Despite calling for massive new spending on education, universal health care and more money for bailing out banks, no ABC anchor on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning used the word liberal in describing Barack Obama's February 24 address to Congress. In contrast, ABC host Terry Moran on February 27, 2001 anticipated that a similar speech by President George W. Bush would be "conservative."Following that address, he spun it as "hard core conservatism: fiscal restraint; deep, across-the-board spending and tax cuts; the privatization of part of Social Security."
And yet, on Tuesday's post-speech coverage, on that evening's "Nightline" and on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," no anchor applied the liberal label to Obama's address. The same Moran who saw "hard core conservatism" in Bush's appearance before Congress, described a "big and bold speech" from the current President. He also enthused that "President Barack Obama didn't sugarcoat it, he found bad guys on Wall Street and in Washington." Regarding the President's obviously liberal plans on the economy and health care, Moran reiterated, "The answer, the President argued, go big, big plans, big changes."
While discussing President Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress and the Republican response given by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez observed: "And Americans loved it. The polls show that they're very optimistic, and then out comes Bobby Jindal, Debbie Downer, saying ‘hated it, it's not going to work.’" Rodriguez made the remark while speaking with Democrat Dee Dee Myers and Republican Dan Bartlett. She turned to Bartlett and asked: "Do you think the Republican Party's taking the right approach, Dan, being so vocal with their objections?"
At the top of the show, Rodriguez interviewed Vice President Joe Biden and asked: "...the Republican party came out with their own charismatic, young, dynamic, ethnic spokesperson after the speech and said ‘we don't buy it, we're not on board.’ Are you taking any of their objections into account? Are any of their objections legitimate in your view?" Biden replied: "Sure. I'm sure there's -- there's some legitimate objections they have. But what I don't understand from Governor Jindal is, what would he do?...if you choose the inaction that Governor Jindal is talking about, how responsible is that? While people are just sinking into the abyss."
During the Monday 12PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage, anchor Norah O’Donnell interviewed conservative film maker John Ziegler, creator of ‘Media Malpractice,’ a documentary on media bias against Sarah Palin, and denied any such bias: "Well, let me ask you, you called the treatment of Sarah Palin and her family a, quote, 'media assassination, one of the greatest public injustices of our time.' Is that a little strong? Are you and her a little thin-skinned?"
Ziegler responded by pointing out O’Donnell’s own anti-Palin bias: "The evidence is overwhelming. It's continuing today. I mean, just a few weeks ago, Norah, you incorrectly stated on the air Sarah Palin called Barack Obama a terrorist during the campaign." NewsBusters reported on O’Donnell’s January 29 smear of Palin.
O’Donnell criticized part of Ziegler’s documentary: "Let me ask you, in your documentary you cite examples of media bias by Saturday Night Live, that that's media bias. Aren't those comedians?...How's that media bias?" Ziegler explained: "Poll after poll shows that more people get their news from comedy shows because the line between entertainment and news, as this network has shown time and time again, has virtually evaporated...MSNBC used to be a news organization, now it's an advocacy organization, and SNL is actually thought to be a news organization."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and CNN’s Rick Sanchez both poked fun of Fox News personality Sean Hannity for his on-air commercials for Stanford Coins and Bullion, which is part of the Stanford Financial Group led by Robert Allen Stanford, who has been in the news recently due to charges of fraud. It was the Huffington Post on Wednesday that pointed out the talk show host’s spots for Stanford. Olbermann named Hannity his “Worst Person in the World” on Thursday evening for the radio spots for Stanford.
Nineteen hours later, on Friday afternoon’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez gave the misleading impression that Hannity was still doing the live spots even after the news of the investigation into Stanford came out: “Sean Hannity unabashedly endorsed Robert Allen Stanford on the air to millions of potential customers -- the same Fox News host who calls President Obama a socialist.” An on-screen graphic during Sanchez’s segment indicated that his source for the story was the Huffington Post, while another graphic asked, “Who’s Your Friend, Sean?”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on conservative leader Benjamin Netanyahu being chosen as Israel’s prime minister: "Israel's president chose hardline Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu today to form a new Israeli government. As prime minister, Netanyahu will try to cobble together a coalition of right-wing parties. Such a government might dim hopes for peace with the Palestinians."
An article on the CBS News website went on to stress the importance of Netanyahu forming a moderate centrist government: "Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in a seeming about-face, indicated she might be willing to come on board a Netanyahu government. But Livni, a centrist, would certainly exact a high price: sharing the prime minister's job she so fervently sought with a reluctant Netanyahu. Should he balk, his alternative would be an unstable coalition of right-wingers sure to collide with the Obama administration and its ambitious plans for ending 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Later, the article stated: "With Livni out, Netanyahu might have little choice but to forge a coalition with nationalist and religious parties opposed to peacemaking with the Palestinians and Israel's other Arab neighbors."
President Barack Obama's recent statement about his opposition to resurrecting the so-called Fairness Doctrine is a good first step, but shouldn't be the only step his administration takes to burying political censorship by the FCC for good, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist argued in a joint statement released today.
[click logo above at right to be directed to the Free Speech Alliance petition]
After all, liberal organizations and individuals like MoveOn.org, ACORN, John Podesta's Center for American Progress, House Energy and Commerce Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) have expressed their intention to silence talk radio by alternative regulatory means such as nebulous FCC "diversity" in ownership and "localism" requirements.
President Obama must make clear his opposition to those back-door regulations as well, Mr. Bozell declared:
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith opened the show by declaring: "As President Obama heads on his first foreign trip, some state governors are saying 'thanks, but no thanks' to the stimulus money, even in these desperate times. We'll ask one of them why." Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Republican South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and asked: "Even if it takes a while to get the money, how do you justify, let's say, not taking it to your constituents when in your state, for example, in December had the third highest unemployment rate in the country. Don't you need the money?"
After Sanford explained that he was opposed to the bill but may accept some of the funding, Rodriguez responded: "You say you're against it, but you still might take the money. Do you realize how some people might think that you're putting ideology ahead of the interests of your constituents?" He began to reply: "Well, I'd say it's the reverse. If we take the money -- in other words, I've said -- I've made my ideological stand, saying this is a bad idea-" Rodriguez interrupted: "But if you're so against it, why take the money?"
"Well, the saints might go marching into New Orleans, but the scientists are marching right on out. A group of more than two thousand biologists have decided NOT to hold their 2011 annual meeting in the Big Easy," "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric noted at the open of her February 18 video blog entry.
Couric proceeded to turn a biologists convention's PR stunt into evidence that Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) is an enemy of the "scientific community.":
The reason? Louisiana has a law that allows teachers to use supplemental materials in science class - things other than the state approved curriculum. Republican-up-and-comer Bobby Jindal signed it last summer after it passed the state legislature with overwhelming support.
The scientific community says the law is nothing more than a free pass for the teaching of creationism, and that religion has no place in a biology class.
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid described Barack Obama’s signing of the massive "stimulus" spending bill into law: "After a mere four weeks in office, the President today signed what he called ‘the most sweeping economic recovery plan in American history’...A new law that he described as a new beginning...In Missouri, the reaction was instantaneous. As the bill was signed, highway commissioners signed a contract, cut a check, and work began on the first project in the nation."
Reid dedicated only one sentence of his report to those opposing the legislation: "On the steps of the Colorado statehouse today, protestors condemned the bill, while Republicans across the nation vowed to analyze every dollar of spending in search of waste and fraud." Reid followed that up with: "The White House is already fighting back. Today launching a web site intended to instill public confidence in the President's plan." None of the protestors or Republican lawmakers were quoted in the story.
On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on perjury allegations against Illinois Senator Roland Burris and calls for his resignation: "Burris admits he did much more than just talk to one person, in fact, he says he talked to four other people with close connections and took three phone calls from the ex-governor's brother about raising money. In the down and dirty world of Illinois politics, some Republicans are calling on him to resign."
In addition to bashing Illinois Republicans, Cordes’s report featured CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen, who argued: "From a purely legal point of view, it is not a strong perjury case. All it does is suggest that Mr. Burris was a little bit more involved in all of this than he initially claimed to be."
In contrast, in January 2007, Cohen described perjury charges against Vice President Cheney’s former chief of Staff Scooter Libby this way: "The whole thing reminds me of an experience I had in law school. I was serving as a ‘baby’ public defender and one of my ‘clients’ was a man, already incarcerated, who was being brought up on new charges that he stole a car. "I didn't steal that car," he said to me. ‘Great,’ I said. ‘That's great. Can you tell me what did happen?’ ‘You don't understand,’ he said to me, "I'm a crack dealer. I don't do that petty car (stuff).’ That is darn close to what Libby and his lawyers are saying. He was an architect and implementer of (mostly failed) foreign policies, the defense goes, and thus did not have time, inclination or criminal state of mind to be guilty of the petty offense of perjury and obstruction of justice."
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Kimberly Dozier filed a report profiling moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both from Maine, in light of their vote in favor of President Obama's economic plan, and relayed their criticisms that other Republicans should show more willingness to "compromise." Dozier also likened Collins to another former Republican Senator from Maine, Margaret Chase Smith, who is known for being "the first Senator to stand up to McCarthyism."
Dozier began her report: "President Obama owes his stimulus package to three Senators from the losing side. Three renegade Republicans tipped the balance: Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania and two women Senators from the sparsely populated state of Maine – Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins."
During a segment on the “Reliable Sources” hour of CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, PBS’s Gwen Ifill and Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson agreed that it was fine for President Obama to call on Sam Stein of the Huffington Post at his first press conference, and that the correspondent’s left-wing question on a proposed “truth committee” investigation into the Bush administration was “perfectly reasonable.” Carlson also agreed with host Howard Kurtz’s assessment that the “White House press corps not exactly rolling over for the new president.” Her response: “Never do, do they?”
Ifill and Carlson participated in a panel discussion with The Washington Times’ White House correspondent Christina Bellantoni at the beginning of the 10 am Eastern hour of the CNN program. Kurtz brought up the topic of the first presidential news conference, and specifically, how Stein was one of the reporters who asked a question: “So is this a new era for bloggers, in terms of the White House recognition?”
Monday morning show coverage of allegations that Illinois Senator Roland Burris may have perjured himself with respect to connections to impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich minimized calls for investigation or Burris’s resignation. On the CBS Early Show, correspondent Thailia Assuras explained: "State Republican lawmakers are calling for Senator Roland Burris to resign and be investigated for perjury...The U.S. Senate could move to expel Burris, but analysts say that's unlikely to happen. It's not the kind of distraction Senate Democrats need as they try to move forward the president's agenda."
On NBC’s Today, correspondent Lee Cowan had a similar take: "...some Republican lawmakers here are now calling for Senator Burris to resign. At the very least, some want to see a criminal investigation launched to see whether or not he perjured himself. As for his colleagues in the U.S. Senate, so far they're reserving judgment." ABC’s Good Morning America barely mentioned the controversy, only offering one 15-second news brief on the story. In addition to downplaying the issue, none of the three morning shows mentioned that Burris was a Democrat. Only the Early Show featured an on-screen graphic with ‘Illinois (D)’ next to Burris’s name while playing a clip of the Senator.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor about President Obama’s proposed housing bill: "Unlike the stimulus, will you urge your fellow Republicans in the House to support this?" When Cantor criticized the proposed bill and the passage of the "stimulus" bill, Rodriguez declared: "But Congressman, it's clear that Americans are begging for help with foreclosures. Corporations are begging for bailouts. Can the Republican Party accept that there are situations when large-scale government intervention is necessary?"
Cantor began to explain that Republicans supported some aspects of the "stimulus," but Rodriguez quickly interrupted him: "But everyone opposed it. Why? Where's the bipartisanship?" Before Cantor could respond, she added: "Are you afraid of being seen as obstructionist?" An on-screen graphic read: "Economic Crisis, Party Politics & Recovery Roadblocks."
Cantor replied by describing the lack of "bipartisanship" of congressinonal Democrats: "And if you look at the bill that was put together, it was brought to the floor after a couple of hours having just been printed. No one -- not one member of the Senate, not one member of the House -- was able to read the bill. And I believe the public's got a right to know. So the fashion in which this plan was put together by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid was just unacceptable."
One need look no further than the NewsBusters archives on fashion critic Robin Givhan and TV critic Tom Shales to see that the Style section for the Washington Post is hardly immune from the liberal bias that plagues much of the paper's A-section.
It's drive-by journalism, to put it charitably, a string of stupefyingly brief hit-and-run interviews with a bunch of unidentified people who we know are going to say nothing that will surprise us. By then, we've already figured out they're going to be fried by Pelosi's camera. We know they're going to sound like yahoos, often goaded, always reduced to sound bites and caricatures.
Leahy, recalling his impressions of conservative voters from his own campaign reporting, continued by dismissing Pelosi's documentary as a cheap excuse "for a snarky laugh track" at the expense of center-right Americans (emphasis mine):
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a report on the Democrats’ so-called "stimulus" plan about to pass Congress: "And we'll tell you what's in it for you, including tax breaks...It's designed, in part, to get you spending again by giving you the money to do it." However, in July of 2001, when President Bush was trying to get tax cut legislation passed, then Evening News anchor Dan Rather warned: "...new worries that his big tax cuts, along with a shrinking budget surplus, are re-shaping the political and fiscal landscape of the country."
Following Couric, Correspondent Nancy Cordes touted the benefits of the tax cuts: "For restaurant owner Tom Glascow, and for most Americans, the new stimulus package serves up a variety of tax cuts...The biggest bit is a $400 credit for almost all workers. That comes out to about $13 a week, which may not sound like much, but consider this-" Glascow explained: "The bottom line is, is every little bit will help...Basically, what does my business good is people with disposable income that can spend a little extra on lunch on a daily basis."
Despite the election of President Obama, Bill Maher is still not happy with his native land, due to the lack of belief in evolution. He voiced his disapproval on Thursday evening’s Larry King Live: “I read the other day, I think only four in 10 Americans believe in evolution. It’s still not a very bright country, Larry.” He later compared Sarah Palin to former American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar: “She’s like a reality show contestant who just lost, and they’re always like, you know, you haven’t heard the end of me. I’m not going. Yes, you are, Sanjaya. Good bye, bye-bye.”
Maher’s criticism of his fellow citizens came three minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour CNN program. King had asked him about the president’s first weeks in office and the proposed economic stimulus package. Despite the Obama administration’s various problems, Maher defended the president as “learning” and that “he certainly is the smartest guy we’ve had there that I can remember.” He also stated that the tax cuts that are part of the proposal “really are not stimulus.” The host then asked Maher, “Do you think he’s [Obama] going to solve this economic problem?” The comedian replied, “Well, he can’t personally solve anything....I mean this is a mess like -- and I don’t think they’re telling us really how -- how bad it is. I think that’s why Geithner was so vague the other day when he presented his plan, because I think he just didn’t want to say it’s even worse, because I think there would be more of a panic than there is.”
On Thursday's edition of "Anderson Cooper 360," the host of the self titled show fretted that the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as commerce secretary nominee might indicate the Republican Party has declared "a war, an insurgency" against Barack Obama. Speaking to CNN analyst David Gergen, Cooper expanded on the theory. [audio excerpt here]
Referencing an embarrassing gaffe by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions that the House minority could consider the Taliban as an example of an insurgent force, the anchor seriously wondered, "So, David, though, you don't buy the idea that there is a war by Republicans against the President?" He continued, "Because, I mean, Pete Sessions, you know, who's head of the Republican Congressional Committee, was citing the Taliban as sort of an example of how to run an insurgent campaign against a larger force." Gergen didn't seem to go for the concept, asserting that there are "some hot heads in each party."
A few minutes earlier, Cooper theorized about the possible GOP threat, speculating, "But, do developments today also speak to something deeper, a war, an insurgency by Republicans against the President, against Democrats in the House and against their agenda?"
Are you a conservative? Then you're a d***, and there's something wrong with your brain. At least that's what "24" actress and comedienne Janeane Garofalo believes.
According to the former Air America radio host, a conservative starts out an “a**hole,” and the politics come later. She asserted, “The reason a person is a conservative republican (sic) is because something is wrong with them...It really is neuroscience.”
The reason a person is a conservative republican is because something is wrong with them. Again, that’s science – that’s neuroscience. You cannot be well adjusted, open-minded, pluralistic, enlightened and be a republican. It’s counter-intuitive. And they revel in their anti-intellectualism. They revel in their cruelty.
CNN’s Kyra Phillips marked the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth on Thursday’s American Morning by harkening back to Barack Obama’s decision to announce his candidacy for president on the steps of the Old State Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois, where the 16th president once worked: “It was here in the Old Capitol that Abraham Lincoln gave his famous ‘House Divided’ speech. A house divided against itself cannot stand, he proclaimed. Sound familiar? Fast-forward -- February 10th, 2007, Lincoln came to life here as if it were 1858.” She then remarked that with the Democrat’s announcement, “we all witnessed Lincoln’s dream and Obama’s reality.”
The correspondent’s odd comparison came at the end of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, as part of the network’s all-day “From Lincoln to Obama” special programming. Phillips traveled to Springfield for the occasion, and began her report with another “parallel,” as she put, between the two presidents concerning their names: “For example, this campaign flag [from Lincoln’s presidential campaign]. Look at this -- ‘Abram Lincoln.’ They even spelled his name wrong. So it wasn’t just Obama that’s been having issues with his name -- also, Abraham Lincoln. Just one of the parallels that we found as we’ve been spending time here.”
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez did a segment highlighting five, "...things you may not know about Honest Abe," including his sexual orientation. The segment featured New York University history professor Jeffrey Sammons, who argued: "One of the very interesting stories about Abraham Lincoln is that he might have been gay. Lincoln actually did sleep in the same bed with a gentleman for a four-year period." Rodriguez concluded: "So the question of Abraham Lincoln's sexuality still remains a mystery."
In addition to spreading revisionist rumors about Lincoln’s sexuality, the segment also focused on his racist attitudes as Rodriguez declared: "Myth number two, he was the great champion of equality." Sammons explained: "Lincoln is known as the great emancipator or the great father of black people, but Lincoln was a man of his times when it came to race. He indicated that he did not believe that blacks were equal to whites, said to have used the n-word in speeches and in letters. So there's no indication that Abraham Lincoln believes in black equality."
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, even after Katie Couric introduced a story about Israel’s election which will determine the next prime minister as being "too close to call," correspondent Richard Roth’s report spent more time focusing on the popularity of center-left Kadima party candidate Tzipi Livni – whom the report linked to Barack Obama – and featured positive soundbites of her supporters, but devoted little time to her conservative Likud party rival and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Roth briefly presented as a "hitch" to Livni becoming Israel's leader.
In her introduction, Couric labeled Netanyahu as a "hardline" candidate: "In Israel they're counting votes in an election that remains too close to call. Late tonight, hardline candidate Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory, but exit polls show Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in front. Despite that, Richard Roth tells us the process of choosing a new prime minister is far from over."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Richard Roth reported on the outcome of the Israeli election and a possible victory for the conservative parties led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "So, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims victory, too, with fewer votes, but it's believed more support from his traditional allies in right wing parties...there's a clear sign Israel shifted to the right. It may take weeks to create the next government here, but whoever leads it, is likely to have obligations to parties on the fringe of Israeli politics." Roth also pointed out that conservative victories may hinder Obama foreign policy: "And that could be a setback for the White House, eager to restart a peace process in the Middle East."
Back in 1996, when Netanyahu first served as Israel’s prime minister, CBS had similar concerns about his "right-wing" leanings. On the May 31 Evening News of that year, then anchor Dan Rather described Netanyahu’s election: "Right-wing hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu is declared Israel's new Prime Minister." During CBS’s This Morning that same day, then co-host Harry Smith asked: "Let's talk about his words for a second. Because it's not that many months ago that a lot of people were accusing Bibi Netanyahu of fanning the flames of the Israeli right, of setting the rhetorical tone for [Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination."
Journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Monday's "Nightline" to offer high grades for Barack Obama's first primetime press conference. He awarded the President an A for overall performance at the event and a B for Obama's bipartisan efforts. During the presidential campaign, Stephanopoulos was consistent in giving high marks to the then-Democratic candidate, announcing that Obama won all his debates against Republican John McCain and that Joe Biden bested Sarah Palin.
Speaking to "Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, the "This Week" host enthused, "Well, I think he got an A on this, Terry...He had the long answers, five-minute mini-essays or speeches all about the economy, able to explain from his perspective how bad the situation is, how we got into this mess and how his stimulus package will fix it." On the subject of reaching out to Republicans, Stephanopoulos asserted, "I think on that you give him a B." After allowing that the President hasn't been able to obtain GOP support for the stimulus bill, he spun, "He was able to make his points tonight, how, basically, that isn't his fault. That's what he was trying to say tonight. He has reached out, he hasn't had a response from the Republican side."
On Monday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid described Barack Obama’s efforts to gain support for the so-called "stimulus" bill: "The president aimed the full power of his office, including Air Force One, at the Heartland today, speaking directly to the people in Elkhart, Indiana...For now, the president appears to have the public on his side. A new Gallup poll out today gives him a 67 percent approval rating for his handling of the stimulus legislation, far higher than either Democrats or Republicans in Congress, and he'll be turning on the pressure of popularity again tonight when he holds his first prime time press conference."
In later coverage, just prior to the presidential press conference, Reid again cited the Gallup poll numbers. However, recent Gallup poll results showed that only 38 percent of Americans supported the actual bill in its current form, with 37 percent wanting major changes, 17 percent rejecting it, and 8 percent having no opinion.
Following Reid’s Evening News report, anchor Katie Couric asked: "And, Chip, after the Senate passes the bill, it goes to conference with the House. What is the outlook for that?" Reid replied: "Well, the Democrats and Republicans admit that it is going to be passed eventually, probably by the end of this week, but there's going to be some serious horse trading. It all goes on behind closed doors, and that's when the real work gets done. It gets done much more quickly than when it’s out in public." Apparently public support is not that important.
CNN’s two senior political analysts, Gloria Borger and David Gergen, reacted favorably to President Barack Obama’s performance at his first press conference on Monday night. Borger highlighted how the Democrat apparently “came across as a real pragmatist.” Later, Gergen stated that it was a “classic and shrewd exercise of presidential power.”
The two analysts participated in the network’s post-press conference programming, which took up the entire 9 pm Eastern hour on Monday night. Five minutes into the hour, Borger made her “pragmatist” comment, and continued with what she gathered from the president’s remarks: “What I heard tonight was somebody who kept saying I can’t afford to see Congress play the same usual political games. But the interesting fight that we’re setting up here is whether the new president really understands the role or can cope with the role that ideology now plays in our politics today.”
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen took an unusually critical tone toward President Obama’s first press conference on Monday night: "President Obama takes to prime time to pitch his nearly trillion-dollar rescue plan...But does the president have his facts straight? And what does a trillion dollars really buy you? We'll tell you."
In a later report on the press conference correspondent Bill Plante challenged some of the president’s assertions, including: "Most economists, almost unanimously, recognize government is an important element of introducing some additional demand into the economy." Plante countered: "In fact, several hundred economists argued for more tax cuts, rather than more spending." Plante also questioned Obama’s denial of any earmarks in the so-called "stimulus" bill: "Even so, the bill does call for some specifics that sound a lot like earmarks. $2 billion for a clean coal power plant. $2 billion for hybrid car batteries. $255 million for a Coast Guard icebreaker."
"Conservatism Is Dead," blares the cover of the February 18 edition of The New Republic, heralding an article by Sam Tanenhaus, editor of The New York Times Book Review and Week in Review. Tanenhaus came to bury conservatism, arguing up front that today's GOP is too weak to resist Obama. (Perhaps a premature burial, given the GOP's stand against the "stimulus" package.)
Some 40 years later, there are conservatives who still inveigh against the perils of socialized medicine.
In his New Republic cover story, Tanenhaus sounded at best like a neo-liberal, making brief cursory criticism of liberal overreach while bearing down hard on conservative opposition to food stamps and the welfare state in general, with much discussion of Joe McCarthy, "the emptiness of free-market liturgy," and conservative malice toward the poor.
With Barack Obama’s first press conference as president scheduled on Monday night, one obvious question that comes up is what kind of questions he will receive from the White House press corps. His predecessor, George W. Bush, faced some pressing questions during his first press conference on February 22, 2001.
Liberal firebrand Helen Thomas offered the most politically-charged question: “Mr. President, why do you refuse to respect the wall between the church and state? And you know that the mixing of religion and government, for centuries, has led to slaughter. The very fact that our country has stood in good stead by having this separation -- why do you break it down?” When President Bush answered that he did “respect the separation of church and state,” Thomas blasted back: “Well, you wouldn't have a religious office in the White House if you did.” Since President Obama has decided to retain Bush’s faith-based initiative (although with a new name and slightly new mission), one wonders if Thomas will press the Democrat on the issue.