President Obama pledged to end partisanship, but instead has exacerbated it. He recently accused House Republicans of being extortionists for opposing a raise in the debt ceiling and wanting to defund Obamacare.
Dictionary.com defines extortion as "the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority."
You have to wonder what it will take for anyone in the establishment press to call out a major malfunction associated with Obamacare for what it really is. The threshold is apparently something worse than hundreds of thousands of children, many of whom previously had coverage, going without health insurance.
One of the latest headlined examples of reality avoidance first appeared at USA Today's web site Monday evening (the current 11:55 p.m. time stamp indicates that there has since been a story revision): "'Family glitch' in health law could be painful."(Could be?) Additionally, as seen here (HT Twitchy), that pathetic headline to Kelly Kennedy's story also appears in McPaper's Tuesday print edition (bolds are mine):
"I’m going to torch this [bleep]ing place." That's what an angry Ed Schultz reportedly threatened at a testy August 2010 exchange with the suits at MSNBC. Schultz was reportedly fired up because, "the network was running election-night promos and he wasn’t in them. He’d been arguing on the phone with marketing, then he slammed down the phone and exploded," a witness to the outburst told the New York Post.
So imagine our glee this afternoon when ol' Ed opened up his September 23 program with a montage featuring, wait for it, "Burning Down the House," by The Talking Heads. [video excerpt follows page break; audio of full Ed Show intro here; video of full Ed Show intro here]
On Friday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC host Al Sharpton complained that the "Tea Party-fueled madness" of the GOP threatening to shut down the government would "take away health care from millions of people."
He went on to charge that Speaker John Boehner possesses "genuine political cowardice" because he is allowing the Tea Party to "run this country into the ground."
The Big Three broadcast networks made their slanted priorities clear on their Thursday evening newscasts, as they fawned over Caroline Kennedy's Senate confirmation hearing earlier that day, but failed to cover the emotional congressional testimony of Pat Smith. Smith is the mother of Sean Smith, who died in the 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. post in Benghazi, Libya.
ABC's Martha Raddatz was awestruck over JFK's daughter: "For one brief shining moment, senators from both sides of the aisle seemed to harken back to the so-called Camelot days." NBC's Harry Smith gushed that "history and legacy were more important this morning than party or partisanship. The daughter of a president said she wanted to fulfill her father's wish." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
"The Republican Party is destroying America" with a "murder-suicide" pact in the U.S. Congress to "shut down" the government.
You might expect such over-the-top language from anyone at MSNBC and quite a few at CNN, but, alas, that's from the pen of one Kirsten Powers, a liberal Fox News contributor who has struck us in the past as a rather rational lefty who doesn't resort to the same tired talking points. After all, she is a pro-life Christian who was great on the Kermit Gosnell issue. And let's not forget she's been good on the Benghazi matter. But today, however, she was railing that Tea Party-friendly congressmen in Washington "seem determined to take us all down with them."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News and Thursday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes repeatedly played up how an unidentified Republican in the U.S. Senate attacked a House proposal to de-fund ObamaCare as "suicide". Cordes underlined that "Speaker Boehner was forced into the risky strategy by his right flank", and wondered if the plan was "just a recipe for a government shutdown".
Norah O'Donnell picked up where the correspondent left off, asserting that "there feels like something new about this fight this time...and that is that the Senate Republicans are saying to their colleagues in the House, you've gone crazy on this." Charlie Rose quickly added that these anonymous GOP senators were "describing it as a dumb idea".
As usual, the AP and Kuhnhenn didn't look back at how U.S. Senator Barack Obama's debt-ceiling posture in 2006 sharply differed. Today, Mark Knoller at CBS New, after setting up Obama's plans for the day, which included speaking to Business Roundtable CEOs, did so in a series of tweets (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine):
Near the end of the Tuesday, September 17, All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes took a moment to read and display two viewer responses to his question of what they would like to see in "actual comprehensive gun safety legislation," and included one over the top viewer who not only wanted nearly all guns banned, but desired that the National Rifle Association be "dissolved and made illegal." Hayes began:
Earlier in the show, we asked you, "If politics were no obstacle, what would actual comprehensive gun safety legislation look like?"
Talking to NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd on Sunday's Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory noted "Benghazi back as a political focus this week" following the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack, prompting Todd to observe: "It is. The House Republicans have not dropped this as an issue." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd continued: "They didn't talk about it last week during the one-year anniversary of the Benghazi attack. But this week, on Thursday alone, three different hearings are going to be taking place on the same day on Capitol Hill. House Republicans, they don't want to drop this."
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out the "potential conflict of interest" in the ongoing controversy over the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson detailed how congressional Republican are scrutinizing Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy's involvement in naming staff to the Accountability Review Board, even as it was investigating his role in the lead-up to the September 11, 2012 attack. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
It was Attkisson's first report about Benghazi on CBS's morning and evening newscasts since the May 8, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning. Her report that day was the first time in over five months that the journalist reported about the story on the air.
In a bizarre writeup which alternates between harsh criticism and a pity party about President Barack Obama's "toughness" or lack thereof in the wake of the withdrawal of Larry Summers from consideration as the next head of the Federal Reserve, Politico's Jonathan Allen unleashed a ridiculous assertion about the history of the administration's Syrian adventure: "In another debate that never came up for a vote the White House could have easily lost, Obama was led into asking Congress for approval to bomb Syria."
One wonders how the leader of the still most powerful country on earth can be "led" into anything, but especially in this case, given that it was Obama who came up with the "brilliant" idea of asking for Congressional authorization even though he said he didn't need it.
One thing which is almost as reliable as the sun rising in the east is the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, putting a better face on the federal government's fiscal situation than it deserves when a Democrat is in the White House. Almost as reliable is the arrival in a related report of some kind of statement about spending cuts which describes them as "deep," "steep," or some other awful adjective.
I guess we should acknowledge a tiny improvement when an ordinarily in-the-tank apparatchik like Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press expresses even the slightest bit of skepticism about a White House claim.
But let's not take it too far. Kuhnhenn is reporting in a brief "Big Story" item this morning that President Obama "is laying claim to an economic turnaround and warning Republicans not to risk a backslide by threatening a government shutdown or a debt default." Kuhnhenn's skeptical points are that "The economic scorecard is mixed. ... Growth has been tepid and unemployment remains high." His five-paragraph report, reproduced in full for fair use and discussion purposes, follows the jump.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll stumbled across a very interesting finding: 44 percent of respondents said they did not think Congress should raise the debt ceiling before the U.S. reaches it in October, while only half as many (22 percent) said Congress should raise it. On Friday, Andrea Mitchell reported that finding on her eponymous MSNBC program Andrea Mitchell Reports, but she dismissed it as reflecting a public that was ignorant of the debt ceiling debate.
As the poll results flashed on the screen, Mitchell declared, "Our polls show that people are not really that engaged. By two to one they think that Congress really should raise the debt ceiling-- or rather shouldn't, no 44 percent, yes 22 percent. But that seems to be sort of a very marginal number. They are not engaged because the debate is not yet engaged." In other words, Mitchell discounts the result because she believes the American public is blissfully ignorant, a rather condescending take. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the start of an interview with Senator Bob Corker on Thursday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd demanded the Tennessee Republican justify criticism of President Obama's poor handling of Syria: "You've been very tough on the President, you said he's a diminished figure on Capitol Hill. And you even questioned whether he knew how to speak as a commander-in-chief. Explain yourself on that." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Corker replied: "I am really disappointed in the way the President addresses our country and does not really make a case for what is our national interest." Todd quickly pushed back: "He had no political support. It was pretty clear. I mean, this was...going down in flames in Congress. It wasn't going to be a close vote. What was he supposed to do? He didn't have – he did not have the political will of the country, nor the political will of your colleagues on Capitol Hill."
President Obama’s signature health care law continues to lose support, but NBC’s Chuck Todd sees no problem with the law itself. On Thursday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, he chalked up the declining support to bad messaging by ObamaCare supporters.
Host Joe Scarborough announced that 57 percent of Americans now oppose most or all of the law, according to a recent CNN poll. In addition, the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor union and a prominent Obama backer, formally criticized ObamaCare in a resolution approved at its convention on Wednesday. When faced with those facts about the law’s slipping support, Todd replied, “Well, and the White House has done nothing to try to fix the PR on this and the Democratic Party has done nothing to try to fix the PR on this.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
As of Thursday morning, CBS's morning and evening newscasts have yet to mention a revelation made by their own investigative correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson, on Tuesday – that Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress "he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Wednesday's CBS Evening News aired a full report on the State Department's slow progress in upgrading security at U.S. diplomatic posts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack, but failed to mention Kerry's refusal. Margaret Brennan also let the Obama administration and Senator Robert Menendez hint that congressional Republicans were to blame for not appropriating the $2.2 billion needed for the security upgrades. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
President Obama has been facing an unusual amount of criticism lately for his handling of the Syrian crisis, so it was only a matter of time before someone in the mainstream liberal media tried to cut him some slack for his weak leadership. On Wednesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, the host-turned-apologist asked if Obama could really be blamed for not calling on Congress to authorize a military strike in Syria.
Mitchell was talking to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee and a supporter of military action against Syria, about the president’s Tuesday night speech. Rogers expressed disappointment that Obama was not more forceful in making the case for intervention in Syria. Mitchell then defended Obama’s indecisiveness: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd engaged in a strategy session over how President Obama could minimize any political damage from Congress voting down a strike on Syria. Lauer fretted: "Is there an escape hatch for the President? Is there a way for him to save face politically if this vote goes against him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer's concern was prompted by Todd observing: "[The White House is] very concerned, Matt, because it's not just that they believe they need Congress on this and they want to punish Assad and all of the Syria policy, but they realize a loss like this could be politically crippling to him [Obama] all over Washington on all the different battles that he's got coming in the next six months."
On the Friday, September 6, Political Capital show on Bloomberg News, Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson -- formerly of CNN and Time magazine -- blamed former President George W. Bush's "lies" for America's unwillingness to support military action against the Syrian government as she asserted that "Bush's lies" about Iraq should "keep him awake at 3 in the morning," but instead "haunt the country."
Host Al Hunt set up Carlson's attack on Bush as he posed the question:
No website outdoes the Politico when it comes to looking at the world through Beltway-stereotyping glasses. A post this morning on Republican congressmen and senators' views towards attacking Syria exemplifies that outlook.
Apparently, in the fevered minds of Alex Isenstadt and James Hohmann, a GOP lawmaker learning about any idea to intervene militarily automatically salivates at the prospect and shuts down all critical thinking processes. The Politico pair are puzzled at how so many of them can possibly be opposed to President Obama's proposed Syria intervention. It's really not that hard, guys, if you abandon your stereotypes and do some thinking yourselves for a change. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Poor Barack Obama can't catch a break. If the world would just stop and pay attention to him for a while, things would be so much better for and so much easier on Dear Leader.
That's the takeaway from a pathetic piece ("President Obama’s toughest Syria hurdle: The calendar") by Reid Epstein at Politico. It's as if no other president has had to compete with Monday night football, primetime TV lineups and the like. Please. "The calendar" isn't nearly as big a hurdle as, say, proving that it was the Syrian government and not Syrian rebels who actually used chemical weapons, the fact that Great Britain has pointedly refused any military involvement, and the administration's fabricated accounts and subsequent bungling related to last year's Benghazi terrorist attack. Excerpts from Epstein's execrable effort follow the jump.
In Part 1 of this pair of posts on the press whitewash of President Barack Obama's "red line" on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, I looked at the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, who excused President Barack Obama's contradictory "red line" remarks as "offhand" statements" which shouldn't count for much compared to official statements and press releases by diplomats and the White House. (Who knew?)
PolitiFact's Jon Greenberg has also predictably weighed in with the excuse-makers. The web site didn't even bother applying a "Truth-o-meter" rating, claiming that Obama "never denied using the phrase or giving it the significance it has today." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Thursday's All In show, as he hosted Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson and MSNBC contributor Karen Finney to debate whether President Obama should attack Syria, MSNBC host Chris Hayes declared that it "sounds a little morally obtuse" for Grayson to use the words "not our problem" as he argued against intervention in Syria.
Referring to an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry from earlier in the show, Hayes asked if the Secretary said anything that Grayson found "compelling or convincing," leading the Florida Democrat to begin his response:
On Thursday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson and MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor joined host Al Sharpton to go after Republicans for trying to cut back food stamp allowances, with Sharpton seeing "vile rhetoric" from conservatives and a "stunning new attack on millions of Americans trying to put food on the table."
The MSNBC host also fretted over reports of Fox News sending copies of its special on welfare fraud to members of Congress, and again distorted FNC host Bill O'Reilly's contention that some recipients are "parasites."
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee has been on the State Department beat for almost four years. At times, he has been one of a very few establishment press reporters who will challenge Obama administration officials when their assertions become too brazen to tolerate.
One of those times (HT Business Insider via Hot Air) occurred yesterday, when hapless State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki attempted to defend as "courageous" John Kerry's statement that the administration's non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria:
Yesterday in Stockholm at the G20 summit, President Barack Obama said the following in regards to the use of chemical weapons in warfare: "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line." For years, the press obsessed over the alleged untruthfulness of President George W. Bush's "16 words" ("The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa") in his 2003 State of the Union address. Today, the Associated Press won't even directly quote the first six of Obama's.
Regardless of whether one thinks that Obama's statement is an attempt to abdicate personal responsibility for his original "red line" (i.e., in the sand) statement a year ago or an assertion that his year-ago statement merely affirmed what the rest of the world believes, it's news, and should be presented to the nation's readers and viewers in quotes. But not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, which is barely recognizing the existence of the "red line" at all.