What good is the liberal media's "truth squadding" or "fact-checking" when it doesn't reveal any facts and is completely divorced from the truth?
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell gave a stark answer to that question this morning, when she appeared on "Morning Joe" to discuss yesterday's health care summit. O'Donnell heaped praise on the President for being "in command of some of the facts", like the "fact" that premiums would decline 10-13 percent under his plan. If she had actually looked at the CBO report she was citing, however, she would know that the plan is expected to raise, not lower, premiums for individuals by 10-13 percent.
So for all her "truth-squadding" and "fact-checking", O'Donnell is still confused about the difference between up and down. Either that, or she didn't truth-squad or fact-check anything, but simply said what she wanted to believe. Maybe she should spend less time devising her awkward hyphenated verbs , and more actually examining the facts.
After Barack Obama's election as the first black president of the United States, we were supposed to have entered a new, post-racial era. However, as many feel it has turned out, any dissent or criticism of the most powerful man in the free world or his agenda draws allegations of "racial tones," as happened on the New York Times Web site on Feb. 18.
Breitbart was accepting the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award for extensively covering one of the most "uncovered" stories of 2009 for corruption within the so-called community activist organization ACORN.
Sometimes it gets frustrating when the liberal media refuses to admit that it is just that--liberal. But every now and then, some light shines in on its true ways.
It should hardly be a surprise that a newspaper called the Atlanta Progressive News would be the one to lift the veil of objectivity. But it is nice to see at least one liberal media outlet admit that--in the words of David Axelrod--it has a perspective.
The Progressive News recently fired one of its veteran reporters. The reason given: he was simply too objective, and refused to give the news a liberal bent. Now, the newspaper is openly liberal, so the move wasn't a sacrilege against traditional standards of journalism.
But it was a refreshing departure from the traditional media's self-deception when it comes to reporting the facts. The Progressive News obviously has no illusions about its "perspective," and is not hesitant to share it:
Liberal TV show host? Want to guarantee that the post-Stack finger will be pointed at conservatives? Choose as your sole guest on the subject someone from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. That's precisely what Chris Matthews did this evening, with utterly predictable results.
Right on script, SPLC director Mark Potok twice associated Austin plane-bomber Andrew Stack with "the radical right."
How consciously did Matthews stack the deck? He described the SPLC as a group "which monitors extremists"—as if the SPLC looks for wackos on the left as well as the right.
Update - 7:15 PM | Lachlan Markay: The questions from the poll phrase the issue in similarly misleading language. Details below.
The news media have a tremendous potential to shape public opinion. So when they misreport important events, it has significant consequences for public opinion and public policy.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released today shows that 80 percent of Americans disagree with the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United v. FEC decision last month. Perhaps if the Post stopped misleading its readers about the decision as it did today in reporting the poll, public opinion would look differently.
The misinformation begins right in the lede, where reporter Dan Eggen claims the SCOTUS decision "allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political campaigns." That statement is utterly false. The decision allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited dollars on political advertising. Restrictions on campaign contributions are still in place.
The New York Times has apparently discovered its inner patriot. The paper decided after a request from the White House to hold off publishing key information about the war effort in Afghanistan for fear of alerting the enemy to key U.S. intelligence.
The Times and its executive editor Bill Keller, who defended the decision, have left the nation collectively uttering, "It's about time." Now that's change we can believe in.
Keller told WNYC radio today that two Times reporters had a story ready to go on Thursday about the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's top military commander in Pakistan. The paper decided to hold off on running the story until today, the date the White House requested.
The National Security Council, Keller recalled, "thought it had been a clean snatch and they were afraid once the word got out, other Taliban officials would go deeper underground or take measures to cover their tracks. So they asked us to hold off for a while."
Since the AP science reporter wrote his December 12, 2009 defense of the alleged scientists who have promoted the alleged perils of human-caused global warming, the scandal known as ClimateGate has inexorably widened. It has deeply tarnished never-deserved reputations; revealed the entire premise to be based on fraudulent, corrupted, manipulated and/or nonexistent data; and taken the entire enterprise to the point where it is utterly without objective credibility.
Thus, it would be understandable if poor Seth might be looking for some way, any way, to inject in his two cents yet again without being forced to defend the indefensible.
He found a bit of an outlet on Friday in his coverage of this year's virtually unprecedented U.S. snowfalls. How unprecedented? This may be the first time 49 out of 50 states have snow on the ground at the same time.
Here are key factual paragraphs relating to the U.S. situation in Borenstein's report, followed by his veer-off into global warming near its end (bolded by me):
According to Chris Matthews, the fact that racists have during the history of the nation invoked the rights of the states to perpetuate slavery or segregation immediately renders all proponents of states' rights -- a pillar of federalism and the American Constitution -- racist.
While Matthews and his Hardball guests on Tuesday cited names like Jim Crow and John Calhoun and compared them to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Deborah Medina, Perry's libertarian-leaning opponent in the upcoming GOP primary, the names of the nation's founders -- who were ardent advocates of states' rights -- were conspicuously absent.
Matthews claimed to give his viewers a lesson in the meanings of "interposition" and "nullification" as they relate to the rights of the states and the Constitution. But he didn't say what they meant.
He just read a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. mentioning those terms as they related to the civil rights movement (video below the fold - h/t Liz Blaine of NewsReal).
Here's something you won't hear from the liberal media: that whole "birther" conspiracy movement? Yeah, that was started by a couple of Democrats, and neither is named Orly Taitz.
Their names, in fact, are Linda Starr and Philip Berg, according to John Avalon, author of the new book "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America" (just to clarify, he singles out "wingnuts" on both sides of the aisle). Both were die-hard supporters of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign.
Starr was cited as a source of the false documents that got disgraced CBS correspondent Dan Rather fired. Berg is an aggressive Pennsylvania attorney (and former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General) who filed a lawsuit against former President George W. Bush in 2004 alleging he was complicit in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Since Tea Party protests became an influential movement on the national scene last year, the left in general and the liberal media in particular have tried (unsuccessfully) to render it irrelevant in the eyes of the American people. By throwing around accusations of racism and dire warnings of impending violence, these pundits have tried, unsuccessfully to undermine the movement.
University of Virginia Professor Gerard Alexander explored this trend more generally in yesterday's Washington Post poses the question, pondering, "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" In his column, Alexander details four types of condescension widespread among the far-left and omnipresent in its talking points. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all four have been employed by left-leaning journalists to bash the Tea Party movement.
"American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives," Alexander writes, "appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration."
Over the weekend, poor and biased media reporting, dysfunctional politics, blindly ambitious activism, and economic ignorance fed on each other to produce a phenomenally false narrative that went out to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. The result not only doesn't pass the smell test; it fails the stench test from a mile away.
The first origins of the activist narrative burst forth during Friday's PBS News Hour, when the network's Betty Ann Bowser opened her report on health care costs with two sentences that belong in the Sloppy Statement Hall of Shame (bold is mine):
Health care spending devoured 17 percent of the entire economy last year, about $2.5 trillion. That's the biggest one-year growth since record-keeping began in 1960, according to projections from the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, this week.
If you don't mind my asking -- What exactly is the "that" to which Ms. Bowser referred?
Whatever your feelings about Sarah Palin or her politics, she literally represents the future of conservative messaging. She has shown the nation that a public figure who is absolutely reviled by the mainstream media can not only make a splash, but can dominate the public stage and attract the eyes and ears of the nation in ways almost no other figure can.
For the conservative movement, Palin represents a potential solution to the right's unending problem of a news media that consistently sides with the political opposition. She is the first public figure to utilize (and, in some cases, dominate) multiple media, including traditional (television, books) and new (Facebook, Twitter) media platforms. The sum of her efforts should be the model for conservative politicians and public figures going forward.
Palin reaches more Americans with a Facebook message (just under 1.3 million) than Keith Olbermann reaches during his 8 p.m. broadcast slot on MSNBC (roughly 1 million). Fox News now has plans to build a television studio in her home in Wasilla. Her recent book Going Rogue has spent 11 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list, and has netted her somewhere in the 8-figure range.
The sum of all this says a lot about Palin, but also about the tremendous power of the media platform she has built for herself (with the help of an intelligent and capable staff). She has gone from a political corpse to one of the most prolific and influential persons in the conservative movement in under a year.
The left is up in arms over the Supreme Court's recent decision in "Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission". But few voices have been louder than those emanating from the echo chamber at MSNBC. It seems that the cable network's talking heads feel that their parent company, General Electric, deserves a special exemption to what should be a blanket ban on unrestricted corporate speech.
First a bit of background for those unfamiliar with the Supreme Court decision. The court struck down in a 5-4 ruling a ban on corporate (or union) spending on political speech specifically endorsing or attacking a candidate for office within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. It ruled that the ban violated the First Amendment.
Few liberals seemed to notice that in attacking corporate speech they were also effectively undermining their own employers, media corporations who employs them for the express purpose of engaging in political speech. Surely Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow would defend MSNBC's right to speak (and spend) freely without interference from the federal government--especially in the run-up to an election when free speech is most important and must be protected.
The gubernatorial race in Illinois is heating up. Conservative Republican candidate Adam Andrzejewski has, according to some reports, surged from relative obscurity to within 2 points of the lead for the GOP nomination. And last week Andrzejewski was endorsed by Lech Walesa, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and former President of Poland.
If you live in the Chicago area, however, may be unaware that such an important historical and political figure was just in your town, endorsing a candidate for governor of your state. The only local television coverage the endorsement event received was from Chicago's ABC News station, which showed Walesa and Andrzejewski on stage while covering a Tea Party rally at the event, but never even mentioned the former president by name (see video below the fold).
The only print coverage in local newspapers the event garnered was from the Tribune, which ran a 113-word AP story, and the Sun-Times, which mentioned Walesa in a 2-sentence caption, right below a blurb headlined "Family of boy found hanged sues schools" and above one headlined "New Schools Expo today". So the latter paper decided the death of a child in a local suburb was more important than a political endorsement from a man at least partially responsible for the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The former decided it couldn't spare a reporter for such a monumental figure (h/t Founding Bloggers and Race 4 2012).
How can journalists possibly claim to be "objective" (in the Old Media, I-have-no-opinions sense of the term) when they get their news only from hyper-partisan sources on one side of the political spectrum? To do so should make any reporter blush.
But David Shuster, apparently, has no issue with undertaking such objective journalistic endeavors as "fact checking and analyzing", while gathering information from the left's most prominent online talking-point repositories.
Not content with simply relaying those talking points to his viewers, he makes sure to direct them (via Twitter) to websites where they can get their fills of the latest lefty banter. Johnny Dollar took the liberty of compiling a chart of the sites to which Shuster directed his Twitter followers throughout the month of January. The results are striking:
A spokesperson for MSNBC told Politico today that the channel's brass has reprimanded David Shuster for derisive tweets he directed at James O'Keefe Tuesday. Within hours, he had retracted portions of his tweeted comments on air during an interview with Andrew Breitbart.
This humble blogger documented the Twitter exchange yesterday, and pointed out that Shuster was much quicker to assume O'Keefe's guilt than he was the guilt of Major Nidal Hasan, the shooter at Fort Hood.
“The comments were inappropriate. We have talked to David about them," said the MSNBC spokesperson, referring to a series of tweets that included this one: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
Shuster retracted his accusation that O'Keefe had attempted to tap the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's office on his show this afternoon after Breitbart blasted Shuster for his false accusations.
Update - 1/28, 10:25 AM | Lachlan Markay: Law enforcement officials have clarified that O'Keefe is not being charged with an attempt to wiretap phones. Will Shuster issue a retraction?
It's often said that bias shows through in what journalists decide to cover or not cover. So it was telling when Politico's Michael Calderone tweeted today, "@DavidShuster just said he's off to New Orleans to report on the O'Keefe arrest." "He's giddy," added Mediaite's Steve Krakauer.
Shuster's Twitter account, meanwhile, was lighting up with scorn for activist filmmaker James O'Keefe, who was arrested yesterday after an alleged attempt to tamper with phone lines in an office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). After O'Keefe tweeted, "I am a journalist and the truth will set me free" yesterday, Shuster responded: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
So Shuster is personally invested in O'Keefe's fate and convinced not only that he tried to tap Sen. Landrieau's phones--a contention that the affidavit does not support, not that that has stopped others in the mainstream media from reporting it as fact--but that he is, without a doubt, guilty.
'Ya just gotta love BDSers (those with Bush Derangement Syndrome). Their hatred is so intense that it causes them to get even the most elementary of facts wrong. In this case, it's sports guy Filip Bondy of the NY Daily News, writing about this past Sunday's NFC Championship game in New Orleans:
If you needed further proof of this [New Orleans racial] divide, then it came during a pregame introduction of former President Bush. Once pilloried for his approach to the Katrina catastrophe in 2005, Bush was heartily cheered at the Superdome - which tells you all you need to know about the crowd's demographics.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Americans were treated to a number of populist sermons on the "special interests" who would oppose "reform" at any cost to maintain the "status quo" from which they "profit financially or politically." The drug companies, the energy companies, the Wall Street bankers, and the health insurers were the corporate enemies of a just and harmonious America, or so one might have gathered.
Obama was at the vanguard of this populist charge. But since his election, he has proposed health care legislation that would subsidize Pfizer and PhRMA, a cap and trade plan that would drive profits to General Electric, and Wall Street bailouts that lined the pockets of the same Goldman Sachs bankers he so reviled during the campaign. What happened?
Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney exposes and investigates this monumental disconnect in his new book "Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses." Carney explores the "political strategy of partnering with the biggest businesses in order to create new regulations, taxes, and subsidies." Those measures, he argues, actually benefit the biggest businesses by crowding out competition, consolidating market share, or giving billions in subsidies directly to those companies.
There are times when speaking in a stream of consciousness is a good and wholesome thing. None occur in front of a camera, as evidenced by the public escapades of MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch.
The former ad-man took to today’s “Morning Joe” set yesterday morning to offer the following wisdom in reference to the impending Massachusetts electorate:
He is a traditional-looking middle-aged white male. We’re going back to basics, we’ve obviously had our first African American president we’ve had the female candidates and what-not – you look at him, he looks like the candidate, the traditional view of the candidate, and is there a visceral comfort in that for people? I’m just curious from real kind of sociological point of view.
I heard Rush reading from a newspaper column during his first hour, but missed the first couple of paragraphs. So I didn't know its origin. Given what I was hearing, I thought that El Rushbo was surely reading the latest from Maureen Dowd at the New York Times.
Nope. It turns out that it was written by the Boston Globe's Brian McGrory (pictured at right; original is at this link). McGrory wants to tell us that the Bay Staters who voted for Scott Brown over Martha Coakley did so because of the self-importance thrust on them by the national media spotlight and not out of any real conviction.
But his bawdy treatment distracts from his intent, as you will see in the excerpts that follow, which in this case are no substitute for reading -- or actually enduring -- the whole thing:
Seduced by our new senator
I’m going to need some Advil and a cold compress, please. I’m the Massachusetts Electorate, and I have what is bar none the absolute worst hangover of my entire voting life.
TVNewser has a transcriptpar excellence, for your reading pleasure. In sum, Mika Brzezinski has gone off the Big Media reservation again, in a good way. Let’s just say she unwittingly (?) offers praise for a cable news network with much better ratings.
In an interview for her new book, Brzezinski spoke with Julie Menin about the partisan nature of today’s American media:
BRZEZINSKI: "I've worked in the mainstream media for all the networks and I will say what people aren't saying. It's got a liberal world view. There are great people working at the networks, and they're mostly Democrats, ok? They try really hard to be objective, really hard and they do a great job at it, but the balance is not there within the objective mainstream media. It's not, it is not and I'm not sure how we fix that. I hate the polarizing extremes that we're seeing on cable where there's these sort of ‘Think my way or you’re evil’ kind of subliminal message or cartoonish type characters on the right and the left.
Interesting enough – but even more piquing is Brzezinski’s solution to the problem of a partisan media:
The special election in Massachusetts is sure to be a close one. Should Republican Scott Brown prevail, however, the liberal media will have a host of ways to explain away the election as an anomaly and by no means a referendum on either the president or his legislative accomplishments (or lack thereof).
Perhaps one of the most absurd instances of this thinking came on last night's "O'Reilly Factor" where Washington Post veteran writer Sally Quinn actually attributed Brown's meteoric rise to, wait for it, a semi-nude photo shoot he did for Cosmopolitan magazine--a full 28 years ago (video and partial transcript below the fold - h/t Jim Hoft).
Quinn postulated that the shoot gave the "hunk" Brown a boost in name recognition before the election. O'Reilly, for his part, called Quinn out on how outlandish she sounded.
Last week, in his "analysis" of Barack Obama's proposed "bank responsibility fee," the Associated Press's Jim Kuhnhenn got one important thing right and two others very wrong.
The part he got right was describing the proposed fee as a "tax." The first thing he got wrong was identifying the proposed move as a legitimate form of "populism." The second is his claim that the idea is "straight out of 'It's a Wonderful Life,'" the classic Christmas movie.
Here are Kuhnhenn's first five paragraphs:
It's not just about bad banking.
President Barack Obama's biting criticism of big banks frames the problem as a struggle between jobless, suffering Americans and banks making big profits and paying "obscene" bonuses.
It's populism straight out of Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," and it aims to score political points in the midst of a weak economic recovery that is fueling public doubts about the president's own economic policies.
It is a strange paradigm among much of the mainstream media that plummeting poll numbers are of far greater import for Republicans than they are for Democrats. That, at least, is the logical conclusion of the relative silence of major media outlets on the steep decline in President Obama's poll numbers compared with the decline in President Bush's.
According to an Allstate/National Journal poll released Wednesday, 50 percent of Americans would vote against President Obama if the presidential elections were held today. Only 39 percent say they would vote to re-elect the president.
But so far, this stunning development--given the President's sky-high approval ratings upon entering office--has gone seemingly unnoticed by the major television networks and most prominent print publications. Aside from some prominent blogs (whose coverage is by no means substandard), the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Washington Examiner are so far the only major outlets to report on the poll, according to a google news search (as of 2:00 PM).
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's double standards: A conservative radio host who was paid by the Bush administration to push its education agenda was "on the take," but a liberal professor paid by the Obama administration while pushing its health care agenda "is no big deal."
When it was revealed in January 2005 that conservative radio host and commentator Armstrong Williams was paid $240,000 by the Bush administration Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind program on his radio show, the New York Times ran multiple disapproving accounts of the payouts.
Columnist Paul Krugman excoriated Armstrong in a column on similar practices by disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, "Tankers on the Take."
The point is that there really isn't much difference between Mr. Abramoff's paying Mr. Ferrara to praise the sweatshops of the Marianas and the Department of Education's paying Armstrong Williams to praise No Child Left Behind. In both cases, the ultimate paymaster was the Republican political machine. And inquiring minds want to know: Who else is on the take? Or has the culture of corruption spread so far that the question is, Who isn't?
Coming back from commercial this morning at the MSNBC Clown Kingdom, the bump-in video clip was one of Sarah Palin’s interview with Glenn Beck. Palin stated that it took all of the Founders to come up with the Constitution, but that George Washington (as the leader) would necessarily rise to the top.
Ken Vogel, the Left Whisperer The Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel was today a poor excuse for a journalist. He was, however, an excellent excuse for a public relations flack for President Barack Obama and his Administration.
Recall if you will the brouhaha that arose after C-Span Chief Executive Officer Brian Lamb publicly released a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner asking that the electronic media be allowed access to the health care legislation conference meetings.
(Currently, they are being conducted behind closed doors with only Democrats allowed to participate - no Republicans, no media.)
This became a bit of a problem for President Obama as well. Here we have eight times during the campaign where he pledged on camera to have all health care meetings televised - on C-Span, by name. Yet he has thus far refused to demand greater openness of or for the health care legislative process.
A brief (and humorous) hypothetical: What would the reaction of the mainstream media be if Sean Hannity took the video of President Obama’s obeisant greeting of the Japanese Prime Minister, and turned it into a video loop to be played in the corner of the screen whenever Obama was the subject du jour?
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did a very similar thing with Republican National Chairman Michael Steele on Friday’s edition of ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’
You may remember the mildly irritating pop-up starring Steele that inhabited the redesigned GOP.com at its first launch. It would launch in the upper corner, helpfully explaining the features of the site like the infamous Microsoft Word paper-clip assistant. Maddow revived this animation for use as a ‘bug’ in the corner.
MADDOW: Also, I‘m very proud that for the first time ever, we had a little dancing Michael Steele as the bug in the corner of our segment there.
Update - 9:25 AM | Lachlan Markay:David Gergen commented on Brown's response. His comments below.
The death of Ted Kennedy hit the liberal media particularly hard. NBC's Andrea Mitchell caught the mood of the nation's pundits when she said the "heavens were weeping" during Kennedy's funeral. Now that Kennedy is dead, some pundits feel as if Democrats are entitled to the seat he left vacant.
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen had to be reminded of this fact Monday as he moderated a debate between the two candidates for Massachusetts's open Senate seat. He asked Republican candidate Scott Brown whether he'd be willing to "sit in Teddy Kennedy's seat and [say] I'm going to be the person who's going to block it [liberal health care policy] for another 15 years."
But Brown, refusing to take for granted Gergen's blatantly left-wing premises, responded instead: "Well, with all due respect it's not the Kennedys' seat, and it's not the Democrats' seat, it's the people's seat." (video and transcript below the fold - h/t Kerry Picket)