Could Meredith Vieira be emerging as one of the morning shows' most incisive inquisitioners? As we noted here, Katie Couric's replacement at "Today" recently gave Ted Kennedy a rather rough going-over regarding his legislative proposal to require the president to obtain congressional approval for a surge.
This morning, she took on the hitherto untouchable Barack Obama. And while her tone and line of questioning were not disrespectful, neither was there any hint of the kind of MSM cheerleading that the junior senator from IL has no doubt come to expect.
Before we get to Vieira's questions, take a good look at the screencap. By his super-serious mien and the marble-pillared setting he chose for the interview, Obama was clearly trying to project the image of a ready-for-prime-time Commander-in-Chief. Call him "Stone Cold Barack Obama."
In an article Wednesday about organized labor's legislative goals for the 110th Congress, USA Today's Sue Kirchoff mischaracterizes a law that would move the union organizing process away from secret-ballot elections, and makes it sound like an improvement in representative government (bold is mine):
The AFL-CIO ..... is looking ahead to a second bill that sponsors call the "Employee Free Choice Act."
The bill would make it easier for unions to gain representation through an open process in which workers sign cards, in addition to secret ballot elections. Currently, the National Labor Relations Board oversees a secret ballot after a union or employer meets requirements to seek one. An employer can also recognize a union if a majority of workers sign authorizing cards.
Anyone remembering the ascent of Newt Gingrich to House Speaker in 1995 surely noticed a difference between media coverage of that historic event and Nancy Pelosi taking the gavel back for the Democrats in 2007. One had all the joy of a child’s funeral. The other was New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
CNN even had a countdown clock to the Democrats regaining the majority. All that was missing was a lighted crystal donkey that would descend down a pole on the top of the Capitol dome. CNN’s Dana Bash called Pelosi’s gavel grab a "moment to savor," surely true for her supporters, but the bitterest of pills to swallow for those who worked their hearts out last year to keep Pelosi and her liberal army from retaking the House. CNN left no doubt where it stood on this divide.
The liberal media despised Newt, and adore Nancy. They’ve demonstrated this by the way they played up the Gingrich threat in the weeks after the ’94 GOP tsunami, while virtually ignoring Pelosi and her radical agenda for the last two months.
In her story today on the resumption of the debate on embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) in the House, Laurie Kellman of the Associated Press reports the following as fact:
Polls show Americans overwhelmingly support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. And scientists aren't sure that stem cells shed by a fetus and extracted from the surrounding fluid carry the same possibility for treatments and cures of diseases as those culled from embryos.
The facts are that:
At least one poll involved asked a misleading question to get a still-not-"overwhelming" result that does not support the characterization of "overwhelming support" she employs.
The poll's sample was skewed to Democrats and strong Democrats.
The "possibility for treatments" for stem cells obtained from amniotic fluid may have MORE disease-eliminating possibilities than those obtained from ESCR will ever have.
Washington Post political reporter Shailagh Murray professed shock at the lack of attention Congressman Bill Jefferson has drawn, even as she protested the Post has done that story. From today's Political Chat at washingtonpost.com:
Alexandria, Va.: I understand Congressman Bill Jefferson was given a standing ovation from his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, despite the $90,000 the FBI found in Tupperware in his freezer. Why do these details of Democratic ethics problems seem left out every time media personnel recount how Speaker Pelosi will bring "ethics reform" to the House?
Shailagh Murray: I once met the friendliest bank robber. Just because you're a crook doesn't mean you're not thoughtful or interesting or fun to hang out with. Not that I'm referring to anyone in particular. Regarding Rep. Jefferson, I take issue with your observation. I've written or co-written numerous stories, including for the front page, on this case, and we have included it in numerous other stories, including a page one piece last week (not by moi) on how Pelosi handled this case.
No, of course the Democratic Party in Washington doesn't have a problem with the real or perceived masculinity of its male senators and congressmen.
Absolutely not. What in the world are you talking about?
You're all excited just because Maureen Dowd calls Barack Obama "Obambi," had to listen to him complain to her because she wrote that his ears are big (he's sennnnnnsitive about them, y'know), and told him that she's trying to "toughen him up."
Oh, and you still remember Al Gore bringing in Naomi Wolf in to help him during the early stages of his 2000 presidential campaign because:
..... he is a beta male, a subordinate figure, and must learn to become an alpha male, or leader of the pack, before the public can accept him as President .....
Your point is?
And I'll just bet you're going to try to make hay out of that Sunday New York Times Week in Review feature (requires registration) about the new Democratic Alpha Males:
Looks as if Nancy Pelosi has found a rooting section at ABC. As we detailed here yesterday, Charley Gibson fawned over Nancy Pelosi's baby-clutching photo-op. This morning, Cokie Roberts joined the claque. Appearing on This Week, she enthused:
"Great images, you're absolutely right. And completely natural. . . That baby knew that grandmother even though it's only a few weeks old. All those other children were completely comfortable with her. And it was, it was just, fun. It wasn't in any way stilted and awful."
The AP isn't the only one going ga-ga over the ascension of Nancy Pelosi to become the "first Female Speaker of the House". We are seeing the fawning on just about every news outlet out there. And it is, indeed, quite an historic change from the long line of gentlemen that have taken the Speaker's gavel.
"In an article published on afriendly op-ed page, and from the regal confines of the White House, President Bush greeted the incoming Democratic leadership of Congress on Wednesday with a message of bipartisanship.
This week, the Democrats certainly got their fair share of good press as they took control of the Congress. Looking back at the evening newscasts from the first week of January 1995, it’s interesting that the Republicans got fairly positive coverage on January 4, the day they ended 40 years of Democratic control of Congress. “This was the country at its best, making a peaceful political transition while elsewhere in the world men are killing one another in the name of freedom and unity,” ABC’s Peter Jennings optimistically intoned that night.
But the GOP honeymoon was not long-lasting. The very next night, ABC’s World News Tonight featured an interview with President Bill Clinton where Jennings suggested that the Clinton’s problem was that voters were unaware of the fantastic accomplishments of the Democratic administration. And then-ABC reporter Aaron Brown offered a lengthy report designed to rebut the very premise of the Republican platform, arguing that conservative voters don’t appreciate all the wonderful services they receive for their federal tax dollars.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper began the Thursday edition of his "AC: 360" program by announcing that he intended to "keep them [the Democrats] honest." A few seconds later, reporter Dana Bash described Nancy Pelosi’s elevation to Speaker as "a moment to savor." For everyone? Ms. Bash elaborated, saying that portents of Democratic power could be seen everywhere, including the appearance of Hollywood celebrities and the sight of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert sitting in the back of the chamber:
Anderson Cooper: "Day one for lawmakers who are promising a whole host of legislation in their first 100 hours of work. We're here tonight to help keep them honest. So, throughout the hour, we will be looking at how Democrats hope to make law. First, though, CNN's Dana Bash on how they are making history."
Dana Bash: "A moment to savor -- Nancy Pelosi seized the gavel and, with it, power for the Democrats, an ambitious agenda, but, today, history, the first female Speaker, second in line to be president."
The new year may have just begun, but members of the media are relying on time-tested bias to attack conservatives and Republicans. Chris Matthews recently slimed Fox News host Bill O’Reilly by linking him to such despotic leaders as Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
During the funeral of President Gerald Ford, Katie Couric attacked the Reverend Billy Graham for being "remarkably partisan." A "Time" magazine correspondent slammed the departed Ford for not criticizing the Iraq war publically, calling it "unpardonable."
Has anyone checked the video to see if Chris Matthews was part of Cindy Sheehan's noisy protest that brought Rahm Emanuel's press conference to a halt the other day at the Capitol? Because Matthews has been on an absolute anti-war rampage. As noted here, in the days preceding Nancy Pelosi's ascension to the speakership he was demanding that she use the power of the purse to cut off funding for the war. Yesterday afternoon he snapped at Matt Lauer when his NBC colleague opined that the Democrats have no choice but to fund the war so long as US troops are in the field.
Matthews continued his campaign on last night's Hardball. Check out these excerpts from his conversation with Dem strategist Hilary Rosen and former Republican representative Susan Molinari:
Demanded Chris of Rosen: "Will the Democrats do what they promised to do in the campaign or will they let the voters down again and not stop this war?"
Proving that he can be just as hard on Democrats as Republicans, CNN’s Jack Cafferty savaged the Democratic Party--for going easy on George Bush. Appearing on Thursday’s edition of "The Situation Room," the veteran journalist slammed Dems in Congress for stating that they won’t impeach the President, for refusing to cut funding for Iraq, and generally not standing up to Bush. According to Cafferty, this makes them "no better than the people committing these crimes."
The CNN host began by lamenting the agenda of the incoming Democrats:
Jack Cafferty: "But the Democrats are focused on raising the minimum wage. That’s fine, I guess. They’ve already said they won’t impeach President Bush. They’ve already said they won’t cut funding for the war. And several Democrats are hedging on the issue of independent ethics oversight of Congress. Gee, we don’t need that, do you?...If the Democratic Party refuses to confront this administration in a meaningful way on the issues that are threatening the very survival of our nation, then they’re no better than the people committing these crimes."
On Thursday’s Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman offered a very positive, Obama-like portrayal of newly elected Congressman and Muslim Keith Ellison. Because Ellison’s use of the Koran in his swearing in was once owned by Thomas Jefferson, it has "impeccable American credentials" and it is "a politically savvy move" by Congressman Ellison. Shipman continued her glowing report calling him "affable" and states that he "charms almost every crowd."
Despite the historic first, Shipman failed to report that Ellison was associated with the racist and anti-semitic organization, the Nation of Islam. Although Keith Ellison has since distanced himself from that organization, he retains strong ties with the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) which has connections to the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas. CAIR grew to be so controversial that even ultra liberal Senator Barbara Boxer disassociated herself from them.
Amidst all the media hype over what CBS’ Bob Schieffer called the congressional Democrats’ "ambitious schedule" to reform ethics rules and regulations, Wednesday’s "Anderson Cooper 360" actually provided a tough, worthwhile report on what real ethical reform would be. According to CNN correspondent Drew Griffin, convicted members of Congress still receive thousands of dollars in pensions. Yes, disgraced felons such as James Traficant, Randy Cunningham, and Dan Rostenkowski each year accrue large sums of taxpayer money. Host Anderson Cooper introduced the subject and seemed to issue a challenge to the Democrats:
Anderson Cooper: "Well, the new Congress convenes tomorrow with Democrats in control, who have pledged to pass a number of bills in the first 100 legislative hours. They have also promised to change some ethic rules on Capitol Hill. One law that they're not tackling is pensions for convicted members of Congress. That's right, tax dollars used to pay for the retirement of felons."
For CNN, New Years Eve arrived on January 4. "Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer literally counted down the seconds until the Democrats officially took control of Congress. However, when the Republican Revolution swept the GOP into power in 1994, the cable network did not display such a running tally. At 11:45am, Mr. Blitzer hosted a special edition of his program and explained the digital readout:
Wolf Blitzer: "Right now, we’re counting down to the power shift. Both the House and the Senate will be called to order at noon eastern. That’s when our countdown clock runs out and ceremonies ushering in the new era in Congress begin."
And my colleague Julia Seymour has the proof right here.
As the new majority of Democrats takes over the House of Representatives January 4, they have big plans – plans the media have supported.
Journalists have called arguments against a minimum wage hike “a lot of bull” and even came out in blatant endorsement of socialized medicine.
"The only answer is going to be, eventually, some kind of national, universal coverage. A guaranteed system that everybody regardless of income will have at least basic health care," said ABC medical correspondent Dr. Timothy Johnson on the Oct. 16, 2006, "Good Morning America."
According to Bob Schieffer, the Democrats in Congress will be pursuing an "ambitious schedule" on ethics reform. Yet, Schieffer neglected to mention what the Democratic leadership is going to do about ethically challenged Democrats like William Jefferson of Louisiana or Alan Mollohan of West Virginia. Schieffer, appearing on the "Early Show’s" weekly "Capitol Bob" segment, noted loopholes in the Democrats plan on ethics reform, but was pleased that the new Congress was "going to get started."
However, when the Republican controlled Congress attempted to overhaul ethics procedures in June, Schieffer classified these attempts as "not much more than a joke." In a June 11, 2006 commentary on CBS’ "Face the Nation," Schieffer lamented:
Has that blizzard in the Plains blown all the way into Hades? On the day of Nancy Pelosi's congressional coronation, a rhetorical shot was taken at her from an unexpected quarter, that of Andrea Mitchell.
Interviewing veteran Dem congressman John Dingell of Michigan, Mitchell asked:
"Are you happy with this big celebration that Nancy Pelosi has planned for herself? Is it a bit unseemly to have Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett and the dinners and the lunches and the brunches and the trip to Baltimore to rename the street in honor of her. Isn't this a little bit too imperial?"
Meredith Vieira gave herself some cover. It might have been a bit awkward for her to openly avow that she was excited as an anti-war protester, or as a Democrat, a liberal, a proud member of the MSM, etc., to see Nancy Pelosi sworn in as Speaker. Meredith settled for the less controversial formulation: "It's a very historic day on Capitol Hill. Nancy Pelosi, first woman to become Speaker of the House. I'm excited as a woman to see that happen."
Why do I suspect that Meredith wouldn't be quite so excited if, say, Republican Deb Pryce of Ohio were about to grab the Speaker's gavel?
Apparently deciding that one puff piece on a Democratic leader isn’t enough, Wednesday’s "American Morning" featured a virtual DNC press release on incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her childhood city of Baltimore. Reporter Andrea Koppel noted that the Congresswoman comes from a neighborhood "full of proud American-Italian Catholics" and that Pelosi hopes voters will recognize the fact that she "places a premium on family values." The piece featured no criticism of the soon-to-be Speaker, only praise for her "historic moment":
Andrea Koppel: "Now, as Congresswoman Pelosi walks into the history books, becoming the first female Speaker of the House, she plans to pay tribute to her Baltimore roots. Professor Matthew Crensen says the visit could help her refashion her image."
Matthew Crensen (John Hopkins professor): "That she's not just a well-dressed lady from San Francisco, who is married to a millionaire, that she came from a working-class ethnic, religious neighborhood, that she's one of them."
Koppel: "And with Democrats set to take control of Congress this week, that message, that Pelosi places a premium on family values, is one that she, and her party, hope will resonate with middle-class America..."
On Wednesday’s "American Morning," CNN reporter Dana Bash profiled incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and revealed some "startling" details: The Nevada Democrat’s childhood nickname was "Pinky." Additionally, Reid enjoys listening to his iPod and reading "People" magazine. Unsurprisingly, Ms. Bash didn’t find time to mention the various scandals swirling around Reid. (Judicial Watch recently named him the tenth most corrupt politician of 2006.) The CNN correspondent, who traveled to Reid’s home of Searchlight, Nevada, began her piece by promising surprising revelations. Apparently the Senator’s musical taste fall into this category:
Dana Bash: "The senator from Nevada fights for Sin City but doesn't gamble or drink. A square-looking guy who listens to hip songs on his iPod."
[On camera: Harry Reid plays a 'Cowboy Junkies' song on his stereo]
Bash: "Cowboy Junkies!"
Reid: "You know the Cowboy Junkies?"
Bash: "And how does he keep up with music? Get this: Did I read that you're a ‘People’ magazine reader?"
As a former aide to Tip O'Neill, Chris Matthews is accustomed to offering advice to Democratic Speakers of House. With President Bush's announcement of a surge apparently imminent, Chris Matthews made clear his marching orders for Nancy Pelosi this morning: don't fund it.
Interviewed by Meredith Vieira on the "Today" show, Matthews opined:
"She better have, it seems to me, a strong voice about the war. And that's not just putting Jack Murtha out there to lose. And she's gotta get out there and win on this argument. This is going to come down to funding, whether anybody like it or not. The purse strings are now controlled by the Democrats; they cannot abdicate that. They have to choose, whether they're for the president's position with this new escalation that seems to be coming or they're not with him. They can't fall back and tut-tut and hiss the president. They've got to do something about it."
This morning the Washington Post published a story about how the Democrats are going to exclude Republicans from participating in the "First 100 Hours" plan that the Democrats intend to implement when they officially become the majority in the House of Representatives this week. And, while they do clearly state that the Democrat majority is going against a campaign promise to be less partisan, the Post just cannot help but make it seem as if it pains those poor Democrats that Republicans are so mean that they cannot include them in compliance with their promises.
Today, New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse hands over nearly all his news hole for the newly empowered Democrats to whine about the GOP's supposedly corrupt years of control of Congress.
"Republican rule on Capitol Hill drew to an exhausted end just before dawn on Dec. 9 after lawmakers dispatched a pile of bills that few had read and even fewer had helped write. Democrats say the era of such chaotic and secretive legislating came to a close as well."
Hulse lets us know that a kinder, gentler group is taking over.
When righting yourself after a downturn in life, it is best to first take an honest inventory to understand how your own actions influenced the outcome. It may seem emotionally easier to blame outside influences, but professional victims do not expend any effort to improve their lot in life, expecting somebody else to straighten things out instead. This runs counter to liberty, where personal freedom is reflected by an equal amount of personal responsibility. So we need to see exactly where we stand before we plan our recovery from the 2006 elections.
When the Clouds Cleared…
In the House, 23 A-rated, NRA-endorsed representatives–17 of them incumbents–lost to F-rated challengers. (Assumes initial rating of “?” is really an “F”.) In the Senate, 5 endorsed candidates lost, four of them incumbents, for a 72% winning percentage.
The Washington Post had a light-hearted headline for the day after Christmas at the top left of the front page: "Democrats Pledge to Restrain Spending." Lori Montgomery's article reflects a talk to the chairmen of the House and Senate budget committees. She reported they "said they will have little room in their budget blueprints for significant new domestic spending, such as closing a much-criticized gap in the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit that forces millions of seniors to pay 100 percent of drug costs for a few weeks or months each year."
But have no fear, Sen. Kent Conrad has an easy solution, as he emphasized war costs. "Raising taxes would certainly be an option...The President this is his policy. He's got an obligation to pay for it." So why isn't the headline "Democrats Say Raise Taxes"?
As 2006 draws to a close, the MRC has once again ranked the most egregiously biased quotes from members of the media. So, who made the cut as "the best of the worst?" Click here to find out.
Christmas may be arriving soon, but NPR chose the week before December 25 as the appropriate time to broadcast an atheist message of holiday intolerance. Showing that radio can still compete with television for extreme examples of bias, the taxpayer-supported NPR also wondered if ailing Senator Tim Johnson’s family "has the right" to ruin the Democratic majority.
The media’s flirtation with Senator Barack Obama doesn’t seem to have lessened their love affair with Hillary Clinton. "Today" show co-host Meredith Vieira told Mrs. Clinton that it’s now "more imperative that we need a village to raise healthy, secure children." The New York Senator also received a very warm welcome on "The View."
This week, Dan Rather appeared on CNN’s "Reliable Source" and claimed that Saddam Hussein was more honest than President Bush. Rather also reiterated his attacks on the Fox News Channel.
Listening to the Stephanie Miller radio show today on the local Clear Channel "progressive talk" station, I found the trend to rely on comedians for left-wing talk radio entertainment continues. Miller's out, and the guest hostesses are comedian Elayne Boosler and comedy writer Merrill Markoe, still best known for her professional/personal relationship with David Letterman. Today, Boosler joked that Republicans "were so vile" that they were calling Sen. Tim Johnson a "bleeding-brain liberal." It fell so flat, even in the studio, that Boosler tried to point out that it was a joke.
Bloggers have pondered the term, but that was long before Senator Johnson's unfortunate illness.
Yesterday, this dynamic comedy duo was discussing Iraq, and Markoe claimed that Iraq was surrounded by Sunni Arab countries. Boosler weakly suggested "No, I think Iran is Shi'a," but Markoe insisted she was right, and they had to consult someone else to figure it out.