It’s not just liberal policy and charismatic personalities that the liberal media find alluring about the Kennedy clan, but also its decidedly upper-crust fashion sense. In Sunday’s Washington Post, fashion reporter Robin Givhan waxed eloquent about the “look of rich tradition” the patrician Kennedy clan brought to their oft-publicly photographed wardrobe.
Yet four years ago, Givhan derided as “syrupy nostalgia” similar classic preppy sensibilities when then-Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and his family were in the limelight.
A turnaround on Obama-Care at the New York Times? Not quite, but health reporter Robert Pear's corrective story Friday, "A Basis Is Seen for Some Health Plan Fears Among the Elderly," did make some surprising concessions to conservative concerns about rationing of health care for the elderly under an Obama plan. Might those horror stories about "death panels," declared "false" by the Times just a week before, actually have some credence?
A week previous, the Times had dismissing such concerns about rationing on its front page as fringe conservative conspiracy akin to campaign rumors Obama was a Muslim. But Pear found the questioning of one of the central premises of Obama-care -- rationing -- more widespread:
White House officials and Democrats in Congress say the fears of older Americans about possible rationing of health care are based on myths and falsehoods. But Medicare beneficiaries and insurance counselors say the concerns are not entirely irrational.
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.
At least one media outlet is bucking the field's bleak economic outlook: The left-wing blog Talking Points Memo. On Monday, Noam Cohen reported in the New York Times that TPM has received funding from outside investors that will result in a doubling of staff, and may include some veteran mainstream journalists.
The political news Web site Talking Points Memo this weekend completed a round of investment, of $500,000 to $1 million. The move is intended to increase the number of employees, to roughly 20, from the current 11, in the next 10 months.
The financing is the first part of a three-year plan to increase the site's staff to 60 employees, Joshua Micah Marshall, the site's founder, said in an interview at his offices on West 20th Street in New York.
Marshall, who in TPM's early days (the blog was launched during the Florida recount fight of Election 2000) was less reflexively anti-Republican than today, has beefed up the once-humble blog to include TPM café, a discussion site, and TPM Muckraker, an investigative site almost exclusively devoted to conservative scandal-mongering.
Although the established media often rails against bloggers, Marshall is an exception. As Cohen reported back in February 2008, Marshall won the media's George Polk Award for legal reporting for his work on the Bush administration firing eight U.S. attorneys under what TPM and other liberals claimed were politically motivated circumstances -- a perfectly legal effort that was nonetheless considered scandalous by mainstream media.
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.
Here’s a shocking statement about the behavior of the White House Press Corps at the Correspondent’s Dinner: “What I saw the other night was like a bunch of teenage girls waiting for a Bay City Rollers concert, ready to scream at their the top of their lungs.”
The content of this statement is not nearly so shocking, however, as who said it – a member of the media, one Joe Scarborough of MSNBC. That’s right, a member of the media is actually talking about media bias. And even more bewildering, he wasn’t the only one. Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, agreed:
BRZEZINSKI: I definitely agree with you, I saw that there, Joe, and even the people running the behind the scenes trying to figure out what shots to put on the air, were like, ooh look at Michelle Obama, she looks so good. Go to him, go to him! What? [...] They were in love. It was weird.
Rush Limbaugh has no problem following black conservatives. But you’d never know it, were you to read the Black Entertainment Television website.
Posted by the amorphous BET.com Staff, the following kneecapping was posted today:
Rush Limbaugh has a problem with leading Black Republicans. In recent weeks, he’s blasted his own party’s chairman, calling Michael Steele “gutless” and too weak to challenge President Obama. And now, the acid-tongued shock jock is hurling barbs at perhaps the most respected Black Republican in America, telling his estimated 20 million listeners to his radio show that former Secretary of State Colin Powell is really a Democrat in a GOP costume.
First of all, Rush Limbaugh, while generally seen as a Republican, is first and foremost a conservative. For Limbaugh, the party is simply an instrument to implement a philosophy - understanding this about conservatives would cause partisans everywhere to understand Limbaugh’s politics much better.
But the inability to understand the difference is not the only problem with this BET article.
During the recently completed presidential campaign, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff was all excited over his "web exclusive" piece on staffers with the McCain campaign that had connections with past lobbying efforts. Back in those days Newsweek was all about the evils of those darn lobbyists. For their part, Obama supporters at the time ballyhooed the pledges that Barack Obama had made stating that his was going to be a kinder, gentler campaign, one that chased those evil lobbyists away. Phooey on those lobbyists, became the popular mantra. But, now that The One has made a successful and historic run for the Oval Office, Newsweek has suddenly discovered a newfound respect for that most venerable and important institution of lobbying.
That's right, folks. Now lobbyists are "democracy in action" and as American as apple pie, dashikis and bailouts. According to Newsweek's Robert J. Samuelson, if you are down on lobbyists, why, heck, you're down on America itself!
This is, of course, quite a different attitude than Newsweek took when using its pages to beat down John McCain. In September, connections with lobbyists were enough to bring down a presidential candidate, yet by December they are the epitome of "democracy in action." That is quite a head-spinning turn around, wouldn't you say?
Before a few weeks ago, I don't recall seeing Kathleen Parker much on TV. But tuning into Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC show this afternoon, there she was. And when I got back from the gym and fired up my DVR of David Gregory's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?" Yup, Parker redux.
Let's see. What might possibly explain Kathleen Parker's sudden popularity on MSNBC? You don't suppose it could conceivably have anything to do with her September column calling on Sarah Palin to step down from the GOP ticket, do you?
Ah, the land of lollipops and unicorns has descended upon us now that the savior has won the election.
Perhaps with the safety of the completed election securely behind, Peter Slevin of the Washington Post did a very cutesy article covering the not-so-cutesy terrorist, Bill Ayers.
Ayers was gracious enough to come out of the woodwork to offer his viewpoints on the Republicans demonizing him during the campaign.
"Pal around together? What does that mean? Share a milkshake with two straws?" Ayers said.
No William, palling around together might include one pal giving another a glowing review of their book, or perhaps the two of you serving together on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or maybe even inviting Obama over to your home to help launch his political career. Hell, who's to say Bernardine Dohrn wasn't serving up milkshakes in your living room at the time? But maybe we're just splitting hairs on defining the term ‘pal.'
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed the presidential campaign with former Bush speech writer David Frum and declared: "There is growing concern among some Republicans about McCain's campaign. They're calling on him to stabilize it." Later in the segment, Smith asked Frum point blank: "Was Sarah Palin a mistake?"Frum replied: "I think Sarah Palin was a huge mistake...Americans can be pretty jokey about their government when times are good, but when times are bad, they want to know do -- can you do the job? And when you have a candidate who so obviously has never thought about any of the issues that are going to be important to the next administration and whose knowledge is so shallow, it makes people -- it doesn't just make people offended, it makes them afraid."
Just prior to asking Frum about Palin, Smith asked: "We're talking about the Gallup numbers, the Post has Obama up by ten points. Three weeks to go. Is it too late for John McCain to make substantial changes and literally save his campaign?" Part of Frum’s response to that question included: "The McCain campaign right now is running a campaign aimed at getting excited the last -- the core 30% of the country that supports the Republican Party, our base, but you don't win elections on your base. You win elections, but with a broad strategy. And above all, when you run an election like this aimed at your base you risk demoralizing and offending a lot of people who are needed by a Norm Coleman or an Elizabeth Dole."
Update: Frum's appearance on the Early Show prompted a discussion between Kathryn Jean Lopez and Mark Levin on National Review Online.
Andrea Mitchell might be a doyenne of the liberal media, but she has her reporter's pride and principles, which have been trampled by the way the Obama campaign has managed the media during the candidate's current trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Mitchell let loose on this evening's Hardball, speaking of "fake interviews," and decrying that she was unable to report on pertinent aspects of the trip because the media has been excluded and that the video released is unreliable because it's impossible to know what has been edited out.
Before Mitchell made her displeasure known, Roger Simon of Politico, Chris Matthews's other guest during the segment, depicted the images coming out of the war zone as all Obama could have dreamed of.
ROGER SIMON: The optics are all very good on this trip. I mean, the beginning of this trip is so good, Senator Obama might just want to call off the end and just keep running the videotape.
CNN correspondent Carol Costello, covering the reaction to McClellan’s new "tell-all" book about the Bush administration on Thursday’s "American Morning," added some liberal-leaning psychoanalysis to the obligatory quotes from current and former administration officials and a clip from Rush Limbaugh. "Unflattering kiss and tells about the Bush administration are a dime a dozen. Spilling the beans: former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, former Iraq Envoy Paul Bremer, and former Senior Economic Adviser Larry Lindsay. From a psychological standpoint, that's not surprising. Analysts say the Bush administration demanded loyalty and suppressed dissent -- a perfect recipe for rebellion."
Costello included a clip of Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist, who noted that McClellan’s book "appears to be an act of revenge" done "in a potentially very self-destructive way." Because of this, she concluded that "you have to wonder about the guilt that they feel," because "they're asking for punishment, in a sense."
Was George Soros behind the publication of Scott McClellan's book? Meredith Vieira had the perfect opportunity this morning to find out—but chose to punt. The Today co-anchor certainly had the time: her much-touted exclusive interview with the author of What Happened ranged over the show's first two half-hours. But even when McClellan himself put the issue on the table—citing his publisher by name and alluding to its philosophy—Vieira failed to pursue a line of questioning that could have put matters in an explosive new light.
is part of the Perseus Books Group, which also owns Nation Books, “a project of The Nation Institute” which publishes the magazine of the same name, and Vanguard Press, whose home page now features The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, a new book by Vincent Bugliosi that “presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq.”
Baker also notes that PublicAffairs is the publisher of no fewer than six books by Soros himself, and that McClellan's editor, Peter Osnos, who acknowledges having "worked very closely" with the author, is a liberal pundit in his own right.
Finally, Little Green Footballs has documented that there are several Perseus companies that actually include "Soros" as part of their name, as in Perseus-Soros Management, LLC.
Put it all together, and there's every reason to wonder whether Soros isn't behind McClellan's manifesto. But given the golden opportunity to pursue the matter, Meredith chose to move on. Here's the relevant exchange, which came during the second half-hour of this morning's Today.
ABC reporter Martha Raddatz openly editorialized on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" that she is "disappointed" in former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan for not slamming the Bush White House sooner. McClellan, who has written a tell-all book bashing the President, Karl Rove and other operatives, was prominently featured as GMA's top story.
After being prompted by co-host Robin Roberts for her opinion, Raddatz unloaded: "...I'm really surprised....and disappointed." She lamented that as press secretary, "[McClellan] didn't stand up and say wait a minute, I'm not going to say these kind of things anymore. So, we're surprised." Co-host Diane Sawyer could not restrain herself from describing the new book in the most dire terms. In an intro, she breathlessly announced, "A scathing presidential review. One of the President's most loyal political aides turns on him..."
Nothing is deadlier to a campaign than a rumor that a candidate might be dropping out. But NBC has seen fit to suggest that Rudy Giuliani might be withdrawing from the presidential race based on what it itself calls "speculation" in the blogosphere.
NBC Nightly News weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed John Harwood on this evening's edition.
LESTER HOLT: Let's turn to Rudy Giuliani. He's had a health scare, he's had a drop in the polls. You've seen it in the blogosphere: a lot of speculation as to whether he'll stay in this race. What do you think?
As Republican primary campaign slogans go, "Endorsed by Frank Rich!" might not be a candidate's strongest play. But for better or worse Mike Huckabee is essentially stuck with it after Rich's NYT's column of yesterday. The ostensible theme of "The Republicans Find Their Obama" is that Republican voters are leaning toward Huckabee for the same reasons that Dems are trending to Obama: that both men are relatively young, speak across racial lines, are witty and avoid hyper-partisanship.
But dig down a bit deeper, and it appears that Huckabee's real appeal for Rich is that, social issues aside, he is the most liberal of the GOP frontrunners. Making his case for Huckabee, Rich goes so far to dabble in Christian theology [emphasis added]:
Editor & Publisher editor Greg Mitchell is hot on the trail with a year long E&P tribute to local newspapers that are covering "the shocking number of suicides among U.S. troops in Iraq or after they return home". At first I figured this was a strange tribute to be making, especially considering that Mitchell didn't bother to present any facts when implying that the war is to blame for such tragic deaths. Instead Mitchell follows it up with an AP story about the apparent suicide of Army veteran Tyler Curtis and presents this incident as further proof to bolster the claim.
NEW YORK For the past year, E&P has paid tribute to local newspapers, sometimes quite small ones, that have covered extremely sensitive and revealing stories that previously gained little attention: the shocking number of suicides among U.S. troops in Iraq or after they return home. Recent studies suggest the figure, once in the hundreds, is now in the thousands.
The New York Times' reliably pro-illegal immigrant reporter Julia Preston, fresh from using a survey compiled by a (unlabeled) Hillary presidential pollster to make a pro-illegal immigrant argument, returned to the beat Saturday with "Farmers Call Crackdown On Illegal Workers Unfair," which located another odd angle to defend amnesty for illegals -- it will hurt agribusiness.
"Facing the prospect of major layoffs of farmworkers during harvest season, growers and lawmakers from agricultural states spoke in dire terms yesterday about new measures by the Bush administration to crack down on employers of illegal immigrants.
"'This is not just painful, this is death to the American farmer,' Maureen Torrey, who runs a family dairy and vegetable farm in Elba, N. Y., said in a telephone interview.
The network morning shows all hyped up the recent remarks from Republican Senator Richard Lugar that the war in Iraq is not going well. ABC’s "Good Morning America" ran a brief story and noted that Republican Senator George Voinovich followed as well.
The CBS "Early Show’s" "Capitol Bob" segment focused mainly on the Lugar remarks. Host Harry Smith discovered admiration for the Indiana Senator exclaimed he is a "smart guy" and is "not fickle." Bob Schieffer forecasted "I think we’re going to begin a withdrawal," claimed the troops are in "the middle of this civil war," and editorialized "the policy as we know it is not going to work." Schieffer also claimed inside sources tell him Republicans are "not enthusiastic" about the president’s Iraq strategy.
The network anchors have found their new favorite Republican: Senator Richard Lugar, whose call for a change in policy direction on Iraq led the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday. Referring to Lugar's remarks Monday night on the Senate floor which were later echoed by Republican Senator George Voinovich, ABC anchor Charles Gibson engaged in some hyperbole as he teased: “Tonight, a Republican rebellion over the war: More Senators say the mission in Iraq is no longer in America's best interest.” With “Tipping Point?” on screen, Gibson bucked up Lugar's credibility: “There is no more respected Republican Senator in the area of foreign policy than Indiana's Richard Lugar. Senator Lugar took the floor of the U.S. Senate last night to say for the first time that he feels the U.S. Iraq policy is not working and U.S. troops should start coming home.”
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams matched Gibson's esteem for Lugar: “He's been around a long time, he doesn't speak out often, and so when he does, people listen up. Last night, in the U.S. Senate chamber, Senator Lugar gave a speech in which the respected Republican broke with the President on the Iraq war. Today, another Republican Senator did the same, and so tonight many are wondering if we're witnessing the beginning of some kind of turning point?” Williams earlier teased the newscast with the same formulation: “Is this a turning point in the war?” NBC, however, has a poor record of picking Iraq war “turning points.” In 2005 the network hailed Cindy Sheehan's protest near Bush's ranch as a “turning point” and last October Williams heralded comments from Senator John Warner as he asked: “Is this a new turning point?”
Why is it that conservative characters on prime time television, what few of them there are, almost always end up "evolving" into fuzzy liberals? "Entertainment Weekly" columnist Mark Harris asked that very question in the current issue of the media magazine [Emphasis added]:
It's always curious when liberal-media types start hailing the brilliance of conservatives when their arguments line up with liberal wishes. Since the Jack Abramoff plea, both Newt Gingrich and National Review Online have suggested it would be nice for House Republicans to find a Majority Leader with a more reformist image. To MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, these people are suddenly brilliant and impressive, as he declared in a "Today" pundit segment on Friday. MRC's Scott Whitlock took it down yesterday.
"Well, Newt Gingrich isn't, maybe, the most popular guy in the country. But he is ruthlessly brilliant. And he knows that this is the time to nail this guy. And he's going out and said, let's get rid of Delay, now. And you've got the National Review, the historically conservative, very impressive magazine all these years for the conservative movement, started by Bill Buckley. That's come out now and called for him to get out of the way. I think the big casualty here, to the delight of the liberals and chagrin of the people who helped build the Republican majorities, Tom Delay looks like victim number one here. I'm not sure the party's going to be the victim by next November. Because one of the great ironies of politics is that when you get the body out of the way, the party that suffered the loss doesn't seem to look so bad."