The L.A. Times took upon itself a difficult task. The chore: to make it seem like Obama is in control of Congress at the same time that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is still a powerhouse there. The truth of the matter is that Barack Obama has revealed little influence over the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives but the Times wants to make it seem as if Obama is firmly in charge to puff his reputation. To do that, it would have to prove that Pelosi is taking a back-seat to the president. Yet, the Times also wants to show support for Pelosi. The resulting article is filled with one contradiction after another as it ends up attempting to say that both of them are in charge of the House. Quite a few journalistic back flips were made in the effort, too.
The L.A. Times headlined its piece, "Pelosi's role diminishes under Obama." This headline might tend to tell the reader that Nancy Pelosi has stepped back from her iron-fisted control of the House to allow Obama to push his agenda. Yet, even as the first six paragraphs of the piece starts that way, most of the article tends to dispute both the headline and the concept that Pelosi has relinquished any control at all to the White House. In fact, it says just the opposite, that she is just as firmly in control as ever, ceding nothing to Obama.
I think it is finally getting to the point that when an Old Media story goes out over the wires without mentioning the party affiliation of troubled politicians, people naturally assume that all the criminal actions in said story are being perpetrated by Democrats. But, that assumption aside, we are still seeing reports nearly every day that omit the "Democrat" in any story involving criminal Democrats. Here is yet another one.
The Associated Press posted a story on the FBI's probe of questionable campaign donations to Senator Patty Murray and Representative Norm Dicks of Washington state. The possibly worrisome donations were from PMA Group, a lobbying firm founded by an aide of Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania. With all these politician's names being thrown around in the AP report, though, it is curious that not a one of them were ever identified as Democrats. Not once.
A black woman from the District of Columbia who lost children to "gun violence" and who advocates for the victims of unsolved murders is calling on liberal Democrats to come to grips with the Second Amendment and vote for a bill before Congress that would give D.C. a vote in the House of Representatives at the cost of rescinding the city's stringent gun control laws.
"I want my vote to be counted. I want representation in Congress. And I also want the right to bear arms," Valencia Mohammed, director of Mothers of Unsolved Murders, is quoted in the March 21 Washington Post.
Mohammed went on to note the racist history of gun control against slaves and former slaves during Reconstruction before asserting she wants "all of those rights that they were denied."
Two March 19 editorials on Obama's failure to create post-partisanship in D.C., both from lefties, can't be farther apart from each other in their conclusions. Marc Dunkelman's in U.S. News blames everyone but Obama for the failure to invent that mythic bipartisan Washington while Mort Kondracke's Real Clear Politics piece lays the fault squarely at Obama's door step.
But, the differences in the two are not just in conclusion but in the journey it took to get there. Sadly, the journey the Dunkelman piece took to get to its conclusion went through Obamamania, into the Obamagobsmacked tunnel, then it took The One turnpike, and ended up parked squarely in Obama's southern port... if you know what I mean? In other words, it was based solely on a sycophantic love affair with the Obammessiah instead of on solid political analysis.
Outrage burst forth from lawmakers in Washington when the story broke that insurance giant AIG still planned to dole out $165 million in bonuses to executives while it teeters near bankruptcy, kept afloat by taxpayers. But the outrage is mostly coming from hypocrites. Just days earlier, President Obama signed an omnibus spending bill with $12.8 billion in self-serving earmarks for legislators during the economic crisis. How can the president and Congress lecture AIG? Don’t the earmarking hogs look like hypocrites?
Liberals dismiss complaints about their drunken spending habits as just a conservative distraction. Why, it’s only a couple percentage points of the omnibus spending bill. So how much of the AIG bailout is for bonuses? The company has benefited from more than $170 billion in government bailout cash, or one dollar out of a thousand. If the earmarks are a tiny distraction, the AIG bonuses are less than insignificant.
But no one’s expecting the media to be consistent in their thinking. The same reporters who yawned past the excesses of the Democrats (and yes, the Republicans) stuffing their budget with pork – now they’re outraged, positively outraged at AIG.
Nancy Pelosi's callous treatment of the United States Air Force has been uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch – and with the exception of Fox and Friends, the morning shows have given it exactly zero air time.
When Rush Limbaugh called a phony soldier a phony, the media frenzy was nearly instantaneous. But when Nancy Pelosi's staffer writes a belligerent email to the Department of Defense, demanding to know the location of every G5S in Air Force service, there is a virtual media blackout.
Fox and Friends reported the staffer as writing:
KAY KING: It is my understanding there are no G5S available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable. The Speaker will want to know where the planes are [...] This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset Speaker.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) participated in a conference call with a number of bloggers on Wednesday.
On the agenda was the Fairness Doctrine, and what the Senator believes the Democrats have up their sleeves to attack conservative talk radio.
Also on the docket was an update on the potential for a carbon cap-and-trade scheme to be enacted by this Congress, and what Republicans are going to do to try to rein in spending (30-minute audio available here).
Taxpayer-subsidized journalist Bonnie Erbe has some advice for Democrats: use the 2010 Census and subsequent redistricting to your maximum advantage to gerrymander and "gender-mander" the Congress chock full of left-wing constituencies.
Depoliticize the Census? Surely they jest! Taking politics out of the Census is like taking milk out of the cow or coal out of Newcastle or diamonds out of Tiffany. Politics is the lifeblood of the Census—without politics, there is no Census.
The Census is part of the spoils of victory for whichever party controls the White House at the turn of each decade. Gerrymandering—using Census data to create voting districts that artificially lean toward one end of the political spectrum or the other—is as uniquely an American tradition as Thanksgiving. The thought of trying to depoliticize the census is, well, decidedly un-American.
Former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Friday's "Morning Joe" to lament that a new liberal ad featuring Rush Limbaugh would only elevate the status of the "blow-hard bullfrog" conservative host. The liberal group Americans United for Change has a spot running that slams Republicans as a party of no and features a clip of Limbaugh's now famous comment that he wants Obama's liberal policies to fail.
After "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist played the ad, Brown asserted of the commercial, "I adore the 'party of no.' I think it is wonderful." She then complained, "The only thing I do regret though is that this giant, you know, blow-hard bullfrog, you know, Rush Limbaugh is being turned into this big icon."
While discussing President Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress and the Republican response given by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez observed: "And Americans loved it. The polls show that they're very optimistic, and then out comes Bobby Jindal, Debbie Downer, saying ‘hated it, it's not going to work.’" Rodriguez made the remark while speaking with Democrat Dee Dee Myers and Republican Dan Bartlett. She turned to Bartlett and asked: "Do you think the Republican Party's taking the right approach, Dan, being so vocal with their objections?"
At the top of the show, Rodriguez interviewed Vice President Joe Biden and asked: "...the Republican party came out with their own charismatic, young, dynamic, ethnic spokesperson after the speech and said ‘we don't buy it, we're not on board.’ Are you taking any of their objections into account? Are any of their objections legitimate in your view?" Biden replied: "Sure. I'm sure there's -- there's some legitimate objections they have. But what I don't understand from Governor Jindal is, what would he do?...if you choose the inaction that Governor Jindal is talking about, how responsible is that? While people are just sinking into the abyss."
“Oh, god,” why did he have to use that word? According to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the GOP “outsourced” the Republican response to a young, successful Indian-American governor who “had nothing to do with Congress.”
They had to outsource the response tonight, the Republican party. They had to outsource to someone who had nothing to do with Congress because the Republicans in Congress had nothing to do with the programs he was talking about tonight or the record he referred to.
First of all, one might point out that Piyush “Bobby” Jindal was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004 to 2006. Furthermore, Republican governors are quite important members of the party. The idea that the GOP was bringing in an outsider is flat out wrong.
Former top Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday applauded Barack Obama's address to Congress, lauding it for making "a start at inspiring hope out in the country."The "This Week" host appeared on "Good Morning America" and affirmed co-host Robin Roberts' question about whether Obama "hit his marks last night."
Stephanopoulos asserted that the President needed to show that he had a strong plan to fix the economy. He then complimented, "And I think he made a good start last night." He singled out the section of Obama's speech on bailing out the banks and cooed, "And I think that was the single-most effective passage in the speech." And while Stephanopoulos noted that this plan will cost "billions of more dollars," at no time did he discuss how the country would pay for all the programs and reforms the President wants to enact.
Co-host Roberts, on the other hand, should be commended for actually raising that question when she interviewed Joe Biden in a separate segment. Speaking of those who bought houses they couldn't afford, she pressed the Vice President: "And now, billions of dollars are going to help both. Isn't that rewarding bad behavior? Folks are still outraged about this."
Loven's before-the-speech as if after-the-fact review provides plenty of comic relief. Though she would be expected to have been given a pre-release copy of the speech, her use of the past tense gives readers the impression that the speech had already taken place. She even criticized Republicans for allegedly doing exactly what she was doing -- but they weren't (bolds are mine):
Seriously, do the kindly folks at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's editorial board even know what the definition of the word logic is? Their headline read, "Hysteria fuels sales of guns and ammo," the Sun-Sentinel takes Floridians to task for being so stupid as to be afraid of Obama's gun banning plans, claiming that Obama "didn't do it." But, even after telling readers no one wants to ban guns, the piece ends with the Sun-Sentinel editorial board advocating for the banning of guns! So the message is, no one wants a gun ban but we should ban guns? This is the sort of logical disconnect that fuels the very "hysteria" that the paper is claiming to want to dispel.
And this ridiculous about face isn't the only illogical idea or uninformed claim the piece makes, either. Just about every word in this piece proves that the editorial board of the Sun-Sentinel is wholly uninformed about the Constitution and the technical aspects of firearms, not to mention being uninformed about the various gun banning bills floating about Congress and the several states at this very moment.
While many Hollywood stars may have raised a champagne flute yesterday to mark President Obama's signing of the stimulus package, actor Kelsey Grammer was not among them. The actor best known for his roles in "Cheers" and "Frasier" told NewsBusters's sister organization CNSNews.com recently that he was a "free enterprise guy" who feared that CEO pay caps included in the corporate bailouts were a "sort of a deal with the devil."
CNSNews.com staffer Nicholas Ballasy caught up with Grammer recently at a ceremony marking the reopening of Ford's Theatre where the actor panned the package as rewarding "evildoers" who have wrecked the economy:
New Yorker senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and compared Rush Limbaugh to 1960s segregationist and Ku Klux Klan member Bull Connor. He also linked Barack Obama to Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. According to Hertzberg, "And I'm not saying that Obama is Martin Luther King or that Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the opposition, is Bull Connor. But the dynamic is very similar." [Audio available here.]
Hertzberg, who once wrote for Newsweek, was on the MSNBC program to promote his new article that touts President Obama for embracing "Gandhian hardball" in the mold of the civil rights movement.Specifically, the New Yorker editor asserted that Obama used this strategy in the way that he fought congressional Republicans over the stimulus bill. Hertzberg told "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, "You know, when, when [Martin Luther] King offered non-violence, when the civil rights movement came out and was non-violent and then the other side greeted it with fire hoses and clubs, nobody said, 'Oh, King has failed in his effort to have non violence.'"
Pope Rebukes Pelosi, Tells Her Catholic Legislators Obligated to Protect Life
The Vatican Press Office released a note this morning detailing part of the conversation which Pope Benedict XVI had with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Vatican insiders inform LifeSiteNews.com that such releases are always phrased in diplomatic language and thus the correction of the Speaker who fancies herself a faithful Catholic despite her abortion advocacy can be taken as a rebuke.
The text of the note reads: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."
Those interested in learning how the press will minimize the Pope's rebuke have an early example to peruse at Agence France-Presse (AFP). It contains the expected watering-down of the rebuke, and more (AFP link is dynamic; its report as it appeared when this post was drafted is here):
Despite all claims to the contrary, President Obama has not been very vigilant about pursuing that idea of "transparency" he ballyhooed during the recent campaign. Politico reported on a host of documents, proclamations and executive orders that Obama has made in the last month and none of them were online. In fact, many were not even released at all to the press by the White House.
So, where is the drumbeat of outrage about the "secret presidency" we heard for the last 6 or so years?
Remember all the mavens of the Old Media establishment that kept claiming that Bush was too secretive? Along with the Old Media, the nutrooters also took up the claim as a battle cry against the evil Bush administration. Of course, Bush was trying to fight an intelligence war where keeping secrets means life or death for our soldiers. But, regardless of Bush's reasons, the media and the left were constantly apoplectic over this supposed "secrecy."
On Friday, radio host Mark Levin gave a shout out to NewsBusters's parent company the Media Research Center and its work via the Free Speech Alliance to fight efforts by liberals to resurrect the so-called Fairness Doctrine.
Transcript follows (h/t Kevin Eder):
MARK LEVIN: Tucson, Arizona, go.
CALLER: Thank you very much for taking my call, Great One. Listen, I just want to have a few words with you here to say I was raised a lib, and I understand how they work, and it's time to get out of our seats, into the streets. And I will be protesting in front of my courthouse every Saturday from 7 to 9 about free speech and about, they do not have the right to take you or anyone else off of the air.
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Kimberly Dozier filed a report profiling moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both from Maine, in light of their vote in favor of President Obama's economic plan, and relayed their criticisms that other Republicans should show more willingness to "compromise." Dozier also likened Collins to another former Republican Senator from Maine, Margaret Chase Smith, who is known for being "the first Senator to stand up to McCarthyism."
Dozier began her report: "President Obama owes his stimulus package to three Senators from the losing side. Three renegade Republicans tipped the balance: Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania and two women Senators from the sparsely populated state of Maine – Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins."
Veteran Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein appeared on Monday's "Morning Joe" to highlight the "masterful" leadership of Barack Obama in passing a stimulus bill and also to laud Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her dedication to service. Challenged by MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan over how much impact Hillary Clinton would actually have as secretary of state, Bernstein, author of the Hillary bio "A Woman in Charge," enthused, "You know, she is somebody who really believes in service. Both Clintons do. Whatever cynicism we might have about the Clintons, she believes in service."
He also asserted that celebrity is important on the world stage and cooed, "And nobody is more celebrated. Nobody is more famous than Hillary Clinton. Nobody can have more effect abroad." Earlier in the segment, the former Washington Post journalist applauded Barack Obama for passing his stimulus bill in a way that maneuvered around a "dysfunctional" Congress. "...The reason Barack Obama is showing such masterful- and I think we can use that word- leadership so far is that he's in the process of solving the problem of the U.S. Congress, the fact that it is a largely dysfunctional institution," he explained.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor about President Obama’s proposed housing bill: "Unlike the stimulus, will you urge your fellow Republicans in the House to support this?" When Cantor criticized the proposed bill and the passage of the "stimulus" bill, Rodriguez declared: "But Congressman, it's clear that Americans are begging for help with foreclosures. Corporations are begging for bailouts. Can the Republican Party accept that there are situations when large-scale government intervention is necessary?"
Cantor began to explain that Republicans supported some aspects of the "stimulus," but Rodriguez quickly interrupted him: "But everyone opposed it. Why? Where's the bipartisanship?" Before Cantor could respond, she added: "Are you afraid of being seen as obstructionist?" An on-screen graphic read: "Economic Crisis, Party Politics & Recovery Roadblocks."
Cantor replied by describing the lack of "bipartisanship" of congressinonal Democrats: "And if you look at the bill that was put together, it was brought to the floor after a couple of hours having just been printed. No one -- not one member of the Senate, not one member of the House -- was able to read the bill. And I believe the public's got a right to know. So the fashion in which this plan was put together by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid was just unacceptable."
Heritage's points are even more valid today than they were 16 years ago.
At the time, which "so happened" to be the first year of the last Democratic administration, there was legislation in Congress called the "Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993" that would have restored the doctrine, which had been overturned by the Federal Communications Commission in 1987.
Here are the three faulty premises highlighted by Heritage's Adam Thierer, followed by why they are even more faulty now:
CBS's "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday almost entirely ignored the embarrassing departure of yet another of Barack Obama's cabinet nominees, with only NBC's "Today" providing any real information on the event. GMA devoted a scant 15 seconds to the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as the President's second nominee for Commerce Secretary. (Previous choice Bill Richards dropped out for tax reasons.) Instead, the networks included segments on aphrodisiacs for Valentine's Day and how to make a flourless chocolate cake.
"Early Show" doubled ABC, managing a still insignificant 30 second anchor brief. NBC's "Today" actually featured a full report and had the most coverage, three minutes and 21 seconds. Out of a combined eight hours of programming, the total for all three came to only four minutes and six seconds. None of the coverage made any mention of Senator Gregg's opposition to the Obama administration's goal of moving the 2010 census count from the Commerce Department to the White House. (The census issue was mostly ignored on Thursday's evening news programs as well.)
On Thursday's edition of "Anderson Cooper 360," the host of the self titled show fretted that the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as commerce secretary nominee might indicate the Republican Party has declared "a war, an insurgency" against Barack Obama. Speaking to CNN analyst David Gergen, Cooper expanded on the theory. [audio excerpt here]
Referencing an embarrassing gaffe by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions that the House minority could consider the Taliban as an example of an insurgent force, the anchor seriously wondered, "So, David, though, you don't buy the idea that there is a war by Republicans against the President?" He continued, "Because, I mean, Pete Sessions, you know, who's head of the Republican Congressional Committee, was citing the Taliban as sort of an example of how to run an insurgent campaign against a larger force." Gergen didn't seem to go for the concept, asserting that there are "some hot heads in each party."
A few minutes earlier, Cooper theorized about the possible GOP threat, speculating, "But, do developments today also speak to something deeper, a war, an insurgency by Republicans against the President, against Democrats in the House and against their agenda?"
On Monday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid described Barack Obama’s efforts to gain support for the so-called "stimulus" bill: "The president aimed the full power of his office, including Air Force One, at the Heartland today, speaking directly to the people in Elkhart, Indiana...For now, the president appears to have the public on his side. A new Gallup poll out today gives him a 67 percent approval rating for his handling of the stimulus legislation, far higher than either Democrats or Republicans in Congress, and he'll be turning on the pressure of popularity again tonight when he holds his first prime time press conference."
In later coverage, just prior to the presidential press conference, Reid again cited the Gallup poll numbers. However, recent Gallup poll results showed that only 38 percent of Americans supported the actual bill in its current form, with 37 percent wanting major changes, 17 percent rejecting it, and 8 percent having no opinion.
Following Reid’s Evening News report, anchor Katie Couric asked: "And, Chip, after the Senate passes the bill, it goes to conference with the House. What is the outlook for that?" Reid replied: "Well, the Democrats and Republicans admit that it is going to be passed eventually, probably by the end of this week, but there's going to be some serious horse trading. It all goes on behind closed doors, and that's when the real work gets done. It gets done much more quickly than when it’s out in public." Apparently public support is not that important.
During the opening of Friday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric teased upcoming coverage of the so-called "stimulus" bill being debated in Congress: "Tonight, 13 jobs a minute disappearing...Senate moderates race to trim the stimulus package to a passable size." An image of a ticking clock appeared on screen as Couric spoke. A clip was also played of Barack Obama exclaiming: "These numbers demand action." In another clip, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remarked: "The world is waiting to see what we're going to do in the next 24 hours." [audio excerpt here]
Couric later reported on a possible Senate agreement regarding the legislation, portraying it as a compromise despite a lack of significant Republican support: "The Senate has reached tentative agreement on an economic stimulus package. Price tag: $780 billion, trimmed down from more than 900 billion. The compromise followed more dismal economic news." Correspondent Chip Reid continued to tout the so-called "compromise": "The deal was worked out behind closed doors by a group of about 16 moderate Republicans and Democrats, who plodded slowly through the 700 page bill line by line, looking for projects that won't do much to stimulate the economy." Neither Reid nor Couric explained that only three moderate Republican senators offered support.
Following Reid’s report, Couric asked him: "So, Chip, does today's deal mean the House and Senate will be able to compromise on a final stimulus bill, or once again will everything be back on the table?" Reid raised concerns, but only those of Democrats who wanted to spend more: "Not everything, but a whole lot. Nancy Pelosi and other liberal Democrats in the House do not like these cuts. They didn't even like the idea of trying to cut $100 billion out of this bill, much less 150 billion, and they're vigorously opposed to those cuts in education."
Newsweek's Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas are tired of all this talk of socialism. We need to stop talking about yesterday's news, they say, and embrace the great new fact that America is already a socialist country. They chortle that
America is just like France. Meacham and Thomas chide Sean Hannity for using socialism as a dirty word because it "seems strangely beside the point." The pair is enthusiastic about our new American socialist society!
We are a European country and we like it, claim the Newsweek duo. Unfortunately, they seem to misunderstand so very much about what they speak.
The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers, aka "The Sleuth," has (Tom) Delay Derangement Syndrome (DDS), and she's got it bad.
Akers's DDS outbreak occurred as she reported on the plan by the Obama Administration to have the director of the Census Bureau report to the White House instead of the Director of the Commerce Department.
(On Thursday evening, after my original post [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog], CQpolitics.com separately updated its original coverage by reporting that "the White House but sought to define the relationship as one in which the director would 'work closely with' rather than report to President Obama’s senior staff." Uh huh.)
As if to justify the administration's plan, Akers incoherently compared the Obama White House's attempt to coopt the entire Census Bureau to what Texan Delay and other Republicans did a few years ago to maximize the number of GOP-majority districts in one state.
Here are the opening paragraphs of Akers's Friday evening bellyache (link is in original):