The Washington Post noticed today that Rep. Steny Hoyer made a racial boo-boo on Sunday, that black Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele has "a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party." In 2002, Hoyer denounced Steele as a "token." Did the Post paste it at the top of the front page? No, it’s on B-2. It’s a lot different than the long-running, transparently partisan "Macaca" campaign waged by Michael Shear, Tim Craig and the rest of the Post against Sen. George Allen. (Today’s Nexis count: 92 Post articles, news and editorial, with the word "Macaca." Four of them were news accounts on the front page.)
Ann Marimow’s story couldn’t match the Shear & Craig treatment. Where they dropped "Macaca" in every story they could work it in, Marimow did not remind the Post reader that Steele’s Democratic Senate opponent, Rep. Ben Cardin, fired a junior staffer for blogging about being a "sex object" for Cardin's Jewish friends and alleged that the attempted discipline of a black campaign staffer failed because "he plays the racism card, the magic passport to a different chain of command." (The Post reported the firing on September 15, and Marimow mentioned it vaguely on October 4. That’s about 92 to 2.)
Aren’t reporters supposed to nail facts down for the public? On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, reporter Chip Reid explored the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, but could not explain to viewers whether or not Sen. Bob Menendez is under federal investigation. "It’s not entirely clear who’s right," Reid claimed. As Menendez denounced Republican opponent Tom Kean Jr. for "the politics of smear," Reid seemed unable to declare a basic fact local media outlets have repeated for weeks: federal investigators subpoenaed a Menendez tenant’s leasing agreement with Menendez. NBC doesn’t even seem to trust its own New York affiliate WNBC to locate the facts, even though it broke the subpoena story in September.
There's nothing the MSM loves more than a renegade Republican. The GOP maverick-of-the-MSM-week is David Kuo. He is the former #2 man in the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and has written a book, Tempting Faith, claiming that the operation was a cynical attempt to woo faith-based voters whom top aides including Karl Rove looked at contemptuously.
Chris Matthews predictably had Kuo on this afternoon's Hardball. At one point, Matthews asked whether President Bush has "used faith to get votes" and then "how about the issues like stem cell - do you think he's using them politically?"
"I think you're conflagrating a couple of different things here."
For the second time in less then 24 hours, CNN featured David Kuo, a vocal Bush critic and the former deputy director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo, who appeared on Tuesday’s "American Morning," has written a book that accuses the White House of using Christian conservatives for political gain and ignoring the issues they care about. Co-Anchor Soledad O’Brien interviewed the author and seemed perturbed that Kuo wouldn’t call for conservatives to boycott the midterm elections:
Soledad O’Brien: "Here's what you write -- you say, 'Christians vote our money, our energy. Every politician needs evangelicals. 'You go on to say, 'It's like a teenaged boy out on a date with a beautiful girl; they'll say anything and everything to get what they want. Let's not give it to them. Let's tell them we are fasting from politics for a season.' Are you saying, stay away from the polls? Three weeks, when we go to the midterm elections, don't vote?"
David Kuo: "Absolutely not."
O’Brien: "What's fasting mean?"
Kuo: "When I'm talking about the fast, I'm talking after the election."
O’Brien: "What kind of a fast is it if you stuff yourself silly and then you go on a fast?"
Check out the email below I just received from the Zogby polling group. Anita Drobny and Sheldon Drobny, co-founders of the Air America Radio Network, along with a couple others, are starting a new liberal talk radio network to pick up where Air America is presumably about to leave off. What does it say about the objectivity of Zogby's polling that John Zogby will be a regular contributor?
Air America Co-Founders Start New Liberal Talk Network: Mike Malloy, Joe Trippi and John Zogby join Nova M Radio
Nova M Radio, Inc. based in Phoenix, Arizona officially announced the formation of its new progressive talk radio network. Debuting on the network will be the long awaited return to the airwaves of America’s original “truth-seeker” Mike Malloy. The Mike Malloy Show will initially broadcast live, from 9PM -12 Midnight (EST) beginning October 30,2006 on Nova M Radio affiliate 1480-AM KPHX Phoenix. The Mike Malloy Show will be made available to affiliates across the nation and will also stream live on www.novamradio.com. Malloy on his return to the radio quipped “Yikes! That was close. To not be on the air during perhaps the most critical election in modern U-S history would have been a real bummer. But, we're back and here it is: The Nova M Radio network. Another crack in the wall of right-wing drivel that saturates the airwaves. Join me nightly, truth-seekers and goodbye Air America - hello Nova M!”
Never play poker against Claire Shipman. Anyone who can keep a straight face while claiming that 'Women's Voices. Women Vote' is "non-partisan" could surely bluff you out of a pot while sitting on a busted flush.
On this morning's Good Morning America, Shipman [or shall we call her 'DC Slim'?] narrated a segment spotlighting WVWV's efforts to get single women voters to the polls. Since it is obvious that single women lean heavily Dem, voting for Democrats by a more than 2/3 margin as Dem pollster Celinda Lake acknowledged, my BS-detector started screeching when I saw a straight-faced Shipman slip in her claim that WVWB is "non-partisan."
"General Pelosi, I'm Matt Lauer, and I'm reporting for duty!"
OK, Matt didn't quite say that as 'Today' kicked off its 'The War at Home' three-part series this morning on the lives of American veterans once they return home from war. But judging from the opening episode and the tease for what's to come tomorrow, he might just as well. NBC is clearly doing its part to tend the Dems' Victory Garden.
Of all the reporters in the NBC News stable, 'Today' tapped for this segment Jonathan Alter, a regular guest on Al Franken's Air America show and a consistently liberal columnist at Newsweek. And of all the hundreds of thousands of veterans, Today just happened to choose Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs while co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq, and who now just happens to be . . . running for Congress as a - give me a sec here, OK, got it - Democrat.
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers asked "Is God Green?" in his liberal campaign trilogy "Moyers in America" last week. Over at Businessandmedia.org, Rachel Waters noted that Moyers insisted that conservatives were only "mildly joking" with the hang-em-high bumper sticker "Support Environmentalists With a Rope." Catholic blogger Jimmy Akin tipped me off to another angle. One Christian expert Moyers used who was not bowing before Greenpeace, Calvin Beisner of the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, reported Moyers was very frank about his intention to boost Democrats into majority status:
The bias of Moyers’s program is not surprising. He forthrightly told me before our interviews that he, as a liberal Democrat, hoped to use this program to divide the evangelical vote and return control of Congress to the Democrats in November's elections. The timing of the program’s release, therefore, is not surprising.
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."
There was more bad news for the White House on ABC Monday morning. Three weeks before the mid-term congressional elections, 'Good Morning America' chose to highlight the claims of a former White House staffer that Bush administration officials had "mocked" evangelical Christian leaders. Former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, David Kuo, wrote a book, released today, in which he asserts that administration officials have referred to evangelical leaders as "nuts" and that his office was used to curry favor with "Republican base voters," evangelical Christians, rather than to help the poor.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts and substitute host Chris Cuomo teased the 7:40AM segment, which included a report from Jake Tapper and an interview with Kuo:
Chris Cuomo: "Also this half hour, we have new questions about the White House and the religious right. The faithful helped put Bush in the White House, but did the administration mock evangelicals behind their backs?"
Robin Roberts: "Coming up next, a White House insider blows the whistle, accusing the Bush administration of taking advantage of Christian conservatives."
What does the "N-word" racial epithet and the pollster term "values voter" have in common? According to Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, by some elastic calisthenics of the brain, the word "values" needs to be drained of its poison, deprived of its "sting" against liberals, deflated of any political advantage, so that liberals can be seen as just as morality-oriented as conservatives. In describing his column on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning program on Monday, Alter said this "values voter" term is "driving me nuts," that certain people have a "monopoly" on "so-called traditional values." Alter also displayed an intense desire for the "demise" of "values voters" in the fall election. In his phone interview with Imus in the 6:30 am half hour, Alter told Imus:
In Monday's daily political chat at the Washington Post website, reporter Shailagh Murray was defending her Saturday front-pager on hot-looking Democrats. She claimed that it was not biased to say Democrats were better looking this year. The bias was "in the facts," she claimed:
Alexandria, Va.: On the good-looking thing: to do a story like that -- ooh, look at the Democratic hotties! -- in mid-October looks a bit like electioneering (leering electioneering?). When you have a good-looking Republican, the media treat them as automatically devoid of depth. That's why this article came across as tilted.
Shailagh Murray: This year, Republicans are incumbents and Democrats are challengers. That's why I focused on Democrats. Because they're the ones pushing the boulder up the mountain. As I pointed out, Republicans did something similar in 1994, when a lot of their candidates were younger and more fresh faced, less like traditional politicians. I realize that some people see bias in everything we all write, but sometimes the bias is in the facts.
Give Paul Krugman credit for candor. He could care less about a candidate's qualities. He just wants you to vote Democrat. As suggested by the headline - One-Letter Politics - of his pay-to-play column this morning, Krugman asserts:
"The fact is that this is a one-letter election. D or R, that’s all that matters. It’s hard to think of an election in which the personal qualities of the people running in a given district or state have mattered less."
In a way, it's refreshing to see a Times columnist bare his partisanship in such bald-faced fashion. And just what reasons make it so important that the Dems take back the majority? Krugman offers two. The first, which he describes as the lesser, is to bring "the G.O.P. juggernaut . . . to a shuddering halt."
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.
Forgive the slowness of getting to this amazing exchange on Meet the Press, but with all the fuss that Chris Matthews and other national pundits have made over George Allen's "Macaca" salutation, it's amazing (and a testament to media Bush-loathing) that Missouri Democrat Senate challenger Claire McCaskill could completely copy rapper Kanye West and insist President Bush let people die in New Orleans because they were black, and nobody blinked. (Coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC? Zero.) At least Tim Russert brought it up last Sunday, late in the Missouri Senate debate on Meet the Press. But McCaskill wouldn't retract it. She was "acknowledging the feelings" of professional race-baiters and certain rappers who wear pink:
Russert: Let me turn to George W. Bush, because he’s become an issue in the campaign. Ms. McCaskill, you were quoted in the pubdef.net giving a speech which was blogged, saying, “She reminded people that ‘George Bush let people die on rooftops in New Orleans because they were poor and because they were black.’” One, why would you say that, and do you believe it?
This past week, the media made a very clear distinction between how they view a Republican scandal and one involving a powerful Democrat. MRC analysts found that, over a period of 12 days, the big three networks aired 150 stories on the Mark Foley scandal.
How did those same networks cover an investigation into Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and a very questionable land deal? They generally ignored the story. In the case of CNN, the October 12 "American Morning" aired almost 20 minutes of Foley coverage and devoted 35 seconds to Reid
Not to be outdone, print media also glossed over the emerging Reid scandal. "The New York Times" prefaced a story about Reid earning $1.1 million on a property that he hasn’t owned in three years with this headline: "Senator Offers to Amend Financial Forms." The "Times" is certainly generous in offering the benefit of the doubt...as long as you’re a Democrat.
The media’s vigorous effort to portray the Mark Foley scandal as a vicious blow to the Republican Party’s chances in the November elections continued on ABC's "Nightline" Thursday evening. Reporter Chris Bury’s segment focused on the competitive House race between Democrat Patty Wetterling and Republican Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th District. There was a noticeable difference in how the two candidates were described. While Bury hyped Wetterling as a woman who "has made child protection her life’s mission" with no mention of her ideological positions on any other issue, GOP candidate Bachmann was described as a "staunch" opponent to abortion and gay marriage.
Bury implied Republicans should be worried about their electoral prospects because the race in the "reliably Republican" seat is so closely contested. However, it should be noted that while Minnesota’s 6th district did elect President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, it also has a history of competitive House races, with Democrats being elected to the seat from 1975-1981; 1983-1993; and 1995-2003.
Not all vulnerable seats in the midterm elections are currently occupied by Republicans. This was the shocking revelation on Friday’s "Early Show," and as their example, they chose to profile Michael Steele and the Maryland Senate race. For anyone not knowledgeable about this campaign, the piece seemed fairly positive. But, for those familiar with the background of this race, there was a glaring omission. In July 2005, Democratic operative, Lauren Weiner, invaded Mr. Steele's privacy and illegally obtained a copy of his credit report, but this went unreported in Trish Regan’s story. According to the Washington Post, this Democratic scandal led to an FBI investigation and charges being filed against Ms. Weiner; Weiner plead guilty to the charges in federal court. Could this be because it would be a Democratic scandal? This isn’t the first time CBS has omitted facts damaging to Democrats, as again the "Early Show" remained silent about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s lucrative, yet questionable, land deal.
The October 12 edition of "American Morning" demonstrated the stark difference between how the media focuses on a Republican scandal, versus one involving a powerful Democrat. The CNN program devoted 18 minutes to investigating the Mark Foley scandal and only 35 seconds to the details of a questionable land deal involving Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Despite the recent revelations that Reid earned $1.1 million on a Las Vegas property that he hadn’t owned for three years, and despite the fact that he recently hung up on an AP reporter who dared ask him about it, "American Morning," which airs from 6a.m to 10a.m., only broadcast two brief anchor reads on the subject. In contrast, the program produced five full reports and one anchor read on the scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley and congressional pages.
This is how guest anchor Betty Nguyen reported the Reid story at 7:14a.m. EDT:
Nguyen: "Well, a Senate Democrat is now under scrutiny this morning for a land sale. Property deeds show Democratic leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a land sale and there are questions about how he reported it. It happened in his home state of Nevada. Reid says he did nothing wrong. The Senate Ethics Committee is reviewing the case."
A second report followed an hour later:
Nguyen: "Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is denying any wrongdoing. Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a land sale in his home state of Nevada. But there are questions about how he reported it. The Senate Ethics Committee is looking into this land deal."
Note the distinct lack of interest in those comments.
"A federal grand jury has indicted Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, a top fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, on charges that he demanded millions of dollars in kickbacks from investment firms seeking business from the state teachers' pension system, according to an indictment unsealed today."
The story describes Rezko as a "longtime Chicago developer and active supporter of Republicans and Democrats."
According to Newsmeat.com, which tracks Federal Election Commission data, between 2002 and 2004 Rezko made political contributions (not to Blagojevich) of $20,500. Every dollar went to Democratic candidates.
"Didn't the MSM get the memo? Keep Foley on the front page!" That seemed to be Chris Matthews' attitude when he was interviewed on this afternoon's MSNBC Live regarding Pres. Bush's press conference of this morning.
Appearing during the 2-2:30 PM ET slot, the transparently ticked-off Hardball host was asked: "The Mark Foley scandal has been dominating the news for over a week now. It was barely touched upon in the news conference today. Was the president, do you think, successful in refocusing attention on to the economy and national security today?"
A palpably PO'd Matthews:
"Well, he was successful to a large extent because the press, for whatever reason, decided not to ask him about the Foley scandal, which has dominated this network and so much else of the media for the last couple weeks and has been a big part of the American conversation. I don't know why though the correspondents - and they're the best in the business - chose to stick right to the issue of Iraq and North Korea, but they did, giving the president a chance to grab the headline tomorrow morning and tonight, with a big story about North Korea and his position on that topic. He has won the day on controlling the topic."
Tune your television to any political talk show during this venomous
electoral season, and you're bound to hear a bunch of pundits
speculating on the future of the Republican party. Even before the Mark
Foley e-diddling scandal broke a couple of weeks ago, conventional
wisdom held that the GOP was headed for a seriously weakened majority
presence in Congress, and perhaps even minority status in one of the two
For the first time in quite a while I've found myself agreeing with the
conclusions of most political prognosticators on tv, yet I disagree with
the reasons they usually give for the Republicans' decline in
popularity. You see, the thing about conventional wisdom is that the
truly wise among us have little to do with its evolution. The fact that
the majority of opinion-meisters and political junkies sometimes reach
the right conclusion, doesn't mean that the logic they've used to get
there is sound. Their ability to occasionally place the right bet has
more to do with the law of averages than anything else. Any blackjack
dealer in Vegas will tell you that if you hold on 15 every time it's
dealt to you, eventually the house will bust on a hit to a lower hand,
but doing that doesn't make you a shrewd card player.
A phalanx of Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton, claims the Bush administration is to blame for the N. Korean nuclear test. John McCain responds, pointing out that it was the Clinton administration's failed "agreed framework" that let Kim Jong Il merrily go about his bomb-and-missile-making ways.
So how does Hannah Storm of CBS' Early Show frame the state of play?
"Sen. John Kerry said that you must be trying to burnish your credentials for the nomination process, he's referring of course to your presidential aspirations. I mean, what do you say to those who say that you're [her voice breaking into a horrifed squeak] politicizing this issue?"
Back in January, Oprah Winfrey featured bombastic liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich in a show about James Frey's lying memoir, in which Rich quickly brought up Enron and Bush lying us into war. Mrs. Graham alerted me that Oprah's doing it again on Thursday, an October surprise: Frank Rich promoting his Bush-bashing book "The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina."
The on-air promo Tuesday and the online promo don't mention Rich's name, but do feature his face. The show's title is "Truth in America." The online promo is short, but matches Rich's book title: "An Oprah special...what is the truth? The war in Iraq, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, media reports....are we getting the real story? Do we really want to hear it? A controversial hour..." The on-air promo doesn't show another guest -- as in someone who would debate Rich, but we do see a female audience member insisting "I support the president...and what he did."
Jack Cafferty, the CNN host of "The Cafferty File" segment of "The Situation Room," Tuesday asserted that Virginia Senator George Allen doesn’t "have much" character and lamented the fact that Allen is leading his opponent in the polls. He derided a new advertisement by Allen that calls for voters to focus on his stand on the issues:
Cafferty: "Allen doesn’t want voters to focus on his character, because it’s becoming more and more apparent in recent weeks that he may not have much. There was the time he called an Indian American volunteer from his opponent’s campaign ‘macaca’ and welcomed him to America. Allen’s been accused of using the N-word to refer to blacks. He denies ever doing that.
He’s been in the Senate for six years, but voters just learned a few weeks ago that he’s Jewish. He claims his mother never bothered to tell him. Sure.
And the Associated Press reports that for the last five years, Allen has not bothered to tell Congress about stock options that he got for being a director of a high tech company in Virginia. Allen says he did not report the stock options because he saw them as worthless. When his lawyer was told that Senate ethics require that stock options be reported regardless of their value, his lawyer said he was unfamiliar with that provision. You want to know why things are so screwed up in Washington D.C.? In spite of all the things I just mentioned, Allen is leading in the polls, four weeks before the election.Maybe Allen is on to something, maybe character doesn’t matter to Virginia voters."
Have a look at this screen capture from the opening of this morning's 'Today': Barbra Streisand says "SEND IN THE #$&!! CLOWNS"
Since 'Today' only offered a tease at the top of the show, it was hard to know just what Babs had been up to. Was she cursing out a fan or, perhaps, calling for a takeover of power by her team of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Conyers, Henry Waxman et al.?
Turns out the correct answer was 'A' - cursing a fan. According to this New York Post article, VULGAR BABS RIPS BUSH - AND FAN - AT MSG:
The show bills itself as 'Hardball.' But in surrounding himself with regulars who are either certified liberals or renegade Republicans, doesn't Chris Matthews prove himself to be a softy, unwilling or unable to take the high heat from true-blue Republican flamethrowers?
Let me say something that might surprise some NewsBusters readers and dismay others. I like Matthews. Not that conservatives are the arbiters of patriotism, but I do consider Chris someone who loves his country and, as misguided as he may be on various policy issues - has its best interests at heart. He's no Keith Olbermann.
That said, although he professes not to be a partisan and will speak to Democrats about "your" - not "our" - party, there can be little doubt that his rooting interest hasn't changed much since the days he was a top aide to Tip.
"A North Korean ICBM hit Hawaii with a 10-kiloton atomic weapon today. Now back to Meredith and Matt for the latest on the burgeoning Mark Foley scandal. Is it doom for Republicans?"
Perhaps I exaggerate a tad with that imaginary bit of dialogue, but judging by this morning's 'Today,' you have to wonder. Good Morning America devoted the lion's share of its first half-hour to the N. Korean test of a nuclear device, with no fewer than four segments focusing on it. Over at Today, after a correspondent in China gave a report, and Lauer and Andrea Mitchell batted things around for a while, it was over. No expert analysis, no nothing. It was time to move to a report on . . . the latest lettuce recall. Have a look at the clock in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. It was only 7:06.
Harry Smith continued to pounce on the Foley scandal on this morning’s "Early Show." Smith talked with former Secretary of State James Baker in the 7:00 half hour, and immediately focused on the Foley e-mail scandal and whether Speaker Hastert ought to resign his position over it. Unlike Bay Buchanan on Thursday’s "Early Show," Baker disputed that Hastert should be turned into a sacrificial lamb by Republicans, and refuted Smith's assertions that if Hastert would just resign, that the story would go away.
Smith began by asking Baker what he would do if he were in charge to help Republicans get passed the Foley scandal:
"First off, you know, you were known, one of your nicknames along the line was 'The Velvet Hammer.' You had a lot of responsibility for cleaning up messes from time to time. If you were in charge right now, what would you do?"