In going on Paula Zahn's CNN show this evening, was Al Sharpton's goal to quell the controversy surrounding his comments about Mormonism, or to inflame it? If the former, he failed miserably. If the latter, he succeeded admirably. Far from retracting his earlier allegation that Mormons aren't real believers, he repeated it, adding an allegation of racism for good measure.
Let's recall Sharpton's original statement, that in going on the Zahn show he presumably was seeking to explicate. Debating Christopher Hitchens recently, Sharpton said:
"And as for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway. So don't worry about that. That's a temporary, that's a temporary situation."
This week’s Newsweek cover story on political courage ("Wanted: A New Truman") is truly baffling. Evan Thomas has a strange way of assessing what marks courage in our presidential contenders. He easily acknowledges that John McCain’s long tenure as a prisoner of war trumps everyone else. But he writes "All the candidates will use their life stories to show a sense of moral purpose." How did Hillary display her sense of moral purpose?
You may not believe it, but Thomas claimed: "Hillary Clinton had a stark moral choice: whether to stay with her husband when President Clinton's philandering with Monica Lewinsky was exposed. Her decision to stand by him could not have been easy." Inside the media-Democrat complex, moral courage is not displayed by condemning adultery. It is displayed by tolerating adultery and maintaining political viability for the party in power – not to mention nicely setting up your own senatorial and presidential campaigns down the line.
As you'll see from the screencap, the cast of "Today" was really yukking it up this morning at George Bush's expense, recycling his "1776" gaffe on the occasion of the Queen's visit and updating the story with the Queen's retort. Between a show-opening tease and the subsequent smirk-a-thon, the show devoted no less than 1 min, 43 seconds of its opening 21-minute 7:00 AM half-hour to the matter.
But, at least during that crucial first half-hour, "Today" somehow couldn't find a second to report on either of two stories with negative implications for Dem presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards.
Speaking in Virginia yesterday, Obama claimed that "ten thousand people died" in the Kansas tornado. He was only off by a factor of 1,000. Since we all know that Obama is brilliant, a Harvard law grad, why bother to pass along a story which doesn't fit the template?
We’ve now finished the first two presidential debates, both on MSNBC. Pundits are debating whether they will make a difference in the race, but one thing is very clear: it’s business as usual for the media moderating these things. The Democrats were treated to an amiable chit-chat among friends. The Republicans took round after round of hostile fire from enemies. Nothing ever changes. The Democrats are spoiled like rotten kids, and the Republicans are invited to sleep on a bed of nails, and do so willingly.
But the dynamic now has been made even worse by the petulant petitions and protests of the censorious left, the ones who claim to be "democrats" but want to remove Fox News Channel from the news media. Leftists believe in a media strategy with all the sophistication of holding your breath and turning blue. Fox hatred is required. On the Huffington Post, author Carol Hoenig argued the Democrats should debate on Fox. Even so, her article was headlined "Fox News: A Cancer On Society."
The New York Times is still adjusting badly to conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy's big win in the French presidential election over Socialist candidate Segolene Royal, judging by reporter Craig Smith's report from Paris on the thuggish violence that occurred after Sarkozy's big win ("Hundreds Are Arrested in Post-Election Riots Across France").
Instead of blaming the rioters, Smith implied that furthur violence could be blamed on Sarkozy keeping his campaign promises.
"Violent protests against the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France ended early Monday after hundreds of people were arrested, hundreds of cars gutted, and hundreds of windows smashed in several cities across France.
Anti-conservative bias in the media is not unique to America. Agence France-Presse (AFP) practically portrayed French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy as a modern day, Gallic incarnation of Nero, fiddling while France burns (emphasis mine).:
France's next president Nicolas Sarkozy holidayed Tuesday in Malta
ahead of launching a radical reform programme, while back home cities
across the country were hit by more violent "anti-Sarko" protests.
A few paragraphs later, the AFP article --bearing the loaded headline "Sarkozy rests as France braces for reform -- continued to hold Sarkozy in a sinister light.:
But when CBS and U.S. News & World Report’s Gloria Borger calls for a “moratorium on invoking the memory of Ronald Reagan” in a column about the recent Republican presidential debates held at a library named in his honor, this Gipper envy has clearly gotten way out of hand (emphasis added throughout):
If Democrats had accused former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) last year of earmarking funds that could help real estate investments owned by his wife, would the media have reported it?
Probably on the front pages of every newspaper, and as the lead story of all of the evening news programs, right?
Well, the Associated Press published a story Monday about current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) possibly earmarking funds that would benefit her husband's investments around the San Francisco Bay. Yet, the media showed virtually no interest (emphasis added):
It's Nitpicking Tuesday. In the Washington Post Style section, the weekday ad for the "Live Online" chats at washingtonpost.com caught my eye. Today's 1 pm session with a black Post columnist is promoted with this language:
Opinion: Columnist Eugene Robinson discusses the diversity of the Democratic presidential candidates -- and the Country Club look of the first GOP debate.
Is that their best way to say "all white, all male"? As if the Post found any "diversity" worth mentioning when the candidates were female (Elizabeth Dole) or minorities (Alan Keyes)?
Has the king of Bush Derangement Syndrome, Keith Olbermann, created a new liberal malady characterized by an almost incomprehensible inability to tolerate any criticism of the MSNBC host?
After reading Joan Walsh and Glenn Greenwald’s articles at Salon Monday, one could certainly come to the conclusion that such an affliction exists, and that the two are suffering from this little known psychological impairment “Olbermann Derangement Syndrome."
Paris-based New York Times reporter Elaine Sciolino continued to nurse her long-standing grudge against Nicolas Sarkozy, the tough-on-crime presidential candidate of France, in two stories, one before and one after Sarkozy routed Socialist candidate Segolene Royal to win the presidency.
"He has gambled -- apparently successfully -- during the campaign that by turning hard right he would win over supporters of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the head of the extreme right National Front who made it into the second round of the 2002 election but made it into only fourth place this time.
The weak female support is a bitter personal blow for Royal, who had
played up her feminist credentials throughout the campaign, frequently
defending policies she would want "as a mother" and accusing critics of
Yet Gehmlich noted that the Sarkozy-Royal split among women voters in general was 52-48, according to an Ipsos exit poll. That closely tracks the 53-47 split among voters generally and is not far afield from 54 percent of men who voted for Sarkozy.
Indeed, younger female voters were about evenly split while elderly female voters broke heavily against the Socialist Royal, suggesting that generation, not gender, may have been a stronger determinant in the election outcome.
Royal's support among older voters was particularly poor, with 64
percent of women above the age of 60 supporting Sarkozy, and only 36
percent voting for Royal, according to the Ipsos survey. Women under 35
were split between her and Sarkozy.
Those numbers come from an Ipsos exit poll. Meg Bortin of the New York Times gave more data in her May 7 article that points to age differences in voting for the candidates. (Emphasis mine):
The New York Times didn't even wait for the French election results to become general knowledge before they began their sniping of the new "Conservative" French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. In what is supposed to represent an analysis of his election, the Times spends more time in naked name calling than substance.
Let's review some of the harsh words, slights and names the Gray Lady hurls at the new president-elect.
Arrogant, brutal, an authoritarian demagogue...
...one of the most polarizing figures to move into Élysée Palace in the postwar era...
He has always been nakedly ambitious, pragmatic and calculating and not beyond betrayal to reach his goals.
Mr. Sarkozy is a tad shorter than Napoleon was. His profile is remarkably similar to that of Louis XIV.
Mr. Sarkozy’s brash manner and strong oratory style...
Many people regarded the anticrime campaign as a calculated effort to win support from France’s far right in anticipation of his presidential bid.
Mr. Sarkozy’s personal life has been less successful than his public one...
Man, it seems impossible that such an ogre could have anyone who would like him enough to vote for him... well, if you'd listen to the New York Times, anyway.
After recent editorials condemning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) trip to Syria, a good job covering the conviction of Harold Ford, Jr.’s (D-Tennessee) uncle, and a David Broder column harshly critical of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the Post published a front-page story Saturday declaring the Democrats’ domestic agenda is languishing.
What must Jonathan Weisman and Lyndsey Layton have been thinking when they wrote the following lead paragraphs (emphasis added throughout):
Former Clinton adviser and current “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos mercilessly grilled Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards Sunday on a number of issues, including his numerous flip-flops when he was a U.S. senator.
At first glance, one would think that Stephanopoulos must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, or, given that there was a Republican presidential debate Thursday, forgot that Edwards was actually a Democrat.
However, upon reflection, recognizing Stephanopoulos’ ties to the Clintons, maybe this was a calculated attack on a political rival.
If you think this might be a stretch, just take a gander at the following questions asked by ABC’s chief Washington correspondent, and consider the last time you saw him or any other liberal media member grill a Democrat like this (video available here):
Before you answer, consider what a John Edwards campaign representative said in April when it was announced that the Democrat presidential candidate from North Carolina wouldn’t attend the September 23 debate sponsored by Fox News as reported by the Associated Press (emphasis added):
In the wake of Democrat presidential candidates canceling debates to be held by Fox News, it only seems fitting that similar concerns are surfacing regarding the inclusion of Keith Olbermann during Republican debates sponsored by MSNBC.
NewsBusters senior editor/MRC director of research Rich Noyes appeared on "Your World with Neil Cavuto" a few moments ago discussing the agenda of silly, liberally-biased questions in last night's GOP debate on MSNBC.
Discussing the agenda of questions posed by Chris Matthews and the reporters from Politico.com, Noyes observed: "It's the kind of stuff you find liberal bloggers complaining about, questions like, 'Is Karl Rove your friend,' 'Do you believe in evolution,' [questions] designed to trip up Republicans and make them look like they were against science. The question from Jim VandeHei, 'What's the deal with the corruption in your party?' This was all a series of very left-leaning questions to G.O.P. candidates. And there's no problem asking Republicans tough questions, but if you look at the tone of the Democratic debate, it was all softballs compared to what Republicans got last night. There's really two different standards for the two parties."
After running down some of the more obnoxious questions thrown at the candidates at last night's debate, Cavuto pointed out how "none of those Republicans was afraid to be at a venue where they knew they would probably get snide questions like this on a network or with a host who has a certain leaning. Yet none of their counterparts in the Democratic Party would dare appear here."
Noyes agreed: "Well, that's true. It's amazing that Democrats are trying to avoid having a debate on the Fox News Channel. Fox News had debates in the last cycle. A lot of the questioners brought in — they were not Fox employees — they were some liberal reporters like Gwen Ifill and Juan Williams, along with some of Fox's own people like Carl Cameron. Nobody had any complaints about that [debate]. Now, because they want to please the left-wing blogosphere, they're acting like if appearing on Fox is somehow a dangerous and terrible thing to do. Here you have Republicans going on MSNBC, which is a really, become a very far-left wing network in the last few months, few years, and they all seemed to have a pretty good time and got their message out."
While being interviewed on Friday's “Today” show by Meredith Vieira, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews attempted to explain the rationale behind a bizarre question he posed to Republicans the night before at the debate he moderated. Matthews had asked the presidential candidates: "Seriously, would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?"
Republicans laughed in unison, with Mitt Romney retorting: "You have got to be kidding."
On the May 4 "Today," from the site of the debate, the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, Matthews defended his question:
Weighing in on Time's "Swampland" blog, journalist Joe Klein opined that the best question of last night's GOP primary debate was the infamous "What do you dislike most about America" question. Klein slammed the candidates' performances, but particularly picked on Romney, whom he mocked as overly optimistic:
I could imagine him doing the Reagan nice-guy, slightly-boggled head
twitch, especially when he was asked the question of the night: What do
you dislike most about America?
Romney's answer: I love America. Great. Good. Great Great. Creative. People. The American People. Love. Great....
This is a basic DNA difference between the parties. Republicans
see the American people as perfect; the American government as an alien
import from France. You put America and Flawed in the same sentence,
and any Republican will go all (faux) De Toqueville--great good great
Romney won, Rudy lost. That's Chris Matthews' take on the GOP presidential debate he moderated on MSNBC last night. Matthews made his views clear during his appearance on this morning's "Today." Meredith Vieira, who interviewed Matthews at 7:09 EDT, seemed to share her colleague's assessment.
TODAY CO-HOST MEREDITH VIEIRA: Winners and losers in your assessment?
MSNBC HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Oh, come on. Well, let me just say I thought that just factually, Giuliani stood out on the issue of abortion rights, clearly. At one point I asked if they would be happy, if it would be a good day for America, if the courts struck down Roe v. Wade, the court decision back in '73 that gave a woman the right to an abortion, and he said 'that would be OK,' Very tentative. And then later on he reasserted his position that he is for abortion rights. So I think that separated him on a big issue.
VIEIRA: Yeah, but Chris, he also said it would be OK if a strict constructionist judge upheld Roe v. Wade. It sounded like he was talking out of both sides of his mouth there.
One great thing about liberal journalists blogging is that without the constraints of editorial oversight, they can let their hair down even more than usual, unleashing their biases as fast as their fingers fly over the keyboard.
Time magazine's Joe Klein is no exception. The journalist and formerly anonymous author of "Primary Colors" shared with readers of the "Swampland" blog today his complaints about a Bush administration that "trafficks" in publicity stunts such as the May 1, 2003, carrier landing. Klein went on to complain that Donald Rumsfeld was the worst Secretary of Defense in the history of the Republic who, along with "the spinners who gave us the Abraham Lincoln stunt" should be "emptying bed pans at Walter Reed."
Klein's ire draws from liberal talking points about the four-year old "major combat operations" speech. You know the meme "Mission Accomplished" and an end of "major combat operations" were impossibly rosy scenarios in light of the ongoing insurgency.
But for the record, Klein himself described the war as having been won shortly after President Bush's USS Abraham Lincoln speech.
From the May 19, 2003, Time magazine, emphasis mine:
CBS’s Bob Schieffer offered commentary on Senator and presidential candidate Joe Biden, but one would think he was describing former President Bill Clinton. On the May 2 edition of "The Early Show" host Harry Smith and Schieffer were ironically discussing a recent gaffe by Senator Biden, when Schieffer stated the Delaware Senator "has a habit of making these boners." Presumably Schieffer meant to say "blunders." For the record, Senator Biden’s gaffe was video of him telling a prospective voter that Democrats were "going to shove [the president’s veto] down his throat."
ABC News apparently sees its role not merely as reporting the news, but acting as advocates on a highly-charged political issue being promoted by a left-wing Democratic presidential candidate.
Check out the graphic from this morning's Good Morning America: "GMA Gets It Done: Taking on Medicaid. Fighting to Treat Tooth Decay."
The screencap shows a palpably emotional GMA co-host Chris Cuomo literally pointing his finger at the head of the federal Medicaid program. The moment came during the course of a segment this morning recounting the sad case of 12-year old Deamonte Driver, who died after infection from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain. The boy and his family were in fact covered by Medicaid, the government health care insurance program for poor people. But the boy's mother [pictured below] had never before taken him to a dentist, and when the abscess occurred it was reportedly difficult to find a dentist willing to provide care, given Medicaid reimbursement rates.
GMA CO-HOST CHRIS CUOMO to the Medicaid official: Why am I wrong to place the blame on the federal government? We give you our tax dollars to take care of kids exactly like Deamonte Driver: the most vulnerable, the most at risk, make sure they get care, and you didn't. This is your fault, don't pass the buck.
Sports Illustrated has this annoying tendency to serve up its sports coverage with a side dish of liberal politics. On its website, basketball writer Jack McCallum wrote of deciding to compare Democratic presidential candidates to NBA playoff teams after watching the Democrats debate on C-SPAN in the middle of the night after some spicy quesadillas.
He began by lauding Mike Gravel's routine of poking Barack Obama about which country America should "nuke" next. "So there you are -- Gravel is the Golden State Warriors. A feisty, combative, in-your-face underdog who loves the public stage." Later, McCallum added to the comparison: "Unorthodox and even a little scary, both are trying to overcome the odds with offense." Here are the other comparisons, enough to ruin the day of a conservative fan of any of these teams:
Actually, Bill Maher didn't add that Seinfeldesque qualifier when describing Republican affection for Ronald Reagan. Maher was a guest on this afternoon's "Hardball." In the course of taking a cheap shot at Fred Thompson, this Cornell alum [what is it about my alma mater, which also churned out Keith Olbermann?] had this to say:
BILL MAHER: It amuses me so much that the Republicans now are talking about the great charisma of Fred Thompson, basset-hound faced Fred Thompson. The Republican party has this campy fixation with Ronald Reagan. It is almost gay about the way they are talking about him and obsessing about him.
In 1995, Bill Clinton said this to a Houston fund-raising audience about the 1993 tax increase his administration is infamous for:
Probably there are people in this room who are still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much too.
John Edwards, on the other hand, must think that the Clinton Administration and the congress at the time raised taxes too little, because he said on Sunday that he wants to go beyond what was done in 1993 (link requires registration; HT Colorado Right):
Just like David Broder's analysis in the Washington Post news section today, NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert offered praise all around for the Democratic field after the Orangeburg debate. The Democratic field are not "pygmies," and everyone, including Mike Gravel, cheered on by Sam Seder on Air America radio this morning for "making Dennis Kucinich look moderate," earned stars on his forehead from NBC:
RUSSERT: Democrats overwhelmingly are very happy with the field. Almost 75 percent of the party members say we like this group. Only 50 percent of Republicans like their group. So I think that if you are stepping back and looking at the 2008 field, it’s not, in past years people say, well, it’s pygmies, they can't possibly step up. I think people can envision several of these people sitting in the Oval Office.
We expect our political pundits to be masters of campaign history, but that isn't always the case. On The Early Show on CBS this morning, newly arrived political correspondent/analyst Jeff Greenfield ended his story on the Democratic debate by telling co-host Harry Smith, "this was, by far, the earliest presidential debate in the history of our political system. You want to know how early? A child conceived last night would be a month old before the people of South Carolina got to vote in their primary."
You don't have to know ancient history to know Greenfield's wrong. In the last election cycle, Democrats held a very early debate in South Carolina just like this one -- on Saturday, May 3, about a week after this one on the calendar. Greenfield analyzed it for CNN on the May 5, 2003 American Morning:
I would never suggest that the presidential campaign isn't Page One material, but it's not exactly a compelling news story when the summary of a Democratic debate (in today's WashPost) is "Candidates Unite In Criticizing Bush." How is that notably different than any other day of the Bush presidency? Readers ought to see in this an undercurrent of It's-Our-Party politeness, as in "we wouldn't want any of our plausible contenders to be nicked up this early."
But the real puffery came in David Broder's "analysis" on page A6, headlined "Democratic Hopefuls Show Political Heft." These were no eight "dwarves," but a bevy of better-than-Bush giants: "the overall impression from the first formal debate from this early-starting campaign is that the Democrats have a field of contenders that, by any historical measure, matches in quality any the party has offered in decades."