For the second day in a row, ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned a guest as to whether the American voters are either secretly "more racist" or "more sexist" when they cast their ballots. During an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Sawyer inquired:
Sawyer: "...Ninety percent of Americans say race and gender make absolutely no difference in their vote in the polls. I asked Senator Obama yesterday if he believes it, and he thinks it's case by case. Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?"
Of course, the liberal columnist agreed with Sawyer’s premise that American society is sexist, but asserted that it is not, in fact, a secret:
Maureen Dowd: "Oh, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very secret. I'm not sure we've gotten so much farther along than with Ferraro, where she didn't get any guys in the south...I do think there is obviously racism and sexism, but I think that these are both two extraordinary candidates [Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] who, you know, might be able to triumph over some of that, but we'll see."
Sawyer: "More sexism than racism, racism than sexism?"
"Washington Post" reporter Sally Quinn appeared on Monday’s "American Morning," ready to psychoanalyze President Bush in the wake of last week’s midterm defeat. Quinn discussed the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the hiring of Robert Gates as a replacement, and how President Bush is secretly "relieved" over the drubbing the GOP received. Now, either Ms. Quinn has become a psychological expert on why Bush is hiring former advisors to his father, or she’s just another member of the media who wants to be a part of important inner-circle decisions:
Quinn: "But I just have a feeling that it was clear to the father that the son -- clearly, he made Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense -- that the son did not want his father's advice on a lot of these things....I felt the other day watching Bush that he was almost relieved in a way about losing the House and the Senate. I know that sounds weird, but it was as though, ‘Okay, now I really have permission. I can take my father's advice.’ And, also, that it's not all on him anymore. It's not all on the Republicans. The Democrats are going to have to take a lot of the responsibility now."
O’Brien: "It's nice to, nice to share a little blame, isn't it, in some cases? And in this case, perhaps share some blame with his father. I wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. Did -- was -- did he have to have that election in order to prompt this?"
For the third time in as many weeks, ABC continued to showcase Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed the first-term senator from Illinois on Monday's Good Morning America, and asked him about a range of topics, from the war in Iraq and a potential Obama run for the White House in 2008, to the groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall. The most eyebrow-raising moment of the interview, however, occurred when Sawyer asked Obama about Sunday’s Washington Post article which questioned whether racism and sexism plays a role in the decision-making of American voters:
Diane Sawyer: "We have seen new polls this morning about you and Senator Hillary Clinton. Here's my question. Do you think that residual resistance is greater for race or for gender? Is the nation secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
In the wake of absurd media assertions that the 2006 elections represent the end of conservatism as reported here and here, “The Chris Matthews Show” Sunday depicted a much more rational and well-reasoned analysis of what happened last Tuesday. And, the sanity came from some surprising sources, the first being Dan Rather:
What killed the big tent was the war. You can overanalyze this. The war was the issue. Come 2008, this breakdown may be completely different again. But, this time, it was the war, the war, the war.
Matthews then asked: “So, once the war is over, they can be back together, the big crowd?” Rather elaborated:
In the aftermath of the 2006 elections, Time magazine's Joe Klein has declared that the Democrat takeover of Congress may signal "the end of the conservative pendulum swing that began with Ronald Reagan's revolution."
Certainly, we expect this kind of errant speculation without the use of facts or historical reference from a shameless shill like New York Times’ propagandist Paul Krugman as reported by NewsBusters on Saturday. However, for Joe Klein to make such early prognostications, and for Time magazine to make this its cover story, bordered on total irresponsibility and yellow journalism.
But there it was in an article titled “The Realists Take Charge; The election whupping marked the end of George W. Bush's radical experiment in partisan government - and a plea for politicians to get serious about solving problems” (subscription required, CNN.com summary here, hat tip to NB reader Allanf, and emphasis mine throughout):
In a riveting 2,000-word thumbsucker for Sunday's Washington Post, the Washington Post asks: "Is America too Racist for Barack? Too Sexist for Hillary?" The author, Benjamin Wallace-Wells, is identified as a writer on national affairs for Rolling Stone. And here I thought that periodical's idea of national affairs was the latest on Britney Spears.
Anyway, the article doesn't answer the questions it poses. At least I don't think it does. When the author began using terms such as "post-racial" and "post-gender," my eyes glazed over and my mind meandered.
I did make it to the part, though, about there being a disparity between African Americans and women in terms of political leadership:
I just heard the opening shot of the 2008 Dem presidential primary!
To paraphrase Hirohito's famous words to his people at the end of WWII, the electoral situation has developed not necessarily to the GOP's advantage. We'll certainly be picking through the rubble in coming weeks. But for the time being, let's look at the bright side: the 2008 presidential race is on! One sure sign of it: Barack Obama has become fair game for criticism - from fellow Democrats.
Hillary Rosen, a Dem consultant and former interim Director of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, was a guest on a Chris Matthews election post-mortem panel early Wednesday morning. Rosen took some real shots at someone who heretofore had only been dutifully referred to by Dems as "a rising star."
On Monday night’s edition of Nightline, just hours before the polls opened for Tuesday’s midterm election, ABC’s Terry Moran prematurely promoted a potential 2008 Democratic presidential contender. Moran went along with Illinois Senator Barack Obama as he campaigned for Democrats across the country. Moran’s piece was full of praise for the "American political phenomenon," whom, according to Moran, millions see as "the savior of the Democratic Party."
Terry Moran: "You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon. In state after state, in the furious final days of this crucial campaign, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has been the Democrat's not-so-secret get-out-the-vote weapon. He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today...And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?"
NPR's weekend program "On The Media" ran several interviews on Obama-mania in their last edition, including a talk with National Journal media writer William Powers. After discussing the many steps of national media hype, Powers suggested Obama was really a black Kennedy:
NPR host Brooke Gladstone: "In this recent round of what a lot of people are calling Obama-mania, would you say that there is now a media consensus about Obama, that he's just a natural?"
William Powers: "Oh, I think there's a consensus that he is The Natural, the most preternatural political figure we have seen since the Kennedys. The Kennedys come up constantly in these comparisons.
Gladstone: "The Kennedys or one particular Kennedy?"
On the heels of reporter Suzanne Malveaux saying "we hope" John Kerry’s gaffe goes away, another CNN employee is letting the personal political opinions fly. New CNN afternoon anchorman Don Lemon interviewed Rev. Jesse Jackson Wednesday on the occasion of his 65th birthday, and after noting Jackson’s adultery and asking pointed questions about whether he’s still relevant, Lemon lauded him as a major historical figure: "But for the most part he is an appreciated person in society, in America, and someone who most African-Americans, at least speaking for myself, think that he has made huge contributions, especially when it comes to civil rights." A few hours later, while informally gathering interviewing Jackson’s daughter Santita and Sen. Barack Obama’s wife Michelle for a chat, Lemon cooed: "Let me get you guys right here. Daughter of the great one who's turning 65. Wife of the great one now."
Here at NewsBusters, the last thing we'd want to do is sow discord among the liberal house columnists of the New York Times. But present purposes oblige me to let Bob Herbert know that his colleague Maureen Dowd doesn't read his column.
That's the only way to explain Dowd's claim in her column this morning that the people "tut-tutting" about Barack Obama's presidential ambitions are Republicans. According to Dowd, those mean GOP types are putting Obama down because of his lack of foreign policy experience.
You, mean, Maureen, as in this statement?:
"In an appearance on “Meet the Press” yesterday, [Obama] made it clear that he was considering . . . a run. With all due respect to Senator Obama, this is disturbing. . . [he] has a very slender résumé, very little experience in national politics, hardly any in foreign policy."
Honestly, how much more can ABC tolerate of this? On yesterday’s “The View,” comedienne Rosie O’Donnell said something truly disgraceful about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as Vice President Dick Cheney.
As the gang was discussing the possibility of a woman becoming president, co-host Joy suggested that Condi could win. This set up O’Donnell to state: “I don’t think she could win, because I think she’s like that person on Scooby Doo who unzips themself and then it’s Dick Cheney’s evil twin brother is inside of her. That’s what I think.”
On Friday (October 27, 2006), Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama was in Los Angeles for a book signing and a rally for the Democratic Party. The Los Angeles Times heralded his appearances the next day with 1027 words and two photos in a glowing article entitled, "A rising star from Illinois makes some noise in L.A." The piece was displayed prominently on the front page of the 'California' section (page B1). Writer Carla Hall hailed that Obama spoke before a "rapt crowd" and that he "was sent off with a crescendo of applause." She reminded her readers that Obama had "electrified" the 2004 Democratic National Convention as a speaker.
Yesterday (Saturday, October 28, 2006), comedian Bill Cosby was in Los Angeles to speak at an education forum organized by local black leaders. Today, the Times documented the event with 580 words and zero photos in a piece tucked at the bottom of page B3. The title: "More straight talk from Cosby" (by Times staffer Deborah Schoch). (Amid the straightforward reporting that Cosby "chastised" black parents and "chided" teachers, Schoch was able to relay that Cosby was "greeted with sustained applause." But, apparently, things didn't quite reach a "crescendo.")
With less then two weeks to go before the midterm elections, two separate programs, on two different networks, speculated that the Republicans are colluding with big oil to lower gas prices. The "Today" show wondered if this indicated "a vast right-wing conspiracy."
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera speculated that America was seeing a case of "gas pump pimping."
Meanwhile, ABC’s "Nightline" weighed in on political commercials and lamented GOP "mudslinging." They also characterized Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Michael J. Fox as a "vicious attack." (They apparently didn’t find any mudslinging or vicious attacks done by the Democrats)
CNN had their own take on Limbaugh’s comments. They wondered: "Could it be a new low?"
Speaking of the cable network, CNN also previewed a new Bush special by noting that "many say" the President has "stretched" and "trampled" the Constitution.
Did you hear that loud crashing sound on Sunday? That was either media members across the country jumping off the Hillary for President bandwagon, or the Clintonistas slapping their knees over the gullibility of the press and the people they cater to.
Without question, the charming junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, was the toast of the Sunday morning programs this weekend. From Meet the Press to The Chris Matthews Show, discussions centered on the presidential aspirations of a man that precious few had heard of prior to his well-publicized speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
A night after ABC led with the supposedly “remarkable reversal” by Senator Barack Obama to think about running for President, and a full story on the NBC Nightly News, both network evening newscasts were back again with full stories Monday night on Obama the “rock star.” Remarkably, given how he decides what is newsworthy, at the top of World News Charles Gibson asked: “Why does he get so much attention?” ABC's puff story for Obama -- reporter Kate Snow gushed about how “his base is growing. Even Oprah seemed to endorse him" -- followed the lead story about dour poll numbers for Republicans.
With “Overnight Sensation” on screen, NBC anchor Brian Williams hailed in his teaser: “Tonight, the overnight sensation surrounding a Senator with real star power, may have changed everything for the Democrats in the run for the White House.” Williams later cited how Obama has “rocked the political world” and cued up Tim Russert with how “they say here's a guy who could actually cause excitement over American politics to break out again.” Russert championed how “he's getting rock star treatment all across the country.” (CBS, and transcripts for ABC and NBC, follow)
On the heels of last week’s glowing reports on NBC’s ‘Today’ and CNN’s ‘American Morning,’ ABC couldn’t resist jumping on the Obama-for-president bandwagon. During the 7am half hour of Monday’s ‘Good Morning America,’ correspondent Claire Shipman reported on comments from Democratic Senator Barack Obama in which he expressed interest in pursing his party’s nomination for president in 2008. In her introduction to Shipman’s piece, GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts referred to the "red hot buzz" (generated by the mainstream media) surrounding Obama as proof that the senator is "already a major political player." Shipman promoted Obama as the new "it" candidate among Democrats. She also highlighted flattering statements from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who described Obama as her "favorite senator," and political analyst Larry Sabato, who predicted that Obama has the "charisma to skyrocket" to become the preferred Democratic candidate for president:
Claire Shipman: "Barack Obama has become, in a matter of weeks, the new 'it' candidate for the Democrats...A recent ‘Time’ magazine poll shows [Hillary] Clinton well ahead of Obama in a potential presidential race, 43 percent to 30. But the comparatively unknown Obama has shown this week, if he decides to run, he can generate a lot of buzz in a hurry."
Larry Sabato: "Obama has the charisma to skyrocket right to the head of the pack."
The full transcript of Shipman’s report is behind the cut:
CNN reporter Dan Lothian resorted, not for the first time, to a classic example of liberal bias on Monday’s "American Morning." Beginning a piece on Republican Governor Mitt Romney’s potential White House run, he described the politician’s positioning this way:
Miles O’Brien: "Now, on the Republican side of the race for the White House, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney thinking hard about that. ‘American Morning’s’ Dan Lothian looking at that potential run. Dan, good morning."
Dan Lothian: "Good morning, Miles. Well, polls seem to favor Senator John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the nomination in 2008. But Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney seems to be carving out his base by appealing, political experts say, to the far right. It might feel like he's running for president in 2008, but Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney insists he's just doing his homework."
Reading their respective pay-per-view columns this morning, it's a gauge of just how far out Paul Krugman is on the port side of politics that his New York Times colleague Bob Herbert sounds positively moderate by comparison.
In The Obama Bandwagon Herbert expresses salutary - and surprising - caution when it comes to the current outbreak of Obama-mania:
"It’s a measure of how starved the country is for a sensible, appealing, intelligent, trustworthy leader that a man who until just a couple of years ago was an obscure state senator in Illinois is now suddenly, in the view of an awful lot of voters, the person we should install in the White House."
CBS reporter Gloria Borger has offered an interesting theory to explain the recent outbreak of Obama Fever, also known as Barack Mania: Democrats don't think Hillary can win.,
Appearing on this morning's Early Show, Borger said of Hillary:
"She's the automatic front runner. She has more money, more staff, more supporters lined up. She has Bill Clinton out there who is going to be her campaigner-in-chief."
Borger then dropped this bomb:
"And what you see happening right now is a lot of Democrats looking at the field saying 'oh, Hillary is the natural nominee?' And they don't believe she can win. That's why they are looking elsewhere. That's why you see Barack Obama's name come up now. The public will not see him as an inisder, they will see him as different kind of politician, which might appeal."
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. The same kind of folks who professed to find a non-existent right to abortion on demand in the Constitution have "discovered" another imaginary constitutional provision. According to its editorial this morning:
"The First Amendment, with its injunction that Congress shall make no law restricting religion, carries an implied corollary that churches should not meddle in politics."
The context was the Globe's complaint that Mitt Romney is reaching out for support to his fellow BYU alums who - oh, the horror! - also happen to be his Mormon co-religionists. The Globe sternly warns Romney to "make sure that the church stays out of his nascent presidential campaign."
(AP) London, March 2, 1867: Karl Marx, a rising star among centrist economists, announced today the publication of the first volume of his treatise, 'Das Kapital'.
OK, perhaps I exaggerate a tad. But is there any man of the left that the MSM is unwilling to cast as a "centrist" or moderate, particularly when he is seen as a potential Democratic presidential nominee?
The Associated Press offers a perfect case in point this evening. This article reports Barack Obama's acknowledgement on today's Meet The Press that, earlier protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, he is indeed contemplating a run for the presidency. Writes the AP:
"In recent weeks, his political stock has been rising as a potentially viable centrist candidate for president." [emphasis added]
Be it her politics - or perhaps her personality - one thing is clear: some big-time MSM women columnists don't dig Hillary. Yesterday I described here how the LA Times Rosa Brooks described Hillary - in the context of her support for legislation authorizing torture in ticking-bomb type cases - as having "hit bottom" and "fallen as low as it's possible to go."
Today Maureen Dowd weighs in - with a vengeance. The central thesis of the subscription-required Obama’s Project Runway is that the Illinois senator needs to decide whether he is content to be the glamor guy basking in Dem adulation, or wants to get serious and run for president. [On a related note, earlier today I posed the question here as to whether Obama is ready for prime time in light of his suggestion on last night's Olbermann that we should encourage Iran and Syria to "take ownership" for the stability of Iraq.]
I DVD'ed Olbermann overnight to check just how fawning a performance he would put in with his guest Barack Obama - whom FCC regulations require me to describe as "the rising star of the Democratic party." When it came to Olbermann's sycophancy, I wasn't disappointed. After accusing Republicans of "terrorizing" Americans, the MSNBC host continued:
"proposing an alternative course for American politics, one that replaces fear with - of all things - hope, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and his new book, The Audacity of Hope."
The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.
The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."
The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.
This week’s cover story on "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President" is really part of an enormous package offering hope to liberals about defeating the conservative movement, especially the religious right. There is a six-page article by Joe Klein about being dazzled by Obama the "political rocket," a six-page excerpt from Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope, explaining how "progressives" can neutralize religious conservatives, and, just to stay on point, a three-page excerpt from David Kuo’s book Tempting Faith titled "Why a Christian in the White House Felt Betrayed."
Klein's cover story, titled "The Fresh Face," tried to sound detached that Obama’s not "quite ready to answer the tough questions." (As you’ll see, Klein’s tough questions are pressing from the left, and he’s unhappy that Obama’s slow to commit.) Klein began in typical jaunty fashion about how Obama wows a Rockford audience with "sly hipster syncopation" and how his style is "quietly conversational, low in rhetoric-saturated fat; there is no harrumph to him."
One day after getting the celebrity treatment on "Today," Senator Barack Obama stopped by CNN’s "American Morning" to receive fawning questions from Soledad O’Brien. The big difference in the coverage is that while NBC's Meredith Vieira referred to Obama as a "rock star," O’Brien only mentioned that "some people say he is the brightest star in the Democratic Party." Isn’t it great when one media outlet differentiates itself from another? The morning host, who only mentioned Iraq and North Korea in passing, found time for particularly tough questions, including this hardball: "What’s your biggest fear?" Most of the anchor’s queries were of the short variety:
O’Brien: "Politics seems particularly mean these days."
O’Brien: "I think, we see partisanship that you see. And sort of, as you mentioned, in D.C. that you don't necessarily see in the American people. So why don't politicians get that?"
Despite the harsh headline: Hillary Hits Bottom, Hillary Clinton might actually welcome Rosa Brooks' LA Times column of this morning condemning her for supporting legislation allowing torture in ticking-bomb cases. Call it a 'Sistah Rosa' moment that Hillary can point to as proof she's not too soft on terror to be president.
But I wonder. Is Brooks aware - while bashing the presumptive presidential candidate for supporting legislation permitting torture in narrowly delineated cases - that Hillary is echoing her husband?
Has Brooks read this column by Alan Dershowitz? The Harvard law prof reports on Bill's recent NPR interview in which he said:
On this afternoon's 'Hardball,' interviewing James Baker about his new book on a life in politics, Matthews alluded to the risk of a political party fracturing in the course of a presidential primary campaign:
"How do you hold your party together when you have people, secular candidates like John McCain who's often in that [guest] chair, and Rudy Giuliani running against Brownback, and people like that, Frist and George Allen perhaps, who are real cultural conservatives?"
Riposted Baker: "We hold it together the same way that you hold your party together."
Interjected Matthews: "Well, it's not my party anymore."
For Maureen Dowd, politics are primarily personal. This morning she managed to reduce the current Korean conflict to an image of two boys behaving badly. Meanwhile, is mocking John McCain's POW past a smart move for Hillary? Dowd offered a stunning insight into the Hillary campaign that suggests it might not be the ready-for-presidential-primetime operation some might imagine.
The topic of Maureen Dowd's subscription-required column of this morning, Is Chivalry Shivved?, is the war of words between Hillary and John McCain, as the two top presidential contenders recently fired some early shots over the other's bow on the topic of responsibility for the N. Korean nuclear mess.