Saturday's vote to pass ObamaCare out of the House of Representatives was a nail-biter, passing with two votes to spare over the bare-minimum majority of 218. The final vote, 220-215, had 39 Democrats join all but one Republican in voting no.
Yet while a solid 15 percent of the Democratic caucus bucked the party leadership with their no votes, the media have latched on to the sole Republican defector: pro-life, social conservative Catholic Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.), who has a tenuous hold in a solidly liberal Democratic district once held by the corrupt William Jefferson.
Time's Jay Newton-Small made much of the solitary Republican defection in Swampland blog post on Saturday, painting it as an abject failure of House GOP Whip Eric Cantor's "promise" to keep the opposition unified. Newton-Small had to add an update later clarifying Cantor made no such explicit promise:
Very often criticism of journalists is actually criticism of journalism. Effective investigative reporting entails asking the tough questions and demanding answers. Powerful Democrats, including White House officials, have derided Fox News for this reason. But even conservative bloggers are not immune to the "extension of the opposition" charge for simply asking the tough questions.
Late last month Congressman Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., held a conference call on the administration's reform efforts. Pomeroy reiterated his support for the House health care bill. Rob Port, of the center-right blog SayAnythingBlog.com, asked a question during the Q and A period, in which he displayed open skepticism that the "public option" would increase consumer choice in the health care market (audio and transcript below the fold).
On Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, former ABC News anchor John Stossel -- now with Fox Business -- came aboard to discuss the New York Times's recent attack on him for speaking in front of the conservative/libertarian group Americans for Prosperity. After charging that the Times never showed interest in his speeches to conservative groups before he joined Fox Business, the former 20/20 host also relayed that during his early days as a consumer reporter, he received a number of Emmy Awards because "they loved me" for his left-leaning work. But after, in Stossel's words, "I got smarter," turning more pro-business and anti-regulation, the Emmy Awards were no longer forthcoming.
Stossel even recounted an incident in which a person he met on the street expressed a desire that he "die soon" for his conservative views.
After starting the interview by asking Stossel about Web sites that engage in gambling based on election predictions, O'Reilly brought up the Times's newfound interest in the former ABC anchor. Stossel pointed out the double standard: "I make speeches. I make about 25 a year. I've done that for years. And suddenly, now that I'm at Fox, critics are leaping to attack me, according to the New York Times."
For those who missed it last week, here's another chance to catch the October 30 episode of NewsBusters’ Notable Quotables comedy show, featuring some of the most outrageous sound bites from the liberal media.
In this episode, we have CBS fawning over Michelle Obama frolicking on the White House lawn, CNN psychoanalyzing Rush Limbaugh listeners, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in need of some psychiatric help of his own.
Thursday’s CBS Early Show looked back at 1954 as part of its ‘Time Machine’ series, with co-host Harry Smith praising former CBS anchor Edward R. Murrow for taking on Senator Joseph McCarthy: “McCarthy was on a kind of a witch hunt. Ed Murrow boldly recognized that and took him on....It was very gutsy and very risky on Murrow’s part....McCarthy was a bully. Ed Murrow said ‘I’m not going to stand for it.’”
Smith made the comments during a pre-taped video montage in which he and the other Early Show co-hosts reminisced about the time period. The montage concluded with co-host Maggie Rodriguez, who was off on Thursday, observing: “I think 1954 was an important year in American history because people stood up for what was right, whether it was desegregation or speaking out against a Senator who was targeting people as communists, it was a year of fighting for the truth.”
As the Media Research Center’s recently released special report Better Off Red demonstrates, Smith wasn’t exactly a staunch Cold Warrior. As the Soviet Union began to fall apart in 1990, Smith, then co-host of CBS’s This Morning, lamented: “Yes, somehow, Soviet citizens are freer these days — freer to kill one another, freer to hate Jews....Doing away with totalitarianism and adding a dash of democracy seems an unlikely cure for all that ails the Soviet system.”
CNN contributor Roland Martin made light of Glenn Beck’s emergency appendectomy in a post on his Twitter account late Wednesday night/early Thursday Morning: “Glenn Beck had an appendectomy today. He must have blown a gasket after Hoffman lost the NY-23. Keep crying, Glenn!”
Martin’s lack of sympathy for the conservative talk show host is more than apparent in this first post, but it was further compounded after another Twitter user called him out on it. Jtlol wrote, “Must be part of your ‘fresh perspective for the 21st Century.’ I hope you never need emergency surgery.” The CNN contributor replied, “I had an appendectomy in 2000. Your point?”
So Martin clearly knows the pain of an ailing appendix, but cannot sympathize with Beck because he’s on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Stay classy, Roland!
Update/Clarification [Nov. 10]: This issue is muddied a bit by redistricting and its effects on the geography of congressional representation. Swing State Project in June 2009 noted that "Almost two-thirds of the population of the current district (62%) live in territory" in the New York 23rd "that has not elected a Democrat since 1890 or earlier." However, a sizable part of the district (38%) includes parts of counties that as late as 1976 and 1978 voted Democratic in congressional races.
If you've heard it once, you've heard it 1,000 times: the New York 23rd Congressional District (NY-23) has had a Republican incumbent since the 1870s. It's a helpful talking point for mainstream media types bent on portraying the Hoffman loss in the district last night as evidence of how the Republican mainstream has moved away from conservatism.
This afternoon, the Washington Post's Web site offers readers two looks at how the Democrats and the GOP will proceed following the 2009 elections, but, surprise, surprise, the paper only forsees internecine squabbles for the GOP.
Even before delving into the content of the articles, it's clear by the labeling that the Post sees the GOP's pending "ideological fissures" as a matter of objective news reporting, while the Democratic postmortem is a matter of informed "analysis," not hard news.
For their part, Rucker and Bacon aimed, like others in the mainstream media -- click here, here, and here -- to gin up an ominous narrative for the GOP party-wide from the New York 23rd congressional district saga:
"Last night was a triumph for the conservative movement and repudiation to those who said Republicans had to move away from the conservative ideology to achieve victory," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell declared today.
"I hereby grant the Dewey Defeats Truman Awards for the most incompetent political reporting of the year to the following journalists for their impeccably inept coverage," Bozell noted in a press release earlier today before listing Politico's Mike Allen, CBS's Katie Couric, National Journal's Ron Brownstein, and the entire New York Times editorial board as the recipients of the (dis)honor.
"Congratulations for embarrassing yourselves, your news organizations and the industry for a backfire that only President Truman himself could truly appreciate," proclaimed Bozell.
For the full press release, including the quotes that were the catalysts for the Deweys, click here.
UPDATE: Not wanting to be left out of the Palin slamming scene, ABC's "Good Morning America" joined the fray on Nov. 4, interviewing the same people as CBS' "Early Show" and criticizing Palin on the same points.
From accusing her of igniting a civil war within the Republican Party to calling her "nutty" antics a "treasure" to the Democrats, the mainstream media is once again shamelessly slamming Sarah Palin.
On Nov. 3 CBS' "Early Show" interviewed Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, co-authors of "Sarah from Alaska," a "very revealing" book about Palin on the campaign trail.
"Later this month, Palin's highly anticipated memoir hits bookstores," said CBS' Harry Smith. "But another book beats her to it."
To start off the interview, Smith asked Conroy (who, by the way, also works for CBS) to explain what was going on "behind the scenes" when John McCain gave his concession speech on Election Day last year.
Conroy wasted no time painting Palin as a media hungry mongrel, saying:
CNN’s Rick Sanchez omitted the left-wing ideology of an organization he cited as he lambasted North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx on Tuesday’s Newsroom for her recent hyperbolic remarks against ObamaCare. Sanchez referenced a figure from the National Priorities Project, a think tank labeled “progressive” by CNN itself in 2007. He also left out some of the context of Rep. Foxx’s full remarks [video of the full segment available here].
The CNN anchor devoted an entire segment 37 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour to the North Carolina Republican’s speech on Monday against a health care “reform” bill sponsored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Representative Foxx denounced the bill as “a tax increase bill masquerading as a health care bill,” and continued that Americans “have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.”
CNN’s Roland Martin picked up where Anderson Cooper left off on Monday’s AC360, claiming that there’s “the beginnings of a civil war” in the GOP and that Tea Party protesters “want to radicalize the right” in the party. Martin also claimed that the Democrats are more of a “big tent” than Republicans: “You have a Democratic Party that has no problem having liberal...moderate...and conservative Democrats.”
The liberal political contributor appeared with Tea Party Express’s Mark Williams for two segments starting three minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour. Cooper first sought Martin’s take on the New York 23rd congressional district race. Unsurprisingly, he forwarded the Chris Matthews/mainstream media spin on the contest: “There is no doubt you are seeing the beginnings of a civil war play out, in terms of folks who are saying that we do not want moderates, in terms of being involved in this party.”
Later in the segment, after Williams highlighted how Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava endorsed Democrat Bill Owens after she withdrew from the New York 23 race, Martin struck back with his “big tent” claim about the Democrats: “You talk about endorsing a Democrat. I’m sure Mark has no problem with former Democrat Joe Lieberman saying he’s going to campaign for Republican candidates....You have a Democratic Party that has no problem having liberal Democrats, moderate Democrats, and conservative Democrats. What Republicans are saying is, we don’t want any liberal or moderate Republicans. We only want conservative Republicans, and you cannot expand a party nationally only having just conservative Republicans. You’re not going to win long-term.”
That makes no difference to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell and Joe Scarborough, who see a new "litmus test" for the GOP developing out of the New York 23rd Congressional District special election.
Scarborough, appearing with Mitchell on MSNBC shortly after 1:15 p.m. EST, slammed potential 2012 presidential hopeful Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) for arguing earlier today on his "Morning Joe" program that there's no room in the GOP for what may be called "Dede Scozzafava Republicans" who are far [left] afield from the Republican mainstream.
On Monday’s AC360, CNN’s Anderson Cooper forwarded the media’s new talking point about the New York 23 congressional race, that “Tea Party protesters and other conservative voices are...driving moderates out of the GOP.” Correspondent Tom Foreman continued on this note, stating that “angry conservatives...[are] forcing the party to choose between...its base and attracting more moderate Americans.”
Cooper led the 10 pm Eastern hour of his program with the question, “Does the Republican Party have room for moderates?” The anchor outlined that “state and local elections tomorrow may have profound national effects, and President Obama and Sarah Palin are a big part of it. Two governor’s races may test the President’s ability to get others elected or turn into a referendum on his presidency.” He continued with the media’s new spin on the electoral contests, as if it was a matter of fact: “As for Sarah Palin, she, Tea Party protesters and other conservative voices are front and center, driving moderates out of the GOP.”
While analyzing the off-year elections across the country on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about the New York 23rd congressional race: “...this notion that an insurgent conservative, orthodox conservative, would come in and really unseat the party’s choice for nominee there...is this a precursor of what might be happening a year from now?”
Schieffer used similar labeling to describe Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and race’s impact on the GOP: “The Republican Party right now is still split. And I think right now it’s the conservatives who kind of have the juice....there is still no overriding philosophy, as it were, in the Republican Party, you’ve got the hard Right here and you’ve got the more moderate Republicans, right now I think the hard Right is driving the train in the Republican Party.”
Earlier, the two CBS hosts discussed the possibility of Democrats losing both governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia. Schieffer dismissed the idea of such losses being a national referendum on the Democratic Party and President Obama: “I think these are curtain-raisers, Harry. I don’t think they’re going to give us much of an indication of what’s going to happen, you know, in the next presidential election.” Smith agreed: “Yeah, because some people would like to say this is about President Obama’s very, very short coat tails, but it seems that these races are being very much decided on an individual basis.”
On Monday, Smith asked former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney if the NY-23 race would “save or kill the Republican Party.”
If Democrats get a spanking at the polls today, it's not because American voters are trending conservative or are frustrated with the direction liberal Democrats are leading the country, but because the electorate's disdain for the former Bush administration has abated.
That according to liberal PBS "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News contributing editor Bonnie Erbe.
CNN’s Candy Crowley made an oblique reference to her colleague Anderson Cooper’s infamous “teabagger” remark on Monday’s Situation Room. As she reported on the race in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Crowley referred to Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman as “the choice of many on the right, including Sarah Palin, former House leader Dick Armey and ‘tea bag partyers’” [audio clips available here].
The CNN political correspondent detailed the different key races up in the November 3 election at the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour, including the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial campaigns. She closed her report with the New York contest: “And by way of marquee races, it’s hard to beat the soap opera of New York’s 23rd congressional district, where the Republican moderate dropped out over the weekend, leaving the race to a conservative, Doug Hoffman, the choice of many on the right, including Sarah Palin, former House leader Dick Armey and ‘tea bag partyers.’”
Interviewing Mitt Romney on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith alluded to the special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district and the success of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman: “There’s a battle going on right now for the soul of the Republican Party. Conservatives say there’s no room for moderates there. Will this tactic save or kill the Republican Party?”
Romney argued: “Well, the Republican Party has always had a lot of voices and we are going to continue it be a big tent party. The New York 23rd race had a very anomalous situation.” Smith could hardly contain his smugness: “That’s not a big tent.” Romney replied: “I disagree with you. You look across the elected Republicans in Congress and Governors offices, they represent a pretty wide perspective of issues.”
With Democrats poised to potentially suffer across-the-board electoral losses on Tuesday and health care reform continued to be stalled in Congress, one wonders why Smith is not more focused on the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party.
Now that the Obama administration is attempting to take a victory lap on the U.S. economic recovery, claiming the $787-billion stimulus passed earlier this year was what did the trick, despite a cost of $160,000 per 'stimulus' job, as ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out, it has come at the cost of the U.S. dollar.
Since then, the stock market has rebounded nicely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is off a March low of 6,547 points, even topping the 10,000-mark recently. But what has caused this nearly 50-percent jump? According to CNBC's Larry Kudlow - loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, with low interest rates, has made it possible for the markets to rise, with the 'loose' money going into the market.
"The funny thing is, Steven, it has gone into stocks - I mean the stock market guys ... there's no real multiplier for the economy, right?" Kudlow said on his Oct. 30 CNBC program. "But it has gone into stocks and the stock market crowd wants to see the Fed to keep pouring the money in no matter what happens to the U.S. dollar."
On Friday’s Situation Room, CNN forwarded an idea proposed by The New Republic’s Peter Beinart- that Democratic losses in the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey this year would result in the reelection of President Obama in 2012. An on-screen graphic during a discussion of Beinart’s hypothesis read, “If The Dems Lose Next Week: How it might help them in the long run.”
Anchor Wolf Blitzer read the New Republic contributor’s idea during a “Strategy Session” panel discussion with Republican Mary Matalin and Democrat Paul Begala 53 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour: “Peter Beinart, writing in The Daily Beast, says...it might be good for the Democrats if the Republicans win both Virginia and New Jersey, the governors’ races next Tuesday. ‘Let’s imagine,’ he writes, ‘that Democrats lose next week because the GOP’s conservative base flocks to the polls while liberals stay home. For Obama, that wouldn’t be so terrible. The more confident right-wing Republicans become, the more likely they will nominate a Palin-like zealot in 2012.’”
Comedian Wanda Sykes brushed aside her low blow about Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys failing as no big deal on CNN’s AC360 on Thursday: “Was it...too far for that room? Yes, it was...but, hey, you shouldn’t invite me....I think everybody would have been disappointed if I hadn’t gone too far. Sykes also gushed wildly over President Obama during the interview: “He is like the George Clooney of presidents.”
Anchor John King, filling in for Anderson Cooper, interviewed Sykes 45 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, and brought up the issue of the Limbaugh crack mid-way through the interview: “As you know, there were one or two lines [from Sykes’s appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner] that got a little bit of a gasp and a groan in the room. One of them was when you were making fun and criticizing Rush Limbaugh.” After playing a clip of the line in question, he asked, “Any regrets for that? As you know, there was a big gasp in that room. Washington wasn’t quite ready for that one.”
For the third time in six months, the CBS Early Show provided a soap box for Levi Johnston to continue his vicious personal attacks against Sarah Palin, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: “He is back on the offensive in this he-said-she-said battle that began shortly after the presidential election....he says he’s trying to show the world the real Levi.”
During the first part of the exclusive interview, which aired on Wednesday, Rodriguez sympathetically asked: “Are you hurt by all of this?....you really sound like somebody who’s dead set on hurting these people the way they hurt you.” Johnston replied: “...if she’s going to go out there and say stuff to me – about me, I’m going to leak some things on her. I mean that’s just how it is.”
At the end of the second part of the interview, aired on Thursday, Rodriguez read a statement from Palin reacting to Johnston: “‘we have purposefully ignored the mean spirited, malicious and untrue attacks on our family. We, like many, are appalled at the inflammatory statements being made or implied.’” Palin went on to take the broadcast network to task for even having Johnston on: “CBS should be ashamed for continually providing a forum to propagate lies.” Rodriguez attempted to justify the repetitive interviews: “...we raised all those questions about credibility and his motivation for doing this with Levi...we should say that we’ve also offered more than a dozen times to interview Sarah Palin, but she has declined each of those requests.”
Did Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush "probably" commit "impeachable offenses"? That's what influential New York Times editor Sam Tanenhaus thinks.
On Wednesday night, the influential editor of both the "New York Times Book Review" and the "Weekend Review" sections again appeared on Charlie Rose's late night PBS chat show to discuss his no-longer-new book "The Death of Conservatism."
Times Watch found Tanenhaus's slim essay of a book intellectually dishonest, not so much declaring the movement dead as trying to define it out of existence by blurring the meaning of "conservatism" to mean the preserving of liberal government interventions.
Tanenhaus made his assertion three minutes into the interview while discussing limits on presidential power:
CNN’s Campbell Brown was quick to point out the apparent biases of competitors MSNBC and Fox News during her program on Wednesday, but ignored that of her own network as she tried to portray it as unbiased: “Some of us, like my colleagues here at CNN, are still trying to do journalism....I’m not critical of what my friends at Fox News and MSNBC do, but it is apples and oranges when compared to what we at CNN do.”
Brown concluded the 8 pm Eastern hour with remarks initially directed against the Obama administration for its campaign against Fox News. The CNN anchor thought it was “silly” for the White House to go after the 24-hour news network: “I mean, really, the White House is only just now figuring out Fox in prime-time has a conservative bias? Really? I think our friends at Fox News have been pretty up-front about it, and frankly, pretty unapologetic, for that matter. What confuses me is that if the White House is really so concerned about bias in the media, then why are they only targeting Fox?”
Ever since long-time radio talker Don Imus inked a deal with the Fox Business Network to simulcast his morning radio program, he said he has been getting pushback from several acquaintances.
And as he explained and showed on his Oct. 28 program, he's not particularly pleased with the reaction about his deal with Fox News.
"I get this email and the e-mail says, ‘Sorry to see you've sold out to Fox Business, or whatever. But I am not surprised you sold out to Fox Business, disappointed.' Could you explain to me exactly what does that mean? When you walk in the door here, Roger Ailes or Neil Cavuto or what's the other fat guy's name? Kevin McGee? Not the other fat guy, that was unfortunate."
Brent Bozell was hardly alone yesterday in touting new polls showing a surge for conservatism in reaction to Barack Obama's forever-lengthening statist agenda. Also making the rounds is Nile Gardiner's blog for the Telegraph (of the UK) suggesting President Obama has failed to defeat American conservatism:
This week’s striking Gallup poll on political ideology is further confirmation that the United States is in essence a conservative nation, which has ironically become even more conservative under Barack Obama. According to Gallup, 40 percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36 percent as moderate and 20 percent as liberal. This is the first time conservatives have outnumbered moderates in America since 2004.
Want to be noticed by any one of the hosts that have a primetime show on MSNBC's weeknight lineup? Just figure out a way to make Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. the subject matter, and there's an excellent chance either Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow will take a shot at it, or her, during their shows.
In the Oct. 25 Washington Post, George Will penned a column about Bachmann, outlining her ascendancy into the national spotlight, which told of her start in politics and how she grew to become reviled by the left. And it was just a matter time before one of the charming personalities on MSNBC made some sort of remarks about the column, albeit two days later. That came on Olbermann's Oct. 27 "Countdown" broadcast.
Recent problems with the financial system could be used as a reason for regulators to have authority policing social networking sites like Facebook and other types of electronic communication like text messaging. If Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) CEO Richard Ketchum has his way, that's exactly what will happen.
Ketchum appeared on CNBC's Oct. 27 "Closing Bell" in an interview with the network's NYSE floor reporter Bob Pisani from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) annual meeting in New York City. Ketchum explained how the Internet and text messaging are unconventional means of communication that pose problems for regulators.
"With all of our kids, they don't talk by phones or certainly directly to each other anymore," Ketchum said. "They talk through the Internet and they talk through text messaging and they talk through Facebook."
On Sunday’s CBS Evening News, political analyst John Dickerson brushed aside criticism from former Vice President Dick Cheney that the Obama administration was “dithering” on Afghanistan: “...it puts Cheney out there as a kind of boogie man the administration can point to. He’s not terribly popular outside of conservative circles...in some ways, Dick Cheney is a gift for the White House.”
Dickerson, who is a contributing writer for the left-leaning blog Slate.com, has also filled in for Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer twice in the last six months, on the October 18 and July 5 broadcasts. He was responding to a question from Sunday Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell, who cited Cheney and wondered: “Are you hearing other sentiments out there along those lines?” Dickerson claimed: “Well, there’s been some elite opinion about the pause in the President’s thinking.”
An October 9 CBS News poll showed that there was more than simply “elite opinion” on the subject: “President Obama has a slide in his approval ratings on his handling of the situation in Afghanistan. In April, 58 percent approved of his handling of the conflict; by August, that number had fallen to 48 percent. In the most recent survey it has hit its lowest level yet, 42 percent.” An October 18 ABC News/ Washington Post poll placed public approval of the President’s handling of Afghanistan at 45 percent, with 47 percent disapproving of his handling.