As NewsBusters’ Noel Sheppard reported on Saturday, on Friday’s Morning Meeting program on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan got into a shouting match with Democratic Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over health care legislation. On Monday, he apologized for the outburst: “...the way I went about that on Friday was a disservice to our viewers....I have some work to do.”
Ratigan’s heated exchange with Schultz stemmed from his anger over the Senate health care bill not being liberal enough. On Friday, he declared: “It basically allows the taxpayer to take the hit to pay for the uninsured, but it does not deal with the underlying symptom as to why there are so many uninsured...[P]art of the problem in this country is that our politicians do not understand that they make laws that create total imbalances.”
Schultz attempted to address the issue, but Ratigan repeatedly cut her off. On Monday he described one viewer’s reaction: “The way I conducted the interview has been called many things, but I’ll sum it up with a tweet from a woman known only as DianeG12, and I quote, ‘Dylan was very rude!’” He then admitted: “yes, DianeG12, I was and I want to apologize to the Congresswoman and to our viewers for that.”
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes excitedly proclaimed that Senate Democrats “are tantalizingly close” to passing a health care bill and derided Republicans for trying to “thwart” the legislation using “stall tactics.”
Cordes reported on the urgency of Democratic efforts to get 60 votes in the Senate: “Leaders are trying to craft a compromise that everyone can live with and soon...to pass a bill by the holidays, they must file the bill by this Saturday.” She lamented that “...they could get thwarted by Republican stall tactics....[who] suddenly demanded that clerks read a 767 page health care amendment out loud on the Senate floor.”
After explaining that “Senate business got tied up for three hours,” Cordes declared: “Democrats were predictably outraged.” She concluded her report: “And that’s the kind of stunt that Republicans would happily pull again if it will slow down the Democrats’ goal of getting this bill passed.”
On Wednesday’s Situation Room, CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos exposed some of the left-wing rage being directed at Senator Joe Lieberman, especially on the Internet. Moos’s examples of “liberal hate” at the Connecticut politician ranged from fantasy Hanukkah gifts, such as a muzzle, to a YouTube video of a woman having her cats attack a string which stood in for the senator [Moos's full report is available here].
The correspondent’s latest light report for CNN highlighted Liberman’s “new low among liberals.” Along with the multiple examples of leftists mocking the senator on YouTube.com, Moos noted the strong reactions from “progressive radio hosts,” such as Mike Malloy, and attacks on liberal blogs like The Huffington Post and Daily Kos:
Longtime readers of Associated Press dispatches have long since learned that many of the most important facts of a story -- especially facts that put the government, bureaucrats, and leftists in a bad light -- are often found in its final paragraphs. This is a way for the wire service to boast that it really did report all important facts while usually ensuring that harried broadcasters and other users of AP content who attempt to digest it down to a couple of sentences will probably will leave the meaty and incriminating stuff on the cutting room floor.
Such is the case with a report on the arrest of dozens of Medicare ripoff artists in various US cities. While the details of the arrests are indeed important, the final three paragraphs of AP writer Kelli Kennedy's report are the real jaw-droppers, especially in the context of the president's and Congress's dogged determination to set a statist takeover of the entire health care system into motion before the end of this year (bolds are mine):
Former "Crossfire" host Bill Press apparently cannot distinguish between news and opinion. He is furious that his application for press credentials with the congressional press corps was denied due to content on his website urging readers to tell Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to vote for health care legislation in the Senate. He cites numerous examples of CPC members that host opinion content, but neglects to differentiate between their commentary and their news coverage.
"Senator Joe Lieberman said he will vote against Harry Reid's proposed health reform bill that includes a public plan option. Call Senator Lieberman's office and tell him he's wrong to do so, and should vote FOR it," wrote Press on his site, billpressshow.com. The CPC forbids its correspondants from being "engaged in the prosecution of claims or the promotion of legislation pending before Congress."
Press was puzzled, however, that news outlets such as the Washington Times, the Huffington Post, Fox News, Al Jazeera, Venezuela TV, and Pacifica Radio were granted CPC membership, given the presence of opinion content in each of their outlets. "Irony? No, that's sheer hypocrisy," he wrote for the Huffington Post today.
CNN’s David Gergen played up the difficulties that President Obama has faced on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360, underscored the importance of the coming week for the executive, and compared him to an iconic movie damsel in distress: “For a president who’s had more trials than anybody I can remember in a long time, sort of ‘The Perils of Pauline’ all year, this has become a climactic week for his presidency.”
Host Anderson Cooper brought on the senior political analyst to comment on the latest development on the health care debate, the Obama presidency in his first months, and the President’s upcoming trip to the UN’s climate change conference in Copenhagen. Cooper first asked Gergen about the potential for congressional liberals to turn against the proposed health care “reform” bill if the Obama administration cuts a deal with Senator Joe Lieberman over his objections to a Medicare “buy-in” for people 55 and older: “So, David, dropping the Medicare buy-in, could we be seeing- I mean, a liberal revolt in the wake of this? Because, I mean, a lot of people haven’t been following the minutia of this, but, basically, that idea of expanding Medicare to 55 and above, that was all for liberals, who were angered over the public option being dropped out.”
Some of the clearest examples of MSNBC’s liberal bias can be found in the onscreen graphics selected for the network’s programming. In the span of 20 minutes on Tuesday, three such Morning Meeting images stated a pretty clear opinion about Joe Lieberman’s opposition to parts of the health care bill. At 9:20am, one whined, "Joe Blowing Health Reform?"
At 9:01, another graphic actually used an exclamation point, not often seen in supposedly objective reporting: "Say It Ain’t So, Joe! Lieberman: No on Buy-In." At 9:14, a picture of the senator appeared onscreen with the words "THE SPOILER."
If there's a Ground Zero for America's foreclosure mess outside of much of California and metro Las Vegas, it's probably Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio city known in most of the rest of the state as the Mistake on the Lake.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mark Gillespie got out from behind his desk, committed some good old-fashioned journalism, and went looking for the mistakes that exacerbated the town's breathtaking home foreclosure rate. Lo and behold, he found that city government itself contributed mightily and extraordinarily negligently to the debacle. Go far enough into Gillespie's report, and you will also find an implicit admission that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) also played a pivotal role (bold is mine):
How Cleveland aggravated its foreclosure crisis
The city of Cleveland has aggravated its vexing foreclosure problems and has lost millions in tax dollars by helping people buy homes they could not afford, a Plain Dealer investigation has found.
The last two times I remember this happening -- with Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s and New York City Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s -- it at least took a few years for exasperated establishment media liberals to blame the system for a favored politician's difficulties in achieving his agenda, and to call the country and Gotham, respectively, "ungovernable." Afterwards, Ronald Reagan and Rudy Giuliani proved the whiners spectacularly wrong.
Matt Yglesias at Think Progress is years ahead of those prior hand-wringers. A bit less than 11 months into the Obama administration, the Think Progress blogger considered by many to be one of the far left's opinion leaders is moaning about how tough it has recently become to get anything done. Poor baby.
Has anyone else noticed how chilling it has been during the past few days? Not chilly (though it's been that too). Chilling.
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared, in the Associated Press's words, that "greenhouse gas emissions are a danger and must be regulated."
The AP, in the item just linked, and many other news outlets carried U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donahue's warning that regulations based on EPA's declaration could lead to "a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project."
Two days later, in an item carried at FoxNews.com that says it was the result of contributions by Fox's Major Garrett and the AP, a White House official confirmed the legitimacy of Donahue's stated fear (bolds are mine):
Administration Warns of 'Command-and-Control' Regulation Over Emissions
While interviewing former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on Wedneday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez questioned his support for a plan by Senate Democrats to expand Medicare coverage: “...the criticism is that Medicare as it stands doesn’t work because the payments don’t cover the plan. Are we just not creating a bigger problem if we have to insure more people under Medicare?”
Dean praised the idea as a good alternative to the public option: “Medicare is a very, very effective program. It’s a government-run single payer program. Everybody over 65 is in it and it works very well....This isn’t perfect and the coverage is not broad enough, in my view, but I do think this is a positive step forward.”
Rodriguez began the interview by pointing out that Dean had previously been adamant about the public option being part of any health care legislation: “...back in August when we talked about this. You said ‘you can’t have reform without the public option.’ But as you know this plan, devised by these ten senators does not include it. So do you oppose it?” Dean replied: “Actually, not at all. Medicare is a public program, and it’s a single payer run by the government....I judge all these plans by whether they move things forward or move things backward. This move things forwards.”
While interviewing Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referred to recent comments by Senator Harry Reid: “[He] said Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to this health care bill and very soberly...compared those who opposed health care to those who opposed civil rights legislation....How would you respond to that?”
Steele fired back: “Well, you know, it was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all. It was an ignorant moment for Harry Reid.” Steele continued: “ I’m kind of sick and tired of, you know, the Left and Democrats in this country, when they get into trouble and don’t get their way...they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.” Smith didn’t even mention Reid’s further comparison of Republicans to those who resisted ending slavery.
Steele called on Reid to apologize: “...it was an ignorant comment. Harry needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important.”
Blogger Doug Ross got to the news of the Congressional Budget Office's Monthly Budget Report (PDF) over the weekend, quite accurately observing that the establishment news coverage of its content barely existed.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pressed Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on the GOP’s opposition to ObamaCare: “...there’s been a lot of criticism that Republicans have done nothing but oppose this bill, nothing to help pass it, just try to kill it....have you done more than say ‘no, no, no, no, no’?”
At the top of the show, Rodriguez described a weekend visit by President Obama to Capitol Hill: “A rare closed-door rally on Capitol Hill over the weekend as President Obama calls on Democrats to close ranks and pass health care reform.” Rodriguez later suggested that Republicans “were not invited to the meeting yesterday” based on their criticism of the legislation. Senator Alexander responded: “Well that’s really an amazing statement. I mean, the President was elected on the idea of open meetings.”
Rodriguez also spoke with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill but tried not to be too tough as she asked the Senator about the Presidential visit: “There were four holdouts yesterday before your meeting with the President. Did he succeed in changing any minds?” McCaskill declared: “Well, I think we’re getting there. Failure’s not an option.”
The New York Times’s Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff published a long Saturday report on the Food Stamp program that went into print on Sunday.
This is the second of three posts on their coverage; the first went up earlier today at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog. It addressed the pair's seeming happiness with the massive increase in program participation, their apparent unhappiness that 15-16 million who could be getting Food Stamps aren't, and their sense of relief that the "stigma" attached to being on a form of government dole has significantly dissipated.
This post will deal with something that should have been right in front of the Times pair's faces: Even before considering loosened eligibility standards (the third post will deal with that), Food Stamp benefits (gross and net) have increased by much more than the rate of food inflation during the past couple of years, especially in the past year, during which the increase in net benefits has been a whopping 30%.
Here are a few article excerpts from the Times report that deal with benefit levels (the first excerpted paragraph originally appeared in between the two other sets of paragraphs presented):
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos highlighted House Democrats’ opposition to any troop increase in Afghanistan on budget grounds, but did not address the inconsistency of this position, since most of these congressmen support spending hundreds of billions on health care “reform.”
Before bringing up the budget issue, Stephanopoulos preemptively apologized for President Obama’s upcoming speech on Afghanistan. After guessing that it was going to be 30-40 minutes long, the anchor continued that Obama “needs that much time because this is a very difficult speech.” Just before this, the ABC anchor acted like the President himself was going to be the sole author of the speech: “I was just talking to a couple of White House aides. They say the President is actually going to begin writing the speech today. He hasn’t begun writing yet. He just made the decision [on the troop increase] the other night.”
On Monday’s Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux became the latest CNN personality to use the offensive “teabagger” label to describe opponents of ObamaCare. Malveaux asked senior political analyst Gloria Borger, “Do we expect to see the kinds of big rallies and...the circus atmosphere that we saw...over the summer when you were talking about controversial policy, ‘teabaggers’ and all that other thing?” [audio clip available here]
The CNN anchor and correspondent, serving a substitute for the vacationing Wolf Blitzer, questioned Borger about the upcoming battle over health care “reform” in the Senate, after a 60-39 vote over the weekend to begin debate over the Democrats’ bill. Her use of the vulgar term came 14 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour:
CNN’s Rick Sanchez misrepresented the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the House Democrats’ health care plan on Monday’s Newsroom. Sanchez labeled the amendment a “conservative Republican challenge of health care reform.” The anchor also gave a false impression of an answer given by RNC Chairman Michael Steele in an earlier interview on American Morning.
Sanchez used the misleading label out of the gate in a segment which began 22 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour: “The Stupak Amendment was a conservative Republican challenge of health care reform by making Democrats agree to a provision to make sure that abortions are not covered under this new plan, and it was a successful challenge, by the way.”
A "new consensus" has emerged on the success of the economic stimulus package, according to a New York Times headline. In touting the supposed success of the legislation, and hinting at support for another round of spending, the Times neglected to mention the widespread fraud that characterizes the administration's attempt at shoring up the economy.
As reported by P.J. Gladnick on Saturday, the Times made sure to attribute its claims to "dispassionate analysts," and asserted that the stimulus is "helping an economy in free fall a year ago to grow again and shed fewer jobs than it otherwise would." Gladnick thoroughly debunked this claim, and others, in his NB post.
In a further show of bias, the Times article makes no mention of the 76,779 jobs that were not actually "saved or created" by the package, but were added to the number touted by the administration (interactive map embedded below the fold - h/t Examiner's Freddoso, Spiering, and Hemingway). Given that this number is roughly 12 percent of the 640,000 jobs the administration claims to have "saved or created," it might merit a mention in the Times's story.
To say that there's good reason not to be impressed with a quite a few U.S. Senators is to state the obvious.
But I really hope that Dana Milbank either hasn't read or really doesn't remember A Streetcar Named Desire. Because in his coverage of the Senate vote last night to go forward to debate on its health care bill, the alleged journalist stooped well below the level of most of the blogosphere by in essence calling the United States Senate the House of 100 Prostitutes -- and worse.
Yes he did -- in a column the Post put on the top of the front page.
After observing the opportunistic, advantage-taking machinations of Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas in return for the final two "yes" votes needed for passage, Milbank wrote the following:
At this point, there should be little doubt that there is a concerted attempt underway to use the war in Afghanistan as a justification for punitively taxing high earners.
Last weekend (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the New York Times discovered that wars cost money. It cited Wisconsin Democratic Congressman David Obey's concern that funding the Afghanistan effort at the level requested months ago by General Stanley A. McChrystal would "devour virtually any other priorities that the president or anyone in Congress had."
Thursday, as reported by AFP (noted last night at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), House Democratic heavy-hitters Barney Frank, John Murtha, and (no surprise) Obey announced the "Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010," an income-tax surcharge that overwhelmingly targets high-income earners.
Now Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin has weighed in. Bloomberg dutifully carried his water, as seen in this graphic containing the first four paragraphs of the report:
You've got to hand it to the propagandists at the AFP. When heavy-hitting members of the party they favor announce an idea whose main purpose is, as the New York Times suddenly "discovered" last weekend, to remind people that wars cost money and distract from supposedly more important priorities, the wire service leaps into action.
Even AFP acknowledges that the tax proposal by several top-tier Democrats has no chance of becoming law. But again, that's not the point. Their proposal's purpose is to remind people that spending money on wars supposedly takes money out of the mouths of children and other living things, even those in non-existent congressional districts, and to attempt to make the climate for increasing taxes in the near future more favorable.
An unsigned CNN.com article on Friday noted that the Senate Ethics Committee had reproved Senator Roland Burris “for actions and statements reflecting unfavorably upon the Senate,” but did not directly mention the Illinois senator’s affiliation with the Democratic Party. The article did mention that Burris was “the only African-American U.S. senator.”
The first two paragraphs from the CNN Political Ticker story excerpted the letter that the Senate committee sent to the successor to President Obama: “The Senate Ethics Committee issued a letter Friday admonishing embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris ‘for actions and statements reflecting unfavorably upon the Senate’ in connection with his controversial appointment by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. ‘While the committee did not find that the evidence before it supported any actionable violations of law, senators must meet a much higher standard of conduct,’ the letter stated.”
The print story is accompanied by a screenshot of Recovery.gov, which the caption beneath it notes "is the government's stimulus-tracking Web site."
Of course, the biggest inaccuracies recently observed on Recovery.gov are non-existent congressional districts purported to have been "saved or created" jobs thanks to stimulus pork sent their way. Yet Post staffer Ed O'Keefe was careful to keep that juiciest tidbit out of his entire 10-paragraph November 19 story.
In what appears to be the opening round of a rearguard action against what leftists used to call "the good war" (only because they felt they needed to pretend they had pro-war bona fides to make their anti-Iraq War arguments look stronger to the general populace), the New York Times's Christopher Drew reported last Saturday for the Sunday print edition that sending more troops to Afghanistan as General Stanley A. McChrystal has requested might cost tens of billions of dollars.
While President Obama’s decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan is primarily a military one, it also has substantial budget implications that are adding pressure to limit the commitment, senior administration officials say.
"This week's abortion conversation is about politics. Let's not pretend it's about anything else," Newsweek's Lisa Miller huffed in a November 18 Newsweek.com post, complaining about how the moral issues surrounding abortion are taking on a life of their own in the health care debate.
We suffer, this week, from a moral myopia. Thanks to the passage in Congress of a health-reform bill, abortion is in the news again, but with the same old warriors brandishing their same old spears.
But while Miller went on to list both pro-life and pro-choice "old warriors," it's hard to believe her beef is with both sides of that fight equally. Miller laments that:
Our entire health-care system (and the proposed reform) is rife with "complex moral issues." To activate our consciences only in the realm of abortion relieves those consciences of too much responsibility.
Isikoff pitted supporters of gun rights, particularly the National Rifle Association (NRA) against "security-minded" legislators worried about gun use in terrorist attacks on the nation's railways:
Just how much clout does the gun lobby have on Capitol Hill? This week may prove to be a crucial test: A House-Senate conference committee is about to take up a massive transportation-funding bill that is pitting advocates of gun rights against security-minded members worried about the threat of terrorist attacks on Amtrak trains. Tucked into the measure is a controversial National Rifle Association-backed amendment that would cut off $1.5 billion in subsidies to Amtrak unless the federally backed national passenger-train company reverses its post-9/11 security policies and permits train passengers to travel with handguns and other firearms as part of their checked luggage.
The pesky thing about abortion for pro-choice stalwarts is that when it comes to the will of the people through their legislatures, they often lose more battles than when the voters in question are black-robed judges in a courtroom.
Just ask Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, who is bummed about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and its effect on the Democrats' hopes for a health care reform bill that puts in place a government-run health care "option" (emphasis mine):
When health-care reform passed the House by just two votes late Saturday night, I assumed Speaker Nancy Pelosi had several more votes in her pocket from Blue Dogs who would be there if she needed them. After all, that's how Washington works. I also figured I shouldn't get too worked up about the restrictive amendment on abortion that was added at the last minute because it would be stripped from the legislation when it went to conference and was merged with the Senate bill.
It took just a little reporting for me to discover how wrong my initial assessments were.... [D]itching the amendment advanced by pro-life Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak is unlikely.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial today on the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is excellent, as would be expected, and gives credit where credit is due:
In the debate over who deserves credit for causing the Berlin Wall to collapse on the night of November 9, 1989, many names come to mind, both great and small.
There was Günter Schabowski, the muddled East German politburo spokesman, who in a live press conference that evening accidentally announced that the country's travel restrictions were to be lifted "immediately." There was Mikhail Gorbachev, who made it clear that the Soviet Union would not violently suppress people power in its satellite states, as it had decades earlier in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. There were the heroes of Poland's Solidarity movement, not least Pope John Paul II, who did so much to expose the moral bankruptcy of communism.
And there was Ronald Reagan, who believed the job of Western statesmanship was to muster the moral, political, economic and military wherewithal not simply to contain the Soviet bloc, but to bury it.
[Editor's note: For more on the media's pro-Communist bias in the waning days of the Cold War, read "Better Off Red?", MRC's new study looking back 20 years ago to the fall of the Berlin Wall]
In the editorial's second-last paragraph, the Journal reminds us of an alleged journalist who was so blinded by his partisan disdain for any Republican in power that he refused to acknowledge what had become clear years earlier, and of the risk-averse weenies who tried to talk him out of delivering the signature line of what is probably his most famous speech (bold is mine):
Insisting that her opinion was not influenced by her views on abortion, MSNBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman went on a tear shortly after 12:30 p.m. EST on her November 9 "Dr. Nancy" program, denouncing the "infuriating" Stupak Amendment to the Democratic health care bill passed on Saturday.
As a consequence, women seeking to have insurance pay for abortion procedures under the would need to pay out-of-pocket for additional coverage for abortion procedures.
Snyderman hinted that she was annoyed that pro-life Democrats even thought it necessary to press for the Stupak Amendment in the first place. After all, Snyderman complained to MSNBC correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, she and her colleagues at MSNBC had done their level best for months to calm fears of pro-lifers about ObamaCare: