Good Morning America's Pierre Thomas on Thursday played up the threats and intimidation that Bart Stupak has suffered since he voted for the health care bill. However, last week, the same program ignored the "living hell" the Congressman dealt with as he claimed to oppose the legislation.
Thomas played a voice mail released by Stupak where an anonymous caller attacked, "Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother [bleeped]. I hope you die." However, when George Stephanopoulos talked to Stupak on March 19, he skipped the Representative's complaints to The Hill that "All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats."
Are threats only notable when they can potentially be linked to those on the right? Before the vote, Stupak repeatedly stated he was leaning towards voting against the legislation. But, Stephanopoulos' questions all revolved around what it would take to get the Representative to vote yes. There were no questions about possible violence.
Not content with simply reporting on threats against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare, the liberal media has taken it upon itself (with a bit of direction from the Democratic Party) to blame the Tea Party and the GOP.
The coverage stands in stark contrast to the litany of similar instances involving conservatives and Republicans. They were treated as isolated incidents, if discussed at all.
CNN's Rick Sanchez certainly got the memo. On his show yesterday, he accused "crazy talk show hosts" and the Republican Party of inciting violence against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare. He took to Twitter later that night to ask, "are our fundamentalist zealots different than the ones we fight in afghan and iraq?"
On Thursday's American Morning, CNN's John Roberts repeatedly decried the "troubling language" against pro-ObamaCare congressman which "violate any sense of common decency." But his own program over three years earlier helped promote a controversial 2006 movie which forwarded an imaginary assassination attempt against then-President George W. Bush.
Just after the top of the 6 am Eastern hour, Roberts responded to a report by correspondent Carol Costello on ten Democratic representatives' request for extra security after their reportedly received threatening messages: "Wow. It really is, as you said, at the top, it is troubling, some of the language out there."
An hour later, at the top of 7 am Eastern hour, the anchor expanded on his earlier thought as he introduced a report from correspondent Brianna Keilar: "The message from emotional voters to Capitol Hill this morning could not be clearer: 'Go to hell.' From profanity-laden voicemails to faxes with Nazi insignias on them, thousands of Americans are venting their anger, in some cases, extremely inappropriately. The shouting is not bound to the Beltway. At least ten members of Congress with home districts stretching all the way from New York to Arizona have reported either harassment, vandalism, or outright death threats."
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "The health care debate gets ugly as Democrats who voted for reform report violence and death threats." In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes promoted left-wing talking points blaming the GOP: "Democrats accuse Republicans of stoking the anger with violent rhetoric and imagery."
As one example of the threats against Democrats, Cordes played phone messages left for Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak: "You and your family are scum....We think you're a devil....I hope you die." However, the Early Show failed to mention any of the threatening phone calls made to Stupak last week, by liberals upset over the pro-life Democrat still being on the fence over the abortion language in ObamaCare. As NewsBusters' Tim Graham pointed out, CBS's own Political Hotsheet blog reported: "Stupak...says his life has become a 'living hell' because of the debate....'All the phones are unplugged at our house – tired of the obscene calls and threats,' Stupak said in an interview with The Hill."
Citing more examples, Cordes noted that Democrats "point to Sarah Palin's Facebook page, which uses cross hairs to denote districts where vulnerable Democrats voted for health care reform. 'Don't retreat, instead, reload,' Palin told fellow conservatives on Twitter." In addition, a picture of the Republican National Committee website appeared on screen, which featured an image of Nancy Pelosi surrounded by flames and the words 'Fire Pelosi'. On Tuesday, Rodriguez asked RNC Chair Michael Steele if such imagery was "a little bit extreme."
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”
CNN's Rick Sanchez repeatedly insinuated on his Rick's List program on Wednesday that Republican leaders and "crazy talk show hosts that are so right wing" were to blame for ten congressman requesting extra security earlier in the day: "Are some Republicans culpable of stirring this, to a certain degree?"
Sanchez led the 3 pm Eastern hour of his program with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announcing that ten of their Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives had requested additional security for their homes and offices due to reported threats of violence. The anchor brought on correspondent Jessica Yellin to give more details. After Yellin reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner had condemned such threats, Sanchez replied, "But Boehner himself has been one of the most critical. He's one of those who has used words like 'socialist' and 'government takeover' and the kinds of things that someone who, maybe, doesn't follow the situation so closely might be led to act in an incivil way. Is this is a chicken or an egg question, of which came first in this case?"
On Wednesday, both NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America exclusively cited the latest Gallup/USA Today poll, which shows significantly more public support for ObamaCare than other recent polls. Both programs failed to mention several polls that continued to show public opposition to the massive legislation.
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira used the Gallup poll to grill Republican Senator Jim DeMint, suggesting the tide of public opinion had turned in favor of the bill: "by a margin of nine percent, Americans say it was a good thing that Congress passed this bill. Half describe their reaction as enthusiastic or pleased. 48 percent called the bill a good first step. So who is out of touch with the public? The Democrats or the Republicans?" DeMint replied: "we would expect hype with – with all the hype and propaganda – that we would get a bump....I don't think the anger's gonna go away. I think you're gonna see it continue to build."
On Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Bill Weir noted the poll after Democratic strategist James Carville touted it: "The new USA Today Gallup poll say 50 percent, or just under, 49 percent, say passing this bill is a good thing. 40 percent call it a bad thing." Weir then turned to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and wondered: "Those who are opposed to it, though, are very angry. Will that be enough? Will there be enough steam left in that anger come November?"
Over the last 24 hours, MSNBC's David Shuster has been heavily promoting a questionable online poll suggesting that significant chunks of Republicans think Barack Obama is the Antichrist, Hitleresque or wasn't born in America. On Wednesday, Shuster questioned the Harris survey, even as the network's graphic screamed, "Obama 'Hitler Poll' Questioned: Controversial Poll Suggests Hate Fueling Lunatic Fringe."
Shuster talked with Humphrey Taylor, the chairman of Harris Polling and provided some skepticism about the survey's validity. But, he didn't explain why MSNBC has been so heavily hyping it.
Additionally, Shuster still embraced the incendiary language of the poll. He trumpeted, "Still, a controversial new online interactive poll suggests that general hatred of President Obama on the right, which may be fueling the lunatic fringe is more widespread than previously thought."
Even before ObamaCare passed, on CBS's Sunday Morning reporter Tracy Smith touted the bill as the fulfillment of a century of liberal efforts: "After months of rancor in the streets, and histrionics in the halls of Congress, the vote takes place in just a few hours....if it feels like this long, angry, divisive debate over American health care has gone on practically forever – the fact is, it has."
Throughout the segment, Smith spoke with left-wing Brown University Professor James Morone, who began by lamenting how much of an obstacle the Constitution has been in achieving nationalized health care: "The founding fathers didn't want to make it easy. And they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams." As Smith began to recite the list of presidents who attempted implementing different proposals, Morone later explained: "Why don't we have it? One word: Congress. We've organized Congress in a way to make it very, very difficult."
In concluding the segment, Smith proclaimed: "Earlier this year, the President said, 'We are close to the summit of the mountain.' Whether or not he reaches that goal will be decided in today's vote." Morone took it a few steps further: "If they get it through, Obama's done something that Roosevelt couldn't do, that Kennedy couldn't do, Clinton, Nixon. Obama becomes, in history, a quite major figure, whatever else happens in the rest of his administration, or he becomes a minor figure. All in one day."
In an interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez touted the signing of ObamaCare into law: "the Senate bill...becomes law today. You're going to be stuck with a bill you don't like." She then wondered: "What if the catastrophic scenario that you've been warning about doesn't play out?"
Rodriguez referred to an interview that her fellow co-host Harry Smith had just concluded with White House advisor David Axelrod and asked: "What if, as David Axelrod suggests, now that it's a reality and people start to see the benefits, they actually like it?" Steele replied: "David Axelrod didn't talk about the $506 billion that's being taken out of Medicare....He didn't talk about the $500 billion in new taxes that are going to be imposed on those small businesses....there's a lot in this bill that have yet to be revealed to the American people. And when it's further revealed, it'll be less – less liked."
After Steele's response, Rodriguez felt the need to incredulously repeat: "If it turns out to be the catastrophe that you are predicting." She then criticized the RNC for being too "extreme" in its opposition: "I looked on the RNC website this morning. I have to say, I was surprised by what I saw. The home page shows a big photograph of Nancy Pelosi and in huge block letters it says 'Fire Pelosi' and she is against a backdrop of flames....Isn't this a little bit extreme?...What can you accomplish with this?" A still shot of the RNC website appeared on screen (see picture below). Rodriguez failed to point that in the latest CBS News poll, Nancy Pelosi only has an 11% approval rating.
Steele dismissed Rodriguez's characterization: "Actually, I tamed it down. You know, the reality of it is I don't know why you're surprised. Nancy Pelosi is the architect of the demise, in my view, of one-sixth of our economy. She should be fired for her failure to serve the interests of the American people."
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann reaffirmed his accusations of racism against both the Republican party and Tea Party activists, and even tied in the recent racist statements made over the intercom at a Wal-Mart by a disgruntled employee as he tried to link isolated incidents of racism to these mainstream organizations. After recounting reports that someone shouted the "N" word at black members of Congress as they walked past protesters outside the Capitol, Olbermann continued:
But in a backwards, sick-to-my-stomach way, I would like to thank whoever shouted at Mr. Lewis and Mr. Carson for proving my previous point. If racism is not the whole of the Tea Party, it is in its heart, along with blind hatred, a total disinterest in the welfare of others, and a full- flowered, self-rationalizing refusal to accept the outcomes of elections, or the reality of democracy, or the narrowness of their minds and the equal narrowness of their public support." On Saturday, that support came from evolutionary regressives like Michele Bachmann and Jon Voight. On a daily basis that support comes from the racists and homophobes of radio and television: the Michael Savages and the Rush Limbaughs.
Appearing on Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman – also of Newsweek – dismissed Republican promises of working to repeal ObamaCare, suggesting that because it would be nearly impossible to have the numbers in Congress to do so after the next election, Republicans are merely using the issue as a fundraising and political ploy: "This isn`t about mathematics, Keith, it`s about theology – and fundraising, as you pointed out. ... But the Republicans aren`t interested in fixing anything. They`re interested in holding out this kind of almost anti-messianic hope that they`re somehow going to be able to repeal the thing."
Fineman also argued that because the ObamaCare bill does not include either the government-run "public option" or a single-payer system, that in reality it is a "preservation and enhancement, if you will, of the existing system."
As he listed factors that helped Democrats successfully pass ObamaCare, Fineman at one point seemed to make Olbermann a little nervous that some would tie the "birther" conspiracy theory in with his contention that President Obama "comes from a country of long-distance runners and was one," as he credited Obama with "persistence."
Looking at the state of both parties after President Obama’s health bill win in the House, ABC’s Terry Moran elevated the view of “prominent conservative” David Frum, author a year ago of Newsweek’s “Why Rush is Wrong” cover story, who blamed Rush Limbaugh and Fox News for what he’s dubbed the GOP’s “Waterloo.” On Nightline, Moran contended “anger, stoking it, expressing it, riding it...was the Republican strategy to defeat health care. And over the weekend all that anger got ugly, as some Democratic Members of Congress were called vile, racial and anti-gay slurs.”
But, he warned, “in the wake of the Democrats’ victory, some Republicans are not sure all that anger makes good politics,” as if Limbaugh and other conservative leaders advocated yelling the “slurs.” Moran relayed how “Frum says the real leadership of the Republican Party during the course of the health care battle was not to be found in the halls of Congress, but on the air waves” since “it was talk radio and Fox News, Frum argues, that drove the GOP strategy.” Moran paraphrased Frum’s take:
It sounds like you're saying that the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs, hijacked the Republican Party and drove it to a defeat?
Monday's American Morning on CNN slanted toward guests who supported ObamaCare versus opponents, by a margin of six to two. The program also devoted three segments specifically to interviewing supporters, versus only one to opponents.
Correspondent John Zarella interviewed customers at Lester's Diner in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, asking them for their take on health care "reform." During a segment 43 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour, Zarella questioned two supporters of ObamaCare. Over an hour later, the CNN correspondent found two who objected to the proposed legislation, thereby covering both sides of the debate.
Anchor John Roberts, on the other hand, shifted the balance to the left by interviewing two supporters of ObamaCare who have an autistic child during a segment 13 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. Roberts sympathetically introduced Esther and Paul Hawkins: "Six months after President Obama signs the health care reform bill into law, insurance companies will not be allowed to deny coverage for kids because of preexisting medical conditions. The bill widens that measure to the rest of us by the year 2014. Now, critics say that's only going to add to the growing cost of delivering health care, but for some parents with uninsured kids, it's an awfully big relief."
Racists against Obama-care? New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse didn't take it quite that far, but he made a point to juxtapose protests against Obama-care to violent 1960s-era protests against black civil rights, as personalized in the main subject of Hulse's Monday piece, civil rights icon and Democratic Congressman John Lewis: "Mr. Lewis said he was not intimidated as he walked to the Capitol with his colleagues, including Ms. Pelosi. In 1965, Mr. Lewis was bloodied and beaten by the police as he marched for civil rights."
Hulse first laid into "venomous" conservative protesters on Sunday afternoon, in his contribution to the live blogging of the House debate at nytimes.com. From his 3:25 p.m. post "Angry, Vituperative Protests."
The mood inside the House chamber was tense as lawmakers headed toward climactic health care votes on Sunday, but the atmosphere outside the Capitol was downright venomous.
As the House engaged in initial parliamentary maneuvering, hundreds of anti-reform protesters gathered on the south side of the Capitol between the building and the House office buildings across Independence Avenue, chanting and jeering Democrats and applauding House Republicans who egged them on.
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
According to actor and comedian Drew Carey, Hollywood is not the intolerant blackballing liberal utopia many deem it to be. In fact, Hollywood is very accepting of the right-wing crowd - except for that fringe, radical segment known as conservatives.
"In Hollywood, you can pretty much get away with being a libertarian," Carey told John Stossel on the Fox Business Network. "Butif you're a conservative you're kind of doomed."
Carey was a featured guest on "Stossel" March 18, dissecting the economic calamities surrounding his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio (anointed Forbes' new “Most Miserable City” ), and to provide the perspective of an aspiring businessman.
"Now you're a libertarian right?" Stossel asked. "Has that slowed your career?"
[Update, 10:21 am Eastern on Monday: Knoller responded on Sunday on Twitter to the criticism he was receiving online, stating that 'I wasn't aware there was any slur or pejorative associated with that term. The moment it was pointed out, I stopped using it." (H/t: Clay Waters of TimesWatch, Stephen Gutowski of NewsBusters).]
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller revived the use of a vulgar sexual term to refer to Tea Party protesters on Saturday afternoon via Twitter: "Obama's motorcade arrives at Capitol Hill. Boos and jeers passing tea bagger protests."
On Thursday's Situation Room, CNN's Wolf Blitzer engaged newly-elected Republican Scott Brown on his opposition to ObamaCare, and asked him the same question from the left twice in succession: "What's wrong with giving 30 million-plus more Americans access to health insurance?" He also later added, "What's wrong with spending money...if it's going to give access to 30 million Americans?" [audio clips available here; video clips available here]
Blitzer had the Massachusetts senator on just before the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. The anchor first complimented Brown for driving over to the CNN Washington Bureau in his "nice little truck," and immediately asked his slanted question.
After the senator gave his initial answer, Blitzer, seemingly unsatisfied by the response, pressed further, and added another argument from the left: "I guess I should rephrase the question. What's wrong with spending money- the cost, if it winds up costing money, if it winds up raising taxes on multimillionaires or millionaires, or people even earning more than $250,000 a year- if it's going to give access to 30 million Americans, so they don't have to worry about getting sick- what's wrong with that?"
As conservatives rally opposition to ObamaCare in the waning hours of the health care debate, MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough didn't seem to think the upcoming health care vote is such a big deal. On his show this morning, Scarborough concluded that the outcome of the health care overhaul vote will not have a significant impact on the American health care system.
“People just need to take a deep breath,” insisted Scarborough. “We’re going to be fine. Whichever way it goes, we’re going to be fine.”
Scarborough employed hyperbole to mischaracterize those who argue that ObamaCare is fiscally reckless and a step toward a single-payer health care system.
As the Media Research Center's latest Media Reality Check details, over the past year, the media have served as cheerleaders for ObamaCare, praising the proposed legislation, while continually slamming its critics.
As Congress moves closer to a final vote on the bill in the coming days, it's a good time to take a look back at the friendly spin that has dominated the airwaves in support of it, as well as the harsh attacks that have been launched against its opponents.
Here is a video compilation with just a sampling of some of the slanted coverage from the past 12 months.
Near the end of the 10AM ET hour on MSNBC Thursday, anchor David Shuster criticized Fox News anchor Bret Baier for having "interrupted the President numerous times" in a "contentious" and "heated" Wednesday interview. Shuster later accused the network of bias: "Fox is far more – far more conservative overall than MSNBC could ever be liberal."
Shuster brought on left-wing Mother Jones editor David Corn and David Freddoso of the Washington Examiner to discuss Baier's interview with Obama. He asked Corn if Baier's questioning was "inappropriate," Corn didn't think so, but joked: "I was just disappointed overall, though, because there were no questions about where the President was born." Freddoso thought Baier got "bogged down" asking the President about the controversial 'deem and pass' procedure possibly being used to pass ObamaCare.
Turning to Freddoso, Shuster cited former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn claiming that Fox News is the "communications arm of the Republican Party." Freddoso discounted that criticism: "You can call names and sling mud. I mean, Fox News definitely – it has more of a center-right perspective than MSNBC, which generally has more of a center-left, political perspective." Prompting Shuster to reply: "But the difference is that – and I've worked at both places – and you can find this from every sort of media analyst who's objective, Fox is far more – far more conservative overall than MSNBC could ever be liberal. It's not a question of their – one's five points to the right and one's five points to the left. It's not like that at all."
With a disparity of five-to-one, the same network morning and evening news programs that displayed an eager interest in Republican Mark Foley's E-mail scandal minimized the groping and tickling of Democrat Eric Massa. In 2010, these shows offered a scant 30 stories to Democrat Eric Massa and details of how he engaged in naked shower fights. Over a 12 day period in 2006, 152 segments were devoted to Foley.
Additionally, this number of 30 is a generous one. From March 5 through March 16, the networks conducted only 13 full reports on Massa and eight anchor briefs. The remaining nine examples were mere mentions where Massa's name was simply highlighted. NBC's Nightly News showed the least interest in the Democratic Congressman. Anchor Brian Williams featured Massa in a quick 25 second anchor brief on March 5 and, briefly, the next day, during a Mike Viqueira piece on health care.
On Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty returned to targeting Nancy Pelosi, this time for endorsing the controversial "Slaughter Solution" to passing ObamaCare through the House of Representatives without a vote. Cafferty labeled the proposal "beyond sleazy," and later flatly remarked, "This reeks!" The commentator even gave some rare kudos to House Republicans [audio clips from the segment available here].
Cafferty devoted his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary to Pelosi's support for the "deem and pass" procedural maneuver that Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter submitted as a possible way of getting the Senate version of health care "reform" passed through the House. He wasted little time in expressing his amazement at the move: "Just when you think you've seen it all in Washington, along comes something like this. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may try to pass the controversial health care reform bill without making members vote on it- simply unbelievable."
This morning RedState.com editor Erick Erickson announced that he is joining CNN as a political contributor.
Back in January, Politico noted that Erickson (pictured at right) and CNN denied a rumor floating around at the time that the Macon, Ga.-based conservative blogger would replace John King. It turns out Erickson will be a regular contributor to a brand new weekday evening program to be hosted by the veteran anchor.
Entitled "John King, USA," the program will debut Monday, March 22. Erickson will also appear on other CNN programs to offer analysis and comment.
On Sunday's Newsroom, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin disputed the conclusion of the Los Angeles Times on the apparently shocking new political initiative of Clarence Thomas's wife Virginia Thomas, that it "could give rise to conflicts of interest for her husband...as it tests the norms for judicial spouses." Toobin defended Mrs. Thomas' grassroots conservative work.
Anchor Don Lemon brought on the senior legal analyst just before the bottom of the 10 pm Eastern hour to discuss Kathleen Hennessey's article in the Sunday L.A. Times, titled "Justice's wife launches 'tea party' group." The Times writer indicated that Mrs. Thomas' new organization somehow risked the partiality of the Court, as indicated in the article’s subtitle, "The nonprofit run by Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is likely to test notions of political impartiality for the court." She continued later that "the move by Virginia Thomas, 52, into the front lines of politics stands in marked contrast to the rarefied culture of the nation's highest court, which normally prizes the appearance of nonpartisanship and a distance from the fisticuffs of the politics of the day."
Three weeks after the mother on ABC’s Brothers and Sisters (“Nora Walker” played by Sally Field) fretted over the GOP “denying global warming,” the ABC drama on Sunday night featured an episode centered around her daughter, “Kitty Walker-McCallister,” a Republican candidate for Senate in California played by Calista Flockhart, coming under attack from conservative rubes who think she used her influence to get the visa renewed for her older sister’s French boyfriend, “Luc.”
At a campaign event with mini-video camera-toting bloggers visible, protesters boo and repeatedly chant: “America for Americans!” as they hold up signs, such as “FRENCHIE GO HOME!!!” and, with a mustache added to Kitty’s face, “Hi Kitler!” Just like the real media’s slander of Tea Party protesters.
Kitty’s husband whom she is running to succeed, incumbent “Senator Robert McCallister,” played by Rob Lowe, charges: “It’s just the conservative purity police trying to purge the party of lily-livered Republican moderates.” Kitty complains to her sister, “Sarah Walker,” played by Rachel Griffiths: “I am fighting for my political life with a bunch of ultra-conservative yahoos who want my head because you decided to fall in love with a guy who has immigration issues.”
Audio: 90-second MP3 clip that matches the video highlights from the March 14 episode.
On Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews Show, as the panel discussed whether President Obama would move to the center for the 2010 elections, after the BBC’s Katty Kay argued that he may need to please the Democratic party base for this year's elections, Time magazine columnist Joe Klein referred to the conservative base of the Republican party as "maniacs" as he claimed that the GOP base is more dominated by conservatives than the Democratic base is by liberals. Klein:
Newsweek's Howard Fineman has some stellar advice for President Obama in his recent column: stop governing for the press. Though Fineman makes the right diagnosis for Obama's ailment -- his "journalistic" style -- his assessment of its consequences is facile and ignores the intricacies of electoral politics.
Fineman insists that it is not really important to cater to the journalistic establishment, as the public's dismal perception of the news media as an institution -- Gallup ranks it in the realm of banks and Congress, according to Fineman -- renders it irrelevant in the political sphere. "Obama needs to stop caring what we all write and say," Fineman insists, as voters are absolutely sickened by Old Media. "If we attack you, it only proves you must have some redeeming qualities," he adds.
The reality of Old Media's role in the process, however, is more complex. It boils down to the candidate's style. If the candidate is a George W. Bush -- with strong political credentials and less reliance on rhetoric -- the media exert a lesser influence. Voters can decide for themselves whether the candidate is qualified. But for a Barack Obama, who relied on rhetoric and idealism due to his lack of political credentials, Old Media has much more sway over the views of the electorate.
Back in September, Tom Friedman, speaking of China, proclaimed that "there is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today." That prompted Jonah Goldberg to call Friedman a "liberal fascist," drawing an example from his seminal book, Liberal Fascism, to demonstrate how Friedman's fawning over the Chi-Coms "is exactly the argument that was made by American fans of Mussolini in the 1920s."
But far from being abashed, Friedman is apparently so enamored of his formulation that he has repeated it virtually verbatim. The Times columnist suffered another bad bout of Chi-Com envy on today's Meet The Press, guest-hosted by Tom Brokaw.