Is Barack Obama turning into Spiro Agnew? The White House's attacks on the Fox News smack of the distaste for media opposition espoused by Nixon's vice president almost 40 years ago but are being met with a decidedly different reaction today by the elite media.
Pundits have wondered aloud since last week why the White House would pursue a strategy that seems to be boosting the ratings of a purported 'opposition' news network. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough posited today that the White House's attacks on Fox News are designed to prevent the mainstream media from picking up on stories damaging to the administration (video embedded below the fold, h/t to NB reader Kirk W.).
Every time Fox breaks a story on the radical connections of a White House advisor or appointee, the news is potentially damaging to the administration. But damage is only really done if the rest of the media picks up on the story, reports it, and turns it into a national news sensation, a la Van Jones.
After another round of attacks from the White House, this time from higher levels of the Obama administration, Brit Hume, a senior political analyst for Fox News, went to bat for his network.
On the Oct. 19 broadcast of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hume gave his best effort to rationalize why White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod used two Sunday morning news show appearances to beat up on the highly rated news channel. According to Hume, it was because they disapproved of the stories his channel broke over the last few months.
"It is a little hard to discern a strategy behind the White House campaign of criticism of Fox News unless it's simply this - an attempt to quarantine Fox and thereby discourage other media outlets from following up stories did originate here," Hume said. "The White House is clearly stung by the revelations about former aid Van Jones. He turned out to have harbored views that were out there where the buses don't run and he was forced to resign. And the White House could not much have cared for the hidden camera expose of ACORN - an organization with which the president had a past association and one whose voter registration drives have benefited the Democratic Party."
The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news," and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.
Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be "more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."
The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as "Fox Lies," and "even more Fox lies." Time calls Dunn the "general" of this anti-Fox campaign.
The news wing of the Media Research Center, CNSNews.com, yesterday reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) refused their request for an interview with Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd about his tremendously disturbing First Amendment and communications policy views.
These are views which certainly deserve additional explanation from the man himself. We have analyzed his record at great length, but all of it from the outside looking in. Some direct questions to - and answers from - Mr. Lloyd would be most helpful.
The FCC told CNSNews that it's their policy not to make staffers available to the media. And that is in fact fine; the FCC said its Commissioners are the front line officials and they themselves speak to the media, not those who work for them.
But Congress - and Congressional oversight - is a different story. And Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon agrees. So too does FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. During a September 17 convening of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, Congressman Walden - who is on said Subcommittee - asked Genachowski if Lloyd would be made available for questions (video at right).
During the Bush administration, journalists and liberal politicians were up in arms against a Defense Department policy that forbade the photographing of caskets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that we have a Democrat as a commander in chief, however, the caskets are old news, and are getting little to no coverage.
Critics of the Bush Administration's policy of refusing to allow the photographing of caskets returning from the battlefield claimed that the Pentagon was attempting to hide the true cost of war from the American public to maintain support for the war efforts.
A lawsuit in April 2005 forced the release of hundreds of such photos. University of Delaware professor Ralph Begleiter, who brought the suit against the administration, citing the Freedom of Information Act, said of his victory that it was "an important victory for the American people, for the families of troops killed in the line of duty during wartime and for the honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."
He added that the decision would "make it difficult, if not impossible, for any U.S. government in the future to hide the human cost of war from the American people."
As Byron York notes in today's Washington Examiner,
In April of this year, the Obama administration lifted the press ban, which had been in place since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Media outlets rushed to cover the first arrival of a fallen U.S. serviceman, and many photographers came back for the second arrival, and then the third.
But after that, the impassioned advocates of showing the true human cost of war grew tired of the story. Fewer and fewer photographers showed up. "It's really fallen off," says Lt. Joe Winter, spokesman for the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where all war dead are received. "The flurry of interest has subsided."
On Sept. 2, when the casket bearing the body of Marine Lance Cpl. David Hall, of Elyria, Ohio, arrived at Dover, there was just one news outlet -- the Associated Press -- there to record it. The situation was pretty much the same when caskets arrived on Sept. 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22, 23 and 26. There has been no television coverage at all in September.
The journalists that rushed to show the country what two wars really can cost, and the pols that ceaselessly defended them, are silent now the country has an agreeable (liberal) president. That Obama allows the photographing of caskets seems to have taken all of the spice out of it. Coverage at Dover Air Force Base was seemingly more about Bush's policy of forbidding coverage of the return of fallen warriors than it was about the warriors themselves, as so many claimed.
So far this month, 38 American troops have been killed in Afghanistan. For all of 2009, the number is 220 -- more than any other single year and more than died in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 combined.
With casualties mounting, the debate over U.S. policy in Afghanistan is sharp and heated. The number of arrivals at Dover is increasing. But the journalists who once clamored to show the true human cost of war are nowhere to be found.
CNN’s Kitty Pilgrim followed the lead of ABC News in reporting the Obama administration’s attempt to use regulatory power to suppress criticism of its health care proposal on Wednesday’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. Pilgrim noted how “[health] insurers are angry because...the government Medicaid office instructed them to cease sending what it called misleading...information about the bill to clients.”
Anchor Lou Dobbs introduced the correspondent’s report 19 minutes in the 7 pm Eastern hour: “Lawmakers and some of this country’s insurers today [are] incensed about what they see as a White House attempt to control information about possible Medicare cuts. The White House yesterday, in fact, warned insurers and health care companies they could face legal action if they spread what the White House calls misinformation about the health care bill.”
Mark Lloyd is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Chief Diversity Officer, a.k.a. the Diversity Czar. And he has in a recently discovered bit of archive audio goodness detailed his rather disturbing perspective on race, power and the American system.
"It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.
"[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."
And Lloyd's rather disturbing perspective on Venezuelan Communist dictator Hugo Chavez's "incredible...democratic revolution." To go with Lloyd's bizarre admiration for the thuggishly fascistic manner in which "Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country."
We have said repeatedly that Lloyd is a man myopically focused on race. What is revealed here is more than just that. Listening to excerpts of his offerings at a May 2005 Conference on Media Reform: Racial Justice reveals a man that finds great fault with our nation's power structure - as he defines and sees it. And in his racially-warped, finite pie worldview, too many white people sit alone in the too few spots atop the heap. They're "good white people," mind you, but ...
Yesterday, Media Research Center Director of Communications Seton Motley again appeared in studio with Glenn Beck to discuss the Obama FCC's drive to regulate talk radio out of existence.
Motley focused on the views of FCC diversity officer Mark Lloyd. Motley argued that, armed with FCC "localism" and "diversity" regulations, Lloyd could prove instrumental in working a back-door regulatory alternative to the so-called Fairness Doctrine.
It's no secret the print newspaper industry is struggling. It's become all too common to hear that papers, like the Christian Science Monitor or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have ceased publishing a print edition and gone completely online.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright addressed this challenge and its impact on a government at the Aspen Institute's Forum on Communications and Society earlier this month. According to Albright, the fourth estate was intended to keep government in check and that countries without a free press tend to be authoritarian societies.
"Let me just say, in terms of Democracy and the free press, I think it is absolutely an essential part and all we have to do is go back and look at our Constitution," Albright said. "But I have looked at this from a number of different angles. When I was an academic, wrote about the role of the press internationally in political change. And there is no question in my mind, in terms of authoritarian societies, if you do not have information, you can't operate and it is power."
Today Media Research Center (MRC) president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell denounced the Obama administration for its plans to delve into the private sector for the purposes of researching and regulating the national news media.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced plans for a two-day workshop in December to examine the state of the news industry - which could lead to recommendations for legislation to regulate print, television, and even online media on everything from changes in anti-trust land copyright law to media tax breaks. Some of the proposals being pushed by opinion leaders include direct government funding of media outlets, while other ideas like relaxing anti-trust regulations would still need government approval.
Mr. Bozell issued the following statement in response:
Appearing on his program yesterday, Media Research Center's Seton Motley talked with Glenn Beck about the various regulations the FCC's new diversity czar Mark Lloyd wants to bring upon the terrestrial radio industry, particularly conservative-dominated talk radio.
GLENN BECK: When you read the new diversity officer, what is the most disturbing thing that you have seen? What are the things that he says that stick out to you?
SETON MOTLEY: Well, he's fundamentally opposed to virtually any private ownership of media. [...]
BECK: Tell me exactly what his plan is.
MOTLEY: His plan is to use the nebulous FCC regulations of media diversity and localism to travel alternative routes to arrive at the same destination as the Fairness Doctrine, which is to shut you up by shutting you down. He wants to assault the radio industry to effect an ideological outcome...
You can view the entire segment embedded above on the right.
Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz and the brain trust at ThinkProgress probably won't like this, but CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer thinks the Glenn Beck boycott won't have an impact on NewsCorp's (NASDAQ:NWSA), the parent company of Fox News, bottom line.
During the "Stop Trading" segment on "Street Signs" Aug. 24, Cramer explained that Unilever (NYSE:UN) was going all out with its advertising, by not avoiding shows that might offend someone's political sensibilities. Cramer said that strategy was paying off for Unilever, whose stock is up 10 percent since July.
"When I look at it, it's very interesting because there's an article in the same magazine, Ad Age magazine, about how like Unilever is spending like mad, and that they're going to be, Unilever had a spectacular quarter," Cramer said. "My take is that whoever is just trying to parcel and figure out where to be in the Fox News or where to be in the MSNBC, ought to take their cue from Unilever, which had the best quarter of all packaged goods because they flooded all media and it showed that those who pulled back, whether it be from Glenn Beck, or whether it be from Olbermann, didn't do as well as Unilever, which was all in during this period where the rates went down."
As each day passes and President Barack Obama's health care proposal faces more and more opposition, some of the talking heads that appear on the cable news networks are looking for a "boogeyman" to blame for allegedly ginning up backlash. And that "boogeyman" has been conservative talk radio.
However, if recent history is any indication, there could be an effort to take silence conservative talk radio.
Some of the circumstances surrounding the current debate on "reforming" health care are eerily familiar to the 2007 bipartisan effort to "reform" immigration. In fact, the last big policy issue that was defeated when an upset constituency pushed back was the bipartisan 2007 effort to reform immigration.
"Diversity Czar" Lloyd: Regulating Conservative Stations Within an Inch of Their Lives
Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has publicly released a letter he penned to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski regarding the July 29th announced appointment of new FCC Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd.
In the press release accompanying the missive, the Senator said he was "concerned with the appointment due to Lloyd’s writings on political talk radio and the Fairness Doctrine."
As the Senator's letter goes on to detail, there is very much more to fear from Lloyd than merely his views on the so-called "Fairness" Doctrine. Lloyd's intentions on the enforcement of the FCC regulations known as "media diversity" and "localism" are no picnic either.
In advance of then-nominee Genachowski's June 16 Senate Commerce Committee confirmation hearing, my boss - Media Research Center President Brent Bozell - drafted and publicly released a list of questions that Genachowski should have been asked.
Sadly, with the exception of the most pro forma of queries about the mis-named "Fairness" Doctrine, he was not.
Genachowski therefore remains a blank slate on his "media diversity" and "localism" enforcement intentions. We are thusly left to think the worst about his appointment of Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd. The Chairman has to have read Lloyd's writings; his appointing him must mean Genachowski at least tacitly accepts Lloyd's views on the subjects at hand.
Seton Motley, the Media Research Center's Director of Communications, was on the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck to discuss the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s new "Chief Diversity Officer," Mark Lloyd.
Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd is virulently anti-capitalist, almost myopically racially fixated and exuberantly pro-regulation. He is a frightening guy to have having any power at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). And yet that is exactly where he currently stands, astride the private radio industry he loathes like a Socialist Colossus.
It does not bode well for free speech on the radio airwaves, but as Seton says to Glenn during this appearance, "That's irrelevent to these people."
This is insane. The "Chief Diversity Officer" in question, Mark Lloyd, is calling for the gross operating budget for every private radio station each year to be the fee (tax) they pay for their broadcast license for the year, with the monies going to the always liberal public stations. With whom they then must compete for listeners.
Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd is - from all we have read and are reading - virulently anti-capitalist, almost myopically racially fixated and exuberantly pro-regulation. He is a frightening guy to have having any power at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). And yet that is exactly where he currently stands, astride the private radio industry he loathes like a Socialist Colossus.
This excellent article by Cover is but the tip of the iceberg on this guy; there will be much more to follow as we continue to wade through his deeply disturbing writings. For instance, we have his farcical book on order.
When Vice President Joe Biden warned us to gird our loins, he apparently meant for us to do so in preparation for his Administration.
UPDATE: Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin read this piece in nearly its entirety last night. His on-air stylings can be found here.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a new "Chief Diversity Officer," communications attorney Mark Lloyd.
But Doctor of Jurisprudence Lloyd is far more than merely a communications attorney. He was at one time a Senior Fellow at the uber-liberal Center for American Progress (CAP), for whom he co-wrote a June 2007 report entitled "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio."
Which rails against the fact that the American people overwhelmingly prefer to listen to conservative (and Christian) talk radio rather than the liberal alternative, and suggests ways the federal government can remedy this free-market created "problem."
Restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.
Ensure greater local accountability over radio licensing.
Require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.
These last two get perilously close to the use of "localism" to silence conservative (and Christian) radio stations, about which we have been warning for quite some time.
You know, liberals should be celebrating. Their man, The Won, is in the White House. They have control of both the House and the Senate, and legislation such as cap and trade and nationalized health care may well become reality - European socialism without having to leave the comfort of home. The Brave New World is on the way. Rejoice in mediocrity for all!
So why are they so grumpy? I suppose it’s because the idea that anyone might stray from the reservation is anathema to them, and this little thing in our Constitution called the First Amendment kind of gets in the way of collective happiness and singing Kumbaya around the campfire.
Noted free-speech champion Keith Olbermann has declared that we have to "legally stop" Glenn Beck. The Fox News host's crime? Not reacting strongly enough for Olbermann's taste when a guest made an over-the-top remark. [H/t reader JKF.]
On the June 30 editon of Beck's show, former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer said: "the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to detonate a major weapon in the United States." Apparently Scheuer thinks that's what it would take to shock the country and its leaders back to their senses. Olbermann was infuriated that Beck didn't "scream at him" or otherwise jump down Scheuer's throat, choosing instead to nod gravely while suggesting that would be the last thing OBL would do.
Today's dispatch from the Associated Press about the Chinese Communist government's attempt to require that a state-developed program called "Green Dam Youth Escort" be installed on all new personal computers sold in that country is all too typical of the awful reporting on this potentially frightening development.
I will refer to Green Dam Youth Escort as "the GD software" for the balance of this post. Many readers will find this abbreviation particularly appropriate once they fully understand everything the GD software could potentially do.
The latest news about the GD software is that the government has delayed what was to be a July 1 installation requirement, but that it intends to go forward with that mandate at some point. In the meantime, for reasons not fully vetted, many PC makers have begun shipping units with the GD software either already installed or included on an accompanying CD.
Considering the gravity of what the Chinese Communist government is trying to do to its people, worldwide media coverage of the GD software has been much lighter than justified. Somehow, what may happen to the free speech and free expression rights of 1.3 billion people isn't anywhere near as important as what's happening in connection with an entertainer who has been dead for a week.
By this time, the NewsBusters connoisseur will have surely heard about yesterday’s unofficial celebration in the White House press briefing. Like many parties, it was somewhat louder than normal, a bit tense at points, and the press – specifically Chip Reid and Helen Thomas – topped off the early Independence Day festivities by roasting (figuratively, of course) Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
That, incidentally, does not normally happen at parties – even at the White House.
The Robert Roast was, of course, in reference to the recent spate of staged White House press events. The White House press corps, apparently, do not enjoy heavily produced events, such as the “town hall” meeting with DNC volunteers and union members. However, Carl Bernstein, appearing on the July 2 Morning Joe, did not take kindly to the gentle press-corps broiling:
“Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try. “What the hell do they think we are, puppets?” Thomas said. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.” Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran. “When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you,” Thomas said.
The day before the House was to vote on a controversial energy bill destined to be the largest tax hike in American history, it was revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency had suppressed an internal report challenging the entire global warming myth.
Despite the importance of this study, and how it related to a debate about to ensue on the House floor, its existence and suppression went almost completely ignored by America's media.
This, of course, comes in stark contrast to regular and frequent news reports in previous years accusing the Bush White House of intentionally censoring the science of climate change.
Making matters worse, the media have no excuse for this current oversight for several House members held a press conference about this issue early Thursday afternoon (h/t NBer Joseph Johnson):
Riding on a waning crest of bringing change to the United States and cleaning up the environment, Barack Obama is going head to head against Barbara Boxer on a big issue. There are 44 coal ash dumps that have been designated as a "high hazard" to the public. They contain arsenic and heavy metals from coal plants. Barbara Boxer has seen the list and wants to make it public, whereas Barack Obama essentially told her "No, ma'am." It's important to know if you're in the path of one in case it regurgitates a billion gallons of hazardous waste on you.
Green groups are seeing red over this betrayal of campaign promises to bring a new era of openness. In fact, the average Earth-conscious moonbat is going to do a chai tea spit-take when they read about this in the newspaper. (And just wait until they read about Obama deciding to let Big Coal blow the top off 42 Appalachian mountaintops to strip mine.)
But that's where the problem lies. Jump on over to Google News and search for the term "Obama Coal Arsenic". You'll find that you won't really find anything. Anything. In fact, the only mention in the entire vast United States media is a short little editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Concerned that “we know little or nothing” of President Obama’s nominee to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Media Research Center President (MRC) Brent Bozell sent an open letter on June 15 to the Senate Commerce Committee urging the members to thoroughly query Julius Genachowski.
The panel, headed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) , will hold hearings today on Genachowski’s nomination for the chairmanship of the FCC and for Commissioner Robert McDowell’s reconfirmation.
Commissioner McDowell “has been and remains a bulwark against a return of the Censorship Doctrine – also mis-known as the “Fairness” Doctrine. We know where he stands,” Bozell noted, adding that Genachowski’s views on “critical issues” like censorship, “localism” and “diversity” requirements are unknown.
“Mr. Genachowski must be asked about all of these issues. It is imperative that you - and the American people - get answers to these questions,” Bozell urged the senators on the Commerce Committee. Listed below are a few of the questions the MRC president would like asked:
Leave it to a liberal with a microphone to condemn a practice he relishes when not pontificating.
A recent example -- Ed Schultz from one day to the next on his radio show last week.
On Wednesday, Schultz had this to say about conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt urging Americans not to buy GM or Chrysler vehicles since they are now manufactured by largely government-owned "socialist" companies (click here for audio)
Wall Street Journal reporter Mei Fong wrote a report Fridayabout how some families in China, perhaps with the help of criminals, are marrying off their daughters with no intent of having them honor their vows in order to keep the "bride price," an amount a groom's family typically pays the bride's family.
This development is just one of many perverse side-effects of resulting from the Chinese Communist government's one-child policy (image at top right was found at this web address), which has now been in place for three decades. Because of that policy and the country's male-preferring culture, far more pre-born girls than boys have been aborted, leading to a serious male-female imbalance.
Despite the history, Fong somehow managed to get through her 26-paragraph report without mentioning the terms "abortion" or "one-child."
Here are the relevant paragraphs, with euphemistic words in bold after the title:
However, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh theorized that President Obama may have another method to restrict content over the airwaves in mind. In an interview on Sean Hannity's June 4 Fox News Channel program, Limbaugh explained how Obama could do this - by exercising the influence the government has over the banking sector.
"I want to say one other thing, even if I go over time here," Limbaugh said. "People ask me about the Fairness Doctrine all the time and I've been watching something here - newspapers are losing money. Advertising revenue is down, circulation. But radio companies, too, Sean. Television companies - their advertising revenues are down."
On May 22 of 2009, the Liberty University College Democrats were widely reported to have been shut down by the school’s administration. These reports came across a broad spectrum of media – a search of LexisNexis for the terms “College Democrats” and “Liberty University” from May 20 through today turns up 72 results. Among these results are 35 newspaper articles (among them, the Washington Post and L.A. Times),13 newswires or press releases (including one from the Associated Press), and even two mentions on MSNBC, a 24-hour cable news network.
Ratings aside, a local college club getting face time on a cable news network is quite a feat.
On June 4, 2009, FoxNews.com reported that a nascent Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) was banned from administration approval at a community college in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
According to LexisNexis, FoxNews.com is the only news entity to report on this so far.
Media Research Center (MRC) President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell yesterday recorded a video thanking the MRC Grassroots Action Team - made up of more than 600,000 individual activists - for their signing nearly 400,000 Free Speech Alliance (FSA) petitions which were delivered yesterday to the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The petition in part "urge(s) members of Obama's Federal Communications Commission (the FCC) and everyone in Washington to reject any and all efforts to censor, limit, or restrain conservative or Christian talk radio."
Mr. Bozell also discusses the MRC's Four Day Call-A-Thon to the offices of Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid - which is taking place right now and runs through close of business Thursday - where MRC Action Team members, many, MANY members of the FSA and a whole host of individual radio stations and hosts are having their grassroots/members/listeners place calls to their offices demanding a full, fair stand-alone vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA), which would prohibit the FCC from reimposing the Censorship Doctrine, also mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine.
And we are asking you to join in the festivities. Please, in true Chicago voting fashion, call early and often. Speaker Pelosi's number is (202) 225-4965, and Leader Reid's is (202) 224-3542.
We humbly suggest you say something along the lines of: