Today as President Barack Obama was preparing to deliver a speech to America's students, some school voucher-supporting Democrats in the District of Columbia were gearing up to protest the president's decision to scuttle the city's federal voucher program by blocking the doors to the federal Department of Education building in Washington.
Nikita Stewart of the Washington Post's D.C. Wire blog covered the planned protest in a post this morning and fellow Postie Nick Anderson reported on the protest -- joined by D.C. councilman Marion Barry (D) and led by former D.C. councilman Kevin Chavous (D) -- after the fact shortly after noon.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews has told his viewers that he disagrees with Obama's decision and supports renewing the congressionally-funded D.C. voucher program. It should be interesting to see if Matthews covers the protest today on his "Hardball" program.
I wouldn't hold my breath for any coverage elsewhere on MSNBC or on the broadcast networks tonight, however.
Just as soon as "average Americans practice their First Amendment free speech rights to protest another outrageous liberal proposal," the liberal media "immediately go into full-on attack mode - against the American people" Media Research Center President Brent Bozell argued in a statement released this morning.
"Just as with the tea party protesters, and the socialized health care town hall protesters, the media are again attacking the American people for having the temerity to speak up," the NewsBusters publisher complained.
Mr. Bozell was addressing the vicious personal attacks members of the media have been making on parents objecting to the proposed Obama administration "lesson plan," which was to accompany a speech President Obama is delivering today to American children.
President Obama is still addressing the children, but in response to public outrage has withdrawn the Department of Education "lesson plan" which recommended among other things that teachers have their students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President." As the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol has pointed out, it is against the law for the Department of Education to hand down any sort of teaching materials. But rather than report on this, the leftist media are attacking parents.
If you don't see eye-to-eye on an issue with your ideological counterparts - rather than debate the issue, you can go on national TV and call them derogatory names like liberal talking head David Sirota has done.
Earlier on CNN's Sept. 7 "American Morning", as NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard pointed out, Sirota called Fox News host Glenn Beck a "right-wing political terrorist" and added that Van Jones was "a national hero." But this time he set his sights on Florida Republican chairman Jim Greer and "people like Jim Greer" who were concerned about President Barack Obama speaking to school children in a highly politicized environment.
"My take is simple," Sirota said on CNN's Sept. 7 "Campbell Brown". "The Orlando Sentinel wrote about what Jim Greer put out there. Jim Greer put out his criticism of Obama's socialist indoctrination plan before any of these lesson plans came out."
A new high-tech Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Racism. And parents too dumb to raise their children.
That was how NBC sought to explain away opposition to Pres. Obama's planned speech to schoolchildren.
Andrea Mitchell narrated a segment on this morning's Today on the subject.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Other presidents have faced opposition. But experts say it's now more organized, from cable television to blogs, to Twitter. It's gone viral.
RON BROWNSTEIN: There are mechanisms for conservatives to reach other conservatives and to keep them in a state of agitation. And that is much more developed than it was even when Bill Clinton was president.
Terry Jeffrey walked away the winner on Hardball this afternoon. Despite being double-teamed by Chris Matthews and Salon's Joan Walsh, the editor-in-chief of our sister publication CNSNews.com had the others admitting that the Obama admin has gone too far with the cult-of-personality way it's pitched the president's speech to schoolchildren.
But that didn't prevent Matthews and Walsh from unsubtly accusing PBO's opponents of racism, archly claiming that the motive for the opposition to the president is his "background."
On Thursday’s Campbell Brown program, CNN’s Roland Martin berated the critics of the accompanying lesson plan for President Obama’s upcoming speech to school kids, calling them “insane parents.” He later complimented Mr. Obama for the planned speech and made another insult: “I’m glad we have a president who’s willing to speak to children, because maybe these same parents were acting like children.”
Martin appeared with Florida Republican Party head Jim Greer just before the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. After Greer explained his position, substitute anchor John Roberts turned to the CNN political analyst and asked, “Was there a little bit of problem there with the additional materials that were provided to go along with the President’s speech?” He immediately replied on the offensive:
The ABC and NBC anchors on Thursday night framed stories, on the controversy over President Obama's upcoming Tuesday address to the nations' schoolchildren accompanied by a Department of Education recommendation that teachers have their students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President,” through the prism of Obama as a victim of unfair presumptions.
“It seemed like a simple idea,” fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos sighed in offering the most benign description of how Obama's “going to kick off the school year next week by speaking directly to America's classrooms, the kind of pep talk to encourage kids to do their best.” But, Stephanopoulos noted, “the idea ran into a storm of protests. School districts across the country are fielding calls from angry parents. Some fear their kids will be forced to hear a partisan message.”
On NBC, Brian Williams declared Obama's “message will be about the importance of working hard and staying in school” and though “Presidents have done this type of thing before,” those occurred, he rued, before “this hyper-partisan era of instant and vocal outrage immediately on both the right and the left.”
Once again, one of the masters of the universe trotted out on MSNBC has discovered the cure to one of society's ills - more Obama.
Daily Voice editor and CNBC contributor Keith Boykin waved off the reservations of some parents about President Barack Obama addressing their children in the classroom. Boykin appeared on MSNBC on Sept. 3 in a segment about the classroom controversy and added his insightful commentary on the matter.
"So much of the debate about President Obama has been politicized in an effort by some to delegitimize his presidency," Boykin said. "This is clearly much ado about nothing. We're talking about the President of the United States speaking to school kids. Why wouldn't schools want this to happen? That's why our kids are so dumb today, because they don't want to have basic common sense in the classroom."
CNN’s Carol Costello report on Thursday’s American Morning about the end of abstinence-only sex education in North Carolina leaned to the left in the featured sound bites. Three clips came from those who endorsed “comprehensive” sex education, including one who worked for an organization that promotes abortion overseas, as opposed to only one clip from a conservative who favored the old program.
Costello’s report, which came just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, was part of a week-long series about “Educating America.” The CNN correspondent began with a car analogy to describe the transition to the more liberal sex ed program: “You know, it’s sort of like going from zero to 100 miles per hour. School districts, like some in North Carolina, have not taught kids about how to use birth control or how to control sexually-transmitted diseases- or prevent them, I should say- and now they’re trying to come up with a more comprehensive sex education class. It’s challenging.”
As many parents are focused on back to school clothes and supplies, the royal Czar Czar prepares to circumvent parental authority and speak directly to our children in one week. What will he command? That's a good question that the media won't ask, and one that could easily be answered right now while parents still have time to decide if they need a sitter or not. But like all things Obama does, it's spur of the moment and covert.
"Before the Speech: Short readings. Notable quotes excerpted (and posted in large print on board) from President Obama's speeches about education. What are our interpretations of these excerpts? Based on these excerpts, what can we infer the President believes is important to be successful educationally?" -- from Dept. of Education, Grades 7-12 Menu of Classroom Activities: Pres. Obama's Address to Students Across America, Sept. 8, 2009 [emphasis added]
Great news. Our leader will be addressing all schoolchildren on September 8th. And the Department of Education has helpfully prepared a menu of activities for the day. As you'll note above, 7-12th graders are to view quotations from Pres. Obama, discuss them, and strive to understand what "the president believes is important" for students to be successful in school.
Wonderful. But why stop with students? Shouldn't Americans of all ages have the benefit of the President's wisdom? And why limit it to one day, and only to the topic of education?
Watching Associated Press reports evolve, or as is all too often the case, devolve, can be a revealing exercise.
Example: What happened between 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday that would have caused the Associated Press and writer Nancy Benac to water down the headline and opening paragraphs of their story about the Obama-Gates-Crowley situation from this ....
No matter how much money any government - federal, state or local - puts into public education, it's never enough in some people's eyes.
A July 1 "NBC Nightly News" segment detailed a new use of tax payer dollars in one of the worst performing, financially struggling school systems in the country - the Washington, D.C. public school system. They are paying school children with taxpayer funds, part of a social experiment to improve school participation at the middle school level.
"Keeping the exuberant sixth graders of Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson in line on a sunny Friday is a challenge for principal Brian Betts," former "Nightly News" anchor-turned-correspondent Tom Brokaw explained. "But this is not an assembly, it's payday. It's called Capital Gains - paying students for good grades, behavior and attendance, part of the massive restructuring of the D.C. schools by a 38-year-old Korean-American woman, who as chancellor, wants to transform what is by many measures the worst-performing public school system in the U.S."
You might recall back in 2008 when Diantha Harris, a teacher from a North Carolina grade school, made a YouTube splash for having verbally berated a soldier's young daughter that said in class she was for John McCain instead of Barack Obama for president. Of course the righty blogs immediately went wild for the story, but eventually the Old Media came to the teacher's rescue and reported that the teacher never meant any harm. The story appeared on cable and local TV for several days last November.
Well, last month another teacher found himself making news -- or not making it as the case may be -- for having been fired because he is a conservative. Lawrence, Kansas teacher Tim Latham was fired early last month, he claims for being a conservative, yet the Old Media even in Kansas has been very quiet on the story.
Have you ever read a newspaper article and walked away stunned that the writer seemed to be totally oblivious to the real story or left some significant questions unasked?
Conservative readers of the June 9 Washington Post could understandably answer yes to the aforementioned question after reading the front page story "Early Lesson in Eco-Activism Comes From Economics Book."
Casting about for a cause, the Young Activist Club at Piney Branch Elementary settled on something close at hand: the hundreds of polystyrene trays and plastic utensils discarded daily in the school cafeteria.
You want a blatant example of the Old Media's over-the-top, gobsmacked love affair with Obama? Well, one would be hard pressed not to see Time Magazine's latest piece by Nancy Gibbs as a perfect example of the media ignoring all ills and of projecting only what is wonderful onto the dearly beloved as this piece represents. The lionization of Obama is bad enough, but the selective memory of the writer is even more appalling.
Writer Gibbs begins her column trying to "place" Barack Obama in a "cultural map." Most famous people are remembered for a certain place that formed their inner core, of course, and Gibbs tries to pinpoint that place for several presidents including Obama. She pegs Ronald Reagan to Hollywood, Clinton to Hot Springs and W. to Texas. But where does she place Obama?
Every time voters face a ballot initiative of some sort that would raise their taxes, proponents of such measures will trot out any of the following components to champion the cause - school children, policemen, firemen or the release of criminals from jails.
But this time, the June 3 "NBC Nightly News" waited until after California voters denied passage of initiatives that would raise their taxes to say, "I told you so." NBC correspondent George Lewis followed up a dire, one-sided June 3 "Today Show" report with a "Nightly News" segment that blamed the budget cuts for one supposed hardship story - a California school district forced to cancel summer school, which in turn made it impossible for one child's mother to look for a job.
If the cheers of Columbia University's Class of 2009 are any indication, the future of journalism will be looking for a federal bailout.
Washington Times correspondent Christina Bellantoni live-tweeted today's event, noting the remarks from university president Lee Bollinger appealing for more government-owned media outlets. Bollinger also received "big cheers" for his call for increased spending on public broadcasting.
Here are the relevant tweets from Bellantoni's feed in reverse chronological order (emphasis mine):
Update #2 (16:15 EDT):Greg Hengler of Townhall.com has video of the interview mentioned in my first update. He notes that while Brewer is hot under the collar, the student she talked to didn't seem to care that Obama was not receiving an honorary degree tonight.
Update (14:45 EDT): A few minutes ago Brewer pressed an ASU student for his thoughts on Obama not receiving an honorary doctorate. As usual, she was quite irate at the perceived snub.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer is bound and determined to maintain a grudge on behalf of President Obama against a university at which he's honored to give the Class of 2009 commencement speech this evening.
A new propaganda video created by an extreme environmental activist is making its way into America's classrooms and The New York Times loves the whole idea. Enviro obsessive Annie Leonard, Greenpeace member and activist, has created a 20 minute video filled with anti-capitalist, anti-American propaganda to encourage kids to eschew "stuff," calling the presentation "The Story of Stuff."
Leonard's propaganda piece is so anti-American she even begins her video by saying that her "friends" say she should describe the United States by using the symbol of a military tank because "it's true in many countries and increasingly in our own." And why is a tank "increasingly" the symbol of the USA? Because "more than 50% of our federal tax money is going for our military." Naturally, this misleading propaganda doesn't mention that a large portion of that federal military spending ends up going to the weekly pay and health care of our soldiers, something apparently Ms. Leonard is against. She goes on to say that a government's job is to "take care of us, that's their job." Here she is trying to promote dependency and proves that she has no clue what a government is really for -- especially in the U.S. system.
President Obama is proposing a measure today to slowly kill the D.C. school voucher program by attrition. Because the liberal National Education Association wants Congress to immediately kill the program, the Washington Post's Bill Turque and Shailagh Murray hailed Obama's plan as "an attempt to navigate a middle way on a contentious issue."
President Obama will propose setting aside enough money for all 1,716 students in the District's voucher program to continue receiving grants for private school tuition until they graduate from high school, but he would allow no new students to join the program, administration officials said yesterday.
The proposal, to be released in budget documents today, is an attempt to navigate a middle way on a contentious issue. School choice advocates, including Republicans and many low-income families, say the program gives poor children better access to quality education. Teachers unions and other education groups active in the Democratic Party regard vouchers as a drain on public education that benefits relatively few students, and they say the students don't achieve at appreciably higher levels at their new schools.
As if school kids didn't get enough liberal propaganda. Whether parents know it or not, millions of students across the country have been receiving biased news magazines in the classroom. Without adult guidance, children are at risk to take as fact the consistently liberal views of Time magazine.
Through Great American Opportunities, people can order magazine subscriptions and earn Time for Kids subscriptions for the school of their choice. Kindergarten through sixth-graders will then receive this publication free of charge.
According to its website, "The Time For Kids Program helps schools receive the best in current weekly classroom news magazines for students in grades K-6 at no cost. TFK delivers three weekly news magazines to over 3.9 million students."
This program comes from a magazine that has published articles on how kids are bad for the environment. As CMI noted previously, Time's article on May 8 described this environmental problem:
Last Friday, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer expressed her shock and disbelief that Arizona State University would not award President Barack Obama an honorary degree since he was their commencement speaker.
However, over the weekend, the University announced it would instead name "their most important scholarship" after Obama - instead of awarding the president an honorary degree.
"Here's the statement from ASU President Michael Crow: ‘We never felt an honorary degree was the only or event the best means of honoring his tremendous service to our country,'" Brewer said. "‘Naming the scholarship program after President Obama that will affect the lives of thousands of students is an honor befitting, not only the president's exceptional achievements, but also his value as an individual.'"
That didn't impress Brewer, responding on MSNBC in a segment on April 13. "Whoop-dee-do! That's my reaction," Brewer said
The University of Maryland -- my alma mater, for full disclosure -- has made national headlines this week with a pirate-themed porn flick originally scheduled for a full-length screening last Saturday at the campus theater. Under pressure from state legislators, campus officials backed down, yet a student group stepped in the gap, pledging to screen the film in a lecture hall yesterday evening.
Only 30 minutes of the feature-length "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge" were screened last night by a group of students running for election in the school's student government, but it was coupled with a panel discussion on freedom of speech, featuring an ACLU representative and some campus college professors.
Covering the story, Tirza Austin of the student newspaper The Diamondback noted that even in the "fraction of the film" screened, "the segment was still explicit and included two different sets of threesomes - one with 'Devil Stick Willy' and two blondes in corsets."
But that wasn't enough for the Diamondback's editors, who included a link to video of the panel discussion AND film screening.
It seems that deciding which college is best for gay students goes beyond the usual questions of affordable or not, private or public, close to home or far away, and Big Ten or Big East. It also involves finding out which colleges are considered most sensitive to LGBT concerns.
This week's "My Story" section in Newsweek focused on the plight of freelance journalist Julie Halpert's lesbian daughter as she narrowed down her college choices. Halpert also managed to imply that police officers and Marines are homophobes in her exploration of the topic.
Halpert used unfortunate incidents that LBGT high school students experienced as a way to illustrate the need for LGBT-tailored policies in colleges. She highlighted 25-year-old Jacob Weldon, "who became estranged from his parents during his senior year in high school after he told his father, a police officer and former Marine, that he was gay. (He's now reconciled with him.)" Halpert continued, "Growing up in a conservative town in Texas, he became accustomed to having "fag" scrawled across his windshield."
The Associated Press did a masterful job of portraying Republican Governors as perpetrating "noncompliance" for how they want to spend Obama's education stimulus money. But, even as the AP spends the top half of a story wagging fingers at those nasty Republicans for not spending Obama's generous gift the right way, buried in the story it is revealed that the fault is really with how the stimulus bill was written, not in how GOP governors wish to spend it. Ah, but it's much better to make Republicans look like bad guys than it is to blame Democrat Congressmen for writing a bad bill, isn't it?
Even worse, the point AP is trying to promulgate is that these evil governors are hurting "the children" by not spending on education the way Obama says they should. Yes, the AP and the Obama administration are again hiding massive increases in federal control behind help for "the children." It's agenda journalism at its finest... or worst, depending on your point of view.
The Albany Times Union recently showed the breadth of their journalistic abilities by doing a head scratching piece on ‘Baracking' - a supposed new culture-changing form of slang. Ah, so that's what the kids are calling it...
Scott Waldman of the Union apparently suffered from what those in the business would call ‘a slow news day' this past weekend. As such, he ran with a piece on two local high school seniors who have seemingly foregone a desire to excel at English, and instead have developed new phrases that play upon the President's name.
Waldman interviews the pair, and then makes a mind-boggling extrapolation, interpreting the action of these two students as a demonstration that,
Barack Obama's rise to the White House already has changed the way young people talk to one another,' and that this is simply ‘a natural progression of Obama's prominent spot in pop culture.
Exactly what phrases are sweeping the nation these days? How about these allegedly ‘creative' gems...
What up, my Obama?
Barack's in the White House now - which means cool it.
And the appalling response to someone sneezing - Barack you.
Now for something completely different, or at least something pretty rare on network TV. ABC’s John Stossel has paired up with Drew Carey and the libertarian Reason TV for tonight’s 20/20 special headlined “Bailouts and Bull,” on the limits and unintended consequences of government involvement in the economy and in our lives.
While Stossel is known for his skepticism of big government solutions, most journalists at the big networks have been accepting of the premises of President Obama’s interventionist approach, not challenging his assertions the way President Bush’s economic policies were frequently challenged.
Stossel will tackle the idea that all economists support Obama’s government-spending-as-stimulus policies, liberal claims that the American Dream is now out of reach for most workers, and the idea that a fence along the Mexican border will really stem the tide of illegal immigrants.
Los Angeles's NBC television affiliate must not have gotten the memo telling them that they should not utter the name of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), lest anyone reach the "wrong" conclusions.
NBC Los Angeles is the only media outlet I have found thus far to identify ACORN's presence in a story about a "disruptive display of disobedience" by members the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) at a school board meeting Tuesday (the story credit is to "Associated Press/NBC Los Angeles," but as you will see later, I found no AP story containing an ACORN reference).
Here is the story headline that the Google News crawler apparently originally found: