The title of Sam Tanenhaus's slim new essay of a book, with the wishful-thinking title "The Death of Conservatism," is misleading. Tanenhaus, the editor of the New York Times Book Review and Week in Review sections, doesn't so much call the movement dead as try to define it out of existence.
"Death" reshapes the U.S. political landscape out of all recognition to make it hospitable to Tanenhaus's peculiar brand of left-center politics, where the only true conservatives stalking the land are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, and (wait for it) Barack Obama, "more thoroughly steeped in the Burkean principles of 'conservation' and 'correction' than any significant thinker or political figure on the right today."
Under Tanenhaus's conveniently pinched definition of conservatism, liberals are welcome to expand the reach of the federal government through regulation, higher taxes and welfare, moves that conservatives are then obligated to "conserve" and consolidate to be true to their philosophy -- as dictated by a New York Times editor who assuredly has their best interests at heart (as do the four liberal journalists who contributed back-page blurbs).
On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez correctly pointed out that a full-page color ad by the Fox News Channel incorrectly claimed that his network missed the massive September 12 Tea Party rally in Washington, DC, but went on to paper over CNN’s own double-standard on covering left-wing protests versus conservative protests. Sanchez also accused Fox News of trying to “promote” the Tea Parties.
During the segment, which began 13 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, the CNN anchor seemed to be perturbed by Fox News’s ad, which ran in the Washington Post on Friday with one main line: “How did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN miss this story?” Sanchez led with a direct attack on the ad: “If you watch this show every day...you know that I usually don’t suffer fools gladly, especially when it comes to the fools who perpetuate falsehoods. Well today, thousands of you flipped through the pages of the Washington Post, only to come across a lie so bold and so upsetting that frankly, I’m not just going to sit here in silence and allow my craft or my news operation to be unfairly maligned, because enough is enough. And, yes, I’m talking to you, Fox News.”
While concluding a segment on racism involved in anti-Obama protests, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews promoted the book of one of his guests, liberal historian Douglas Brinkley, and proceeded to rant: "There’s so much right-wing crap on the best seller list these days. It’s great to see a book that you might want to put on your shelf and let your respected friends see you actually reading."
Brinkley’s book, Teddy Roosevelt: The Wilderness Warrior, did make the New York Times best seller list, coming in at twenty one. However, the list’s top ten was dominated by "right-wing crap." Michelle Malkin’s Culture of Corruption, takes the top spot. Bill O’Reilly’s A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity comes in at number six, with Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny at number seven. Dick Morris’s Castrophe earned a number eight ranking.
Matthews made a point of saying to Brinkley: "It’s great to see one book on the best seller list that’s worth reading these days. And yours is." Apparently readers seem to think conservative literature is worth reading a little more.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele shot back at CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after the anchor tried to smear conservatives with racism on Wednesday’s Situation Room. The CNN anchor pointed out a racist sign at a Tea Party, and Steele replied, “Don’t hold up one person as an example of behavior by everyone.” The RNC chairman also rebuked Blitzer after the anchor pointed out the GOP’s dearth of minorities in Congress [audio clips from the segment are available here].
Before he introduced Steele, Blitzer played a clip from former President Jimmy Carter, who attributed “overwhelming portion of the intensely-demonstrated animosity towards President Barack Obama” to racism. He then asked the RNC chairman for his take on the Democrat’s remarks. Steele replied that Carter was “just dead wrong....I am, like a lot of Americans, concerned and disagree with the President’s policies and approaches from the stimulus spending to this health care strategy. Am I a racist because I disagree with that? I don’t think so.”
In the first story on CBS since the scandal broke last week, on Tuesday’s Evening News, anchor Katie Couric reported: "The grassroots community organization called ACORN helps low-income Americans find affordable housing and gets tens of millions of dollars in government funding. But as Cynthia Bowers reports, that may be coming to an end after a scandal caught on tape."
After showing undercover video of ACORN workers across the country advising filmmakers James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, who posed as a pimp and prostitute, on how to run an underage prostitution ring, Bowers explained: "ACORN says the workers caught on tape were fired but contends the videos were illegally obtained, doctored and deceptive, and is threatening legal action against the undercover filmmakers posing as the couple...No matter who’s to blame, long-term damage to the reputation of the poverty rights organization may already be done." The CBS story failed to identify ACORN as a liberal organization.
NBC did not get to the ACORN story on Tuesday’s Nightly News, but did cover the scandal on Wednesday’s Today, with co-host Meredith Vieira reporting: "And now to the scandal involving the community organizing group known as ACORN. Over the years, it has received tens of millions of dollars in federal housing money, but now hidden camera videos have led to the U.S. Senate voting to cut off funds to the group."
Appearing on CBS’s Sunday Morning, commentator Nancy Giles shared her thoughts on Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst: "Some sign waving and you probably heard about it, heckling. At a joint session of Congress....That’s the voice of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, not some drunk at open mic night, calling the President a liar."
Giles continued, denouncing all health care reform protestors: "He later apologized, but still, it was a frightening mix of disrespect and bad behavior, with a dash of this summer’s town hall meeting craziness. I guess we should be grateful that there weren’t any ‘show us your birth certificate’ signs and at least no one beat anyone with a cane, which actually happened in the old Senate chamber in 1856."
Giles would certainly know about "disrespect and bad behavior," on the October 5, 2003 broadcast of Sunday Morning, she compared conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler: "So as Rush’s world has steadily crumbled, it’s no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription pain killers....Edgy, controversial, brilliant....Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too."
CNN’s Jim Spellman did his best to paint the participants of the Tea Party Express’s rallies across the nation in late August and early September as a bunch of extremists on Saturday’s Newsroom. Spellman played clips which zeroed-in on the protesters who called President Obama a Nazi, carried guns, or forwarded “outlandish conspiracy theories,” and labeled all of them “a dark undercurrent.”
The CNN journalist followed the Tea Party Express organization’s bus caravan during its 2 week journey across the United States, and the thirty-plus rallies held where it stopped. Spellman appeared just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour of Newsroom, and first played clips from seven men and six women who participated in these rallies. Six of the thirteen clips came from people who could be portrayed as “extreme,” as anchor Don Lemon put it, included one who referred to a “Gestapo-type tactic” and another who carried an AK-47:
Over the weekend, ABC provided hyperbolic, worried reporting on the 9/12 protest in Washington D.C. And while the other networks had mixed results, Good Morning America co-host Bill Weir opened the program on Saturday by fretting, "This morning, outrage. Protesters descend on Washington to rally against the President's health care plan. As civility gives way to shouting, what's fueling all this anger?"
On Sunday’s GMA, Weir spun that the protesters were "rail[ing]" against higher taxes, government run health care and spending. Reporter Yunji de Nies highlighted a marcher who labeled Barack Obama a "communist." She then pounced, "Do you really believe the President is a communist?" Right after this exchange, de Nies told viewers that those rallying "insist they're not extremists."
There was a huge protest against Obama's big-government plans at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, but one was hard-pressed to find evidence of it on the New York Times home page Sunday morning: A small headline tucked under the Political subhead.
The print edition wasn't much more forthcoming. Although the Washington D.C. Fire Dept. estimated 60,000 to 70,000 people attended the 9/12 protest, and many estimates are higher, the Times made do with one medium-sized story buried on page A37 of the Sunday paper, "Thousands Attend Broad Protest of Government," teasing it on the front page in a below-the-fold photo from the march. A much smaller Obama rally got better placement, and so had a previous ACORN-led left-wing protest numbering...40 people.
Reporter Jeff Zeleny painted protesters as "angry" and "profane" and that the rally contained "no shortage of vitriol," as if there were never raised voices and obscene signage at left-wing anti-war rallies:
A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since he took office, a culmination of a summer-long season of protests that began with opposition to a health care overhaul and grew into a broader dissatisfaction with government.
On a cloudy and cool day, the demonstrators came from all corners of the country, waving American flags and handwritten signs explaining the root of their frustrations. Their anger stretched well beyond the health care legislation moving through Congress, with shouts of support for gun rights, lower taxes and a smaller government.
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer denounced South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson: "The irony of a congressman trying to heckle a President in the midst of a speech that was, among other things, about the need for civility, is just one ugly sign of the mindless meanness that has settled over our politics."
Apparently Schieffer forgot this passage of President Obama’s speech last Wednesday: "Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim...that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple." Calling your critics liars hardly sounds like a call for "civility."
In a Sunday "uh-oh" review of 2010's electoral landscape as it applies to nationwide congressional races, the Associated Press's Beth Fouhy insulted GOP voters while effectively implying that they are the only ones who oppose ObamaCare, "reckless spending, and high debt."
The foundation of Fouhy's piece is a fear that Democrats may be in peril of losing their House majority in 2010. Funny, when they were in the minority and gaining ground in national sentiment, I recall that the press meme was "Democrats Gaining!" Now that they're in control and faltering, it's "Democrats in Danger of Losing (Somebody Do Something)!" The perspective always seems to be about the rising or falling fortunes of Democrats, which of course serves to validate the contention of those who say that the establishment press is the mouthpiece of the Left and the Democratic Party.
Now let's look at Fouhy's infuriating fulminations (red underline is mine):
The Washington Post put the 9-12 conservative rally at the top of the Sunday paper with two color pictures, one of them a wide crowd shot below the Capitol dome. The headline was "Lashing Out at the Capitol: Tens of Thousands Protest Obama Initiatives and Government Spending."
But what stuck out like a sore liberal thumb on Sunday morning was how an Internet browser would need to look hard for it on the Washington Post home page. The top headline was "U.S. to Give More Rights to Afghan Inmates." Below that, an evergreen story on "Wall Street Goes to Washington." Scroll down, and the next headline is "In Minn., Obama Pushes Reform." If you look hard underneath that, in small type: "Lashing Out at the Capitol."
But if you didn’t know that was the 9-12 rally story, you’d think the Post skipped it entirely. (There’s also a camera icon for photos and the word "Protesters," if that’s enough notice.)
Four photos are rotating in the upper left corner of the home page, but none of them are about national politics. Go figure.
You would think MSNBC would have learned after getting caught in a deliberately doctored piece of video, which tried to portray town hall protestors as white racists. The video showed a man ‘packing heat' outside an event where the President was speaking, but was edited in such a way as to conceal the fact that the man was actually African-American.
Yet, the opposite has occurred. MSNBC seems more determined and emboldened to portray conservatives and Republicans as racists. How? By continually defining those who oppose the President, an African-American man, as nothing more than angry white men of questionable intelligence.
Since that video aired (and was immediately exposed as altered by NewsBusters Kyle Drennen on August 18th), MSNBC has continuously hammered home the message that town hall and Tea Party attendees, conservatives, Republicans, or generally anyone who opposes the President, is racist. A list of examples follows after the jump (bold mine throughout and each example contains a link):
Taxpayer tea party activists got their chance earlier to today to speak against CNN during a live television discussion between CNN reporter Lisa Desjardins and anchor Fredricka Whitfield.
With chants of "tell the truth," and "Glenn Beck," protesters made known their great displeasure with the former #1 cable network. The Beck taunt, of course, is a reference to the former CNN host turned FNC star.
Unlike her former colleague Susan Roesgen who insulted tea party protesters and was confronted on her bias by NewsBusters member "namron", Desjardins didn't dismiss the protesters but instead asked them what they thought of congressman Joe Wilson, famous for his recent outburst that President Obama was lying about his health plan covering illegal immigrants.
According to MSNBC’s David Shuster on Friday, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson shouting ‘you lie’ to President Obama was racism on display: “The fact that Joe Wilson is from South Carolina...it strikes a lot of people as awfully close to the idea that maybe there was some sort of racist or bigoted element there.”
Shuster went on to add: “And especially then when you look up at the picture and you see older white men, all Republicans, sitting there. Just it gives off a strange vibe.” On Thursday, Shuster claimed that Republicans were: “...all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they’ve sort of become unhinged.”
During the segment late in the 3PM ET hour, Shuster spoke with Reverend Jesse Jackson, wondering: “What role, if any, do you believe that bigotry is playing in some of this venom toward President Obama?” Jackson seized on the opportunity to cry racism: “Well, substantial. There is a struggle between the hope of going forward and the fear of going backwards....the big C-word, conservative, for some that means fiscal, for some, it means religious ethics, for some it means a code word for race.”
CNN’s Rick Sanchez conducted a softball interview of Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday’s Newsroom, during which the two railed against the influence of the wealthy in politics. Sanchez omitted the large donations Sanders has received from unions while taking other senators to task for receiving corporate money, and seemed to endorse the senator’s push for the public financing of elections.
The CNN anchor began the segment by lamenting how $375 million has apparently been spent “mostly by the health and insurance industry...to influence this important debate” on health care “reform,” barely mentioning the spending by “those who back the President.” He then introduced Senator Sanders as an “an independent from Vermont who is convinced that politics has become way too corporatized, if not controlled.” Sanchez did not mention how the Vermont Senator self-identifies as “democratic socialist” and has almost consistently supported left-wing causes throughout his political career.
During the 4PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Thursday, co-host David Shuster denounced the behavior of Republicans at President Obama’s address to Congress, declaring: “You look at the image of the Republican Party, all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they’ve sort of become unhinged.”
Shuster and co-host Tamron Hall moderated a debate between Democratic strategist Patrick Murphy and Republican strategist Alex Conant, over the impact of Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouting out ‘you lie!’ during the President’s speech. Shuster claimed: “The video of the Republican lawmakers was almost as striking as the speech itself....Did the Republican image change last night for the worse or was it something minor that may have only had an impact on the conservative base that was energized and wants to kill reform?”
Following the discussion, Hall observed: “...this pride in being an American and what it means to have class in this country and to see something like that. It is hurtful when you know that it is a prestigious place we have in this world and when we are reduced to behavior like that, it is very telling to all of us. We love this country and it is hurtful to see someone play out their – their emotions in such a loser way – I think I can say that.” Shuster replied: “Tamron you said it perfectly. I agree with you 100%.” Hall admitted: “I don’t think my mother would like I said loser, but oh well.”
CNN/Opinion Research Corporation’s poll on President Obama’s health care speech to Congress on Wednesday significantly oversampled Democrats. The pollsters interviewed 427 Americans before and after their speech- only 18% were Republicans, while 45% were Democrats. Due to this skewing, CNN didn’t really play up the poll’s results on air, but they tried to do that on their CNN.com website.
The joint poll asked two questions before and after the speech. The polled were asked, “Do you think the policies being proposed by Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?” During the pre-speech period between September 5 and 8, 60% answered “right direction,” and 35% answered “wrong direction.” Immediately after the speech, the pollsters found that the “right direction” statistic went up to 70%, while the “wrong direction” number went down to 27%.
After plugging his latest column in a September 10 post on the magazine's Swampland blog, Time's Joe Klein (shown in file photo at right) pegged Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) as "vile" before defending taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants:
On this whole question of whether illegal immigrants will be included in the plan, which caused the vile Congressman from South Carolina to shout "You lie" when the President said they wouldn't be covered. Why shouldn't they be? After all, when an illegal immigrant cuts his hand while chopping cabbage and goes to the emergency room, the rest of us pay for it. Isn't the point to expand the risk pool as much as possible, to lure the insurance companies into concessions and lower prices?
I know it 's not going to happen. Congress will never vote to subsidize the health care of those who arrived here illegally. But, given the fact that we're already subsidizing them through the back door, it does make sense, doesn't it?
Leon H. Wolf of RedState.com makes a great comparison today, calling out the Associated Press for their labeling bias. This post, found here, is hilariously entitled “AP Discovers GOP Republican Conservative Republican Member of the GOP (R) Involved In Scandal.”
Wolf pointed out the difference between this story and the AP’s coverage of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick:
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.”
While arguing with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele about health care reform on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "...if the public option is socialism, then what is Medicare?....That people overwhelmingly think works pretty well for them."
Steele pointed out Medicare’s obvious flaw: "Medicare’s a government-run program that is not – that is not doing that well....Harry, come on. How often do we have to do another reset on Medicare because it’s in default or running out of money?" Steele went on to challenge President Obama’s drastic approach to reform: "My only point is why do we have to up end 1/6 of our nation’s economy to fix what the President has now redefined-" Smith interrupted: "Because that 1/6 of our economy, left to go as it is, will bankrupt us." Apparently spending $1 trillion on a massive new government program will not.
Earlier in the interview, Steele reacted to Obama’s upcoming address to Congress: "And after 26 speeches and 12 resets on this health care plan, tonight, in my view, it’s just one more opportunity to tell us what we already know." Smith responded by claiming: "Okay. Except polls would say the opposite of that." Steele replied: "No, the polls don’t...Harry I don’t know what polls you’re looking at. The polls don’t say the opposite of that."
A CNN.com article on Monday emphasized how Laura Bush “praised the performance” of President Obama during a recent interview and “criticized Washington’s sharp political divide.” Mrs. Bush also complimented Dick Cheney for defending the Bush administration during the interview with correspondent Zain Verjee, but the article didn’t mention this until 15 paragraphs later.
The article, titled “Laura Bush praises Obama, bemoans excessive partisanship,” summarized Verjee’s interview with the former first lady. The lead paragraph highlighted Mrs. Bush’s positive words for Mr. Obama: “Former first lady Laura Bush praised the performance of her husband’s successor Monday, breaking with many Republicans in telling CNN that she thinks President Obama is doing a good job under tough circumstances.”
After mentioning Cheney in passing in listing the topics of discussion during the interview, the CNN.com article returned to emphasizing how the former resident of the White House parted ways with her husband’s political allies: “The typically reserved former first lady defended Obama’s decision to deliver a back-to-school speech to students, putting her at odds with many conservatives afraid that the president will use the opportunity to advance his political agenda.”
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:
Teasing an upcoming segment on Thursday’s CBS Early Show about new attacks on Sarah Palin by the father of her grandson, Levi Johnston, co-host Maggie Rodriguez exclaimed: "And shocking allegations that could shatter former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s conservative family image. If she chooses to believe what Levi Johnston is saying."
In the later report on Johnston’s Vanity Fair rant against Palin, correspondent Kelly Wallace claimed he "took off the gloves" and "debunks the popular image of Palin as hockey mom and moose hunter, telling...that ‘she doesn’t hunt, doesn’t read, doesn’t work hard, doesn’t spend time with her family, but instead spends all night alone in her bedroom.’" Wallace continued: "As for Sarah and Todd’s marriage, Johnston says they constantly threatened each other with divorce. ‘Once the cameras would leave, they didn’t talk to each other. I’ve never seen them sleep in the same bedroom.’"
After Wallace’s report, Rodriguez briefly mentioned: "And when we talked last April, he made similar claims to me and Sarah Palin said he’s lying, he just wants publicity, he just wants his little moment in the spotlight...my guess would be she would probably say something along those lines." Co-host Harry Smith then turned to Rodriguez and asked: "Because you’ve met him, you’ve interviewed him. Does he seem like – seem credible to you?" Rodriguez simply replied: "I don’t know. How could I possibly answer that?"
CNN’s Carol Costello report on Thursday’s American Morning about the end of abstinence-only sex education in North Carolina leaned to the left in the featured sound bites. Three clips came from those who endorsed “comprehensive” sex education, including one who worked for an organization that promotes abortion overseas, as opposed to only one clip from a conservative who favored the old program.
Costello’s report, which came just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, was part of a week-long series about “Educating America.” The CNN correspondent began with a car analogy to describe the transition to the more liberal sex ed program: “You know, it’s sort of like going from zero to 100 miles per hour. School districts, like some in North Carolina, have not taught kids about how to use birth control or how to control sexually-transmitted diseases- or prevent them, I should say- and now they’re trying to come up with a more comprehensive sex education class. It’s challenging.”
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.”
During the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC, co-anchor Tamron Hall attacked Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for travel expenses, going so far as to compare the issue to the scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford: "Well, it kind of reminds you of another governor who fought the stimulus and then we found out was using taxpayer dollars to travel. And that Governor was? Sanford."
At the top of the segment, co-anchor David Shuster declared: "In today’s ‘Making Your Case,’ another governor is in hot water for traveling on the taxpayers dime." Hall explained the reason for Jindal being in "hot water": "...claims that the Governor used a taxpayer-funded helicopter to attend Sunday services 14 times at a variety of locations across the state over a five-month period. Total cost, $45,000."
In reality, as the Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate reported, the Louisiana Governor was invited to speak at those church services and met with public officials: "Even though he travels on Sundays, Jindal said he schedules meetings with local officials when he flies to church services. On July 5, for example, his office reported that the governor met with citizens, attended a meeting with local officials and went to church in Monroe. Jindal was back in Monroe four days later to meet with community leaders as part of his ‘Louisiana Working Tour.’"