A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled 'The Underrepresented Conservative Base' 1, in which I speculated that "Maybe losing the House of Representatives for a couple of years is exactly what the Republican party needs to wake it up and give it a great big shove back toward its conservative roots." This statement evoked a considerable amount of anger from Republican party loyalists, who denounced my opinion as defeatist, and even questioned my ideological integrity. Their reaction only served to reinforce my belief that the GOP is in big trouble at the moment, and will remain so until its blind supporters and increasingly wimpy leaders pull their collective head out of the sand and move back to the right where true Republicans belong.
A popular media myth these days is that most voters want to see the two main parties move more toward the political center, and that the partisan bickering which has always existed between them will come to a screeching halt once the voice of America's "moderate majority" has finally been heard. Aside from the fact that one would have to be as naive as a 2-year old to believe such tripe, I think it's fair to point out that compromise, while being far less noisy and time-consuming than fighting, is also less productive in the long run, at least most of the time.
If we rigidly applied truth-in-advertising laws to the national media in their coverage of the 2006 campaign, we would have first declared that the stuff between the commercials wasn’t "news" as much as a boatload of free infomercial advertising for the Democrats. The news reports should have led with the sentence, "I’m Nancy Pelosi, and I approved this newscast."
Republicans made a lot of mistakes, and caused themselves a pile of problems. Their house is a mess; it's time to tear down and start over. But I will say this unequivocally: In 25 years of looking at the national media, I have never seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news -- and non-news -- by the national media. They ought to be collectively ashamed. They have made a mockery out of the term "objective journalism" and a laughingstock of themselves at the idea that they should be considered objective journalists.
On Thursday’s "Situation Room," CNN reporter Bill Schneider proclaimed that Republicans need to move left in order to recover from their midterm losses:
Bill Schneider: "Will Republicans move further to the right? Not if they got the message of the election. Republicans lost because they abandoned the center. Independents voted Democratic by the biggest margin ever recorded. The election also provides an alternative model of a Republican who moved to the center and thrived."
Who is this shining example of moderation? Why, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He actually won by becoming a liberal, but perhaps that’s what Schneider meant.
“Victory is mine,” he seemed to gloat to viewers as with smug delight CNN populist gadfly and resident protectionist applauded the passage of six minimum wage increases in states ballot booths across the country.
Before the election, Dobbs was quite active in pushing such an increase both on his show and in his book, “War on the Middle Class.” Dobbs had a pre-election one-hour special by the same title, biased in favor of more taxation and regulation of the economy.
Following Christine Romans’ report on the initiatives, Dobbs chose to lecture the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and The Heritage Foundation for what he sees as their wrong-headed opinion on the matter.
As the media crow about Democrats taking the reins of power on Capitol Hill, if you need a giggle, it's worth a rewind to the "Saturday Night Live" satire of MSNBC's "Hardball" on the October 28 show -- the same one with the fake Halloween GOP ads with Witchy Hillary and Count Obama. Chris Matthews (played as usual by Darrell Hammond) and Howard Dean (played by Jason Sudeikis) are expressing amazement at how pro-Democrat the polls are turning out:
Matthews: “Alright, I assume you've seen the latest poll, which has your party with an astonishing 55-point lead over the Republicans.”
Dean: “Life is good, Chris.”
Matthews: “But what amazes me is the internal numbers. I mean, the public now favors the Democrats in every issue. Even national defense.”
Dean: “I know, Chris. It's crazy. We can't be trusted on national defense.”
"Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer interviewed incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday and continued the fawning media coverage of the liberal Democrat. His gushing tone can best be described by how he closed the interview:
Wolf Blitzer: "Let me just congratulate you and wish you the best of luck. This is going to be an exciting ride. We started off that you are going to be the first woman to be the Speaker of the House. So you have an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with the job, a little bit extra because you're making history."
Nancy Pelosi: "Well, I appreciate your saying that and I think one of my first acts as -- post-election, will be to become a grandmother for the sixth time. We're anxiously awaiting the birth of our grandchild, who is due the first week in November, so a good omen. We get ready for our new grandbaby as we get ready for a new Congress."
Blitzer: "Well, we'll wish you only the best on that front as well."
Pelosi: "As well, thank you. Thank you, Wolf."
Throughout the segment, which aired at 5:28pm on November 8, Mr. Blitzer’s tone seemed similar to that of an excited fan interviewing a celebrity.
For anyone who thought the worst racist ad of the electoral cycle was the RNC ad against Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee, Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics has an answer. (I heard this ad yesterday on the Sean Hannity show.) In Atlanta, a last-minute radio ad suggested that electing Republicans to the Fulton County Commission would be worse than the beatings administered in the civil rights era of the 1960s -- it might endanger the life of blacks. The script is amazing:
LEWIS: This is Congressman John Lewis.
FRANKLIN: And I'm Mayor Shirley Franklin.
YOUNG: And I am Andy Young.
LEWIS: On Nov. 7, we face the most dangerous situation we ever have. You think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the '60s was bad. [Now we] sit idly by, and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County County Commission.
Is this more offensive to Democrats or Republicans? At least five separate reporters described incoming freshman Democrat Congressmen as conservative. On Wednesday’s "Early Show" Bob Schieffer noted "these Democrats that were elected last night are conservative Democrats." Later in the same program, CBS News Captiol Hill correspondent Sharyl Attkisson highlighted, "...a lot of these new Democrats who’ve been elected are social conservatives." Seconds later, CBS Political Correspondent Gloria Borger observed that with the Democrats taking the House, "the committee chairmen are going to be liberal and the people coming in are going to be these moderate conservatives." The trend continued on "Imus in the Morning" as NBC’s David Gregory remarked, "She’s [Nancy Pelosi] going to have a lot of center-right Democrats who won..."
During President Bush’s news conference Wednesday afternoon, New York Times writer Jim Rutenberg phrased his question to President Bush in terms utilized on the Times editorial page on Wednesday repudiating President Bush’s leadership. Earlier, David Gregory portrayed President Bush as out of touch with Americans and inquired as to whether now that the voters have spoken, is he "listening to the voters or the vice president."
During the press conference Jim Rutenberg questioned:
"But the results are being interpreted as a repudiation of your leadership style in some quarters. I wonder what your reaction is to that, and should we expect a very different White House? Should we expect a very different leadership style from you in these last two years given that you have a whole new set of partners."
In the giddy aftermath of a Democratic victory, the cheery tone of morning television can begin to look like excessive enthusiasm. On Wednesday morning's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira interviewed Montana's liberal Democratic Senate challenger, Jon Tester, who at the time was narrowly ahead and not yet declared the winner. Vieira noticed that despite the close call, "yet, you have a smile on your face, sir." When asked how he came this far, Tester said people came out to vote for honesty and integrity, about Iraq, and health care.
Vieira perkily concluded: "Well I hope you keep the smile on your face there Jon Tester. Thank you very much. Back to you, Matt."
Although not as bumpy as the road the GOP encountered last night, I've hit some turbulence on the first day of my Iraq trip. With weather socked in on the East Coast, my US Airways flight out of our little Ithaca airport was cancelled. A quick phone call later I was on the road to Syracuse. For my sins I decided to listen to Air America all the way - the Stephanie Miller Show as it turned out. They spoke of being in "full gloat mode," and that was no overstatement. Multiple renditions of the "nah-nah-nah-nah, goodbye" song, endless repetitions of Paul Begala's slur of Rush Limbaugh, fantasies of Tom DeLay slipping in his own sick - a class act all around.
Oddly, I didn't find it getting under my skin much. After 12 years in the wilderness, I suppose it's just human nature for Dems to revel in the moment. Every dog has its day. Then again, on election night 1994 I don't recall the GOP revolution, welcome as it was, sending me into paroxysms of puerile chest-pounding. Sidenote: the Air Americans mocked the Fox & Friends cast's notion that, after all, many of the successful Dem candidates were of a moderate to conservative stripe. Miller & Co. are apparently expecting Pelosi to govern in accordance to what they gleefully referred to as her "San Francisco values."
CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien talked with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Wednesday and displayed a snide attitude over the Republicans’ midterm losses. She even tried to goad DeLay into bashing Karl Rove:
O’Brien: "Think Karl Rove is still a genius?"
Delay: "Oh, yes. Just because you lose one ball game doesn't remove your genius."
O’Brien: "Really, you think that -- this is kind of a big ball game to lose. Some people might say, yes, but if you lose the big one, it actually could chip away at your title."
Apparently victories in 2000, 2002 and 2004 don’t mean anything.
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales expressed general praise with network election coverage Wednesday morning, especially newbie Katie Couric at CBS, but said the television was really missing the electrifying Bill Clinton, a "shining, gray-haired exception" to Democrats who are generally bad at TV. He compared Slick Willie to who he might have called Clumsy Chucky Schumer:
Neil Cavuto, who hosts a less-than-indispensable daily show on Fox, got into an on-air shouting match with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who understandably took exception when Cavuto kept interrupting him. In Cavuto's defense, Schumer seemed determined to talk as slowly and laboriously as possible, proving himself yet another Democrat who takes to television like a duck takes to oil.
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."
In their coverage of the election returns, MSNBC posted a story this morning at the bottom of which was a brief run down of who won and who lost in Congressional races across the country.
Most of these listings were presented without comment of any kind. Like the race in Arizona:
Arizona: Incumbent Republican John Kyl over Democrat Jim Pederson.
That was pretty straightforward. No bias, no nonsense. Just a who-won/who-lost listing. Of the 23 races they list, only a few have any thing by way of extra commentary. Additionally, out of that few they offered further comment on, all were either benign or complimentary.
During election night coverage, CNN’s Paula Zahn and Bill Schneider exuded giddiness over what Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee’s defeat meant. Schneider marveled that voters liked Chafee, but "they didn’t vote for him!" Zahn wondered if Chafee’s defeat could be seen as a "mandate for change." A transcript follows:
"Newsweek" editor Marcus Mabry, appearing on CNN to deliver a postmortem on Republican Rick Santorum’s loss, attacked the Senator as a "firebrand partisan" and wondered if Republicans would learn a lesson from his loss. A transcript of his comments follows:
Marcus Mabry: "I think while we’ve heard some laudatory things tonight about the bipartisanship, on occasion, of the Senator from Pennsylvania, who only has another two months in office now, we have to remember this was an incredibly politicizing, divisive partisan, both on the floor of the United States Senate, but also back in Pennsylvania.
On the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer tonight, they honed in on allegations of voter irregularities and election-stealing, and Lehrer began suggesting a need for the federal government to rule over a regime of nationalized election standards. In the show’s second installment of the panel of liberal Mark Shields and guest conservative Ramesh Ponnuru, the veteran liberal clearly won the battle of the clock: Shields took about twice as much air time to lay out his answers as Ponnuru the newcomer did. Here’s how Lehrer pushed nationalized election systems:
Lehrer: "Ramesh, do you think there should be national standards for all elections, and take it out of the hands of local precinct workers and county judges and people like that?"
During an election night discussion of the Missouri embryonic stem cell debate, CNN analyst Paul Begala slammed Rush Limbaugh as a "drug-addled gasbag who is self discredited." Bill Bennett, also on the panel with James Carville and J.C. Watts, chastised Begala: “Well, it's a nasty comment.”
The discussion, with Democratic strategist Begala's insult, began at about 8:08pm EST Tuesday night on CNN:
CNN’s Bill Schneider reported tonight that the veteran vote went for Republican Senator George Allen. The anchor seemed baffled as to how such a thing could happen. During election night coverage, he mentioned that Webb was a "veteran" or "decorated hero" three times in four sentences:
Bill Schneider: "These are veterans. Now they could be voting for James Webb because James Webb was the Secretary of the Navy. James Webb is a decorated hero and a veteran of the Vietnam War. He might have done very well with veterans. But this is– If women were a breakthrough for Webb, the veteran vote was a breakthrough for George Allen. George Allen, the Republican, carried 57 percent of the veterans vote in Virginia, despite the fact that Webb is a decorated veteran and a former Naval Secretary."
Around 7:10EST, CNN's Wolf Blitzer continued to frame his coverage from a Democratic perspective, stating, "the Democrats need just 7 seats to become the majority party in the U.S. Senate" he did the same for the House as well.
That is the standard fare for the press, frame things from what the Democrats can do to get things going.
Update 19:20. CNN is highlighting its coverage of its blog party. Each time the network listed liberal bloggers first. Liberal bloggers interviewed: 1. Conservatives: 0.
Update 19:24. Paula Zahn and Bill Schneider surprised that Iraq was not the #1 issue. Schneider pronounces as well: "voters are not rewarding the Republicans for the economy."
19:31. CNN cuts to a live feed of Democratic National Committee. The TVs are tuned into CNN. Blitzer: "Which is encouraging that people are watching."
19:34. John King, asked if he was surprised by an apparent GOP loss of Ohio governorship "I'm not surprised because Ohio is a cesspool--this year. The current governor, the Republican incumbant Bob Taft, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, that's where Bob Ney the congressman pleaded guilty to corruption charges--"
Anderson Cooper: Bob Taft was term-limited though so he had to --
King: Yeah so he couldn't. Yeah but the whole environment is just horrible--anti-Republican.
20:23. CNN continues pushing things from Dem perspective in calling India House race for Dem Ellsworth. "One down fourteen more to go," Jeff Greenfield pronounces.
NBC's Today correspondents on Tuesday made sure to underline that Republicans were seen as racist in the Senate campaigns in Tennessee and Virginia. Reporter Tom Costello began his report:
"Matt, good morning. This has been a hard fought race. It's been injected with advertisements viewed by many as being racist by the Republican National Committee. The Corker campaign repudiated those ads, as did the Ford campaign, of course."
By many? Try "by many Democrats," at least. From there, David Shuster (usually assigned to Chris Matthews on MSNBC), also underlined the alleged-racist angle on the Virginia race:
"Meredith, good morning. A statistical dead heat is not at all where the incumbent Republican George Allen ever thought he would be. Allen had been talked about being a presidential contender in 2008 but his campaign has been set back by a series of missteps including his use of the term macaca and allegations about his use of the N-word to describe blacks, but the key issue in this race has been the Iraq war...
Nasty and bitter is how the Virginia and New Jersey Senate races were described on Monday’s "Early Show" on CBS. No not necessarily the campaigns in general, but the Republican candidates and Republican ads. Additionally, Harry Smith highlighted that while Northern Virginia is "Webb country," the rest of Virginia "clings to its conservative roots." Notice how Smith omits the phrase "liberal" while commenting on Northern Virginia.
Smith noted how the Virginia race is "mean" and "nasty" before remarking on Allen’s gaffes and how they have kept this race close:
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?"
One of the most routine (and inaccurate) tics of news coverage of Missouri's cloning amendment and other medical-research stories is to describe the controversy over embryo-destroying stem cell research as simply a fight over "stem cell research." To declare that a pro-life politician is "against stem cell research" is quite inaccurate (since they favor research on adult stem cells and from umbilical cord blood). But Kevin Tibbles did that twice this morning to Sen. Jim Talent on Today, and never once even used the word "embryo" or "embryonic" to describe the specific human lives being destroyed in the research process.
Co-host Meredith Vieira: "You know Kevin we heard a lot about the race after Rush Limbaugh criticized those ads that Michael Fox did supporting stem cell research and the Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill. How much do you think that controversy will play into the voters' minds today when they go to the polls?"
This just sounds too good to be true: Dan Rather's going to be an election pundit tonight....on the fake-news special on Comedy Central. No, really. (There's no mention if the whole hour is being sponsored by Kinko's Copies.) Gail Shister reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the CBS/Viacom offshoot is rolling out the red carpet for the disgraced CBS anchorman:
This is not a joke.
Dan Rather will analyze election results with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert tonight at 11 on Comedy Central's live, hour-long Indecision 2006 special.
"It's a risk, I guess, but what the hell," says Rather, who covered every national election since 1962 for CBS before being drop-kicked in June. Now he's global correspondent for Mark Cuban's HDNet.
As some of our readers know, I'm heading off to Iraq, where I'll be reporting for CNS, the news agency of MRC.
Our focus at NB is of course exposing liberal media bias, and to the extent I have a chance to "cover the coverage" I'll certainly be blogging on that. At the same time, I'm thinking that our NB readers might enjoy experiencing more generally some sights, sounds and impressions from the trip. So, with the indulgence of my editors, I'll maintain an 'Iraq Diary' here with written reports, photos and even some video clips - internet connections permitting.
Here's the schedule, which is of course subject to change:
November 8th - travel commercial from Ithaca to Charleston, SC November 9th - fly from Charleston AFB to naval base in Rota, Spain, near Gibraltar Nov. 10th - arrive Rota Nov. 11 - depart Rota, arrive Balad, Iraq. Nov. 11-13 - International [Green] Zone. Visits with Gulf Reconstruction Divsion of Army Corps of Engineers and military hospital featured in HBO documentary 'Baghdad ER.' Nov. 13th-20th - With Marines in Fallujah. Nov. 21st-23rd - heading home Nov. 23rd [Thanskgiving] - arrive base Dover, DE
Michael Steele, the Republican candidate in Maryland's Senate race, victim of the Washington Post's desire to keep him out of the Senate tore into the liberal newspaper on "Fox News Sunday."
Transcript continues below the fold. Video available here.
Lieutenant Governor, the Washington Post endorsed your opponent, Ben
Cardin, over the weekend, and they had some very harsh words for you.
Let's put them up on the screen.
"Despite his efforts to construct an image as an independent-minded
newcomer, there is nothing in Michael Steele's past — no achievement,
no record, no evidence and certainly no command of the issues — to
The Post says that as lieutenant governor for the past four years, you have had marginal influence.
I know. Isn't it a shame? Well, you know, Chris, that is pitiful.