A few sources, not the least of which is Michael Barone, are reporting that the Democrats are ignoring important Iraq briefings conducted by General David Petraeus in an apparent effort to stymie efforts in Iraq. It is well known that they are not supportive of the troops in Iraq and the president's "surge" plan they are currently conducting, but whether they like the plan or not, to skip these briefings is an act of blatant negligence that borders on the criminal. So where is the MSM's outrage? Why are we not being told of this Democrat negligence?
For the last few weeks I have been watching two stories that, were they about Conservatives or Republicans, would have been scandals that would have shaken the rafters of the MSM. But, since these stories are about two favored Liberals, one old and one newly minted, we have seen no faux outrage, no shocked commentary, no calls for heads on pikes to be posted at the entrance to Congress, and no calls for resignations. Oh, the stories were reported all right, but all sensationalism was eschewed with the usual extrapolation to the level of a “culture of corruption” cast aside for a straight, newsy style atypical to their normal means against Republicans.
These two stories and the lack of passionate coverage of them by the MSM shows that the MSM employs as much liberal bias in what they chose not to cover as they do in what they chose to go ahead and focus upon.
Back in January, ABC anchor Charles Gibson was the most triumphant over supposed Democratic achievements after taking control of Congress. But on Friday night, only Gibson's World News, of the three broadcast network evening newscasts, reported on the failure of Democrats to pass the bills they promised in their first one hundred days. (Brian Williams' lead on NBC: “A new and growing political problem for the White House: Missing e-mails.”) Gibson had trumpeted on January 4 how video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the House floor holding a baby while she talked to colleagues demonstrated “the ultimate in multitasking: Taking care of the children and the country” (NewsBusters post with video) and two weeks later he celebrated how House Democrats “completed their scheduled hundred hours of work in just about 42 hours, so they can put the other 58 in the bank.” (NewsBusters item)
On Friday night's World News, Gibson explained: “When Democrats took control of the Congress in January, they promised it would be a new day. They'd get things done. They even had a checklist. Well, a hundred days after taking control, we've checked the checklist.” Jake Tapper made clear how they've come up very short, pointing out how the Democrats “have no major legislative accomplishments to mark this anniversary. None of their 'Six for '06' campaign promises last year have made it to the President's desk.” Tapper listed several bills which passed in the House but have yet to be reconciled with the Democratic Senate and he noted how Democrats have “conducted twice as many oversight hearings over the Bush administration as Republicans did last year.” Tapper concluded, through the perspective of Democrats, on a hopeful note: “Democratic leaders know conflict with the White House is not enough for voters. So in the next hundred days they'll try to deliver on the promises of their first hundred days.”
In 1998, CNN was convinced that congressional oversight of the Clinton administration was a problem, and congressman Dan Burton was a harsh zealot with an unglued personality. Fast forward to 2007, and Jack Cafferty finds the president is the zealot, and the investigating congressmen and journalists are heroes.
On Friday’s Situation Room, CNN commentator Cafferty was doing publicity for the Bush-hating site Salon.com, reciting some of the many quotes blogger Glenn Greenwald collected from a variety of liberal media sources, such as the New York Times, Newsweek, NPR, and the Associated Press. These quotes from news articles "tend to suggest a pattern," as Cafferty put it, of missing documents and e-mails with the Bush administration. Among the circumstances which Greenwald pulled up quotes for are the Abu Ghraib controversy, the case of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla (pronounced "Patilla" by Cafferty), the supposed gaps in President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard record, and Hurricane Katrina. After presenting many of Greenwald’s collected quotes, Cafferty asked viewers if they think there’s a pattern, and compared it to a "compost heap... the more stuff you pile on it, the greater the odor that emanates from it."
Sometimes, TV news stars have very short historical memories. Take Harry Smith, host of The Early Show on CBS. In Wednesday's "Capital Bob" segment with Bob Schieffer, Smith suggested the squabbling between the White House and Congress is at an all-time low in togetherness. He wondered if at any time in "recent history" there's been such a desperate impasse. Earth to Harry: remember the Bill Clinton impeachment of 1998?
You had to at least smile that Smith would suggest that Bob Schieffer's experienced much more than merely "recent history" in his long career at CBS:
SMITH: Well, let's talk about this a little bit, because the White House, you know, pulled no punches last week when Nancy Pelosi went to the Middle East. I mean, they were absolutely incensed by this. In your time in Washington, in recent history anyway, have you ever seen a situation where the legislative branch and the executive branch seemed to be so at odds?
Mainstream media anchors occasionally do some explicit cheerleading for a liberal politician. That's exactly what CNN host Miles O'Brien did on Wednesday's "American Morning." He reported that dark horse Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich "flexes his muscle with big oil over the skyrocketing price of gas, and we say go to it."
Kucinich flexing his muscle? Now, that's a mental image that doesn't immediately come to mind.
O'Brien's remark was made during a lead-in to a segment by CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi. Velshi's report gave some details of the ultra-liberal congressman's efforts.
ALI VELSHI: Dennis Kucinich, he's the chairman of the domestic policy subcommittee, has written letters to seven major oil companies, asking them a question we would like an answer to - explaining the high price of gas....
The mainstream media often uses polls to give a biased impression, and CNN’s Miles O’Brien used a recent AP/IPSOS poll to paint a rosy picture of the Democrat-controlled Congress. O’Brien reported on Tuesday that the Democrats were "riding pretty high" with a 40 percent approval rating. For some comparison, in September 2005, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer characterized a 40 percent approval rating for President Bush as "a low point," and used the figure to reenforce his report on the President’s "political troubles."
It’s interesting to note that another recent poll by Gallup puts the current approval rating of Congress at 33%. This is up 7 percent since October 2006, which was right before the election as well.
New York Times reporters Helene Cooper and Carl Hulse's Saturday "Washington Memo" -- "As One Syria Trip Draws Fire, Others Draw Silence" -- defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial trip to Syria with familiar Democratic talking points.
"With a final stop in Lisbon on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi headed home to a Washington that is still ringing with complaints from senior Bush officials that her stop in Damascus to visit with Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, bolstered the image of Syria at a time when United States policy is to isolate it.
Imagine if you will that in September 1996, just days after America launched a missile strike on Baghdad to expand the “no fly zone,” Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich met with Saddam Hussein to discuss foreign policy matters without the permission of President Clinton.
Would the media have vociferously discussed the possibility that Gingrich had violated federal law in doing so?
If the answer is a resounding “Yes,” then why have extremely few press outlets broached this issue as it pertains to current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) recent potentially law-breaking trip to Syria?
To best understand the issue, a little history is necessary. The Logan Act was created in 1799, and reads as follows:
Call it a flying-pig moment, or chalk it up to his concern for Dems' long-term best interests if you will. But there's no denying that on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer absolutely unloaded on Nancy Pelosi and her ill-conceived venture into foreign policy.
The segment was entitled "Democratic Diplomacy: Has Pelosi Gone Too Far?", virtually answering the question by its very asking. In the set-up piece, David Gregory rolled two telling clips. The first was of VP Cheney's comments on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday to the effect that Pelosi's statement regarding her trip was"nonsensical." The second was of former congressman Lee Hamilton, warning that if his fellow Dems box in the president on foreign policy, Americans might conclude that the Democrats have gone "too far."
Interviewing Tim Russert at 7:06 AM ET, Lauer came out guns ablazin'.
LAUER: Vice-President Cheney called Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria "bad behavior," a Washington Post editorial on Thursday called it "counter-productive and foolish," and op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning goes a step further and suggests her trip may actually have been a felony, that it may have violated something called the Logan Act. Tim, is this the way the Democrats wanted to get off the mark in terms of foreign affairs?
It was a Vietnam flashback in Thursday's news pages, as New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg deployed 2004-era Times language to attack the veracity of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the Vietnam veterans group that successfully challenged John Kerry's Vietnam war record. The story concerned Sam Fox, Bush's nominee for ambassador to Belgium, who was forced to withdraw from consideration after Sen. John Kerry made a stink that Fox donated $50,000 to the Swifties. Bush took advantage of the Congressional recess to install Fox as ambassador without waiting for Senate approval.
Better strap yourself in for this one, sports fans, for the Washington Post ran an editorial Thursday harshly criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and the “foolish shuttle diplomacy” she exhibited on her controversial trip to Syria this week.
(UPDATE: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued a press release denying giving Pelosi a "peace message" for Syria.)
Entitled “Pratfall in Damascus,” the piece pounded Pelosi early and often (emphasis added throughout):
HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered an excellent demonstration yesterday of why members of Congress should not attempt to supplant the secretary of state when traveling abroad.
Shocked? Well, the Post's editorial staff was just getting warmed up. Check those seatbelts again:
Chris Matthews attacked campaign fund donations to Mitt Romney last night on Hardball, calling the entire system of political fund raising "unsavory" along with claiming that Romney's contributors in particular are all "rich people" and people who are "loaded". In fact, he didn't seem to understand at all why anyone would even donate to a Romney campaign because he thinks everyone sees him as a "stranger".
In a report that was supposed to be about this first round of fund raising of all the candidates, Matthews found no time in a ten minute segment to even mention the many millions of dollars raised by Democrats, focusing almost entirely on his distrust of Romney, even though Romney raised far less than Clinton.
Kyle Sampson, former aide to Attorney General Gonzales, testified Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Cutting to what genuinely matters, Milbank writes: "Sampson was indeed a bit pudgy and jowly, and he spoke in a nerdy voice that sounded strange coming from a man whose combative e-mails had been released by the Justice Department in recent weeks."
This isn't the first time Milbank felt the urge to call a Republican a nerd. He said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was one when Alito was nominated. As I pointed out at the time, it's not likely Milbank himself would be confused for James Bond.
Milbank also highlighted how many times Mr. Sampson's memory failed him during the seven hours of testimony: "He used the phrase 'I don't remember' a memorable 122 times."
That may be memorable, but it's hardly a Washington record. Former President Bill Clinton, in his Paula Jones' deposition, couldn't remember 267 times. Of course, Clinton didn't say "I don't remember" that many times, only 71. He offered some variety with not recalling, not recollecting, not having any memory, not having direct knowledge and not having any idea. Clinton, who in high school was a drum major and won first chair in the state band's saxophone section, could never be accused of nerdiness.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News with Katie Couric featured another "The federal government is our only hope" segment, this time focusing on the "war on cancer." Couric introduced the segment by arguing that cancer therapies were being thwarted because of "funding cuts that could delay or completely derail promising advances in the war of cancer."
The story, by CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews, featured only one member of Congress, Iowa's Senator Tom Harkin, who echoed Couric and claimed that the "war on cancer" is in jeopardy due to war in Iraq. The "money" quote:
HARKIN: When you're spending $8 billion a month in Iraq, it's very tough to get the money for cancer research.
Far be it from me to put in a plug for "Today," but I do hope Nancy Pelosi & Friends were watching this morning. Congressional Dems might be quick to dismiss what President Bush predicts would be the upshot of a date-certain pull-out from Iraq. But perhaps they would not so blithely disregard the observations of one of the most experienced and respected reporters on Iraqi matters . . . a New York Times staffer, no less.
During this morning's first half-hour, "Today" aired a segment devoted to answering the question "What if US Troops Withdraw?" In the first part, narrated by David Gregory, dueling experts painted alternatively gloomy and not-so-glum pictures of what things would be like if the US withdrew. Those on the "things wouldn't-be-so-bad" side seemed to receive more than their fair share of air time.
But then, Matt Lauer interviewed John Burns. As Matt observed, "few Western journalists have as a good a perspective on this war in Iraq as New York Times Baghdad bureau chief John Burns."
As Newsbsuters has brought you many times (see here and here among others), the MSM's focus on Bush's firing of a handful of U.S. Attorney's is wonderfully empty of any balanced treatment whatsoever. Not only has the MSM ignored the Clinton story -- where he fired EVERY one of them -- but they have also ignored the fact that Jimmy Carter also fired a U.S. Attorney for "political reasons." Not to be left behind, the Boston Globe today reports an uncritical story about Senator Edward Kennedy's (D, Mass) recent statement about the issue.
In a short report by Globe Staffer, Rick Klein, the Globe finds no room for any discussion of Clinton or Carter's firings -- par for the course for this shallowly reported story.
Failed radio mouth and Senatorial candidate from Minnesota , Al Franken, told David Letterman on the set of the "Late Show" that the USA should reconsider approving the Kyoto Protocols because the treaty is good for the economy -- Despite that the ruinous treaty was voted down by a unanimous Senate vote in 1997 for the very reason that it would harm the economy.
To a fawning audience and a rapt host, Franken attacked Bush over the treaty that was voted down before he ever got to office, saying "One of the dumbest things that this president has said -- and that is a high bar -- is that if we abided by the Kyoto agreement, it would be ruinous to our economy. The opposite is true."
This is a developing story, so there's room for it to play out a bit, but the law firm congressional Democrats are hiring to help plow through the U.S. attorney firings, Arnold & Porter, has a history of heavy donations towards Democrats.
John McCain was making the rounds on the network and cable news channel morning shows on Wednesday. During his appearance on "American Morning," substitute host John Roberts tried to lay a guilt trip on the Arizona Senator when he brought up the current hot topic of cancer (McCain received treatment for melanoma in 2000). His first question resorted to the old left-wing cliche that throwing more money at a problem will lead to a solution.
ROBERTS: Again this year, in the next budget, President Bush has proposed to cut funding for the National Cancer Institute. I was on their web site this morning and noticed that for all the major cancer groups, spending on research has gone down for the past two years. Your party was in charge during that time. How did you let it happen?
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.