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."
CNN's Rick Sanchez repeatedly insinuated on his Rick's List program on Wednesday that Republican leaders and "crazy talk show hosts that are so right wing" were to blame for ten congressman requesting extra security earlier in the day: "Are some Republicans culpable of stirring this, to a certain degree?"
Sanchez led the 3 pm Eastern hour of his program with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announcing that ten of their Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives had requested additional security for their homes and offices due to reported threats of violence. The anchor brought on correspondent Jessica Yellin to give more details. After Yellin reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner had condemned such threats, Sanchez replied, "But Boehner himself has been one of the most critical. He's one of those who has used words like 'socialist' and 'government takeover' and the kinds of things that someone who, maybe, doesn't follow the situation so closely might be led to act in an incivil way. Is this is a chicken or an egg question, of which came first in this case?"
Even before ObamaCare passed, on CBS's Sunday Morning reporter Tracy Smith touted the bill as the fulfillment of a century of liberal efforts: "After months of rancor in the streets, and histrionics in the halls of Congress, the vote takes place in just a few hours....if it feels like this long, angry, divisive debate over American health care has gone on practically forever – the fact is, it has."
Throughout the segment, Smith spoke with left-wing Brown University Professor James Morone, who began by lamenting how much of an obstacle the Constitution has been in achieving nationalized health care: "The founding fathers didn't want to make it easy. And they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams." As Smith began to recite the list of presidents who attempted implementing different proposals, Morone later explained: "Why don't we have it? One word: Congress. We've organized Congress in a way to make it very, very difficult."
In concluding the segment, Smith proclaimed: "Earlier this year, the President said, 'We are close to the summit of the mountain.' Whether or not he reaches that goal will be decided in today's vote." Morone took it a few steps further: "If they get it through, Obama's done something that Roosevelt couldn't do, that Kennedy couldn't do, Clinton, Nixon. Obama becomes, in history, a quite major figure, whatever else happens in the rest of his administration, or he becomes a minor figure. All in one day."
On Tuesday's Newsroom, CNN correspondent Ed Henry raved about one congressman's collection of pens that were used to sign Medicare and ObamaCare into law. Henry responded gushingly to how Rep. John Dingell received one of the pens used by President Obama on Tuesday, and how he also has one of President Johnson's pens from the 1965 signing: "So now John Dingell has two of the most amazing pens" [audio clip available here].
Henry brought up how the current President used 22 different pens to sign health care "reform" into law during a segment with anchor Ali Velshi: "These are great souvenirs, obviously, when you have a historic piece of legislation." After listing how Vice President Biden and other top Democratic leaders received some of the pens, the correspondent noted that Dingell, the seasoned liberal from Michigan, also received one of the pens.
In an interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez touted the signing of ObamaCare into law: "the Senate bill...becomes law today. You're going to be stuck with a bill you don't like." She then wondered: "What if the catastrophic scenario that you've been warning about doesn't play out?"
Rodriguez referred to an interview that her fellow co-host Harry Smith had just concluded with White House advisor David Axelrod and asked: "What if, as David Axelrod suggests, now that it's a reality and people start to see the benefits, they actually like it?" Steele replied: "David Axelrod didn't talk about the $506 billion that's being taken out of Medicare....He didn't talk about the $500 billion in new taxes that are going to be imposed on those small businesses....there's a lot in this bill that have yet to be revealed to the American people. And when it's further revealed, it'll be less – less liked."
After Steele's response, Rodriguez felt the need to incredulously repeat: "If it turns out to be the catastrophe that you are predicting." She then criticized the RNC for being too "extreme" in its opposition: "I looked on the RNC website this morning. I have to say, I was surprised by what I saw. The home page shows a big photograph of Nancy Pelosi and in huge block letters it says 'Fire Pelosi' and she is against a backdrop of flames....Isn't this a little bit extreme?...What can you accomplish with this?" A still shot of the RNC website appeared on screen (see picture below). Rodriguez failed to point that in the latest CBS News poll, Nancy Pelosi only has an 11% approval rating.
Steele dismissed Rodriguez's characterization: "Actually, I tamed it down. You know, the reality of it is I don't know why you're surprised. Nancy Pelosi is the architect of the demise, in my view, of one-sixth of our economy. She should be fired for her failure to serve the interests of the American people."
Former presidential candidate and New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani minced no words when it came to the Obama administration's massive health care overhaul. In an exclusive interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, Giuliani stated that, plain and simple, it "was an ideological act by the Congress" liberal Democrats "are very happy about."
"Instead of privatizing - which is what our government should be doing - we're taking major roles of the economy for the United States government," Giuliani told "Closing Bell" anchor Bartiromo. "And it is not an exaggeration to say we are starting to look more like a European social democracy than we are an American free-market capitalist society."
A self-avowed free-market advocate, Bartiromo attempted to defend the Democrats' actions for a second: "Let me take devil's advocate for a minute here and say, ‘Okay, you say socialism and we're seeing this government takeover. Well maybe some of this stuff wasn't working before, so how do we know this isn't going to work better?'" she posed.
Giuliani lamented how disingenuous Obama's entire argument about a health care "crisis" was, seeing as how much of the significant provisions do not go into effect for years - and quite possibly under the watch of a Republican president.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer shared the glow of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's health policy victory, showing her, in an “ABC News exclusive” interview, a Washington Post with the headline of “Democrats Claim Health Votes” as she wondered: “What do you think your dad and your mom would have said about this moment?” Sawyer followed up: “Did your dad have a phrase, a sentence that meant the most to you when he'd say it to you, or your mom?” Pelosi's answer, “make sure you have the votes,” cracked up Sawyer, who chuckled: “No so sentimental.”
Sawyer framed her sit-down by trumpeting Pelosi's power, teasing at the top of World News: “Our exclusive interview with the woman now called the most powerful Speaker in one hundred years.”
Setting up the interview excerpts, Sawyer heralded how “she's said to have done it with an epic blend of persuasion, muscle,” describing Pelosi as the “indefatigable,, unwavering almost 70-year-old Speaker, mother of five, grandmother of seven.” After fretting about how “there was such vitriol around the Capitol and also inside the room last night,” Sawyer told Pelosi: “The Economist said that you are arguably the most powerful woman in American history. A Brown university professor has said you are certainly the most powerful Speaker in one hundred years.”
After weeks of featuring mostly Democratic guests arguing for health care legislation, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday conducted a hectoring interview with Republican John McCain. The former Democratic operative turned journalist's first question revolved around the Kennedys: "...You were good friends with Senator Ted Kennedy. What would you say to him this morning?"
After McCain mentioned some ideas that Republicans could do better and, at the same time, advocated for overturning the health care bill, Stephanopoulos complained, "But, Senator, if you repeal the bill, those reforms that you just mentioned will be repealed as well. Won't they?"
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts on Monday allowed the Kennedys to take a victory lap for the passage of health care. As the co-host interviewed Patrick Kennedy, an ABC graphic announced, "Rep. Kennedy on Dad's Final Wish: Father's Life Work Was Reform."Roberts teased the segment, "And we talk to the Congressman who sees this bill's passage as the completion of his late father's legacy."
The anchor repeatedly tossed softballs to the Rhode Island representative: "Did you feel your father's presence throughout this ordeal?" Earlier in the segment, she offered this hard-hitting query: "Congressman, an emotional 24 hours for so many people. I want to just get a gauge of your feelings here this morning."
In comparison, co-host George Stephanopoulos grilled Senator John McCain on the Republican response. He demanded, "I know that Republicans want to repeal the bill. But there are also some provisions that take effect this year that you said you're for...No cancellation of policies if you get ill. Will you move to repeal those provisions as well?"
Who knew that two brave twenty-somethings and a skilled mentor constituted America's entire right wing?
That's apparently how Ian Urbina at the New York Times sees it. In a subheadline employed in a front-page article in the paper's March 20 print edition (relevant portion shown at right) but not used in the online edition's version, the reporter told readers that the poor, put-upon Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is on the brink of bankruptcy because it was "ATTACKED BY" the streamrolling monolith known at "THE RIGHT" (cue the scare music and the blood-curdling scream).
Actually, it was filmmaker James O'Keefe, his investigative partner Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart, the pair's take-no-prisoners mentor. Three people, hardly "the right wing," basically did it all. What followed -- the de-fundings, the abandonments by former political and corporate friends, and now apparently its imminent financial demise -- was largely inevitable fallout from a brilliantly conceived series of stings followed by a savvily managed exposure campaign that ultimately forced holdout establishment media publications, including the Times itself, to play catch-up after days of embarrassing unprofessional silence.
Obviously, that's not how Urbina sees it, occasionally with barely concealed bitterness (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In a Friday piece of presidential protection prose promulgated by the Associated Press, writer Erica Werner correctly identified a number of significant "unfulfilled commitments" relating to proposed health care legislation, and then attempted to make excuses for why they didn't happen.
Werner's work was conveniently accompanied by a heavily downplaying headline -- "Final health bill omits some of Obama's promises" -- while her rundown of the specifics in reality ended up being "all but two":
It was a bold response to skyrocketing health insurance premiums. President Barack Obama would give federal authorities the power to block unreasonable rate hikes.
Yet when Democrats unveiled the final, incarnation of their health care bill this week, the proposal was nowhere to be found.
On Thursday's Situation Room, CNN's Wolf Blitzer engaged newly-elected Republican Scott Brown on his opposition to ObamaCare, and asked him the same question from the left twice in succession: "What's wrong with giving 30 million-plus more Americans access to health insurance?" He also later added, "What's wrong with spending money...if it's going to give access to 30 million Americans?" [audio clips available here; video clips available here]
Blitzer had the Massachusetts senator on just before the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. The anchor first complimented Brown for driving over to the CNN Washington Bureau in his "nice little truck," and immediately asked his slanted question.
After the senator gave his initial answer, Blitzer, seemingly unsatisfied by the response, pressed further, and added another argument from the left: "I guess I should rephrase the question. What's wrong with spending money- the cost, if it winds up costing money, if it winds up raising taxes on multimillionaires or millionaires, or people even earning more than $250,000 a year- if it's going to give access to 30 million Americans, so they don't have to worry about getting sick- what's wrong with that?"
The mainstream media are carping about Bret Baier's "contentious" interview when in fact "he did nothing unlike what Tim Russert did in all the years that Tim Russert interviewed Republican presidents," argued Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell on today's "Fox & Friends." [MP3 audio available here; WMV format video available here]
Just as the late "Meet the Press" host would push interview subjects to reconcile contradictory positions, Baier asked the same of President Obama, who "showed up [to the Baier interview] prepared to give a speech with his talking points, which is what he always does and always gets away with" when interviewed by other journalists, Bozell noted.
Later in the interview, former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino noted that Obama currently has a 46 percent approval rating and asked Bozell what the poll numbers would look like if the media were actually tougher on Obama.
"If the press were, not tough on Obama [but] fair, fair with this president... I think among other things, health care would be dead. This whole charade would be dead," Bozell concluded.
Adopting the tone of an anxious car salesman, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Friday yet again pressed pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak on what it would take to get him to vote yes on health care. Over the course of two interviews, Stephanopoulos has offered eight questions designed to figure out what the Representative needs to support the legislation.
Speaking of a brief chat between Stupak and Barack Obama, Stephanopoulos wondered, "Did he say anything to change your mind that could move you from no to yes?" The host later implored, "What more do you need?" At various points, the two seemed to be having separate conversations.
At one point, the former Democratic operative turned journalist hopefully opined, "Congressman, I have to say, this is more openness to working this out than I've seen from you in weeks. What's changing here?" But, Stupak shot back: "Nothing, George. If they had the vote today, I'm still a no vote."
ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday lobbied Representative Jason Altmire, a Democrat who is undecided on the health care legislation, over what it will take "to change your vote from no to yes." The former Democratic operative turned journalist pressed for details: "Well, the House bill was about, what, $950 billion. The Senate bill came in about $875 billion. What number do you need to see?"
Stephanopoulos chided Altmire over whether he was ready to take down Obama's presidency. Citing another Democrat who changed sides, he argued, "You know, yesterday, when Congressman Kucinich said he was switching from no to yes, he said one of the factors guiding his vote was the fact that if this went down, it would cripple President Obama's presidency. How big a factor is that for you?"
The ABC anchor even concocted a hypothetical situation in which Altmire held the key to everything: "Okay, Congressman, it's Sunday afternoon. The vote's been called. The clock has run out. The Democrats are stuck at 215 yes votes. Speaker Pelosi comes up to you on the floor. The President gets you on the phone and says, 'It is all up to you.' Can you imagine voting no under those circumstances?"
With a disparity of five-to-one, the same network morning and evening news programs that displayed an eager interest in Republican Mark Foley's E-mail scandal minimized the groping and tickling of Democrat Eric Massa. In 2010, these shows offered a scant 30 stories to Democrat Eric Massa and details of how he engaged in naked shower fights. Over a 12 day period in 2006, 152 segments were devoted to Foley.
Additionally, this number of 30 is a generous one. From March 5 through March 16, the networks conducted only 13 full reports on Massa and eight anchor briefs. The remaining nine examples were mere mentions where Massa's name was simply highlighted. NBC's Nightly News showed the least interest in the Democratic Congressman. Anchor Brian Williams featured Massa in a quick 25 second anchor brief on March 5 and, briefly, the next day, during a Mike Viqueira piece on health care.