What is the idea of the American dream, of working hard and achieving something, and knowing that all, you know, half your wealth is going to someone who didn't do that?
So asked CNBC's Maria Bartiromo Thursday during a stirring discussion with a union advocate who had the nerve to claim the problems in the auto industry were all caused by a lack of a nationalized healthcare system, and that only the top one percent of wage earners in America should pay federal income taxes.
Unlike most media members who would have applauded such sentiments coming from one of their guests, Bartiromo pushed back, with respect and professional courtesy not seen much from journalists these days, and in a fashion that would make many Americans currently concerned about their nation's direction a wee bit nostalgic and tremendously proud.
What follows is a partial transcript of this exchange, as well as an embedded video of the entire segment:
In Part I (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) of my coverage of Martin Crutsinger's Associated Press report about Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement and the Obama administration's deficit projections, I noted that the government "miraculously" shrunk the deficit through March, the first six months of its fiscal year, by $175 billion, by employing an "accounting change."
Even though this "accounting change," which does not report TARP disbursements as outlays because they are considered "investments," violates fundamental cash-flow reporting principles, Crutsinger gave the change an unskeptical treatment. He also failed to tell readers whether the administration used the old or new method in calculating its latest full-year deficit projection of $1.84 trillion. If Team Obama used the new method to determine it, the deficit under the old and more correct method will more than likely be over $2 trillion.
Crutsinger also failed to report the steep dive in federal receipts that took place in April, which is the government's highest month for collections, compared to last year's all-time record April haul, which I referred to as the "Supply-Side Stunner," and which Crutsinger and others also failed to report when it occurred last year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
Here is how April 2009 collections compared to April of 2008:
Remember back in March when Congress had the brilliant idea to retroactively tax bonuses paid out by bailed out insurer American International Group (AIG)? The House voted 328 to 93 for the 90-percent tax on the $165 million in bonuses, but it later died in the Senate.
Steve Moore, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, explained on CNBC's May 13 "Street Signs" that the punitive retroactive tax was just a distraction to divert attention away from the culpability of Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., for the current financial crisis.
"Remember, Barney Frank was one of the guys right at the center of the financial crisis," Moore said. "I think he had a lot of the blame of this lays at his foot. He said roll the dice on Fanny and Freddie. So the point is I think that these Democrats are trying to redirect the populist storm against members of Congress like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank towards executives. So, I'm not so sure he didn't want that to pass as a way of deflecting criticism."
For whatever reason, CNBC keeps lining up challengers to take on its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli over his self-reliance, pro-taxpayer persona - whether it's Steve Liesman, Arianna Huffington or this time, Keith Boykin - editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor and a BET TV host.
ON CNBC's May 7 "The Call," Santelli took on Boykin in the program's "The Call of the Wild" segment. Boykin was armed with the usual anti-George W. Bush talking points to defend President Barack Obama and his policies.
"Look what he inherited first of all," Boykin said.
"He didn't inherit anything," Santelli said. "He ran for office, it was his choice."
Two days after the death of G.O.P. icon Jack Kemp, Newsweek Senior Editor Michael Hirsh posted a classless obituary on Monday, "The Dangers of Amateurism," calling the football player, politician, and self-taught economist Kemp an "amateur econo-cultist."
One does not want to be disrespectful of the dead, and Jack Kemp was an admirable man in many ways. If the Republican Party had only followed his advice about reaching out to the inner cities and underclass -- and ignored his happy talk about supply-side economics -- the GOP might not be in nearly the fix it is today. Unfortunately the opposite happened. Kemp, a consummate professional as a football player, was a classic case of an amateur econo-cultist whose understanding never reached quite deep enough. In mid-life, when he decided to switch from sports to politics, Kemp became enamored of simplistic free-market ideas, in particular a toxic combination of Arthur Laffer and Ayn Rand. He then sold another gifted amateur, Ronald Reagan, on the idea that drastic tax cuts would so stimulate the economy that the ensuing growth would more than make up for the loss in revenues....Kemp was such an economic purist -- i.e., amateur -- that he argued with Reagan himself a number of times when the president decided that perhaps he'd cut taxes enough.
On Monday, the Obama administration announced a plan to cut down on tax evasion by companies employing overseas workers, and with seeming disregard to the obvious hypocrisy, let Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner -- who has tax problems of his own! -- introduce the President to provide the details.
I kid you not!
When media outlets report this announcement and the proposed reforms to the tax code, will they share with readers and viewers the delicious irony inherent in Obama using Geithner as his setup man?
Before answering, consider the following transcript of Geithner's introduction (video embedded right):
The Associated Press's obituary on Jack Kemp continued two troubling trends found in recent AP death notices.
In July of last year, covering Tony Snow's passing (saved here; covered at NewsBusters here), AP reporters found seemingly everything negative they could think of to write about the former White House press secretary and 2008 Media Research Center Buckley Award winner (examples -- "good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook -- if not always a command of the facts"; "questioned their [reporters'] motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing"; "[he turned] the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation"). The wire service also saw fit to include Snow's salary when he was at the White House.
In a March story about a tragic plane crash in Montana that took 14 lives, including seven young children, the AP just had to tell us that the plane's occupants had been en route to a skiing "retreat for the ultrarich." A later report referred to their destination as the "ritzy Yellowstone Club."
Somebody needs to 'fess up. Who put truth serum in Calvin Woodward's coffee this morning?
Whoever it is, they're in a heap of trouble, as Woodward produced a fact-checking critique of Barack Obama that is so good you'd swear most of it was ghostwritten by a conservative talk host.
It will be interesting to see how much distribution it gets. I would suggest not counting on too much, but being open to a pleasant surprise.
Regardless of its distribution, you'd better believe they've read it in the White House, and they're wondering what in the world happened.
Here are key paragraphs from Woodward's rundown, which is really, seriously, a read (and save) the whole thing item (it is saved at my host for future reference; HT to Mark Levin, who excerpted the report on his show tonight):
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa, who became infamous last year for her stories of "vanishing jobs" that weren't, sounded hopeful early this morning before the release by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of its first-quarter report on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth:
Economy's free-fall probably eased in 1Q The recession's grip on the country may be letting up a bit.
The government is set to release a report Wednesday expected to show the economy shrank at a pace of 5 percent in the first three months of this year. If Wall Street analysts' forecasts' are correct, the figure — while still extremely weak — would be viewed as a hopeful sign that the worst of the recession — in terms of lost economic activity — may be past.
It's a response that might incite laughter, as it did from conservative pundit Monica Crowley and MSNBC paleocon talker Pat Buchanan. According to Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, the current problems facing the country and President Barack Obama are due to capitalism.
"I give him a B+ because there's a lot of outcomes that haven't come in yet," Clift said. "But look, this isn't about the failure of government and the Republicans are on the wrong tact talking about big government. This is a failure of capitalism. He's trying to save capitalism."
On CNBC's April 24 "The Call," Santelli expressed his frustration with an overreaction by the government to solve the financial crisis when Kudlow asked him about the expansion of bailout obligations from the original TARP bailout price tag $750 billion to the $3 trillion.
"Listen - I'm glad I didn't say that, I'm glad I didn't say all that," Santelli said. "Do I disagree with it? Probably not. But, I'll take it a step farther - in the beginning, whether it was the commercial paper program, there was a need just like babies have a need for milk. But I don't need to drink a couple of gallons anymore."
Almost a year ago, I was posting on what I called the "Supply-Side Stunner" (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
In April 2008, the US Treasury collected an all-time record $407.3 billion ($403.75 billion after subtracting the first $3.35 billion wave of stimulus checks, which really should have been treated as outlays, that went out just before month-end). It was an indication that, as I said at the time, "many (entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and investors) are thinking, in the face of relentless media harping to the contrary, that 2008 will be at least as profitable (as 2007)."
This year, it's shaping up to be the "Bailout Year Bummer." Uncle Sam's fiscal year began on October 1 of last year, mere days before Congress passed the legislation that has come to be known as TARP, and a bit more than three months after Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid promised to starve the economy of energy and punitively tax its highest producers, creating what I have since called the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy.
Through March, federal receipts were running 14% behind the previous year. Each month during the fiscal year has trailed the previous year, and degree of the difference has steadily increased.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
When American citizens assert conservative principles, as they did last week with the tea party protests, it has a strange effect on liberals. They get angry. Some get in touch with their inner Beavis and Butthead, giggling endlessly over lame sexual innuendo. Some, like Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi, just get downright misogynistic.
In a blog post on tax day, Taibbi sleazed conservative writer Michelle Malkin, who supported and wrote about the tea parties. “I have to say, I’m really enjoying this whole teabag thing,” Taibbi wrote. “It’s really inspiring some excellent daydreaming. For one thing, it’s brought together the words teabag and Michelle Malkin for me in a very powerful, thrilling sort of way. Not that I haven’t ever put those two concepts together before, but this is the first time it’s happened while in the process of reading her actual columns.”
Taibbi then paused to slime Ann Coulter (“When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would f*** a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating.”) before really turning on the charm.
Janeane Garofalo embodies "the dark, the very ugly underbelly of the American Left today" which "is on display for anyone to see," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of Sunday, April 19 edition of "Fox & Friends Weekend." [audio available here]
"This is about hating a black man. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks," the liberal comedian and actress told Keith Olbermann on his Thursday, April 16 edition of "Countdown."
"What gets me [is that] no one on the Left has denounced this woman. No one denounces these people when they go off the deep end like this. This is the dark, ugly underside of the Left today," Bozell added.
The segment -- which aired at 9:15 a.m. EDT -- began with co-host Alisyn Camerota noting the folly of competitor networks dismissively scoffing the massive protests:
As Tea Parties ensued from coast to coast last week, the Obama administration and their media minions depicted attendees as not understanding that the new president has decreed taxes will be going down for 95 percent of Americans.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein let the cat out of the bag: Tea Partiers are right. Taxes are going up.
This revelation occurred after host David Gregory said to the Post's Pulitzer Prize winner, "There may be doubts about President Obama, but he is cutting taxes."
Despite all the criticisms of the Fox News Channel broadcasted on MSNBC for promoting tea party coverage, one thing hasn't been pointed out - how the NBC networks, including CNBC and MSNBC are given a pass for their shameless promotion of their Green Week and Green is Universal network events.
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for National Review and author of "Liberal Fascism," appeared on Fox News Channel's April 18 "Fox News Watch" and commented on FNC's promotion of the tea parties, but the double standard of MSNBC's criticism of Fox News.
"I think that there's a perfectly legitimate criticism against Fox for not so much the coverage, but the commercials, you know - promoting the coverage, which was in effect advertisements for these things," Goldberg explained. "But, this was all transparent, people knew that's Fox was doing. But let's flashback to what GE, to pick up a point that Jim [Pinkerton] made - that GE basically issued a fatwa to NBC for Green Week, where they did hundreds of hours of environmental messaging in all of their dramas, news coverage, "Today" show - throughout the network and it was all hailed as a wonderful progressive thing. That is a much more pernicious promotion than anything Fox did."
In an outrageous calumny, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg has decided that the nearly one million Americans that attended the tax day tea party protests all across the country must not care about our military veterans. Considering a large number of these very same protesters were military vets, I'd bet that Steinberg's blinkered figuring would come as quite a surprise to them.
In his April 17 column Steinberg insists that tax protesters are in reality "speaking out against our military and our vets." Ridiculously, he also tries to make it seem like our founding fathers would be unhappy with the tea party movement because he thinks the founders were big government folks. The backflips, illogic, and the obviously illiterate historical analysis by which he arrives at these absurd notions is an act of liberal pretzel logic that is a wonder to behold.
"At some point, I'm still trying to figure this out, we became a nation that honors failure and rewards it, instead of honoring success and rewarding it," actor John Ratzenberger told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto on Wednesday's "Your World" program. The "Cheers" alum appeared at the Sacramento Tea Party to register his concerns about government tax and spend policies. [full video by Fox News here. Audio excerpt here.]
"I've always celebrated common sense, it's not a Democrat or a Republican issue," Ratzenberger insisted, to be concerned about the high taxes which are driving small business and the jobs they provide, to leave California.
Ratzenberger's remarks echo conservative sentiments expressed recently by his fellow "Cheers" alumnus Kelsey Grammer, who told CNSNews.com that President Obama's policies punished success while bailing out irresponsible people who took on second mortgages they could not afford:
In the wake of the tax day tea parties, the Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business Channel's "Cavuto" on April 16 to discuss the protests.
Host Neil Cavuto compared the tea parties to the successful 1978 California tax revolt led by Howard Jarvis, noting that the media failed to take notice of the movement in that case as well, until they had to report the surprise passage of Proposition 13.
"Well of course it's relatable," Gainor said of the comparison. "What we're dealing with now are the same problems. Taxes and government growth are out of control and the politicians are out of touch -- and frankly most of the media are out of touch."
The tea-party coverage even trickled on National Public Radio on Wednesday night, on their newscast All Things Considered. It was a fairly respectful hearing of dissent, even though anchor Melissa Block suggested the protesters were bearing only "pet peeves," and reporter Robert Smith insisted the festivities weren't exactly "grass roots" activity, since they were grown with "partisan fertilizer."
They were put together by "conservative" groups and Fox News. Would NPR or the TV networks ever describe the anti-war or pro-amnesty protests they lavishly cover as "liberal" events, or note they're less than "grass roots" because they got heavy play on ABC, CBS, and NBC? But Smith went there on the tea parties:
On Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and Jeffrey Toobin voiced their skepticism about the hundreds of Tea Party protests across the U.S., with Toobin stating how it was “disturbing” that there was a “edge of anger at the government” at the rallies. He continued, “There is a real -- a real hostility that is not just politics as usual among some of these people....I think it’s indicative of trying to tap into an anger that’s beyond rationality on a part of a small group of these people.” Amanpour also asked if the protesters were “really out of step with the majority of Americans.”
Amanpour, filing in for host Anderson Cooper, began the segment just after the beginning of the 10 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Before turning to Toobin, she brought on the network’s senior political analyst David Gergen and asked him a cynical question about the Tea Parties: “David -- is this, David, a grassroots movement, or is it something just whipped up for this moment?” Gergen began with an admission: “Well, Christiane, at first, I must confess, I did not take these very seriously. But they do seem to have gained traction in the last couple of weeks. And they have -- I think they are giving expression to what is a groundswell of a vocal minority, who are increasingly alienated and opposed to what the president is proposing -- is putting forward, the agenda he’s advancing.”
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which since mid-March has been published solely online, greeted visitors to its Web page today with links to opinion pieces or cartoons critical of the April 15 Tea Parties (see screencap at right).
In the upper right-hand corner, under a picture of Seattleites at a tea party protest, were links to
a liberal opinion piece by P-I cartoonist David Horsey
a photo slideshow from Seattle's Tea Party
an editorial cartoon by Horsey, reflecting similar sentiments to those penned in his opinion piece
No ostensibly objective news stories by P-I staffers covering the protests were teased.
On the day after nationwide Tea Party protests, the Washington Post carried this headline in a text box at the top of Page One: "Tax Burden Near Historic Low: The average family sent about 9 percent of its income to the IRS, with the middle-class faring especially well, according to federal data. A12." (The D.C. tea party was noted at the bottom of the page, and readers were sent to B-1, the front of Metro.) But how do the Post’s "tax burden" claims stand up?
Inside the paper, there’s a chart, and the source is the "nonpartisan" Congressional Budget Office, now controlled by the Democratic majority. It measured only the "Effective individual income tax rate." The Post is measuring less than half the federal "tax burden"! Here’s what the CBO director’s blog on the study reported:
The overall effective federal tax rate (the ratio of federal taxes to household income) was 20.7 percent in 2006. Individual income taxes, the largest component, were 9.1 percent of household income. Payroll taxes were the next largest source, with an effective tax rate of 7.5 percent. Corporate income taxes and excise taxes were smaller, with effective tax rates of 3.4 percent and 0.7 percent.
You can't say it's not expected, but once again a voice on the left has demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of taxes and the global economy.
MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann, on his April 15 program, attacked the concept of tax havens - something he insisted was made possible by former President George W. Bush. His criticism was part of his "Still Bushed" segment that bashes the former president, even though he has been out of office for nearly three months now.
"And Number One, tea bag-gate," Olbermann said, continuing to use the sexual slang for tax protests. "As handfuls of sheep possibly wearing LED vests, as seen earlier in Oddball, are herded into made for TV protests of taxation with representation, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has now analyzed a Senate report from last year that showed just how much we lose as a nation in tax revenues hidden by corporations in places like the Cayman Islands - the opportunities to do so growing immeasurably under the Bush administration."
CNN reporter Susan Roesgen became a pseudo-"journalistic" anti-hero yesterday for her obnoxiously belligerent interview of one Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party participant and her overall assessment of the more than 750 events around the country as amongst other derogatory things "anti-government."
But in another segment, she delved into rank hypocrisy the likes of which we rarely find even in the woefully biased liberal media pantheon.
In it she sought out another TEA Party participant who had a mocked-up sign in which President Barack Obama is melded with Adolf Hitler. She immediately began arguing with this gentleman as well; amongst the things she angrily said were "Why be so hard on the President of the United States with such an offensive message?" and "Do you realize how offensive that is?"
We will admit that portraying President Obama as Der Fuhrer is a bit over the top. But Miss Roesgen's sensitivity to being "so hard on the President of the United States with such an offensive message" seems only to arise when the Hitler-izing involves Democratic Commanders-in-Chief.
Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the Fox News Channel program, "America's Newsroom" shortly after 10 a.m. Eastern. [See video embed at the right; audio available here]
Mr. Bozell gave his thoughts on the media's coverage of the Tea Party protests, the good, the bad, and the Roesgen. Below is an excerpt:
MEGYN KELLY, co-host, to Brent Bozell: There's been a lot of outrage over this clip, online and other words [sic]. CNN has come out and said she [CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen] was doing her job and quote, "called it like she saw it." Do you see a problem with it?
BRENT BOZELL, MRC president: Well, you tell me where in that clip was a reporter reporting news. This was an activist debating with an activist, and calling herself a reporter in the process.
I have to say, this tea party effort has the unhinged left more unhinged than usual. Here we have another example of that from a purported dictionary wiki called the "Urban Dictionary" where users can add kitsch definitions to words used on the "street." In this case the registered users posted to the pseudo dictionary some entries connecting the tax protests with a sexual perversion practiced in their circles. Apparently there is nothing by way of moderating going on at the Urban "Dictionary" site. Anything can be added whether useful or true or not.
Now, I won't give a direct link to this site because the entries added by its users are often profane. If you are that interested, go to the Urban Dictionary site and search the term "teabagger" or "teabagging," etc.and you'll get all the ignorance you desire. In fact, it couldn't be worse if you watched MSNBC all day, it's that mindnumbingly stupid.