Like MSNBC, CNN was most enthused about Illinois Senator Barack Obama's announcement today. Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley was dispatched to Springfield to cover the event. She reported Obama "obviously is the only post baby boomer to be running in this race at this point."
Since the baby boom period is commonly defined as the years 1946 through 1964, and Mr. Obama was born in 1961, this doesn't appear accurate. Still, a minor point like that wasn't going to dampen the excitement.
Anchor T.J. Holmes spoke of Obama's "rock star status in politics like maybe it hasn't been seen before or hasn't been seen in a while." Anchor Betty Nguyen chimed in: "And the thing, too, that we really want to note, T.J., is look at all of the people who have turned out to be there during today's announcement. History is being made today, and Barack Obama is doing it his way."
Regular readers know I'm not in the habit of choosing unflattering screencaps, but sometimes devotion to accurately portraying the tenor of an event demands it. Which it does in spades in conveying the vituperation unleashed on MSNBC today in an exchange over the Edwards blogger brouhaha between Dem strategist Julie Roginsky and GOP strategist Brad Blakeman.
Words don't come close to doing justice to the Roginksy vitriol. I urge you to view the video here.
Roginsky began the conversation by asserting that Edwards did the right thing in retaining the two bloggers with a history of making outrageous anti-Catholic statements, as detailed here. She called it a "pragmatic political decision."
Ron Reagan put his ballet background to use this evening, bending over backwards to avoid admitting the obvious: that the Edwards bloggers are anti-Catholic bigots. Appearing on Hardball, Reagan was matched against one of my personal favorites among conservative commentators: Terence Jeffrey of Human Events.
Asked by host Chris Matthews whether John Edwards should retain the controversial bloggers, Reagan responded:
"Yes, absolutely. If John Edwards had folded, everybody on the right would have known that John Edwards can be put in a defensive crouch."
Jeffrey: "Ron, did you actually read what they wrote?"
Reagan: "Yes I did. I did read."
Jeffrey: "Is it not anti-Catholic bigotry, Ron?"
Reagan: "I don't know what was on their mind. I can't give you a yes or no because I can't read their mind."
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' inflammatory new campaign bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan will be retained by the campaign after making public apologies for past postings that were controversial, to put it mildly. In a surprise, the New York Times played the story on Friday's front page, albeit under the mild headline "Edwards Learns Campaign Blogs Can Cut 2 Ways").
Marcotte is notorious for a January 7 post on the Duke lacrosse "rape" case, one she later eliminated after it became an issue after her hiring: "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."
This week, Chris Matthews' anti-Bush bigotry spilled over into a profanity laden rant. The "Hardball" host dropped the F-bomb during a live interview with Don Imus.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Paula Zahn connected opposition of illegal immigration to, you guessed it, the Ku Klux Klan. This is the same network, however, that tried to downplay proven religious bigotry by a blogger for the John Edwards campaign.
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spent the week in Syria. She let the despotism of President Bashar Assad go mostly unchallenged.
During other segments, Sawyer chose to ask him about video games and whether he uses an iPod.
CNN isn't the only media outlet reporting on the anti-religious John Edwards campaign bloggers in a painfully incomplete manner. Howard Kurtz carved out a little space deep in today's Washington Post Style section (on page C-7) for a story headlined "John Edwards Keeps Controversial Bloggers." Although bloggers on both sides are identified by labels, there's no ideological "liberal" or "feminist" label used for the Silky Pony's poison pens:
Former senator John Edwards said yesterday that while he is offended by some inflammatory remarks written by two bloggers before he hired them for his presidential campaign, he is keeping them on anyway.
John Edwards is retaining his attack-dog leftist bloggers. His campaign has a statement on the Edwards blog, and the candidate claimed "they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked."
As anyone who's read the Kathryn Lopez smackdown on their blazing blog guns at Catholics (and Pope Benedict, the alleged dictator) knows, it's quite clear they intended to malign a faith. The subject emerged on CNN's The Situation Room Wednesday night, but the most disturbing part of the story appeared on screen. The graphic emphasized unproven allegations:
What? Kathryn's beginning made the vicious anti-Catholic flavor of Amanda Marcotte's blogging very clear:
As eager as they are to promote liberal politicians over conservative ones, the MSM is even more eager to promote the careers of black political figures who happen to be liberal. Black conservatives like Michael Steele or Condoleezza Rice could instantly get 400% better press simply by putting a "D" next to their names.
The last time such media fatuousness was on display was during the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson who received press coverage good enough as if he had owned the papers who fawned over him. The emergence of Barack Obama as a Democratic presidential candidate has sent the same MSM into a tizzy as media outlets rush to shower him with praises. This latest journalistic pack-patronizing is especially odd since Obama has basically no political record and very little in the way of accomplishments.
One does not have to be of the conservative bent to notice that the press has gone off the deep end here. Timothy Noah, a liberal writer who works at the left-leaning Slate ezine, has started a series called "The Obama Messiah Watch" highlighting ridiculous media coverage of Illinois's junior senator. Read his latest edition here, as well as the firsttwo.
On Sunday’s "Late Edition," CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer conducted a syrupy interview with consumer advocate and frequent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Blitzer allowed the former Green Party standard-bearer to once again promote left-wing PBS host Bill Moyers for President in 2008. The CNN anchor also gushed over Nader’s new work of non-fiction, "The 17 Traditions," a liberal tome about rasing families. Blitzer described it as a "beautiful book with a lot of emotion." But first, he prompted Nader to plug the Moyers for President campaign:
Wolf Blitzer: "Here's what you wrote back in October on Bill Moyers, the PBS commentator: ‘Moyers brings impressive credentials beyond his knowledge of the White House, congressional complexes. As millions of viewers and readers over the decades know, Bill Moyers is unusually articulate and authentic in evaluating the unmet necessities and framing the ignored solutions in our country.’ You'd like him to run for president?"
Ralph Nader: "Very much. I got a great response to that column."
Blitzer: "What -- What response did you get from Bill Moyers?"
"Hardball" host Chris Matthews lurched even further off the deep end on Wednesday’s "Imus in the Morning." After praising the “great job” Rudy Giuliani did in cleaning up New York City — which Matthews again suggested was done with just “a pinch” of "fascism" — the MSNBC star went on a rant declaring how he’s “sick of southern guys with ranches running this country.”
Losing control, Matthews dropped the F-bomb on national television: “I want a guy to run for President who doesn’t have a fucking — I’m sorry, a ranch.” As host Don Imus began to snicker, Matthews plowed ahead with his Democratic talking points: “Wouldn’t that be good, Don, a guy who wasn’t on the ranch during Katrina, he was on the street corner answering questions?”
In a flagrant instance of intellectual dishonesty, Media Matters, which might be considered the liberal alter ego of NB, edited Chris Matthews' "fascist" slur of Rudy Giuliani out of its account of yesterday's Hardball.
As I noted here, on yesterday's show, Matthews, discussing Rudy with former congresswoman Susan Molinari, had this exchange:
Matthews: "He got the pee smell out of the phone booths in New York.
Even phone booths that aren't booths, they're just a place to make a
phone call, had that smell about them before. I think I've been to New
York enough times -- he did clean up that atmosphere in New York."
Molinari: "You bet he did. He stopped making excuses for people. . . "
Matthews, interrupting: "Was he a little bit of a fascist?"
On Monday’s Today co-host Matt Lauer interviewed 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards about the Iraq War and his healthcare plan. Lauer did asks some tough questions such as challenging Edwards’s call for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq within the next 18 months. Lauer read the National Intelligence Estimate, which said that would be a disaster, and he asked "so why are you right and why is an intelligence estimate, that’s basically a compilation of the best ideas of 16 intelligence groups in this country, wrong?"
However, Lauer offered some praise for this liberal former Senator. When Edwards painted a grim situation in Iraq, Matt Lauer exclaimed "I applaud your honesty." At the end of the interview Lauer showed his love for Edwards when he stated, "you’re a superstar as well." The entire transcript is below.
There's nothing like the day an Italian-American Republican moves toward announcing his presidential candidacy for musing as to whether he might have a whiff of fascism about him. As reported here, Rudy Giuliani inched closer to running for president today by filing a so-called "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission, indicating that he would seek the presidency as a Republican should he decide to go forward.
Chris Matthews had Rudy supporter and former congresswoman Susan Molinari as a guest on this afternoon's Hardball. In the course of discussing the way in which Rudy managed to clean up NYC, Matthews and Molinari had the following exchange:
There's no denying that the recently-released National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is anything but rosy. But the key question is 'where do we go from here?' The answer, for every one of the Dem presidential contenders, is 'home,' at varying rates of speed. In editorializing on the NIE report, don't you think, then, that it would have been appropriate for the New York Times to mention what the report foresaw as the result of a hasty withdrawal?
But the Times had better things to do with its ink, spending most of its editorial spinning the recent military success in Najaf in the most negative possible terms. In doing so, the Gray Lady ignored this key aspect of the report, as described here by CNN:
"The estimate also makes it clear, however, that simply walking away from Iraq may even be worse. If the U.S. makes a 'rapid withdrawal' from Iraq, a move many Democratic lawmakers have called for, the estimate said it could lead to the collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces, potentially plunging the country into a chaotic situation marked by "extreme ethno-sectarian violence with debilitating intra-group clashes."
To ignore this key conclusion, which goes to the heart of the debate raging in Washington today, is no mere negligence on the Times' part. It is nothing short of a journalistic fraud perpetrated on its readers. Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not that there was ever much doubt where Tim Russert aligns, but it was nice to get concrete confirmation on today's Meet the Press. Grilling John Edwards over his vote to authorize the war and his expression of support for it as late as 2004, Russert pointed out that Obama had staked out a firmly anti-Iraq war position before the conflict began.
Russert displayed a two-part graphic of Obama's 2002 statement, which concluded with the words: "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars."
Russert then shot at Edwards: "His judgment was on the money."
Does Chris Matthews know something about what Bill Clinton's been up to, so to speak?
Not once, not twice, but no fewer than 12 times in under two minutes on Friday's Hardball, Matthews raised the question of whether the former president would "behave himself," not cause "distractions" with his "private life," etc. Chris' guest was Hillary confidant and campaign aide Ann Lewis, who is also sister to Rep. Barney Frank.
As NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein reported, Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting, talked about a Hugo Chavez-like plan to take profits away from America’s oil companies for a “strategic energy fund.” At the same event, Hillary was heckled by the crowd for her position on the Iraq war.
Think that might be covered by the broadcast networks during their evening news programs tonight?
Hillary has let her sticky fingers show again. Will the MSM pay attention?
We're all familiar with her statement from 2004: "the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
Speaking today at the DNC's winter meeting, she let that same Hillary-knows-best side show:
"The other day the oil companies recorded the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits. And I want to put them into a strategic energy fund that will begin to fund alternative smart energy, alternatives and technologies that will actually begin to move us in the direction of independence.
Sometimes, a line just jumps out of a transcript. To me, this is just a Line of the Week. On Thursday's GMA, George Stephanopoulos was assessing the fallout from Sen. Joe Biden describing Barack Obama as "clean" and "articulate." In trying to explain how it helped Obama, George declared: "He was doing poorly among the African American community because a lot of them didn't know he was black."
Here's the line with more context around it:
Roberts: "But who's counting?" But with a woman, a Hispanic, an African American in the race, is this just the beginning of a really charged race?"
When it comes to the subject of global warming, members of the media have lost all restraint. CNN’s Larry King nervously wondered if climate change might "really kill us all?" Could it "submerge cities like New York and Washington and San Francisco under floods from melting Arctic ice caps?" Not to be outdone, "Good Morning America’s" weatherman warned of the dire threat of global warming. The next day, an ABC graphic fretted, "Will billions diefrom global warming?"
For anyone that questioned whether "Newsweek" is biased, public appearances by the magazine’s top staffers should answer the question. Editor Jon Meacham suggested that President Bush is outside "reality." "Newsweek" columnist Anna Quindlen recently debunked the "myth" that Hillary Clinton is a liberal.
After avoiding politics the previous day, the ladies on Thursday's The View seemingly compensated for their lost time. Joy Behar led the way first calling for more political speeches at the Oscars, then cheered for Gore’s nomination, apologized for Joe Biden, Rosie said she’d never run for office, and took the solemnity of a political columnist’s death to attack President Bush.
Barbara Walters returned from Los Angeles where she interviewed some Oscar nominees for her upcoming Academy Awards special. Joy Behar wants more nominees to shove their opinions on all Americans.
Joy Behar: "I pray that somebody is controversial and assertive. I pray it. Because, it’s so tedious otherwise, you know. Thank you, thank you, my piano teacher. Who cares? Say something political and interesting."
In our continuing calvalcade of coverage of the Biden "clean and articulate" comments, we thought it would be interesting to see how three of the leading liberal newspapers treated the story on their respective front pages this morning.
At the New York Times, the headline on the smallish front-page article brought a dash of downplaying humor to the story: "Biden Unwraps His Bid for ’08 With an Oops!"
But that was better than nothing - which was exactly how much coverage the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times devoted to the story on their front pages.
Now, you might cut the Globe some slack since Beantown was focused on the Turner Broadcasting System marketing stunt for a Cartoon Network television show that littered the city with small battery-powered light screens, igniting fears of terrorism and shutting down much of the city for the day. Even so, the Globe editors found room on the front page for a variety of other stories including one on a pol caught in a sick leave scandal.
Does Barack Obama have a thick enough skin to survive another nineteen months of constant media attention and scrutiny on the presidential campaign trail?
An article by the Washington Post’s Mary Ann Akers has to make one wonder (emphasis mine throughout):
Sources tell The Sleuth that the Obama camp has "frozen out" Fox News reporters and producers in the wake of the network's major screw-up in running with the erroneous Obama-the-jihadist story reported by Insight magazine.
Please tell us more, Sleuthy. As you might imagine given the subject matter, we're all ears:
The ABC and CBS evening newscasts on Wednesday night carried full stories on the racially-tinged remarks by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, but only NBC’s David Gregory reminded viewers of how Biden “has made indelicate remarks before.” In an interview with the New York Observer published Wednesday, Biden said of competing candidate Barack Obama: “You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
In his piece, which led the NBC Nightly News, Gregory recalled: “Biden, who admits he has a tendency to bloviate, has made indelicate remarks before. Last year speaking about Indian-Americans:” Viewers saw video from C-SPAN, of Biden in a crowd, dated June 17, 2006: “You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” Gregory then noted: “Biden's first presidential run twenty years ago was undone after evidence emerged that he plagiarized a speech from a British politician, Neil Kinnock.”
This is amusing for it's total ridiculousness. In the AP story about upcoming Senate campaign of Al Franken, the soon to be ex-Air America ranter and supposed comedian, AP seems to have forgotten to mention he is a liberal.
And the long piece gives no hint of Franken's leanings until the last line of the report: Long AP Version
And even the long piece does not state Franken's leftist positioning as a fact, but couches it as the claim of a political science professor. And they don't even introduce the label until the very last paragraph of a ten paragraph story.
I'm feeling a lot of love out there. Directed by the MSM toward Joe Biden, that is, for having called Barack Obama the first "clean" and "articulate" black presidential candidate. Earlier this evening, as noted here, Chris Matthews, joined by MSMers Jay Carney and Anne Kornblut, cut Biden mucho slack.
The forgive-a-thon continued on Countdown. First, Keith Olbermann declared Biden's comments "a slip." Washington Poster Dana Milbank then got into the evening's understanding zeitgeist, assuring us that "nobody sees Joe Biden as a racist."
Olbermann spun a theory that "the conservative media establishment" including "bloggers" who are "doing a lot of Biden bashing today" are motivated not by outrage over Biden's comments but by "a desire to inflict damage on a Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."
Let's play one of our favorite parlor games: "WIARHSI?" You know: "What if a Republican Had Said It?" In today's game, let's imagine what would happen if a Republican presidential candidate had said that Barack Obama was the first "clean" and "articulate" African-American presidential candidate?
Which paper would be first to call for the Republican's withdrawal from the race: the NY Times, Boston Globe, WaPo, other?
How soon until Jesse Jackson, Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton turned up on TV to be asked how they felt about being insulted in this way?
How many hours of MSM musing over the GOP's "history of racial insensitivity"; how many replays of Trent Lott making his statement about Strom Thurmond, of George Allen's 'macaca' moment, etc., would we be subjected to over the ensuing week?
How long until the hapless Republican did indeed withdraw from the race?
But when it's a Democrat . . . count on Chris Matthews, for one, to circle the wagons.
Matthews had Anne Kornblut of the Washington Post and Jay Carney of Time magazine in as guests. The trio didn't even broach the Biden comments until a full ten minutes into their gab fest, after batting around a number of other issues. How long would Chris have waited to launch had it been a Republican on the hot seat?
On Tuesday night's Hardball, Howard Fineman saw Hillary's joke about "bad and evil men" as a "brilliant" way to "gently" push Bill Clinton aside. MSNBC's Chris Matthews brought on Newsweek's Fineman and The Hotline's Chuck Todd to analyze whether or not Hillary Clinton was, indeed, referring to the former President and if so, if that was some sort of strategy on her part. Fineman postulated it was Hillary's way of telling the nation if she's moved on than so should the country. To which Matthews exclaimed: "You should be her flack, because that is the message she should have come out with."
The following discussion occurred on the January 30th edition of Hardball.
Chris Matthews: "Let me ask you this. Hillary's joke, who was the butt of the joke? She tells this big joke, 'I'm used to dealing with bad and evil men. I can take on Osama bin Laden.' And she's doing it kind of a girl talk kind of, I wish it wasn't all guys here. What was she doing? What was that about?"