The headline to a New York Times editorial Saturday sounds like a conservative parody of liberal sanctimony: “The Enlightened Want to Be Taxed.” The content is no better, another boost of the paper's favorite multi-billionaire Warren “tax me more” Buffett, whose crusade was launched on the Times opinion page August 15, while offensively crediting the left-wing threat of property destruction as a reasonable response to “cuts to social welfare programs” in Europe.
Some of the world’s wealthiest people are calling for higher taxes on the rich. They seem to recognize that the burden of the economic downturn cannot be borne entirely by the poor and middle class.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria got more than he bargained for in his Sunday interview with guest Donald Rumsfeld.
As he pushed the former Secretary of Defense on America's need to cut military spending, the "GPS" host blushed when Rumsfeld smartly said, "There are people who think we're living in the post-American world, to coin a phrase. There are people who believe that we should step back and lead from behind" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Tuesday, NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos reached back to a July 26 story on the horrific shootings in Norway. Correspondent Sylvia Poggioli suggested the shooter, Anders Breivik “once belonged to the ultra-right Progress Party.” Schumacher-Matos lamented the “ultra-right” label, and asked Poggioli to explain herself. He called it "ultra-wrong."
It quickly became clear that Poggioli saw "ultra" extremism in the party's opposition to Islam and immigration. The ombudsman posting including just a few paragraphs of what Poggioli wrote in her own defense. But at the bottom of the page, he posted the whole reply, and her affinity for left-wing rags like the Nation and "far right" labels became really obvious:
Erlanger implied that Sarkozy’s standard political appeals for deficits and balanced budgets (i.e. “the right’s obsession”) were somehow unfair to the opposition Socialist Party. Taking sides, Erlanger lamented the Socialists may be right on the merits but that Sarkozy’s simplistic approach could well prevail: “They have some sensible arguments, but as often in politics, a simple idea often trumps a complicated one. The Socialists recognize the need for fiscal discipline."
On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Lauren Frayer emphasized the trend towards secularization in Spain during a report on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the country for World Youth Day. Just as she did almost a week earlier, Frayer couldn't find any local supporters of the Pope, and completely misreported how the Catholic Church extended pastoral support to women who had abortions.
Host Robert Spiegel noted in his introduction for the correspondent's report that "Spain and its view of the Catholic Church have changed radically in recent decades." Unlike her report on August 12, Frayer did play two sound bites of Catholic youth who were happy to see the pontiff, but only from two Americans. But after playing her first clip, she highlighted how "thousands of angry protesters forced their way through police barricades...shouting, 'out, out.'"
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Some of those caught looting stores last week in Britain were asked why they did it. Four teenagers explained to Sky News that they viewed it as "a shopping spree." One teen blamed the government: "They say (they) are going to help us but I don't see any of it. There has to be more opportunities and jobs. Help us at least and then maybe everyone will settle down."
This is the triumph of the entitlement mentality and the welfare state. Conservative MP Eric Pickles wasn't buying it: "I think that is them trying to justify being thieves, robbers and burglars."
NPR pretended that there wasn't a single supporter of Pope Benedict XVI in Spain on Friday's Morning Edition, choosing to devote an entire report on the "many people are grumbling at the cost" of the upcoming papal visit to the country. Correspondent Lauren Frayer not only failed to mention the 428,000 people from around the world who are registered for the World Youth Day event with the Pope, but also omitted the leftist bent of the protesters who are organizing a boycott.
Host Steve Inskeep, after delivering the "grumbling" line, highlighted how "local priests, though, have issued a rare complaint. The Pope's visit will cost Spain millions, at a time when the government is also slashing public salaries and public services." Frayer then explained at the beginning of her report that "more than 100 priests from Madrid's poorest barrios posted a letter online, saying they disagree with the cost and style of Pope Benedict's visit. Father Julio Saavedra says it's unfair how the Spanish government is giving tax breaks to companies like Coca-Cola and Santander Bank for sponsoring the visit."
As rioters in England set buildings aflame, hurl stones into local shops, and rip flat screen TVs off of store walls, Reuters editor-at-large Chrystia Freeland viewed Prime Minister David Cameron's fiscal policies as the "really radical" culprit.
"I think that this is the result of – directly the result of – the really radical austerity program that the Cameron government is imposing," accused Freeland on the August 10 edition of MSNBC's "Dylan Ratigan Show."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik "seemed to be heavily influenced by some people in this country who write and blog about the perceived threat from Islam."
In the report that followed, correspondent Michael Isikoff noted how writings of Robert Spencer, the associate director of Stop the Islamization of America, were cited several times in Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto and declared that "some analysts say words can be weapons themselves." A sound bite was featured of Heidi Beirich of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "When you push the demonization of populations, you often end up with violence."
After showing behind anchor Russ Mitchell an image of the sign "To Gaza with Love" from one of the flotilla boats planning to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, Saturday’s CBS Evening News showed a report highlighting the allegedly nonviolent intentions of American activists on board one of the ships - named "The Audacity of Hope" - without noting that, during last year’s anti-Israel flotilla trip, some activists attacked Israeli troops as they attempted to board. CBS correspondent Barry Peterson merely recounted that Israeli troops killed some of the activists without explaining why:
Last year, boats ran the blockade. Israeli commandos stormed one ship, killing nine. This time, politics was enough to have Greece ban any boats leaving in a new flotilla. Israel and Greece do more than half a billion dollars in trade, and Israel is planning a natural gas pipeline to Greece. The American activists knew getting to Gaza was a long shot, but still practiced to resist Israeli soldiers who might have boarded their ship.
A clip was shown of this year’s activists sitting on the floor in a circle as if practicing to nonviolently resist Israeli troops.
On Tuesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Philip Reeves lamented the supposedly "anti-Muslim" climate in Denmark, noting that the country was once "considered a model of tolerance," but now, "men...[with] beards and traditional Islamic robes....are no longer entirely welcome, because some Danes want them to leave." Reeves quoted one imam who feared "a spiral, in which anti-immigration nationalist extremists fuel Islamist extremists and vice versa."
Host Robert Siegel wasting little time in setting a slanted tone in his introduction to the correspondent's report, which referenced the recent legal victory of Dutch politician Geert Wilders:
On NBC's Sunday Meet the Press, host David Gregory took on an alarmist tone as he worried that any significant attempts to address the nation's enormous debt could lead to violence: "Look at the images that came out of Greece this week as you've got...big cuts in public spending. And this is the result, rioting in the streets....Could we have that kind of reaction here?"
Gregory posed that question to Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham early in the program, further fretting: "Are we headed in this direction with the kind of actions we're talking about in terms of cutting public spending?...Is there a risk...that these draconian cuts in spending that so many Americans think are necessary may actually halt what we're still...seeing as a very fragile, very weak economic recovery?"
I've seen Associated Press reporters make absurd assertions before, but a statement written by Julie Pace and Vanessa Gera, who covered President Barack Obama's trip to Poland yesterday, has to be at or near the top of the list of all-time humdingers.
Polish Solidarity hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa did not meet with Obama yesterday. Wait until you see the sheer speculation as to why there was no meeting in the bolded sentence in the fourth paragraph of the following excerpt from the AP pair's Friday evening report:
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Renee Montagne and Scott Horsley spotlighted the "warm welcome" President Obama received during his recent visit to Ireland. Horsley marveled at the "large crowds lining the street to welcome him," as well as the "enthusiasm with which they greeted the American president. This is something we really haven't seen in the U.S. for a couple of years."
Montagne turned to the White House correspondent, who is traveling with the President, to report on Mr. Obama's European visit. After devoting the bulk of the segment to the British portion of the trip, the NPR anchor asked about the commander-in-chief's stop in the Emerald Isle and set up Horsley's effusive reply:
On Monday's Today on NBC, correspondent Norah O'Donnell excitedly touted President Obama's stop in Ireland on his latest European trip as she proclaimed: "The Irish eyes are smiling today as this country welcomes President Obama. And I can tell you that the people here in Moneygall are overjoyed that Obama has Irish roots."
The report opened with a musical rendition of 'There's no one as Irish as Barack Obama,' as O'Donnell described how "Obama's ancestral hometown....got a face lift, a fresh coat of paint and an Obama Café." After discovering from a local priest that Obama's Irish ancestors were well-off shoemakers that may have provided charitable aid to others in the small town, O'Donnell wondered: "So you're telling me that his great, great, great, great grandfather and ancestors were community organizers?"
While reporting on the sexual assault case against International Monetary Fund Chairman Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday's Today, NBC correspondent Jeff Rossen noted how the would-be Socialist Party candidate for the French presidency had "worried his political opponent, current French President Nicolas Sarkozy, would try to frame him with a fake rape..."
Rossen further added that Strauss-Kahn once told a French newspaper that the rape victim would be "promised 500,000 or a million euros to invent this story" by Sarkozy. Following Rossen's report, correspondent Michelle Kosinski highlighted French outrage over Strauss-Kahn's arrest: "I would say that the reaction ranges from disbelief to outright disgust. To see their VIP paraded before cameras, the socialists are calling it 'inhumane'....they're saying that this looks like a humiliating public exhibition like something from ancient times."
The headline on screen during the segment read: "French Conspiracy Theories; Was Banker Set Up as Part of Political Plot?"
Eleanor Beardsley slanted towards opponents of France's ban on the niqab, or Islamic face veil, on two NPR programs on Monday. Beardsley played several sound bites from French Muslims during her Morning Edition report who forwarded the notion that the law contributes to an "anti-Muslim climate" in the country, and agreed with a guest on Tell Me More who labeled the ban "sinister."
The correspondent, who is based in France, led her report on Morning Edition with a clip from the imam of a mosque in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris, who stated, "You know there is an Islamophobic climate right now and the police don't like to see us praying in the streets." She also turned to another Muslim man who singled out the niqab ban for contributing to this apparent climate:
Drucker came to NPR with the earnest recommendation that America desperately needs a significant hike in marginal tax rates that's more like socialist Europe, and perhaps a little value-added tax on top for seasoning:
The Associated Press reported that a Polish gay activist group called Rainbow Stand (or Teczowa Tribuna) wanted separate seating for gay and lesbian soccer fans to protect them from harassment and violence. William Donohue of the Catholic League took exception to this outburst of anti-religious bias:
Polish soccer matches are often the scene of violent attacks and fights involving hooligans.
Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism — which treated homosexuality as a taboo — and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
While it is quite clear that the officials of WikiLeaks are leftists, there are more conservative media outlets picking through its scraps. The Telegraph in the U.K. has found a scandal: that the British government manipulated the Libyans into releasing a mass-murdering terrorist on his cancer diagnosis:
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Parker-Spitzer on CNN, Chrystia Freeland of Reuters claimed that the European economy is at an advantage compared to the U.S. because of America’s lack of universal health care. But, when fellow guest Will Cain of the National Review pointed out that America’s economy outperforms Europe, Freeland was only able to name one nation in Europe - Germany - whose economy is performing impressively. Freeland: "I also think it’s a little bit of a mistake to be talking about how bad European economies have been doing recently. ... if you look at the industrialized nations, Germany is racing ahead. German economic growth is on a tear, so is Canadian-
Cain jumped in: "I commend you on your choice of Germany, but you picked the one out of about 12."
Freeland persisted in promoting Germany as co-host Eliot Spitzer jumped in to agree:
CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Yeah, but Germany is doing fantastically well.
ELIOT SPITZER: And Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the one that is driving the export-driven economy where their labor capital relationship is very much one that follows the blueprint of a global, of universal health care.
Cain quipped: "Good job, guys, on using Germany. I’ve got Greece, Spain, U.K., France, all with universal health care, expansive health care coverages, and their economies are literally imploding."
Correction [December 7; 15:05 EST]: Ms. Bachmann has informed me Tages-Anzeiger is based in Zurich, not Geneva.
The liberal media are generally fond of touting European countries for their liberal domestic policies, chastising America by comparison for being too conservative.
But when the electorate of such a country votes to institute a strong conservative policy over the objections of its political elite, the media's fascination with the European everyman evaporates.
Take Sunday's vote by Swiss citizens to institute a referendum law requiring foreigners convicted of serious crimes to be expelled from the country after serving out their sentences. Fifty-three percent of voters approved the bill, dismissing the objections of their professional political class who urged "no" votes.
Covering the story, the Christian Science Monitor decried the move as "the latest example of a sweeping set of popular antiforeigner measures around Europe":
Europe isn’t socialist enough for ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, who pushed French’s finance minister about how “prominent” economists are urging Europe to abandon “austerity” since “it needs more stimulus to provide more growth,” and later during the This Week roundtable, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ridiculed Tea Party candidates as “irrational” and “seriously strange” before he insisted that irrationality is demonstrated by their inability to recognize Barack Obama is a “centrist moderate President.”
Krugman asserted: “If we have a Republican Party that actually takes the White House, actually has control of Congress, but contains a large wing of these people, it's going to be incapable of making real choices. These are people who are as irrational as they seem in these ads.” He soon parodied the views of Tea Party enthusiasts:
"The State Department has issued a "travel alert" for Europe—underscoring the effect Muslim-bashing politicians have had on the terror threat on the continent," reads the subheadline to an October 4 Newsweek story by Christopher Dickey and Sami Yousafzai.
In "Turn On the Red Light," Dickey and Yousafzai went so far as to suggest that anti-Islamist politicians like the Netherlands' Geert Wilders actually wanted to goad radical Islamists into violent acts (emphasis mine):
His poll numbers over here may be falling, but the New York Times found a place where Barack Obama is still very popular and bringing the hope: The slum-like “banlieues”outside Paris dominated by Muslim immigrants, in Thursday’s “Feeling Slighted by France, And Respected by the U.S.” by France-based reporter Scott Sayare.
The residents of this poor, multiracial Paris suburb say they have been abandoned. For 30 years, they say, the French authorities have written off Bondy and neighborhoods like it, treating their inhabitants as terminal delinquents and ignoring their potential.
Obama evidently has the French slum vote locked up:
"To survive in a hostile world, guys need to embrace girly jobs and dirty diapers," argued the Newsweek writers Andrew Romano and Tony Dokoupil in the subheadline of their September 20 article "Men's Lib."
The writers set out to explain "[w]hy it’s time to reimagine masculinity at work and at home."
If American men want to be competitive in a global economy, they argued, they need to suck it up and get comfortable with the idea of working traditionally "girly jobs" and/or being stay at home dads:
It’s possible to imagine protectionist trade and immigration policies boosting blue-collar employment at the margins. But the U.S. can’t stop globalization. If male morale—and the American economy—are ever going to recover, the truth is that the next generation of Homer Simpsons will have to stop searching for outsourced manufacturing jobs and start working toward teaching, nursing, or social-service positions instead.
Fair enough. But Romano and Dokoupil also cast their gaze across the Atlantic, arguing America needs public policies that emulate European countries on paid parental leave, particularly paid paternal leave (emphasis mine):
Predictably, Thursday's American Morning on CNN marked the Pope Benedict XVI's first day in the UK with a report on dissenting Catholic women who claimed they are ordained priests, contrary to the teachings of the Church. Correspondent Carol Costello took a misinterpretation of a recent Church document on ordination as fact, and ran only one sound bite from a Vatican official.
Substitute anchor Drew Griffin introduced Costello's report 24 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour with the misinterpretation of the Catholic document, forwarded by the mainstream media outlets such as Time magazine, that it condemns the simulated ordination of women as "a crime similar to pedophilia." However, a July 16 Reuters story quoted Monsignor Charles Scicluna's clarification: "Scicluna, an official in the Vatican's doctrinal department, said there was no attempt to make women's ordination and pedophilia comparable crimes under canon...law....While sexual abuse was a 'crime against morality,' the attempt to ordain a woman was a 'crime against a sacrament.'"
The CNN correspondent began by highlighting the apparent negative response the Pope is receiving in the UK due to his visit: "You heard Kiran mention that Pope Benedict is now in Britain. He's there to appeal to the millions of Catholics in that country. But his visit is not without controversy. Many tickets remain unsold, which suggest many of Britain's Catholics are indifferent to his presence." She continued by introducing the subject of her report: "You could argue many American Catholics feel the same way, because of the way the Vatican handled the sex abuse scandal. Some say it's time for a change in leadership- a big change, that includes women."
A Washington Post news story earlier this week served to demonstrate that mainstream media journalists apply the same prism overseas as they do domestically when covering illegal immigration and the Ground Zero mosque: When an overwhelming majority of the public goes against the media’s position, journalists see division and portray politicians sharing the majority position as causing rancor.
Case in a point: An article from Paris on page A6 of the Tuesday, August 31, Washington Post, “Crackdown on Roma divides French: Unease grows as Sarkozy razes camps, expels residents,” in which the newspaper’s Edward Cody led: “Much of France has returned from summer vacation in a rancorous mood, disturbed by a crackdown ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy against illegal Roma camps and naturalized immigrant youths who attack police in troubled suburbs.” Yes, the French people are “disturbed” that the police are reacting against immigrants who attack them.
Cody proceeded to assert “the unease over the action against illegal Roma immigrants, most from Romania and Bulgaria, has been particularly strong, with the expulsions drawing criticism at home and abroad.” Indeed, “for many, such policies undermine France's idea of itself as a haven for exiles and a beacon for human rights. Similar fears of intolerance were raised in July when, at Sarkozy's urging, the National Assembly passed a law banning women from wearing full-face Islamic veils in public.”