Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly interviewed Media Research Center president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on the December 3 "America's Newsroom" program about a reality dating show in the works in which the contestants are immigrants (some potentially in the U.S. illegally) seeking to gain permanent resident status by marrying a U.S. citizen.
Update 12-03 | 1:55 PM: Barack fires back; claims Hillary becoming "more desperate and negative by the day." See complete update at foot.
Are Hillary's internal polling numbers telling her staffers that she's in big trouble? That's the provocative theory that Chris Matthews floated on today's Morning Joe.
Host Joe Scarborough asked what could have caused Hillary and her senior aide Howard Wolfson to go on the attack against Barack Obama this weekend, respectively questioning his character and accusing him of maintaining an improper political "slush fund." In response, Matthews conjectured that Hillary's helpers have looked at the polling data . . . and seen her support "crashing."
View video here [with apologies for mediocre video quality.]
"A camel is a horse designed by committee." -- ascribed to Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis.
Perhaps the only thing more likely to yield ungainly results than a committee designing a horse is a Democrat designing a Republican presidential ticket. David Broder tries his hand at it in his WaPo column today, "Principles Amid the GOP Pack. The result is a double-humped dromedary known as McCain-Huckabee.
According to the Associated Press, folks who are "foreign-born" are "newcomers" who "feel anything but welcome" in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan, Illinois. The AP piece leads the reader to imagine that several of the town's laws have been specifically written to chase out Mexicans and that the immigrant community (legal or otherwise) in Waukegan is feeling pressure to get out. Yet, upon close examination of this AP piece, one cannot help but realize that the AP does not offer any statistics to prove that Mexican residents are leaving in any numbers, they don't cite any rise in arrests of Spanish speakers there to indicate possible harassment, nor do they even quote anyone to "prove" their contention but one Yolanda Torrez, a lawyer who specializes in criminal, DUI traffic violations, Social Security and DWL traffic violations cases for Spanish-speaking clients. In the final analysis, the AP offers no proof whatsoever that "foreign-born" residents are afraid or truly being discriminated against at all. They just state it as a fact using a single, biased person's words to assert it.
In his "Final Word" at the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer made the cliched charge:
Candidates now race to tell us what we want to hear. They load us down with spin, tiptoe around controversial issues, and give us tortured explanations of how a change in their position really wasn't a change at all.
This pandering to popular public sentiment toward politicians was brought on by Schieffer quoting a November 20 Op/Ed piece by "New York Times" commentator David Brooks, who wrote of Rudy Giuliani’s recent shift to a tougher stance against illegal immigration. Schieffer took the last line of the "Times" article, where Brooks lamented how "Some day Rudy Giuliani will look back on this moment and wonder why he didn't run as himself." How dare Giuliani pander to those right-wingers who want secure borders.
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
On yesterday’s CBS "Sunday Morning," reporter Steve Hartman demonstrated why illegal immigration is actually a good thing: "Good news about an illegal immigrant...By all accounts this man they call Dr. Q is one of the best up-and-coming neurosurgeons in the country." Interestingly, this story was actually first aired on the May 18 "Evening News." Apparently CBS is really going green, it even recycles its own biased reporting.
The segment began by Hartman actually admitting to the mainstream media’s usual doom and gloom reporting: "Because it never leads the news...because war and scandal and planet melting always make for catchier headlines...It's easy to forget all the good stories that happen every year." Hartman decided to focus on three "good" stories for a change, which included a brief profile of Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa:
Clinically brilliant, relentlessly charming. His patients say it's almost like he was born to be a doctor. If they only knew...Just 20 years ago this renown neurosurgeon was about as anonymous as a human being can get in America. An illegal immigrant working the fields of California's San Joaquin Valley...after he jumped the U.S.-Mexico border and took up residence in this leaky old trailer, Alfredo says the moon seemed closer than medical school.
Consider yourselves warned. Should conservative and Republicans hold fast to strong stands on illegal immigration in the coming election year, and if they ultimately do well at the polls because of it, look for the Boston Globe to lament the tactic as a cynical "wedge issue," rather than a reaction to valid concerns from the electorate.
The Boston Globe editorial board may be sharpening their knives for the coming election season with a November 25 editorial, "A wedge issue for our times." The Globe laments that immigration is proving a "radioactive" issue and in one passage made an odd characterization of how Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's backpedaling on illegal immigrant drivers licenses "rescued" Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) from twisting in the wind over her contorted answer on the topic of licenses for illegals.
On Wednesday's "Countdown" show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann accused Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway and Fox News of "race hatred" in response to Conway making an arguably alarmist suggestion on Monday's "The O'Reilly Factor" that allowing the EEOC to sue employers for requiring its employees to speak English on the job could eventually lead to the hiring of non-English-speaking employees for other more serious jobs like air traffic controllers, resulting in airplanes crashing. During the "Countdown" show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, the MSNBC host went over the top by charging that Conway was "trying to dress up the lunatic fringe's race hatred over there at Fox News," and, addressing Conway, advised: "If you were just honest about your racism, at least you wouldn't look quite that stupid." (Transcript follows)
Wednesday's edition of ABC's World News hyped the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finding a dramatic rise in Iowa for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, rising to a near-tie with Mitt Romney, 28 to 24 percent. After noticing that Huckabee attacked Romney as a pseudo-conservative, Tapper challenged Huckabee from the right on taxes and on illegal aliens. When he asked about tuition breaks for illegals, Huckabee sounded like Hillary on the issue: "If you're government at the federal level is so incompetent that it fails to secure the border, you don't then grind your heel into the face of a 6-year-old child over it."
Tapper said "Huckabee appeals to socially conservative evangelicals because he is one. And he cultivates an affable image." But the remarks Tapper quoted weren't affable. They were like that "heel to the face" imagery. Here's the meatiest part of the transcript:
The AP has used the somewhat heartwarming tale of an illegal alien who found an American boy and his mother suffering from a car accident in the Arizona desert and stayed with them until help arrived as an excuse to plead that illegals aren't "criminals" and should somehow be given a break. The AP tried to pin this wild leap in logic on Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada, but they offer no quote marks around the sentence, so it is hard to say if the Sheriff really said that or the AP was extrapolating and putting words in the Sheriff's mouth. Still, that this one illegal did something morally right even while he was breaking our laws, does not erase all the illegalities and law breaking that every other illegal immigrant has done over the last 30 years. Nor does it erase the fact that this particular illegal was breaking the law even as he was nice enough to help the little boy and his mother.
According to ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, a new Oklahoma law making it a felony for U.S. citizens to knowingly provide shelter or transportation to illegal immigrants goes "across the line," "too far," and turns people into "vigilantes." Interviewing Lou Dobbs, CNN host and noted opponent of illegal immigration, on Tuesday's edition of "Good Morning America," Sawyer appeared to be aghast at what she considered "turning people in" for offering assistance to illegals.
The GMA host even quizzed Dobbs about whether his problem is with Hispanics in general. After noting a new Census Bureau report that found last names such as Garcia and Rodriguez are increasing in number, she guardedly wondered, "To Lou Dobbs, is this a good thing or a bad thing?" After Dobbs responded in favor of legal immigration, Sawyer plowed ahead with her question about the new Oklahoma law. She incredulously queried, "People are vigilantes about transportation and shelter? Isn't that going too far?"
"CNN's 'Reliable Sources' is one of television's only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover." -- from CNN's "Reliable Sources" website [emphasis added].
When it comes to "how journalists do their job," the story of the week was Wolf Blitzer's spectacular failure to do his. Going into Thursday's debate, the big question was how Hillary was going to deal with the inevitable grilling over her flip-flopping on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. But when Blitzer finally got around to the issue, well into the debate, he didn't bother to ask a single follow-up question to Hillary's terse "no" answer.
So surely Reliable Sources's host Howard Kurtz would put that question squarely on the table on today's show, right? Wrong.
Surprisingly, CNN, during its Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, asked a numbers of questions that conservatives might propose on Thursday night. During the first hour of the debate, moderators Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown, and John Roberts asked a total of 13 questions (not counting follow-up questions) on a number of issues. Of these, five could be considered to be "conservative."
Campbell Brown directed the first such question to Barack Obama. "Senator Obama, I want to ask you about immigration....What do you say to those Americans who say they are losing out because you would give benefits to people who broke the laws of this country, who came here illegally. And then more generally, as president, where do you draw the line when it comes to benefits for illegal immigrants?"
Rush Limbaugh has often indicated that he has no beef with Wolf Blizter. And I must say that I've generally found Blitzer to be a straight shooter who has rarely-if-ever provided grist for my NewsBusting mill.
All of which makes that much more perplexing Blitzer's bail-out at arguably the key moment last night's debate. The CNN anchor's failure to follow up on Hillary's monosyllabic answer on driver's licenses for illegals, letting her slide with her terse "no," was in my opinion the greatest single act of journalistic malpractice thus far in this campaign season.
In the most florid criticism I can recall a network "correspondent" leveling at a major party presidential candidate, MSNBC's David Shuster has branded Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) a border-control "fanatic."
The editorializing came in the course of Shuster's report during today's 5 PM ET "Hardball," which included an update on the GOP primary.
DAVID SHUSTER: No television commercial in Iowa is generating as much heat as the one just unveiled by Republican Tom Tancredo, a border-control fanatic.
In a move that must be causing Excedrin headaches at the New York Times and other Old Media outlets, USA Today reports that the Wall Street Journal's new owner expects to tear down its subscription wall:
News Corp. (NWS) Chairman Rupert Murdoch said Tuesday he intends to make access to The Wall Street Journal's website free, trading subscription fees for anticipated ad revenue.
"We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having 1 million (subscribers), having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth," Murdoch said.
News Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Dow Jones (DJ), and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. A special shareholders meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 in New York.
Murdoch said he believes that a free model, with increased readership for wsj.com, will attract "large numbers" of big-spending advertisers.
If a person of Hispanic origin rapes a woman and, in an attempt to catch this violent criminal, police publish a description identifying the suspect's general racial makeup, is that a "racist" thing to do? Apparently the folks at KMYL (1190 AM) in the metro Phoenix, Arizona area think it is. It appears that we cannot even discuss the basic appearance of a wanted criminal now without being "racist" about it all. The story comes to us from The East Valley Tribune, where the paper quotes the vice president for programming at KMYL as saying that calling a criminal an Hispanic is "racial profiling." And what is her reasoning?
Should I be worried? I just agreed with something Neal Gabler said. On yesterday's Fox News Watch, the liberal media critic opined that the MSM is backing Benazir Bhutto over Pervez Musharraf in the current Pakistan crisis -- and not for the loftiest of motives.
And could Hillary fall prey to the scenario that brought down Michael Dukakis?
Chris Matthews can't get enough of John Edwards' brutal-but-funny anti-Hillary ad, playing it twice during this evening's "Hardball." Set to the Blue Danube Waltz and based on clips from last week's debate, the theme is Hillary's double-talk on Iraq, Social Security and immigration [her triple-toe loop on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants].
But in the three-cushion game that is presidential billiards, two of Chris's guests surmised that the ad, in taking down Hillary, would likely redound to Barack Obama's benefit.
New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt's Sunday column, "Civil Discourse, Meet the Internet," delivered some piping hot news, circa year 2000: Web comments can often be rude and crude.
"WARNING: This column contains rude and objectionable language not normally found in the pages of this newspaper but seen surprisingly often on its Web site.
"As The New York Times transforms itself into a multimedia news and information platform -- the printed newspaper plus a robust nytimes.com offering breaking news, blogs, interactive graphics, video and more -- it is struggling with a vexing problem. How does the august Times, which has long stood for dignified authority, come to terms with the fractious, democratic culture of the Internet, where readers expect to participate but sometimes do so in coarse, bullying and misinformed ways?"
What Hoyt doesn't mention: Roughly 90-95% of Times comments are from liberals.
The Times is clearly buying into the new paradigm of reader interactivity.
Apparently, TV 8 (KTUL) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, wants us to know that illegal immigrants are all cowering in fear or streaming out of the USA today because of the crackdown on illegal immigration in the Sooner state. The Tulsa TV folks are trying to make it seem as if there is a climate of fear for illeglas even as our government is bending over backwards to comfort illegal immigrants not to mention the fact that many thousands of illegals brazenly paraded, without being molested by bystanders or authorities, in the streets of several large US cities in protest for their "rights" not long ago. So how much "fear" could there be in the illegal underground in the USA? And why is KTUL trying to fan those flames? The fear mongering and sensationalism by the TV report, "Hispanic Families Begin Packing Up & Moving Out", is palpable and, it seems to me that their opening claim is a bit suspect.:
The fact has been out there for some time, but never garnered much media attention. Now, in the context of the current debate over the granting of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, will there be renewed focus on this chilling reality? Could this be the factoid that changes a presidential election? As John Fund wrote in his Wall Street Journal column today and discussed during his "Morning Joe" appearance:
After 9/11, the Justice Department found that eight of the 19 hijackers were registered to vote.
View video of Fund's "Morning Joe" appearance here.
And what made it so simple for them to register? As Fund explains:
"Bill Clinton: caution, slippery when wet." -- George H.W. Bush, 1992 RNC convention.
"The Clintons have a reputation of being slippery and hard to pin down. Last night Clinton underscored that on the issue of whether illegal immigrants should have drivers licenses." -- David Shuster, "Hardball," 10-31-07
Was that really David Shuster? Or could Shuster, like opera singer Enrico Pallazzo in "Naked Gun," have been tied up in a dressing room as a Halloween impostor echoed George H.W.'s 1992 characterization of the Clintons? Be that as it may, on this afternoon's "Hardball" someone looking like the normally Dem-friendly Shuster did indeed accuse Hillary of underscoring her slippery reputation with her drivers-license debate dodge.
The Associated Press wrote up the story with very minor modifications that mentioned the Homeland Security issues Alzaree acquaintance Wagdi Ghoneim had with the US Department of Homeland Security. The AP's headline writer then, incredibly, applied this headline (link is to MSNBC; headline is present at several other sites):
ABC and CBS on Sunday night pivoted from the success, of the aide efforts for fire evacuees at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, to make political points: ABC highlighted a protest about “immigrant rights” and CBS focused on how President Bush's visit to victims contrasted with how after Katrina Bush “flew home from vacation” in Air Force One “thousands of feet above the evacuees” and “never stopped.” Reporter Seth Doane contended, over 2005 video on the CBS Evening News of the Superdome evacuees, Bush peering out the window of Air Force One and that plane flying over the stadium, that “for many it was a sharp contrast with another football stadium two years ago: The Superdome in New Orleans during Katrina -- overcrowded, miserable conditions, all under a leaking roof, while thousands of feet above the evacuees, President Bush flew home from vacation in Air Force One and never stopped.” Doane suggested: “Contrast this past week when the President came to a burned-out area to press the flesh...”