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?"
Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Responsive Politics should, by rights, watch his reputation as a nonpartisan observer of the political scene go up in smoke as a result of inserting himself into the George Allen "N-word" controversy. More than that, he is a longtime practitioner of selective outrage at negative campaigning so characteristic of so many 527 Media journalists and the "experts" they go to for quotes.
Specifically in the Allen situation, Sabato claimed that he KNEW Allen used the "N-word," when he himself actually never heard Allen use it.
We've been here before; the similarities are, well, eerie.
First, the sensational story in the closing weeks of an election, attributed, of course, to an anonymous source. A blogger, William "Wild Bill" Kerr of Passionate America, using clues gleaned from ABC's own website, reveals the name of one of the "victims," and the fact that he was not, as reported by ABC, under 18 at the time of the Instant Message exchange.
What did Speaker Hastert know about former Congressman Foley’s lurid communications with a former page, and when did he know it? This is an open question that will be resolved through investigations by the House Ethics Committee and the FBI. Yet before all the facts are known, "The Early Show" continued to clamor for Hastert’s resignation. The "Early Show" has raised the subject of Speaker Hastert resigning in at least two stories in each of the last four days. On Thursday’s program, Hannah Storm spoke with CBS’s idea of a balanced panel-- a Republican and a Democrat who agree that Hastert should resign his position.
In the 7:00 half hour of today’s program, Hannah Storm spoke with Republican strategist Bay Buchanan and Democratic strategist Kiki McLean. Storm focused her first questions to each of her guests on whether Hastert should resign:
ABC News has just released this statement explaining how blogger Wild Bill of Passionate America was able to learn the real screen name of Mark Foley's Instant Message correspondent:
On Friday, ABC News published instant messages between a former page and Congressman Foley with the IM screen name of the teenage victim redacted. Immediately, we discovered that in one instance, the screen name of the teen on one IM exchange had not been properly redacted. ABC News immediately took down the posting [version 1], redacted the screen name and re-published the posting [version 2]. We certainly believed that we had taken care of the issue quickly. Last evening, after an inquiry from Matt Drudge, it came to our attention that a blogger was able to access our deleted file [version 1] by typing in a slightly modified web address. To be clear, no one visiting our website would have simply stumbled on the old version. We thank the blogger and Drudge for bringing this to our attention.
David Brooks' New York Times column of this morning on the Foley matter, "A Tear in Our Fabric," is so important that I'd normally be inclined to simply reproduce it in its entirety and let it speak for itself. But as a subscription-required item, I cannot. I do offer an extended-but-redacted excerpt for our readers' consideration:
This is a tale of two predators. The first is a congressman who befriended teenage pages. He sent them cajoling instant messages asking them to describe their sexual habits, so he could get his jollies.
The second is a secretary, who invited a 13-year-old girl from her neighborhood into her car and kissed her. Then she invited the girl up to her apartment, gave her some vodka, took off her underwear and gave her a satin teddy to wear.
When you think about it, Mark Foley's mess isn't really his fault. The blame is rightly laid at the feet of those repressive Republicans - and the Catholic Church. That in a nutshell is the thesis of a column in today's Boston Globe, The gay problem in the GOP by David Link, described as a writer and attorney in Sacramento and member of the Independent Gay Forum.
On the one hand, Link doesn't hesitate to second the view of Foley's communications with the pages as "sick" and "disgusting." Link even alludes to Foley as a "degenerate." But nowhere does Link seek to hold Foley responsible for his own action. To the contrary, here is Link's seminal conclusion:
"But what can one expect from denying grown men -- and women -- a normal, adult sex life?"
Wednesday’s ‘Early Show" continued to hype the Mark Foley scandal. In a segment with Bob Schieffer, called "Capitol Bob," co-host Julie Chen wondered if Speaker Hastert should resign his position over the scandal, while Schieffer cited conservative sources such as "The Washington Times" to emphasize the trouble Hastert is in and conveyed to viewers his conviction that the Mark Foley scandal will cost the Republicans control of the House of Representatives.
"If I were a betting man, I would now bet that the Republicans are going to lose the House. Not by very much. But I think this may be just the thing to give the Democrats control of the House. This is really serious business for the Republicans right now."
After all, it is remarkable that the Post would run any story comparing the disparate treatment Democrats have received at the hands of the press and their constituencies as a result of sex-related scandalous behavior compared to their Republican counterparts.
But upon further review, as surprising as Farhi's effort is, when you group all of the people identified in Farhi's article into categories by party and how they were treated, you realize that Farhi glossed over important elements relating to Democrats who were (eventually) punished, and you note at least two very, very glaring omissions.
I haven’t posted much about the Foley Follies since this scandal erupted because I wanted to get a clearer picture of what exactly was going on.
As October Surprises break there is a tendency for the press and various political entities to hype up the leading story while neglecting the various stories behind the story.
Usually by the time the story has run its course the full picture is brushed aside in the wake of the lead. The damage is done and the press has moved on to the next item of the day.
NewsBusters gives us the opportunity to look beneath the scandal and dissect the way the media approaches these stories in real time. This post is my take.
Foley is gone. That’s good. If any laws were broken then I hope he gets what is coming to him. Lock him up; throw away the key. The same goes for anyone who is shown to have covered it up.
However, the Democrat and MSM attempts to paint this as a full blown Republican scandal is transparent and obvious. I find it hard to believe that these events just happened to unfold in a perfectly timed fashion a month before Congressional elections. Whoa, what are the chances?!
If I was an odds maker I would have bet on this sort of thing happening.
When it comes to the Foley scandal, the MSM is definitely keeping its eyes on the prize: the Democratic takeover of Congress. In this NB item, I described how the New York Times editorialized this morning that it doesn't care what else flows from the scandal. So long as the Dems re-take power, the Foley flameout "will have done its job."
Over at 'Today' this morning, Matt Lauer fretted that the fallout might not come fast enough to swing the election to the Dems. Interviewing Tim Russert, Lauer said "the most cynical scenario, the worst-case scenario for Republicans is that they kept this under wraps because Foley's seat was important to holding control of the House at a time when the entire control issue is up for grabs in the mid-term elections." Matt didn't bother painting a more innocent scenario.
Give the New York Times an 'A' for honesty. In this morning's editorial, the Gray Lady openly admits the only thing it cares about resulting from the Foley scandal is the takeover of congressional power by the Democrats.
Oh, to be sure, the Times huffs and puffs about the Republican majority reaching the "point of decayed purpose so thoroughly, so fast." It also makes this startling claim: "a long, depressing pattern: When there is a choice between the right thing to do and the easiest route to perpetuation of power, top Republicans always pick wrong."
But when it gets to the editorial's bottom line, the Times makes no bones as to what this is all about for them:
No, this isn't a joke. Of all the possible photos available of Joe Negron, the Florida state representative who has replaced Mark Foley as the GOP congressional candidate in the 16th CD, the top one here is the one the Associated Press chose to accompany its article: FL GOP picks Foley replacement.
Congressmen come and congressmen go. But the Associated Press's liberal bias goes on forever.
UPDATE: Reuters has pulled a similar stunt. Here's the photo it chose to accompany its article on Negron's nomination.
Hat tips to Free Republic members Behind Liberal Lines re AP and bitt re Reuters.
Note: The AP can of course always change the photo accompanying an online article. It's always possible that by the time an NB reader clicks on the link provided above to the AP article, a responsible editor will have done so, perhaps even embarrassed by this NB item exposing AP's bias. But the photo displayed here was the one accompanying the AP article as originally posted. I saved it to our NB server.
Day One: Suspicious-but-not-explict emails. Day Two: Explicit instant messages, but no evidence Foley met with boys. Day Four: Instant message indicating Foley was indeed seeking to meet and possibly had already met with a boy.
Foley deserves what he's gotten and what is likely to come. But it seems increasingly plausible that the timed release of information - of ever-escalating seriousness - is part of a calculated campaign to keep the story in the news and inflict maximum political damage on the GOP.
That would seem the logical inference in light of the latest information promulgated this afternoon by ABC News. An article written by Brian Ross and Maddy Sauer, E-mails Show Foley Sought to Rendezvous with Page, contains the text of an instant message session in which Foley expressly tells a boy "I want to see you." Foley also mentions "I miss you a lot since San Diego," suggesting that perhaps they had already met.
Making his 16th appearance of the year on the "Early Show" on Monday, Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon promoted his new book, "Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security," criticized Democrats for not having a National Security plan, and, unlike his 15 previous appearances, was labeled a Democrat. Yet, regardless of O’Hanlon’s criticisms of the Democrats, or observations of what Republicans are doing well, this is yet another example of the "Early Show" allowing a Democrat to offer election year advice to the Democratic party with no balance on the other side.
Storm began by inquiring about accusations made by Bob Woodward in his book, but soon changed the subject to the Democrats lack of a national security plan, while mentioning O’Hanlon’s party affiliation:
If Matt Lauer ever decides to leave 'Today,' he has a promising career ahead of him interpreting for the hearing-impaired at meetings of Moveon.org and like-minded groups.
Interviewing Bob Woodward on this morning's 'Today' about his Bush-bashing State of Denial, Lauer served as a cheerleader worthy of Katie at her perkiest.
At one point, Lauer summarized matters thusly:
"You paint a picture of a White House and administration that is not tone deaf in some cases but that literally in some cases puts their hands over their ears and said we don't want to hear the information if the information is not going to bolster our company line."
That's when, in the screen capture shown here, Lauer 'helpfully' mimed the White House's 'hear no evil' attitude that Woodward alleges.
As the Virginia senate race continues to degenerate into a media cesspool of preposterous racial accusations, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" took things further downward Friday by deliberately editing a report on the latest Democratic activist accusing Republican George Allen of being a racist:
On Friday, "Countdown" reported on the latest allegations against
George Allen. We noted that they did so by rerunning a report that
aired Thursday on Hardball. David Shuster interviewed a woman who said
she heard Allen using racial slurs.
But as we revealed exclusively on Olbermann Watch, the Countdown
version differed from the original "Hardball" broadcast in one
significant respect. Snipped from the taped piece were a series of
questions that revealed the political affiliation of accuser Pat
As part of Newsbusters’ thorough coverage of the Bill Clinton/Chris Wallace interview, the MRC’s Tim Graham noted that the shock should not have been over Wallace’s questions, but rather the softballs provided by "mainstream" journalists such as Tim Russert. The NBC host asked Clinton brief and not exactly hard hitting queries, including "what do you think is the biggest problem" in the world?
CBS anchor Harry Smith seemed perplexed by an "Early Show" guest who had the temerity to blame Clinton for failing to eliminate bin Laden. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked Roger Ailes, Chairman of Fox News, calling him "Ming the Merciless" for daring to criticize Clinton.
Over on CNN, the cable network joined in on the Fox bashing. "Situation Room" contributor Jack Cafferty described FNC as the "F-word network." (It should be noted that this isn’t the first time Cafferty has used the term, it’s sort of a go-to phrase for the liberal anchor.) CNN also featured yet another story over whether the GOP and "Big Oil" are conspiring to bring the price of gas down and, as a result, help the Republicans in the midterm elections
In other wide ranging bias, despite an underwhelming hurricane season, "Good Morning America" warned about Earth’s "soaring temperatures" and anchor Robin Roberts interviewed a parade of global warming cheerleaders.
Liberal billionaire George Soros is quitting politics, probably putting down that toy to play with some others, like most billionaires with short attention spans. As financier for much of the Left wing's activities, it'll be interesting to see how various liberal groups will deal without a Soros to suckle on, including our friends at Media Matters.
Rejection is painful. Spurned suitors often-if-contradictorily condemn the very object of their affection, while reserving a good measure of bile for their successful rivals. Democrats have suffered lots of unrequited political desire in recent years, and the strain is really starting to show. We all know about Bush Derangement Syndrome. Yesterday I described a new strain, Gas Price Derangement Syndrome, and mentioned an even more insidious disease afflicting many on the left - Controlled Demolition Dementia.
Today comes more evidence of the left's painful struggle to deal with its diminished standing and repeated rejection at the polls. In the subscription-required Why Voters Like Values, Times columnist Judith Warner claims that "the Christian right's ability to stir voter passions is based not on values, but on psychology." Warner describes having bravely gone inside the belly of the conservative beast, recently attending a Values Voters Summit in DC, and declaring it "imbued with so much intolerance and hate." This is presumably in contrast with liberal love-ins at Daily Kos, Moveon, etc., where Bush & Co. are regularly depicted as liars, murderers, Hitlers, etc. For that matter, Warner herself doesn't adumbrate many shades of gray in painting those on the right as filled with hatred.
A. telling a story in which the n-word is liberally used, or
B. driving through a black neighborhood, flaunting rifles and yelling racial epithets?
I'm going with 'B.' So why did Chris Matthews devote the first half of this afternoon's "Hardball" to the n-word story, and not one second to the driving-through-the-black-neighborhood story?
You don't suppose, do you, that it could have anything to do with the fact that 'A' concerns Republican George Allen, and 'B' his Dem challenger, James Webb?
Matthews opened Hardball with an extended segment featuring Patricia Waring, who in 1978 was apparently the wife of the coach of the University of Virginia rugby club team. She claims that, attending one game, she overheard George Allen telling a story in which he repeatedly used the n-word. She says she confronted him about it, asking him not to use the word.
If you see a fellow walking down the block on his hands today, you can be pretty sure he's a Democrat. For, at least from now till Election Day, Dems inhabit a topsy-turvy world in which good news is bad and bad news is good - unless the bad news is very bad, which would be bad. Got it?
By now we're all familiar with BDS - Bush Derangement Syndrome. In recent weeks, a new, virulent strain has mutated: GPDS. No, not a virus affecting the positioning gizmo in your car permitting men to achieve nirvana - never again having to ask for directions. We're talking about Gas Price Derangement Syndrome in which Democrats - depressedly deranged by dropping gasoline prices - blame the good news on a diabolical plot concocted by Karl Rove and carried out in the covens of Exxon-Mobil and company.
Anytime Maureen Dowd writes about Hillary, I figure it's good for an NB item. But reading and re-reading the pay-per-view Another Clinton Seduction at cock's crow, I just couldn't get a handle on what Dowd was getting at. Coming back to it in the light of a beautiful Ithaca morning, it suddenly dawned on me: Mo is mad at Hillary, and there are two reasons:
Hillary hasn't been tough enough on George Bush; and
Incredible as it might sound, Hillary - in contrast with certain NY Times columnists - has figured out a way to make men like her.
Dowd's ire is unmistakeable when it comes to Hillary's insufficient Bush bashing: "She has been like a silent-film star,lacking a voice in this chilling time when the Bush administration has Photoshopped the Constitution, portrayed critics as traitors, and spurred terrorism with a misconceived and mismanaged war in Iraq."
James Carville and Paul Begala were not the only Democrats on morning televison offering advice for Democrats as the midterm elections approach. On the "Early Show,"former Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, another democrat who got into trouble for extramarital affairs, discussed his new book, "The Courage of our Convictions: A Manifesto for Democrats." Like Carville and Begalia, Hart maintains the Democratic Party needs to grow a spine. During the segment with Hart, "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith allowed his populist beliefs to shine through, even has he noted the Democratic party is "adrift" and bemoaned the fact that the Democrats don’t really stand for anything:
CNN’s "American Morning" featured two reports this morning on Senator George Allen and the controversies engulfing him. Anchor Soledad O’Brien and political reporter Bob Franken apparently found the whole story amusing, as they could barely restrain their glee. During both segments, Franken brought up "macaca"-gate. At 8:07AM, after mentioning the most recent allegations that Allen, as a college student, used a racial pejorative, Franken characterized the macaca incident this way:
Franken: "And, of course, we know about the controversy that erupted when he used another slur, the word macaca, against an Indian-American operative for his opponent's campaign."
Interestingly, an hour earlier, he described the event differently:
Franken: "Of course, we also remember Senator Allen recently, who was captured on video, when he accused an operative for his Democratic opponent of being, quote, a 'macaca,' which we found out was a racial pejorative. Something that the Senator said he did not know."
So, Franken had to find out what the word means? He didn’t instantly know its definition? Then perhaps he shouldn’t assign a motive to Senator Allen’s usage of the phrase.
Since one of the main issues at hand was Fox News' alleged bias, you would have thought NBC would have assembled a more 'fair & balanced' panel than James Carville and liberal sidekick Paul Begala. But just when you thought Meredith Vieira was going to lead a one-sided seance, she actually hit the liberal duo with two tough questions.
Carville provided the opening, ill-advisedly claiming that "not one 'assertation' of fact" by Clinton during his FNC interview has been challenged. Guess what, James? We've got some serious 'assertatin' goin' on over he-ah, in the person of Condi Rice, and Vieira was quick to point that out.
Vieira: "Not everybody agrees what he said is fact."