It was yet another overblown fear that the media latched onto but have not revisited since Democrats won last week's election.
At the MRC's Business & Media Institute, we don't forget so easily.
Check out the story by my colleague Julia Seymour over at businessandmedia.org.
Now that the votes have been cast and counted, Republicans
lost, and the silence of the national media has been deafening.
The idea was that somehow the company Diebold had programmed the machines to let Republicans win. The theory, perpetuated by left-wingers posting on Daily Kos and The Huffington Post and Bev Harris’ book, “Black Box Voting,” was embraced by all three broadcast networks, as well as CNN and MSNBC.
Can John McCain land enough "right hand punches" to "satisfy conservatives," and how is the 2008 presidential race unfolding? These are two of the topics raised on Wednesday’s "Early Show" in the "Capitol Bob" segment with Bob Schieffer. During the segment, Schieffer came to the obvious conclusion that the Democrat nominee will either be Hillary Clinton or someone else, and the Republican nominee will either be John McCain or someone else. However, co-host Hannah Storm alluded to one of Senator McCain’s weaknesses and humorously opined:
"Alright, we'll see if he's [McCain] able to throw enough right-hand punches in that race to satisfy the conservatives, right."
In mid-August, Sen. George Allen used the word "Macaca" to describe an Indian-American staffer for his Democrat opponent who’d been filming his campaign appearances. Little did he realize that this would cost him his Senate seat and any hopes for the presidency in 2008.
Local liberal elites long have believed the Washington Times to be an oafishly right-wing rag while viewing the Washington Post as the dictionary definition of detachment and straight-forward reporting. The 2006 campaign proves this to be nonsense. When it came to Allen, the Post completely lost its bearings, treating Allen with left-wing aggression and loathing, as if he ripped out the fingernails of small children every night as a giggly hobby. Today Allen’s political scalp hangs on their newsroom wall.
The Washington Post, this morning, is demonstrating that they aren't biased in favor of liberals, nosirree. What, just attack Republicans? Us? No way! This fascinating column by Ruth Marcus, prominently positioned on page A21, demonstrates that they aren't going to just roll over on corruption just because it's a Democrat being talked about! Nope, Marcus is actively going after Jack Murtha, going so far as to say that "On its own, Murtha's ... conduct is disqualifying."
"The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history," Pelosi pledged on election night. Five days later she wrote Murtha a letter endorsing his bid to become her No. 2.
According to CNN’s Bill Schneider, Americans, hungry for change, have no problem with tax increasing Democrats. During Tuesday’s "Situation Room," the veteran reporter described a new poll that, according to him, demonstrated the confidence Americans have for the new Democratic majority. In the segment, he dismissed one of President Bush’s warnings this way:
Bill Schneider: "Despite President Bush's dire warnings, people don't think congressional Democrats will do anything to weaken national security. President Bush also warned-"
George Bush: "The Democrats are going to raise your taxes. No, I know they don't want you to know it."
Schneider: "Guess what? People know it but they voted for the Democrats anyway. Which means they must really want change. In the ‘USA Today’/Gallup poll, the number of Americans who call themselves Republicans is sharply down. But the number of Democrats hardly changed. More people are calling themselves independents. They're waiting to see what the Democrats deliver."
Former White House reporter (now columnist) Helen Thomas was interviewed by the Washington Post's Express newspaper (the free one you can read on the bus or train). Predictably, Helen thought that democracy has now prevailed in America, since democracy and Democrats are interchangeable terms:
EXPRESS: Did this past election start to show that? THOMAS: I thought the election proved that democracy works. People finally get the message. I think they're fed up with the war and all the torture and all the other things that have been attached to [the United States].
For the second day in a row, ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned a guest as to whether the American voters are either secretly "more racist" or "more sexist" when they cast their ballots. During an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Sawyer inquired:
Sawyer: "...Ninety percent of Americans say race and gender make absolutely no difference in their vote in the polls. I asked Senator Obama yesterday if he believes it, and he thinks it's case by case. Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?"
Of course, the liberal columnist agreed with Sawyer’s premise that American society is sexist, but asserted that it is not, in fact, a secret:
Maureen Dowd: "Oh, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very secret. I'm not sure we've gotten so much farther along than with Ferraro, where she didn't get any guys in the south...I do think there is obviously racism and sexism, but I think that these are both two extraordinary candidates [Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] who, you know, might be able to triumph over some of that, but we'll see."
Sawyer: "More sexism than racism, racism than sexism?"
The Boston Globe's recent article on Dick Cheney's "fate" after the recent elections is an interesting, if not subtle, attempt to make it seem as if the Vice President were somehow on his way out just like Donald Rumsfeld was. Even painting Bush as "forgetting" the VP was in a recent meeting intimating that Cheney is not included in running the country anymore.(Cheney doesn't need Rumsfeld anymore)
Here is the lead paragraph of the story:
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush and the two top Democrats in the House met with reporters on Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney was largely silent, sitting impassively with his characteristic half-smile. "All three of us recognize that when you win, you have a responsibility to do the best you can for the country," declared Bush, apparently forgetting that the vice president was there to make it a foursome.
Half smile? Is that another way of saying smirk -- their favorite attack word against Bush himself?
"Washington Post" reporter Sally Quinn appeared on Monday’s "American Morning," ready to psychoanalyze President Bush in the wake of last week’s midterm defeat. Quinn discussed the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the hiring of Robert Gates as a replacement, and how President Bush is secretly "relieved" over the drubbing the GOP received. Now, either Ms. Quinn has become a psychological expert on why Bush is hiring former advisors to his father, or she’s just another member of the media who wants to be a part of important inner-circle decisions:
Quinn: "But I just have a feeling that it was clear to the father that the son -- clearly, he made Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense -- that the son did not want his father's advice on a lot of these things....I felt the other day watching Bush that he was almost relieved in a way about losing the House and the Senate. I know that sounds weird, but it was as though, ‘Okay, now I really have permission. I can take my father's advice.’ And, also, that it's not all on him anymore. It's not all on the Republicans. The Democrats are going to have to take a lot of the responsibility now."
O’Brien: "It's nice to, nice to share a little blame, isn't it, in some cases? And in this case, perhaps share some blame with his father. I wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. Did -- was -- did he have to have that election in order to prompt this?"
Perhaps you've noticed, the left really, really hates Donald Rumsfeld? They won't even let him go away in peace because this very morning the New Yorker has taken the time to give him at least one more kick.
In a piece by Jeffrey Goldberg titled,END OF THE AFFAIR, the New Yorker details the "heartsickness" that long time co-worker Kenneth Adelman has over his failed friendship with Donald Rumsfeld.
The New Yorker's piece beats up Rummy pretty good and ends with this kick in the head:
A few days later, Rumsfeld was out. Adelman is, apparently, still in. “I’m heartsick about the whole matter,” he said. He does not know what to make of the disintegration of Rumsfeld’s career and reputation. “How could this happen to someone so good, so competent?” he said. “This war made me doubt the past. Was I wrong all those years, or was he just better back then? The Donald Rumsfeld of today is not the Donald Rumsfeld I knew, but maybe I was wrong about the old Donald Rumsfeld. It’s a terrible way to end a career. It’s hard to remember, but he was once the future.”
It's one thing for the liberal media to hail more liberal Hillary clones coming to Capitol Hill. But it's another thing to insist that women are a superior breed of politician, a much more caring, empathetic, and ethical breed. Driving home on Tuesday night, I heard this "women are seen as more ethical" line at least twice on the live coverage on National Public Radio. (No cattle-futures memories in the middle of Pom-Pom Night.) They even had a syrupy interview with Robin Gerber, author of "Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way," to cheer blatantly on the taxpayer-funded radio for incoming feminists like Senator McCaskill. On ABC Tuesday morning, Cokie Roberts opened up the latest can of Uterus-Empowered Superiority:
"But Nancy Pelosi will bring a style that is different to the speakership. Let me just tell you one little tidbit. Her daughter, Alexandra, is due to have a baby any minute and everybody knew that if that baby came, that Nancy Pelosi, regardless of the fact that she was about to take over the House and have the great night of her life, was ready to leave and just go to her daughter. I think you wouldn't necessarily see that with a male speaker."
In light of the big Democrat win last week, United Press International is doing its best to start the ball rolling against our security with a report from the 11th called Leahy aims at restoring habeas corpus.
In this fawning report, UPI paints Leahy as the hero on the white horse "restoring rights" to those poor enemy combatants the evil, evil Bush administration has been so mean to. UPI is overjoyed that Leahy is riding to the defense of terrorists...
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is expected to take over as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and The (Calif.) Daily Journal reports that Leahy is drafting a bill to undo portions of the new law in an effort to restore habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants.
How nice of Leahy to "restore" something they never had in the first place!
The supposed rights of habes for enemy combatants never existed and still doesn't. The only thing that the last few Supreme Court decisions addressed is if enemy combatants can APPLY for habeas protections, NOT that they should automatically have them.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled 'The Underrepresented Conservative Base' 1, in which I speculated that "Maybe losing the House of Representatives for a couple of years is exactly what the Republican party needs to wake it up and give it a great big shove back toward its conservative roots." This statement evoked a considerable amount of anger from Republican party loyalists, who denounced my opinion as defeatist, and even questioned my ideological integrity. Their reaction only served to reinforce my belief that the GOP is in big trouble at the moment, and will remain so until its blind supporters and increasingly wimpy leaders pull their collective head out of the sand and move back to the right where true Republicans belong.
A popular media myth these days is that most voters want to see the two main parties move more toward the political center, and that the partisan bickering which has always existed between them will come to a screeching halt once the voice of America's "moderate majority" has finally been heard. Aside from the fact that one would have to be as naive as a 2-year old to believe such tripe, I think it's fair to point out that compromise, while being far less noisy and time-consuming than fighting, is also less productive in the long run, at least most of the time.
If we rigidly applied truth-in-advertising laws to the national media in their coverage of the 2006 campaign, we would have first declared that the stuff between the commercials wasn’t "news" as much as a boatload of free infomercial advertising for the Democrats. The news reports should have led with the sentence, "I’m Nancy Pelosi, and I approved this newscast."
Republicans made a lot of mistakes, and caused themselves a pile of problems. Their house is a mess; it's time to tear down and start over. But I will say this unequivocally: In 25 years of looking at the national media, I have never seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news -- and non-news -- by the national media. They ought to be collectively ashamed. They have made a mockery out of the term "objective journalism" and a laughingstock of themselves at the idea that they should be considered objective journalists.
On Thursday’s "Situation Room," CNN reporter Bill Schneider proclaimed that Republicans need to move left in order to recover from their midterm losses:
Bill Schneider: "Will Republicans move further to the right? Not if they got the message of the election. Republicans lost because they abandoned the center. Independents voted Democratic by the biggest margin ever recorded. The election also provides an alternative model of a Republican who moved to the center and thrived."
Who is this shining example of moderation? Why, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He actually won by becoming a liberal, but perhaps that’s what Schneider meant.
“Victory is mine,” he seemed to gloat to viewers as with smug delight CNN populist gadfly and resident protectionist applauded the passage of six minimum wage increases in states ballot booths across the country.
Before the election, Dobbs was quite active in pushing such an increase both on his show and in his book, “War on the Middle Class.” Dobbs had a pre-election one-hour special by the same title, biased in favor of more taxation and regulation of the economy.
Following Christine Romans’ report on the initiatives, Dobbs chose to lecture the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and The Heritage Foundation for what he sees as their wrong-headed opinion on the matter.
As the media crow about Democrats taking the reins of power on Capitol Hill, if you need a giggle, it's worth a rewind to the "Saturday Night Live" satire of MSNBC's "Hardball" on the October 28 show -- the same one with the fake Halloween GOP ads with Witchy Hillary and Count Obama. Chris Matthews (played as usual by Darrell Hammond) and Howard Dean (played by Jason Sudeikis) are expressing amazement at how pro-Democrat the polls are turning out:
Matthews: “Alright, I assume you've seen the latest poll, which has your party with an astonishing 55-point lead over the Republicans.”
Dean: “Life is good, Chris.”
Matthews: “But what amazes me is the internal numbers. I mean, the public now favors the Democrats in every issue. Even national defense.”
Dean: “I know, Chris. It's crazy. We can't be trusted on national defense.”
"Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer interviewed incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday and continued the fawning media coverage of the liberal Democrat. His gushing tone can best be described by how he closed the interview:
Wolf Blitzer: "Let me just congratulate you and wish you the best of luck. This is going to be an exciting ride. We started off that you are going to be the first woman to be the Speaker of the House. So you have an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with the job, a little bit extra because you're making history."
Nancy Pelosi: "Well, I appreciate your saying that and I think one of my first acts as -- post-election, will be to become a grandmother for the sixth time. We're anxiously awaiting the birth of our grandchild, who is due the first week in November, so a good omen. We get ready for our new grandbaby as we get ready for a new Congress."
Blitzer: "Well, we'll wish you only the best on that front as well."
Pelosi: "As well, thank you. Thank you, Wolf."
Throughout the segment, which aired at 5:28pm on November 8, Mr. Blitzer’s tone seemed similar to that of an excited fan interviewing a celebrity.
For anyone who thought the worst racist ad of the electoral cycle was the RNC ad against Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee, Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics has an answer. (I heard this ad yesterday on the Sean Hannity show.) In Atlanta, a last-minute radio ad suggested that electing Republicans to the Fulton County Commission would be worse than the beatings administered in the civil rights era of the 1960s -- it might endanger the life of blacks. The script is amazing:
LEWIS: This is Congressman John Lewis.
FRANKLIN: And I'm Mayor Shirley Franklin.
YOUNG: And I am Andy Young.
LEWIS: On Nov. 7, we face the most dangerous situation we ever have. You think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the '60s was bad. [Now we] sit idly by, and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County County Commission.
Is this more offensive to Democrats or Republicans? At least five separate reporters described incoming freshman Democrat Congressmen as conservative. On Wednesday’s "Early Show" Bob Schieffer noted "these Democrats that were elected last night are conservative Democrats." Later in the same program, CBS News Captiol Hill correspondent Sharyl Attkisson highlighted, "...a lot of these new Democrats who’ve been elected are social conservatives." Seconds later, CBS Political Correspondent Gloria Borger observed that with the Democrats taking the House, "the committee chairmen are going to be liberal and the people coming in are going to be these moderate conservatives." The trend continued on "Imus in the Morning" as NBC’s David Gregory remarked, "She’s [Nancy Pelosi] going to have a lot of center-right Democrats who won..."
During President Bush’s news conference Wednesday afternoon, New York Times writer Jim Rutenberg phrased his question to President Bush in terms utilized on the Times editorial page on Wednesday repudiating President Bush’s leadership. Earlier, David Gregory portrayed President Bush as out of touch with Americans and inquired as to whether now that the voters have spoken, is he "listening to the voters or the vice president."
During the press conference Jim Rutenberg questioned:
"But the results are being interpreted as a repudiation of your leadership style in some quarters. I wonder what your reaction is to that, and should we expect a very different White House? Should we expect a very different leadership style from you in these last two years given that you have a whole new set of partners."
In the giddy aftermath of a Democratic victory, the cheery tone of morning television can begin to look like excessive enthusiasm. On Wednesday morning's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira interviewed Montana's liberal Democratic Senate challenger, Jon Tester, who at the time was narrowly ahead and not yet declared the winner. Vieira noticed that despite the close call, "yet, you have a smile on your face, sir." When asked how he came this far, Tester said people came out to vote for honesty and integrity, about Iraq, and health care.
Vieira perkily concluded: "Well I hope you keep the smile on your face there Jon Tester. Thank you very much. Back to you, Matt."
Although not as bumpy as the road the GOP encountered last night, I've hit some turbulence on the first day of my Iraq trip. With weather socked in on the East Coast, my US Airways flight out of our little Ithaca airport was cancelled. A quick phone call later I was on the road to Syracuse. For my sins I decided to listen to Air America all the way - the Stephanie Miller Show as it turned out. They spoke of being in "full gloat mode," and that was no overstatement. Multiple renditions of the "nah-nah-nah-nah, goodbye" song, endless repetitions of Paul Begala's slur of Rush Limbaugh, fantasies of Tom DeLay slipping in his own sick - a class act all around.
Oddly, I didn't find it getting under my skin much. After 12 years in the wilderness, I suppose it's just human nature for Dems to revel in the moment. Every dog has its day. Then again, on election night 1994 I don't recall the GOP revolution, welcome as it was, sending me into paroxysms of puerile chest-pounding. Sidenote: the Air Americans mocked the Fox & Friends cast's notion that, after all, many of the successful Dem candidates were of a moderate to conservative stripe. Miller & Co. are apparently expecting Pelosi to govern in accordance to what they gleefully referred to as her "San Francisco values."
CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien talked with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Wednesday and displayed a snide attitude over the Republicans’ midterm losses. She even tried to goad DeLay into bashing Karl Rove:
O’Brien: "Think Karl Rove is still a genius?"
Delay: "Oh, yes. Just because you lose one ball game doesn't remove your genius."
O’Brien: "Really, you think that -- this is kind of a big ball game to lose. Some people might say, yes, but if you lose the big one, it actually could chip away at your title."
Apparently victories in 2000, 2002 and 2004 don’t mean anything.
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales expressed general praise with network election coverage Wednesday morning, especially newbie Katie Couric at CBS, but said the television was really missing the electrifying Bill Clinton, a "shining, gray-haired exception" to Democrats who are generally bad at TV. He compared Slick Willie to who he might have called Clumsy Chucky Schumer:
Neil Cavuto, who hosts a less-than-indispensable daily show on Fox, got into an on-air shouting match with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who understandably took exception when Cavuto kept interrupting him. In Cavuto's defense, Schumer seemed determined to talk as slowly and laboriously as possible, proving himself yet another Democrat who takes to television like a duck takes to oil.
I just heard the opening shot of the 2008 Dem presidential primary!
To paraphrase Hirohito's famous words to his people at the end of WWII, the electoral situation has developed not necessarily to the GOP's advantage. We'll certainly be picking through the rubble in coming weeks. But for the time being, let's look at the bright side: the 2008 presidential race is on! One sure sign of it: Barack Obama has become fair game for criticism - from fellow Democrats.
Hillary Rosen, a Dem consultant and former interim Director of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, was a guest on a Chris Matthews election post-mortem panel early Wednesday morning. Rosen took some real shots at someone who heretofore had only been dutifully referred to by Dems as "a rising star."
In their coverage of the election returns, MSNBC posted a story this morning at the bottom of which was a brief run down of who won and who lost in Congressional races across the country.
Most of these listings were presented without comment of any kind. Like the race in Arizona:
Arizona: Incumbent Republican John Kyl over Democrat Jim Pederson.
That was pretty straightforward. No bias, no nonsense. Just a who-won/who-lost listing. Of the 23 races they list, only a few have any thing by way of extra commentary. Additionally, out of that few they offered further comment on, all were either benign or complimentary.
During election night coverage, CNN’s Paula Zahn and Bill Schneider exuded giddiness over what Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee’s defeat meant. Schneider marveled that voters liked Chafee, but "they didn’t vote for him!" Zahn wondered if Chafee’s defeat could be seen as a "mandate for change." A transcript follows:
"Newsweek" editor Marcus Mabry, appearing on CNN to deliver a postmortem on Republican Rick Santorum’s loss, attacked the Senator as a "firebrand partisan" and wondered if Republicans would learn a lesson from his loss. A transcript of his comments follows:
Marcus Mabry: "I think while we’ve heard some laudatory things tonight about the bipartisanship, on occasion, of the Senator from Pennsylvania, who only has another two months in office now, we have to remember this was an incredibly politicizing, divisive partisan, both on the floor of the United States Senate, but also back in Pennsylvania.