Mainstream media journalists delighted in joining left-wing bloggers in mocking President George W. Bush over his penchant for verbal miscues, often when speaking off-the-cuff. Of course, President Bush wasn't too prickly on this point and on occasion made self-deprecating jokes about his penchant for mangling the English language.
Yet when it comes to right-of-center bloggers playfully mocking President Barack Obama's dependence on the teleprompter, don't expect most journalists to yuk it up with conservatives.
Imagine the howls of anguish that would have belched forth from the Old Media if George W. Bush had decided to only talk to Fox News and Drudge? Imagine if members of Bush's administration had reached out only to the Internet sites RedState and Powerline. What if Bush had instituted a concerted effort to only interact with conservative media sources? Who can doubt that the Old Media would have decried it as the end of the world as we know it? In fact, they did by so often attacking Fox News.
Yet, here is precisely where Barack Obama is going with his own media outreach. Not with out reach to conservative sources, of course, but to exclusively partisan, left-wing sources, often to the exclusion of moderate, right of center, and older media outlets. As Politico reported on March 24, the president's team is "reaching out to liberal commentators, local reporters and ethnic media" in hopes of going around long established Old Media outlets.
A left-wing "bus tour" protest prowled the affluent neighborhoods of Fairfield, Conn. on Saturday afternoon, looking for AIG execs to harass. The protest, run by a group sponsored by unlabeled leftists ACORN, were railing against the bonuses paid out to employees of the struggling insurance giant. The New York Times found the stunt worthy of a full story in the national section of Sunday's paper: "Carrying a Populist Message Into A.I.G. Territory." (The online headline differs from the print version.)
Reporter Manny Fernandez, while sounding supportive, remarked drily that more media than passengers were in attendance:
The bus pulled to a stop, and a pastor whose sister-in-law was facing foreclosure, a laid-off steelworker with a wife and five children, and a few of their colleagues nervously stepped out, like sightseers in some exotic land.
Steve Kroft caught Barack Obama "laughing and chuckling several times while discussing the perilous state of the economy", at one point asking "Are you punch-drunk?" Politico says "his awkward laughter highlighted an issue Obama has faced dating back to the campaign, a sense that he sometimes is too 'cool' and detached to fully grasp the public anxiety over mounting job losses and economic worries."
We learn in the 60 minutes interview that Mr. President has time off in the afternoon to see his kids, have dinner with the family, and takes weekends off after poking his head in to see what's going on. So basically, the POTUS puts in less hours per week than I do. Kroft also fawns over the first family's playground. What Kroft won't tell you is that while millions of Americans wonder how their next mortgage payment is going to be made, and while their father demonizes Americans for having a culture of greed, the Obama children are literally playing in a castle.
The Obama's went with a Rainbow Play System which Obama himself called "the Rolls Royce of swingsets", specifically the model is Supersized Monster Castle Package IV with a Double Bubble on the Penthouse, which retails for $14,799 plus $1500 install, not including the surface it sits on. Taxpayer* money well spent in a down economy. What, don't your children have a penthouse on their swingset?
(*There is no official word yet on who paid for this swing set.)
The Hollywood Reporter's (THR.com) James Hibberd is reporting that the TV networks are "reluctantly" shuffling their on air schedules to fulfill their "responsibility" to air President Obama's important campaign speech... er, I mean address to the nation next week. The Nets are solemnly claiming the mantle of the patriotic American fulfilling their civic duty to air presidential addresses, it appears.
It is all well and good that they should do this, of course. Keeping the nation informed is one of those long-held, self-proclaimed charges of TV news organizations, of course. But, curiously enough, that same attention to a patriotic, civic duty to air presidential speeches didn't seem so compelling to them while Bush was in office because they often refused to air his speeches to the nation. Or, as in at least one instance, they left the speech early to go on to primetime programing.
He may not have healed the planet and made the oceans recede yet, but Barack Obama has definitely brought sexy back for some fawning lefty writers. Just check out these headlines: “Have the Obamas Spawned a Sex Frenzy?” and “How long has it been since a first couple seemed to want each other?”
The American left – particularly women writers on the American left – have conjured up the idea that the relationship between President Barack Obama and his wife is somehow novel. Stacy Schiff of New York Magazine writes “…only now are we discovering what a functioning marriage between equals actually looks like.”
Seriously? The marriage between Barack and Michelle is the best and most recent example she can come up with? Schiff is obviously smitten, but before she reached for her smelling salts, she did manage a swipe at the Bush administration.
As veteran readers of NewsBusters know, a good deal of liberal media bias comes in subtle labeling and phrasing. Today's Washington Post provides an excellent example of just that in a Metro section article pitting "victims' advocates" against "gun rights advocates" in a story about new gun restrictions lobbied for by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) and approved by the Maryland House of Delegates.
The House yesterday approved two measures that make it easier for judges to confiscate the guns of people accused -- but not yet convicted -- of domestic violence. Brown had "campaigned for the proposals in the name of his cousin, who was killed last year by an estranged boyfriend," staffer Rosalind Helderman noted.
Meanwhile a separate bill by a Republican legislator that would make it easier for persons filing restraining orders to be granted concealed carry permits was defeated "along heavily partisan lines. Maryland is a "may-issue" state where the state police have wide latitude in denying concealed carry requests:
Josh Brahm of Right to Life of Central California has done the definitive dissection of the comprehensive media failure in reporting on President Obama's recent Executive Order (EO) allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Brahm's "9 Things the Media Messed Up About the Obama Stem Cell Story" (HT to an e-mail from LifeNews.com) is an exceptional magnum opus that must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated. It identifies each of the nine errors, links to well over 40 specific instances of media bias and/or ignorance, and tell us why those errors are significant. I thought I was reasonably knowledgeable in this subject area until I read Brahm's work.
(CNS News has reported that the EO will apparently not going into effect until October 1 or later, because the supplemental appropriations bill he just signed [but apparently didn't read] "explicilty bans federal funding of any 'research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.'" That fact doesn't change the correctness of Brahm's "9 Things.")
Here are the nine items (absolutely no substitute for reading the whole thing), accompanied by brief quotes from Brahm's article:
It's official -- what we the sentient public, doctor and dentist patients in waiting rooms across America and the eight diehards still subscribing have long known: Newsweek is a horrendously biased left-wing rag.
Newsweek announced on Tuesday that they are partnering with liberal radio uber-failure Air America to syndicate their show Newsweek On Air. They are the first outside "talent" to join with the newly rechristened Air America Media (AAM).
Longtime Newsweek On Air producer and host and Newsweek Contributing Editor David Alpern said of the conjoining, "AAM Syndication is a great partner for Newsweek On Air.We look forward to maintaining the same high-quality content, balance, and listener interest that has won our program various awards and a place on so many station schedules, some for nearly all of its 27 years on the air."
After more than a quarter century of their "balanced" programming, I would venture to guess that most of you have never heard of Newsweek On Air. This state of anonymity will likely continue with their Air America Media partnership. It seems they sought to collaborate with an entity whose listenership mirrors their readership - minimal and declining rapidly.
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts conducted a two part, almost 11 minute interview with Michelle Obama on Friday that avoided tough questions and consisted almost entirely of softballs. This included reading e-mails from the audience, such as "What does she [the first lady] do for relaxation in the evening, away from the public?" and also "...How can she stay so positive about the economy?"
This is quite a contrast to some of the queries Laura Bush had to deal with when she was first lady. On October 22, 2007, the very same Roberts quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Mrs. Bush. She challenged, "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs." She also informed Mrs. Bush of the assertion by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that America "should export hope instead of fear."
There seems to be a wall of silence surrounding the sudden withdrawal of H. Rodgin Cohen (pictured at right) from consideration for the Number 2 job at the Treasury Department.
The party line, according to ABC's This Week host and former Clinton administration adviser George Stephanopoulos, is that "an issue arose in the final stages of the vetting process." David Cho at the Washington Post reports that "two sources familiar with the matter" confirmed this, but that they "declined to identify the reason."
Perhaps the press is not really interested in finding out that reason, or reasons. Or worse, they've got a pretty good idea, and they'd rather not dig; because if they don't dig, they won't have to tell us. Stephanopoulos appears to be giving away that he knows more than he's willing to reveal when he writes that "Cohen has been a counsel to just about every major player on Wall Street, which perhaps complicated his nomination."
"Perhaps"? A review of some of Cohen's known history makes it clear that he carries quite a bit of potentially heavy baggage.
In case you were worried, former Time magazine staffer Jay Carney has "had very little trouble adapting" to his job as Vice President Biden's director of communications. From a recent interview with Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers published in the March 12 paper:
[Akers]: You left journalism after 20 years with Time. How is life on the other side?
Carney: It's great. I have had very little trouble adapting to this new role, which is completely different from what I was doing before.
Carney also insisted that while he was just sort of swept into the Obama administration during the post-election transition period, he never was a leg-thrilling puddle of drool like others in the media:
After the attacks were known to all, James Carville told assembled Washington reporters at a hotel conference room breakfast where he and Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg spoke (photo is from the May 20, 2004 Christian Science Monitor) to "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!"
The assembled press apparently understood that as something each and every one of them should take to the grave.
Couldn't they have at least waited a week to make this announcement?
Liberal radio uber-failure Air America is branching out, expanding their tremendously successful business model to include syndication of outside programming. And with whom are they beginning this new venture?
Why, Newsweek magazine, and their program Newsweek On Air. Newsweek has been thusly broadcasting for twenty-seven years, has won "various awards and a place on so many station schedules" -- and I would venture that most of you have never heard of it.
A state of anonymity that will likely continue with their Air America partnership.
This announcement comes the same week Newsweekuses its cover and the accompanying story to bash Rush Limbaugh, the undisputed king of syndicated talk radio and someone who is diametrically opposed ideologically to the magazine's new syndication partner.
Bonnie Erbe, a columnist and blogger for U.S.News and World Report, is keen to make sure that Democrats continue to cheat on re-districting as much as possible. She is insisting that Democrats not fall for a bi-partisan or a fair approach to re-districting and says that the Census should stay "politicized" because, after all, it’s Democrats in power now! So, as far as she is concerned, the Democrats should "gerrymander away" and absolutely demands that the Census should be politicized.
Erbe writes that she wants to "gender-mander" the Census for "feminist leaders" and wants to make sure that "hispanics and Latinos" aren't "under-counted." She claims the Census is "part of the spoils of victory" and wants her lefties to be able to wield that power. She says that the Democrats should "spare us the theatrics of trying to look nonpartisan." So, the Dems should continue to cynically use the Census merely for partisan political purposes.
***TWO UPDATES, including the response from AP's Ron Fournier, at the end of this post.***
Friday evening the Associated Press (AP) issued an un-bylined story which was nothing more than a stenographic reprint of the latest dishonest Democratic attack on talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
The Friday story apparently reflected zero research into the charge levied by Brian Wolff, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The AP merely quoted Rush out of context - just as the DCCC had - and then served him up as a piñata for Wolff to pummel.
The AP cites Rush as having said that Congress's current push for socialist health care will "(b)efore it's all over ... be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care bill." This allowed the AP to serve up Wolff's whacks on Limbaugh; Wolff called Limbaugh's remark "outrageous and reprehensible."
Had the AP done ANY journalistic due diligence, they would have found this January 13 story from Fox News, quoting a spokeswoman for one of the architects of a national health care bill who said that any legislation that emerges would be named after Kennedy.
Coverage of "tea party" protests in various cities around the country (this March 4 Pajamas Media press release, HT to FreeRepublic, cited 22 locations on February 27 and seven this weekend) has been sparse to non-existent, especially at major establishment media outlets.
Most notably, based on a seach on "tea party" (not in quotes) at its ap.org home page at about 10:00 a.m., there has been no coverage of this weekend's or last weekend's protests by the Associated Press, the self-described "essential global news network":
New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich specializes in spunky profiles of politicians -- hostile profiles of conservatives, flattering ones of liberals.
His latest, on controversial Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, "Republicans Looking for a Reliever in Kentucky," fell safely into the former category, crammed with personal attacks ("questions about his mental fitness") and colorful insults(Bunning's "a bit of a screwball"). The headline is a reference to Bunning's former fame as a baseball pitcher.
Leibovich's latest is similar in tone to his profile of another conservative Republican, former Rep. James Sensenbrenner ("commonly described as 'prickly,' 'cantankerous' and 'unpleasant'"). By contrast, Leibovich has been quite kind to liberals like Al Gore (a "compelling" "pop-culture icon") and Sen. Chris Dodd (a "happy warrior" in a "joyous orbit").
First, let me try and set this up. You have heard the conversation on this newscast and on many other newscasts just a couple of weeks ago. There were many red state Southern governors who were on the record saying we're so angry about this stimulus package, we are so angry about the spending, that we don't want the money. We don't want the money in our states.
You heard that from people like Haley Barbour and Governor Sanford of South Carolina, to a certain extent, from Governor Jindal in Louisiana. What six states, I ask, that resisted the stimulus money are getting for what they're putting into the system now?
In other words, let me rephrase that. How much from every dollar that they get from the government are they giving back or receiving? We have got a brand-new statistic. I want to break this down for you. And these are the six states that we were talking about, six red states.
"Villaraigosa affair may not be one to remember," prophesied the July 7, 2007 headline in the L.A. Times. A year and a half later, the Associated Press danced around the Democratic Los Angeles mayor's adulterous liaison with a Spanish-language reporter assigned to the city hall beat.
From today's story on his March 3 re-election accessed at CBSNews.com (emphases mine), notice how the AP pulls its punches, euphemizing the adulterous affair in the 12th paragraph of the story:
The mayor of Los Angeles easily won re-election after a bumpy first term in the nation's second-largest city, fueling speculation that he will be among contenders next year to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the first Hispanic mayor in more than a century, was rewarded Tuesday with a second, four-year trip to City Hall despite an uneven first term that saw the breakup of his marriage and the defeat of his signature plan to reform city schools.
Although the New York Times never complained when lefties called George W. Bush and other Republicans "fascist" for eight years running, reporter Mark Leibovich is suddenly concerned with rhetorical precision now that conservatives are using "socialist" as a "demonizing" epithet against President Obama's massive spending plans.
Leibovich used the news hook of the recent 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington to write a front-page Sunday Week in Review story portraying conservatives as mindless mockers of the concept of socialism: "'Socialism!' Boo, Hiss, Repeat."
Conservatives might be seeking a spiritual leader, organizing principle and fresh identity, but they at least seem to have settled on a favorite rhetorical ogre: socialism.
As in, Democrats are intent on forcing socialism on the "U.S.S.A" (as the bumper sticker says, under the words "Comrade Obama").
It seems that "socialist" has supplanted "liberal" as the go-to slur among much of a conservative world confronting a one-two-three punch of bank bailouts, budget blowouts and stimulus bills. Right-leaning bloggers and talk radio hosts are wearing out the brickbat. Senate and House Republicans have been tripping over their podiums to invoke it. The S-bomb has become as surefire a red-meat line at conservative gatherings as "Clinton" was in the 1990s and "Pelosi" is today.
Americans like their toilet tissue soft: exotic confections that are silken, thick and hot-air-fluffed.
The national obsession with soft paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra -- which in 2008 alone increased its sales by 40 percent in some markets, according to Information Resources, Inc., a marketing research firm.
But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.
Naturally, America is to blame:
Other countries are far less picky about toilet tissue. In many European nations, a rough sheet of paper is deemed sufficient. Other countries are also more willing to use toilet tissue made in part or exclusively from recycled paper.
Despite calling for massive new spending on education, universal health care and more money for bailing out banks, no ABC anchor on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning used the word liberal in describing Barack Obama's February 24 address to Congress. In contrast, ABC host Terry Moran on February 27, 2001 anticipated that a similar speech by President George W. Bush would be "conservative."Following that address, he spun it as "hard core conservatism: fiscal restraint; deep, across-the-board spending and tax cuts; the privatization of part of Social Security."
And yet, on Tuesday's post-speech coverage, on that evening's "Nightline" and on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," no anchor applied the liberal label to Obama's address. The same Moran who saw "hard core conservatism" in Bush's appearance before Congress, described a "big and bold speech" from the current President. He also enthused that "President Barack Obama didn't sugarcoat it, he found bad guys on Wall Street and in Washington." Regarding the President's obviously liberal plans on the economy and health care, Moran reiterated, "The answer, the President argued, go big, big plans, big changes."
The first clue about whose poll probably more closely reflects America's mood is the over-the-top, almost Granma-like narrative coming from Jeff Zeleny and Megan Thee-Brenan at Manhattan's Old Gray Lady, whose parent company's stock price in noontime trading today is back below the cost of its Sunday edition (bolds are mine):
The New York Times seems to think there was no such thing as partisanship in Washington, D.C. until conservative Republicans came around in the 1990s to invent it. White House reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg's front-page Sunday Week in Review story, "Cutting the President Slack Is So Old School," is another example of that ideological blindness, impying that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich personally invented partisanship.
That requires ignoring Bill Clinton's "war room," his administration's persecution of the White House Travel Office, and before that, the personal attacks made by liberal interest groups on conservative Republican Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. Which is just what Stolberg does:
....the concept of the "loyal opposition" came to mean that a president, especially a new one elected by comfortable majority, could expect cooperation from the other side, in deference to the will of the voters. But in the partisan politics of recent decades, another view developed, advanced by Congressional leaders like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, that the minority party has the right, even obligation, to stick to its ideological principles.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. We do want to thank you for starting with us. It is the 21st of February, and we do want to begin with some breaking news.
HOLMES: Yes, and kind of a -- a shocker that went through the -- the newsroom this morning.
Yes, you remember that name and you remember that face in all likelihood. That is Chandra Levy, the 24-year-old who went missing some nine years ago now -- eight years ago, more specifically. An arrest, we're being told now, is imminent in this case. This is coming to us from our CNN affiliate out in the Bay Area, KGO. This is one of the most infamous D.C. cold cases out there. Again, some eight years old.
Just a little background on this case. You remember this young lady went missing in D.C. Got a lot of attention for one reason because of her relationship that it came out that she had with Congressman Gary Condit, who is no longer a congressman now. But a relationship that came out.
He was never -- there he is there -- never officially a suspect in the case.
HOLMES: But that was a reason this case got so much attention. And now, Betty, as we're hearing, an arrest...
HOLMES: ...is imminent in this case.
NGUYEN: The case not only ended Condit's career, but we are learning this morning that there is a suspect, a man who is indeed behind bars at this hour.
Earlier today in Indiana you said something striking. You said that this nation could end up in a crisis, without action, that we would be unable to reverse. Can you talk about what you know or what you’re hearing that would lead you to say that our recession might be permanent when others in our history have not? And do you think that you risk losing some credibility or even talking down the economy by using dire language like that?
(Obama actually said "may be unable to reverse," not "would be." But I digress.)
Obama's rambling answer, and the rest of the briefing, should have reminded Loven of what she surely considered a withering critique of Bush three years ago (HT to an e-mailer; bolds are mine). After all, she wrote it:
It’s not a cartoon of a turban-shaped bomb, and probably nobody will threaten violence over it, but members of a religion are outraged over a depiction, and the networks aren’t interested. Only Fox News covered the story about a blasphemous condom advertisement.
Catholics and Protestants alike are furious over a flier that appeared on the University of Georgia campus displaying the famous Michelangelo painting of God reaching out to touch Adam’s hand. The fliers included a condom between God and Adams’ fingers, accompanied by the text, “Condom Tip #5: Carefully open condom wrappers with your fingers- don’t use a sharp object.” The fliers were posted around campus as a promotion for the university’s Sexual Responsibility Week.