I guess we could call it the congressional leakers' version of "spreading the wealth."
As noted in a post late Sunday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Detroit News received a "10-page document" from what had been a Toyota internal presentation that more than likely came from someone who is either a member of or working in Congress, or is involved with the Department of Transportation. Reporter David Shepardson clearly led readers to believe he had the whole thing -- even though the page numbers on the document were 1-6, 8, and 14-16.
Shepardson, along with the Associated Press's Ken Thomas in a related story, wrote that the company "bragged" and "boasted" about saving money on recall costs when the underlying documents show no such thing, especially when one understands (as this pair clearly doesn't) Japanese cultural and behavioral norms.
Politico was the beneficiary of its own different set of leaked documents from that same presentation. As seen below, the web site's Jack Sherman also gave readers the impression in his report that it had the entire document:
How coincidental. A Detroit News item by David Shepardson supposedly indicating that Toyota is more concerned about saving money than driver safety surfaces less than 48 hours before congressional hearings are to begin. His story's basis is a presentation that appears to have been leaked by someone either in Congress or working there, or who is involved with the Department of Transportation.
Lo and behold, Associated Press writer Ken Thomas is right behind him to make sure the story goes national and to mimic Shepardson's breathtaking cultural ignorance in time for the wee-hours press runs for Monday's newspapers and for the writers at the morning news shows.
Shepardson and Thomas, absent any other evidence they chose to make readers aware of, believe that four documents in what was originally an internal company presentation somehow prove that Toyota "bragged" and "boasted," respectively, about saving money in connection with the potential "sudden acceleration" problem in many of its models.
Further, and crucially, Shepardson seems to be a bit numerically challenged, while Thomas appears to have relied on Shepardson's innumeracy. The Detroit News writer told readers that he obtained a "10-page" presentation, but the page numbering on the actual documents indicates that its full length was at least 16 pages. I'm not kidding.
On Tuesday, both CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez and ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos lamented the announced retirement of Democratic Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and proclaimed that his reelection would have been a virtual certainty. Rodriguez described it as "a lock," while Stephanopoulos asserted that it was "almost assured."
In reality, A January 25 Rasmussen poll showed Bayh losing to Republican Congressman Mike Pence, 44% to 47%. While Pence has since decided against running, the poll also showed former Republican Congressman John Stutzman, who has formerly announced his candidacy, getting close at 41% to Bayh's 44%. Numbers like that certainly do not suggest Bayh's reelection was anywhere close to being "a lock."
Both Rodriguez and Stephanopoulos made those comments in interviews with Bayh on their respective shows. Only a brief sound bite of the Senator was featured on NBC's Today on Tuesday.
On Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos almost pleaded with Bayh not to retire, claiming that if "centrists" like him leave, "doesn't that make the problem [of partisanship] worse? Why not stay and fix it?" While Rodriguez did not label Bayh as centrist, she did fret over his decision to retire: "What do you say to critics who say you did leave the Democrats high and dry at a time when they can't afford to be losing anymore seats?"
On Monday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez and Jessica Yellin both tried to portray liberal Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh as a centrist. Yellin insisted, "Republicans should be sad to see Evan Bayh go because he is one of the centrists who worked very hard to work with Republicans." Sanchez replied, "Evan Bayh is no liberal!"
Before the CNN anchor raised Bayh's retirement with his colleague 18 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, he brought up Congressman Joe Wilson's response on Twitter to his Democratic colleague's decision. Wilson wrote, "Great news of Senator Bayh's retirement, good prospects of change in Indiana has now become much brighter! I am happy for Hoosiers." Sanchez all but condemned the Republican's Tweet: "It's not like he's dancing on his grave because the guy's not dead. He's...just retiring. But wouldn't you think, just from the standpoint of being collegial, that, most of the time, somebody would say something like- 'boy, I hate to see Jessica Yellin leaving CNN. She really was good'- as opposed to- 'boy, am I glad Jessica Yellin's leaving. Now, we can get a competent reporter in there.'"
Touting the latest CBS News/New York Times poll on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer concluded that Americans were upset with President Obama and Congress simply over the influence of "special interest groups," without mentioning massive government spending or ObamaCare as other possible reasons.
After reporting that 70% of Americans were "dissatisfied or angry about the way things are going in Washington," Smith focused on the poll question about special interests: "8 in 10 say Congress is more interested in serving the needs of special interest groups rather than the people they represent." Schieffer explained: "In order to raise that money you've got to sign off on so many special interest groups before you get to Washington that it's very difficult to compromise once you do get here."
However, neither Smith nor Schieffer brought up the part of the poll that showed the desire by a majority of Americans for smaller government: "59% of Americans think the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals....56% would choose a smaller government providing fewer services over a bigger government providing more services, up from 48% last spring and the highest percentage in more than a decade."
There's really little opportunity for the spirit of bipartisanship to exist when you have a part-time operative for the Obama administration/cable network political commentator throwing bombs about the GOP for not catering to the Obama administration's wishes on health care reform.
"Well, it is kind of preposterous," Begala said. "The Republicans bit is, ‘Well, we'll work on health care if you stop and end and scrap all the progress we've made over the course of a year.' Well no, actually. The health care bill already has 213 Republican-sponsored amendments - 213. And for that they got zero Republican votes. I guess they got one in the House, David [sic - Joseph] Cao."
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric and White House reporter Chip Reid cast President Obama’s push for “bipartisanship” in a favorable light, with Obama “working hard,” “following through on a promise” and “open to ideas from Republicans.” But in an item posted on CBSNews.com, Reid’s fellow CBS White House correspondent, Mark Knoller – who has covered every President since Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s – was far more skeptical: “When a sitting President calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender.”
Knoller painted the President as motivated by frustration: “His top legislative priorities are going nowhere and he’s searching for a way to get them out of lockup.” After recounting past Presidents’ tactical demands for bipartisanship, Knoller outlined the political motive:
Bloomberg News managed to pen a full obituary of the late Congressman Jack Murtha today, calling him a "Supporter of Troops" in the headline, without once mentioning his incendiary--and unfounded--claims that a group of Marines had murdered 24 Iraqis in cold blood (h/t Washington Examiner's Mark Hemingway).
Murtha, himself a former Marine, said in 2005 after two dozen Iraqis were killed in the city of Haditha, "there was no firefight, there was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
Eight Marines were charged in the killings. Charges against six of them have been dropped, one has been found not-guilty, and the case against the remaining Marine is pending. Murtha was unrepentant about the slanderous accusations he leveled against these Marines. He even compared the Haditha incident to the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War (see video below the fold).
CNN’s Jack Cafferty returned to bashing Sarah Palin, one of his favorite subjects of scorn, on Monday’s Situation Room, but also slammed President Obama and top Democrats again for their closed-door negotiations on health care “reform.” Cafferty, along with anchor Wolf Blitzer, poked fun of Palin for writing talking points on her hand prior to her Tea Party Convention speech.
The CNN commentator devoted his regular 5 pm Eastern hour segment to the former Alaska governor. Cafferty sarcastically remarked, “That’s swell,” after noting that Mrs. Palin was considering a run for president in 2012. He continued with more sarcasm: “Palin, who was woefully unprepared to be John McCain’s running mate, acknowledges that she- quote, ‘sure as heck better be more astute on these national issues,’ unquote- than she was two years ago- seriously- and maybe that’s why Palin says she’s started receiving daily political and economic briefings over e-mail from various Washington experts. That ought to do it, right?”
Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday became emotional over the passing of John Murtha, named by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of Congress’ most corrupt politicians. He lauded the Democrat as "one of those guys who make the [House of Representatives] work." [Audio available here.]
Neither Stephanopoulos, nor Juju Chang, who filed a news brief on Murtha, mentioned his 2006 smear that U.S. Marines killed Iraqi civilians "in cold blood." Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, reminisced as he tried to maintain control: "I’m going to get a little choked up. I miss him already. You know, I went to Capitol Hill as an aide almost 30 years ago."
He cooed, "And he did it with such a sense of joy and fun and he taught me an awful lot." Stephanopoulos skipped the following quote from Murtha in May of 2006 about a supposed massacre in Haditha, Iraq: "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
Since Tea Party protests became an influential movement on the national scene last year, the left in general and the liberal media in particular have tried (unsuccessfully) to render it irrelevant in the eyes of the American people. By throwing around accusations of racism and dire warnings of impending violence, these pundits have tried, unsuccessfully to undermine the movement.
University of Virginia Professor Gerard Alexander explored this trend more generally in yesterday's Washington Post poses the question, pondering, "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" In his column, Alexander details four types of condescension widespread among the far-left and omnipresent in its talking points. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all four have been employed by left-leaning journalists to bash the Tea Party movement.
"American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives," Alexander writes, "appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration."
On Saturday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Don Lemon deferentially took President Obama’s advice and interviewed a stimulus “skeptic” turned “believer,” whom the Democrat cited as an example of the success of the stimulus during his recent State of the Union address. Lemon talked up the stimulus and the Obama administration’s energy efficiency tax credit with his guest Alan Levin, whose company produces windows.
Before playing his taped interview with guest Alan Levin, CEO of Northeast Building Products, the CNN anchor played the relevant clip from the President Obama’s address: “Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia, who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created.” After asking Mr. Levin if he was excited by this mention by the President, Lemon inquired about this previous skepticism: “You know what, here’s the interesting thing. You were skeptical about this process- about the stimulus. You weren’t exactly sure that it was going to get you the right people and help at all. And now?”
At the top of Friday’s Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, the show announcer teased a story on President Obama speaking a meeting of House Republicans in Baltimore: “What will Republicans do with President Obama’s olive branch? He’s reaching out to the GOP yet again, despite a year of push backs and criticisms. Is he being naive or crazy like a fox?”
Moments later, host Dylan Ratigan made a biblical reference to explain Obama’s supposedly gracious gesture: “We begin today with a biblical story of Noah and the floods....he sent a dove....To look for dry land after a great flood had wiped out the Earth. The dove returned with an olive branch.” Ratigan then observed: “the President tried the same approach. Especially...with the Republicans.”
After playing a clip of the President calling for bipartisanship in the State of the Union speech, Ratigan argued: “So if the President thought that meant Republicans would start jumping onboard his boat? He thought wrong. They’ve taken his olive branch and are now using it to hit back against his agenda.”
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: “President Obama meets with GOP leaders as he tries to tackle the growing employment problem. Will it be a monologue or a dialogue?” White House correspondent Bill Plante later reported: “The President is also reaching out to Republicans today, speaking to the GOP House retreat. But it could be a tough crowd.”
In Plante’s report, only brief a clip of Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner was played, making Republicans seem unwilling to negotiate: “We’re not going to vote for things that we believe will hurt our country.” Plante concluded: “And the Republicans have already signaled that the President’s new temporary tax cut for small businesses is not where they’re going to find that common ground. So it may be a tough crowd indeed.” The brief Early Show segment made no mention of legitimate Republican criticism of President Obama’s own stubborn partisanship.
In contrast, on ABC’s Good Morning America, while correspondent Jon Karl referred to the House GOP as a “skeptical” and “hostile” audience, he also took the time to highlight Republican efforts to reach out to the administration: “Most Republicans in Congress doubt the President really wants to hear their ideas....Longtime Republican Frank Wolf says he’s written the White House several ideas on Homeland Security.” Karl asked Wolf about the letter: “So, you present these ideas to the White House and what happens?” Wolf replied: “Nothing. It’s like writing a letter to somebody and nobody ever answers.”
Robert Reich must have nightmares about Fox News. Shoot, he must have triple locks on his doors and sleep under his bed out of fear that Roger Ailes will come and take him away.
In a Monday column at Salon.com ("Is the President Panicking?"), Reich excoriated President Obama's proposed discretionary spending "freeze" -- a "freeze" that NewsBuster Julia Seymour noted fails to offset the spending proposals Obama brought up in his State of the Union speech -- for "invok(ing) memories of (Bill) Clinton's shift to the right in 1994," especially because "it could doom the recovery."
That was absurd enough, but in the process of recounting his fevered view of 1990s history, Bill Clinton's former Secretary of Labor threw in this whopper, revealing that for Reich, as Buffalo Springfield told us so many years ago in their 1960s hit song "For What It's Worth," paranoia really does strike deep:
In December 1994, Bill Clinton proposed a so-called middle-class bill of rights including more tax credits for families with children, expanded retirement accounts, and tax-deductible college tuition. Clinton had lost his battle for healthcare reform. Even worse, by that time the Dems had lost the House and Senate. Washington was riding a huge anti-incumbent wave. Right-wing populists were the ascendancy, with Newt Gingrich and Fox News leading the charge. Bill Clinton thought it desperately important to assure Americans he was on their side.
Immediately following President Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday night, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos got reaction from Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who observed: “There were at least three moments where he expressed explicit humility. ‘I’m not – I know that people aren’t sure I can deliver this change. I take my share of the blame for not explaining health care.’”
At the same time, both Stephanopoulos and Meacham agreed that Obama’s speech was Reaganesque. Stephanopoulos argued: “What I saw there is the President not being contrite like Bill Clinton in 1995, much more defiant, more like Ronald Reagan in 1983.” Meacham replied: “There was a lot of Reagan here.”
On NBC’s Today on Thursday, Matt Lauer cited Obama’s “humility” to press former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Republicans not supporting the President’s agenda: “...you said about the President quote, ‘if he does show humility and does try to find common ground, there are Republicans who will sign up for that.’ He showed humility....will you now get behind this president and will other Republicans?” Bush rejected the notion that Obama was humble: “I don’t think it’s humble to say that you didn’t communicate a message and that’s the reason why people opposed the health care plan in front of Congress right now by a dramatic margin.”
When the ACORN scandal broke, the New York Times dragged its feet for six days before issuing a story on the devastating footage from conservative activist and guerilla film-maker James O'Keefe, who caught on video the left-wing housing group giving advice to a "prostitute" and "pimp" on how to shelter illegal income from taxes.
But following Tuesday afternoon reports of the Monday arrest of O'Keefe for attempting to tamper with the phones of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Times wasted no time issuing a story for Wednesday's print edition.
BigGovernment.com caused a web sensation September 10 posting hidden camera footage from conservative activist and guerilla film-maker O'Keefe, who along with "prostitute" Hannah Giles visited several branches of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now and received advice on how to shelter their illegal income from taxes.
But the first story from a Times reporter on ACORN to see print came six days later, with Scott Shane portraying the scandal in purely political terms, with no outrage over a tax-funded leftist organization with connections to the Census Bureau and IRS encouraging tax evasion and child prostitution.
Previewing the State of the Union on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith spoke with former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who claimed the GOP “made a decision a year ago that they weren’t going to cooperate on anything.” Smith replied: “I don’t think you can say what you just said and look at what happened with health care, especially in the last month, and be honest about it.”
Dunn, who just recently stepped down as communications director to the Obama White House, disregarded Smith’s challenge:
Harry, I disagree with that, mostly because I was working at the White House for most of this time. And I saw how many meetings with Republicans, how many attempts to reach out, how much time was spent listening to their concerns. An entire summer spent giving a lot of room to a bipartisan process which ultimately Republicans walked away from, even as their leaders from day one announced that they were going to kill health care no matter what was in the bill.
On Monday’s Charlie Rose show on PBS, during a discussion of how the Obama administration might change course after the Democratic party’s loss of the Massachusetts Senate race, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham argued that President Obama has so far pursued “centrist” policies, even claiming that the bailouts could be described as “center right.” After the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut argued that, at the White House, they are not yet sure which ideological direction they will head next, prompting host Charlie Rose to ask whether they would move “to the center,” Meacham seemed to bristle as he insisted that President Obama is already “in the center,” and scoffed at Tea Party activists:
A publicly-traded corporation, The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) publishes a daily newspaper which includes daily editorials aimed at influencing public opinion inside the corridors of Congress, White House, and regulatory agencies, and ultimately over voter preferences at the polls.
Yet when it comes to conservative groups or non-mainstream media for-profit corporation engaging in the same use of "unlimited independent expenditures" to influence voters, that's an entirely different story for the Post, which slammed yesterday's Supreme Court ruling as "Judicial Activism Inc.":
A small group of liberal talking heads may be realizing that opposition to Obama is not, in fact, wholly irrational. Though it would be a bit too hasty to proclaim it a trend among the mainstream media, it has been a refreshing break from the smears usually hurled at the right by the nation's pundits.
First was Chris Matthews, who stunningly turned right and voiced his concern about an excessively large federal government, as Noel Sheppard reported this morning. NBC's David Gregory also came to his senses today, and admitted--his prior statements notwithstanding--that the Tea Party movement has been advocating the same principles that led to Scott Brown's victory yesterday (h/t Mary Katherine Ham).
Speaking on this morning's Morning Joe, Gregory characterized yesterday's special election as a sincere populist backlash against unpopular policies. The election was "about incumbency and whether government's working for you," he said. "That's what really cuts through all this is whether government is working for the people. That's what's fueling the Tea Party movement."
I heard Rush reading from a newspaper column during his first hour, but missed the first couple of paragraphs. So I didn't know its origin. Given what I was hearing, I thought that El Rushbo was surely reading the latest from Maureen Dowd at the New York Times.
Nope. It turns out that it was written by the Boston Globe's Brian McGrory (pictured at right; original is at this link). McGrory wants to tell us that the Bay Staters who voted for Scott Brown over Martha Coakley did so because of the self-importance thrust on them by the national media spotlight and not out of any real conviction.
But his bawdy treatment distracts from his intent, as you will see in the excerpts that follow, which in this case are no substitute for reading -- or actually enduring -- the whole thing:
Seduced by our new senator
I’m going to need some Advil and a cold compress, please. I’m the Massachusetts Electorate, and I have what is bar none the absolute worst hangover of my entire voting life.
Democrats generally do not have to worry about an unfriendly press. Most journalists are more than happy to toe the liberal line. But when things turn south for the Democrat, the harder questions start flowing, and occasionally it can get ugly.
We've seen our fair share of backlash against reporters from the Democratic candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley. Videos keep popping up of people directly affiliated with the campaign harassing--verbally and physically--members of the press.
First it was veteran Democratic political operative Michael Meehan, who was caught on video shoving the Weekly Standard's John McCormack to the ground outside a restaurant on Capitol Hill. McCormack was trying to ask about the "no terrorists in Afghanistan" blunder Coakley uttered a couple weeks ago.
A video appeared today on RealClearPolitics showing two staffers at a Coakley campaign office screaming at a member of the press to leave the office, shouting obscenities at the woman, and calling her a Nazi (video here - h/t Ed Driscoll).
On Monday’s AC360, CNN’s Jessica Yellin spun the rise of Republican candidate Scott Brown as coming from “folks here in Massachusetts [who] are feeling angry and scared. They’re angry and scared about the economy, about jobs...and especially in this state, about health-care reform....[Brown] has tapped into that fear and sold himself essentially as a man of the people who will fight big government” [audio clip from the segment available here].
Anchor Anderson Cooper, reporting on location from Haiti, brought on Yellin 41 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of his program to discuss the potential effect of the Massachusetts special election on the Democrats’ push for ObamaCare. He addressed the liberal conventional wisdom on the senate race in his first question to the CNN national political correspondent: “Jessica, you have a well-known, well-funded Democrat in Massachusetts, running to fill the seat held for nearly half a century by Ted Kennedy. At first glance, you’d assume she’d win that with a walk. What’s happened?”
Yellin pinpointed the apparent cause of Martha Coakley’s (the “well-known, well-funded Democrat”) difficulty as coming from voter discontent:
The special election in Massachusetts is sure to be a close one. Should Republican Scott Brown prevail, however, the liberal media will have a host of ways to explain away the election as an anomaly and by no means a referendum on either the president or his legislative accomplishments (or lack thereof).
Perhaps one of the most absurd instances of this thinking came on last night's "O'Reilly Factor" where Washington Post veteran writer Sally Quinn actually attributed Brown's meteoric rise to, wait for it, a semi-nude photo shoot he did for Cosmopolitan magazine--a full 28 years ago (video and partial transcript below the fold - h/t Jim Hoft).
Quinn postulated that the shoot gave the "hunk" Brown a boost in name recognition before the election. O'Reilly, for his part, called Quinn out on how outlandish she sounded.
The charts definitely show how utterly wrong reporters like the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa are when they claim that there has been anything resembling a "rebound" since the economy hit bottom from a growth standpoint in the second quarter of 2009 (the economy has yet to see an employment bottom). They also explain why AP reporter Martin Crutsinger seems to have tired of trying to put a "getting better" face on things in the past couple of days (as seen here and here at NewsBusters; here and here at BizzyBlog).
Here, after screen captures by Morrissey, are the two mind-numbing creations in question, the first showing changes in output (GDP) and the second showing changes in employment:
On Twitter, Republicans are absolutely dominant, according to a recent study by a prominent Washington policy analyst. The study found that Republican politicians have far more followers and influence on the micro-blogging site than do their Democratic counterparts.
GOP prominence on online social networks heralds a markedly different trend from the technologically dominant Obama presidential campaign, which outmatched its opponents in virtually (no pun intended) every area of online communications. But necessity is the mother of invention, and having been relegated to the minority both in popular opinion and electoral prominence, Republicans have had to turn to alternative ways to get their messages out.
In his coverage of yesterday's Monthly Treasury Statement from Uncle Sam, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger, who I have criticized frequently for cruddy reporting, especially on federal finances, did a pretty good job reporting key facts and conveying very real concerns that are brewing over the country's current fiscal path.
In the process, he made a stunning admission about the economy's situation that has to be seen to be believed.
I find myself concerned that the previous paragraphs might cause Mr. Crutsinger to get called into a closed-door meeting where he gets asked what in the world is going on. If that happens, I have an agenda item he can bring up. I'll get to that later.
Crutsinger's only serious error was his final paragraph's mischaracterization of deficit trends during the Bush administration.