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.
Katie Couric may be many things (don’t call her perky), but she’s not subtle. The "CBS Evening News" anchor touted a new special on Walter Cronkite, a journalist who "stood up to the Commander in Chief" during an "unpopular war."
Former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, now the anchor of ABC’s "This Week," took time out of his interview with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to muse with the Democrat over what it would be like to stand at the House podium behind the first female President. Hmm, who might that be?
In case you somehow missed it elsewhere, NewsBusters has the complete transcript (and video) of the O’Donnell/Hasselbeck dust-up. Thrill as Rosie, who says the media portrays her as a "fat," "loud lesbian," faced off against the feisty token conservative. On Friday, the MRC's Justin McCarthy reported that O'Donnell will not be returning for her contract's final three weeks.
David Espo of the Associated Press appeared to be unhappy with the result of the House vote on Iraq war funding, and to be offering an excuse for the House Democratic leadership (bolds are mine throughout this post):
WASHINGTON - Bowing to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled House reluctantly approved fresh billions for the Iraq war on Thursday, minus the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto.
The 280-142 vote sent the bill to the Senate for final passage, expected later in the evening.
..... Five months in power on Capitol Hill, Democrats coupled their concession to the president with pledges to challenge his policies anew. "This debate will go on," vowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, announcing plans to hold votes by fall on four separate measures seeking a change in course.
A later unbylined AP report about President Bush's impending signature on the funding bill after Senate passage almost seems to have been written by the DNC, while providing cover for the party's two leading presidential candidates:
You're Hillary Clinton [work with me here] tuning into "Today" the morning after you've voted against funding the Iraq war . What's the one image you dread seeing pop up? But there it was.
This isn't shaping up as Hillary's favorite day. As the Washington Post reports here, two books about Clinton have hit the shelves, and neither paint a flattering portrait of the former First Lady. What's more, Hillary won't be able to blame this one on the VRWC. The authors are, respectively, the very lefty Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, and a pair of New York Times reporters.
But while the Hillary camp is surely less than thrilled about those books, my sense is that in the long run, her candidacy has more to fear from being stuck with the dreaded Kerry flip-flop label. Imagine the paroxysms of pain for the Hillary camp while watching this morning's "Today." Discussing Hillary's 'no' vote on Iraq funding, the NBC show broke out the dreaded footage of Kerry's "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
The Associated Press ran a story Wednesday entitled “Edwards Calls ‘War on Terror’ an Ideological Doctrine” (h/t LGF).
Unfortunately, the author chose not to look into former Sen. John Edwards’ (D-North Carolina) past to see whether the presidential candidate had either referred to or supported this “ideological doctrine” himself.
Had the AP done some homework, it would have found that not only did the former senator tell Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in October 2001, “I think that we will be united with the President throughout this war on terrorism,"(Allah has video here), but also that he and Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) both referred to this war in their respective acceptance speeches at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
To set this up, Wednesday’s AP piece began (emphasis added):
National Review contributor John Derbyshire has been a favorite whipping boy of snarky left-wing bloggers for a while, but perhaps most noticeably after some controversial postings he made on the heels of the Virginia Tech shooting.
But now a blogger at Wonkette is portraying Derb as a crotchety bigot on the basis of a blog post whereby Derbyshire notes Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) both insists on voters judging him on the basis of his leadership and agenda, not race, but then goes back to pandering to a crowd on the merits of his Hispanic heritage:
Outraged over Big Bill’s public admission of Mexican-ness during a time
when Americans are supposed to be united against the Mexican Menace,
Derbyshire bravely decides to use that very Mexican-ness against
It goes without saying that one of the great things about being a beloved liberal is that when you write a new book, no one in the media will challenge any of the obvious falsehoods you present as facts.
Such has certainly been the case as newspapers, magazines, and television programs have gushed over former Vice President Al Gore and his new book “Assault on Reason.”
Fortunately, feeling that it doesn’t owe anyone such unwarranted sycophancy, Fox News “Special Report” on Tuesday chose to look at some of the statements made in Gore’s book, and see whether they pass the smell test.
On Tuesday, "Good Morning America" continued it’s week-long promotion of prominent Democrats with a profile of Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle. Co-anchor Robin Roberts, who in teases for the interview on Monday, glowingly referred to Mrs. Obama as "amazing," "very confident" and "professional," today added "strong" and "warm" to the list of adjectives used to describe the Democrat’s wife.
She also asked almost no tough questions of Michelle Obama. Will the spouses of Republican candidates, such as Ann Romney, be awarded such adulation?
Back in November, GMA’s Diane Sawyer queried Barack Obama as to whether Americans were "secretly" more racist or sexist. Ms. Roberts seemed to be posing the slightly less inflammatory version of that question to Michelle Obama:
Robin Roberts: "With a landmark run of both Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Obama for the 2008 presidential bid, many wonder who has a better shot at making history. Do you think the American public is ready for a woman more so than an African American or vice versa?"
For the second time in two days, "Good Morning America" co-anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed Al Gore about his thesis that the media are obsessed with celebrity, while "politicians are heard in sound bites." That point may be undercut by the fact that, by Tuesday, the ex Vice President has received 15 and a half minutes of air time to complain about the subject.
After prompting Gore to compare Americans to chickens on a farm, the co-host allowed herself to be interrogated and challenged over how the media operates. But first, Sawyer and GMA helped Gore along with his analogy that Americans are like frightened chickens in the way they allow themselves to be manipulated:
Sawyer: "You even talk about chickens when, when you were young and on the farm, that you could hypnotize chickens this way."
Clip of 50s instructional video: "It's no trick to keep a chicken from straying through the fence if you know how."
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program extended its habit of offering copious amounts of time to Democratic political contenders. GMA devoted 10 and a half minutes of coverage to promote former Vice President Al Gore and his new book, "The Assault on Reason."
This is the same network that, in March, featured 30 minutes of softball questions with Senator Hillary Clinton in a "town hall" style meeting, a campaign gift that the network has yet to offer to a Republican presidential candidate.
The May 21 segment contained an odd disconnect as Gore proceeded to accuse the media of focusing on unserious, silly subjects and Diane Sawyer mostly accepted, or did not disagree with criticism of the medium. The ABC host prefaced a question about the former Vice President losing weight by saying, "But to dig not-very deep, once again, at my peril here-" Gore proceeded to interrupt and hector Ms. Sawyer over wondering about such things. "Well, listen to you. Listen to you," Gore began.He continued:
Trying to stir trouble for Rush Limbaugh this morning over his "Magic Negro" parody about Barack Obama, "Today" relied on misleading comments from a left-wing outfit without bothering to mention its highly-partisan orientation. NewsBuster Noel Sheppard had given readers a heads-up about the story on Saturday.
NBC's Michael Okwu narrated the segment, aired during the second half-hour of this morning's show. He began by harkening back to Don Imus's MSNBC career-ending comments about the Rutger's women's basketball team. Fretted Okwu: "which leads some to wonder: has Limbaugh been getting a free pass?" Okwu described the creator of the parody [Paul Shanklin] as a "white" political satirist.
I know. It’s only a cartoon. However, could these folks have been any more obvious about who they support for president?
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” showed an animated short on May 19 depicting every possible 2008 presidential candidate, from both sides of the aisle, sitting down and having a tell-all chat with Oprah Winfrey.
As the frontrunners one by one told Oprah secrets that would surely cost them votes in the election, one thing became perfectly clear: Hillary Clinton was the only serious candidate that avoided saying anything even remotely embarrassing (video available here, h/t Allah at Hot Air).
By far the biggest target was Rudy Giuliani, Hillary’s main foe, who spoke up a total of ten times (the reader is warned that some of this stuff is pretty raw):
The New York Times explored Hillary Clinton’s service on the Wal-Mart Board of Directors in the Sunday newspaper. Reporter Michael Barbaro employed a typical focus on inoculating liberals against conservative attack: "Her years on the Wal-Mart board, from 1986 to 1992, gave her an unusual tutorial in the ways of American business — a credential that could serve as an antidote to Republican efforts to portray her as an enemy of free markets and an advocate for big government."
Citing a board of directors credential is hardly proof you’re not an advocate of big government. Just think of all the major corporations – including NBC-owning General Electric – that eagerly allied themselves with the Clinton tax and health plans in 1993. Major corporations and big government are often the coziest of allies. Barbaro sinks into the usual template about how this shows how Hillary the Trailblazing Idealist is an odd match for Hillary the Get-Along-to-Go-Along Pragmatist:
On the CBS News website Public Eye, newly minted CBS man Jeff Greenfield saw no danger that the 2008 campaign will be drenched with a liberal bias, even though he admits that "most members of the so-called mainstream media, undoubtedly, in the voting booth, vote Democratic." He pulls out a familiar argument: when liberal losers lose, it’s easy to argue that they weren’t beneficiaries of liberal media bias: "But in my view the danger of bias does not lie in political coverage. I mean, ask Al Gore and John Kerry if they were the beneficiary of a poodle press. They were treated very critically – appropriately."
Before we address Gore and Kerry coverage, let’s make an obvious point: the Public Eye site was developed to help undo the damage that CBS’s horrendous and sloppy anti-Bush bias on the "draft dodging" charge in the fall of 2004. Greenfield ought to at least tip his skeptic’s hat toward that example before serving up his pooh-pooh platter.
In Saturday's Washington Post, Style section writer Jose Antonio Vargas wrote light-hearted advice to Hillary Clinton on her request for ideas for a campaign song. (To those who would easily nominate the gospel song "I Ain't Noways Tired," which Hillary mangled in a spoken-word performance with a bad Southern accent in Selma back in March, just know the Post news staff never touched that with a ten-foot pen.*)
Vargas suggested "Upgrade U," where soul singer Beyonce sings about being an upgrade to her man, the rapper Jay-Z. "See, you and Bill can be the B and Jay of politics," Vargas oozed.
I really shouldn’t have eaten breakfast before reading a preview of the New York Times Magazine’s upcoming piece “Al Gore Has Big Plans” (h/t Dan Gainor).
After all, it’s one thing when sycophants like Sheryl Crow, Laurie David, and Leonardo DiCaprio gush over the former vice president in a manner akin to teenyboppers within earshot of Sean or David Cassidy.
But when such fawning superlatives like “prophetic status” and “intellectual mastery” are employed by a big-time journalist such as James Traub to describe a politician, uncoordinated peristalsis in one’s bowels could cause an embarrassing event without warning.
As such, the reader is cautioned to peruse the following quotes from this disgraceful article with as empty a stomach as humanly possible (emphasis added throughout):
After Rosie O’Donnell leaves "The View" next month, where will Americans go for bizarre 9/11 conspiracy theories? On Monday, the comedienne reiterated her theory that fire couldn’t possibly melt steel. The ABC host also agreed that she has a "cult personality." A few days later, O’Donnell was at it again, comparing the United States to terrorists. Liberal co-host Joy Behar also found a Republican presidential candidate she can finally embrace...Congressman Ron Paul.
"This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos displayed his usual high level of objectivity when he assumed that the only racists who would have a problem with Obama are Republicans (and they wouldn’t vote for a Democrat anyway). Yes, it’s a good thing that liberals don’t use cheap generalizations.
This is the first step. We can and must complete this legislation sooner rather than later. We all know that
this issue can be caught up in extracurricular politics unless we move forward as quickly as possible. -- Sen. John McCain [R-AZ], May 17th.
Now is probably the last window for action on comprehensive reform before presidential politics thwart any rational debate. -- Boston Globe editorial, May 19th.
That the Boston Globe would want to ram through the amnesty-based immigration bill comes as no surprise. But what does it say about Republican presidential hopeful John McCain that the Globe's entreaty tracks McCain's so closely?
Hugh Hewtt has described the operative sentiment as "a repulsive attitude of contempt towards the voters who elected the senators."
Does L.A. Times columnist Rosa Brooks think 9-11 was "fictional and entirely implausible"? I ask, because in The GOP's Torture Enthusiasts today, that's how she describes a similar scenario that Brit Hume sketched during this past Tuesday's GOP presidential debate.
In inviting the candidates to discuss their views on interrogation during this past Tuesday's get together, debate moderator and Fox News DC Bureau managing editor Brit Hume said the following:
The questions in this round will be premised on a fictional, but we think plausible scenario involving terrorism and the response to it. Here is the premise: Three shopping centers near major U.S. cities have been hit by suicide bombers. Hundreds are dead, thousands injured. A fourth attack has been averted when the attackers were captured off the Florida coast and taken to Guantanamo Bay, where they are being questioned. U.S. intelligence believes that another larger attack is planned and could come at any time.
Brooks sniffed at the scenario, calling it "the kind that most intelligence experts consider fictional and entirely implausible."
Al Gore, "improbably charismatic"? That's the premise of this week's cover story in Time magazine, titled "The Last Temptation of Al Gore." He is, according to the ogling opening of Time writer Eric Pooley, everything the Democrats could want, "the perfect stealth candidate for 2008," with "the grass-roots appeal of Barack Obama," who "spoke out loud and clear and early" against the Iraq war, but also " candidate with the operational toughness of Hillary Clinton—someone with experience and credibility on the world stage." In short:
In other words, you would want someone like Al Gore—the improbably charismatic, Academy Award–winning, Nobel Prize–nominated environmental prophet with an army of followers and huge reserves of political and cultural capital at his command. There's only one problem. The former Vice President just doesn't seem interested.
On only his second day as a Don Imus-substitute, NBC reporter David Gregory proved that he can promote Democratic talking points in any medium. For the Thursday edition of "Gregory Live," which is simulcast on MSNBC and on radio, the veteran correspondent interviewed Illinois Senator and White House contender Barack Obama and asked him no tough questions.
He began by noting how the Democratic Senator has received "great media attention, great enthusiasm and crowds and people showering you with money." How absurd is it for Mr. Gregory to refer to Obama’s "great media attention" in the third person? After all, it was NBC’s "Today" show, where Gregory sometimes guest hosts, that labeled the Senator an "electrifying" "rock star."
After his fawning preface, Mr. Gregory did manage, finally, to segue into a question: