Conservative blogs are abuzz with a controversial remark MSNBC's Joe Scarborough made on his Friday "Morning Joe" program about Jeri Thompson, the wife of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who is mulling over a White House bid.
Sen. Barack Obama's new Web site geared to his presidential bid, faith.barackobama.com, includes official endorsements from notorious clergymen known for making fantastic, racially inflammatory claims---yet the liberal media aren't saying much about these endorsements or the controversial clergymen who Sen. Obama has officially embraced. It is doubtful the liberal media would be as silent if such people were publicly endorsing a Republican or conservative political candidate.
Update (15:40 EDT): Ana Marie Cox helpfully corrects/excuses Klein's error re: Kucinich.
Well, that didn't take long. Just a few hours after former Rep. Dick Armey's (R-Tex.) first guest blog post to Time's "Swampland," liberal journalist and author Joe Klein slammed Armey for "red-baiting" the audience on the Democrats' stances on issues like health care.
Socialized medicine is a right-wing scare trope. None of the Democrats
is proposing that. None of them is even proposing a "single-payer"
plan, like Canada, where the government collects the premiums and
people get to choose private providers. And now that we're at a point
where much of corporate America is hoping for some relief from the
burden of providing health insurance, ain't this kind of red-baiting
getting a little old?
But Klein is dead wrong. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is precisely pushing a single-payer universal coverage plan that the liberal Center for American Progress labels as "Medicare for All."
From Kucinich.us, the Ohio Democrat's campaign Web site (PDF file):
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," ABC co-anchor Chris Cuomo acted as lawyer for the defense when he interviewed the co-authors of a new book that contains critical revelations about 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Cuomo grilled Don Van Natta and Jeff Gerth, the New York Times investigative journalists behind "Her Way," asking if their book was a "sleeper" and an "Ambien substitute."
The ABC host, who didn’t appear comfortable even discussing a book critical of Senator Clinton, began the interview by derisively wondering, "...Do you think you have the silver bullet in this book? Is this is this the book that derails the campaign?" Then, Cuomo, the son of a Democratic governor and the brother of New York’s Democratic Attorney General, questioned the standards of the two authors with this loaded query:
Chris Cuomo: "The [Clinton] campaign said it is an Ambien substitute. They say the book is just a rehash. How do you respond to that, that your book is a sleeper? It’s all been done before. You only needed a library card to report this out. Your response?"
Jeff Gerth: "Well, The New York Times chose to put 8,000 words of our book on the cover of the Sunday magazine and we feel that their news judgement is better than that of Senator Clinton’s."
I've documented on NewsBusters numerous occasions where Time magazine's political news-oriented "Swampland" blog has skewed to the left, including when the blog allowed veteran liberal columnist/pundit Michael Kinsley to guest blog at the site in March.
In his first post, Armey tells readers that his primary concern is battling the growth of government under the watch of both Democrats and Republicans:
For those who read this column, you probably most know me as a an
architect of the Contract with America, House Majority Leader from
1994-2003, and more recently as Chairman grassroots powerhouse
In all of these endeavors I have been guided by my
highest political value: freedom. This is a good place for me to start.
While tyrannies work only for those at the top, the American tradition
demonstrates that all people are better off when their political and
economic freedoms are protected. Government can only expand its scope
of power and authority at the expense of the citizen. Barry Goldwater
and Ronald Reagan knew this.
Away visiting friends the last few days, I've been using GoToMyPC.com to access the video-capture capabilities of my home desktop. While it works well [unpaid testimonial] and lets me view the video once I've moved it to an editing board, for some reason while tuning in live to a show, the screen-within-a-screen is black. Thus, in "watching" Today this morning live, I could only hear, but not see, the segment on last night's Dem debate in New Hampshire.
But the ears-only experience was actually edifying. It permitted me to focus entirely on Hillary's voice, undistracted by her image. It's no revelation to say that Clinton's tone is anything but mellifluous. And though this was not Hillary at her nails-on-chalkboard worst, even so one can imagine Americans sitting at home asking themselves "do I want to listen to this for the next four years?" The clip I've provided includes three instances of Hillary speaking seriously on various issues. What's worse in some ways, is that it is followed by two instances of Clinton laughter. There is something about her forced giggle that is every bit as grating as Hillary in hectoring mode. Judge for yourself.
In answer to Mark Finkelstein's question here on Newsbusters, "How Will MSM Take on Thompson?", we may be seeing some possible angles of attack warming up. I won't claim to know the definitive answer, but Mark's question got me to taking an occasional look to see how the MSM is approaching Senator Fred Thompson and I think that we might be seeing a few trial balloons on that subject.
Balloon #1 - Thompson is a traitor
As I chronicled in my last Newsbusters piece about New York Times TV writer, Alessandra Stanley, who poked at the good Senator over his leaving the TV show upon which he played a part, one line of attack says that Fred Thompson is not to be trusted because he is letting down the producers of the TV show. Since the show is in ratings trouble, his leaving looks like some sort of traitorous move as far as Stanley is concerned... not that anyone ELSE sees it, of course.
In April, NewsBusters commended HBO for actually having a balanced panel on “Real Time”: “Maher ought to try this format of having two liberals (including himself) and two conservatives more often, for a much more balanced discussion ensued than normal, making for one of the most interesting 'Real Times' of the season so far.”
For a change, Tim Russert employed the same strategy on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” inviting on Democrat strategists James Carville and Bob Shrum, and Republican strategists Mary Matalin and Mike Murphy.
What ensued was an absolutely marvelous discussion largely centering on presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle without the normal vitriol and inflammatory rhetoric we observe when there are either only liberals on the panel or a sole conservative.
At least for the time being, the MSM seems stymied in finding an angle with which to take on the prospective candidacy of Fred Thompson. The MSM found it easy to tag each of the other frontrunners with a negative narrative: Romney the flip-flopping Mormon, Giuliani the social liberal with a dodgy personal past, McCain-the-aged, out of touch with the base on immigration and taxes.
The dilemma was apparent on this morning's "Today." After an anodyne set-up piece by Kelly O'Donnell, it was time for analysis in a segment hosted by Campbell Brown. You would normally expect the guest in these situations to be Tim Russert or Chris Matthews. If ever a conservative were to be on, you could be virtually certain that he would be balanced by a liberal. But, lo and behold, there was Stephen Hayes, who has a major piece on Thompson in the Weekly Standard. And nary a James Carville or facsimile thereof in sight. Nor were Brown's questions of the accentuating-the-negative variety. Among Hayes's observations:
Appearing on last Sunday’s "Reliable Sources," "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts provided a look into the secular world of America’s newsrooms. She told CNN host Howard Kurtz that although her faith is very important, she admitted to, in the past, being "very fearful" about discussing religion on GMA. Prompted to explain why, the ABC anchor elaborated:
Robin Roberts: "Because, because you don't do that. You don't let – You're not supposed to, we're not supposed to talk about faith. We're not supposed to let people-- I bought into that."
Mr. Kurtz also asked Roberts about a late March town hall meeting with Hillary Clinton that ABC televised. According to the GMA anchor, the reason there’s been no follow-up event with any of the Republican candidates is because Clinton has thus far been the only one to respond. She also explained why the ABC program allowed the New York Senator to pick the topic for discussion:
This is something that must truly be seen to be believed. "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith concluded an interview with former Vice President Al Gore by attempting to pin a Gore ‘08 button on the politician. Why stop there, Harry? Why not slap a bumper sticker across your suit? (Be sure and check out the NB video clip.)
Sometimes the media make it very clear what they would like you to believe. On Tuesday’s "Today" show, various NBC reporters described senatorial candidate and former liberal radio host Al Franken, as "smart," "Harvard smart" and a "smart guy." Now, try and imagine if Ann Coulter ran for elected office. Think Meredith Vieira would laud her intellect?
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program featured an extensive segment on the root causes of why Rosie O’Donnell left "The View." They covered every angle of the story. Well, except for the fact that the comedienne insinuated that American troops are terrorists.
Is Time’s presidential coverage biased? Check out these headlines from the new edition today: "Barack Obama’s Inconvenient Truths" and "Mitt Romney’s Disappointing Campaign." When you read the actual articles, the contrast is even starker. Reporter Karen Tumulty touted Obama: "Whereas other candidates like to throw red meat before their audiences, Obama is developing a penchant for hurling cold water at them." Columnist Joe Klein blistered Romney: "the brazen cynicism of his candidacy became almost embarrassing...there isn't the slightest hint of courage or conviction in his stump act."
On Tuesday, unlike virtually every press organization that did its best to sidestep the issue while covering Cindy Sheehan’s resignation from the peace movement, Kiran Chetry actually said on “American Morning” “she renounced her ties to the Democratic Party.”
If George W. Bush had gone to law school and later flunked the bar exam, you can imagine that fact would have become a virtual part of his name in the MSM, as in "George Bush, who failed the bar exam, today criticized a law that . . ."
But it came as news to me when Carl Bernstein mentioned on this morning's "Today" that Hillary flunked the Washington, DC bar exam back in the '70s. OK, I'm not the most knowledegable guy, and the fact of Hillary's failure is not news -- after years of hiding the embarrassment, she revealed it, en passant, in her ghostwritten 2003 "autobiography." Note: according to that book, during the same period Hillary took and passed the Arkansas bar exam. The pass rate in Arkansas was considerably higher than in DC.
On Tuesday, Chris Matthews made clear his displeasure with the Mexicans who booed the American entrant at the Miss Universe pageant. Matthews was back on the conservative side of the cultural divide today, letting Air America's Mark Green know in no uncertain terms that he didn't appreciate being classified a bigot because he does not support gay marriage.
Green, a perennial candidate for office in New York who now with his multi-millionaire brother has bought Air America out of bankruptcy, was Matthews' guest on this afternoon's Hardball along with GOP consultant Ed Rogers.
At about 5:38 pm EDT, the topic turned to gay marriage.
On Thursday, all three network morning shows covered the announcement that former Senator Fred Thompson would be entering the 2008 race for the White House. And while CBS downplayed the news and NBC’s Chris Matthews wondered if Thompson "has the stuff" to run for the White House, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was the only individual to introduce what will apparently be a new Democratic talking point. Appearing on "Good Morning America," the "This Week" anchor claimed Thompson "can also expect questions about his one term in the Senate, whether it’s a thin record or not.Democrats are already raising questions about that."
Who would those Democrats be? Will Barack Obama, who, until 2004 was an Illinois state senator, broach the issue? Or perhaps Hillary Clinton, who only gained her Senate seat in 2000, will bring up the subject of experience. Thompson, despite Stephanopoulos’ claims, was not a one term Senator. He won a special election in 1994 and a full term in 1996. He served longer than both those candidates and also Republicans such as Mitt Romney, who can claim just one term as governor of Massachusetts. Perhaps Obama and Clinton assume that the media will simply ignore such facts.
Actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is close to forming a presidential exploratory committee, according to numerous media outlets, citing people close to the TV star. Reporting that news, CBSNews.com ran with a less-than-flattering AP photo of Thompson, pictured at right.
"Former Sen. Fred Thompson attends the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner in Stamford Conn., on May 24, 2007," read the caption.
By contrast, ABCNews.com ran an AP photo that features a stern-looking Thompson. With skyscrapers in the background, it evokes his current TV character incarnation, New York County District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's long-running court drama "Law & Order." You can see that screen cap pictured below:
Is "Early Show" anchor Harry Smith stumping for an Al Gore presidency? On the May 30 edition of the show, it appeared like he did as he tried to place a "Gore 2008" pin on the former vice president’s suit. Before a tee ball interview, Smith demonstrated his desire for a Gore presidency to co-anchor Hannah Storm.
Based on its own ABC poll, "Good Morning America" could have run a segment this morning on the theme "support for universal coverage slipping as Americans express increased concern for keeping taxes down." But that wouldn't have fit ABC's big-government paradigm. So instead, GMA used this prescription for pushing universal health care:
Cherry-pick results from a poll you've conducted; ignoring inconvenient findings.
Bring in a spokesman from a left-wing group that pushes universal care.
Uncritically rely on a clip from, yes, Michael Moore's latest propa-mentary, "Sicko."
Today's "Good Morning America" took Barack Obama's announcement yesterday of his health care proposal as a jumping-off point for a segment on the broader issue. Co-host Diane Sawyer flashed a graphic showing that according to an ABC News poll, 56% of Americans favor Universal health coverage. What Diane didn't tell you: the number of people backing universal coverage has dipped since ABC last conducted such a poll, when support was at 62%.
Charlie Hall, a Washington Post reporter and copy editor for 20 years, is running for a county board seat in suburban northern Virginia as a Democrat, and as the Post itself reported Tuesday, he gets really upset when his Democratic opponents suggest he has no Democratic credentials: "The issue infuriates Hall, who said that he has voted Democrat his whole life."
Post reporter Bill Turque chronicled the primary fight for the Providence District of the Fairfax County Board, a long-time Democratic stronghold. Hall's a staunch opponent of new real-estate development in the area. The incumbent fighting for re-election on June 12 is Linda Q. Smyth, who is backed by the chairman of the Fairfax County Board, Gerald Connolly:
If there was one thing the 'Today' show wanted its viewers to know about comedian, turned failed Air America radio host, turned Senate candidate, Al Franken, it's that he's really "smart." Profiling his Minnesota Senate seat run, the Today show cast went out of their way to prove the Saturday Night Live alum's candidacy was serious by emphasizing Franken was, indeed, "smart."
Not once, not twice, but three times this morning's Today tagged Franken with the "smart" label. First up, 'Today' co-host Meredith Vieira, in her tease of the upcoming Franken piece proclaimed of the creator of Stuart Smalley: "He's a smart guy!" Then later, Franken impressed Today's national correspondent Jamie Gangel with his smartness as he doodled a map of the U.S. from memory:
Jamie Gangel: "What some people may not know, Franken is smart, Harvard smart. A math whiz who aced the SATs and it turns out not bad at geography, either."
Al Franken doodling: "It's a circus trick. I can draw all 48 contiguous states from memory in about two minutes."
Is Barack Obama really running for president, or is he not-so-subtly positioning himself to be Hillary's running mate? I seemed to sense that 'subliminable' message on 'Today' this morning. At about 7:10 am EDT, the NBC show kicked off its "Today on the Trail" series, which will join the leading presidential contenders out on the campaign trail, with a feature on Obama. Meredith Vieira spent time with Obama in New Hampshire over the weekend.
Most of the exchanges were predictable: Obama countered suggestions of a lack of experience by positioning himself as an outside-the-beltway candidate. He claimed that "retail" politicking -- talking with voters one-on-one -- was the most enjoyable aspect of the campaign. He let people at one campaign stop know that in deciding whether to run, he "prayed on it," then asked his wife.
But there was one moment that deviated from the typical script of someone considered to have a realistic shot at winning a nomination.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA [D-IL]: It may be at the end of this thing people conclude 'you know, it's not Barack,' and that's OK.
Well, sports fans, at roughly the same time I was putting together my article concerning the media ignoring Cindy Sheehan’s departure from the Democrat Party, the antiwar heroine was expressing similar sentiments at Daily Kos.
It’s been a full 48 hours since antiwar icon Cindy Sheehan publicly announced that she was leaving the Democrat Party due to Thursday’s bipartisan agreement on an Iraq war funding bill.
Yet, Google News and LexisNexis searches have identified that not one major media outlet has covered her announcement.
Given the media’s fascination with this woman since she traveled to Crawford, Texas, in August 2005 to picket near President Bush’s ranch, one must wonder why they have abandoned her now?
Does this suggest that the media’s antiwar proclivities are only important when they shed a negative light on the Administration and Republicans, but not when events such as this speak poorly about Democrats?
Before you answer, consider the following data. Since August 1, 2005:
In Monday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz relayed that Time columnist Joe Klein may have succumbed big time to the stickiest temptation of a national political writer – advising the liberal standard-bearer on how he should win the presidency. (When he doesn't, deny you were ever an adviser, even unofficially.) Klein, renowned back in 1992 as a Clinton toady, reportedly had Kerry eating out of his hand, playing the guru to Kerry at his own abode:
Were some pundits advising John Kerry's presidential campaign while critiquing it for the public? In his new memoir "No Excuses," veteran Democratic consultant Robert Shrum says Time columnist Joe Klein doubled as a "sometime adviser," and that the Massachusetts senator "craved his approval."
The Washington Post took a second bite out of the forthcoming MSM-originating Hillary Clinton biographies on Sunday, in an article titled "Unflattering Books Cause Barely A Ripple." Reporters Dan Balz and Perry Bacon Jr. stressed that (Democrat) voters in the Iowa towns of Algona, Charles City, Mason City and Emmetsburg didn't have book-related questions. The reporters dropped another fun quote from one of the books:
[Former WashPost reporter Carl] Bernstein's book, for example, reports that then-White House adviser George Stephanopoulos described to unnamed colleagues Clinton's responses to the White House Travel Office case and other scandals as "Jesuitical lying." Stephanopoulos, now anchor of ABC's "This Week" program, declined to comment when reached Friday.
After the 2006 elections in November, I frequently wrote about the Democrats’ bait and switch campaign scheme whereby Party members had made promises to the electorate they never intended to keep, one of them clearly being an expeditious withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
On such occasions, I asserted that once folks realized they had been lied to, something with a foul aroma would hit the fan.
Well, on Friday evening, it was liberal actor Ben Affleck castigating his Party for caving in on the recent Iraq war funding bill.
On Saturday morning, one of the leaders of the antiwar movement, Cindy Sheehan, was so disgusted by the Democrats agreeing to this bill that she officially announced she's leaving the Party.
Critical Update: As of 10:07AM EST 5/27/07, according to Google News and LexisNexis searches, not one media outlet has covered this. More at end of post.
As she wrote at Daily Kos Saturday (emphasis added throughout):
In an excellent investigative report last Sunday (may require free registration) that is part of a series on how "how businesses and investors seek to profit from the soaring number of older Americans, in ways helpful and harmful," the New York Times' Charles Duhigg exposed the despicable tactics of elder-scam artists and the "information services" companies that supply them the "sucker lists" they need.
He may not have known that he was simultaneously exposing information that could, and arguably should, damage the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Duhigg led with the truly sad story of 92 year-old Richard Guthrie:
..... He ended up on scam artists’ lists because his name, like millions of others, was sold by large companies to telemarketing criminals, who then turned to major banks to steal his life’s savings.