In 1992, Republican chairman Rich Bond oafishly suggested in public that he was arguing the media had a liberal bias because he was "working the refs," cynically complaining about harsh coverage to get better coverage. But many candidates try to work reporters this way, and on the slightly dated April 4 edition of the PBS talk show Charlie Rose, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter said Bill Clinton's trying that tactic against Barack Obama, who he feels hasn't been challenged or critiqued by reporters:
JONATHAN ALTER: He`s working the refs, as we say.
CHARLIE ROSE: He`s doing what?
ALTER: He`s working the refs....Basketball players understand that.
Long-time New York Times and Washington Post "objective" political reporter-turned-liberal columnist E.J. Dionne on Friday wrote he suspects Fox News chairman Roger Ailes "secretly admires the bloggers and other activists working to keep Democratic presidential candidates from debating on his cable network."
Baloney. If he's secretly admiring Democrats for anything, it's for showing they're thin-skinned spoiled brats who are used to having an army of Stephanopolice reinforcing their every talking point. He's admiring how the Democrats are only building the appeal of the network to an audience of people who are looking for someone who doesn't follow along with the suffocating liberal consensus that lamely claims the mantle of "objectivity" as it throws rose petals in front of the Obamas and Rodhams.
Let's play a quick game of word association. I say "John McCain" and "reform." You say . . . I'm guessing . . . "campaign finance" or perhaps "McCain-Feingold." Am I right? And what's one of the biggest beefs that Republicans in general, and Republican primary-voting types in particular have with McCain? Correctamundo: his championing of campaign finance reform, which Republicans tend to oppose on philosophical grounds [unconconstitutional restriction of free speech] and pragmatic political ones [increases the power of the Dem-friendly MSM].
If further evidence were needed that it's hard for MSMers to understand Republicans, I refer you to Roger Simon's piece from yesterday at Politico.com, The Reinvention of John McCain. For what is Simon's advice to McCain for the reinvigoration of his campaign? You guessed it: that he return to his reformist roots.
One week apart, "The Early Show" provided very different segments about 2008 presidential contenders. The April 2 edition provided a very glowing, positive review of the candidates. The April 9 edition was far more critical of the contenders. Why the difference? The former reviewed the Democrats. The latter reviewed the Republicans.
On April 2 Hannah Storm discussed Hillary Clinton’s "amazing [fund raising] numbers." John Harris of Politico.com agreed noting "they are incredibly impressive numbers." Though Democratic rival John Edwards raised a much smaller $14 million, Storm wanted to know if the former vice presidential nominee saw a "spike in donations" after his wife announced her breast cancer is not curable.
The Media Research Center's Gala has only recently concluded. It will be almost a full year until the DisHonors Awards are again distributed. Even so, Scott Pelley's query to John McCain, aired on this evening's 60 Minutes, has to be considered a strong, early contender for Most Inane Question in next year's running.
Let's set the stage. 60 Minutes had devoted extensive time to McCain's recent trip to Iraq. Particular attention was paid to his visit to a Baghdad market, which, as it turned out, was carried out with very considerable security surrounding him. Even so, McCain acknowledged during the course of the interview that he was in large measure staking his candidacy on the success of the surge.
Immediately preceding his question, Pelley had noted that five generations of McCain's family had attended West Point or Annapolis. McCain was shown in his Senate office pointing out a picture of his father in Vietnam when he was commander of US forces in the Pacific.
Observed Pelley: "Now McCain's family is serving again. He has a son in the Naval Academy and another son 18 years old, headed toward Iraq."
If I had a $100 for every time the media fret that liberal Republicans will be seen as too "moderate" for their party base, I'd be blogging this from my vacation home in St. Kitts.
This CBS "Pure Horserace" article took the occasion of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani reaffirming his support of taxpayer-funded abortions to ask, "Is Rudy Too Moderate?"
The belief that abortion is not only a constitutional right but one deserving of subsidy by tax dollars is hardly a moderate position, it's a policy position grounded in advocacy of the exercise of the right to obtain an abortion.
It may arguably be "moderate" for a candidate to favor abortion rights but with some restrictions, such as a ban on partial-birth abortion, parental consent laws, a ban on public financing, etc. But to defend taxpayer funding of abortion and/or to balk at banning partial-birth abortion moves solidly into the "liberal" edge of the spectrum on the abortion issue.
It was a Vietnam flashback in Thursday's news pages, as New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg deployed 2004-era Times language to attack the veracity of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the Vietnam veterans group that successfully challenged John Kerry's Vietnam war record. The story concerned Sam Fox, Bush's nominee for ambassador to Belgium, who was forced to withdraw from consideration after Sen. John Kerry made a stink that Fox donated $50,000 to the Swifties. Bush took advantage of the Congressional recess to install Fox as ambassador without waiting for Senate approval.
Whatever happened to the notion of the "favorite son"? You know: the idea that a candidate's home state rallies around him. When it comes to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the Boston Globe seems to be adopting a mirror-image attitude. Call it the "disfavored son" approach to politics.
In perhaps the lamest bit of investigative journalism to stumble down the pike in a long time, months ago, as I noted here, the Globe breathlessly revealed not that Romney had hired illegal immigrants, but that the landscaping company tending his home had done so. Remember to run a thorough INS check on the guy who takes your order next time you drive through McDonald's -- wouldn't want to undermine your future candidacy.
I have been waiting for the MSM to start the drumbeat against Fred Thompson that they so often and so boringly used (and still do) against Ronald Reagan; the refrain of "He's just an actor." Now, Rebecca Sinderbrand of the New York Observer has used the general theme for her latest piece, The Mysterious Appeal of Fred Thompson. Subtitled "Actor, Senator, presidential candidate... but what G.O.P. gap is he filling?", Sinderbrand makes liberal use of Thompson's "roles" as a foil for his seriousness as a candidate and seems to be saying that the only reason anyone is considering him is because he looks the part as a result of his "camera presence."
Sinderbrand's entire piece is dismissive and shallow in its approach to the Senator with constant allusions to his being an actor playing a role and treats the Senator as if his candidacy is an effort at bait and switch, or at the very least a silly proposition. Throughout, Sinderbrand constantly mentions the acting aspect of the Senator's life as if that is all there is to him just like they have always done with Reagan.
That's pretty much the spin from the Politico this afternoon as the online political journal spun Barack Obama's campaign fundraising performance into bad news for Republican presidential aspiratios in 2008.
Here's the text of the "breaking news" e-mail from Politico.com. That's right, it's so important it deserved a breaking news alert to Politico readers' inboxes:
The Politico.com Breaking News: --------------------------------------------------------- GOP Gets Swamped in Money Hunt
The $25 million raised by Barack Obama this year is the latest bad news for Republicans.
Tom Tancredo has become well-known as the country’s most energetic Congressman against illegal immigration. He’s now running for president on that issue. National Public Radio also has a deeply ingrained reputation – as a taxpayer-subsidized network of gooey liberals. They speak in tones so sleep-inducing that their programs should be regarded as a potential traffic hazard.
On April 1, these two legends met, and sparks flew. The program was Sunday’s "All Things Considered" broadcast, hosted by Debbie Elliott. The trouble began at hello: Elliott introduced Tancredo as a man who "gained national prominence with his fierce opposition to allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens."
The DC Examiner has a great editorial this morning reminding everyone of the dramatic failure that McCain-Feingold has been. Not only has it failed to remove the "corrupting" influence of money in elections, it's needlessly promoted censorship:
Well, so much for “getting rid of the corrupting influence of
money on politics” — the basic aim of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance
Reform Act of 2002, aka as McCain-Feingold. That’s Sen. Russ Feingold,
D-Wis., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive front-runner for
the 2008 GOP presidential nomination who raised “only” $12.5 million
during the first three months of 2007. The Arizona senator trailed far
behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who raised $21 million
and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who raised $15 million, $10
million of which came in March alone. Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary
Clinton, D-N.Y., raised $26 million, former North Carolina Sen. John
Edwards raised $14 million and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raised
$6 million. Sen.Barack Obama, D-Ill., has not released his figures but
is estimated to have raised about $22 million. Collectively, more than
$125 million has been raised by the 2008 presidential candidates in
just three months, with more than nine months to go before the first
Think back to the days before McCain-Feingold
became law. The biggest target of the law’s backers was the estimated
$500 million in soft money contributed to political parties by
corporations, individuals, labor unions and others. Just last year,
Fred Wertheimer and Trevor Potter, two of the most ardent
McCain-Feingold supporters, charged that soft money “ultimately turned
into a $500 million national scandal and disgrace.” Now it looks like
the presidential primary contenders will equal or even surpass that
once-scandalous threshold long before the start of the general election
campaign. We know little or nothing about what was promised by the
candidates in return for this unprecedented flood of cash.
Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Boston Globe reports on the "push" to draft Al Gore to run for president in 2008 in the April 4th edition of the paper. The story's starry-eyed subjects launching Gore for president websites and sponsoring web petitions are in for the best fluff treatment lending their claims of a "surge" in support for a Gore candidacy far more legitimacy than it deserves.
The sunny representation of these Gore for president campaigns the Globe gives is almost pathetic in it's obvious wishful thinking. The only qualifying language to downplay the efforts used in the piece is an understated "How big is the effort? Hard to say."
No, it's not really that hard to say even when assessing the fluff the Globe reported. In fact, it's pretty easy to say that there is little interest -- at least far from enough interest to show a "surge" in support for a second Gore run for the White House. Far from "heating up" it seems more likely that there is a flaming out in the offing.
When Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced she had taken in $26 million in campaign donations on Monday, "Good Morning America" focused on the "historic," "staggering," and record shattering nature of the total. But on Tuesday, April 3, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received only suspicion over his equally impressive announcement of a $23 million fund-raising total.
GMA host Robin Roberts repeatedly asked Romney questions such as "where is the money coming from, Governor?" Ms. Roberts also wondered how the candidate’s Mormon faith factored into his fund-raising. She even challenged the Republican hopeful to take a page from John Kennedy and address his faith:
Robin Roberts: "Many are wondering if you will do, take a page from former President Kennedy, who had addressed the nation about his Catholic upbringing. Do you anticipate, anticipate doing the same?"
Would someone please let Andrea Mitchell know that John McCain is competing for the Republican presidential nomination? He's not going up against Obama, Hillary et al. in a race to determine who can surrender fastest in Iraq.
Giving her expert analysis on this morning's "Today" of John McCain's lackluster fundraising results, Mitchell claimed that John McCain is "hurt by his support for the Iraq war."
Could Andrea possibly be more wrong? McCain's support for President Bush's Iraq policy is the only thing keeping him alive, if barely, in the GOP race. Opposition to the war would put McCain in Chuck Hagel territory -- so unpopular among Republican voters that he dare not even throw his hat into the ring.
Chris Matthews attacked campaign fund donations to Mitt Romney last night on Hardball, calling the entire system of political fund raising "unsavory" along with claiming that Romney's contributors in particular are all "rich people" and people who are "loaded". In fact, he didn't seem to understand at all why anyone would even donate to a Romney campaign because he thinks everyone sees him as a "stranger".
In a report that was supposed to be about this first round of fund raising of all the candidates, Matthews found no time in a ten minute segment to even mention the many millions of dollars raised by Democrats, focusing almost entirely on his distrust of Romney, even though Romney raised far less than Clinton.
CNN correspondent Michael Ware appeared on Monday's "American Morning" and gave a live report from Baghdad on Sen. John McCain's visit to the Iraqi capital. Host Soledad O'Brien asked him during the segment if he had, as suggested in Internet accounts, heckled the presidential hopeful:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the senator's press conference. Is that true?
WARE: "Well, let's bear in mind that this is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official, of some kind, to a blog, to somewhere on the Internet. No one is going to put their name forward. We certainly haven't heard Senator McCain say anything about it, or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it.
Via Greg Pollowitz at NRO's Media Blog, let us reflect on the National Organization for Women issuing a report finding deeply ingrained sexism in the coverage of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The NOW gang resents candidate profiles "that trivialize female politicians by focusing on their clothing, hair, or taste in home décor, and those that position gender as her most important characteristic, playing on gender stereotypes in order to call into question her ability to provide strong, effective leadership."
Let's take the second complaint first. Since when has NOW -- which even endorsed the hapless Carol Moseley Braun for president in the 2004 cycle when she had as much chance of being elected president as write-ins like Ryan Seacrest did -- ever failed to position gender as a woman's "most important characteristic" when deciding between liberal candidates? (We understand they would never vote for Phyllis Schlafly.)
This week, the Media Research Center celebrated 20 years of busting news bias. At the annual MRC 20th Anniversary Gala, Conservative legend Rush Limbaugh brought down the house with his closing speech on the success of the alternative media.
On Monday, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received a gift from "Good Morning America": A 30 minute "town hall" infomercial where a GMA host lauded the New York Senator for being ahead of her time.
MRC's Matthew Balan discovered on Friday's "Today" that the latest conventional wisdom among the liberal news manufacturers at NBC is that Rudy Giuliani's struggling under a wave of forthcoming media frenzies, while John Edwards has made an Elmer's Glue bond with the American people with his "60 Minutes" interview with his wife about her cancer. First, the decline and fall of Rudy:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: “I want to switch gears here, Tim, and talk about the 2008 campaign. Two candidates, in particular making news this week, Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards. Let's start with Rudy Giuliani, if we can. Reports today, that when he was mayor of New York City, he knew that Bernard Kerik had a relationship with a company suspected of ties with organized crime, or to organized crime, before he appointed him as New York City police commissioner. He also said in an interview that if he is elected to the White House, he could see his wife Judith having a role in Cabinet meetings. How would assess his campaign at the end of this week? Headed in the right direction?”
On Monday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) got a "town hall" meeting with a hand-picked audience on "Good Morning America."
But the royal treatment Clinton receives in the mainstream media isn't shared by even some staunch liberals who make ink in the nation's newspapers everyday. Including at least one who pays the bills with the cartoonist's pen, generally liberal artist and blogger Darrin Bell, creator of "Candorville."
It's not the first time Bell has lampooned Clinton, but check out the March 30 installment, where he makes fun of Hillary's penchant for trying to be all things to all constituents, envisioning Clinton trying to pander to a Palestinian-American and an Israeli-American at the same time.
Bell's cartoon follows two days after the March 28 "'South Park," in which Clinton was portrayed unflatteringly, sporting rather large hips (calling to mind radio host Mark Levin's label "Her Thighness" ) and speaking in a faux Southern drawl.
Just in time for the 2008 presidential race, a certified "Friend of Bill" is bidding to acquire the Tribune Company, which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. As reported in this New York Times article , FOB Ronald W. Burkle and Eli Broad sumbitted their bid yesterday to Tribune management.
Failed radio mouth and Senatorial candidate from Minnesota , Al Franken, told David Letterman on the set of the "Late Show" that the USA should reconsider approving the Kyoto Protocols because the treaty is good for the economy -- Despite that the ruinous treaty was voted down by a unanimous Senate vote in 1997 for the very reason that it would harm the economy.
To a fawning audience and a rapt host, Franken attacked Bush over the treaty that was voted down before he ever got to office, saying "One of the dumbest things that this president has said -- and that is a high bar -- is that if we abided by the Kyoto agreement, it would be ruinous to our economy. The opposite is true."
This is a developing story, so there's room for it to play out a bit, but the law firm congressional Democrats are hiring to help plow through the U.S. attorney firings, Arnold & Porter, has a history of heavy donations towards Democrats.
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed GOP presidential candidate John McCain. In the piece, Cuomo quoted a congressional colleague who called the Arizona Senator’s position on Iraq "arrogant and self delusional."
The ABC host also wondered if McCain needed "rose colored glasses" to see progress in the war and prompted the ‘08 contender to choose which Democrat he’d like to see in the White House. All of this stood in stark contrast to the fawning, sycophantic "town hall" meeting that "Good Morning America" hosted with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday.
During that event, GMA co-host Robin Roberts told Clinton her plan for universal health care was ahead of its time and generally tossed softball questions. And she certainly didn’t ask the New York Senator if she’d prefer Mitt Romney or John McCain in the White House.
From the moment she participated in an anti-war march in NYC at the time of the 2004 GOP convention, there's been little doubt as to where Meredith Vieira stands on Iraq. Even so, it was something of a shock to hear the "Today" co-host express her opposition in the first person plural this morning.
Discussing the war with Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] at about 7:05 AM ET this morning, she said:
"Six out of ten Americans don't agree [with you]. They want a pull-out from Iraq. So what are we missing? When you say we are succeeding, based on what?"
"We?" Give Meredith credit for candor; but one more reason for NBC to stop pretending it doesn't lean left.
The New York Times cannot make up their mind if Dennis Hastert should be despised or laughed at, apparently. Neither can they decide if he is "rumpled and weary" or if he is "healthier and more relaxed" -- they confusingly say both in the very same article. But one thing is sure, their underlying sentiment toward the former Speaker of the House seems to be one of pity. And this article was simply an opportunity to kick someone they think is down.
But Dennis Hastert is neither seeking nor requiring such special attention or emotion to be wasted upon him. Furthermore, he never has. The pity party thrown for him by the Times is a pointless jab at a man who has given his life to the community. Hastert should be celebrated, not pitied. Least of all from as cynical an organization as the New York Times.
Who says the long sound bite is dead? According to an MRC analysis, "Good Morning America" devoted over 26 minutes of its two hour time slot on Monday to a fawning town hall meeting with Senator Hillary Clinton.
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Robin Roberts hosted a fawning town hall meeting with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. During the opening segment, which encompassed much of the program’s first half hour, Roberts didn’t bother challenging the New York Senator and, instead, asked her softball questions.
She even told the former Fist Lady that "many people" felt her 1993 universal health care proposal was "ahead of its time." This lead to a question by an audience member who, in ‘93, just happened to have been on the Clinton’s universal health care task force:
Robin Roberts: "What you said then in, in ‘93, many people felt it was just, in some ways, ahead of its, ahead of its time. Somebody that was there, and wants to ask you what is different now, between what happened then, and he is Dr. Steve Eckstat. He is, he works at the free clinic of Iowa. Doctor?"