Larry King, best known recently for his scintillating interviews with thinkers such as Paris Hilton, proved that he can still ask tough questions, to conservatives that is. In an interview with Vice President Cheney about Guantanamo, he wondered, "You have to torture them when they’re there?" Former VP Al Gore, on the other hand, received puff questions about Madonna and penguins.
Speaking of media coddling, "Good Morning America" anchors Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts appeared to be infatuated with the story that 2008 Democratic candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth spend their wedding anniversaries at Wendy’s. Roberts even promoted the former senator by referring to him as "Presidential nominee" John Edwards.
On Friday night’s "Inside Washington," panelists trashed Ross Buettner’s story in the New York Times playing up a close relationship between Fox News boss Roger Ailes and GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said "I think this was the New York Times thinking that Ailes is Darth Vader, because they made him out to be this monster who’s given all this time to Giuliani, but the story itself and the graphics supporting it didn’t support the story." Others agreed. "There’s nothing in this story," said columnist Charles Krauthammer. Colby King of the Washington Post scornfully added, "This is exactly why newspapers in trouble," and said they acted like a tabloid. Thomas concluded, "It says more about the paranoia of the New York Times than anything else."
Are Barbara Walters and Anderson Cooper really objective journalists? Ask them, and they will answer in the affirmative, even though Walters did not bother to find a Republican to fill in for the vacationing token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
With Hasselbeck’s absence, Caroline Rhea and Melissa Claire Egan filled in as guests co-hosts. After the "Hot Topics" segments, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper previewed the upcoming presidential election. Walters noted this observation.
BARBARA WALTERS: It’s very difficult. We don't seem to have a Republican on this panel except that nobody knows your opinion or my opinion Anderson [Cooper]. That’s the only saving-
It's hard to write a blog aimed at being both red meat for Fox News haters and Reagan conservatives. That didn't stop Keith Olbermann's staff from trying yesterday in a blog that highlighted Giuliani's friendship with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.
Implying that Ronald Reagan would have something damning to say about Giuliani "from the grave," Keith Olbermann's "NewsHole" blog picked up an item run on HuffPo and American Spectator that cited one brief reference from the Gipper's diaries that called the then-federal prosecutor "crazy."
It appears Daily Kos proprietor Markos Moulitsas is drinking the same Kool-Aid as NPR's Juan Williams.
During the opening address of his third annual YearlyKos convention, Moulitsas actually said (please get fluids out of your mouth and away from your computer):
There is no Jesse Jackson wing of the Democratic party anymore. We are the center.
How'd you like to ask him for directions?
Fortunately, as reported by Rick Moran at Pajamas Media Friday, this wasn't the most ridiculous statement coming out of Markos' mouth last night. Not even close (emphasis added throughout, h/t Glenn Reynolds):
On Friday, the network morning shows downplayed or ignored 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s muddled comment that nuclear weapons shouldn’t be used in "any circumstances" in Afghanistan or Pakistan. On CBS, the "Early Show" didn’t cover the story at all. During the three hour broadcast of the "Today" show, NBC found time for only one brief anchor read.
ABC’s "Good Morning America" provided the most coverage, but that simply amounted to a solitary anchor brief and then a quick, defensive summery of Obama’s statement by "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos:
George Stephanopoulos: "...Barack Obama, appearing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in going after al Qaeda or the Taliban in Pakistan....What he's drawing fire for though is talking about it. A lot of nuclear strategists say you should never talk about how or when you're going to use nuclear weapons. The Barack Obama people though say they make no apologies. They're not going to back down at all and that they’re saying, uh, the correct policy that people need to hear."
Less than 24 hours after the Senate passed a supposedly sweeping ethics bill designed to end corruption in Washington, some astounding earmark and pork totals for leading Congressmen were reported by The Hill (emphasis added throughout):
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations defense panel, has secured the most earmarked dollars in the 2008 military spending bill, followed closely by the panel's ranking member Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.).
Even though Young secured 52 earmarks, worth $117.2 million - and co-sponsored at least $27 million worth of others - Murtha's 48 earmarks amount to a total of $150.5 million, according to a database compiled by the watchdog organization Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS).
Please bear in mind that nothing in the just-passed bill sitting on the President's desk would in any way prevent those earmarks, or these:
It's no wonder that sensible people just shake their heads and wonder what's wrong with the extremists of the far left when they come up with such off the wall nonsense and then try to pass it off as real political analysis. It just makes people who have even the slightest clue about what is really going on in the world double over with laughter. Such is the case with today's comedic attempt at political forecasting by nut in residence Ed Garvey of the Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times.
Columnist Garvey, in true nutroots fashion, thinks he has hit on the perfect Neocon conspiracy. The Neocons don't want any of the current candidates for president. No, sir, they are trying to angle for General Petraeus to take up their Neocon banner!
I know that you're scratching your head wondering how in Heaven's name he came up with this one. I did too.
In Friday's Washington Post, Howard Kurtz reports that the new John Edwards campaign against any Democrat accepting Rupert Murdoch contributions has a slight flaw:
"John Edwards will never ask Rupert Murdoch for money -- he won't accept his money," said a statement e-mailed to supporters. Not so fast, Murdoch's people say. His publishing unit, HarperCollins, paid Edwards a $500,000 advance -- and $300,000 in expenses -- for his 2006 book "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives."
"We assume the senator is going to give back the money from his advance," News Corp. spokesman Brian Lewis said.
Here's a bold prediction: Joe Scarborough won't be switching registration to vote for John Edwards in the Florida primary. The Pensacola-area Republican congressman-turned-MSNBC-host unloaded on the Dem contender on today's "Morning Joe," accusing Edwards of opportunistic flip-flopping when it comes to dealing with Fox News.
"MORNING JOE" HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: John Edwards, demanding that Hillary Clinton return money she got from News Corp. [the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company that is Fox News' parent] because News Corp. is such a corrupt, terrible outfit. Of course John Edwards got $1,000 from News Corp. himself, so it's sort of like being half-pregnant. You can't be half-pregnant. You either take the money from the corrupt source or you don't. And of course this is the same John Edwards who won't go on Fox News, but before he decided this would resonate with primary voters, you couldn't keep the guy off of Fox News. I mean, he was like in Sean Hannity's lap every other night. Now, he is shocked and stunned. Shocked and stunned! -- that anybody would go on Fox News. Here's a guy who wants to take on the Taliban and he can't even handle [Fox News president] Roger Ailes. How sad, how sad.
Jebediah Reed at Radar Online interviewed Cindy Sheehan about, among other topics, her treatment on CNN. The woman CNN hailed and promoted as the "Peace Mom" was outraged that anchor Anderson Cooper had the audacity to bring on two men who disagreed with her after an interview: "I just thought that was really uncalled for." Apparently, what’s called for is Cindy Sheehan being awarded an unopposed platform to spew against the Iraq War and President Bush. Here’s an excerpt:
You're also not a fan of Anderson Cooper. What did he do? He came down to Camp Casey to do a hit piece on me. It was just handled very badly. He had me on, and then he brought on some people right afterwards—a father whose son died in Iraq and a Dallas talk-show host—who just said some despicable things about me. I just thought that was really uncalled for.
If the Ethics Bill just approved by Congress had passed this time last year, a media hell-bent on giving Democrats control of that governmental branch would have lambasted the legislation as an election year stunt by Republicans desperately trying to distance themselves from their own culture of corruption.
Yet, twelve months later, with Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) at the helm, it seems a metaphysical certitude Katie, Charlie, and Brian will hail this bill's passage as a crowning achievement of Democrats that vowed to clean up Washington.
In fact, you can already see the self-congratulations in the Associated Press article written shortly after the votes were counted (emphasis added throughout):
If you have trouble imagining the establishment media speaking at CPAC -- although I do remember a slick Tim Russert and a prickly Ted Koppel attending one at the invitation of Accuracy in Media ten years ago -- it's not as hard to imagine "objective" reporters at the second annual lefty-blogger Yearly Kos convention, this year in Chicago. Mike Allen of the Politico (formerly of Time), Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine (formerly of Newsweek) and Time deputy Washington bureau chief Jay Carney will all be speaking at the Chicago event. At the Huffington Post, blogger Ari Melber explains he will be moderating a let's-kiss-and-make-up panel on Friday between the media and bloggers featuring Allen and Carney:
I'm moderating a panel that will pair bloggers Glenn Greenwald and Jill Filipovic with The Politico's Mike Allen and Time magazine's Jay Carney, to discuss whether media-blog relations can evolve towards more constructive interactions. We're calling it "Blogs and the MSM: From Clash to Civilization."
What follows are Klein's complaints from his August 1 "Swampland" blog post, followed by my snarky translation:
--it doesn't mandate that insurance companies cover everyone at the same rate, regardless of pre-existing conditions (community rating).
Who cares if you're a chain-smoking, trans fat-loving, Burger King-is-your-second home kinda guy with diabetes, high cholesterol and a coronary bypass under your belt? Health insurance companies shouldn't charge you a penny more than the marathon-running vegan next door whose idea of splurging is a little extra sugar in his mango strawberry soy milk smoothie.
Video (0:55):Real (1.51 MB) or Windows (1.74 MB), plus MP3 audio (305 kB)
As part of a new segment on the "Today" show called "Candidate Cribs," NBC's Jonathan Alter went on a cab ride, with Democratic candidate Mike Gravel behind the wheel. However, Alter received more than a calm cruise through the city from the former Alaskan senator. In a gimmicky stunt, meant to showcase the candidate's past life as a New York City cabbie, Alter slid into the back seat for a ride but just after Gravel started griping about Iraq he crashed the taxi.
Alter: "Gravel is best remembered for helping end the Vietnam era draft with a filibuster and for reading the Pentagon Papers in the Senate. Now, after a quarter-century out of politics, he's an angry Rip Van Winkle."
Gravel: "I know how to get out of Iraq. I know how to affect the solution, it's a diplomatic solution."
Don't look for Arianna Huffington to be sitting down to a chummy luncheon with Hillary Clinton anytime soon. Huffington has been no fan of Clinton for some time, considering her insufficiently, and inauthentically, anti-war. But on today's "Morning Joe," Huffington took her animus to another level, accusing Hillary of an ultimate Dem sin: "swiftboating" an opponent, namely Barack Obama.
HUFFINGTON POST FOUNDER ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: After the CNN debate, I think it was ridiculous the way she and her campaign attacked Obama for saying he would engage in diplomatic talks with dictators. That is sort of a classic example of swiftboating your opponent. Like the equivalent of what Republicans do anytime Democrats call for troop withdrawal and they are talking about "cutting and running" or "precipitous withdrawal" or any of the clever little phrases.
Bush hatred has taken on a new, virulent mutation: animus towards First Lady Laura Bush. Witness today's New York Times column by Judith Warner, ‘24’ as Reality Show [subscripton required].
Warner's jumping off point is Kiefer Sutherland's response to a question about the advent in this coming season's "24" of a woman president. Observed the actor who plays Jack Bauer: “I can tell you one thing. We had the first African-American president on television, and now Barack Obama is a serious candidate. That wasn’t going to happen eight years ago. Television is an incredibly powerful medium, and it can be the first step in showing people what is possible.”
That prompted Warner to write:
I giggled a bit nastily over this at first. What was next — claims that fingering China as a one-nation axis of evil on “24” had presaged the country’s exposure this spring as the source of all perishables tainted and fatal? That screen first lady Martha Logan’s descent into minimadness anticipated Laura Bush’s increasingly beleaguered late-term demeanor? (Has anyone but me noticed her astounding resemblance to Dolores Umbridge in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”?)
As noted here at NB yesterday, Kansas Congresswoman Nancy Boyda walked out of a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Friday after hearing General Jack Keane testify about the potential impact of a bill meant to micromanage troop deployment. Keane also testified about progress being made in the counteroffensive that has come to be known as "the surge."
Boyda walked out because the objections to that bill, and the descriptions of an improving situation in Iraq, were apparently too much to bear. She said as much when she returned. Boyda and the fly in her pocket (based on her several references to "we") went into full-rant mode (painfully long and slow-loading audio is here; scroll down to July 27's entry and click on "Audio Transcript"; Boyda's tantrum is about 60% of the way through it; also note that at least a half-dozen hecklers and demonstrators had to be removed during the hearing):
"..... As many of us, there was only so much that you could take until we, in fact, had to leave the room for a while, and so I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things that after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to."
"But let me just first say that the description of Iraq as if some way or another that it's a place that I might take the family for a vacation, things are going so well, those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying here’s the reality of the problem and people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchors Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer touted the marital relationship between Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife. Co-host Robin Roberts recounted the often repeated story of how the Edwards couple spend their wedding anniversary, including their recent 30th, at the restaurant Wendy’s.
Roberts, perhaps in a Freudian slip, even referred to the former North Carolina Senator as "presidential nominee John Edwards." Sawyer gushed that the candidate and his wife "are going to renew their vows." "Happy anniversary," she added.
Yet, this is the same morning show that has vastly underplayed stories that aren’t quite so cute and endearing for the '08 contender. For instance, during a recent GMA town hall with John Edwards on the subject of poverty, Ms. Sawyer only managed to mention the trial lawyer’s 28,000 square-foot mansion once.
Mark's post on new Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart caused me to stumble across this news from a few days ago: The gay cable channel Logo and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-left lobby, have announced that Margaret Carlson, a former White House correspondent and deputy Washington bureau chief of Time magazine, will moderate the August 9 Democratic candidates debate on Logo, and Capehart will join the questioning panel.
Carlson was a major booster of Hillary Clinton when she reported from the White House for Time. Capehart is a longtime member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Here's the official press release language:
What is it with Dems and hedge funds? Not long ago we learned that Mr. Two Americas worked for one. Today we find out, in a front-page profile in the New York Times, that Chelsea Clinton also works for a hedge fund.
But the Times was strangely shy about divulging the fact. Only those who persisted through 18 paragraphs and 977 words were rewarded with that noteworthy nugget. And even when the Times did get around to informing us, it managed to find a sympathetic spin to place on Chelsea's decision to work for what many liberals like to portray as the poster child for evil capitalism gone wild.
Does the MSM have the vaguest clue about what makes Republicans tick? For months the liberal media has been propounding the absurd notion that John McCain's quest to obtain the Republican presidential nomination has been undermined by his support for the Iraq war. The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart seems a good guy, but he has now added a clueless coda to that misperception, suggesting that McCain's efforts to repair his relations with the religious right has done him in.
Capehart was part of a panel on this afternoon's "Hardball." Mike Barnicle guest hosted for Chris Matthews, and asked the question "is John McCain gone?"
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIALIST JONATHAN CAPEHART: At least for me, as a member of the press, when John McCain . . . called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance," I thought now there's straight talk, that's someone standing on his own two feet. But then, when he walked away from that recently, I thought wait a minute, what happened to straight talk?
Fortunately, the Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti was there to set him straight.
A lot of people are atwitter over this addition to the Thompson advisory team of former Senator Spencer Abraham. But, it is starting to look to me like a story incorrectly reported by the MSM and rolling off track from there. It just seems that there are too many conflicting reports on Abraham's role with the AP reporting that he is a new "campaign manager" but others saying Randy Enwright is.
The website IsraelToday, for instance, has posted a story full of alarm over the addition of Spence to the team. Their reaction is similar to many Israel supporters here in the states, too. "Fred Thompson names anti-Israel ex-senator as campaign manager" their headline screams. They are very worried over Spence's past slights to Israel and for being "soft on Islamic terrorism."
From the Gavel -- At a House Armed Services Committee Hearing on Iraq Legislation Friday morning (revised from "this morning" when originally posted on Monday), Kansas Congresswoman Nancy Boyda apparently heard as much good news as she could stand.
So she did the old cut-and-run by walking out (as The Gavel explains, "She is responding in part to General Jack Keane, who testified before the Committee but left before Rep. Boyda’s remarks, and was reportedly one of the architects of the escalation policy"; there should probably be a "from" before the second mention of Keane's name):
"I was certainly hoping that General Keane would be able to be here as well. Let me say thank you very much for your testimony so much, Mr. Korb, and I just will make some statements more for the record based on what I heard mainly General Keane. As many of us, there was only so much that you could take until we, in fact, had to leave the room for a while, and so I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things that after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to."
"But let me just first say that the description of Iraq as if some way or another that it’s a place that I might take the family for a vacation, things are going so well, those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying here’s the reality of the problem and people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue."
Tired of seeing Hillary Clinton in virtually every political media report?
Well, that's not surprising, for according to a new Pew Research Center poll, the junior senator from New York was named by 42 percent of respondents as being the candidate "heard the MOST about in the news lately."
The next nearest was Barack Obama, who was named 22 percent of the time.
By contrast, the top Republican candidates - John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and the not yet announced Fred Thompson - were each only named by two percent of the respondents.
As reported in the poll summary (emphasis added, grateful h/t to unknown e-mailer):
This is why it's hard not to make slippery-slope arguments against the "reforms" the media in this country are constantly pushing, we can see the eventual result--politicians outlawing any kind of criticism of themselves with the media bearing the brunt of it:
New Zealand's Parliament has voted itself far-reaching powers to control satire and ridicule of MPs in Parliament, attracting a storm of media and academic criticism.
The new standing orders, voted in last month, concern the use of images of Parliamentary debates, and make it a contempt of Parliament for broadcasters or anyone else to use footage of the chamber for "satire, ridicule or denigration".
On Sunday, NewsBusters reported a shocking discussion that ensued on "The Chris Matthews Show" wherein five liberal media members actually debated why America shouldn't withdraw its troops from Iraq.
Maybe more shocking, the following day, an op-ed was published in the New York Times claiming that "We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, "morale is high," and, as a result, this is "a war we just might win."
Adding to the shock is that this piece was written by two members of the Brookings Institution, which even Wikipedia acknowledges is "widely regarded as being politically liberal." The authors - Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack - described themselves as "two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq."
Not anymore. Better prepare yourself for an alternate reality (emphasis added throughout):
Mika Brzezinski is so outraged that people are discussing Hillary's cleavage . . . that she hopes it helps the Dem prez candidate.
The topic arose at 6:18 A.M. EDT on today's "Morning Joe." The affable Willie Geist, a frequent panelist, is serving this morning as guest host for the absent Joe Scarborough. He broached the subject.
MORNING JOE GUEST HOST WILLIE GEIST: One of the other big stories that everybody is talking about is this Hillary Clinton cleavage thing.
MORNING JOE NEWSREADER MIKA BRZEZINSKI [in an exasperated tone]: Oh my gosh.
GEIST: . . . There's a shot of it right now; that's not so bad, I've seen much worse.
BRZEZINSKI: Are you kidding me? That's a great outfit. But what annoys me is that people wrote about it and talked about it. And if has helped her in any way I guess it doesn't bother me because that was ridiculous.