CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux made an apparent Freudian slip in response to a sound bite on health care reform from Senator Mitch McConnell on Monday’s American Morning. Malveaux initially labeled McConnell’s remark, in which the Senate Minority Leader cracked that the “only thing bipartisan about the measures so far is the opposition to them,” as a “snippy little phrase there” [audio clip from the segment available here].
The correspondent filed a report just after the beginning of the 6 am Eastern hour about the Obama’s administration and Democratic leaders’ efforts to get their health care “reform” package passed in Congress. Malveaux stated that “obviously, in public, there’s a lot of confidence. You heard Nancy Pelosi. You talk to White House aides....In an e-mail that I got this morning, however, one of the top White House aides was saying, look, this is a time when it’s important that the president look credible- look viable, still in this debate, and that the one thing that they are trying to get across to folks is that he is still a player in this, that he has not lost his political capital, despite the fact that he...did not get what he wanted this time around.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos giddily appraised President Obama during Thursday’s Good Morning America: “It’s clear, listening to the President last night, that he knows his stuff. He knows health care policy.” He also predicted that the passage of the Democrat’s health care “reform” plan was “closer” after the presser, despite his later admission that it had been delayed until after August.
The This Week anchor appeared early in the 7 am hour to analyze the press conference. GMA anchor Diane Sawyer first asked: “Closer to a health care bill this morning or further away?” Stephanopoulos replied: “Closer -- and it’s clear -- listening to the President last night, that he knows his stuff. He knows health care policy. I also think he made a strong case against the status quo. We just couldn’t keep doing what we’re doing right now.”
The only negative remark that the former Clinton administration official made was in analyzing the President’s success in forwarding his plan. Stephanopoulos hinted that the blame belonged more with Congress: “I think he was less successful...in selling what he wants to do in part because...he doesn’t have a single plan to sell right now.”
This morning, some 30 people were arrested in New Jersey, the fruit of a two-year federal investigation into a international money laundering scandal. Among those arrested were Democratic Mayors Peter Cammarano III (Hoboken) and Dennis Elwell (Secaucus), as well as Democratic deputy mayor of Jersey City Leona Beldini and Republican state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt.
But if you only got your news of this mass arrest from the Associated Press, you would not learn the party affiliation of these politicians. To their credit, other news outlets readily accessible to New Jerseyans such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal noted the party affiliations of these allegedly crooked pols.
ABC anchor Chris Cuomo played the liberal emotion card and asked California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger during an interview on Wednesday’s Good Morning America if Republicans were “playing politics” with President Obama’s health care “reform” proposal, and whether this was turning into a “little bit of a reckless situation” on the part of the GOP. [audio available here]
Cuomo first put the health care issue in the context of California’s budget woes, and started out of the gate with his plea to people’s emotions in his first question to the governor: “Your state is somewhat of a window into the reality of health care. You’ve been pictured at your desk with a big knife, having to cut the budget- over $1 billion in health care cuts. It’s going to affect low-income families. It’s going to affect the coverage that children get. Is this absolutely necessary?”
After Schwarzenegger’s answer, the ABC anchor then turned to the president’s proposal for health care “reform,” and asked the liberal Republican governor why he supported it. The former actor clarified that he didn’t 100% support Obama’s plan, “because I don’t know exactly what is in that bill. It changes all the time, as you know.” Cuomo followed up by asking if he was leaning towards supporting it. Schwarzenegger again didn’t give a solid answer.
PBS’s Jim Lehrer forwarded several questions with a clear leftward tilt during an interview with President Obama on his Newshour program on Monday. He urged the executive to “crack heads” to get his health care plan passed, and inquired if “taxing the wealthy” was an option to fund it. Lehrer later pressed Mr. Obama on the “huge profits” being made by “big Wall Street banks.”
The PBS anchor led the interview with a sympathetic question on the president’s slipping poll numbers: “Mr. President, it must have been a little unpleasant for you to wake up this morning to see this headline: ‘Washington Post poll shows Obama slipping on key issues, approval rating on health care falls below 50 percent.’ What’s that mean?”
After the president’s initial answer, Lehrer went right to health care, and hinted that the Democrat’s “reform” plan should be passed with little to no congressional input: “As you know, a lot of the commentary over the weekend was that nothing’s going to happen, getting from here to the final hurdle here, unless you really start cracking some heads, and really say, ‘Hey, this is the Obama plan, this is what I want. So much for what this committee wants and that- what that committee wants. Here’s what I want, and I'm going to push and go.’ Are you ready to do that?”
On Monday’s GMA, ABC’s Martha Raddatz pressed Hillary Clinton from the left on the Obama administration’s stance towards North Korea: “From the beginning...the rhetoric seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?” Earlier in the month, she also labeled the overall Obama foreign policy “very thoughtful.”
The ABC correspondent’s segment with the Secretary aired minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the ABC morning program. Midway through the interview, Raddatz brought up the Obama administration’s dealings with North Korea. She asked Mrs. Clinton, “From the outside, it seems to me that after the latest missile launches, the rhetoric from the United States was dialed back a bit.” After the Secretary replied, the ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent followed up with her question from the left: “But that’s a real shift- I mean, from the beginning of the Obama administration... the rhetoric [towards North Korea] seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?”
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]
[Update, 10:36 pm Eastern: audio and video links added below.]
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez devoted an entire segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program to his interviews of five “wise Latina” women from his hometown of Miami, including his own mother, about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Though Sanchez did point out how many Americans disagreed with the nominee’s decision in the New Haven firefighters case, all of the women supported Sotomayor [audio clips from the segment are available here; the video clips are available at this link].
The anchor traveled to Miami, in his words, going “out of the D.C. Beltway and find some other Latina women with a smart take on one of their own.” He conducted the interviews around the dinner table in his mother’s house, or, in his mother’s case, in the adjourning kitchen. Sanchez gave a preview of the segment on the Wednesday edition of Newsroom while on location in the south Florida metropolis. Both days, the CNN anchor featured the clip from his interview of his mother, who, through her son’s translation (she’s originally from Cuba), voiced her support for the Supreme Court nominee and her identification with her. Also on both days, Sanchez made light of the now-infamous “wise Latina” label that Sotomayor had used in the past, and is now being scrutinized over.
When you claim that a grassroots group isn't a grassroots group -- beware of actual grassroots activists.
That's the lesson reporter Sharon Male of Parade Magazine learned when she attacked Patients United Now, the health care project of the free-market Americans for Prosperity Foundation, in the July 12 magazine. Under the headline "Are Grassroots Activists for Real?" she claimed that some "so-called grassroots campaigns" "are actually sophisticated marketing campaigns financed by businesses and special interest groups." Male cited the leftist Public Citizen's accusations of "astroturf" campaigns led by "ultra-wealthy individuals who have little in common with regular Americans," and the reporter bemoaned the fact that "grassroots movements are unregulated."
AFP Foundation let its members know Parade was questioning their existence, and they responded by overwhelming Male and her editor with nearly 5,000 e-mails.
During CNN’s coverage of the Sotomayor hearings on Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin implied that the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision to uphold the Second Amendment was revolutionary: “When I was in law school...the idea that you had a Second Amendment right to a gun was considered preposterous....But the Supreme Court [in Heller]...said that...individuals have a personal right to bear arms.”
Just after the bottom of the 12 noon hour of the network’s coverage, anchor Wolf Blitzer raised the Second Amendment issue with Toobin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and the others on their panel analyzing the hearings, which included anchor/correspondent John King; senior political analyst Gloria Borger; and correspondent Candy Crowley, as well as Republican strategist Alex Castellanos and former Clinton administration official Maria Echaveste. After playing a clip of Republican Senator Tom Coburn asking Sotomayor about the right to keep and bear arms, Blitzer asked Toobin what were the nominee’s “positions, specifically on the federal obligation to support the Second Amendment, as opposed to local communities or states?”
The CNN senior legal analyst harkened back to his law school days in his answer, and possibly revealed a bit of his formation as a liberal:
Keith Olbermann, one of MSNBC’s resident leftists posing as anchors, named Jim Robinson, the founder of FreeRepublic.com, as his runner-up on his “Worst Person in the World” feature on his Countdown program on Monday evening but twice called him “Jim Thompson.”
After first implying that “Thompson” and his site’s moderators were a bunch of juveniles, Olbermann explained that the reason why the Free Republic founder was so bad was because a few posters on one of the regular picture caption threads made “racist” comments, and that it took them supposedly “as long as three days before removing a comment thread devoted to the racist rage of a disturbingly large number of his posters, possibly some of the same people who had previously conducted polls on the site on how best to topple the freely-elected government of the United States” [audio clips from the segment are available here].
CNN on Friday turned again to The Daily Beast’s John Avlon for his designated “wingnuts”on the left and right, but he was much more critical of his right-wing selection. Avlon picked Rep. Henry Waxman as his leftist “wingnut,” but still labeled him a “respected” man. He conceded no such quality for his other pick. During a second appearance on Monday, Avlon focused on his conservative “wingnut,” omitting Waxman.
Avlon first appeared during the 6 am Eastern hour of American Morning on Friday with anchor Kiran Chetry. She first asked about his pick for the left. He described how Rep. Waxman, during an interview with NPR, characterized the Republicans’ opposition to President Obama as “rooting against the country.” The DailyBeast contributor even got a shot at the Right during his analysis of the Democrat’s remark: “That’s demonizing the opposition, and the idea that Republicans just have to get in line, that there can be no reasonable opposition based on principle- but rather, going de facto against someone’s patriotism- well, that’s wingnut stuff. We called that out when the right has done it in the past, and it’s only right to do it now against the left.”
Both Chetry and Avlon then got tough on Waxman for his failure to even read the cap and trade bill which carries his name. The CNN anchor later asked, “When you call him out as a wingnut this week, is this an isolated incident for Waxman?” Avlon replied, “No question, Henry Waxman is on the left wing of the Democratic Party, but he’s- you know, he’s a respected man. Sometimes reasonable people say unreasonable things. When you say that the opposition is rooting against the country, that’s an unreasonable thing. That’s a wingnut remark.”
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin stuck with his analysis of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor from late June- that the judge was “mainstream,” and that it would be difficult to use the reversal of her decision in the New Haven firefighters case and her “Wise Latina” comment against her.
When anchor Rick Sanchez asked if one of those issues was more problematic, Toobin replied, “I think it’s a combination....some Republicans will use [it] to paint a picture of her as kind of an activist...someone who is more interested in helping her community than in interpreting the law. That’s a very tough sell, but I think that’s the argument that they’re building towards.”
During an earlier appearance on the June 29, 2009 edition of the CNN program with anchor Heidi Collins, the very day that the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Ricci/firefighters case, the analyst stated that the decision “will be a main focus of the attack against her by conservative senators, who will say that her views are out of step with the Supreme Court. Now, that will be a somewhat-tough argument to make, because...her views are clearly in-step with four justices on the Court, including the justice she will be replacing. So, it’s not like her position was so far out the mainstream on this case that you couldn’t even get a single justice to agree with her.”
[Update, 2:34 pm Eastern: Audio and video clips from the report posted.]
Despite the change in administration, CNN’s Michael Ware, who regularly issued doom-and-gloom reports on Iraq in past years, bluntly stated during a report on Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360 that “America cannot win the war in Afghanistan...with bombs and bullets,” and offered that the only solution to the attacks on NATO troops was “cutting deals” with the Taliban and its leader, Mullah Omar.
Ware made this impolitic remark from the middle of the thoroughly Islamist border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The correspondent presented clips with interviews with Pakistani military and intelligence officials, and advanced the notion that Pakistan could serve as a mediator in such “deals” with the al Qaeda ally [audio clips from the report available here].
After giving a dramatic description of the region he had traveled to, Ware delivered his personal assessment of the Afghan campaign:
WARE: To put it simply, America cannot win the war in Afghanistan. It certainly can’t win it with bombs and bullets, and it can’t win it in Afghanistan alone. But part of the answer lies here, where I’m standing, in these mountain valleys in Pakistan on the Afghan border, because this is al Qaeda and Taliban territory. Right now, there’s as many as 100 Taliban on that mountaintop between the snowcapped peaks and amid those trees. They’re currently under siege from local villagers, who are driving them from their bunkers. But at the end of the day, it’s the Pakistani military who tolerates the presence of groups like the Taliban, and it’s not until America can start cutting deals with these people that there’s any hope of the attacks on American troops coming to an end.
MSNBC’s David Shuster and Tamron Hall labeled the circulation of a photo of President Obama allegedly glancing at a teenager’s posterior a “right wing smear,” and singled out Fox News and Drudge as culprits. They brought on a Media Matters spokesman, who accused these sites of being motivated by a “racist stereotype of an oversexed black man being a predator.” They let this accusation go unanswered (audio clip from the promos and the segment available here).
Shuster and Hall promoted the segment on the Obama picture from the start of the 4 pm Eastern hour of MSNBC’s live coverage. A graphic on-screen at the top of the hour pondered, “Right Wing Smear?,” as Shuster read the first teaser: “Plus, smearing President Obama- some on the Right went crazy over this photo they claimed shows President Obama with a wandering eye. But check the tape- the actual video shows a far different story- why the Right was so wrong with this one.”
The MSNBC anchor echoed his “why the Right was so wrong” phrase during the second promo at 19 minutes into the hour: “Up next, what the Right did wrong with that President Obama photo that was splashed all across some conservative websites. Why didn’t they bother to check the tape before making false accusations?” Right before the commercial break which preceded the segment, Hall broke back in with the final promo: “And when pictures do not say a thousand words- heck, when pictures right out deceive- why this misleading photograph was very popular on conservative blogs and conservative papers.”
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty revisited his favorite punching bag on Monday’s Situation Room: Sarah Palin. After referring to one of Palin’s reasons for her resignation, that she wanted to avoid becoming a lame duck, Cafferty cracked: “She was already lame.” He also predicted that she would become a mere “thumbsucker” if she’s no longer considered a contender for the 2012 presidential race.
Cafferty began his 4 pm Eastern hour “Cafferty File” segment by recounting the decision of the Alaska governor to resign at the end of July. He continued by briefly mentioning how Palin became famous after being named as John McCain’s running mate, listed the “lame duck” reason for resignation, and then made his crack: “Palin, who was thrust on to the national stage as John McCain’s running mate against President Obama, defended her decision as a move to avoid becoming a lame duck. Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin’s able to -- she was already lame -- Sarah Palin’s able to electrify the conservative base of the party like no other Republican in the country.”
The Vanity Fair national editor most recently known for publishing a withering criticism of the Clintons during the 2008 presidential race has chosen a new target for summary destruction: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
This is no mere attack on the Governor’s policy positions, nor on her performance during the 2008 campaign – nor even on her performance since. Purdum, in this article, plies his very best Luca Brazzi impression – hopelessly pathetic, yet reliably purposeful in ‘whacking’ the opposition.
In spinning his yarn, Purdum goes well below the belt:
In the midst of pretty balanced ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscast stories on the Ricci reverse discrimination case involving New Haven firefighters, who were victorious, one quibble: CBS's Wyatt Andrews framed the ruling as issued by the Supreme Court's “conservative” justices and opposed not by liberals but by “civil rights leaders,” as if the majority of justices who ruled against the racial discrimination were not advancing civil rights.
Andrews announced that “in a close 5 to 4 decision, the court's swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, sided with conservatives,” before he set up a soundbite from a representative of the NAACP: “Civil rights leaders also predicted an era of confusion over when minorities are protected and when they are not.” The NAACP's John Payton declared: “I think it hurts the cause of having a discrimination-free workplace.”
Neither ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg nor NBC's Pete Williams applied a conservative or liberal label.
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin couldn’t find a consistent argument about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of New Haven firefighters who accused their city of reverse discrimination. Toobin first reported that Justice Kennedy, “the swing vote in this case, as in so many others,” wrote the decision, but minutes later, he labeled it as a ruling by “the five conservatives on the Court.”
When news of the Court’s decision broke early in the 10 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, anchor Heidi Collins brought on Toobin, the network’s senior legal analyst, to comment on the five to four ruling. He began with a summary: “The Supreme Court- five to four- in a decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is the swing vote in this case, as in so many others, ruled that the New Haven firefighters were the victims of reverse discrimination.”
In the wake of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s admission to having an affair, evening and morning newscasts on NBC, CBS, and ABC all immediately identified him as a Republican. In contrast, in March of last year, the networks rarely identified disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat in the wake of his affair with a prostitute.
In a 2008 study of evening and morning network newscasts following the Spitzer scandal, NewsBusters’ Rich Noyes found that within the first week of news coverage Spitzer was only identified as a Democrat 20% of the time. However, within the first 24 hours of Sanford’s confession to having an affair, he was identified as a Republican 100% of the time, during coverage on all the networks.
On Wednesday, the NBC Nightly News, which failed to give Spitzer’s party affiliation for three days following his scandal, immediately focused on Sanford’s national role in the Republican Party as anchor Brian Williams declared: "In a Republican Party hungry for young stars, he was one of them: Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina...Tonight his political career is in tatters. His state, his party are in some turmoil. And Mark Sanford is no longer being mentioned as a possible GOP nominee for the White House."
Take three liberal policy advocates, stir into a 12-paragraph story, and strain out any dissenting voices.
That's the recipe for pushing Washington Post writer Martin Ricard's June 24 story on illegal immigrants who rallied yesterday in Washington, D.C., for a bill before Congress to make it easier for illegal immigrants to get access to financial aid for college.
In "Students Stage Mock Graduation To Advocate for Undocumented," Ricard noted "[a]lmost 400 students and their supporters" yesterday who "were drawn this year" to a mock graduation ceremony in Washington, D.C., "organized by United We Dream." Nowhere in his article did Ricard describe any of the students as "illegal immigrants," preferring instead to label them "undocumented."
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.
If the recession was the only reason why the welfare rolls are what they are in the various states, you would expect the percentage of the population utilizing the entitlement program, now known as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Need Families), in the various states to have some sort of relationship to their respective unemployment rates.
That is self-evidently not the case. The failure by Sara Murray of the Wall Street Journal to note that sad fact in her Monday article about the program makes her attempt to communicate what has happened with it during the twelve months that ended in May a major disappointment. As you'll see, she got right to the edge, but didn't look into it. In the process, Ms. Murray also gave all of the credit for welfare reform to then-President Bill Clinton -- a laughably incorrect rendition of what really happened.
Here are Murray's opening four paragraphs (bolds are mine):
As my colleague Mark Finkelstein noted this morning, now that gay activists are unhappy with Barack Obama, CBS has dusted off the “far left” label and used it to describe those who are upset that the President has not done more to advance the gay agenda. Co-host Harry Smith on Thursday: “President Obama gets some pressure from an unlikely source, the far left....”
So when was the last time CBS even used the phrase “far left” to describe fringe groups beyond the liberal mainstream? A Nexis search reveals that the last time the phrase crossed the lips of a CBS reporter was five months ago. On Inauguration Day, anchor Katie Couric mildly described unnamed “people on the far left or far right who don’t want Barack Obama to succeed.”
And the last time the “far left” label was used by CBS to describe a particular person or group was more than two years ago. On the May 17, 2007 CBS Evening News, reporter Sharyl Attkisson was talking about an immigration reform bill: “It’s a complete reform of US immigration law as we know it, worked out by a bipartisan group of negotiators, including Senator Ted Kennedy, politically on the far left, and Saxby Chambliss on the far right.”
Two reports on CNN’s Situation Room on Wednesday about President Obama’s extension of benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees and the campaign to overturn Proposition 8 in California featured only left-wing sound bites, and none from conservative opponents of homosexual activists.
The first report from correspondent Dan Lothian, which aired just after the beginning of the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, included clips from a homosexual federal employee and his “husband” who was afflicted with pancreatic cancer, as well as Joe Solmonese of the liberal Human Rights Campaign. Over an hour later, Jessica Yellin’s report on Proposition 8 opponents’ efforts to overturn the ballot initiative which made same-sex “marriage” illegal again, featured two leaders from California “progressive” organizations, the Courage Campaign, and Equality California.
During the Bush administration, do you recall the MSM ever describing a gay rights group such as the Human Rights Campaign as "far-left"? Neither do I. To the contrary, such organizations were sympathetically portrayed as proponents of mainstream values.
But let such groups criticize Pres. Obama and—what do you know?—the MSM suddenly decides they're "far-left." That's Joe Solomnese, head of the Human Rights Campaign, in the screencap, branded as far-left by the Early Show this morning.
A chyron which accompanied a report on CNN’s Newsroom program on Wednesday about the arrest of a leader of an organization inspired by the Minuteman Project, referred to her and her accused accomplices as “extremists.” Despite qualifying how the largest Minuteman organization had distanced itself from the suspects, anchor Rick Sanchez questioned how she became a “player in the anti-immigration movement.”
Sanchez took the human interest story approach to the segment, which began 26 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He first displayed the picture of a young girl who was one of two murder victims in the case, and gave the following description: “Things are not always as they seem, right? And I want to illustrate this now with a picture of a beautiful little girl- there she is. Her name is Brisenia Flores- take a close look, because it may be the only way that you’ll be able to see this little girl. Why? Because this little girl- Brisenia Flores- is now dead.”
After giving some details of the crime, the anchor continued by describing the suspects: “Shawna Ford and two other suspects are now being held on a bond of a million dollars for the deaths of Brisenia Flores and her father....Let me tell you who Shawn Forde is. She’s the executive director of a group that’s called Minuteman American Defense. Police say that Forde planned the killing of the little girl and her father to steal drugs and money, and make it look like it was the work of a drug cartel.”
In his Wednesday brief, "Senator Says He Had Affair With An Aide," New York Times reporter David Herszenhorn let us know by the fourth word that U.S. Senator John Ensign of Nevada, the senator who confessed to the extramarital affair, is a Republican. In paragraph four, Herszenhorn poured on the salt, bringing up Ensign's former membership in Promise Keepers, a Christian ministry that promotes marriage.
Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, admitted Tuesday that he had an extramarital affair with a member of his campaign staff.