Controversial Rep. Bill Jefferson (D-Louisiana), the congressman who notoriously hid tens of thousands of dollars of federal sting money in his freezer, lost his House seat in a shocker Saturday in an election delayed by Hurricane Gustav. Anh "Joseph" Cao, a 41-year-old Republican, will be the first Vietnamese-American in Congress. Obviously, this happened with next to zero national media attention, just as Rep. Jefferson was re-elected in 2006 after the freezer revelations without much national media attention. Will they report this ethnic first now?
Reporter Adam Nossiter in the New York Times suggested that the system failed, that a black-majority district failed to work as it was designed. Nossiter found that the problem was a surge of white voters angered by corruption charges:
The upset victory by the lawyer, Anh Cao, was thought by analysts to be the result of a strong turnout by white voters angered over federal corruption charges against Mr. Jefferson, a black Democrat who was counting on a loyal [read: black] base to return him to Congress for a 10th term....
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann compared Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss’s 2002 campaign against then-Democratic Senator Max Cleland of Georgia to a "turkey-killing machine," as part of a segment with Bloomberg News’s Margaret Carlson, formerly of Time magazine, in which the duo mocked Sarah Palin’s part in a campaign rally for Chambliss. Olbermann: "What is the more grotesque event to be standing in front of and not paying attention to? What we`re seeing now, she`s standing in front of Saxby Chambliss who ran that campaign against Max Cleland six years ago, or standing in front of a turkey-killing machine?" As she laughed, Carlson responded: "Both are killers." Referring to the presence of the rapper Ludacris in Georgia as he campaigned for Democratic candidate Jim Martin, the pair also made cracks about Palin being "ludicrous" as Olbermann tagged her as "Governor Ludicrous of Alaska," and Carlson called her "Miss Slight Ludicrous."
In every recount of the senate election from Minnesota, incumbent senator Norm Coleman has consistently been ahead of challenger Al Franken by hundreds of votes. At this point it looks like it will be impossible for Franken to exceed Coleman's total in the recount of the few ballots remaining. So what is the solution of New York Times guest op-ed columnist and associate professor of journalism at New York University, Charles Seife? Why just declare the election a "statistical tie" and flip a coin to determine the winner. Seife explains how he has come up with his laughable resolution for the election in which Coleman continues to lead:
Before the recount began on Nov. 19, Mr. Coleman and Mr. Franken were within about 200 votes of each other. With a little under three million ballots cast in the election, that margin was unbelievably small: a few thousandths of a percent separated the two candidates. So, as Minnesota law requires, election officials began counting, by hand, every single ballot from the more than 4,000 precincts around the state.
Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss won a run-off election in Georgia on Tuesday, CNN said, denying Democrats the chance for a 60-seat "super majority" in the Senate that would have enabled them to pass legislation virtually at will. Chambliss, an incumbent who first won his U.S. Senate seat in 2002, defeated Democrat Jim Martin for the seat in a race that gained national significance because Democrats and their independent allies held 58 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate after the November 4 election.
Today's run-off election for Georgia's Senate between incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin has attracted a lot of attention, especially because it could put the Democratic majority one seat closer to the 60 seats needed for a filibuster-proof Senate. Michael Grunwald of Time magazine has a story up today about the importance of the outcome of the race, but instead of giving a fair-and-balanced look at how both candidates would affect the Senate, Grunwald uses the piece to attack Chambliss for being a "textbook Bush-Cheney Republican" and praise Martin for potentially being a repudiation of Bush and a "candidate of the middle class."
Grunwald starts off by reminding readers that Georgia is still "an extremely conservative state" despite a Time magazine article from June which wondered if Georgia would be "Obama's Ohio" in the election. The writer uses this characterization of Georgia to frame Martin's potential win as "a crowning embarrassment for the GOP" and attacks Republicans by saying it would "rival Obama's own victory as a repudiation of the Bush agenda of tax cuts for the rich, pork for the well-connected, belt-tightening for the working poor, drill-baby-drill, strict-construction judges and military adventurism." That's when the Chambliss-bashing starts, as Grunwald goes on to say, "not to mention the political cynicism that made Chambliss notorious after his ads in 2002 comparing his opponent, triple-amputee Max Cleland, to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein."
Following on the heels of complaints from Time magazine's Mark Halperin that the press hugely favored Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election, ABC political correspondent Jake Tapper chimed in today to say that he agreed:
Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that I too wonder just how fair the media coverage of this campaign was.
Case in point: perhaps the most unfair and negative TV ad run during the entire campaign, by either side, was the Spanish-language TV ad Obama ran against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, that got very little media coverage.
That's how many Republicans are likely to react after retiring Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel blasted Republicans in general and Rush Limbaugh in particular, claiming Rush and fellow conservative talkers "don't have any answers."
David Shuster, subbing for Olbermann on tonight's Countdown, highlighted Hagel's remarks of today.
Looks like a couple of fellows pushing a book were able to convince the Boston Globe to let them contribute some soothsaying about the future of talk radio. Scratch that, they are talking about today, here and now -- and it's all bad. In the Boston Globe, Steve Elman and Alan Tolz have proclaimed "the rising irrelevance of talk radio," so Rush... fuggedaboutit. Hannity... go back to house painting. Michael Savage... go back to whatever the heck it was you were doing before you were "Michael Savage." It's over. Just like when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor (excuse my John Belushi). Finis ( a little French lingo there).
Unfortunately for Elman and Tolz, though, it appears that they don't even have their main facts straight, much less a crystal ball successfully tuned into the state of talk radio today. In fact, they get something wrong in their very first sentence.
Most recent unintentionally hilarious moment on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC cable show -- her interview with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie over the upcoming recount in the Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger/reformed court jester Al Franken.
The interview on Wednesday night's show began innocuously enough, with a news caption at the bottom of the screen identifying Ritchie.
Ritchie described the mechanics of the looming recount, which is triggered by state law for margins of victory less than one-half percentage point. The next news caption read, "Sen. Norm Coleman (R) Has 206 Vote Lead Over Challenger Al Franken (D)" (albeit all in capital letters, as with all the captions).
Then came this eye-opener of a caption, presented as fact as with the preceding two when it is an allegation and a kneejerk one at that -- "Before Recount, GOP Trying To Smear Minnesota Secretary of State."
Sayswho ...? All that was needed to make this bird capable of flight were two more words ... "Democrats allege."Adding that, however, might convey an attempt by MSNBC to appear fair and balanced, the last thing its goo-goo viewership wants.
Showing once again that its opinion pieces serve a dual purpose as a news source, a Monday Wall Street Journal editorial noted that Democrats have quietly dropped a central plank of their successful 2006 effort to gain a congressional majority (HT Hot Air):
Late last week the leader of the House Blue Dog Coalition, Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper, announced that with Barack Obama about to enter the White House, "I'm not sure the old rules are relevant anymore." Why not? Because, Mr. Cooper said, "It would be unfair to the new President to put him in a budget straitjacket."
Democrats ran on "paygo" in 2006, promising to offset any new spending increases or tax cuts with comparable tax increases or spending cuts. Once in charge on Capitol Hill they quickly made exceptions, waiving paygo no fewer than 12 times to accommodate some $398 billion in new deficit spending -- not that the press corps bothered to notice.
The Journal then goes on to explain what Paygo was really all about:
In the Coleman-Franken Senate recount battle developing in Minnesota, almost all media accounts fail to mention that Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who largely controls the process, is not only a liberal Democrat, but also an ally of ACORN and liberal philanthropist George Soros.
Even fewer media outlets report the fact that both Ritchie and fellow Democrat Al Franken were endorsed by ACORN. Ritchie, like so many liberals, is dismissive of electoral fraud allegations in general. He failed to investigate claims by a conservative group about voter roll irregularities. (See "SOS in Minnesota," American Spectator, Nov. 7, 2008)
Now that Barack Obama has won his bid for the White House, Americans should get ready to learn some inconvenient truths about him and the folks surrounding the president-elect that media have safely hidden from the public in order to promote his messiah-like image.
First out of the gate were revelations about Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the Obama supporter and Congressional Democratic Caucus chairman Obama has tapped to be his Chief of Staff (please see my colleague Jeff Poor's November 6 report on this subject).
On Friday, ABC's Brian Ross reported that Emanuel was on the Board of Directors of the failed financial institution Freddie Mac, a nice little tidbit conservatives on radio and in the blogosphere felt was important during this campaign, but for the most part mainstream media outlets didn't care about...conveniently until now (emphasis added, photo courtesy ABCNews.com):
Somebody claims they heard something at a Minnesota voting precinct. And that certain someone just so happened to have also been a reporter for a small leftwing newspaper. And upon that very thin gruel, TV station reporter Esme Murphy of WCCO in Minneapolis is claiming that the senate voting results in that state could be overturned. It's pretty ridiculous but let us allow Ms Murphy to make her absurd case:
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) ― Allegations have surfaced of voter irregularities involving a paid staffer of Sen. Norm Coleman, and the ramifications could have a profound effect on the outcome of Coleman's race against Al Franken.
A reporter for the Minnesota Independent, a progressive online publication, was working on a story about voter turnout when she overheard that Republican poll challengers monitoring voting at the precinct had brought in Mahamoud Wardere to help voters translate.
As the election postmortems continue, it seems a metaphysical certitude media representatives will cast Tuesday's results as indicative of a continued national shift to the left they believe began when the Democrats took over Congress in 2006.
However, the exit polls don't reflect such a shift at all.
In fact, there has been virtually no change to the percentage of folks claiming to be liberal or conservative in their political ideology since 2004.
Here are the relevant numbers (2004 here and 2008 here):
For years, and certainly throughout this campaign, the media contention has been that only the rich have done well since Bush was elected, and that his economic policies did nothing for lower and middle income wage earners.
Yet, a comparison of the 2008 and 2004 exit polls tells quite a different story about what voters made in those years.
In fact, the percentage of poor voters showed a huge decrease since 2004, while the percentage of folks making over $200,000 doubled.
The Nobel hasn't conferred any classiness on Paul Krugman. Dancing on the GOP's grave this morning in his NYT column, the newly-minted laureate impugns the party of Lincoln as "a haven for racists and reactionaries."
According to Krugman [file photo], tomorrow's election will purge the Republican congressional delegation of some of its more moderate members, leaving it even more "extreme."
The only evidence Krugman adduces in support of his Republican-are-racists slur is that GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia "observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that 'the other folks are voting.'” Where's the racism, given that 90+% of African-Americans are expected to vote for Obama and presumably for Chambliss's Dem opponent?
View video after the jump of Joe Scarborough on today's Morning Joe ripping Krugman as a "shrill, silly, partisan cartoon-character" who takes his cues from the left-wing kookasphere.
Neuharth claimed that today's newspapers play the news straight, while in the "olden days" they didn't.
Put down all drinks before reading (bolds are mine):
Fewer newspapers try to dictate votes Plain Talk by Al Neuharth
More newspaper bosses across the USA have wised up to the fact that you readers are smart enough to decide who to vote for in Tuesday's election. Newspapers making presidential editorial endorsements this year likely will be the lowest percentage ever. Editor & Publisher, the trade journal, compiles the numbers.
In a damage control piece Thursday, Associated Press writer Kimberly Helfing attempted to portray Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha's last-minute use of high-profile advisor Tony Podesta as "shoring up" his support, characterized accusations directed at residents of his district as only targeting "some" of them, and failed to mention Murtha's opponent until the fifth paragraph.
The facts are that Murtha is not clearly ahead in the polls (ahead by not much here, behind by more here), that he may very well be behind in reality against challenger William Russell, and that Murtha directed his "racist" characterization at 12th District residents in general, not just "some" of them.
Here are the key paragraphs from Helfing's report:
With nine days left before Election Day, "60 Minutes" aired a segment Sunday evening addressing a complex investment tool at the heart of the current financial crisis without fully explaining the presidential campaign ramifications behind the laws that made the market meltdown almost inevitable.
Despite accurately calling credit default swaps "The Bet That Blew Up Wall Street," CBS didn't properly inform viewers that George W. Bush had absolutely nothing to do with the Clinton-signed legislation that deregulated them, and that frequent campaign statements by Barack Obama and Joe Biden blaming the current financial crisis on Bush economic policies are therefore completely false.
The producers also chose not to expose the key Democrats -- most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) -- that voted in favor of this legislation back in 2000 but have in recent weeks dishonestly blamed President Bush for the current crisis.
Instead, CBS's Steve Kroft offered viewers a very general and nonpartisan political background to the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (video embedded right):
The Democrat Party's decisive move to the left in recent years has created a "fierce new anger among many liberal[s]" similar to what is present in "the left-wing blogosphere and MSNBC's evening line-up."
Sadly, this angry, militant, intolerant style, depending upon what happens on November 4, could be "the culture of important political institutions in Washington."
So wrote former Bush speechwriter David Frum in a Washington Post article to be published Sunday (emphasis added, h/t Hot Air, photo courtesy Film Reference):
CNBC's Maria Bartiromo on Thursday excitedly told viewers that an intra-day rally which had brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average from down about 275 to up over 170 was caused by rumors that the presidential race had tightened.
I wonder if these rumors will get reported by Obama-loving press members.
With about fifteen minutes to go in the trading session, the camera found a suddenly happy Bartiromo on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange gleefully saying the following (file photo):
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed the congressional races with the editor of the liberal New Republic magazine, Michael Crowley, and asked: "Now, if the Democrats get to 60 seats, as they hope to, what would be significant about that?" Crowley replied: "...in the Senate the other -- the opposition can filibuster. And if you have 60 votes you can basically tell them to 'shut up and we're going to pass our bill, sit down.' So 60 votes is the magic number because the opposition, if they have 41, can draw things out and prevent you from passing a bill so 60 is a magic number and it's one Democrats are really hoping they can get..." Rodriguez never identified Crowley’s liberal leanings and Thursday’s segment marks his forth appearance on the Early Show since July, always depicted as a neutral political analyst.
Throughout the segment, Rodriguez highlighted possible seats that Democrats could gain: "In North Carolina, a seat that's been held by -- for 36 years by a Republican, could be in danger of going to a Democrat, right?" Crowley replied: "It's a sign of the kind of year we're in...North Carolina is becoming a more Democratic state. Democratic registration has just really exploded, outpacing Republicans...there's a lot of Democratic energy in that state right now." Rodriguez moved on to Kentucky: "Kentucky, red state through and through. John McCain will probably get it, but not necessarily Mitch McConnell, who's been there for two decades." Crowley responded: "McConnell, I think maybe seen as tied to the Bush Administration, helping them shepard some of their things through. Supported the bailout bill, which his colleague from Kentucky opposed. He's being tied to special interests. So really dramatic race there."
Spreading the WordAs we reported earlier, former Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings drops one rhetorical bomb after another on the media in a new article for GQ magazine. All of them reinforcing what we already knew, best summarized by Hastings himself: the press's "objectivity is a fallacy."
It has been a horrendous year for the media's credibility, and Hastings's statements only make it worse. "If (it) sounds like I had some trouble being ‘objective,' I did. Objectivity is a fallacy. In campaign reporting more than any other kind of press coverage, reporters aren't just covering a story, they're a part of it-influencing outcomes, setting expectations, framing candidates-and despite what they tell themselves, it's impossible to both be a part of the action and report on it objectively."
Hastings is utterly derisive of both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator and Presidential nominee John McCain, both of whom he covered during the Republican primary. He in fact dreamed repeatedly of doing Giuliani harm as some sort of warped civic duty.
The NBC/MSNBC family of networks has been getting maximum mileage out of Chris Matthews's interview of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) last week. Matthews himself has been recycling clips ever since. This morning, David Gregory narrated a Today show segment about the interview and its aftermath. The only journalist whose views Gregory aired were those of Nick Coleman, columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
NICK COLEMAN: I think Michele Bachmann unfortunately is one of those politicians who doesn't understand the boundaries of common sense and sometimes common decency.