Throughout George W. Bush's presidency, insults were doled out repeatedly about the commander-in-chief and that was just a fact of life for the highest-ranking public official in the land. However, now there's a new president, there seems to be a different standard on how you talk about a president.
CNN's Rick Sanchez, the host of the 3 p.m. hour of "CNN Newsroom" on April 2 took offense to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh described a flowery praise of President Barack Obama by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"Well, some folks are naturally graceful, some not so much," Sanchez said. "By that measure alone, radio yacker Rush Limbaugh is the polar opposite of our Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama. Now, you can just disagree with Barack Obama on his leadership, perhaps his policies. But it's hard not to at least acknowledge the ease with which America's 44th president handled himself in London on a global stage, even among royalty."
Two journalists appearing as guests on CNN on Wednesday and Thursday praised “mighty Michelle” Obama for being “stylish,” “successful,” and for showing “an interest in wanting to reach out to people who may feel they’ve been disenfranchised or held at a distance from the power structure.”
Eighteen hours later on Thursday’s American Morning, the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan tried to sell how Mrs. Obama could aid her husband on the international stage: “[She] helps people to get more of a human sense of the administration. And also, I think that for many people, there was, to some degree, a sense of being closed off to the rest of the world or closed off to those who are kind of outside of the mainstream by other administrations. And I think this is a way of trying to build those bridges in a way that is very non-confrontational.”
At the top of the 3:00PM EST hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell and Politico executive editor Jim VandeHei were practically tripping over themselves declaring Barack Obama the "rock star" of Europe in the wake of the G-20 summit. O’Donnell began by asking: "Can we gauge this meeting as a success?" VandeHei replied: "I think early indications are it probably was a big success...I think they'll hail that as a big success. I think the fact that he's just been greeted like such a hero overseas...and I think that that press conference will probably get a pretty good reception." O’Donnell agreed: "You're right, it was sort of like rock star treatment...I mean, you could even see it from some of the international press there at that press conference that we just watched for the past hour...Of course, there was the Obama-mania out there..."
Later, O’Donnell compared Obama to Bush: "...there's also a turning point in terms of a break with this administration and the last administration. And Bush foreign policy. The President, today, talked about the old ways of Washington...How much of this was a clean break with the Bush Administration and that type of foreign policy?" VandeHei then won the contest over who could praise Obama more: "Oh, I think that the campaign through now, it's all been a clean break... Norah, as you well know, Obama could have gone and sat in his hotel room and listened to his ipod and he still would have been greeted with more cheer in Europe than President Bush would. So that's not a hard hurdle to clear. Because Bush was so unpopular overseas and Obama is a rock star overseas, in some places even more so than here. So that part was an easy slam dunk for him."
CNN correspondent Alina Cho loaded the regal language into her report on Wednesday’s American Morning about Europe’s “apparent love affair” with Michelle Obama. Besides the obligatory Jackie Kennedy references, Cho gave a preview of the first lady’s tea with Queen Elizabeth II: “On today’s schedule: tea with the queen, and insiders say the queen and America’s queen bee will be fast friends.” The correspondent even compared Mrs. Obama to Princess Diana. She also referred to the Obamas as the “royal family of the United States.”
Cho began her report by hyping the first lady’s popularity, how it apparently isn’t exclusive to the States, and how it could overshadow her husband the president: “Tina Brown, as you know, joked about an hour ago that Sara Brown is a beautiful girl but, you know, everybody sort of knows that right now, at least, she pales in comparison to Michelle Obama. Of course, the big question is, could she overshadow the president?...So, you know, there’s no denying that Michelle Obama is a rock star in America, but how is her style and personality playing abroad? Well, the early reviews are very good. The apparent love affair with the U.S. first lady is flourishing in Europe.”
In the 8:00AM EST hour of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show correspondent Elizabeth Palmer gave a gushing report on Barack and Michelle Obama’s upcoming trip to Europe, particularly focusing on the popularity of the new First Lady: "In 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy came to Europe, she enchanted even the crustiest of world leaders. And she's remained a tough act to follow for every First Lady since. But Michelle Obama looks more than equal to the task of impressing and delighting even the grandest of them...To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi."
Palmer cited French journalist Agnes Poirier, who declared: "Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are a very alluring and very sophisticated couple, and that plays well with the French. They like seeing, you know, sophistication at the helm of power." Palmer concluded her report by adding: "And this sophisticated lady hand in hand with power looks poised to do wonders for America's image abroad."
If the snub of British PM Gordon Brown at the hands of President Obama and his wife weren't enough, now British Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell is saying that Downing Street is finding it "unbelievably difficult" to get hold of officials from Obama's administration. British officials can't seem to ever get past the administration's answer machines as they call here to try and coordinate plans for the coming G20 summit.
In frustration O'Donnell said that that when he tries to get in touch with key members of Obama's Treasury Department "there is nobody there." The phones ring and nobody answers or they get messages and that is all. "You cannot believe how difficult it is," O'Donnell told participants at a civil service conference.
While the Obama Administration ducks the Brit's phone calls, the U.S. media also seems to be ignoring this story as they've widely ignored several of the stories that detail the new administration's offhanded treatment of our closest ally.
The Obamas, Barack and Michelle both, pretty much diplomatically botched the recent visit of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife. Oddly enough, the U.S. Old Media seems uninterested in the story that is a hot topic in England, a story that's left many Brits a bit miffed.
As the visit of the national leader of our closest ally began, the President informed the Brits that he wouldn't be attending the joint press conference that was planned to be held once PM Brown's plane touched down. This threw the visiting delegation into a tizzy leaving them scrambling to explain the sudden change in plans to the folks back home. Still, meetings were had and things smoothed out. Eventually the visit seemed to right itself... then came the Obama's gift gaffes.
Though there was never any announcement on this side of the Atlantic that there would be a full-blown joint news conference today when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stops by to meet with President Obama, some British journalists are rather cranky this morning about the fact that there won't be one. Some who flew over with Brown last night thought there would be an Obama-Brown newser, and were surprised to hear when they arrived that there wouldn't. They see it as a snub.
"Mr Brown might lament," writes Toby Harnden of The Telegraph, "that despite the so-called 'special relationship' Britain is now getting the same treatment as the president of Uruguay but he need not despair. I'm told there's a chance he might get drinks with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening."
The message has made it everywhere else - Hannah Montana songs, every night on the news, in books and cartoons, so why not video games? If you want a preview of tactics that could be on the way in the name of curbing global warming, take a look across the pond at what they're doing in Europe.
"Serious games based upon real-life geography should be vital tools in our fight against climate change," said Lord Puttnam in a statement. "Educating people about the impact of prolonged changes to our climate in an accessible way is the best catalyst for action I know."
British politicians have been actively promoting various ways to curb the effects of so-called anthropogenic global warming. On Feb. 4, Lord Turner, the British climate czar, told the U.K. Environmental Audit committee that climate laws may be needed to restrict airplane flights and reduce carbon emissions.
"For the first time in a long time, it's cool to be an American."
No, that's not First Lady-in-waiting Michelle Obama, although it sounds a lot like her infamous comment from the 2008 Democratic primary campaign. It's American expatriate Kit Maloney, as quoted by London-based Washington Post foreign service staffer Mary Jordan at the end of her January 16 article, "Americans, Feeling the Love."
Sharing some credit with a total of nine additional Post contributors based in London and seven other foreign capitals, Jordan's 27-paragraph story relayed the stories of Americans sharing their tales of low-grade persecution by anti-Bush, anti-American Europeans.
Rather than question the incivility or poor etiquette of said snooty Europeans towards Americans working in their countries, Jordan painted Europeans and Americans living abroad as uniformly breathing a welcoming sigh of relief at Barack Obama's inauguration next Tuesday.
You might not be thrilled by the election of Barack Obama, but look on the bright side: it's made life a lot easier for Maya Angelou when she hangs out with her European friends. Asked by Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC's 1 PM hour what was going through her mind as the results rolled in, the poet mentioned, among other things:
I realized, almost within the minute, I don't have to apologize for my country when I'm abroad. I can say: "I belong to a great country." And the Europeans who say: aren't you glad to be here in France where we don't have the racism you live under? Aren't you glad you're here in Britain, where we don't have -- I mean, I've been on the defensive so long. This time I can say: "I am an American: look at us, look at what we've just achieved."
If only the United States were more like Europe, Joy Behar laments. Recapping the previous night’s debate on the October 9 edition of "The View," the panel discussed John McCain’s healthcare plan. In the midst of the conversation Joy Behar wondered why the United States can not "solve" health care like quasi-socialist governments in Europe.
"What they haven’t discussed in any of these debates is how other countries have solved this. France has solved it, Denmark has solved it, England has solved it. Why can’t we solve it? [applause] It’s ridiculous."
But have the mentioned countries really "solved" their health care issues? Take for example Britain, which Joy refers to as "England." "The Daily Telegraph" reported in September that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is in such crisis that some doctors are "calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or lead unhealthy lives."
As we've reported at NewsBusters, the MSM have scoffed at the McCain campaign charging Sen. Barack Obama with supporting sex ed for kindergarteners. Time's Joe Klein has gone so far as to call McCain a liar for the ad, although the legislation in question would have meant 5-year-olds would be taught about STDs at the same time they were learning their ABC's.
The way the media have complained about the McCain ad, you'd get the impression the media think no one has ever seriously entertained the notion of teaching kindergarteners about sex.
Yet yesterday, ABCNews.com's World View blog reported on a controversy in the United Kingdom over an illustrated sex ed book geared to 6-year-olds. An excerpt from London-based reporter Philip Victor (emphasis mine):
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
Quite a feat: CNN has pulled off the MSM equivalent of describing a spiral staircase without using one's hands. It has managed to produce a segment on "honor killings" and related violence in the UK . . . without using the word "Muslim" or "Islam." CNN Newsroom anchor Don Lemon introduced the segment this afternoon at 1:37 PM EDT.
DON LEMON: Women forced into marriages, or killed for having the wrong boyfriend. So-called "honor crimes" are often committed by fathers or brothers when daughters do something that supposedly brings shame on the family. It's on the rise in Britain, and authorities, they are very worried about it. Our Paula Newton reports.
In yet another example of why the west might not beat the onslaught of radical Islamofascism, Minette Marrin of the Timesonline thinks she has found a solution to the clash of cultures. Marrin details the extremism evinced by too many Muslims in England and then posits a solution: ban all religion. Talk about an absurd idea. It's as foolish as throwing out the baby with the bath water. It also discounts thousands of years of worthy and enlightened western culture influenced, guided and based on Christian philosophy.
In To beat extremism we must dissolve religious groups, Marrin's wooly headed prescription also serves as a fine example of the most shallow of PC, postmodern "thinking." Famed French mathematician Jules Henri Poincaré once said that, "to doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection." It is a lesson in discernment and critical thinking that escapes most on the left, and specifically this prosaic, anti-intellectual Timesonline columnist.
Exploring the notion that some Anglican parishes could soon return to full communion with Rome in protest of the Church of England allowing ordination of female bishops, Time magazine writers David Van Biema and Jeff Israely felt it necessary to throw in some loaded language about how English conservative Anglicans are different than their American Episcopal cousins:
Both the special nature of the English crisis and the Pope's possible involvement hinge on the fact that most of the English dissidents this week are not the evangelical, Bible-thumping members of the Communion whose fury at the American ordination of an openly gay bishop has led to talks of schism this summer. Rather they are members of a faction, heavy on liturgy and ritual, that abhors evangelicalism but considers itself very close to the Catholicism from which the Anglican Church originally sprang.
But wait, if conservative Anglicans across the Pond are about to bolt their church because the Bible forbids female bishops, how is that any less "Bible-thumping" than conservative Episcopals in the United States leaving the church because of openly homosexual bishops, a practice that also runs afoul of Scripture?
Expensive gas isn't so bad to the "CBS Evening News," as long as it promotes an agenda that caters to left-of-center sensibilities and makes Americans behave more like Europeans.
Economists from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) (NYSE:CM) forecasted $7-a-gallon gas prices by 2010, which according to some analysts would force 10 million vehicles off U.S. roads over four years. CIBC based its prediction on $200-per-barrel oil by 2010.
"In fact, by 2012, higher prices could send an additional 10 million vehicles off the road," CBS correspondent Priya David said June 26. Although $7 gas would do the most harm to low-income Americans, David praised the effects it would have in easing congestion.
I guess this is what strikes the English as amusing, but the Guardian Newspaper has decided it would be super neat to place their logo on Mt. Rushmore to advertise their coverage of the United States. This sort of disrespect for one of our most recognizable national monuments is a great idea to get Americans interested in the Guardian's American version, isn't it?
Yes, there's nothing like defacing a national monument in order to sell newspapers!
Brent Bozell's culture column this week deals with how Showtime keeps pushing envelopes, from the pot-pushing mom in "Weeds" to the sympathetic serial killer "Dexter" to the newest frontier:
This year, the new fascination is prostitution, and Showtime has proudly unveiled a British import called "Secret Diary of a Call Girl." Sadly, and predictably, Showtime’s program glamorizing prostitution is not unique. HBO is also developing a similar series called "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" from a "tantalizing" bad-girl novel.
"Secret Diary" follows the tawdry life of "Belle de Jour," who feels no shame and displays no regrets for her career, as long as her parents don’t find out. "Escort, hooker, prostitute, whore, I don't care what you call me," she declares. "They're just semantics."
What happens when a society bans guns, and then the crime wave comes with knives? Is knife control next? Friday’s Washington Post suggests the answer is yes in Great Britain.
We at MRC saw knife-control writing on the wall many years ago. In 1990, a Utah man was stabbed in New York, and we saw this quote in the Post, from then-reporter Michael Specter: "The slaying, and those that preceded it and will follow it, certainly will intensify cries for more police and harsher penalties for criminals. But as long as the type of knife used to kill Watkins is sold in half of the variety stores in Times Square, it will be difficult to recruit enough police to erase this crime wave."
Post reporters Kevin Jordan and Jill Colvin suggested Britain’s crime wave is showing that mentality is breaking out again:
Knife crime among young people has sparked a widespread debate in recent weeks in Britain, where police say they have seen "a worrying trend" toward more severe knife attacks involving younger attackers and victims.
"Of course, real life never matches up exactly with the theory's assumptions. But they represent, economists say, a useful way of making sense of a complex world," Lynch wrote.
"To Soros, the conventional approach is rubbish. Instead of a world of near-identical actors, coolly assessing their economic interests and acting with clear-eyed precision, he sees a world (and markets) governed by passion, bias and self-reinforcing errors," Lynch wrote. "Because fallible human beings are both involved in, and trying to make sense of, this world, they inevitably make mistakes. Those mistakes then feed on themselves in ‘reflexive' ways that, when taken to extremes, result in situations such as the now-deflating U.S. housing bubble."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wants to ‘abolish’ carbon usage and sees a direct comparison to the end of slavery.
According to Kennedy, “industry and government warnings” about avoiding “economic ruin” should not be heeded because abolishing slavery did not cripple the British economy as was predicted “Instead of collapsing, as slavery’s proponents had predicted, Britain’s economy accelerated,” he argued. Here's how he put it:
What does it say about Reuters' environmental coverage when the news organization can't even get a basic “factbox” correct?
This March 31 Reuters “factbox” was supposed to explain “What is the Kyoto Protocol?” Instead, the media conglomerate pushed a biased eco-agenda and omitted anything that cast a negative light on the treaty or revealed problems. There was no mention of Kyoto participants failing to meet their targets or Japan trying to renegotiate because Kyoto is harming its economy. Reuters failed to report that greenhouse gas emissions are rising in the European Union and in many Kyoto-participating countries, such as Canada. Some, like Austria and Great Britain, are actually doing worse than the US in emissions growth. By skewing the data included in this factbox, Reuters massaged data to fit an agenda and crossed into advocacy journalism.
Reuters began by framing the US as the bad guy (all bold mine):
"Much of the effects of climate change have been couched in terms of if or when its effects will be felt," CBS correspondent Mark Phillips said. "Well, here there is no ‘if.' And when is now. So choices are being made. It's called managed retreat. Some areas of coastline deemed indefensible are being abandoned. Climate change is producing winners and losers, and Diana Wrightson and the others here have already lost."
Poynter Institute's Scholar for Journalistic Values Bob Steele must not plan on bending an elbow at a British pub anytime soon. Not only did Steele scold the journalists who agreed to keep Prince Harry's Afghanistan deployment secret, he condescendingly dismissed Harry's honorable service to his country (emphasis mine):
But even if one accepts that news reports might heighten a danger, there are other logical challenges to this secrecy about Harry the soldier. To the best of my knowledge, there was no compelling reason for Prince Harry to go to Afghanistan as an army officer. There was nothing essential that he, personally, brought to the battlefield. He had no specific duty or skill that was irreplaceable. Praise him, if you will, for his spirit or his patriotism. But it's certainly not justification for the risks taken or the journalistic principles sacrificed.
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo joked on Monday's show that Britain's Prince Harry "has been over in Afghanistan fighting because he's expendable." Fellow host Robin Roberts appeared somewhat shocked by the comment and sputtered, "What did you say?" Cuomo, who was previewing an ABC special on the royals, didn't back off his assertion and reiterated, "It's true. The reason that Harry is allowed to be in Afghanistan is because he's not the heir to the throne. William's not allowed to be there."
While Harry may not be next in line to be king, it's in very poor taste for a professional journalist to make such a snide remark. After all, Prince Harry went to Afghanistan to bravely serve his country, not because he's "expendable." And perhaps it should be pointed out that it was Chris Cuomo's brother, Andrew, who entered politics and carried on the legacy of father and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Is Chris Cuomo's career in journalism, by extension, a reflection of the fact that he's "expendable?"
Much of what we do here at Newsbusters is serious commentary on the leftist bias in this world, issues that are consequential to the debate between right and left. But, today we can sit back and have a little lighthearted fun with our lefty friends without all that worry and seriousness hovering over us like a cloud of leftist generated noxious gas. So... do ya wanna hear something funny?
The Telegraph brings us the heart wrenching tale of one Mr. Mark Boyle, the man who thought he was going to backpack on foot from Bristol, England to Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace in Porbander, India. Unfortunately, Mr. Boyle was crestfallen to have to quit this noble effort early. And we are all the poorer for it.
While it is currently conventional wisdom in the media that there was no Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, as evidenced by the media's failure to correct Barack Obama's recent claim that "there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," for several years dating back before the Iraq invasion, there have been media reports of former Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's connections to Osama bin Laden, and his use of Iraq as a base to plot terror attacks against other countries before the war. In fact, four years ago, the NBC Nightly News claimed not only that there was an Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the invasion, busy plotting attacks against Europe, but that the Bush administration intentionally "passed up several opportunities" to attack terrorist bases in Iraq "long before the war" in 2002 because of fear it would "undercut its case" for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. (Transcripts follow)