In an exclusive interview with President Obama on Wednesday, CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood lobbed this softball on the political fallout of the government shutdown: "Before the election last year, you said you thought there was a possibility your re-election would break the fever within the Republican Party. Didn't happen. Do you see this moment as a chance, through this political confrontation, to break the fever now?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After the President proceeded to blame Republicans in Congress for the shutdown, Harwood actually challenged Obama on his attacks on the GOP: "I wonder about your tone lately. I have heard from you an increasing amount of exasperation, an edge, even mockery sometimes....And it gives the impression that you think that your Republican opponents are either craven or stupid or nuts. Is that what you think? And if you think so, does it help your cause to let people see that out loud?"
Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein unleashed a tirade against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and “his Republicans” on Wednesday’s Morning Joe. After co-host Mika Brzezinski read a passage from Thomas Friedman’s scathing indictment of Tea Party Republicans in The New York Times, Bernstein promised, “I’ll go farther than Friedman.” He certainly did: “Eric Cantor and his Republican Party are the most dangerous demagogic force in American politics since Joe McCarthy.”
Wow. That’s a serious accusation by the well-known investigative reporter. But there was more. According to Bernstein, President Obama’s new purpose is to protect the country from these demagogues: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
NASDAQ.com says that the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 58.56 points today. The S&P 500 lost 1.13 points, while the NASDAQ lost 2.96 points. In percentage terms, those losses were 0.39%, 0.07%, and 0.08%, respectively.
Even though there's usually a large element of speculation relating to why the broad markets go up or down on any given day, the pretend know-it-alls at CNNMoney.com seem to have had a pretty obvious preset agenda in their post-close email, as will be seen after the jump:
For two straight days, Nancy Cordes strongly hinted on CBS This Morning that House Republicans were to blame for the ongoing government shutdown. On Tuesday, Cordes hounded GOP Congressman Robert Pittenger: "All the polls show that a majority of Americans don't want to see the government shut down over ObamaCare. How can you say the American people is on your side?"
The correspondent tossed a similar question the following morning at Pittenger's colleague, Rep. Phil Gingrey: "How long are you willing to keep the government partially closed over ObamaCare?" During both reports, she didn't bother to ask such questions of Democratic representatives or senators.
Republicans seem to "prefer [reopening] war memorials to" resuming cancer treatments for "living children." That's the grotesque, hyperpartisan spin that MSNBC's Martin Bashir weaved on his October 2 program, reacting to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus's offer to have the RNC pay for five security guards to man the World War II Memorial which the National Park Service, in concert with the Obama White House, has ordered closed during the shutdown.
Bashir made that remark shortly into his Wednesday program before introducing his all-liberal panel of guests. Bashir, of course, failed to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's callous rejection of the notion of passing a funding bill that would re-open the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and with it clinical trials to treat cancer-stricken children. The relevant transcript follows the page break. [MP3 audio available here; Video follows page break]:
On Tuesday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe -- formerly of Newsweek -- predicted that, because Republicans embraced the Tea Party, setting up the path to a government shutdown, Republican party members are "destroying their brand" and "will not be trusted" "for a generation to come." Wolffe began:
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams sneered that the government shutdown was "being driven by a committed core of Republican members of Congress who are all but assured of re-election in their districts, and just can't be conservative enough for many of the folks back home." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd joined Williams in blaming the GOP for the budget showdown: "You know, these Tea Party conservatives helped propel Republicans to take control of the House in 2010. And these conservatives, they are the engine behind this current standoff now."
Brett Zongker, the reporter the Associated Press assigned to cover the World War II Memorial story yesterday in Washington, apparently felt compelled to try to find someone who would exclusively blame Congress for the memorial's closure. He failed, but pretended that he succeeded.
For those unfamiliar with the story, in an overrecation to the partial government shutdown, the White House, specifically, the Office of Management and Budget, ordered the open air WWII Memorial barricaded. Anyone attempting to shift the blame elsewhere, e.g., Harry Reid, isn't telling the truth. With the help of several Republican congressmen, a veterans' group there on a long-planned visit breached the "Barry-cades" and openes the memorial. Zongker's report took seven paragraphs to recognize that the congresspersons involved are Republicans, and, as noted earlier, blew his concluding attempt to assign blame (bolds are mine):
On Monday morning, Time/MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin explained an obvious political reality to his fellow Morning Joe panelists: “The White House does not have much incentive” to negotiate on the government shutdown, because Democrats expect the liberal news media to hand them a public relations victory. As Halperin put it: “The press is largely sympathetic to their arguments that it’s the House Republicans’ fault.”
In fact, as a new Media Research Center analysis of broadcast network evening news coverage shows, ABC, CBS and NBC spent the two weeks prior to the shutdown almost universally pinning the blame on congressional Republicans, especially conservative/Tea Party House Republicans. By the time the shutdown actually took place on October 1, news audiences had been repeatedly instructed to think about it as a GOP-generated crisis.
The shutdown fearmongering continues apace, and Time magazine is dutifully passing along the administration's talking points. Here's the latest: the government work stoppage could drive cash-starved spies into the arms of other countries. It would make otherwise patriotic Americans become traitors.
On Tuesday, Julia Ioffe, senior editor for the liberal New Republic publication, all but suggested that President Obama needed to use military force against Tea Party conservatives in Congress. Ioffe likened the current federal government shutdown to the 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia, where then-President Boris Yeltsin ultimately ended the impasse by dissolving the parliament, and had tanks shell the legislative body's "White House".
The writer asserted that both the "old Soviet conservatives" in Russia 20 years ago and the Tea Party representatives in the House were "intransigent, bull-headed faction[s]".
On Tuesday, Ron Binz, nominated by President Obama to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, withdrew his name from consideration. Those who want to see the economy prosper should be relieved that the position described by Matthew Daly at the Associated Press as that of "the nation's top energy regulator" won't be occupied by a died-in-the-wool "renewable" energy radical.
The AP's Daly somehow kept the word "carbon" out of his coverage of Binz's withdrawal, even though, as the Wall Street Journal noted in a September 15 editorial which appropriately used the word 11 times, the man is obsessed with it to the point of wanting to establish, in the Journal's words, a "carbon-free paradise." Excerpts from Daly's dodging, followed by additional ones from the Journal's editorial, follow the jump.
The folks in office administration at the Politico had better put in for extra janitorial help. With all the horse manure their reporters are slinging during the partial government shutdown, it's gotta be getting knee-deep in those hoary halls.
One of the more egregious examples of insufferable obsequiousness today came late this morning via Edward-Isaac Dovere and Reid J. Epstein. You see, in their narrow world, President Barack Obama's stature has done a sudden and complete turnaround because he and Harry Reid have chosen to shut down the government (HT the Weekly Standard; bolds are mine):
Corrected from earlier | "After three years of last-minute deals, delayed decisions, and acrimonious finger pointing, the process for one of Congress's most basic functions—spending money—finally buckled and broke down Monday night," the Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta sighed in the opening paragraph of his October 1 story, "Breakdown Is New Norm in Spending Fights."
"Since passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the House and Senate have been directed to pass annual budget resolutions setting targets for government spending levels and then work out the differences," but "Congress in recent years has abandoned its traditional budget and appropriations process," Paletta noted. Yet nowhere in his 21-paragraph story did the Journal scribe lay any blame at the feet of Senate Democrats and their leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), even though the upper chamber failed to pass a budget in nearly four years, only doing so in March.*
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Carson Daly turned to a woman on the Today show plaza for her reaction to the government shutdown. "Judy from Chicago" proceeded to bash Republicans and praise President Obama: "I think all of this amounts to is the Republicans are against President Obama. They don't want the President to be successful. I think he is the best president we have had in a very long time." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She continued: "I think they need to work together. They knew for a long time this was coming to this. How about they don't receive any paychecks, just like everyone else?" Daly agreed: "Right. That's good thoughts. Thank you, Judy."
Monday night’s edition of ABC World News was a double dose of advocacy as Diane Sawyer and her team essentially served as a mouthpiece for President Obama’s position on the government shutdown and his health care law.
Sawyer led the broadcast, of course, with the government shutdown, which was then only a few hours away. She stated President Obama’s perspective on the matter: “The president expressed outrage that one faction in one house of Congress is ready to bring the entire federal government to a halt.” But rather than follow that up with a Republican viewpoint, Sawyer threw to chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl for a report on the shutdown. He began his package by playing a clip of Obama warning us all about the economic impact of a shutdown. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews dismissed Republican attempts to delay ObamaCare as a futile effort: "The President was elected – reelected again. He won this fight over health care....the President will not give up his baby, and I think they know that. That's why this is a scary fight. They've gone to ask Obama to give them something he can't give them, which is his health care bill." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews also ranted about Republican members of Congress having strong political support in their districts: "230 congressional districts are Republican. They voted against this President, they voted for a Republican congressmen. Those congress people, men and women, can't be defeated on this issue. They know they can fight to the death on this....[the President] can't stop those people because they're unbeatable in their districts."
Only at the very end of their article did Rogers and Miller mention that the Democratic National Committee is having a fundraising field day off the work stoppage. There was, however, no mention that the DNC desperately needs the cash because they're drowning in red ink. Reported Fortune magazine's Tory Newmyer yesterday morning:
This weekend’s editions of NBC’s Today show did their best to drive home the message that Republicans would be to blame for the government shutdown that went into effect last night. On Saturday’s Today, CNBC’s John Harwood showed up to analyze the situation. The chief Washington correspondent did not mince words as he told anchor Erica Hill who would be responsible for the oncoming shutdown:
“There is no doubt that if we have a shutdown, Republicans are going to get blamed for it for the simple fact that the whole country will see that this is a shutdown brought on by the Republican Party. Democrats are not making any demands, Erica. The only people making demands here are Republicans.” So I guess requiring every American to purchase health insurance or pay a fine doesn’t count as a demand? [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Michelle Cottle is no fan of Republicans and certainly not of Tea Party conservatives. But in a sign that some liberal journalists are worried that Democrats may overreach with their alarmist rhetoric, the Daily Beast staffer called on Democrats to cool it a bit with the hyper-partisan invective during the government shutdown. To Cottle, it's okay to call conservatives hijackers and terrorists and kamikaze pilots, so long as you keep the slurs "generic" and not, for example, compare Republicans to actual real-life villains like Bashar al-Assad and the Ayatollah.
Calvin Woodward finally got around to "fact-checking" Obamacare's "slippery claims" this morning, 3-1/2 years after the Affordable Care Act became law and the day before open enrollment in its state insurance exchanges was to begin. Way to be there when it matters, Cal.
Woodward's report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) also mixed in budget showdown issues, and buried President Barack Obama's original false claim, that "If you like your health plan, you can keep it," in a very late paragraph. Such courage (/sarcasm). Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie acknowledged the liberal spin that congressional Republicans were punished electorally after the 1995 government shutdown was more a matter of faith than fact: "I mean, for 17 years it's been an article of faith that Republicans paid at the polls after the shutdown in the 90s. But these new House Republicans aren't so sure that's true." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That observation was in response to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd declaring: "...while there are that small band of loud conservatives who are wanting to, you know, not cave, not give in to anything, do whatever it takes to stop the health care law, there is a growing chorus of moderate Republicans who are telling Boehner, 'Don't do this. You remember how bad this was for the Republican Party 20 years ago. What are you doing? You're putting the majority at risk.'"
In its 40-year history, the liberal media never really cared for the Heritage Foundation. But now that the think tank has been more assertive in its engagement of Capitol Hill, the liberal media are rewriting history to depict the move as something that is threatening the organization's respectability inside the Beltway. In July, I noted the Wall Street Journal's stab at the concern-trolling about Heritage's diminishing gravitas. In January, my colleague Matthew Balan noted the Washington Post's bias about Heritage's lobbying arm, Heritage Action.
Today it's Time magazine's turn, as writer Zeke Miller looked at how "political action arm of the once-esteemed Heritage Foundation has perfected the art of disrupting DC, whatever the cost":
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer urged Republicans to abandon their opposition to ObamaCare in order to avoid a government shutdown: "By the latest count, there have been something like 40 efforts in the House to either get rid of ObamaCare or defund it. And yet, as John McCain said last week...'We lost that fight.' The Supreme Court has upheld ObamaCare as constitutional. Do you think the Republicans should move on?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly flatly rejected the idea: "No. It's a bad deal for the folks. That's absurd, why would they move on?" Lauer interjected: "It's law of the land, though." O'Reilly continued: "They can tweak it and make it better. Right now it's hurting the economy. Doctors say they're going to quit. Nobody knows what they're gonna pay."
Google News really needs to work on its results counter. The first page of its 10:15 p.m. search listings on [Obama "widespread evidence"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) tells us that there are "about 90 results," but moving to the second page of listed results shows there are only 11 (technically 13, because the first listing on the first page has three items).
Those sparse results, none of which except for Fox News would be considered an establishment press outlet, show that the press, including Darlene Superville at the Associated Press in an onsite report, has ignored the following howler delivered by President Barack Obama in Largo, Maryland on Thursday: "There's no widespread evidence that the Affordable Care Act is hurting jobs."
Overheated and intellectually dishonest statements this weekend revolving around the impending government shutdown have not been limited to politicians in Washington, or even to pundits and commentators.
Saturday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Josh Lederman, in a "Spin Meter" story, falsely claimed that Obamacare opponents believe that the law will mandate the government's killing of patients. See how he does it after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Joshua Freed's Friday afternoon report on the week's results in the stock market at the Associated Press spent nine paragraphs telling readers how the current budget battle in Washington and possible government shutdown are causing stocks to retreat.
Though he obviously didn't admit it, Freed's narrative fell apart in later paragraphs as he discussed "mixed economic signals" which aren't mixed at all. They range from "pretty bad" to "really bad." Excerpts, mostly about the "mixed signals," follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Members of the liberal media continue to pile disrespect on the debt limit as the drumbeat for Congress to raise it grows louder. On Thursday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell called the debt limit “a really dumb idea” and said there was no reason for it. That's right, she wants to get rid of it altogether.
Mitchell was talking to Rachel Maddow about the coming debt ceiling showdown in Congress when she made her comments. Maddow had just expressed hope that the country would reach an “adult moment” when Congress came together and raised the debt ceiling just in the nick of time. Mitchell seized on the “adult moment” line: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams issued a dire warning to viewers about the possibility of a government shutdown: "Time running out until a big deadline, now days away, and it's getting ugly in Washington. Tonight, can anything be done to save our government from itself?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, Williams again hyped how "the tone is getting uglier than normal in Washington, as lawmakers argue over funding the health care law." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd made it clear which party was being "ugly": "Another day of dysfunction and squabbling here in Washington as the clock ticks down for the potential government shutdown. Republicans trying to defund the President's health care law to do this shutdown."