As hard as the establishment press has worked over the years to make certain politicians appear to be somehow out of touch with the situation of average Americans, you might think that two legislative leaders complaining about cuts in their Congressional offices' allowance might be news. One whined that her aides, some of whom "earn" in excess of $100,000 per year, are being "priced out" of a good lunch on Capitol Hill.
Don't be silly. The press only cares about making Republicans and conservatives appear out of touch. The complainers in question are Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who also heads the Democratic National Committee, and longtime Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia. The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard noted Schultz's and Moran's whining on Wednesday:
Are congressmen four times as important as the President? CNN spent over four times more airtime questioning claims made by Rep. Michele Bachmann against President Obama than it did on President Obama's falsehood on the sequester.
Three weeks ago, CNN reporter Dana Bash corrected President Obama's statement that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester. Her report aired four times on CNN that weekend, for a total of three minutes of coverage. In contrast, Bash's confrontation with Bachmann got over four times more coverage this week.
There was nothing but festering distress and especially "division" on the right at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference held last week, at least according to the New York Times. As noted previously on NewsBusters, CPAC generated headlines like this one from Saturday: "G.O.P. Divisions Fester at Conservative Retreat."
As Noel Sheppard pointed out, George Will picked up on that headline on ABC's This Week: "...I guarantee, if there were a liberal conclave comparable to this, and there were vigorous debates going on there, the New York Times headline would be, 'Healthy Diversity Flourishes at Liberal Conclave.'" Actually, Will wasn't far off. A contrast of headlines from this year's CPAC and previous years of Netroots Nation -- a roughly equivalent annual meeting of liberals and leftists --shows an obvious disparity in tone.
A true "watchdog press would be all over" President Obama's "moving the goalposts" on the federal budget, NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes told Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney on Monday's Varney & Co.
Instead, the media are falling down on the job, failing to note how the president has broken promise after promise on federal spending, both from his 2008 campaign and subsequently as president:
Concerning a Wednesday incident which would surely have received much wider play if it had involved former Vice President Dick Cheney during the George W. Bush administration, Capital News Service reported that one of its reporters was forced by an aide to Vice President Joe Biden to delete photos he had taken at an event in Rockville, Maryland. Based on a Google News search on "Biden Maryland" (not in quotes, sorted by date with duplicates), the Politico's Dylan Byers was the only person in the national establishment press to run an item on the incident -- lending additional credence to the theory that stories the rest of the press won't touch get deliberately buried there with the excuse that "Oh, the Politico dealt with that already, so we don't have to."
Several paragraphs from the Capital News Service report follow the jump (internal link was in original; bolds are mine):
In what has become a common theme for the MSNBC conservative, Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough failed to live up to his self-titled conservative values on March 13. Following a ruling by a New York state court on March 11 invalidating New York City’s large soda ban, Scarborough and the rest of the Morning Joe crew sans Mika Brzezinski mocked Bloomberg’s failed efforts on March 12.
Despite Scarborough’s outright glee at the court’s decision, when given the opportunity to confront Mayor Bloomberg in person on March 13, Scarborough remained silent. Such a complete reversal is surprising, given the lengths Scarborough went to show his glee that Bloomberg’s latest nanny state overreach had been shot down. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
In a mild shock -- mild because it's mentioned before the elections, but probably won't be when it really matters after the polls close -- Frank Bajak and Jorge Rueda at the Associated Press, in a story about how the last opposition TV station in Venezuela is being sold to an insurance magnate who is reportedly "friendly with government," noted the extraordinary handicaps that Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate faces as he attempts to unseat the Chavista successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez in April's upcoming elections.
In the fortnight leading up to the sequester, the broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC wrung their hands about "all the catastrophes that would happen if these cuts went through," NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes noted on the March 7 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. Since, then, however, "they've spent no time asking how is the White House going to decide where these cuts are, how is the administration going to parcel out these cuts?"
In short, "[t]hey're not doing their watchdog function at all," the Media Research Center's research director told FBN's Stuart Varney. What's more, for the most part, the same networks lack any skepticism about how the administration might be targeting their cuts in such as way as to deliberately inflict pain, when it's completely in the power of the Obama White House to structure cutbacks in a way that minimizes its impact on the taxpaying American (watch the full segment below the page break):
President Obama's sequester-related press briefing on March 1 contained the usual fibs. Examples include but are certainly not limited to the following: "We've already cut $2.5 trillion in our deficit," when the entire amount involved is something which might happen in the future; his claim that his State of the Union laundry list "is the agenda that the American people voted for," when many of the items involved were never mentioned during the 2012 campaign; and that the sequester is "happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made," despite the fact that his advisers with his personal approval originated the idea in 2011 and the reality that he was under no compulsion when he signed the bill setting it in place last week.
Since then, while the establishment press has largely ignored it, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler has twice honed in on a relatively small but clearly refutable statement Obama uttered that day: "Starting tomorrow, everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol ... they're going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they've got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real." No it's not.
Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez is dead of cancer at age 58, the end of a bizarre odyssey that took him to Communist Cuba in a failed attempt at a cure. William Neuman's off-lead story in Wednesday's New York Times credited the left-wing dictator for having "changed Venezuela in fundamental ways, empowering and energizing millions of poor people who had felt marginalized and excluded."
Last year the media did their level best to tar Republicans with the offensive comments that two Republicans made related to rape victims. But now that it's Democratic legislators insulting rape victims by insisting that they cannot be trusted to defend themselves with firearms, it's a different story.
Amanda Collins, now 25, was brutally raped on campus, and was unable to defend herself since guns aren’t permitted on college campuses. In fact, Colorado State Sen. Evie Hudak (D), has said that her “assault would likely had been worse had she been armed with a gun.” Jessica Chasmar of the Washington Times has the story:
The Washington Post editorial board today endorsed a plastic bag tax being considered in the Maryland General Assembly, insisting that the 5-cent excise tax will reduce plastic bag litter which clogs the state's streams and raise some "$7.3 million in revenue, a quarter of which would be retained by retail establishments like grocery stores." "It's a sensible measure that will help the environment -- if lawmakers have the spine to stand up to special interests," the paper huffed in its concluding line.
But what the Post failed to mention is that the bill, SB 576 -- entitled the Community Cleanup and Greening Act of 2013 -- specifically EXEMPTS plastic bags used to wrap newspapers, an exemption which obviously favors the Washington Post company:
On Friday morning, Milwaukee County District Attorney, a Democrat, announced that an investigation into illegal campaigning and other illegal acts while current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was the county's executive had concluded nine days earlier. Three former Walker aides, a political appointee, and two private citizens were sentenced. Two county officials pled guilty to crimes relating to campaigning on government time; two others stole money, one from a not-for-profit group and another from a county commission. One private citizen was sentenced for exceeding campaign contribution limits and laundering contributions; the other pled no contest to importuning a 17 year-old boy.
Walker himself was not charged. A top state Democratic Party official was so angry that he tweeted Jeffrey Dahmer analogies. It is pretty obvious, based on word choices he made in his related writeup, that the Associated Press's Scott Bauer, whose biased coverage of Walker has been clear for at least the past two years (previous NewsBusters posts with his tag are here), was also extremely displeased (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Did you ever mean to say "If you are shy then I have an acre of land in the Everglades." and have it come out "If you're bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here"? I mean, those sentences are so close to being identical, and these kinds of misstatements happen all the time, right?
Well, that's what you have to believe if you're still a defender of Connecticut legislator Ernest Hewett, who said the latter on February 20 to a 17 year-old girl at a public hearing and is now saying he meant to say the former. Most press covereage of Hewett's obviously lewd remark has done an acceptable job of tagging him as a Democrat, with a notable exception being Ken Dixon at the Connecticut Post (HT Hot Air via Instapundit; bolds are mine throughout this post):
In "G.O.P.'s Ideological Split Appears in Virginia Governor's Race," New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel saw a controversial candidate on one side of the Virginia governor's race -- Republican candidate Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia's attorney general, who has support in the Tea Party and social conservative wings of the party.
His likely Democratic opponent? Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and controversial fundraiser for the Clinton administration. But judging by the paper's lack of coverage so far, only Republicans have a problem. Gabriel doesn't even mention Democrat McAuliffe until paragraph 12, and in an odd omission, calls him only "a businessman and former political operative."
On Monday, the Insitute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability (IIFS), an outfit associated with the Civic Federation, a "nonpartisan" organization which appears to have leftist instincts and funding, warned that the state government's $8 billion stack of unpaid bills will grow to $22 billion in five years. IIFS correctly blames out of control pension costs, and recommends several reforms which don't seem to match the urgency of the situation.
One thing the report doesn't do, concerning which the press appears to be completely incurious, is estimate how long it will take vendors in President Barack Obama's Democrat-dominated home state to get paid if the backlog of unpaid bills really becomes that large. The answer, in brief, is: "so long that no one with a brain will want to do business with the state, likely causing its government to completely collapse."
I presume everyone remembers how when the New York Times published information about a classified program designed to track the movement of alleged terrorist funding through the international banking system Bush administration officials threatened to prosecute Times reporters and management over what they had done? No you don't, because although some conservatives and Republicans thought it might be a worth considering it didn't happen. You can guarantee that if it had, it would have become a TV-radio-newspaper-Internet establishment press obsession for days on end.
Tonight, Washington Post's Bob Woodward alleged that because he is sticking to his guns in insisting that sequestration was the brainchild of the Obama White House, that it was personally approved by Obama, and that bringing up tax increases now to try to resolve the current sequestration impasse is "moving the goalposts," he has been threatened by "a very senior person" in the White House. Woodward said so on CNN's Situation Room earlier today. What's even more troubling is that Woodward told two Politico reporters the same thing yesterday, and that they appear to have sat on the revelation until this evening when the CNN interview forced their hand. Relevant portions of the CNN transcript and Politico column follow the jump.
Good Morning America on Tuesday edited out an inaccurate assertion by First Lady Michelle Obama that the gunman in a Chicago killing used an "automatic weapon." Regarding the death of teenager Hadiya Pendelton, Mrs. Obama claimed, "And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn't need." This quote appeared online, but not on the February 26 interview with Robin Roberts.
The Chicago Tribuneexplained, "...A day after her homicide on Jan. 29, Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the gunman possibly used a revolver because no bullet casings were found at the shooting scene — as there would be if a semi-automatic or automatic weapon had been used." No ABC show on Tuesday or Wednesday offered an explanation as to why the network helpfully covered up for the First Lady's error. [Updated with video.]
Scott Pelley chided House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, indicating the Republican leader was largely to blame for the imminent sequester: "You said that the President didn't have the guts to do what needed to be done on the budget. Today, you said the Senate has to get off its ass. Those don't sound like the words of a man seeking to bring people together to compromise."
Pelley had already pointed the finger at Boehner for the impasse over the federal budget back on the February 12, 2013 edition of the evening newscast, mere hours before the State of the Union:
The rogue collection of bureaucrats known as the Environmental Protection Agency continues its lawless ways. The establishment press continues to serve as enablers.
In January, a federal court vacated the EPA's regulations mandating the use of cellulosic biofuels which weren't produced at all until last year, and barely exist now. In response, the agency, directly defying the court, increased the production requirement of these fuels for 2013. In covering the story, as I noted at NewsBusters on January 31, the Associated Press's Matt Daly only wrote that "An oil industry representative said the Obama administration was thumbing its nose at a ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia" -- as if the agency's action was only a matter of some eeeevil oil guy's opinion.
At the Hill on Monday, Pete Kasperowicz, employing the establishment press's usual "mean Republicans attack" spin, is packaging something first aggregated on Friday at Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com exclusively as an accusation coming from GOP Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas.
Malkin's credit-denied crew, with the help of citizen activists who did much of the dirty work, detected what I will call "Astro-Tweets," a Twitter-driven variant of the campaign tactic known as "astroturfing," which aims, using a variety of means, to create the illusion of public support for a cause where little or none exists (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It's hard to imagine that Nicholas Confessore and his editors at the overwhelmingly Obama-friendly New York Times were just making things up when he reported over the weekend in a Page A1 story that the Obama campaign's Organizing For America operation, now "rebooted" as the supposedly independent Organizing For Action, "will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors ... whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored," granting them quarterly access to the Obama if they raise $500,000 or more.
According to Charlie Spiering at the Washington Examiner, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked about the story, in Spiering's words, "asserted that OFA was an 'independent organization' that just happened to support the president’s policy agenda," "refused to address the New York Times reporting," and "ended the press briefing as reporters were still asking questions and fled the podium." If the late Tony Snow had done this while serving as press secretary under George W. Bush, we'd be seeing a continuous loop of the walkout on network TV all day long. The key paragraphs from the Times story, the reaction of MSNBC's Chuck Todd follow the jump, and the Associated Press's non-denial denial firewall follow the jump.
You've got to hand it to the headline writers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. They sure know how to abuse their power to shape public perceptions.
The headline at Martin Crutsinger's report this morning on projected economic growth for 2013, which the wire service is treating as this morning's "Big Story," reads: "ECONOMISTS PREDICTING MODERATE GROWTH IN 2013." Many people using computers, tablets and smartphones will see that headline, conclude that the economy's not so bad, and move on without clicking through. Too bad Crutsinger's first two paragraphs directly contradict that headline.
Call her MoveOn.Mika . . . Bob Woodward has demonstrated that President Obama was not telling the truth during the third presidential debate when he flatly stated that "the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.” In fact, it was two Obama aides who devised the plan, and Obama himself who approved it.
But when Joe Scarborough wanted to get those facts on the record this morning, Mika Brzezinski repeatedly declared that discussing Obama's failure to tell the truth was "silly." Things got heated between the co-hosts at one point as Mika cut Joe off, saying "I need to talk." And trying to end the uncomfortable discussion, Mika actually announced "I'm moving on." View the video after the jump.
On Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported that Rob Morrison, an anchor for CBS's New York City affiliate WCBS, had quit his job after being arrested the previous weekend for an alleged assault on his wife, CBS MoneyWatch anchor Ashley Morrison. While this news story has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, and UPI, CBS's own morning and evening newscasts have yet to report on it.
By contrast, CBS This Morning devoted several news items to the arrest and trial of Fox News correspondent Douglas Kennedy in 2012. During a April 4, 2012 report, then-anchor Erica Hill pointed out his affiliation with the news outlet before interviewing the journalist's attorney:
Sadly, MSNBC cannot follow sister network NBC’s lead in reporting the story of disgraced Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) and his impending prison sentence for illegally using campaign funds for personal usage.
On the February 20 edition of NBC Nightly News as well as on the February 21 edition of Today, both shows correctly identify Jesse Jackson Jr. as a Democrat, but their MSNBC morning show Morning Joe skipped the important detail. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
The New York Times is engaging in defense of scandal-plagued Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, accused of influence peddling in his suspicious relationship with Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who flew Menendez to the Dominican Republic on his private plane. Menendez intervened on Melgen's behalf in two Medicare disputes.
Last Sunday the paper very strangely chided a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, for its part in exposing the Menendez scandal (even though the Times itself collaborated with the group, using its data to write its February 1 front-page story on the Menendez accusations). As if to make up for helping put the story (somewhat) into the mainstream press, the front of Thursday's edition featured a sympathetic profile of Menendez by reporters Raymond Hernandez and Sam Dolnick, "Amid Questions About Ethics, Battle-Tested Senator Digs In." The Times gave more space to supporters who suggest the whole thing is a smear job.
At the Associated Press yesterday, Michael Kunzelman managed to write a 500-word story about the arraignment of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on bribery charges without once mentioning that Nagin is a Democrat.
That's probably not a "Name That Party" record for "Most Words Used in an AP Story about a Democratic Politician Tainted by Scandal and/or Corruption," but it's especially galling, given the mayor's culpability (along with then-Governor Kathleen Blanco) for failing to ensure that New Orleans was evacuated on a timely basis in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina, and given the national press's non-stop blaming of President George W. Bush for the death, destruction and mayhem which followed. Excerpts from Kunzelman's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Following up on an item posted yesterday -- 48 hours after it issued an order to subscribing publications and outlets to "kill" a story it filed on Sunday ("Sen. Paul: Voters want to round up immigrants") claiming that Kentucky Republican Senator Rand "sees voters wanting, quote, 'somebody who wants to round people up, put in camps and send them back to Mexico,'" the story is still present on web -- at several sites whose URL begins with hosted2.ap.org. These are sites belonging to AP itself. Additionally, the story is still present at the widely read Yahoo.com.