The New York Times suddenly isn't so fond of community organizing, now that the right has gotten into the game, attacking Obama's health-care proposals in clamorous town halls held by Democratic congressmen over the August recess.
In fact, the Times agrees with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that such meetings have become "hostile" and "extreme." "Beyond Beltway, Health Debate Turns Hostile" is the headline over a very slanted front-page story Saturday by Ian Urbina.
The bitter divisions over an overhaul of the health care system have exploded at town-hall-style meetings over the last few days as members of Congress have been shouted down, hanged in effigy and taunted by crowds. In several cities, noisy demonstrations have led to fistfights, arrests and hospitalizations.
Democrats have said the protesters are being organized by conservative lobbying groups like FreedomWorks. Republicans respond that the protests are an organic response to the Obama administration's health care restructuring proposals.
There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O'Reilly hosted a discussion with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg, as the two pointed out the mainstream media's double standard in "obsessing" over how protesters who have been challenging ObamaCare were organized, but have shown no interest in the organization of protesters by left-wing groups. After O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" addressed the subject, Goldberg observed:
The word "hypocrisy" in your "Talking Points" is the key word. Civil rights demonstrations, anti-war demonstrations, pro-abortion rights demonstrations, environmental demonstrations, I don't remember the media obsessing about who got these people out to the demonstration site, who orchestrated the demonstration, who manufactured, to use another of their words, the anger at the demonstrations. ... But the media only feels an obligation to look behind the curtain at the forces that are orchestrating and manufacturing the demonstrations when it's a conservative demonstration.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, August 6, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
UPDATE: We have some video of the attack. It appears that it is members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) doing at least some of the dirty work.
But it's conservatives who engage in violence and hate speech, right?
The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that one of their own, reporter Jake Wagman, was one of six people arrested in connection with the beating of a conservative activist outside of a town hall forum held by Democrat Congressman Russ Carnahan.
According to Dawn Majors, a Post-Dispatch photojournalist who witnessed everything unfold, an officer said that Wagman had been "interfering."
From the article:
Kenneth Gladney, a 38-year-old conservative activist from St. Louis, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with “Don't tread on me” printed on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room of the St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was waiting to be treated for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face that he suffered in the attack. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack started.
"It just seems there's no freedom of speech without being attacked," he said.
That is some list of injuries, which means it must have been some beating. And Gladney says he was attacked by "some of those arrested," which means there were probably more in the mob than just that.
And let us not overlook nor forget the racial slur Gladney additionally endured.
So how unusual is it for a new President to be featured seven times on Time’s cover, as Barack Obama has been (with First Lady Michelle Obama snagging her own solo appearance)? A look back at Time’s covers finds Bill Clinton matched Obama’s celebrity in 1993 — seven covers for himself, one for Hillary. But the last three Republican Presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush — were given relatively short shrift. (Larger images below the jump.)
Indeed, looking at the covers from when those three Republicans won the presidency through early August of their first year in office, Reagan and the two Bushes combined were only featured seven times — and it would have been only six if Reagan hadn’t been shot by an attempted assassin (April 13, 1981 cover story).
Here's a particularly noteworthy "Name That Party" follow-up.
In a February post ("AP’s ‘Name That Party’ Twist: Disgraced PA Judges’ Dem Party ID Disappears After Initial Inclusion"; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Associated Press had originally identified the party of two Democratic judges involved in a shocking scheme that pushed thousands of juvenile offenders into detention centers for minor offenses in return for millions in kickbacks.
However, in longer subsequent reports, the AP dropped the party affiliation of Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella (pictured at left) and Michael Conahan.
This evening, in a 5-paragraph story (as of 7:47 p.m.; story could change over time) about a federal judge's refusal to accept plea agreements from the pair, AP Writer MaryClaire Dale stayed consistent with the wire service's see-no-Democrats approach to developments in this grisly story:
On Tuesday's Glenn Beck Program on FNC, host Beck picked up on P.J. Gladnick's recent NewsBusters posting which helped bring attention to President Obama's double standard in charging that Congress was "rushed" by the Bush administration into passing budgets and anti-terrorism measures with little time for debate -- in a 2004 interview with Randi Rhodes on the left-wing Air America -- even though as President he has pressed Congress to act quickly on a number of major spending proposals since taking office.
Beck also ran a clip of Congressman John Conyers as the Michigan Democrat scoffed at suggestions members of Congress should read and understand bills before voting for them. Conyers: "To get up and say, 'Read the bill.' What good is reading the bill if it's 1,000 pages and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?"
During the show's regular "Hot List" segment, Beck recounted: "The Web site NewsBusters.org posting a November 2004 interview with Air America's Randi Rhodes, where Senator-elect Obama complains about the Bush administration."
Then an audio clip of Obama from the 2004 interview ran:
The Bloomberg administration in New York has happened upon an idea for at least partially solving the city's homeless problem: Buy them tickets to get to the homes of relatives in the U.S. or abroad who will take them in.
Along the way, the New York Times's coverage of the story throws out an estimate of annual costs to take care of a homeless family that is either ridiculously high, or indicative of out-of-control bloat. The story also reveals the dense logic of a so-called "homeless advocate" who believes that the people sent away are still homeless. Finally and separately, though I couldn't find a reference myself, a well-known blogger asserts that a similar approach to the problem taken by another city was derided as uncaring.
The New York Times Sunday Business section contained a "Corner Office" profile by Adam Bryant -- an interview with Carol Smith, senior vice president of the fashion magazine Elle. It had a provocative title that apparently no one at the Times found particularly provocative: "No Doubts: Women Are Better Managers."
Times Watch has no grounded opinion on that matter, and the Times is just relaying the opinion of the magazine publisher. But it's safe to say the headline "No Doubts: Men Are Better Managers" will never grace the pages of the Times. An excerpt:
Q. It sounds as if you've thought a lot about men versus women as managers.
A. I have, I have.
Q. Please share.
A. Hands down women are better. There's no contest.
A. In my experience, female bosses tend to be better managers, better advisers, mentors, rational thinkers. Men love to hear themselves talk. I'm so generalizing. I know I am. But in a couple of places I've worked, I would often say, "Call me 15 minutes after the meeting starts and then I'll come," because I will have missed all the football. I will have missed all the "what I did on the golf course." I will miss the four jokes, and I can get into the meeting when it's starting.
Anti-Bush 9-11 "Truthers" get a fair hearing from the New York Times, but anti-Obama "Birthers" are harshly criticized, and Rush Limbaugh is of course to blame.
Media reporter Brian Stelter's Saturday Business story, "A Dispute Over Obama's Birth Lives On in the Media," questioned those questioning Obama's birth certificate, his citizenship, and his resulting eligibility for the presidency. Good for the Times. But where is the Times's critcism when liberals gin up wackier conspiracy theories?
Back in June 2006, Times reporter Alan Feuer showed far more respect to a conspiracy theory many times more incendiary and implausible: That the 9-11 attacks were an inside job, that the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon were engineered by President Bush. Yet not once did Feuer dismiss the 9-11 Truthers bizarre charge as a "conspiracy theory," as Stelter did in the first line of his Sunday piece on the Birthers:
Watching Associated Press reports evolve, or as is all too often the case, devolve, can be a revealing exercise.
Example: What happened between 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday that would have caused the Associated Press and writer Nancy Benac to water down the headline and opening paragraphs of their story about the Obama-Gates-Crowley situation from this ....
Someone at the Associated Press got a headline mostly right ("Obama rushes to quell racial uproar he helped fire") -- although you still have to wonder if it had been almost anyone else, if something along the lines of "xxxx stops short of full apology" would have been used instead.
AP writer Nancy Benac's story does note a couple of clear negatives in Barack Obama's behavior in the Henry Gates matter, but it also lapses into blather about "the nation's keen sensitivities on matters of race."
Benac also blew by an incendiary comment by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the President's police union critics reported earlier today at the Politico -- "I think the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed McCain, if I'm not mistaken" -- that surely would not have been ignored had a Republican president's PressSec had made a similar statement about a Democrat-endorsing group. It as if, in Gibbs's world, partisanship is the only reason the FOP defended officer James Crowley.
Katie Couric provided some comic relief on this morning's Early Show, preaching the importance of objectivity in reporting. As evidence of her impartiality, the CBS Evening News anchor cited the fact that, as did Cronkite, she has gotten "grief from both sides of the aisle."
Now I suppose some of the more radical elements of the Red Army Faction might have found something to quibble with in Couric's coverage over the years. But how can the woman who has come to epitomize MSM liberal bias suggest with a straight face that criticism has come in comparable degree from the left and right?
Couric appeared as part of CBS's continuing coverage of Cronkite's passing and career. Her description of a dinner she had with him at the time she took over as Evening News anchor included this gem.
Although Muller explained that only customers who pass a federal background check at a licensed firearms dealer will be able to get a gun, Costello arbitrarily drew the line of responsibility at owning a handgun:
COSTELLO: You know, some people watching this might think, you know, owning a handgun is one thing, but owning an AK-47 is something else, and maybe this is just a tad irresponsible.
As if to put icing on the proverbial cake, Costello also hit Muller by trying to pick a theological fight of sorts, wondering if Jesus would approve of carrying guns. [CNN video embedded below]
In his report's apparent final incarnation early Tuesday morning, the AP writer:
Told us the amount of June's deficit ($94.3 billion), but didn't disclose the figures for June's receipts ($215.4 billion) or "outlays" ($309.7 billion), or how they compared to June of last year. In doing so, he "succeeded" in concealing the accelerating decline in tax collections.
Didn't tell us that the past month's deficit is by far the worst June ever.
"Forgot," as he did in May, to tell readers that the deficit would be hundreds of billions of dollars higher if it weren't for an "accounting change" retroactively put into place by Treasury in April that changed the definition of "outlays."
Cited the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as contributors to the deficit situation, while not identifying several other expenditure categories that have been worse offenders by far.
Found an economist, without dissent, to support the claim that what the Obama administration has done had to be done.
And that doesn't even count Crutsinger's Krugmanesque rewrites of the history of the 1930s Depression era and 1990s Japan, or the apparatchik-like tone present in a few of his paragraphs.
But just how "rapt" were those Ghanians? Were they any less rapt when President Bush visited Ghana last year?
The visit of the first African-American president, the son of a onetime Kenyan goat herder, electrified this small coastal nation and much of the region. Thousands of people lined streets, crowded rooftops, packed balconies, climbed trees, leaned out windows, even hung off scaffolding to glimpse his motorcade.
Somebody at the Columbus Dispatch has a bit of explaining to do.
You see, Ohio Governor's former Director of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives, one Robert "Eric" McFadden, after "years" of not getting caught, pleaded guilty last Thursday of two felonies for trying to market the "services" of a 17 year-old prostitute. Yes, a 17 year-old.
In his original report late Thursday morning on McFadden's plea -- a report no longer available at the paper's web site even though it is listed at a relevant site search (last item listed; screen cap is here for later reference) -- the Dispatch's Bruce Cadwallader gave a barely adequate description of the facts and circumstances surrounding both McFadden's day job and the double life that he had been leading "for years" up to his arrest in January.
But in his early-AM Friday report, which I have confirmed with a Dispatch representative is the one that went into the paper's July 10 print edition, Cadwallader "somehow" left out the "for years" reference, giving readers a clear and incorrect impression that McFadden had only recently begun his illicit activities.
My dear late father used to say that whenever a person's reaction is disproportionate to the stimulus, something else is at work. Keith Olbermann's "Worsting" of Ann Coulter on last night's Countdown [video] is a good illustration of the principle. Olbermann ostensibly awarded Ann his "Worst Person" for what was, after all, a rather mild swipe at Rachel Maddow, a tongue-in-cheek reference to her "raw sex appeal."
So what had really gotten under Olby's skin? What caused him to call Ann "putrid and evil"? Reference to the Coulter column in question reveals this paragraph, which Olbermann pointedly omitted from his Worst Person spiel:
Soon we'll only hear about Keith when his creepy e-mails using his mother's death to hit on chicks start making the rounds again. (Tip to Keith: When a girl refuses to give you her phone number, her assistant's phone number or her personal e-mail address, and only gives you her assistant's e-mail address, you're not halfway in the sack.)
The New York State Senate, it appears, has reached an all-time low.
One might possibly overlook the legislative wrangling, the blatant power-playing, the use of thuggery to enforce a particular party’s control over the Senate. One might also overlook the unbelievable childish behavior of the Senate, in which even New York Governor Patterson, owner of the lowest approval rating of any governor in the United States, looks positively Lincolnian. And one might even ignore the dearth of media coverage – after all, one can be thankful that the national media is not as fixated on this as they are on the burial arrangements of Michael Jackson.
But there is a new development that should not be ignored – something so heinous, the media would prove themselves worthless, if they do.
Put plainly, the New York Senate Democrats’ behavior, over the course of five months of Senate control, appears to be blatantly racist.
In a July 7 New York Times Magazine article ("The Place of Women on the Court"; HT to an e-mailer) apparently scheduled to appear in its July 12 print edition (based on its URL), Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the Times's Emily Bazelon that "at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."
Who is this "we" Ginsburg refers to?
Alleged reporter Bazelon did not follow up on this astounding admission.
Here, in full context of the Q&A discussion about women's reproductive rights, is Justice Ginsburg's statement:
Chief New York Times political reporter Adam Nagourney emphasized the negative in his Sarah Palin-based "Political Memo" on Sunday, "If Presidency Is Goal, Palin Has Chosen A Risky Route," suggesting that the Alaska governor, who ran for the vice presidency in 2008, has few political credentials toward making a possible presidential run in 2012.
By stepping down before finishing her term, she cannot claim to be even a one-term governor. Without a positive record of accomplishment as governor, Ms. Palin may find she has little to run on as she seeks to achieve a critical political goal: expanding her appeal beyond the conservative voters who crowd her rallies and write checks on her behalf.
Let's compare. Barack Obama was a full-time senator for two years: He was sworn into the Senate in January 2005, launched his presidential campaign in January 2007, and resigned his Illinois senate seat after winning the presidency in November 2008 -- two years before his term expired. But somehow Obama not being even a one-term senator never became a campaign issue for the Times, even though the paper constantly portrayed vice presidential candidate Palin as hopelessly green.
By this time, the NewsBusters connoisseur will have surely heard about yesterday’s unofficial celebration in the White House press briefing. Like many parties, it was somewhat louder than normal, a bit tense at points, and the press – specifically Chip Reid and Helen Thomas – topped off the early Independence Day festivities by roasting (figuratively, of course) Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
That, incidentally, does not normally happen at parties – even at the White House.
The Robert Roast was, of course, in reference to the recent spate of staged White House press events. The White House press corps, apparently, do not enjoy heavily produced events, such as the “town hall” meeting with DNC volunteers and union members. However, Carl Bernstein, appearing on the July 2 Morning Joe, did not take kindly to the gentle press-corps broiling:
In the week since South Carolina’s Republican Governor announced he had flown to Argentina to carry on an extra-marital affair, the broadcast morning and evening news shows have gone full bore on the scandal, cranking out 49 stories even in the midst of other major stories like Michael Jackson’s death and the continuing repression in Iran.
The morning after Sanford announced his affair, on the June 25 Good Morning America, longtime correspondent Sam Donaldson used the scandal to broadly charge Republicans with being “sanctimonious. They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they [act] human, they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness.” Unlike when New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught consorting with a prostitute in March 2008, all three broadcast networks immediately identified Sanford’s party ID.
A number of top Democrats are enmeshed in embarrassment or facing allegations of wrongdoing, but the networks have far less interest in publicizing those cases. A rundown of ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening coverage so far this year:
When Sam Tanenhaus came on board the New York Times Book Review in 2004 he was accused of being conservative, but one would be hard-pressed to convict him based on the available evidence during his tenure -- "the emptiness of free-market liturgy," anyone?
Besides having a thin, forced, and familiar feel, Tanenhaus's latest essay for the Times Week in Review, "Sound of Silence: The Culture Wars Take a Break," managed to portray Obama's opposition to gay marriage (which would normally make him a villain or at least hypocritical in the Times's eyes) as a Clintonian-style tactical victory against conservatives, absent of any the usual anti-gay taint the paper brings to bear on the matter.
The culture wars may not have ended, but on some fronts the combat has gotten rather quiet. For instance, family values.
True, David Letterman's awkward joke about a daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska prompted denunciations of the "media elite" (though it also boosted Mr. Letterman's ratings).
Leave it to New York Times liberal movie critic Stephen Holden to come down on "The Stoning of Soraya M," for stereotyping a couple of murderous, misogynist Islamists as...murderous misogynist Islamists.
Holden generally likes politically activist movies, especially left-wing documentaries that take aim at politically correct targets like big business and heartland hicks. By contrast, he's not fond of Israel or the Catholic Church, or evidently, movies about injustices committed against women in the Muslim world, like "The Stoning of Soraya M." Conservatives have embraced the movie, which might also provide a clue as to why Holden hates it. In calling it "lurid torture-porn," Holden echoes columnist Frank Rich's smear against "The Passion of the Christ" as "a joyride for sadomasochists."
Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina confessed to adultery with a woman in Buenos Aires Wednesday, after raising eyebrows by disappearing over the weekend, and then misleading the public about his whereabouts.
But for the New York Times, there was more to the tale than the political meltdown of a promising Republican presidential candidate for 2012. Sanford's affair gave the paper another chance to round up recent (and not so recent) stories of Republican misdeeds and controversies and suggest they (once again) spelled doom for the party. Enter reporter Jim Rutenberg's Thursday story, "Sanford Case A New Dose Of Bad News For G.O.P."
In their latest article analyzing the extramarital affairs of the deplorable Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, the Associated Press demonstrates once again that the word ‘logic’ has somehow become lost in translation.
In a piece entitled, Sanford’s extramarital affair a problem for GOP,the AP gleefully discusses the topic of Sanford’s misdeeds and their potential effect on the Republican Party – a valid analysis. However, it takes no more than two paragraphs before the author dispenses with the aforementioned term ‘logic’, and decides instead to inexplicably link and attack several other GOP governors who have nothing to do with this affair.
There may be no limit to how far establishment media reporters will go in their attempt to prop up the public perception of failing state-run health care programs.
The latest example comes from Massachusetts. The Bay State's CommonwealthCare (aka RomneyCare, so nicknamed because Governor Mitt Romney, rumored to be a Republican and pictured at right, championed the legislation's passage and signed the bill in 2006) continues to implode -- as anyone with a brain could have predicted, and as many, including yours truly (fourth item at link), did predict.
Despite deep cuts, which essentially amount to large-scale rationing of care and cash-starving of providers, the Boston Globe's Kay Lazar, in an allegedly straight news story, felt compelled to describe the state's health care arrangement as "trailblazing," and to characterize a 12% budget cut as "trimming."
Here are key paragraphs from what amounts to Lazar's lament, with "rationing" tags added by yours truly for emphasis:
Mark Sanford can’t run for President in 2012, all because he went for a hike. [UPDATE: He went to Argentina.]
At least, that’s what Mike Allen of Politico would have you believe. On June 23, during his normal appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Allen was discussing the recent media snafu over the governor’s jaunt through the woodlands:
I think it might well be that he was just hiking. But the point is, he would have been a promising Republican for 2012. He's the rarest thing in the Republican party, which is a true conservative. There would have been a lot of momentum behind him. He threw out the idea very recently. But, you talk about the finger on the button – you want someone stable, someone you can trust. And this, as they were talking about yesterday on MSNBC right away, in a moment, diminished the brand.
Monday's New York Times Business section contained a favorable Bill Carter profile of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, "Fox News Anchor Draws Ratings, and Ire of Conservative Critics." This marks the only positive view of Fox News I've seen in the Times, if only because Smith is portrayed as a brave, lonely counterpoint to the network's conservative orthodoxy.
Carter predictably portrayed Smith, host of the evening show "The Fox Report," as a lone balanced journalist under siege from hateful, conspiratorial conservatives, and traced his higher profile to statements he made on air during coverage of the Holocaust Museum shooting, without questioning their validity.
(Carter may find the liberal orthodoxy at MSNBC more to his liking; he wrote an approving profile of vitriolic leftist talk show host Keith Olbermann in June 2006.)
On Monday he wrote:
At various points on his Fox News program, the anchor Shepard Smith irritated Rush Limbaugh, teased Glenn Beck and grilled Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (a k a Joe the Plumber) over his attacks on President Obama. But it was not until he forcefully confronted the topic of hateful e-mail -- some from Fox's own viewers -- that he drew fire over his approach.