As part of its effort to "shore up" the backing of social conservatives, House Republicans today "issued a contract today to pay former Solicitor General Paul Clement $575 an hour, up to $500,000 to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act," San Francisco Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead insisted in the paper's Politics Blog.
"Republicans claim they will take the money out of the Justice Department's budget, as if that will hold taxpayers harmless. But a cost is a cost and taxpayers will pay it either way. Any funds removed from DOJ are funds removed from other work," Lochhead groused.
This from the same reporter who approved of Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget proposal as "centrist."
I am beginning to wonder whether President Obama is so cocky about his 2012 re-election prospects that he thinks he doesn't even have to be serious in his budget plan offerings.
Unfortunately, the nation's unfunded liabilities aren't so casual as the president; they are growing by more than $10 trillion per year, which means that our looming debt crisis becomes far more problematic with each passing day.
In a discussion with CNBC's Erin Burnett on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer was skeptical of Standard and Poor's downgrading of the chances of the U.S. addressing its massive debt and worried: "Is this a kind of a delicate line for the folks at the S & P to walk? Are they venturing into politics here when they should be sticking to fiscal policy?"
What Lauer failed to mention was that he was using the exact line put out by the Obama administration on Monday. At the top of the 8:00AM ET hour of the broadcast, news reader Natalie Morales reported: "The White House is minimizing the significance of the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade its outlook on U.S. government debt. The Obama administration saying it underscores the need for a bipartisan agreement to reduce the deficit and that the S & P's political judgment should not be given too much weight."
“I’m not biased,” CNN host and ex-Democratic politician Eliot Spitzer told NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on In the Arena Monday night. Bozell was on CNN to talk about the budget fight and his 800,000 member grassroots political organization, ForAmerica, but Spitzer first wanted to ask about various NewsBusters items documenting his liberal approach, particularly about the recent budget showdown.
“Brent Bozell is a self-described right-wing voice who takes on what he views as the liberal media bias,” Spitzer began the segment. “Through his Media Research Center and NewsBusters web site, lately, my coverage of the budget and deficit reduction has been featured as bias. So I thought it would be fun and maybe insightful to bring him on and talk about what he sees as my one-sided coverage.” (Partial video clip below the fold).
As NewsBusters has been reporting, America's media have been on a full-court press to raise taxes ever since Barack Obama proposed this in his deficit reduction speech last Wednesday.
So supportive of soaking the rich is MSNBC's Ed Schultz that on Monday's program bearing his name, seconds after claiming "Republicans are forced I guess you could say to make stuff up," he lied about what happened after taxes were cut by President George W. Bush (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As night follows day, the press is beginning to go after a business entity which had the nerve to do its job and call attention to Uncle Sam's dire fiscal situation.
Standard and Poor's is presumably not 100% populated with angels, but it didn't deserve the gratuitous and ignorant shots fired at it this evening by the Associated Press's Bernard Condon and an "expert" he quoted. In attempting to tar the firm, Condon acted as if the mortgage-lending mess was the creation of "banks" which marketed mortgage-backed securities and asleep at the switch ratings agencies. He didn't once mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the fiasco's Democratic crony-run uber-culprits, which for 15 years consistently deceived the markets about the quality of the already marginal loans underlying the securities they issued .
Here are selected paragraphs from Condon's cracked creation, including a headline which gives away a resentment that the ratings agencies are still actually able to do what they were designed to do (bold is mine):
Credit ratings agency Standand & Poor's Monday placed a negative outlook on the future of America's AAA debt rating as a result of looming budget deficits as far as the eye can see.
Later in the day, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer of Fox News's "Special Report" said this move by S&P was actually a negative review of President Obama's deficit reduction speech last Wednesday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In my book "Crimes Against Liberty," I described President Obama as dishonest, hyper-partisan, a bully, a narcissist and a hard-core left-wing ideologue. Anyone who thinks my description is exaggerated or too harsh didn't hear his Wednesday speech on the budget.
One might have expected that a newly elected president who had "inherited" such a disturbingly high deficit, a growing national debt, and a forecast of unfunded entitlements soon to explode because of baby boomer demographics alone would roll up his sleeves and tackle this deficit and debt problem.
This week’s edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter is chock full of liberal media quotes showing reporters’ slanted approach to the tax and budget issues now at center stage. In fact, there’s so much bad material, we had to add an extra page to our usually three-page newsletter (you can view/download the PDF here).
The whole issue is up over at www.MRC.org. Here’s a baker’s dozen of the worst quotes (including two video clips), all collected in the last couple of weeks:
As part of the political panel on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, PBS host Tavis Smiley decried the recent budget deal in Congress to fund the government through the rest of 2011: "I believe that budgets are moral documents....And I'm not so sure that this is not anything more than an immoral document where the poor are concerned."
Smiley went on to lament how the budget negotiations "effectively locked out the American people, namely, the poor." He further ranted: "I don't understand why it is in this town that every debate about money always begins and ends with how we can further reward the rich and more punish the poor. I don't get that."
Days before his 2012 budget was released, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) predicted that he and it would be demagogued by the Left.
Doing its part is the New York Times which began its editorial Monday, "Six months after voters sent Republicans in large numbers to Congress and many statehouses, it is possible to see the full landscape of destruction that their policies would cause — much of which has already begun":
Whoever is compiling a list of what journalists really believe when they put forth certain vague but commonly used phrases (e.g., using "some people believe" instead of truthfully saying "in my opinion") should consider adding the following: "small but vocal group" really means "a tiny bunch of people I agree with."
That's my assessment as I look at two uses of the term this past weekend, each referring to pathetically small gatherings of people using tax-filing weekend as a excuse to protest "corporate tax loopholes."
The first comes to us via David Roeder of the Chicago Sun-Times (HT JammieWearingFool via Instapundit), where the paper's headline writers cooked up something that would give those who didn't read the underlying report the impression that the city's Tea Party Tax Day protest was small:
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the media have been on a full-court press in recent days supporting the President's push to raise taxes.
Doing his part was NBC's David Gregory who trotted out the words of former Vice President Walter Mondale on Sunday's "Meet the Press" to really drive home the point, and then got a huge assist from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Associated Press's Ben Feller interviewed President Obama on Friday. In the transcript, Feller interrupts Obama's long-winded response to his previous softball question ("Are the Republican leaders lacking compassion and they're pessimistic?") by beginning another question, which is shown as having been stopped before completion:
Q. You said they might lead us to third world -
It's impressive that Feller even knew that Obama, as reported by AFP, indeed accused Republicans of creating a fiscal plan that would, in Obama's words, turn the U.S. into: "... a nation of potholes, and our airports would be worse than places that we thought -- that we used to call the Third World, but who are now investing in infrastructure."
That's because, as seen in a search on "Obama third world" (entered without quotes), there is no current story at the AP's home site:
CNN's Howard Kurtz is either astonishingly naive or so strongly in the tank for Barack Obama that he's willing to ignore the totally obvious to assist the President's reelection efforts.
On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," Kurtz actually discussed with far-left guests Joan Walsh of Salon and John Aravosis of Americablog.com - without ever disclosing the painfully inconvenient truth! - why the "so-called liberal media" don't report divisions within the Democrat Party especially left-wing disappointment with the current White House resident (video follows with transcript and lots of commentary):
As NewsBusters previously reported, ABC's "This Week" invited on a number of Tea Party Congressman Sunday to discuss the budget debate going on in Washington.
Just before that segment, ABC's John Donvan did a brief report that concluded with him insinuating that this conservative movement is drinking tax cut Kool-Aid and President Obama is having none of it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters has been reporting, since President Obama once again proposed letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the highest earning Americans, the media have been supporting it almost 24 hours a day.
Doing his part this weekend was Chris Matthews who after the introduction of the syndicated program bearing his name actually began the show, "Why is taxing the rich so hard?" (video follows with transcript and lots of commentary):
During a pre-recorded commentary aired on CBS’s Sunday Morning show, right-leaning actor and economist Ben Stein - also a CBS contributor - blamed "excessive tax cuts" enacted by former President Bush and congressional Republicans for "starting the problem" of the current federal budget deficit, and advocated raising taxes on the wealthy in addition to "major spending cuts" and changes in Medicare and Social Security to get the deficit under control. Stein: "The Republicans who started the problem with excessive tax cuts in the Bush years will have to agree to raise taxes at least upon the truly rich of whom there are plenty."
And, while ignoring the presence of a Republican Congress that helped restrain spending growth during the Clinton administration, and the spike in tax revenue fueled by an unsustainable tech bubble, Stein concluded his commentary praising former President Bill Clinton and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin as "grown-ups," awarding them credit for the balanced budget of the late 1990s.
Stein: "The grown-ups like Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin - his Treasury Secretary who actually balanced the budget - left the federal fiscal scene more than 10 years ago. Now it's time to live within our means. No more voodoo economics. We can do it. The first step is back through the looking glass into reality. We've got to do it."
Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) had quite an illuminating discussion with Christiane Amanpour Sunday.
As the host of ABC's "This Week" pushed for higher taxes, Walsh correctly pointed out that Barack Obama's first 2012 budget proposed earlier in the year didn't address entitlement programs saying, "The President of the United States ought to be ashamed of himself, and I don't know why your profession hasn't gotten on him more" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
VIDEO: April 15 was tax day in the United States, and Tea Party radicals used it to stage demonstrations across the country, including near the site of the original Boston Tea Party revolt of the colonial era.
The photo was grabbed from an Agency France-Presse video with an identical description. The pic and caption follow the jump:
Like most liberal media members, Bill Maher thinks violent political rhetoric only comes from Republicans.
Proving this once again, HBO's "Real Time" host on Friday disputed former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele's claim that Democrats used such hostile talk against Republicans during the recent budget battle (video follows with transcript and commentary):
What the media like about President Obama's budget proposal over Rep. Paul Ryan's are the former's insistence on tax hikes, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told the audience of Friday's "Fox & Friends."
"That's the part of deficit reduction they like" but "anytime anybody proposes any cut of any wasteful spending, the media are the first ones there to talk about the sky falling and everyone about to die," the Media Research Center founder added.
Call me a cynic, but I've been dubious about just how accidental were President Obama's supposedly "hot mic" remarks about his budget negotations with the Republicans.
Does a president who has been frequently criticized for a lack of toughness really mind being "caught" sounding muy macho?
My skepticism was sharpened by GMA's report on the matter this morning. The graphic referred to Obama's "tough talk." And for good measure, John Avlon of the lefty Daily Beast was imported to declare that the president's supposedly candid performance "heightens his reputation for leadership." I know what you're thinking: what reputation?
Remember all that talk a few months ago about toning down the violent rhetoric on the airwaves in the wake of the tragic shootings in Tucson?
On HBO's "Real Time" Friday night, Bill Maher actually joked about a wall collapsing on Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) (video follows with transcript and commentary):
PBS fans love how the show Washington Week is such a peaceful regurgitation of the conventional liberal media wisdom. But there are times in the calm that you wonder what world these liberals are living in. For example, the show's host, Gwen Ifill, seems to think it's plausible that President Obama -- the man who's made trillion-dollar-plus deficits a routine -- could take the "deficit slasher" label away from a conservative. New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny suggested that seniors might be willing to consider seriously Medicare reforms if they'll help lower the debt.
Ifill replied: "Is that why when we see the president come out this week and make speeches like this, it seems like he was snatching the mantle of deficit slasher from Paul Ryan's hands and saying 'No, no, no -- me'?"
CNNMoney.com ran a provocative piece Friday listing what it determined to be the top "meanest budget cuts." The website laid out seven government programs that are victims of the recent budget compromise – programs that provide assistance to the poor and support humanitarian causes overseas.
Most of the individual cuts make up a small fraction of each program's annual budget, and a Democratic source is quoted multiple times downplaying the significance of the cuts. Don't tell CNN, however, as these cuts are apparently "mean."
Talking to political strategist Stu Rothenberg on her 1PM ET hour show on MSNBC on Friday, anchor Andrea Mitchell saw the Medicare reform proposal in Congressman Paul Ryan's 2012 budget as a major negative for the GOP: "Obviously the White House feels very good right now....it's sort of like a tar baby situation where they're loving the fact that the Republicans are now voting on Medicare cuts."
In response, Rothenberg argued: "For the last year, the political debate has been about the President and about the President's performance. And now Democrats can breathe a sigh of relief and say, 'Ah, now we have something to shoot at, it's about Republicans.'" He later added: "I think the Democrats are much more comfortable with the comparison between the Democrats' performance and the Republican proposals."
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) demanded an answer to a question today that the MRC has been asking for years: why do so many journalists refuse to ask President Barack Obama tough questions?
On the April 15 edition of MSNBC's "Martin Bashir," Walsh pressed the anchor after which the program is named on why he and his colleagues are such Obama sycophants, pointing to the media's unwillingness to criticize the Democratic president for ignoring entitlement reform in his initial budget blueprint.