Sen. Barack Obama visited Los Angeles yesterday (Tuesday, February 20, 2007), and the Los Angeles Times wanted to make sure that everyone knew about it. Check out the huge, 38-square-inch, full-color, awash-in-red-white-and-blue, front-page photo on the cover of the Times today. (See it here; btw, I had to reduce the size to fit the page.) Good grief! Oh, yeah. There is yet another flattering photo of Obama inside on page A12; the black-and-white photo of the senator surrounded by fans is very generous as well, covering a large 35 square inches.
One simple question: Can you imagine the Times giving such a fawning, glowing treatment to a McCain, Giuliani, Romney, or Brownback? I didn't think so.
We have reported on the Times' ongoing love affair with Barack Obama and its disparate treatment so far in the 2008 campaign here, here, here, here, here, and here.
On the Wednesday edition of "Good Morning America," ABC correspondent Jake Tapper reported on the power of Hollywood in presidential politics and the pitfalls of accepting celebrity support. However, while GMA found the time to gush over Barack Obama’s celebrity status, going so far as to include a graphic of an Oscar statue with Obama’s head on it, Tapper didn’t mention that Hollywood’s fund-raising is almost exclusively for liberals and Democrats:
Chris Cuomo: "Now, to the power of Hollywood on presidential politics. Candidate Barack Obama raked in $1.3 million by going Hollywood. It's a deep pocket that more and more are trying to reach into. Here's senior national correspondent Jake Tapper."
Jake Tapper: "Last night, at the Beverly Hills Hilton, the stars came out for another million dollar affair, honoring a thin, statuesque idol of color. No, not Oscar, Obama. Barack Obama."
Actor George Clooney: "He's the most charismatic person I've been in a room with in a long time."
Having gotten myself and others into a spot of bother when I wondered awhile ago whether there might have been some "trickeration" involved in an image appearing on Hillary's campaign website, far be it from me to suggest that there's anything altered in the photo displayed here. It turned up today in a Clinton fundraising email I received. Yes, I'm a duly member-registered member at HillaryClinton.com.
But I do believe the photo raises another issue. Chris Matthews recently and repeatedly raised concerns that Bill's failure to "behave" could cause problems for Hillary's campaign. Hillary has now chosen an image making an implicit statement about the nature of her relationship with Bill. Since she has put the matter on the table, will the MSM do anything to verify -- or debunk -- the photo's unstated but unmistakable suggestion?
Interviewing Barack Obama's senior strategist, David Axelrod, Chris Matthews made a pitch to get Obama on his Hardball College Tour. On last night's edition of the show, Matthews made this syrupy plea to Axelrod: "I think it's a great, it's a great platform for a guy who, clearly, according to my kids, and maybe me too, the kid in me, appeals to the youth of America and the young at heart."
The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the February 19th edition of MSNBC’s Hardball.
Matthews: "Let me ask you, David Axelrod, let me just try to make a proposition to you. On behalf of our producers here and everybody that works at MSNBC, we would like a lot to have your candidate, Barack Obama, to sit, the junior senator from Illinois be our guest, our special guest on a town meeting with college students at some college, perhaps, of his choice. Certainly a good college. And we'd love him in the round with the students for an hour, like we did with John McCain and we've done with other candidates, including Hillary Clinton in the past, and, and Rudy Giuliani and the others. We've tried to get everybody. We would really like to get Barack Obama. You don't have to answer today."
On the February 19th edition of Paula Zahn Now, guest host Kyra Phillips, well known for her restroom comments, confused Senator Barack Obama with the world’s most wanted terrorist. When interviewing African American film maker John Ridley on Obama’s standing in the black community, Phillips posed this question.
Kyra Phillips: "What do you think is Osama bin - is, is Obama - boy that was a terrible slip of the tongue, right? Barack Obama, is he that new leader?"
CNN confused the two before. As newsbuster Scott Whitlock noted, a graphic on The Situation Room asked "where’s Obama?" next to a picture of Osama bin Laden.
Chris Wallace asked about the 2008 presidential race: "We asked people who under no circumstances would they vote for, and you came in second on that dubious list at 64 percent, behind Ralph Nader, but far ahead of everyone else. And I should add 44 percent of Republicans said they would not vote for you. Why do you think that so many voters say Newt Gingrich, forget it?"
Gingrich answered: "Well, there was a column written by Brent Bozell recently about Nancy Pelosi becoming speaker and me becoming speaker. And he contrasted the initial media coverage of the two of us. And if you go back and look, you know, I had a — Time magazine savaged me as Scrooge who stole Tiny Tim's broken crutch — didn't just steal the crutch. I broke it, on the cover of Time. Newsweek had me as the Grinch that stole Christmas. I was a Dr. Seuss figure."
Are you a conservative? Someone who historically has harbored, shall we say, a decided aversion to the former First Lady turned senator and presidential candidate? Do you find that in recent times your feelings toward Hillary have undergone a change? Do you perhaps see her in a more kindly light?
'Today' ran an unusual segment this morning suggesting that, indeed, conservatives may be "softening on Hillary." With David Gregory narrating, we were first treated to the bad old days. Hillary, as shown here, making her infamous "vast right wing conspiracy" accusation to Matt Lauer back in 1998. A clip from The Clinton Chronicles, which spun the darkest theories about the Clintons.
Liberated by her firing-qua-resignation, ex-John Edwards blogger Amanda Marcotte has reverted to form: using vulgarity to insult her political opponents. On a whim I thought I'd check in at Marcotte's site, Pandagon, and wasn't surprised to find her slurring Michelle Malkin, with shots at Ann Coulter and the two leading conservative women's organizations thrown in for good measure.
Marcotte decided to respond to an inquiry from a poster she labelled a troll who had written: "does it bother you that one of the major architects of your demise was herself a strong woman, Michelle Malkin?"
That set Marcotte off on this tirade that included these gems of logic and literary flair [editing mine; unexpurgated vulgarity in the original]:
"I do want to address this false premise that someone like Malkin is a 'strong woman' Women who kow-tow to male dominance by aggressively attacking women who actually do rebel against oppression can expect to have sexist men blow this particular 'strong woman' smoke up their --- all the time. It means nothing. To the degree that these men mean it, they are mistaking a------ry for strength."
On the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," CNN political analyst Donna Brazile slammed 2008 presidential candidate John McCain as "cowardly" for his decision to skip the Senate’s non-binding vote on President Bush’s troop surge plan in Iraq. Brazile, who discussed the issue with host Wolf Blitzer and conservative commentator William Bennett, described the Arizona Senator’s decision as "an insult." She then proceeded to label the Vietnam veteran, who spent five and a half years in the "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp, as "cowardly" for not returning to Washington on Saturday for the vote:
Donna Brazile: "I think it's an insult not to come and show up for a vote. This is a very important debate. And, for Senator McCain, who has been a staunch supporter of the President's plan, he should come and put up or shut up. But to -- to run away from the debate, and to say that this is meaningless is -- is -- is, in my judgment, cowardly."
A very interesting piece by Louis Chude-Sokei is featured in the L.A.Times today, titled Redefining 'Black' and centered upon the question of Barack Obama's relative "blackness".
Some of you may have noticed that Barack is not getting the automatic support from African American leaders that many assumed he would get since throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for the presidency and Mr. Chude-Sokei makes an effort to inform us as to why this might be true. Unfortunately, while it has a few good points it misses the mark in too many ways.
The main point, according to Chude-Sokei, is that Obama isn't "black enough" to get the support of the standing Black American leadership because of his White/Hawaiian/African (meaning NOT African American, but real African) heritage.
It might actually be worth the price of admission to Paul Krugman's column this morning to observe the amusing manner in which the New York Times columnist wriggles around in a trap of his own making regarding Hillary's vote to authorize the Iraq war. On the one hand, he wants her to apologize for it, and so must criticize her for not doing so. On the other, he hastens to make the limits of his criticism perfectly clear. He's not lumping her in with those awful, intransigent Republicans. Certainly not. Krugman wouldn't want to damage the presumptive Dem candidate . . . nor bring down The Wrath of the Clinton upon his hoary head.
And so Krugman spends most of his column, the ostensible purpose of which is to lament Hillary's inflexibility, lambasting Republicans for their unbending nature, all the while being careful to observe that Hillary is, well, perhaps a teeny bit like them -- but not too much, mind you!
President Bush and VP Cheney are "pathologically incapable of owning up to mistakes."
"Karl Rove turned refusal to admit error into a political principle."
"George Bush . . . suffer[s] from an infallibility complex."
"Dick Cheney is a 'megalomaniac.'"
"Senator John McCain . . . appears to share the Bush administration’s habit of rewriting history to preserve an appearance of infallibility."
"As for Rudy Giuliani, there are so many examples of his inability to accept criticism that it’s hard to choose."
Sometimes it’s better to stay in bed and not bother reading the newspaper or watching the political talk shows. This Sunday sadly started out that way as I unfortunately happened upon a Los Angeles Times front-page article entitled “GOP Activists Circling Clinton's Campaign.”
Frankly, the author and the paper’s editors should be ashamed of themselves for placing such biased tripe so prominently in a Sunday edition.
Alas, there it was in all its glory, basically talking about a proverbial vast right-wing conspiracy to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes (emphasis mine throughout):
Neal Gabler called Media Research Center "liars" on this evening's Fox News Watch. The accusation against NewsBusters' parent organization came in the course of a discussion of media coverage of Mitt Romney's announcement of his presidential candidacy.
As Congress debates nonbinding resolutions to rebuke President Bush’s troop surge in Iraq, and Democrat candidates for president move further and further to the left on this issue, an immutable fact about the press is becoming more and more apparent: no media outlet dares to completely challenge Hillary Clinton concerning her October 2002 vote in favor of the war resolution.
A fine example of what should be asked of the junior senator from New York occurred on Friday’s “Real Time” when host Bill Maher posed the following to John Edwards (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated, forward to 4:30):
Interviewing anti-war Senator Russ Feingold this morning, Good Morning America weekend co-host Bill Weir offered his interpretation of the mid-term election results and virtually taunted Democrats for being insufficiently aggressive in confronting President Bush:
"Do you hold your party responsible, not only for the authorization, but for the seeming inability to muster a unified front to fight the president on this, to get what you want, and apparently what the American people wanted with the mid-term elections, and end the war?"
The Los Angeles Times readily admits that Gov. Mitt Romney is "one of three top-tier candidates" for the GOP nomination. However, when Romney made his official announcement of his presidential bid this past week, the paper did not shower the candidate with the same love they did his Democratic counterparts. "Romney officially launches campaign," from the Wednesday, February 14, 2007, edition of the Times, was shuttled to page A17 with a moderate 747 words. Two medium-sized color photos accompanied the piece.
The Times managed to squeeze the word "conservative" into the coverage on Romney three times, noting that the former governor "hewed closely to conservative orthodoxy in his announcement speech."
I'm just getting to the February 19 editions of the news magazines today. The objective? Did they report on the vulgar anti-Christian and anti-Catholic blogs of the now-retired feminist John Edwards bloggers? Not with any specifics. Each papered over the controversy.
Time's Massimo Calabresi devoted his story to the trouble with campaign bloggers and how their "bravado can backfire." In reporting on bloggers for McCain and Hillary as well for Edwards, Calabresi quoted Amanda Marcotte's snarky comments about how guilty the Duke lacrosse players were, but not her giggling over the idea of aborting Jesus after she was filled with the "hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit" so Christians would have to find another "ancient mythology" to excuse their hatred for women:
You would think an anchor for a network morning news show would relish the opportunity to tag Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with hard-hitting questions but that wasn't the case for NBC's Meredith Vieira. On CNBC's Conversations with Michael Eisner, Vieira revealed that before her interview with the former First Lady she was "nervous." The Today co-host said "everybody" warned her she was a "tough" interview, so when Vieira first met Clinton backstage she felt the need to disarm the presidential contender with the following "tough" question: "My son probably will go to Georgetown are you prepared to take care of him when he's down there?"
A look back at the December 18th interview shows Vieira asked mostly softball questions like: "Why wouldn't you run for President? I mean, the polls indicate that if you did run, you're the front runner." However Vieira did manage to overcome her nervousness when it came to challenging Hillary from the left on her Iraq war vote: "You refuse to say it was a mistake. Why?"
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," Diane Sawyer, who has previously asked Senator Barack Obama if America is secretly ‘more racist or sexist,’ introduced a story on the issue of the 2008 presidential election and race. The ABC co-host prefaced the issue by mentioning that some African American leaders are not supporting the Illinois politician because they think the U.S. isn’t ready to vote for a black candidate.
According to Sawyer, this is creating a spotlight on questions about race and "what Americans really feel inside." Correspondent Jake Tapper continued this "Is America racist?" theme by citing a vague statistic, which was given no attribution, that 15 percent of white voters say they’d vote for a black person, but, in truth, "never, ever would":
Diane Sawyer: "Well, the 2008 presidential race turns out to be turning a spotlight on questions about race and what Americans really feel inside. Senator Barack Obama is watching black political leaders throw support to Hillary Clinton. And why? They have said publicly, they don't think America is ready to elect a black candidate. ABC's senior political correspondent Jake Tapper has more on this counter-intuitive event. Jake?"
Jake Tapper: "Good morning, Diane. Well, 84 percent of Americans say a candidate being black would not effect their vote one way or the other. But, the dirty little secret, what some experts call the 15 percent lie, the 15 percent of white voters who tell pollsters they'd be willing to vote for a black candidate, but in the privacy of the polling place, never, ever actually would."
What happens when a noted politician announces he’s running for President? Well, in the case of conservative Republican Mitt Romney, CBS’ "Early Show" gives the story a scant ten seconds. But what if that candidate is Democrat Barack Obama? Well, then the same program devotes over nine minutes of coverage! (For those keeping count: A 54: 1 advantage for the Democrat.)
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America’s" Diane Sawyer continued her Dictator ‘07 tour. She portrayed the authoritarian Syria as a pro family, welfare paradise.
Later in the week, Sawyer asked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, noted Holocaust denier, how often he cries.
As NewsBuster Matt Sheffield reported Wednesday, Fox News will be introducing a new comedy this coming Sunday called “The Half Hour News Hour.” FNC previewed another segment (h/t Hot Air) with Rush Limbaugh as the new president in January 2009.
It appears that Limbaugh won after another “bitter recount,” and the loser, Howard Dean, is now “finally getting the medical attention he has so desperately needed for so long.”
His vice president, Ann Coulter, informed viewers that if they don’t watch the show, “We will invade your countries, kill your leaders, and convert you to Christianity.”
The New York Times political blog "The Caucus" and editor Kate Phillips seemed to sympathize with two bloggers, Andrea Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, who recently quit the John Edwards campaign after coming under fire for bigoted, irresponsible, and vulgar statements they'd written on their own blogs in the past.
In every electoral cycle, the liberal media informs us that the Democratic Party will fight fiercely for the votes of religious Americans and refute the ugly, even slanderous caricature that the Democrats are the party that mocks God, prayer, and everything most Americans hold dear.
And then, suddenly the alleged caricature has a name. Meet Amanda Marcotte.
Marcotte is a hater – to be precise, a hater of the Christian religion and how it apparently warps society with its oppressive myths. For some mysterious reason, John Edwards, just a few years removed from being inaccurately hailed by coddling correspondents as a Southern centrist balancing the John Kerry ticket, hired Marcotte as one of his official bloggers.
The novelty of the 2008 presidential campaign is the apparent necessity for every campaign to have an official blogger or two. The problem, it seems, is that Edwards never seemed to read – let’s hope he never read – a thing his sneering new employee wrote over a period of months. It was all summed up in one outrageous alleged joke from last summer:
It's one thing for Chip Reid or David Gregory to give Mitt Romney a hard time over his abortion position change, as I documented here and here. But on this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews took it to a fiery new level, and Pat Buchanan got into the act.
Matthews: "This is like the kind of conversions you had in Spain in the old bad days where if you were Jewish, you were Christian the next day or you were burned alive!"
The screencap shows Chris Matthews giving Pat an approving finger as the paleo-con posed and answered his own question:
"Do I believe these are sincere, honest conversions of Rudy or Romney? In my judgment, probably not. I think they're changing their positions for political reasons. And you either accept that or you take the alternative which may be Hillary Rodham Clinton."
For days, a New York City police officer, Cesar A. Borja, who died of lung disease last month, was held up as a symbol of the medical crisis affecting the thousands of emergency personnel and construction workers who labored on the smoking remains of the fallen World Trade Center after the 9/11 attack.
CNN’s Bill Schneider suddenly feels the resentment of foreign leaders preaching policy to Americans. Of course, it’s a conservative blasting a liberal U.S. politician. Australian Prime Minister John Howard explained why terrorists are rooting for Barack Obama.
Howard: "He’s a long way from being president of the United States. I think he’s wrong. I think that would just encourage those who want to completely destabilize and destroy Iraq and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory."
Senator Obama shot back
Obama: "I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of empty rhetoric.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney formally announced today that he would seek the Republican nomination for President, but one would hardly know this from watching CBS’s "Early Show." Romney’s candidacy received exactly ten seconds worth of coverage, following stories on a Utah mall shooting, winter storms, and the ongoing soap opera of Anna Nicole Smith’s demise. However, on Saturday, when Illinois Senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy as a Democrat, CBS’s "Saturday Early Show" devoted 9 minutes and 9 seconds, (549 seconds) to this story, a greater than 54:1 bias.
On the "Saturday Early Show," CBS aired at least one story on Barack Obama in each of the first three half hours. Yet, the ten seconds they allotted to Governor Romney on Tuesday’s program, was buried in the 7:30 half hour at 7:37. Unlike CBS, both ABC and NBC on Tuesday devoted a full story to Governor Romney’s announcement, and NBC added an additional anchor brief, roughly comparable to the coverage they gave Obama on Saturday.
As we noted here, within minutes of Mitt Romney having announced his candidacy this morning, MSNBC, in the person of Chip Reid, branded him "far right."
David Gregory has now made it a one-two punch. A bit later on MSNBC, Gregory played clips from 1994 of Romney expressing pro-choice and pro-gay rights views. Noting Romney's subsequent change to a pro-life position, Gregory expressed this opinion, in the guise of a question, to his two MSM guests:
"With all respect to Governor Romney, is anybody really going to buy that, buy the timing of that, that that was some genuine change of heart?"
Words don't do justice to the contemptuousness of Gregory's tone. View the video here.
In Monday stories on World News and Nightline, ABC's Jake Tapper broached a subject few, if any, mainstream journalists have dared: How Senator Hillary Clinton's current claims that her 2002 vote on the Iraq resolution was not an endorsement of war do not match what she said in 2002. In the World News version of his story, Tapper pointed out how "a month before her vote on the Iraq War, she said this:" Viewers then heard Clinton on the September 15, 2002 Meet the Press: "I can support the President. I can support an action against Saddam Hussein because I think it's in the long-term interests of our national security." But, Tapper noted, "Now, she says this:" He ran a clip of her in Berlin, New Hampshire on Saturday: "I gave him authority to send inspectors back in to determine the truth, and I said this is not a vote to authorize preemptive war."
Everyone remembers how on the day Barack Obama announced his presidential candidacy, the MSM was awash with stories of how he is on the "far left" of social issues. Or not.
Not only does Obama support partial birth abortion, as an Illinois state senator he twice voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. Read the disturbing details here. Though Obama's record clearly puts him to the extreme port side of the political spectrum on social issues, I challenge readers to cite any MSM description of Obama as "far left."
But it's a whole different MSM ball-game when it comes to labelling Republicans. Literally within minutes of his official announcement this morning, MNSBC applied the "far right" tag to Mitt Romney. MSNBC host Chip Reid's had as his guest to kibitz on the announcement former Wonkette Ana Marie Cox, who according to her Wikipedia entry was once an editor of an online Marxist magazine.