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?"
If only Joe Biden had seized the moment with one brilliant burst of brevity . . .
This morning on GMA, Biden had the chance to turn his presidential candidacy announcement into a funny, feel-good moment that would have won him untold millions in free coverage. Sadly, the senator from Delaware couldn't resist his proclivity to pontificate.
Diane Sawyer had the scoop: Joe Biden appeared on this morning's Good Morning America to make it official -- he's running for president.
First came the obligatory questions about Iran and Iraq. Diane next tried lure Biden into expanding on his statement that Hillary's nostrums for Iraq would be a "disaster." Biden wouldn't bite: "I have great respect for Hillary Clinton . . . she is fully qualified to be president . . . She is a first-rate person."
Biden similarly declined to rise to Sawyer's bait about Obama's inexperience, responding: "This guy's incredible. He's fresh, he's new, he's got great ideas."
Talk then turned to Biden's Achilles heel: his famed motor mouth. Sawyer: "The Washington Post says your friends have told you that you have to learn to 'put a sock in it' and not talk so much, and that you're taking their recommendation to heart."
Biden launched into a 93-word response in which claimed he was taking his friends' advice to heart, but in the same breath added that "if it takes more than three minutes" to give an answer, he's going to do it.
Imagine if in response to Diane's question, Biden, after a pregnant pause, had let his entire answer be a big, smiling "yup!"
It would have been priceless, and splashed all over the media. But Joe just couldn't "hep" himself. Joe Biden: once again, victim of his own verbosity.
Hillary has to be nervous. At this juncture in the campaign, she’s being edged out in the Goo Primary. Her natural allies in the media suddenly are more adulatory toward Barack Obama – and more defensive of anyone who would dare question his exotic biography.
Insight magazine, a long-standing publication of The Washington Times Company, published a gossipy item with anonymous “Democratic Party” sources (they claimed some of them came from Hillary’s camp) that Obama had attended a madrassa, a radical Islamic school, in Indonesia as a child. The story was unproven, and should not have been published in its sorry condition.
When a NBC military analyst made the case that US withdrawal from Iraq would have very harmful consequences, you might have expected Meredith Vieira to argue the point. But not only did the NBC host seem to buy into his logic, she took it a significant step farther toward its logical conclusion.
Retired LTC Rick Francona was Meredith's guest on this morning's "Today." The appearance was sparked by reports that the US has amassed firm evidence that Iran is supplying a variety of weaponry to Shia militias in Iraq, including shoulder-fired missiles and sophisticated IEDs responsible for the deaths of many Americans. The screen graphic posed the question "Is U.S. Fighting Iran in Iraq?"
Francona made his thesis clear from the get-go: "We're in a power struggle with the Iranians over who's going to exercise influence in the future in Iraq, and they want to be that power. It's either us or them."
Vieira set the stage for her off-the-Dem-reservation remarks with this question: "So they're hoping if and when we leave Iraq they will fill the power vacuum that is left?"
Lynn Sweet has seen an angry Hillary up close and personal, and it left a mark, as you can see by the screen capture of Sweet describing that moment. You can't get much more mainstream than Sweet: D.C. bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist for The Hill, a weekly newspaper that covers the Congress, member of the National Press Club and the Gridiron Club.
Appearing on this afternoon's Hardball, Sweet was discussing the incident in which Hillary, in Iowa, jokingly referred to having experience with "evil men." The question naturally arose as to whether Hillary was alluding to Bill.
So imagine the look on my face when I picked up the Times this morning to see yet another fawning portrait of Obama today (Mon. Jan. 29, 2007)! This time, the piece is, "Occidental recalls 'Barry' Obama," placed prominently on the top of page B1 spanning 1,456 words. (See an image of the article.) Three photos, including one of a smiling, youthful Obama, accompany the piece. Need I even mention that the article is a pretty positive sketch of its subject?
CNN analyst, author, and former Clinton operative James Carville appeared on Monday’s "Good Morning America" and complained that journalists are too tough on Hillary Clinton. Referring to the comment made by the New York Senator and 2008 presidential candidate that she has experience dealing with "evil and bad men," Carville asserted that members of the media should be lauding her strong sense of humor. The Louisiana native also touted Mrs. Clinton’s nascent White House run, saying that it was the best campaign kick off ever. However, the CNN analyst became most animated when speaking of Hillary’s recent joke:
Diane Sawyer: "I want to turn to Iraq in a moment, but you mentioned sense of humor. So, who did you think she was talking about when she said that about bad men?"
James Carville: "You know– You know, journalists are funny. All you hear is, [Adopts whiney tone] 'Hillary don't have a sense of humor. She’s too cold. She does this and that.' And then, she cracks a joke, which, by the way which was a pretty funny joke. And they say, 'Well, look at this. Look at this.' You know? And I thought it was sophisticated, and the fact that she didn't answer it is an element of good humor. And I know her personally to be a very warm and humorous person and I was delighted to see that come out. Good joke, Senator. Way to go."
CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign trip to Iowa this past weekend "marked the first time any Clinton has ever campaigned in Iowa." Ms. Bowers, reporting in the 7:00 half hour of Monday’s "Early Show," should have researched the facts before making such a blanket assertion. According to a Nexis search, CNN reported on February 11, 1996 that then President Clinton was campaigning in Iowa, even though he had no primary opponent, to "solidify his support." And, a Nexis search on Hillary Clinton revealed that the New York Senator was the key note speaker at a Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner to raise funds for Iowa Democrats on November 15, 2003.
Ms. Bower’s report, while not necessarily biased, raises the question, is anyone at CBS doing research? One would think that in the wake of the Dan Rather "memogate" scandal in 2004, CBS journalists would be more cautious about what they report and would take the time to verify the accuracy of their claims.
Today's starter: Over the weekend, I went to the National Review Institute's first Conservative Summit where the 2008 presidential election was topic one. Several of the candidates were there including former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who in all likelihood announced his presidential candidacy on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
Largely lost in the MSM's focus on Hillary's laugh line in Iowa about her experience in dealing with evil men was something she said that was immeasurably more noteworthy. In one stunning, self-centered swoop, Hillary Clinton has transformed herself into an anti Iraq-war radical. The woman who voted to authorize the war now calls for the US, come hell or high water, to be out of Iraq by the end of President Bush's term. As per this report, here's how she put it in Iowa yesterday:
"I think it's the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it," she said, "this was his decision to go to war, he went with an ill-conceived plan, an incompetently executed strategy, and we should expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office."
The Los Angeles Times is continuing its fawning and glowing coverage of Democratic freshman Senator Barack Obama. Only 11 days ago, after Obama announced the formation of his presidential exploratory committee, the Times commemorated the event on the top of its front page with 1,469 words, a color text box, and photos (see this).
Yesterday (Sat. January 27, 2007), the Times published its latest adulatory piece, "Early on, Obama showed talent for bridging divisions." It was on the front page, and it featured a nice, smiling photo of a youthful Obama with more pics inside. (See an image of the piece.) It runs a generous 1,204 words, and let's just say the Obama camp won't be calling the Times to complain. It's a pretty sweet profile. ("Interviews with more than a dozen people associated with the law review, both liberals and conservatives, found no one who did not profess respect for Obama." You get the idea.)
Just when we were getting warm 'n fuzzy with Chatty Hillary of the living room couch, she went Mike Tyson on us.
Can you imagine the MSM's collective gasp of horror if a Republican presidential candidate threatened to punch out opponents? It would be a field day for the psychologists, as one after another would be paraded across TV screens to speculate on the subconscious roots of such hostility, and opine on the fitness for office of anyone harboring such pugilistic predilections. Lefty foreign policy mavens would be invited to fret over the way such knee-jerk aggression might lead us into war, etc.
But NBC raised nary an eyebrow when reporting on Hillary having uttered just such a threat during a campaign stop in Iowa yesterday. View video here.
Imagine if one of the leading Republican candidates for president in 2008 like John McCain or Rudy Giuliani had a civil lawsuit for campaign finance fraud pending against him. Do you think that the media would be following this action with every legal brief filed, and every breath uttered by anyone involved?
Well, there is a huge campaign finance fraud case pending against Hillary Clinton that was enacted by the largest contributor to the junior senator’s 2000 campaign almost three years ago, and the media couldn’t care less. Those looking for some background regarding this issue should read a comprehensive analysis of the subject published by the New Media Journal last March.
With that in mind, on January 11, a brief was filed concerning this action in the California Court of Appeals alleging criminal misconduct by the lady who would be president that no media outlet reported except for World Net Daily:
Push Poll: Definition: "A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. Push polls are generally viewed as a form of negative campaigning. The term is also sometimes used incorrectly to refer to legitimate polls which test political messages, some of which may be negative. Push polling has been condemned by the American Association of Political Consultants."
Melissa Russo, political reporter for NBC's NYC affiliate WNBC, recently followed Rudy Giuliani up to New Hampshire. In her report on this morning's "Today," Russo stressed that at a GOP campaign stop, Giuliani failed to inform the Granite State Republicans that "he's far from a social conservative."
As the 2008 campaign heats up, members of the mainstream media are having trouble deciding between their old favorite (Hillary) and the new flame (Obama). Both CNN and ABC leapt to the defense of Senator Barack Obama after he was accused of attending an Islamic madrassah as a child. (Of course, ABC once devoted an entire episode of "Nightline" to murky allegations that George W. Bush did coke as a younger man.)
But perhaps Obama should be a little worried. The "Early Show" demonstrated exactly why Hillary is still the media’s favorite. Over on MSNBC, Chris Matthews told Hillary Clinton that "ideologues on the right" were responsible for the death of her famous health care plan.
ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos asked another 2008 candidate, Bill Richardson, if, as president, he would please just raise taxes.
It's not uncommon for an interviewer to tell a guest offering orotund pronouncements that he's sounding "like a candidate." But Meredith Vieira took that one giant step further this morning, informing renegade Republican Chuck Hagel that he was sounding downright "presidential."
Of course, nothing sounds more presidential to an MSMer's ears than defeatist criticism of the war in Iraq and by extension of the current occupant of the White House. But when it came to the key question, Hagel, far from flashing presidential timber, equivocated like a garden-variety pol.
Vieira: "Senator, at this point, do you believe we are fighting and dying for nothing?"
Hagel immediately went into bob-and-weave mode: "Well, I think the Congress needs to take a look at it and each member of Congress needs to go on the record and need [sic] to address the issue in a very clear way so that they can go back to their constituents and say yes I either support an escalation to put 22,000 more troops in the middle of a sectarian civil war, or I don't."
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," ABC’s Jake Tapper continued the media’s campaign to defend Senator Barack Obama against charges that, as a young child living in Indonesia, he attended a madrassah, an Islamic school that teaches virulent anti-Americanism. Co-host Robin Roberts and Mr. Tapper alternatively referred to the charges as "smears," "dirty tricks" and "lies." According to a 1999 MRC Reality Check, ABC gave no such courtesy to then-Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush. On August 24 of that year, "Nightline" host Ted Koppel devoted an entire half hour episode to the unsubstantiated rumors that Bush used cocaine as a younger person. Obama, who has admitted trying cocaine as a teenager, was not asked about it in a January 24 GMA appearance. Here is Koppel’s explanation for the media’s interest in Bush’s youth:
Ted Koppel: "So here we are in this curious twilight in which [Bush] plainly acknowledges excessive use of alcohol until he turned 40, makes no claim of privacy in the area of marital infidelity, unlike some people we know he did not cheat on his wife, but leaves the question of youthful cocaine use ambiguously addressed with this assertion: I did make mistakes years ago."
-Nightline August 24, 1999
And here is the combined defense of Robert's introduction and Tapper's report on the January 25 "Good Morning America."
Robin Roberts: "Now, to the field of contenders, the presidential hopefuls who want President Bush's job. And the dirty tricks seem to have already begun. The target? Senator Barack Obama."
In discussing the resolution passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressing disagreement with President Bush, CBS’s "Early Show" only featured sound clips from senators who voted for the measure, including from Senator Chuck Hagel, the lone Republican on the panel to vote for it. There was no video of any of the nine Republicans who voted against the proposal. Though many of these nine oppose President Bush’s troop surge, they view a non-binding resolution to be the wrong tool to express this.
CNN’s "American Morning," however, recognized the differences of opinion on the panel. They aired footage of Indiana Senator and ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar, who opined:
Since her successful senatorial campaign in 2000, Hillary Clinton has enjoyed huge financial support from wealthy liberal Hollywoodans. However, a report posted at ABCNews.com suggests that some movie industry heavyweights are jumping off her bandwagon and onto Barack Obama’s (h/t Drudge):
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of Hollywood's movers and shakers received an invitation that they may find hard to refuse.
They've been invited to come meet Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's new superstar. He already has the buzz, but can he bring home the prize?
On Wednesday’s "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith pressed Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain on the war in Iraq and the president’s handling of it, but in a subsequent interview with Democratic presidential hopeful and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Smith only had softball questions. For instance, Smith wondered what Obama was thinking while he was listening to the president’s speech and what running for president has taught the Illinois Senator. Smith also neglected to question Obama regarding his inexperience.
Mr. Smith first talked with Senator McCain, and Smith spent much of the interview discussing Iraq. Given the tone of the interview, it seems unlikely that McCain will be the media sensation he was in 2000. During today’s segment, Smith first wondered if President Bush even deserved another chance on Iraq:
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a columnist at a liberal newspaper saying bad things about Democrats. In this case, it’s especially odd given that the targets of the disaffection were primarily media darlings Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
The battle of the cable news networks rages on, and gets funnier and funnier by the minute. In this latest installment, a Fox News spokesperson has deliciously disparaged one of CNN’s biggest stars.
As reported by the New York Times (emphasis mine throughout):
A Fox News spokeswoman, Irena Briganti, said CNN was mainly looking for publicity in attacking its higher-rated rival. Of Mr. Cooper’s comment, she said, “Yet another cry for attention by the Paris Hilton of television news, Anderson Cooper.”
What was this recent fracas about? You’ll never guess:
Q. How do you know a presidential candidate has thin national-security credentials?
A. When he has to cite his undergraduate major as evidence of his experience.
Barack Obama made the morning show rounds today. The amiable Robin Roberts interviewed him on ABC's Good Morning America. Inevitably, talk turned to his presidential prospects.
Roberts: "You're calling for a slight withdrawal of troops and I need to ask you this -- are you concerned that your lack of experience, when it comes to foreign policy, may hurt your chances in the run for the White House?" [Note Robin's apologetic "I need to ask you."]
Obama: "Well, actually, my experience in foreign policy is probably more diverse than most others in the field. I'm somebody who has actually lived overseas, somebody who has studied overseas. I majored in international relations.