"In a 7-2 ruling [on Monday], the Supreme Court expanded Congressional powers just a mite, by allowing the federal government to keep sexual predators in prison beyond their terms if they are deemed too dangerous to be released," U.S. News & World Report contributor Bonnie Erbe noted in a May 18 Thomas Jefferson Street blog post.
[T]he two dissenters were arguably the most conservative on a majority conservative court: Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. One would think that law and order conservatives would be more concerned about keeping sexual predators away from the public than about a very minor expansion of federal powers. Apparently not.
Of course that's a patently unfair cheap shot and Erbe knows it. Thomas's dissent in U.S. v. Comstock (scroll to page 36 at this link)-- published to the Supreme Court's Web site on May 17 -- clocks in at a brief 23 pages, easily readable for a journalist, especially one who graduated cum laude from Georgetown Law in 1987.
Newsweek's Andrew Romano isn't really anti-Michelle Bachmann, he argues that he just sounds like one on Twitter.
In a May 17 "Web Exclusive," entitled "Tweet the Press," the Newsweek staffer explained to readers how an editor assigned him to write a "Twitter profile" of the Minnesota Republican:
My editor had just stepped into my office to discuss a new assignment. The NEWSWEEK brass is interested in Twitter, he told me, but they're looking for an original way to cover it—which is where you come in.... "I'm thinking you should write a 'Twitter profile' of Michele Bachmann," he said, referring to the outspoken, ultraconservative Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who has accused Barack Obama of being "anti-American" and asked her supporters to "slit their wrists" and be "blood brothers" to defeat health-care reform. "Fly up there, follow her around, tweet as you go. Then we'll publish an annotated version of your Twitter feed in the magazine. Could be kind of fun."
Later in his piece, Romano noted the drawbacks and advantages of live-tweeting a politician's stump speeches, concluding that the format made him sound like "knee jerk Bachmann hater." He denied that, of course, arguing that Twitter made him more of a "color commentator" that was looking for "bite-sized" vignettes that could go "viral" (emphasis mine):
Today, the Associated Press generally did what is supposed to do when reporting on scandal-plagued politicians. Here are the first five paragraphs of the AP's brief report on Indiana Congressman Mark Souder's resignation announcement (link is dynamic and will probably be updated; "where's the worst one we can find?" picture of Souder at top right is via AP):
On Friday's Situation Room, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty returned to slamming President Obama and Congress on their inaction in enforcing the immigration laws of the United States. Cafferty also singled out Democratic Senator Charles Schumer for his "great chutzpah" in asking Arizona to delay the implementation of its new anti-illegal immigration law.
The CNN personality first stated during his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary that "the federal government...is trying to play catch-up with the State of Arizona when it comes to immigration reform. President Obama is calling on Congress to start work this year on comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The translation is, nothing will get done this year."
Cafferty continued by focusing his criticism on Obama specifically:
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented Republican opposition to the Democrats' financial reform legislation: "The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform.Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described the Democratic strategy against Republicans:
Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.
A headline on screen read: "Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform."
As Father Daniel Coughlin marks 10 years of ministry as the chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Washington Post found an occasion to suggest to readers that Republicans who now praise the priest's service as the first-ever Catholic to hold the post have overcome a prejudice against the Catholic Church.
"In the beginning, there was partisanship," staff writer Ben Pershing began his April 27 article with a clever homage to the opening line of Genesis, but flash forward to last week and behold, "lawmakers from both parties streamed onto the House floor to honor [Coughlin's] of service."
Pershing explained to readers that back in 2000, another Catholic priest, Timothy J. O'Brien, "had more support on the [bipartisan chaplain search] committee" than Presbyterian minister Charles Wright, the candidate whom then-House Speaker Denny Hastert (R-Ill.) picked to replace outgoing House chaplain, Rev. James Ford, a Lutheran.
"Democrats suggested that Hastert's choice might reflect an anti-Catholic bias among Republicans," Pershing noted, adding that a "furious" Hastert then "urged Wright to withdraw" and then named Father Coughlin, a priest who had not been among the finalists, as the new House chaplain.
But Pershing left out a more plausible and decidedly less sinister explanation for why Hastert picked Wright in the first place, something that Post staffer Bill Broadway noted in his February 19, 2000 article, "Holy War in the House" (excerpt below via Nexis, emphasis mine):
Hitting from the left in an interview with Republican Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith worried about the ability of financial reform legislation to expand government control over Wall Street: "How are you going to dis – how does any of this dismantle these giant financial institutions?"
On April 22, ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner a similar question: "Why shouldn't those big banks be broken up?"
At the top of Tuesday's Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez put the GOP on the defensive: "Democrats continue to push for Wall Street reform. But are Republicans on board?" Smith later introduced the segment by portraying Democrats as fighting for reform: "Democrats refuse to give up on reforming Wall Street. Yesterday Republicans put the brakes on, but another vote could happen today."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "Senate Republicans voted last night against moving forward with debate on the massive financial reform bill. That drew angry recriminations from Democrats." A clip was played of Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner slamming Republican opposition: "I never got the memo that said our job wasn't actually to get stuff done."
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referenced a possible Senate vote on the Democrats' financial reform bill and proclaimed: "Showdown in the Senate. Democrats are scrambling to get enough votes. Will anyone in the GOP break ranks?" It was just the latest example of a week of CBS coverage pressuring Republicans to sign on to the controversial legislation.
In a later report, correspondent Nancy Cordes explained: "both parties say they are for reform and they are deep in negotiations over it....But without a deal, many, if not all, Senate Republicans plan to vote 'no' today, blocking a floor debate on the bill." That was followed by a clip of Democratic Senator Chris Dodd declaring: "Here we are 17 months after someone broke into our house, in effect, robbed us, and we still haven't even changed the locks on the doors." A headline on screen read: "Financial Reform Showdown; Will Anyone in GOP Break Ranks?"
In his introduction to the report, Smith described the Democratic effort as a "test vote." Cordes pointed out: "this vote that Democrats have called for today could very well fail." She later concluded: "Even if the vote fails today, negotiations will go on and Republicans and Democrats seem confident that a financial reform bill will pass sooner rather than later." However, neither her nor Smith questioned holding the vote or suggested it was political theater to force a deal.
On Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press published the Mike Thompson cartoon seen at the right. It shows a GM bigwig carrying a briefcase telling a recoiling Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and three other politicians that "We're going to pay off the loan." The cartoon's caption is, "The Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say in Washington."
At his blog, where a full-size version of the cartoon can be found, Thompson writes:
You have to wonder what those who opposed the GM bailout think about the loan repayment. ...
It’s way too early for those who favored government aid for GM to break out in loud chants of “I told you so,” but if the good news out of GM continues, they might want to start thinking about warming up their vocal cords.
In his April 23 "Uncommon Sense" column at Forbes.com (HT Instapundit), Shikha Dalmia tells Thompson what he thinks, and suggests not scheduling the opera any time soon (bold is mine):
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared that when it comes to financial reform legislation, "Democrats have all the leverage right now." Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer appeared on the show and observed that "They think this is the time to picture Republicans as trying to protect fat cat bankers, as it were."
In her first question to Schieffer, Rodriguez wondered: "Do Democrats have anything to lose by going for a vote on Monday even though the Republicans have said they'd like a little bit more time to work on a compromise?" Schieffer replied: "No, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They want to get this out and get it on the table as quickly as possible."
Following his comment about the image of Republicans supporting "fat cat bankers," Schieffer added: "it's one thing to oppose health care reform, but on this case, I think most people would agree that doctors are more popular than bankers, especially at this particular time when you've had this lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Financial Reform Face-Off; Obama Takes on Wall Street, GOP."
For nearly a year, the allegations of scandalous activity in former Rep. Eric Massa’s office were kept quiet — by the congressman, by male aides who accuse him of sexually harassing them and by other congressional staff.
But with two aides coming forward last week to announce that they had filed harassment claims against the New York Democrat, charges and countercharges are exploding into full public view, ensuring that the Massa saga will not simply go away.
Instead, it will raise old questions about whether Congress is able to effectively police its own members and staff, and the degree to which staff members are responsible for — or even capable of — reining in lawmakers who are accused of abusing their power.
Of course, while I've no doubt that more sordid details of the scandal will drip out into the public consciousness between now and Election Day, I'm not anticipating that the mainstream media, at least the broadcast networks, are that interested in making hay of this matter, which doubtless may reflect poorly on the Democratic Party's management of the House of Representatives.
On Wednesday, Congressman Henry Waxman cancelled hearings, or what Michelle Malkin referred to as "show trials" in her Friday syndicated column, designed to put the spotlight on companies that dared to do what they legally had to do in response to the passage of ObamaCare: tell the public the estimated impact on their bottom lines relating to a specific tax law chance that was included in the legislation.
Despite the legal requirement, the headline of the Associated Press's coverage on the day of the announcement described the companies' announcements as "gripes." AP Business Writer Matthew Perrone called them "concerns," and acted as if the companies backed down, when the only qualification involved a questionably and largely unrelated item, i.e., what might happen if the law manages to lower overall health care costs.
That journalistically inaccurate narrative gave Waxman an undeserved way out of the heavyhanded mess that he created.
Here are the related paragraphs of Perrone's pathetic piece:
MSNBC's Monica Novotny on Friday highlighted a dubious Vanity Fair piece lamenting the "cost" of the Republican Party opposing Barack Obama's agenda. The News Live host talked to writers Duff McDonald and Peter Keating about their contention that the "party of no" has cost taxpayers $1.34 billion.
Apparently, the GOP and various conservative organizations total this much by not supporting health care or the stimulus. Never mentioned in the article or during the segment is the fact that Obama's spending on those two items alone will end up costing taxpayers $3.3 trillion, 2500 times the amount of the expensive Republicans.
During the segment, Keating snidely remarked, "And, you know, Republican offices need heat and light and water and sewage. People are showing up just to say no and we're paying for it!" Earlier in the piece, Novotny played along and complained, "So, for that [the price of the GOP], we've got nothing?"
At the top of the 8:30AM ET half hour of Friday's CBS Early Show, co-hosts Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith welcomed a new contributor to the broadcast, the daughter of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, Ayla Brown. As Smith put it: "she's about to graduate from college and she's agreed to come aboard as a special contributor with us here on the Early Show."
Rodriguez led into the announcement by recalling: "...remember back in January, Ayla Brown made headlines sort of by accident when her father, newly elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, announced during his victory speech that she was 'available.'" Smith followed by mentioning Brown's previous appearance on the show: "And remember then a couple of weeks later, we asked Ayla, who's a veteran of American Idol, to sing for us here on the Early Show. She knocked it out of the park."
Associated Press writer John Flesher seems to be one bitter guy.
Flesher, along with whoever (possibly Flesher himself) came up with the headline for his Saturday report on Bart Stupak's decision not to run for re-election in Michigan's 1st Congressional District, tells readers that:
Tea Partiers are poor winners.
The residents of Stupak's district are federal money-grubbers who can be fooled by candidates holding the right position on "hot-button issues."
Based on a poli sci prof's contention, Stupak (pictured at top right with his wife in an AP photo) would "absolutely" have won as all the evidence he needed to "prove" the nine-term congressman's re-electability.
Here are the opening paragraphs from the flailing Flesher:
Host Bob Schieffer led Sunday's Face the Nation by fretting over opposition to the passage of ObamaCare: "What about the violence in the wake of the congressional action? Isolated incidents or signs of a dangerous anger?" He told viewers that he would talk to "Republican firebrands, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann" about the issue.
Schieffer pressed DeMint on some of the threats against members of Congress: "Senator, we saw some pretty scary stuff last week....We saw members' offices that were trashed. We saw death threats....Do you think the parties have an obligation to try to tone down some of this runaway rhetoric? Is it, in fact, dangerous?" The Senator defended tea party protestors: "I've been with hundreds of thousands of tea party patriots...and I've never seen any violence or heard any bad language....it's unfair and untrue to try to paint this whole American awakening with some of the bad comments that we heard last week in Washington."
Later turning to Bachmann, Schieffer tried to portray the Congresswoman as extreme: "You said last week that health care reform was dangerous and you equated it with tyranny. Do you really mean that?...You said that you thought Barack Obama had anti-American views....what do you mean the President is anti-American?" He continued his interrogation by pointing to comments made by Sarah Palin: "[She] famously said last week that it is not time for Republicans to retreat. It is time to reload....said she wasn't talking about guns. She was talking about getting out there and using the vote. Do you think Sarah Palin has overstated it here?"
This item may not surprise those of us who have watched politicians take the safe way out at any opportunity, but it will give any voters who come across it reason to doubt any Democratic congressman who says that he or she voted no on principle against Obamacare on Sunday, March 21.
This explains why it hasn't been covered much -- and maybe not at all -- in any establishment media outlet.
On March 26, the Catholic News Agency had an exclusive interview with Michigan congressman Bart Stupak. Wait until you see some of the things he admitted to CNA (bolds are mine):
Rep. Stupak: Speaker Pelosi had extra health care votes 'in her pocket'
The health care reform bill would have passed the House without the votes of Rep. Bart Stupak’s pro-life Democrats because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “always carries a number of votes in her pocket,” Stupak told CNA in a Thursday phone interview.
CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today on Tuesday ignored the arrest of a man who was plotting to kill Republican Congressman Eric Cantor. ABC's Good Morning America mentioned the story only in a news brief in the 8am hour. Last week, however, GMA highlighted threats against Democrats and worried about "angry talk" from Sarah Palin.
The Early Show may have ignored the story of Norman Leboon and the violent, profanity-laced rants he posted online about the "evil" Cantor, but the same show on Tuesday did note the guilty plea of a man who threatened Barack Obama.
Substitute news anchor Betty Nguyen explained, "In Tennessee, a white supremacist has pleaded guilty to plotting a 2008 killing spree against blacks, including then presidential candidate Barack Obama."
Since the passage of ObamaCare on March 21, the liberal media have been working hard to crack down on dissidents, painting the tea party movement, talk radio, and Republicans as dangerous radicals inciting violence against Democrats.
The three broadcast networks and the cable channels all jumped on board the bandwagon of smearing conservatives as angry hate-mongers, in order to discredit broad-based legitimate opposition to the unpopular legislation.
NBC on Monday night squeezed in a few seconds for the arrest of “a Philadelphia man for threatening the life of the number two Republican in the House of Representatives, Eric Cantor of Virginia.”
Yet after the networks led last week with less-immediate threats against Democrats, they weren’t so interested in a real case of a death threat against a Republican as neither CBS nor ABC aired a word about the arrest and NBC’s Brian Williams gave it short-shrift after leading last Wednesday with Democrats as the victims: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.”
The next night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks: “While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.”
CBS last week started with “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform” as Nancy Cordes relayed how “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery.” On Monday, the CBS Evening News devoted a full story to fretting over a “loophole” which insurance companies may use to delay providing coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions and Katie Couric spent half a minute on how the New York Yankees are “the best-paid team in all of sports,” with the NBA “the highest-paid league” followed by cricket’s Indian Premier League.
Introducing a report on passage of the ObamaCare reconciliation bill on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez referred to a couple upcoming rescue stories on the show and cheerfully remarked: "And speaking of rescues, the Democrats have rescued health care reform, once on death's door, after putting the final touches, finally, on the sweeping legislation yesterday."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation." In the later report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, an on-screen headline read: "Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress."
Cordes played a clip of Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews giving a glowing description of the bill: "Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma, or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won." She framed the GOP as against helping such people: "Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous."
Good Morning America's David Wright on Friday ominously warned that Sarah Palin's "tactics," which include encouraging conservatives to politically "reload" and putting cross-hairs over Democrats she wishes to see defeated, "may backfire." Wright vaguely explained that this was "after several congressmen received death threats this week."
However, Wright didn't specifically mention that Republican Congressman Eric Cantor had a bullet shot through his office this week. He also ignored the threats received by GOP Representative Jean Schmidt. In fact, Good Morning America didn't cover these developments at all.
On Thursday, GMA eagerly played up violent warnings against Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak and reporter Pierre Thomas touted the party's fears that "all this angry talk could push a deranged person over the edge."
(March 26, 8:30 p.m. -- SEE THE UPDATE at the end of this post.)
People in Cincinnati who follow politics reasonably closely will be scratching their heads wondering what's gotten into the people assembling news stories at the Seattle Times once they learn of what the Times reported in an item that originally went up Wednesday evening and was modified Thursday morning:
A rock was thrown through the window of (1st District Congressman) Driehaus' Cincinnati office Sunday, and a death threat was phoned in to his Washington office a day later, Mulvey said.
Driehaus, who claims to be pro-life but in reality stopped being so when he supported Barack Obama for President in 2008, is one of the members of the Bart Stupak contingent that abandoned their alleged pro-life beliefs to vote for statist health care in the House Sunday night.
Well, perhaps the death threat was real, and of course if it is it demands a thorough investigation.
But there's a "little" problem with the news about that rock throw:
An evening after all three broadcast network newscasts led by advancing the Democratic narrative of violent ObamaCare critics, a storyline intended to discredit conservatives as all gratuitously named Sarah Palin as a culprit, on Thursday night the same programs weren't so interested and only stumbled into the suddenly “bipartisan” victims – despite fresh revelations of threats and violence aimed at Republicans who voted no.
“It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, arguing “the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence,” citing “ten Democrats who have been threatened.” Incredibly, on Thursday night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks:
While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.
Two stories later, only after reporter Kelly O'Donnell had noted that “just before the Senators cast their votes, they paused to honor the late Ted Kennedy,” did Williams arrive at the threats “reported by Democrats and Republicans.” Williams:
Good Morning America's Pierre Thomas on Thursday played up the threats and intimidation that Bart Stupak has suffered since he voted for the health care bill. However, last week, the same program ignored the "living hell" the Congressman dealt with as he claimed to oppose the legislation.
Thomas played a voice mail released by Stupak where an anonymous caller attacked, "Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother [bleeped]. I hope you die." However, when George Stephanopoulos talked to Stupak on March 19, he skipped the Representative's complaints to The Hill that "All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats."
Are threats only notable when they can potentially be linked to those on the right? Before the vote, Stupak repeatedly stated he was leaning towards voting against the legislation. But, Stephanopoulos' questions all revolved around what it would take to get the Representative to vote yes. There were no questions about possible violence.
Good Morning America on Thursday worried about the possible violence Sarah Palin's Twitter page could cause to Democrats who voted for the health care bill. Guest host Bill Weir interviewed Barney Frank and fretted, "Some on the left have also been pointing to Sarah Palin's Twitter message encouraging her followers to 'Do not retreat. Instead, reload.'"
He ominously explained to viewers, "And her Facebook page has a map with cross-hairs on 20 Democrats who voted for the bill." Reporter Pierre Thomas also rehashed Democratic fears that"a toxic political environment is a catalyst for ugliness."
He touted complaints by Democratic Congressman Steve Driehaus that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said he would be a political "dead man" if he voted for the bill. Thomas intoned, "The fears that all this angry talk could push a deranged person over the edge."