CNN anchor Campbell Brown blasted the critics of the initial curriculum for President Obama’s speech to school children on her program on Tuesday. She first advised them to “admit this whole episode was just nutty,” and later accused Republicans of “pushing some insane stuff.” The CNN anchor omitted any mention of the curriculum, making it look like the critics were overreacting to the speech itself [audio clips from Brown’s program are available here].
Brown led her program with the insinuation that not only conservatives who objected to the suggested lesson plan the Department of Education first released were insane, but also the anti-ObamaCare town hall protesters. As stock video from the health care town hall ran on-screen, the CNN anchor commented during her voice-over that “after a long, insane summer of wild attacks and mudslinging, we are hitting the reset button. It's time to get real and get at the facts.”
Catching up with a great catch in last week's Weekly Standard “Scrapbook” section, the September 7 issue highlighted an example of how it takes a worldview that sees liberals like Barack Obama as “consensus”-oriented/“explicitly nonideological” centrists -- and Republicans as “ideologically committed” conservatives -- to work at the New York Times. Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the newspaper's Book Review and Week in Review sections, in his new book, The Death of Conservatism, proposes on page 23:
The primary dynamic of American politics, normally described as a continual friction between the two major parties, is equally in our time a competition between the liberal idea of consensus and the conservative idea of orthodoxy. We see it in the Democratic Party's recent history of choosing centrist, explicitly nonideological presidential candidates (Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama), as contrasted with the Republicans' preference for ideologically committed ones (Goldwater, Reagan, George W. Bush).
The unnamed Weekly Standard writer scoffed: “The sophistry here is breathtaking. Tanenhaus not only conflates his own political preferences with the American 'center.' In order to prove that only the Democratic party nominates 'centrist, explicitly nonideological' men for the presidency, Tanenhaus (1) puts Obama – Barack Obama! – in the 'centrist' camp, and (2) totally ignores Democrats Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and Al Gore, as well as Republicans Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain.”
On Thursday’s Campbell Brown program, CNN’s Roland Martin berated the critics of the accompanying lesson plan for President Obama’s upcoming speech to school kids, calling them “insane parents.” He later complimented Mr. Obama for the planned speech and made another insult: “I’m glad we have a president who’s willing to speak to children, because maybe these same parents were acting like children.”
Martin appeared with Florida Republican Party head Jim Greer just before the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. After Greer explained his position, substitute anchor John Roberts turned to the CNN political analyst and asked, “Was there a little bit of problem there with the additional materials that were provided to go along with the President’s speech?” He immediately replied on the offensive:
On Wednesday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez used a recent pro-Texas secession rally in Austin to renew attention on Governor Rick Perry’s April 2009 speech to a tea party where he appeared to endorse this political view. Sanchez, along with CNN political analyst Roland Martin, later strongly hinted that Governor Perry could be painted as a racist for using “states’ rights” language.
Sanchez began the last segment of the 3 pm Eastern hour with a clip from a rally organized by the Texas Nationalist Movement, where Republican Debra Medina (who was not identified by the anchor or by the on-screen graphics) quoted from Thomas Jefferson in her plea for Texas secession: “Stepping off into secession may, in fact, be a bloody war. We are aware. We understand that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”
ABCNews.com republished a bigoted attack against a famously large Christian family on Tuesday. Amelia McDonell-Parry of gossip website TheFrisky.com snarked about Michelle Duggar's latest pregnancy in the post, stating that it "can't be good news...if you're at all concerned about overpopulation." She also hinted that Mrs. Duggar's daughter-in-law was forced to have a baby of her own.
Today on The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger discussed President Obama's rapidly declining approval ratings. A question was posed by host Suzanne Malveaux:
MALVEAUX: What does it mean, Gloria, for the president to be losing out on these Independents?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's a real possible for him. Remember that President Obama won the election with 52 percent of Independent voters. That number is down considerably to 43 percent, and Independents are the margin of difference here for him.
Now, the key to keeping those people is, right now, they are worried about the deficit. They see the president as a big spender. They see him aligned with so-called liberal leaders in the Democratic Congress. So, what he's got to do when -- after Labor Day is kind of show them that he is the kind of so-called post-partisan president that many of them thought they were electing.
The good news for President Obama in this is that they are not realigning themselves with the Republicans yet, because the Republican Party still has very high disapproval ratings.
Correspondent Richard Quest made a frivolous attempt to tie the bad economy to men’s fashion on CNN’s Newsroom program on Tuesday. Quest proclaimed that pinstriped business suits are “old-fashioned...and out of touch with reality....because they are the pinstripe of bankers.” He continued that if you wore such attire, “you may be mistaken for one of those bankers reaping bonuses.”
Anchor Kyra Phillips introduced the CNN correspondent just before the bottom of the 1 pm Eastern hour, noting that “the global financial crisis has taken a toll everywhere, including men’s suits. That old business stand by, the pinstripe- well, it’s being hit especially hard.” Phillips turned to Quest, who immediately started joking around with his colleague. One might have guessed that Jeanne Moos, the network’s usual purveyor of light reports, was away on a late summer vacation, so they got the British correspondent to stand in for her.
Washington Post television critic Tom Shales conducts an online discussion on Tuesdays. Today's session featured this exchange:
Dunn Loring, Va.: Re your column disparaging Liz Cheney's style, what was the last column you wrote so harshly criticizing a liberal pundit?
Tom Shales: Ah yes, it's our dear old Dunn Loringite. Dunn Loringer. Whatever. You have an ideological axe to grind and it's awfully predictable. Where do you get the idea that if someone criticizes a conservative they must also criticize a liberal? Is there some kind of "equal time" law or "fairness doctrine" that applies to everybody who says anything that is broadcast or cablecast? That's absurd. CONSERVATIVES DOMINATE THE BROADCAST AND CABLE MEDIA IN THIS COUNTRY. They have very little to complain about in terms of access to an audience. When was the last time you criticized a conservative? It's a meaningless question whichever way it is asked.
Shales disparages the questioner for having an ideological axe to grind, something he no doubt has never been accused of himself . Later, there's a follow up question:
Jay Lindsay quoted almost exclusively from liberals in his report on Ted Kennedy’s Catholicism for the AP on Friday. Only one of those excerpted by Lindsay was a conservative, not counting Catholic Church officials.
The AP correspondent led his article, titled “Kennedy’s Catholicism source of comfort, conflict,” with some glowing language, but at least portrayed how the deceased senator was not always a faithful believer: “Sen. Edward Kennedy was raised from birth to cherish his Catholicism, and it became both a source of comfort and conflict throughout his life. The son of the country’s most famous Catholic family defied church teachings when he divorced his first wife, then was granted an annulment only after he admitted he wasn’t being honest when he promised her he’d be faithful. His most significant and public break with the church came with his support for abortion rights.”
Lindsay followed this summary about the Democrats’s “significant and public break” with Church teaching by countering that “Kennedy also advocated for signature Catholic causes, such as help for the poor, health care and immigration reform, and opposition to the Iraq war.” While the Church does do significant work on those three issues, and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI voiced their opposition to the Iraq war, they do not raise to the same moral importance as abortion and the sanctity of marriage, contrary to what many Catholic dissenters might say.
Douglas Brinkley continued his use of religious imagery to gush about the legacy of Ted Kennedy and his apparent Catholicism on CNN’s Newsroom on Thursday. Brinkley did his best to paper over the many moral downfalls of the senator: “He’s asked to be forgiven by people. He did a kind of a redemptive work throughout his whole career. He would fall off the wagon....But he constantly said, I can do better.”
Near the end of the 12 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, anchor Tony Harris asked the liberal presidential historian and CBS commentator, “You hear...about some of the failings in the senator’s life, and what is it about us as people that- on a day like today- a day like yesterday, we are willing to, in many cases, look past some of those failings, and focus in on the positive arc of a person’s life?” Brinkley played up Kennedy’s Catholic background, and instead using the “martyr” term he used on Wednesday, used more general religious language in his answer:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been out of office over a month and there are still those working at major media outlets that just can't get over their obsessions with dissecting everything the former GOP vice-presidential nominee does.
The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times trumpeted the legacy of Ted Kennedy on Wednesday by running headlines which used quotes from notables about the deceased senator without quotation marks. The AP’s report by Glen Johnson and Philip Elliott heralded the President’s superlative about Kennedy without stating it was Mr. Obama’s words: “Obama mourns Kennedy, greatest senator of our time.”
Ari B. Bloomekatz’s entry on the blog of the LA Times highlighted the statement from the Catholic archbishop of the City of Angels: “Cardinal Mahony calls Kennedy a champion of the powerless” (an odd statement from the Cardinal, as Kennedy was a staunch defender of “abortion rights,” and who is more “powerless” than a baby in the womb?)
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux questioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele about the debate over ObamaCare, and alleged that protesters “from your own party...have talked about and compared President Obama to Hitler” at the health care town halls. The anchor also bizarrely asked Steele if he gave Attorney General Holder “credit...for breaking away from President Obama.”
Midway through her interview with the GOP leader, Malveaux made the left-wing allegation that Republican activists were using Nazi imagery against the President at the town halls: “How honest do you think the debate has been- the discussion? In light of some of the town hall meetings, some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen from both sides, but specifically those who are from your own party who have talked about and compared President Obama to- to Hitler.”
CNN has raised the issue of the Nazi comparisons at the health care town halls in the past weeks, all the while making three significant omissions. First, they neglected to mention that early in August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the anti-ObamaCare protesters of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town hall meeting on health care,” which led to Rush Limbaugh pointing out the similarities between the DNC health care logo and a Nazi symbol. They have also failed to mention that supporters of leftist Lyndon LaRouche bore posters of President Obama defaced with a Hitler mustache.
Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades HQ has a great "name that party" catch today. Malor noted that at least three major news outlets all failed to note the high-powered Democratic Party ties of one Hassan Nemazee, a businessman arrested this morning on a charge of bank fraud against Citigroup:
ABC News anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a hostile interview of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Monday’s Good Morning America. Noting Steele hadn't used the term “death panel,” Cuomo asked if it was "a sign of positive progress." He also wondered why Steele wasn't bashing insurance companies, since when there is "excess in the system, it always comes back to the insurance companies."
The GMA anchor interviewed the RNC chairman 15 minutes into the 7 am hour. He zeroed in on Steele’s op-ed plugging a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights" which ran in the Washington Post on Monday. After Steele first summarized what was in the proposal, Cuomo brought up the hyped “death panel” term, which is a central part of the debate over ObamaCare:
“Now Mr. Steele, here in this health care bill of rights -- very interesting what is not here, the word ‘death panel’ is not anywhere in here. Is this a sign of positive progress, that we’re not going to talk about death panels anymore as a scare tactic?”
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and guest Mark Potok of the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center concluded that there was a “disconcerting” infiltration of militia groups into tea party and health care town hall protests during a segment on Thursday’s Newsroom. The two focused on the appearance of armed people at these events, and one individual’s apparent connection to a militia which plotted violence.
Sanchez interviewed Potok at the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour on how Ernest Hancock, a Ron Paul supporter and online radio host, reportedly defended the members of a militia called the Viper Team. Hancock also interviewed an acquaintance of his who openly-carried an AR-15 near a venue where President Obama was speaking. Before introducing Potok, the CNN anchor used a clip from a former Secret Service agent he interviewed to hint that Hancock and his acquaintance were “gun nuts.” He then played a clip of the rifle-carrying individual himself, who railed against taxation which redistributed wealth and a tyranny of the majority: “I want this and that, this and that, and I’ll just vote and take it from you. The burden of all this thievery gets too thick.....we will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote.” Sanchez then implied that these words were a threat of violence: “Somehow, the words ‘forcefully resist’ coming from a man with an AR-15 outside a presidential event is just a little unsettling.”
On Thursday morning, CNN downplayed the partisan nature of “legendary” Senator Ted Kennedy’s request to backtrack on a 2004 change in Massachusetts state law which allowed Democrats to hold on to John Kerry’s Senate seat had he won the election. While anchor John Roberts and correspondent Dana Bash explained the circumstances of the 2004 change, Bash merely labeled it a “political irony.”
Roberts gave two news briefs about Kennedy’s letter to Massachusetts officials during American Morning, summarizing that the commonwealth “changed [the law] in 2004 requiring a special election because then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could have appointed someone had Senator John Kerry won the presidential election....Senator Kennedy wants there to be an interim appointment before a special election just to make sure that the state’s covered.” The anchor didn’t include any mention of the health care issue in either of his briefs, which is a clear factor in play with the liberal senator’s request.
On Tuesday, an Oklahoma state judge struck down "one of the most sweeping anti-abortion laws in the country" and in response yesterday, Republican state legislators vowed to "pass the law again in a different form," New York Times reporter James C. McKinley Jr. noted in the August 20 paper.
"It almost reaches the stage of seeming cruel to me," McKinley quoted Planned Parenthood official Anita Fream regarding one of the law’s provisions.
But for an "anti-abortion law," the statute in question doesn’t actually ban any abortion procedure. It does, however, issue new regulations on abortion providers meant to increase the chances that more women seeking abortions may change their minds at the last minute:
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez accused anti-ObamaCare activists of forwarding “misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases” during a segment with “progressive” pastor and Obama apologist Jim Wallis on Wednesday’s Newsroom program. Sanchez placed the blame on the protesters relying “exclusively [on] right-wing media and right-wing television channels.”
The anchor brought on Reverend Wallis, the head of the “progressive Christian group Soujourners,” to discuss the phone-in town hall meeting he was hosting with President Obama. Midway through the interview, Sanchez raised the “wild behavior that we’ve seen in some of these health care forums” and made his first accusation against the anti-ObamaCare protesters: “When you hear, for example, some of the misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases, like calling things death panels and saying that people are going to be- old people are going to be killed, including some of them spread by people who profess to be Christians. How do you- how do you reconcile that as- as a Christian yourself?”
David Zurawik, the Baltimore Sun’s TV critic, didn’t even wait a full 24 hours after Robert Novak’s death to launch a stinging criticism of the former Crossfire host on the newspaper’s website on Tuesday. Zurawik lamented the apparently contaminated state of political discourse on cable TV and placed much of the blame on Novak in the blog entry titled, “Robert Novak on cable TV: A Polarizing Presence.”
The critic began by announcing his intention to focus on the conservative’s television legacy, instead of his “place...on the political and journalistic map.” He then when right into his attack on Novak, which read like a thinly-veiled critique of the Fox News Channel: “Novak titled his 2007 memoir, ‘The Prince of Darkness,’ and he was indeed a very dark force in cable TV news contributing mightily to the toxic culture of confrontation, belligerence and polarization that so defines cable TV and American political discourse today. There is no way to be nice about his impact on cable TV during its formative years -- and his contributions for the worse to the tone and style of what passes for political conversation today.”
The news isn't just that self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals nationwide. That's old hat. The big news from Gallup is that conservatives outnumber liberals in every state in the union, including supposedly uberliberal Vermont and Massachusetts.
Time magazine’s Joe Klein complained about the legal appearance of openly-carried weapons at protests against President Obama during a segment on CNN’s Newsroom on Monday, and labeled the protests against ObamaCare as a “celebration of ignorance and misinformation.” Anchor Rick Sanchez and his other guest also falsely characterized one of the guns carried at a recent protest.
Sanchez first asked Klein about the appearance of guns at several recent protests against President Obama outside his health care town hall events or speeches: “Joe, I don’t remember people protesting against President Bush showing up with weapons. Do you?” The Time columnist answered, “No. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this. There should be like a Second Amendment equivalent of the First Amendment- shouting fire in a crowded theater.”
On Saturday’s House Call program, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta finally reported the left-wing affiliation of a “health insurance insider” glowingly featured on his network. Gupta noted that Wendell Potter was a “senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy” and that the former Cigna spokesman was now “pro- a public insurance option.” He didn’t label Potter’s organization or position as leftist.
The following day, ABC’s Good Morning America on Sunday ran a sympathetic piece on Potter’s “personal journey from health industry insider to outsider” that treated him as a subject of a human interest story. Despite reporting on the fellow’s “loss of income, status, position and colleagues,” correspondent Ron Claiborne omitted Potter’s new liberal affiliation.
The Washington Post editorial page threw itself today into quite an odd political position.
The Post seems to think that Bob McDonnell, the GOP candidate for Virginia governor, should be more vocal about his opposition to abortion. His opponent, Creigh Deeds, recently attempted to make a campaign issue out of his (somewhat newfound) support for abortion rights – a strategy that the Post called “risky.” Today’s editorial, however, backed Deeds’ strategy:
Mr. Deeds's strategy of stressing abortion may work or backfire; time will tell. But to suggest, as the McDonnell campaign has, that a campaign discussion about abortion "is engaging in the politics of division" is disingenuous and wrong. Thousands of Virginians have abortions every year, a decision that touches on families and futures. It's a fair and pressing topic of debate.
That is a somewhat perplexing position. On its face, that appears to be gently pushing McDonnell to engage on an issue critical to winning over Virginia voters. The problem is, the Post’s position would throw the current debate among Virginia voters wildly off-topic, according to no less a source than a recent Washington Post poll.
If you haven't noticed, a lot of media outlets have gotten worked up into a tizzy over the mere mention of death panels. The New York Times got so worked up, it went after a few conservatives outlets by name in its Aug. 13 issue.
"But the rumor [that Obama's health care proposal would create death panels] - which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false - was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists," Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes wrote for the Times. "Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton's health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York's lieutenant governor)."
On The Situation Room today, CNN congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar reported on "almost a love-fest" for Arkansas Democratic Congressman Mike Ross:
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, compared to some of the other town hall meetings that we've seen, some very contentious town hall meetings, this one was almost a love-fest.
It started with a standing ovation as soon as Congressman Mike Ross was introduced. He, of course, is a prominent Blue Dog Democrat, a fiscally conservative Democrat. He and some other Blue Dogs forced House Democratic leaders to postpone a vote on their health care reform proposal until after Congress comes back in September.
That said, he also support many of the things in this health care reform push. But talking with some of the constituents, those who are for this health care reform push, those who are against it, they say that they think Congressman Mike Ross is really doing right by them.
There's about 700 people at this event. We were able to speak with about a dozen of them going into the meeting.
ABC News correspondent Brian Ross tried to connect the health care town hall protesters to hate groups on Friday’s GMA. Ross cited the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose left-wing political affiliation he omitted, and used two sound bites from the SPLC’s Mark Potok, who hyped that President Obama supposedly “triggered fears among...white people...that they are somehow losing their country.”
The ABC News correspondent led his report just after the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour by underlining how it’s apparently been a “very ugly week as the rhetoric about the President and the threats against him have deeply worried the people who track this country’s hate groups.” After summarizing how police in Los Angeles arrested a man suffering from “mental problems” for making threats against the White House, and how the case is apparently part of a “disturbing pattern,” Ross played his first clip from Potok, who emphasized, “I don’t think that these are simply people who are mentally ill or...you know, kind of off their rockers. I think that...in a very real sense, they represent a genuine reaction- a genuine backlash against Obama.”
Citizens opposed to Obama's health-care overhaul are not only white, irritable, and angry, as the New York Times has confirmed in two front-page stories -- they're ignorant as well.
That's the new wrinkle reporter David Stout brings to the debate, in his web-only report Wednesday afternoon on congressional town hall meetings across the country dominated by health-care concerns, "For Lawmakers, Health-Plan Anger Keeps Coming."
Lawmakers ran into fresh anger and skepticism on Wednesday as they fielded questions from constituents worried about changes in the health care system, and about a lot of other things having to do with government.
The queries hurled at legislators from the Atlantic Seaboard to the nation's midsection reflected deep-seated fears, a general suspicion of government and, in some cases, a lack of knowledge on the part of the questioners.
Topside Update, 2:15 p.m.: Imagine that -- Roxana Mayer was also an Organizing For America "host" during the Texas primary last year.
Anyone visiting here even semi-regularly knows that the establishment media consistently fails to determine the legitimacy of people who "say the right things." Further, when someone else, often a blogger, digs and finds the truth, the reporters and publications involved may sometimes grudgingly acknowledge it, but even then usually incompletely; and more often than not, they won't give credit where due.
This all-too-typical scenario has played out in the past two days in the case of a certain Roxana Mayer. In two posts (here and here), LA-area blogger Patterico, best known for his relentless skewering of the target-rich environment known as the Los Angeles Times, exposed Ms. Mayer, who claimed to be a doctor when she spoke at a town hall meeting held by Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (and who later hugged her, as seen at the top right), as a leftist fraud.
As Patterico noted in the title of his second post, Mayer's mantra ought to be "I’m Not a Doctor But I Play One at Town Hall Meetings." Patterico also showed that Mayer was also a Texas Obama delegate at last year's Democratic Convention.
At first, the Houston Chronicle took Mayer's word that she is a doctor, failed to investigate her bona fides, and reported the following:
During a segment on Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and correspondent Ali Velshi bizarrely agreed that the issues of illegal immigration and abortion, as well as the constitutionality of the ObamaCare proposal, had little to do the health care debate, after citizens raised those issues at a health care town hall with Senator Arlen Specter.
Sanchez led the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program with his questioning of the relevance of the abortion and Constitution issues to the health care debate, interspersed with clips from the Specter town hall: “A town hall meeting to discuss health care reform. But instead....children....the Constitution....the Gettysburg Address?...Overwhelmingly Republican and overwhelmingly anti-Obama....Which party is being helped or hurt by this?” The first sound bite was of an unidentified participant who brought up the illegal immigrant issue, and stated “the illegals- they shouldn’t even be here.” The second clip was from another participant who brought up the abortion issue: “While that baby is in the mother, we don’t count that as a person.” The last clip came from someone who quoted from Lincoln’s most famous speech.
The CNN anchor then began the first segment by playing more complete sound bites from the Specter town hall. As he introduced the clips, Sanchez hinted that the only reason why the illegal immigrant and abortion issues were raised at the Specter town hall was because they were “wedge issues.” Out of the five clips, only one came from a participant who brought up an issue that was completely unrelated to the ObamaCare proposal- the planned closure of Guantanamo Bay.