to - to get his appointment confirmed. He is currently the assistant chief for the LAX Police Department, the Los Angeles International Airport out there in California, and his duties are head of Intelligence and Homeland Security. But, at this point, that nomination is on hold by Jim DeMint, the very conservative Senator from South Carolina. He's opposed to unionizing - fully unionizing the TSA, something that Southers apparently wants to do.
If you believe polls, current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke favorability has been slipping. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll indicates that only 21 percent of Americans favor his reappointment as the Fed chair.
And this hasn't gone unnoticed by some members of the Senate, where Bernanke's fate lies. Bernanke's reconfirmation passed through the Senate Banking Committee by a 16-to-7 vote on Dec. 17. But that margin calls into question how his reconfirmation vote on the Senate floor could go. And as CNBC "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow warned, that puts his reconfirmation in question.
"Look, ‘Helicopter' Ben passed the Senate Banking Committee vote on his reconfirmation," Kudlow said on his Dec. 17 program. "He got 16-to-7, but he lost seven votes. I think all the Republicans except Sen. Bob Corker voted against Bernanke, and they were joined by one Democrat, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon. Now the reconfirmation goes to the floor of the Senate. So, I think Bernanke's reconfirmation could be in some trouble when that Senate vote occurs. I'm going to bet that most, if not all, of the 40 Republicans are going to vote against Bernanke and that they are going to be joined by a number of Democrats."
On last night's "Rachel Maddow Show", the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh commended President Obama for taking the reins in Afghanistan. Hersh stated that Presidents must decide their own war strategies. But in the early stages of the war in Iraq, Hersh was a leading critic of similar actions by the Bush administration. Hersh's hypocrisy suggests he is more concerned with the political implications of military policy than strategic ones.
"Lincoln did not let McClellan write a report on how to win a war against the South," Hersh told Maddow, in reference to Gen. George McClellan, initially the top general for the Union during the Civil War. Hersh was offering a historical perspective on why Presidents should not rely on military commanders to form strategy--McClellan was a disastrous general, after all (video embedded below the fold).
The cat is out of the bag at the New York Times. The Times has exposed, albeit passively, the true motivation behind the White House's Fox News attacks. Contrary to the administration's claims, it is deriding Fox not because it doesn't report the news, but rather because it does.
It is news, after all, when an organization potentially receiving billions in federal funds aids and abets what it thinks is a criminal organization. It is news when a high-level White House adviser, responsible for the distribution of $80 billion in federal funds, is outed as a communist and a 'truther' conspiracy theorist. It is news when the president's chief communications officer admits her admiration for a murderous dictator.
How do you know that the White House's anti-Fox News campaign has gone seriously wrong? When CNN, let alone Anderson Cooper, begins to compare the Obama and Nixon administrations (video embedded below the fold, h/t Mediaite's Colby Hall).
On last night's "360," Cooper stated that "this White House is starting to look like another White House and the comparison is not flattering." He showed a clip of Sen. Lamar Alexander, documented yesterday by NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, offering a "friendly suggestion" to President Obama.
I have an uneasy feeling only 10 months into the new administration that we're beginning to see the symptoms of this same kind of animus developing in the Obama administration. And as those of use who served in the Nixon administration know, that can get you in a lot of trouble... Don't create an enemies list.
Is Barack Obama turning into Spiro Agnew? The White House's attacks on the Fox News smack of the distaste for media opposition espoused by Nixon's vice president almost 40 years ago but are being met with a decidedly different reaction today by the elite media.
Pundits have wondered aloud since last week why the White House would pursue a strategy that seems to be boosting the ratings of a purported 'opposition' news network. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough posited today that the White House's attacks on Fox News are designed to prevent the mainstream media from picking up on stories damaging to the administration (video embedded below the fold, h/t to NB reader Kirk W.).
Every time Fox breaks a story on the radical connections of a White House advisor or appointee, the news is potentially damaging to the administration. But damage is only really done if the rest of the media picks up on the story, reports it, and turns it into a national news sensation, a la Van Jones.
On the June 3, 2009 Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow cited a false quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh in which the radio host supposedly said he wanted to award Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin the Medal of Honor. Since Limbaugh expressed interest in becoming part owner of the St. Louis Rams in October, several MSNBC hosts have repeated that and other false quotes.
Reacting to Limbaugh calling then Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, Maddow declared: “When you get called racist by the guy who says the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. should get the Medal of Honor, consider yourself honored. Also, nauseated.” Maddow’s dishonest rant was originally reported by NewsBusters’ D. S. Hube.
Before lying about Limbaugh, Maddow attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for also labeling Sotomayor as racist and not fully retracting his statement: “Last week, Mr. Gingrich used Twitter to declare that Judge Sotomayor is a Latina woman racist. Today, he issued a statement that seemed designed to take credit for retracting that comment without actually retracting it.” Viewers are still waiting for MSNBC to retract its charge of racism against Limbaugh based on fabricated quotes.
The New York Times announced today that it would appoint an editor to monitor 'opinion media'. In an attempt to respond to criticism that it has been too slow to pick up on stories first reported by conservative blogs and talk show hosts, the Times acknowledged poor coverage, but denied a political agenda.
The self-proclaimed 'paper of record' was extremely slow in picking up on two recent stories. The first, the 'trutherism' of former White House Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, was initially reported by Pajamas Media, and later by Glenn Beck on his Fox News talk show. The Times did not cover the story until after Jones had resigned.
Later, the Times neglected to report on the undercover sting operation that exposed ACORN for offering assistance in a bogus child prostitution ring. The Times reported on Congress's votes to de-fund ACORN, but neglected to mention the sting operation that inspired the votes.
I've been trying to give Chuck Todd the benefit of the doubt when it comes to classifying him as part of what Rush would call the state-controlled media. But that indulgence was strained to the breaking point on Morning Joe today when Todd flatly rejected the notion that the MSM had under-covered the Van Jones story and suggested that delving into his background would have been a waste of MSM time.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You say this has been a Republican obsession, ACORN. It certainly hasn't been an obsession in the media. Mike Allen said the mainstream media was slow on the Van Jones story, also slow on this [ACORN] story. Is that a fair charge?
When Glenn Beck reports that a top-level White House advisor has endorsed communism, accused 'white polluters' of poisoning minority communities, called his political opponents a**holes, and believes an American president was complicit in the slaughter of innocent civilians, Beck must have a hidden agenda. When the mainstream media fails to report these facts, it's all an honest mistake.
Or so one might gather from listening to CNN contributor and Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz. Kurtz continues to waffle between a cynical take on Glenn Beck's outing of Van Jones as a truther conspiracy theorist, and an apologetic approach to the mainstream media's virtual silence on the story until after Jones's resignation.
The Times's Managing Editor Jill Abramson offered a number of excuses for the lack of Van Jones coverage last weekend, chiefly that the paper's Washington Bureau was short-staffed. This did not stop the Times from sending two reporters to Boston for the weekend to cover the non-story of Joseph Kennedy II's Senate run (which he later said would not happen).
If you rely only on the three major broadcast networks or one of the top major national papers as your news sources, the name "Van Jones" might prompt you to say,"Who?" But, while the media had difficulty reporting on Van Jones the embattled member of the Obama Administration, it had no such trouble covering Van Jones the anti-Iraq War protestor.
Jones, who was President Barack Obama's so-called "green jobs czar" resigned in the middle of the night on Sept. 6 - a Saturday night/Sunday morning on Labor Day weekend. He had for weeks been embroiled in controversy after revelations that he had signed a petition demanding an investigation into whether the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job by the U.S. government, was a self-described communist and had publicly derided Republicans as "a**holes." But the story had gotten little coverage from the mainstream media.
A top editor at the New York Times this week owned up to the paper’s lack of coverage of the controversy surrounding former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones. Rather than leaving it there, however, the editor noted the paper’s minimal online coverage, insisted that the Washington bureau was short-staffed, and suggested that Jones and his contentious positions really were not important enough to cover at length.
The Times did not print an article about Jones and his recently-discovered support of the ‘truther’ movement, which believes that the Bush Administration had foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, until Monday, when it ran a story on the front page.
“The Times was, in fact, a beat behind on this story,” admitted Jill Abramson, managing editor of the paper, in answer to a number of readers’ questions during an online Q&A session Monday. She went on to offer three excuses for the newspaper’s virtual silence on the controversy.
Powerline nicely summarizes the problems with (now former) Obama Administration official Van Jones:
Who do they have in the White House? A self-proclaimed Communist. A vulgar Marxist twice over. A supporter of cold-blooded cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal. A 9/11 Truther . A racist hater, whose hatred extends to the United States. And insofar as his current job is concerned, we have a man who sees the "green jobs" con as a tool for overthrowing capitalism. We have, in short, the complete left-wing nightmare package.
The contrast between the virtual silence of major news outlets on Green Jobs Czar Van Jones’s belief in the Bush Administration’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks and the hubbub made about those who believe the President is not an American citizen casts light on the politicized attitudes of the mainstream media.
NewsBusters has noted how the story has been ignored by the television media. Byron York in the Washington Examiner Friday noted that a Nexis news search for the Van Jones ‘truther’ controversy turns up exactly zero results from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and transcripts from ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, and CBS Evening News (though that newscast aired a full story Friday night).
So, as York noted, anyone who gets his or her news from one of these sources, or all five, is unaware that the President’s Green Jobs Czar is not only a self-avowed communist but also a supporter of the truther movement, which means he believes that the Bush Administration was complicit in—even orchestrated—the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Much of the mainstream media shares the Obama Administration's mistrust of-even outright hostility to-industry leaders, and its reverence for ‘sound science.' Too often, however, ‘sound science' simply is another way of saying conventional liberalism.
A good example of this is David Michaels, tapped by the president as OSHA administrator, praised by the New York Times in an editorial with the headline "A Champion for Workers' Safety." The Times said he would steer OSHA away from "eight years of lax oversight and favoritism to industry under the Bush administration."
Michaels shares the Times'sdistaste for "industry favoritism," exemplified by the title of his 2008 book, "Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health". In fact, doubt is a central element of sound science. We doubt claims until they are shown to be true.