Reporting on Republican Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning blocking spending legislation over deficit concerns at the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Congressional quagmire. Democrats blame one Republican senator for preventing thousands of federal workers from working."
In a later report, White House correspondent Chip Reid continued to assail Bunning: "The White House is pointing its finger at a single Republican senator who they say is standing in the way of federal aid for hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans....he is single-handedly holding up a routine piece of legislation." Rather than address Bunning's spending concerns, Reid declared: "Because of his objection, 2,000 federal transportation workers had to be furloughed without pay. 400,000 Americans risk losing their unemployment benefits over the next seven to ten days. And Medicare fees for doctors suddenly slashed by 21%."
Reid briefly noted: "Bunning wants the Democrats to come up with a way to pay the $10 billion price tag." A couple clips were played of the Kentucky Senator voicing his opposition: "And I'm going to object every time because you won't pay for this....We cannot keep adding to the debt."
CNN's Jack Cafferty again criticized Nancy Pelosi on Monday's Situation Room, knocking her inaction in removing Congressman Charlie Rangel as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Cafferty highlighted how Pelosi "vowed to 'drain the swamp' in Washington when she became speaker," but at the same time "refuses to force him [Rangel] out as chairman."
The CNN commentator devoted his commentary 16 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour to Pelosi's handling of the Rangel matter. After noting that some Democrats were joining with Republicans in calling for the New York congressman's resignation as chairman, and highlighting how even the New York Times called on the Speaker to "stop protecting him," Cafferty knocked her inaction: "Pelosi says she's waiting for the Ethics Committee to finish its investigation before she makes any decisions. This is the same Nancy Pelosi who vowed to 'drain the swamp' in Washington when she became speaker, and the same Nancy Pelosi who years ago called on Republicans to remove the 'ethically unfit' Tom Delay as their majority leader."
On Monday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the possibility of Democrats using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill and noted how Republicans used the procedure when they were in the majority: "In the past it has helped the majority party push through some controversial legislation. In 2001, Republicans used it to pass a giant $1.3 trillion tax cut."
A Media Research Center special report conducted from January 20 to March 31 in 2001 found that out of 94 judgements of the size of the Bush tax cuts on ABC, NBC, and CBS, "84 percent...labeled it as 'big' or 'huge' or otherwise portrayed it as large." CBS was one of the worst offenders, with various reporters describing the cuts as large a total of 14 times in that ten-week period. Then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather alone used the word "big" 11 times to describe the tax cuts.
Meanwhile, on Monday's Early Show, Plante did not use the "giant" label to describe the massive ObamaCare legislation, simply referring to it as a "sweeping proposal." According to a Heritage Foundation study by James C. Capretta, the total cost of the bill could add up to $2.5 trillion over ten years.
The Washington Post issued a correction on Saturday in which it apologized for a mischaracterization of the House Republican Whip's use of a printout of the Senate-passed health care bill:
In a Feb. 26 editorial, we said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was "posturing" during the Thursday health-care summit by stacking the voluminous Senate bill before him. Mr. Cantor says that he had the bill with him, well-tabbed, not for show but so that Republicans could respond if specific provisions of the bill came up for discussion. That makes sense, and we should not have characterized his purpose as we did.
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted Fannie Mae's $72 billion loss announcement and the ward of the state's simultaneous $15.3 billion handout request.
Late Friday was also the occasion for the release by the Treasury Department of the "2009 Financial Report of the United States Government." The report shows how seriously the government's financial situation deteriorated during the fiscal year that ended September 30. The coverage of the report prepared by the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger demonstrated how weak the press's communication of that seriousness is.
After presenting the first several paragraphs of Crutsinger's composition for the purpose of providing the basic facts, I'll concentrate on the AP writer's three worst paragraphs that followed (there is also a summary table from the report at the end of this post):
A report on the health care summit on Friday's CBS Early Show featured a clip of President Obama scolding lawmakers for "trading talking points" during the meeting, that was followed by correspondent Bill Plante pointing a finger at the GOP: "But from their first speaker, Republicans never backed down from their opposition to the Democrats' bill."
Plante noted that "John McCain, the President's opponent In 2008, challenged the process by which the Democrats' bill was produced." After a clip was played of McCain denouncing the lack of change in Washington, Plante touted how "the President shot back," playing a clip of Obama proclaiming "the election is over." Plante also highlighted an exchange in which Obama slammed Senator Lamar Alexander, telling the Tennessee Republican to get his "facts straight."
Oddly, after displaying the President's clearly partisan attacks, Plante concluded: "Democrats emerged from the meeting saying they still want bipartisanship. Republicans said they don't see that happening."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid described how "exasperated" President Obama was with Republicans, who proved they were the "party of no."
CNN, both on-air and on its website, highlighted how Democratic leaders and President Obama spoke more than twice as long as Republican leaders at Thursday's health care summit. CNN.com's Political Ticker on Thursday noted how Republicans "spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time." The statistic was also cited on Campbell Brown on Thursday and American Morning on Friday.
The network's Jeff Simon and Charles Riley put up a six-paragraph article on the lopsided figures on CNN.com at 7:12 pm Eastern time: "A CNN analysis of the meeting shows that Democrats - including President Obama, who helmed the meeting - were granted more than twice the amount of speaking time as Republicans. Democrats spoke for a total of 135 minutes while President Obama spoke for 122 minutes, for a total of 257 minutes. Republicans, meanwhile, spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time."
All this week CNN has been taking a look at “Broken Government” and in some cases the cable channel deviated from the mainstream media norm by providing a critical view of government.
That was the case on Feb. 23 when Wolf Blitzer and Lisa Sylvester scrutinized lavish pension-plan and retirement-packages for government officials during “The Situation Room.”
“Many Americans will spend half a lifetime or more working for the same company only to find little or no safety-net when that job ends,” Blitzer said to begin the report. “Others, especially those on Capitol Hill don’t have that problem.”
Speculation was rampant that today's health care summit could be a trap for Republicans. In fact, Republicans performed as well as they could have, given the hostile circumstances. The best part: the national media was compelled to cover it all.
The concern for the GOP going in was that President Obama, with his supreme oratory skills, would back the GOP into a corner and get them to agree to legislation out of sheer political necessity. The national news media would, of course, be lying in wait, cameras rolling, anticipating a slip up to fill the evening broadcasts.
But none came; at least on the Republican side. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., one of the GOP's fastest-rising stars, laid out the free market health care argument for the nation to see. He told the president and the American people (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript),
Taking a break from ongoing coverage of today's Blair House health care summit around 3:15 p.m. EST today, Fox News Channel's Shep Smith scolded Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and congressional Republicans for impeding passage of the Democratic health care agenda (video embedded at right; audio available here):
Why do Republicans want to throw this thing out and start over, senator? Why do they want to do that? Nobody buys that!
Can't we just say, "Look, we [sic] got to do something in this country. This is going to bankrupt us!" And you people up there who are supposed to be representing us are making it perfectly clear, you are going to sit in your corners with your own talking points and we're going to lose! We're going to get nothing. And it's clear we're not.
So when this is over, the president will be able to say, "I tried, we couldn't get anything done, here comes reconciliation." Fifty-one votes, and away we go. Then we got a real mess on our hands, and everybody is just mad at everybody else as the country falls apart. It just doesn't seem fair!
Earlier this afternoon, NB's Tim Graham noted how NPR's Robert Siegel and Pew Research pollster Andrew Kohut spoke approvingly of "Millennials" as being "less 'militaristic' and less religious" than their elders.
At end of his post, Graham noted that Siegel and Kohut "somehow" forgot to discuss the key political finding in the poll, namely that the demographic's 32-point favoritism towards Democrats (62% to 30%) has declined by more than half (to 54% to 40%) in just one year of living in Obamaland. Shoot, if that trend continues for another nine months, it will be almost all even by Election Day in November.
Special C-SPIN Coverage of the Toyota Recall Hearings [Satire]
House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
REP. WALDEN (R-OR.): Secretary LaHood, are Toyotas safe to drive?
SEC. LAHOOD: We believe that the Toyotas listed on our Web site are not safe to drive - unlike the sporty, affordable Chevy Cobalt.
REP. SUTTON (D-OH.): So, you're saying that a woman - a minority woman - driving a Toyota is putting her life at risk?
SEC. LAHOOD: Yes ma'am there is a significant risk of her Toyota accelerating, uh, unwantedly. Now had that woman checked out the surprisingly affordable Buick Enclave ...
REP. DINGELL, (D-Mich.): Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you for your forthright testimony here today, and I'd like to ask you if you think these problems in vehicles built at Southern plants might be the result of negligence of workers who are unhappy? I mean workers whose job security and retirement are in constant jeopardy, and who've been denied the opportunity to collectively bargain? Who lack representation?
SEC. LAHOOD: If you mean to imply, Congressman, that these safety issues wouldn't have occurred in cars built in UAW plants, uh, you're absolutely right. Now, for the union professionals who build the luxurious Cadillac Escalade, there's union quality behind every turn of the wrench.
REP. WALDEN: Now let me ...
SEC. LAHOOD: I'd also like to say that the quality doesn't end at the factory door...
REP. WALDEN: Thank you...
SEC. LAHOOD: ...and it extends to those famous Mr. GoodWrench Mechanics...
"I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing." - Joe Biden, 2005
Few Americans would be shocked to hear that members of Congress are not always consistent, and occasionally outright hypocritical. Very often, however, the liberal media attempts to downplay Democratic double standards and highlight Republican ones.
Each recent change in the congressional majority, it seems has brought calls from the newly dominant party for an end to the filibuster. This Democratic majority is no different.
When noting rhetorical inconsistencies, however, the mainstream media has jumped at the chance to note that Republicans, now using the filibuster as a potential means to block Democratic health care legislation, were ardent advocates of majoritarianism in the Senate only a few years ago (as demonstrated in the video below the fold).
Near the end of the Tuesday 3 p.m. EST hour on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster invoked the riveting “Toyota hearings” currently taking place on Capitol Hill as an excuse to compile a grab-bag of liberal gotcha moments – consisting of Joe McCarthy, Iran-Contra, and Watergate – and ignore historical events unfavorable to liberals.
He also seized upon the opportunity to chide Fox News in the context of Oliver North, who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and currently works for the network. “North was convicted of criminal charges, but the conviction was vacated on appeal. Wonder what he’s doing now. Hmmm…” said Shuster.
CNN's Kiran Chetry's two guests -- Time magazine's Karen Tumulty and Wendell Potter of the liberal Center for Media and Democracy -- promoted the latest health care "reform" proposal by President Obama on Tuesday's American Morning. Chetry also omitted the left-of-center political affiliation of Potter's organization.
The CNN anchor began the segment, which aired just after the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, by focusing on the cost of President Obama's latest health care plan: "[Obama] laid out his own vision online yesterday. It would cost an estimated $950 billion over 10 years, and it would extend coverage to about 31 million uninsured Americans. It would also expand Medicaid and close the so-called 'doughnut hole' in Medicare, where seniors have to pay out-of-pocket for prescription drugs. So where does all the money come from?"
Chetry then introduced Potter as a "former insurance executive" who is "now with the Center for Media and Democracy," and Tumulty as the "national political correspondent for Time magazine, who has done extensive writing about the health care situation." The anchor never mentioned the Center's liberal political agenda during the segment (four previous CNN personalities did the same during 2009). She first asked Tumulty to "break down for us how the President is proposing to pay for this nearly $1 trillion proposal."
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith promoted the idea of division within the GOP as he declared: "A controversial vote for brand new Republican Senator Scott Brown, as he sides with Democrats to help push through a jobs bill."
While it's certainly true that some conservatives took real issue with Brown's support of the $15 billion spending bill, Smith clearly saw an opportunity to stir up conflict on the Right: "the senator who broke the Democrats' super majority, Scott Brown, is taking some heat today from conservatives."
Rather than talk to any conservatives about the issue, Smith instead turned to liberal-leaning political analyst John Dickerson and observed that Brown siding with Democrats was a sign of his independence: "It's very interesting, though, because Scott Brown actually showed up at the CPAC meeting, the conservative meeting over the weekend in Washington, and yesterday he was quoted as 'I said I came to Washington to be an independent voice.'" Dickerson replied: "That's right. He said he was going to be independent and he, in fact, voted independently in this case."
On the Monday, February 22, World News on ABC, host Diane Sawyer seemed to rejoice in the "bipartisanship" of newly elected Republican Senator Scott Brown’s willingness to vote with Democrats on a "job creation bill," as she passed on the "fresh sign" of bipartisanship, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s expression of hope that it is the "beginning of a new day" in the Senate. After correspondent Jake Tapper concluded a report on the ongoing debate over health care reform by noting the unlikelihood that President Obama and Republicans will reach an agreement, Sawyer read the short item on Senator Brown's vote. Sawyer:
If the goal of whoever leaked the contents of a presentation originally made internally at Toyota's Washington, DC offices and turned over to congressional investigators was to drum up an intense level of negative press coverage against the company, they can sit back and say, "Mission accomplished."
It seems to have started Sunday with David Shepardson of the Detroit News, who reported that the company had "bragged" about avoiding recall costs. Though he appears to have erroneously believed that he had the whole thing, Shepardson's "evidence" consisted of only ten of that presentation's sixteen (or possibly more) pages with a couple of references to "wins." His report was picked and spread widely by the Associated Press's Ken Thomas, who turned "bragged" into "boasted."
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."