An excerpt from Roberts' exchange with A.B. Stoddard of The Hill on "American Morning:"
STODDARD: Well, at this point the problem, of course is the cover-up and not the crime. Monica Goodling was the liaison for the White House and the Justice Department. If there was some serious meddling here and the decisions were made for political purposes, she's going to know the most how much the White House was involved. And so, you know, I can see why, if something is up here, she needs to plead the Fifth. But for the purposes of the committee, at this point, it just couldn't -- it couldn't fire them up more. They're going to be looking, of course, to talk to Kyle Sampson, and then, of course, the attorney general later.
The New York Times cannot make up their mind if Dennis Hastert should be despised or laughed at, apparently. Neither can they decide if he is "rumpled and weary" or if he is "healthier and more relaxed" -- they confusingly say both in the very same article. But one thing is sure, their underlying sentiment toward the former Speaker of the House seems to be one of pity. And this article was simply an opportunity to kick someone they think is down.
But Dennis Hastert is neither seeking nor requiring such special attention or emotion to be wasted upon him. Furthermore, he never has. The pity party thrown for him by the Times is a pointless jab at a man who has given his life to the community. Hastert should be celebrated, not pitied. Least of all from as cynical an organization as the New York Times.
Inspired by an Esquire magazine interview in which Republican Senator Chuck Hagel mentioned the possibility that some of President Bush's critics may push impeachment at some point, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted considerable time on Monday's The Situation Room to discussing the significance of Hagel's impeachment talk, remarking that "it's not good for President Bush, to put it bluntly." Blitzer characterized impeachment talk as "a little bit louder" and, after Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, appearing as a guest, showed disinterest in a Bush impeachment, Blitzer still clung to the possibility, characterizing Dodd's words as "leaving the door slightly open," and remarking, "What I'm hearing is you're not completely ruling it out." (Transcript follows)
Who says the long sound bite is dead? According to an MRC analysis, "Good Morning America" devoted over 26 minutes of its two hour time slot on Monday to a fawning town hall meeting with Senator Hillary Clinton.
As NewsBusters reported, the Washington Post published an editorial Friday that was highly critical of the bribery tactics employed by House Democrats to get their pork-laden Iraq withdrawal bill passed.
As surprising as this event was, even more shocking was a Democrat Congressman so angered by this paper disagreeing with his Party that he said “[the Post] helped drive the drumbeat that drove almost two-thirds of the people in this chamber to vote for [the Iraq war]."
Displaying such unbridled disgust was Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin) who had rather harsh words for the Post on the House floor Friday (video available here):
It must have been very chilly in hell on Friday, for the editorial division of a major newspaper actually came down on Democrats.
I kid you not.
For those that missed it, the Washington Post ran an editorial Friday entitled “Retreat and Butter,” with a sub-headline “Are Democrats in the House voting for farm subsidies or withdrawal from Iraq?”
Having asked a tremendously valid question that most in the antiwar media have ignored as the Iraq debate heated up on Capitol Hill this week, the Post surprisingly and accurately answered its own question (better strap yourself in your seat):
This week, the media greeted Al Gore’s global warming testimony as though Moses had delivered it on stone tablets (Or some secular equivalent). Katie Couric, on her web blog, touted Gore’s “triumphant” return.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That was the focus of Bob Franken's report on CNN's "American Morning," which focused attention on the pork barrel spending proposals in the emergency funding bill for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The key excerpt:
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: "With today's convening of the 110th Congress, we begin anew."
FRANKEN (voice over): "That was the rallying cry from the newly in-charge Democrats, the wheeling and dealing and hidden pork barrel spending would be no more. Fast forward just 10 weeks. Democratic leaders face their biggest challenge so far. The legislation providing $124 billion in war funding, combined with a troop pullout from Iraq next year. And they're using every tool at their command. The same tools they criticized the Republicans for using -- good, old fashioned pork."
Matt Lauer said the right thing. Was it for the wrong reason?
Discussing on this morning's "Today" with Tim Russert the current wrangling between the Bush administration and the Dem congress over a bill to fund the Iraq war and the Dems' attempt to include a "date certain" for troop withdrawal, Matt Lauer said:
"Robert Gates, the Defense Secretary, has said that sometime next month that the funding for troops on the ground will run out. So now we've got a very high stakes game of political chicken. And can you imagine the Democrats getting to a point where they actually stop the funding for troops on the ground? That would be a disaster, wouldn't it?"
After grilling White House spokesman Tony Snow, the March 22 edition of CBS’s "The Early Show," followed with a fawning story on former Vice President Al Gore and his testimony on Capitol Hill. Anchor Russ Mitchell kicked it off calling Gore "a big celebrity with a message about global warming."
Correspondent Gloria Borger exclaimed the former vice president "looked like a winner." CBS then played a sound bite of Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) offering praise to Mr. Gore calling him "a role model for us all." After briefly playing a clip of Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) grilling Al Gore, Borger called him a "professor" and reminding the audience that "he could still run for president." The transcript is below.
Time's Joe Klein is pleased that Al Gore isn't squishing out on global warming in order to make a 2008 campaign run more palatable for the American people.
As if that wasn't a liberal-enough talking point, Klein's March 22 "Swampland" blog post describes Gore's willingness to resort to the usual tax and spend policies as "putting his [Gore's] money where his mouth is." Portion in bold is my emphasis.:
Yesterday, I wrote--based on incomplete reporting of ongoing testimony
(no criticism of live-blogger Brian Beutler; the hearing was in
midstream when I posted)--that Al Gore seemed to be backing away from
his carbon-payroll tax swap. I haven't seen the complete testimony, and
the press reports are not sufficiently wonky to give all the relevant
details, but it appears that Gore is still up for the tax swap (an idea
I supported in this column last year). In fact--no surprise--he's for a
very tough global warming regime, including a ban on new coal-fired
power plants and an intense cap-and-trade regime.
yesterday that if he stepped away from the tax swap, it might mean that
Gore has political plans--but that speculation obviously was idle and
kind of dumb. In 2000, Gore proposed spending $150 billion on global
warming over the next 10 years (essentially, he wanted to spend the
entire budget surplus on global warming...you remember the budget
surplus). So he isn't averse to putting his money where his mouth is on
this issue, even when running for office. Is he running? Dunno. But, as
Jake Barnes once said to Lady Brett Ashley (or vice versa), it would be
nice to think so.
UPDATES added at end of post with video link (11:08 EDT) and full transcript (12:17 EDT) as recorded by MRC/NB's Justin McCarthy.
Who needs Chuck Schumer, so long as you have Harry Smith [file photo]? Dems might well be asking themselves that this morning, after the Early Show host went after Tony Snow on the attorney firings in a manner that might have made the senior senator from New York look statesmanlike in contrast.
Things got so bad that at one point, the eminently affable Snow accused Smith of badgering him, and later suggested the CBS anchor was acting like a partisan, not a reporter. Things ended on the worst possible note, as Smith accused Snow of hiding the truth from him. See transcript below, which while complete can't convey the rancor of Smith's tone or his manifestly angry body language.
HARRY SMITH: The man out in front answering questions from the press
about this is White House spokesman Tony Snow. He's with us this
morning. Good morning, sir.
Perhaps channeling her youthful experience as a cheerleader, CBS's Katie Couric pumped her rhetorical pom poms for Al Gore in a "Couric & Co." blog today.
Below you can see how she lauded his "triumphant" return to Congress on her "Couric & Co." blog at CBSNews.com, all the while insisting "scientific consensus" is on Gore's side and that Congress should "act boldly" on the issue.
On Wednesday’s "American Morning," CNN co-host Soledad O’Brien must have surprised former Clinton administration official and Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel (D) with a tough question concerning the Bush administration’s use of executive privilege versus the Clinton administration’s use. Emanuel tried to claim the privilege is usually "reserved for national security," which even CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin wasn’t buying. Here’s the exchange:
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: "You worked in the White House, the Clinton Administration, where they claimed executive privilege for Bruce Lindsey and for Sidney Blumenthal in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, essentially. Why that time around was the efforts you made -- it failed, but there was an effort to say executive privilege. Let's protect these guys. They shouldn't have to go testify before Congress. It failed. But that was what was claimed, so why this time around does it not seem fair?"
Wednesday’s "Good Morning America" continued its hyperbolic, Democratic-friendly coverage of the scandal revolving around the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys and President Bush’s announcement that White House officials such as Karl Rove would not be testifying under oath on the subject.
An ABC graphic described the disagreement between the White House and Congress as a "constitutional showdown." Co-host Diane Sawyer asserted that Bush was "double-daring the Democrats in Congress," while fellow host Robin Roberts wondered if the White House could even survive more revelations.
The first report, which aired at 7:02am on March 21, featured ABC reporter Jessica Yellin derisively using the "decider" nickname to describe President Bush:
First, Congress should relent and allow these sessions to take place in private. Sure, I would love to see Rove grilled in public— who wouldn’t? I mean, watching Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, question Rove could be a pay-per-view event in many parts of the country. A long, savory public hearing would be good for my career, I suspect, and sure would beat talking more about the paternity hearing for Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. But I am willing to get behind private sessions if it gives the President a measure of comfort about releasing his subordinates to talk candidly about who did what to whom and why when it came to firing those eight federal prosecutors. So, Point One of my Plan is: Private Hearings.
The bold and brilliant Hugh Hewitt doesn't hesitate to ask journalists appearing as guests on his radio show to describe their personal political leanings. Most decline to do so in a self-righteous huff, the typical response being along the lines "that is irrelevant to my reporting, which I play down the middle." There are rare-but-welcome bursts of candor, as when former WaPo political reporter Tom Edsall famously acknowledged to Hugh that he, along with the overwhelmingly majority of his erstwhile WaPo confreres, were indeed Dems and liberals.
I mention this because a few weeks ago, Hugh had as a guest John Harris, one of the founding members of the Politico, the new web-based venture that draws many of its reporters from the ranks of some of the leading MSM institutions. Harris, for example, is the WaPo's former political editor. Hugh posed the who-did-you-vote-for question, and Harris demurred along the lines cited above. After the interview, Hewitt said he suspected that Harris and the rest of the Politco crew were indeed libs. Nevertheless, Hewitt seems to appreciate the Politico's lively and topical reporting. With that as an endorsement, I decided to sign up for the Politco's Daily Digest email, and have been reading and largely enjoying it ever since.
[Note: Link to YouTube video showing Capitol spray-paint at bottom of post.]
In her March 18 article, the Washington Post's Brigid Schulte informed readers about why Gathering of Eagles counter-protesters set out to guard the Vietnam War Memorial on March 17 during the scheduled anti-war protests:
At a Jan. 27 antiwar rally, some protesters spray-painted the pavement on a Capitol terrace. Others crowned the Lone Sailor statue at the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue with a pink tiara that had "Women for Peace" written across it.
Word of those incidents ricocheted around the Internet.
“That was the real catalyst, right there,” said Navy veteran Larry Bailey. “They showed they were willing to desecrate something that's sacred to the American soul.”
Yet a review of major newspapers in Nexis found few mentions of anarchist anti-war protesters who spray-painted the U.S. Capitol steps in late January. In fact, the New York Times yielded no reporting on the defacement, while the Washington Post only ran a brief item on page B2 three days after the fact.
Here's the 170-word squib from the Post’s Elissa Silverman in the January 30 paper:
For his level-headed professionalism, Lester Holt is on my [admittedly short] list of MSM faves. But while Holt did hit former Ambassador [to Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe] Joseph Wilson with one tough question on this morning's "Today," he let Valerie Plame's husband hijack the beginning of the interview, lobbed him numerous softballs, and failed to challenge Wilson on his blatant misrepresentation of Plame's role in sending him to Niger.
In the set-up piece preceding the interview, "Today" aired a clip of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) asking Plame, during yesterday's congressional hearing, whether she was a Republican or a Democrat. For the record, Plame sardonically acknowledged that she was indeed a Dem.
Friday’s "Good Morning America" featured Democrats talking about Democratic hopes. Anchor Chris Cuomo, the son of liberal Governor Mario Cuomo, and George Stephanopoulos, former White House aide to President Bill Clinton, discussed the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys and pushed the speculative Democratic talking points of whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would be fired.
Stephanopoulos, who expressed no awkwardness over the fact that Clinton, his former boss, fired all the U.S. Attorneys upon assuming office, chose not to talk about what is factually known in the case. Instead, he supplied the perspective of Congressional Democrats by repeatedly talking up a Gonzales resignation:
Catching up on an item from Monday's The Situation Room on CNN, which has already been covered by conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, CNN's Jack Cafferty condescendingly labeled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a "glorified waterboy for the White House" as he called for Gonzales to resign over the controversial firing of U.S. attorneys. After asking viewers to email him with their thoughts, Cafferty further called Gonzales a "weasel." Cafferty: "If you look up the word weasel in the dictionary, Wolf, you'll see Alberto Gonzales' picture there."
Below is a complete transcript of Cafferty's comments on Alberto Gonzales from the March 12 The Situation Room on CNN:
Imagine you're skimming the news and come across a story entitled "Democrats Work to Smooth Iraq Tension." What would you assume the article was about? That those caring Dems had tried to ease sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shias, perhaps? I'd say that would be a fair inference. But read the story, and you'll discover that it is an account of a behind-closed-doors shouting match between Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, the tart-tongued congresswoman from California.
According to the body of the article, "tempers flared on Iraq among Democrats on Tuesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fielded criticism from an anti-war congresswoman over liberals' concern that the party is not doing enough to end the war. Pelosi's behind-closed-doors exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters of California [was] described as heated."
What's the harm, you might ask? After all, the full story is there for those who read it. But that's just the point. Frequently people read only the headlines. Consider, for example, this excerpt from a writer's guide:
"In search engines, newsfeeds (RSS), and other external environments . . . users often see only the headline and use it to determine whether to click into the full posting. Even if users see a short abstract along with the headline (as with most search engines), user testing shows that people often read only the headline. In fact, people often read only the first three or four words of a headline when scanning a list of possible places to go.
From a March 14 Washington Post live chat with Post associate editor Robert Kaiser (h/t Howard Mortman of extrememortman.com). Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Washington: How is the lobbying system not legalized bribery, and
wouldn't ending lobbying by the rich empower the rest of us and
revitalize our democracy?
Robert G. Kaiser: How would you end it? Isn't lobbying a form of speech? Isn't speech protected by the First Amendment?
keep in mind, though many lobbyists do represent rich corporations,
there are also many representing labor unions, teachers, non-profits,
environmental groups, civil liberties advocates and so on. Even
newspapers have lobbyists.
[Scroll below for 5:24pm EDT] On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," ABC anchor Robin Roberts speculated and fretted over the allegations that some U.S. attorneys were fired because they wouldn’t aggressively investigate Democrats. Roberts dramatically stated that the firings highlight "a trail that points straight to the top" and wondered "how big could this be?"
Yet when President Clinton fired 93 attorneys at the beginning of his first term, ABC never mentioned the story.
The entire GMA report, filed by correspondent Pierre Thomas, was framed from the perspective of how the Democrats perceive this growing scandal and whom they suspect:
ABC's World News on Sunday served as the latest example of media reluctance to label liberal public figures as "liberal" while more freely labeling conservative or moderate public figures as "conservative." During a story on the Democratic party's division on whether to push for a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq, correspondent John Hendren labeled those Democrats who oppose such a timetable as "conservative Democrats," but when discussing Democrats who support a faster withdrawal, he simply referred to them as "those who want to end the war and bring the troops home" or "those favoring immediate withdrawal."
Notably, the congressional Democrat who was featured as a supporter of a timetable, California Representative Lynn Woolsey, has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 4.3 percent. And for the year 2006, the liberal Americans for Democratic Action awarded Woolsey a rating of 95 percent. Tennessee Representative Jim Cooper, who was labeled by Hendren as a "conservative Democrat," received a lifetime rating of 27.3 percent from the American Conservative Union and, for the year 2006, Americans for Democratic Action awarded him an 85 percent rating. (Transcript follows)
WASHINGTON - It turns out that Republicans were right: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did violate C-SPAN's copyright by using its televised footage on her blog promoting Democrats.
Officials for the cable TV network that provides daily gavel-to-gavel coverage of House and Senate proceedings at first said the blog was in violation, then announced it wasn't. On Wednesday, they said that it was but that they're changing their policy so that it won't be in the future.
In a warning to the sanctity of free speech in a democratic nation, France is about to show us what happens when the state is allowed to legally determine who is allowed to be a "journalist", or who is a "legitimate" source of news: You get the criminalization of speech.
The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.
This would, in fact, place the power to silence whistleblowers from being able to expose abuse by government officials into the hands of those very officials in the case of police abuse, for instance.
WASHINGTON, D.C.-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's demand to have regular use of a luxurious C-32 for flights to her San Francisco home and other official trips was publicly rebuked by the U.S. House today via the Cantor amendment to the Advanced Fuels Infrastructure Research and Development Act (H.R. 547) by a vote of 385-23.
As originally reported in the New York Post, the aircraft has a game room, stateroom, showers, a communications center and seats 42 to 50 people and it costs taxpayers $22,000 an hour to operate, according to the Air Force.
"The request by Speaker Pelosi to have a private jumbo-jet is an extravagance that taxpayers should not have to pay for," said Cantor.
Before the 30-day window of Google News expires, let's see how much coverage the rebuke received (searching on "Pelosi rebuke" and "Pelosi rebuked," both without quotes; the first search was narrowed to February 7-11 to avoid hundreds of listings relating to the Iraq Troop Surge Resolution "rebuke," as spun by the press, of President Bush) as of 9:30 PM on Sunday, March 4:
It's a bit early for a Passover Seder, but Tim Russert recited his own version of the Four Questions on this morning's Meet the Press. Not once, not twice, but four times Russert put questions to Jack Murtha clearly designed to provoke the anti-war congressman into taking a verbal swing at Vice-President Cheney. Murtha refused to rise to his host's bait. Russert began by displaying Mr. Cheney's recent statement [displayed below]. Palpably fishing for an irate, headline-grabbing response, he put this provoking question to Murtha:
"How does it feel to be linked with Al-Qaeda by the Vice-President?"