Credit Chuck Todd for candor. The NBC News Political Director has acknowledged that the media is poised to take a third-place finish by John McCain in Iowa, declare him the winner and catapult the Arizona senator to victory in New Hampshire. Todd appeared with the Politico's Roger Simon on this afternoon's Hardball.
If Hillary Clinton’s trying to warm up her image in the last days before the first presidential vote, NBC’s Meredith Vieira threw another log on the fire, vouching strongly for her personal warmth on Wednesday’s edition of Today. "Her every word and move is caught on tape and while her critics assail Clinton as overly calculating, up close the Senator and former First Lady is natural, confident and warm," reported Vieira as she followed Hillary on the trail in Iowa.
After her report was over, Vieira underlined that private-warmth line to co-anchor Matt Lauer: "she's excellent, one-on-one with people. You know she has the image of being very cold and calculating but she's great one-on-one. I actually took my son Ben, who's a freshman in college, and wants to be president. He told her that and they sat and talked for the longest time and it was very genuine. I think she relates a lot to young people."
Secularized networks keep making mountains out of Christian-symbol molehills on the campaign trail. At CNN.com on Monday, reporter Rebecca Sinderbrand highlighted how a new Mike Huckabee ad has a Christian ichthys or fish symbol in it, on a banner for the Iowa Christian Alliance: "For the second time in two weeks, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has aired a commercial in which a Christian symbol appears in the background." The ad script itself talks about defending "our values" and the worth of the unborn, but mentioned religion (rights endowed by "our creator") only in passing.
On Tuesday's edition of The Situation Room, CNN reporter Mary Snow implied incorrectly that the Iowa Christian Alliance was "backing" Huckabee when it's made no endorsement. An ICA officer had to apologize for making positive comments about Mitt Romney that sounded like an endorsement. Here's what Snow reported:
For the second time in less than a month, "Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo asked a Democratic presidential candidate to speculate about the inherent racism of American voters. Talking with John Edwards on Wednesday's edition of the program, the ABC journalist wondered about Thursday's Iowa caucus. He inquired, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?"
Clearly, this is a topic that weighs heavily on Cuomo. On December 20, he spoke to Senator Barack Obama and asked, "What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?" In fact, GMA has a long history of harping on how bigoted America is. Since November 13, 2006, "Good Morning America" has featured the question, in some form or another, a total of five times.
What is not reported is often far more important than what is
The Media, Their Mouths and Their Minds
And you thought the media made it tough with their mouths open. They make things far more difficult when they choose to keep them shut.
Consuming news as a conservative is always an unappetizing proposition, given the Leftist slant to nearly everything on the menu. Being fed a steady diet of what collectively amounts to "You are wrong, and an ass (to boot) for what you think" leaves the average diner unsatisfied.
We are delivered so many servings of these media bias sins of commission we have been forced to make antacids the fifth food group. Here at the Media Research Center we find ourselves perpetually understaffed and overwhelmed in our efforts to chronicle it all. (We were going to address this by conducting a hostile takeover of the New York Times, but we found them to be too hostile and with too little left to take over.)
On Tuesday's Fox and Friends, Democratic strategist and FNC contributor Bob Beckel found amusing Hillary Clinton's contention that her trip to Bosnia in 1996, which Clinton has been accused of exaggerating as a dangerous mission despite the presence of daughter Chelsea and comedian Sinbad on the plane as she mentioned the need for a "corkscrew" landing and running on the tarmac in case of sniper attack, was evidence of her foreign policy experience. Clinton's comments, which were a response to Barack Obama's charges that her foreign policy experience consisted only of talking and "having tea" with foreign dignitaries, evoked an amused and cynical reaction from the liberal Beckel: "I don't know what that gives you in terms of foreign policy experience except a bad case of heartburn. I probably would have thought of something else besides that. I wonder what Sinbad did during that landing. I wonder if she hid behind him or not. Dangerous that would probably be." (Transcript follows)
The new year is beginning with some very serious shots being fired across the bow of the manmade global warming myth and at alarmists using it to advance their deplorable agendas.
Moments after Investor's Business Daily presaged that "2008 just might be the year the so-called scientific consensus that man is causing the Earth to warm begins to crack," the New York Times of all entities published a rather shocking piece pointing fingers at folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore for being part of a group of "activists, journalists and publicity-savvy scientists who selectively monitor the globe looking for newsworthy evidence of a new form of sinfulness, burning fossil fuels."
This from the New York Times?
Hold on tightly to your seats, folks, for the shocks in this piece came early and often (emphasis added throughout):
The PC guy finally wins one! No, we're not cheering for political correctness here. I'm talking about those ads for Macintosh computers where the cool Mac guy always gets the better of the frumpy PC fellow.
When two college political leaders out in Iowa appeared on the Good Morning America screen today, I immediately suspected a set-up. I couldn't help but think that ABC had intentionally staged the political equivalent of the Mac ads, with the Dem as the Apple dude and the Republican cast as PC guy.
In the screencap, that's Atul Nakhasi, head of the U. of Iowa Dems, on the left and Greg Baker, Chairman of the U. of Iowa Republicans, on the right. Now, Nakhasi acquitted himself perfectly well, but as the segment unfolded it soon became clear that Baker was the star of this show.
View the video here, and enjoy Baker's good-humor and easy articulation.
On Monday's "The Early Show," CBS anchor Harry Smith charged that the leading Republican presidential candidates are "mudslinging," contending that their campaigns have "turned nasty," but then suggested that Democrats are "playing nice." While the ABC and NBC morning shows portrayed candidates in both parties as "going negative," CBS's Smith hinted that Democrats were "playing nice" even after CBS correspondents had just referred to Obama as "attacking" other Democrats, and to John Edwards as portraying "corporate powers and Washington lobbyists" as "enemies of ordinary people." (Transcript follows)
Smith teased Monday's "The Early Show": "Pick me: It's a dead heat in the Iowa polls as Democrats fall into a virtual tie, and Republican leaders sling more mud."
On Monday's "NBC Nightly News," correspondent Mike Taibbi oddly suggested that Barack Obama could be considered an "independent" or centrist politician as he included the liberal Senator as one of several politicians with an "independent streak" with whom New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been associated. Taibbi: "Bloomberg was a long-time Democrat, turned Republican mayor, turned Independent, who has kept company with others with an independent streak, from Senators Joe Lieberman and Barack Obama to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger." Such a juxtaposition seems especially out of place in light of National Journal's 2006 vote ratings which found that Obama had a more liberal voting record than all but nine of his Senate colleagues. (Transcript follows)
The dispute over Indiana's voter ID law that is headed to the Supreme Court in January is as much a partisan political drama as a legal tussle.
On one side are mainly Republican backers of the law, including the Bush administration, who say state-produced photo identification is a prudent measure intended to cut down on vote fraud. Yet there have been no Indiana prosecutions of in-person voter fraud — the kind the law is supposed to prevent.
On the other side are mainly Democratic opponents who call voter ID a modern-day poll tax that will disproportionately affect poor, minority and elderly voters — who tend to back Democrats. Yet, a federal judge found that opponents of the law were unable to produce evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who had been barred from voting because of the law.
Is America ready to be led by a New Age pundit? There's been much scrutiny of the respective religions of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. But do we need to reconsider Maureen Dowd's fitness for op-ed office in light of her revelation that she has apparently embraced New Age spirituality, even undergoing a New Age "exorcism" complete with swinging crystal?
I kept waiting for Dowd to say it was all a joke -- but she never did. Her column of today, "Am I a Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon?", describes her experience, conducted by one Faith Green: "a pretty, curvy 31-year-old green-eyed blonde, [who] says she has studied tribal shamanism, rolfing, Pilates, tango, movement and stretching."
Erick at Red State reports that USA Today reporter Jill Lawrence distorted what she reported Saturday on a statement made by Fred Thompson to a Burlington, Iowa audience.
Here, per Erick, is how Thompson actually responded to the question, "Do you want to be President?" --
The first place, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be doing this. I grew up in very modest circumstances. I left government and I and my family have made sacrifices to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I figured to be clean, you’ve got to cut everything off. I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a tv show. I had a contract with ABC radio…and so forth. A man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing if he didn’t want to do it.
I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it. I want the people to have the best president they can have.
Bill Theobald of Gannett News Service has been following Republican Fred Thompson around Iowa. In a dispatch today from Burlington, Bill quotes the former Tennessee senator as saying he doesn't like modern campaigning, isn't that interested in running for president and "will not be devastated" if he doesn't win.
This makes it appear as if Thompson is just going through the motions, doesn't it?
Could it have been just a couple days ago that Chris Matthews claimed that the media had made a "mascot" out of Mike Huckabee? You wouldn't know it from this morning's Today show.
Weekend host Lester Holt kicked off the show's political segment by implying that among presidential candidates, Huckabee was the big loser in his handling of the Pakistani situation.
LESTER HOLT: The murder of Benazir Bhutto is having a big impact on the presidential race here in this country, where we now stand just five days from the first contest, in Iowa, and it's forcing Republican Mike Huckabee to do a bit of backtracking.
When Jimmy Carter pulled the Persian rug out from under the Shah, we wound up with the Ayatollah Khomenei and a line of spiritual/political descendants culminating in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Terence Jeffrey has now pointed out that by her highly-critical statements undermining Pervez Musharraf, Hillary Clinton could be precipitating an even worse disaster in Pakistan. The editor-in-chief of CNS News.com, NB's sister organization, has thus described Clinton as "Jimmy Carter on steroids."
At about 4:15 PM ET today, CNN aired a Wolf Blitzer interview of Clinton notable for these two statements by her.
NBC’s Today found a liberal take on the Bhutto assassination on Friday morning. Reporter Andrea Mitchell not only declared it was "a major blow to U.S. foreign policy," they found an expert to underline Mitchell's thesis that "Without her, hunting down Osama bin Laden is now even less likely." Mitchell also suggested that the murder assisted Hillary Clinton’s campaign: "The prospect of a foreign policy crisis immediately transformed the presidential campaign and in the close Democratic race boosted Hillary Clinton's argument that experience, including her own relationship with Bhutto, trumps change." Knowing a world leader qualifies you as firm and in command during a crisis?
Mitchell also saw a political upside for John McCain and Rudy Giuliani on the Republican side.
NBC’s Ann Curry interviewed Mitt Romney on Friday morning's Today on the impact of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, and in a tough interview, she dismissed Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy credentials. When Curry questioned Romney’s foreign policy experience, Romney noted that Reagan "was a governor, not a so-called foreign policy expert." Curry dismissively stated "Reagan was not elected at a time of war."
No, Reagan was just elected in an intense point in the Cold War. The Soviets had invaded Afghanistan and U.S. diplomats were still being held hostage in Iran. Romney did say that Reagan was "elected at a time of the Cold War. And the Cold War was the greatest challenge that was faced by this nation in the last half of the last century."
The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University ..... found that Fox News Channel's evening news show provided more balanced coverage than its counterparts on the broadcast networks.
A look at the press release (small PDF) reveals the extent of the balance at Fox, and the imbalance elsewhere:
Fox News Channel’s coverage was more balanced toward both parties than the broadcast networks were. On FOX, evaluations of all Democratic candidates combined were split almost evenly – 51% positive vs. 49% negative, as were all evaluations of GOP candidates – 49% positive vs. 51% negative, producing a perfectly balanced 50-50 split for all candidates of both parties.
On the three broadcast networks, opinion on Democratic candidates split 47% positive vs. 53% negative, while evaluations of Republicans were more negative – 40% positive vs. 60% negative. For both parties combined, network evaluations were almost 3 to 2 negative in tone, i.e. 41% positive vs. 59% negative.
See Update at foot: "I wasn't teasing: don't get in my way."
If at the end of a hunt and while still in the field a politician disfavored by the MSM had joked about shooting his opponent, do you think it would have made big news? But how much coverage have you seen of just such a statement Mike Huckabee made during his recent Iowa pheasant photo-op hunt?
You've probably seen footage of Huckabee joking about shooting people who won't vote for him. Morning Joe played the clip in its opening segment today. Huckabee points to three dead birds on the ground.
Chris Matthews was in full flight on today's Morning Joe, vividly expressing himself on everything from the historic shockwaves that an Obama Iowa victory would send, to Media Matters's role as a Hillary front, to the attitude of NewsBusters. But the Hardball host was especially animated in describing the way the Clintons use intimidation to keep people in line.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: In the world, in the universe, the biggest American political story of modern times if Obama wins the Iowa caucuses. It will be all over the world; it will sweep the headlines in every newspaper in the world: friend, foe or neutral. It will be the Third World story of the century, of the last century [Barack's Time Machine?], the biggest story of modern Third World history, really, if Obama wins the American presidential caucus in Iowa.
See Update at Foot: Matthews suggests MSM pushing Mike because he's a sure loser.
Should we call him Mike "Huck-a-unbeatable"?
As noted here, on Monday David Shuster predicted that Mike Huckabee would win the White House if matched up against Hillary Clinton. Appearing on Morning Joe today at 6:05 AM ET, the MSNBC correspondent took his optimism about Huckabee's prospects a quantum leap further, saying the former Arkansas governor would defeat any Dem opponent.
Hillary Clinton has no right to complain that her friends and flatterers in the media are rough on her. But when Clintons hit rough passages on the road to victory, this is what Clintons do: complain. That’s too meek. They whine.
But she obviously feels wronged by the news media when her polls begin to slip and she looks at her Barack Obama’s worshipful press clips. In fairy-tale terms, Obama is Snow White, and Hillary is the vain and wicked queen peering into the mirror and demanding to know "who is the fairest of them all?"
Politico is having some snarky fun, running a "populist pop quiz" challenging readers to guess whether it was John Edwards or Mike Huckabee who made the variety of class-warfare claims listed. You'll find a sampling of four of the questions below, but I'd encourage people to take the entire eight-question quiz and report back your scores. A cyber-statue of Karl Marx to the winner!
1. “No young person is more equal than another person because he has a higher IQ, or a higher net worth, or because he lives in a nicer home, or his clothes have a label of a designer that the other guy doesn’t have. That’s not what gives us equality.”
2. “There is unfortunately some disconnect between people who have never struggled and those for whom everyday life is a struggle.”
You remember Ponytail Guy, who during a 1992 presidential townhall pathetically implored the candidates to "treat us as your children." I don't know what's become of Ponytail Guy, but his Big Mommy Government-loving spirit was celebrated on CNN this evening.
At 5:40 PM ET on the Situation Room, anchor Suzanne Malveaux asked congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin what she was seeing out on the Dem campaign trail in Iowa that the TV cameras might be missing.
I'm calling this the Day's Daffiest Question Award. Suzanne Malveaux, come on up and accept it on behalf of CNN. You asked the question, after all.
Malveaux was interviewing Mike Huckabee this afternoon and talk turned to a tough editorial a New Hampshire paper had written about Mitt Romney.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Saturday, New Hampshire's Concord Monitor broke with tradition. They're not endorsing someone, but they certainly took a slap at your opponent, calling him "a phony that must be stopped." Do you think that they went too far?
Bona fide prediction, or devious three-dimensional-chess-move-cum- double-bank-shot-jujitsu gambit designed to sow chaos in Republican ranks? Hard to say, but one thing is undeniable: MSNBC correspondent David Shuster has predicted that Mike Huckabee will be the next President of the United States.
The surprising prognosis came at the end of an interesting pundits roundtable [presumably recorded over the weekend] that took the place of Morning Joe's regular live programming this Christmas Eve morning. Wrapping things up, host Joe Scarborough went around the horn, soliciting predictions from his guests.