If someone's going to play speech police, one might think it would be wise to make sure her own house was in order prior to hurling charges. But, for Arianna Huffington, editor of The Huffington Post, there are two sets of rules.
"Yes, well, first of all, there's a big distinction between who your anchors are, who are your employees and what they are saying and what your bloggers are saying," Huffington said. "And in our case, of course, what he said, what our blogger he was quoting said, was started by Roger, because he never called him a tumor. He said Fox was a tumor, on American society, which is a legitimate view that many people hold."
ABC on Tuesday devoted a fourth day of interviews to the John Edwards sex scandal and still failed to identify the ex-vice presidential nominee as a Democrat. After 67 minutes of coverage on two programs, the network has highlighted most of the salacious details of the Senator’s story, all while avoiding the D-word.
Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday talked to former Edwards aide Andrew Young and his wife, Cheri. Interviews with Mr. Young, who falsely claimed to be the father of what turned out to be Edwards’ love child, also appeared on Monday and Saturday.
On Monday, former Democratic operative turned journalist Stephanopoulos did not react well to Young's assertion that the campaign believed "all of the viable candidates had some type of skeleton in their closet." Stephanopoulos fretted, "That is a very serious charge." When Young tried to backpedal, the host complained, "You just said it."
Quoting from the film A Few Good Men, on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked openly gay Army Lieutenant Dan Choi if the U.S. military was prepared for the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy to be overturned by the Obama administration: “Older members of the military are not very interested in seeing this policy changed at all....Do you think the military can handle the truth?”
The policy, created by Bill Clinton’s administration in 1993, allows homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they do not publically come out. Choi, who is facing discharge from the Army for doing just that, replied to Smith’s movie reference: “Well, I think that there are some people in the military that might have grown up in a different era, and they have fear, obviously, with the change they might think that it’s too difficult for them....Don’t assume that because you might be uncomfortable or certain people might be uncomfortable that that translates to unprofessional or lack of discipline.”
Smith began the segment by proclaiming “the beginning of the end” of the policy as Defense Secretary Robert Gates began to reexamine it. A headline on-screen read: “Do Ask, Do Tell? Pentagon Plan To Be Unveiled Today.”
Agreed, this doesn't come as much of a shock. What's surprising is that Schultz said "almost".
Here's Schultz on his radio show Friday talking about meeting with Obama advisor David Axelrod at the White House the day before, along with fellow liberal radio host Bill Press and several other left-wing media types Schultz did not identify (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: First of all you walk into the White House, in the West Wing, and there are picture all over, I mean everywhere! Of President Obama! I mean, of his life in the first year as president of the United States. Now I don't know if that's the way it is with every president, but it was almost a shrine. I mean, well, here's a picture of Obama the president with his kids over here. There he is getting on Air Force One. Here he is with some military people. Here he is on the line working the line at one of his campaign stops. I mean, just, it was just one picture after another! (laughs)
On Saturday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Don Lemon deferentially took President Obama’s advice and interviewed a stimulus “skeptic” turned “believer,” whom the Democrat cited as an example of the success of the stimulus during his recent State of the Union address. Lemon talked up the stimulus and the Obama administration’s energy efficiency tax credit with his guest Alan Levin, whose company produces windows.
Before playing his taped interview with guest Alan Levin, CEO of Northeast Building Products, the CNN anchor played the relevant clip from the President Obama’s address: “Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia, who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created.” After asking Mr. Levin if he was excited by this mention by the President, Lemon inquired about this previous skepticism: “You know what, here’s the interesting thing. You were skeptical about this process- about the stimulus. You weren’t exactly sure that it was going to get you the right people and help at all. And now?”
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith introduced a bizarre story designed to show how desperate the situation is for people lacking health insurance: “A California woman has launched a unique online search for a husband. Not for love, but for health care.”
Earlier, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased the story by proclaiming: “I don’t know if you would think it’s sad or if you would think it’s admirable – but it’s definitely a position no one wants to be in. It’s an extreme to get health insurance.”
Correspondent Randall Pinkston later reported on the situation:
45-year-old Terri Carlson says she does not care what you look like, she will marry you, but only if you have good health insurance....She is divorced and has one year left under cobra health coverage, but after that, she will have nothing to help pay for numerous doctors’ appointments and dozens of medications....[she] suffers from a rare genetic disorder....And because of her disorder, insurance companies have denied her coverage.
On Saturday, NB's Noel Sheppard reported on this statement made by Education Secretary Arne Duncan: "I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster. It took hurricane Katrina to wake up the community and say we have to do better."
CNN host T.J. Holmes read that quote aloud during a broadcast. "Of course I agree" with Duncan's statement, said one guest, CNN contributor Steve Perry. The host and correspondents went back and forth about how the hurricane may or may not have helped public schools, never once impugning Duncan's motives.
Contrast this media response with the response to former Republican Congressman from Louisiana Richard Baker's statement regarding Katrina: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." It sparked outrage among the liberal media (h/t NRO's John Miller).
How can journalists possibly claim to be "objective" (in the Old Media, I-have-no-opinions sense of the term) when they get their news only from hyper-partisan sources on one side of the political spectrum? To do so should make any reporter blush.
But David Shuster, apparently, has no issue with undertaking such objective journalistic endeavors as "fact checking and analyzing", while gathering information from the left's most prominent online talking-point repositories.
Not content with simply relaying those talking points to his viewers, he makes sure to direct them (via Twitter) to websites where they can get their fills of the latest lefty banter. Johnny Dollar took the liberty of compiling a chart of the sites to which Shuster directed his Twitter followers throughout the month of January. The results are striking:
Verne Lundquist, closet Republican? The sports announcer got in a bit of good-natured trash talking while interviewing Pres. Obama during this afternoon's game between Duke and Georgetown in DC that PBO attended. In a basketball-politics double entendre, Lundquist asked the left-handed Obama "do you have any problems at all going to your right?"
When the president made his way to the announcers table during the second half, he, Lundquist and Clark Kellogg engaged in some b-ball banter. At the very end, an obviously nervous Lundquist hit PBO with his cheeky question.
At the top of Friday’s Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, the show announcer teased a story on President Obama speaking a meeting of House Republicans in Baltimore: “What will Republicans do with President Obama’s olive branch? He’s reaching out to the GOP yet again, despite a year of push backs and criticisms. Is he being naive or crazy like a fox?”
Moments later, host Dylan Ratigan made a biblical reference to explain Obama’s supposedly gracious gesture: “We begin today with a biblical story of Noah and the floods....he sent a dove....To look for dry land after a great flood had wiped out the Earth. The dove returned with an olive branch.” Ratigan then observed: “the President tried the same approach. Especially...with the Republicans.”
After playing a clip of the President calling for bipartisanship in the State of the Union speech, Ratigan argued: “So if the President thought that meant Republicans would start jumping onboard his boat? He thought wrong. They’ve taken his olive branch and are now using it to hit back against his agenda.”
On HLN’s Joy Behar Show on Thursday, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg gave a racial explanation for Chris Matthews’ recent “I forgot he was black” remark about President Obama. Goldberg cracked that “this has been quite a year for the white man.” Behar replied, “Traumatic,” and Goldberg continued it was “traumatic in many ways because...you have to think before you speak” [audio clip from the segment are available here].
The HLN host brought up Matthews post-State of the Union comment during her interview of her colleague from The View. After playing the clip of the MSNBC host, Behar asked Goldberg, “What do you think he was driving at there? Because he’s a lefty- you know, he’s liberal, and he likes Obama. And yet, he says something stupid like that- you know, I forgot he was black. He would never say I forgot he was white if he was looking at Bush.”
Goldberg responded half-jokingly, “Well, white people- you know, this is- this has been quite a year for the white man.” After laughs both on and off-camera, Behar interjected, “Traumatic.” Her guest agreed and continued with her point:
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: “President Obama meets with GOP leaders as he tries to tackle the growing employment problem. Will it be a monologue or a dialogue?” White House correspondent Bill Plante later reported: “The President is also reaching out to Republicans today, speaking to the GOP House retreat. But it could be a tough crowd.”
In Plante’s report, only brief a clip of Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner was played, making Republicans seem unwilling to negotiate: “We’re not going to vote for things that we believe will hurt our country.” Plante concluded: “And the Republicans have already signaled that the President’s new temporary tax cut for small businesses is not where they’re going to find that common ground. So it may be a tough crowd indeed.” The brief Early Show segment made no mention of legitimate Republican criticism of President Obama’s own stubborn partisanship.
In contrast, on ABC’s Good Morning America, while correspondent Jon Karl referred to the House GOP as a “skeptical” and “hostile” audience, he also took the time to highlight Republican efforts to reach out to the administration: “Most Republicans in Congress doubt the President really wants to hear their ideas....Longtime Republican Frank Wolf says he’s written the White House several ideas on Homeland Security.” Karl asked Wolf about the letter: “So, you present these ideas to the White House and what happens?” Wolf replied: “Nothing. It’s like writing a letter to somebody and nobody ever answers.”
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs put the New York Times at the center of the ceremonious unveiling of his company's iPad tablet device, the implication was clear: this is the future of the news--or at least Jobs wants us to think it is. He stands to gain not only financially but politically as Apple becomes a major gatekeeper for information.
The news media industry itself is divided on whether e-readers like the iPad and the Amazon Kindle can revitalize the news business. Newspaper sales are, after all, at historial lows. Over 90 newspapers failed last year.
While there are scores of competing theories for why newspapers (and books to a lesser extent) are seemingly on the decline, a prominent and plausible one seems to be that they have lost control of their content. Aggregators like Google News have provided news consumers with faster, more reliable sources for news. The proliferation of the blogosphere has loosened Old Media's grip on that news.
The "Hardball" host today described the California Democratic senator as a "level-headed" "centrist," indeed the "true north of American politics" in a segment in which he showed Feinstein saying that President Obama reconsider the arrangements for the federal criminal trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan:
On the soon-to-be canceled ‘It’s the Economy’ program on MSNBC on Thursday, co-host Contessa Brewer grilled Republican New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on his calls to reduce out-of-control government spending: “Which programs are you willing to cut? Are you willing to tell schools, no money for you?” Gregg shot back: “What an absurd statement to make. And what a dishonest statement to make.”
Gregg called out Brewer for her unfair framing of the issue: “...nobody’s saying no money for schools....On its face you’re being fundamentally dishonest when you make that type of statement.” He went to explain the kinds of budget cuts he would make: “I would freeze discretionary spending, a real freeze, not a – not a freeze plus inflation. I would eliminate the T.A.R.P. money....I would end the stimulus spending effective in June of this year, if not sooner....reform our entitlement programs....I’ve made very specific proposals and I’m willing to stand by them.”
Gregg was far from finished, he described the big government mentality shared by the Obama administration and the liberal media: “The problem is that this administration’s view of governance is that economic prosperity is created by growing the government dramatically. And then it gets misrepresented by people like yourself who say they’re going to – that if you do any of this stuff you’re going to end up not funding education.”
During CNN’s post-State of Union coverage on Wednesday night, three liberal commentators- Paul Begala, James Carville, and Roland Martin- put up an energetic defense of President Obama’s rebuke of the Supreme Court during the address. Begala and Carville took issue with Republican panelist Alex Castellanos’s reproof of the President, while Martin rebuked Justice Samuel Alito’s reaction.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer played a clip of the relevant portion of the President’s speech, where Mr. Obama condemned the Court for its recent decision on campaign finance regulations, and highlighted how Justice Alito shook his head and mouthed “not true” in response. Blitzer then turned to the panel for its take on the moment. His fellow anchor Campbell Brown, who was moderating the panel, first questioned Castellanos on Alito’s reaction: “Was that appropriate, Alex Castellanos, to have that kind of reaction from Alito when he said that?”
Immediately following President Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday night, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos got reaction from Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who observed: “There were at least three moments where he expressed explicit humility. ‘I’m not – I know that people aren’t sure I can deliver this change. I take my share of the blame for not explaining health care.’”
At the same time, both Stephanopoulos and Meacham agreed that Obama’s speech was Reaganesque. Stephanopoulos argued: “What I saw there is the President not being contrite like Bill Clinton in 1995, much more defiant, more like Ronald Reagan in 1983.” Meacham replied: “There was a lot of Reagan here.”
On NBC’s Today on Thursday, Matt Lauer cited Obama’s “humility” to press former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Republicans not supporting the President’s agenda: “...you said about the President quote, ‘if he does show humility and does try to find common ground, there are Republicans who will sign up for that.’ He showed humility....will you now get behind this president and will other Republicans?” Bush rejected the notion that Obama was humble: “I don’t think it’s humble to say that you didn’t communicate a message and that’s the reason why people opposed the health care plan in front of Congress right now by a dramatic margin.”
The Associated Press on Wednesday insinuated there might be a wider conservative plot behind James O’Keefe’s alleged misdeeds at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, and invoked the Watergate scandal in their lede: “Was it an attempt at political espionage? Or just a third-rate prank? How high did it go? And what did the right wing know and when did they know it?”
In what some Democrats are calling the “Louisiana Watergate,” four young conservative activists — one of them a known political prankster — were arrested this week and accused of trying to tamper with the telephones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.
But two days after their arrest, neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would say what the defendants were up to or whether they were part of some larger conspiracy....
Previewing the State of the Union on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith spoke with former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who claimed the GOP “made a decision a year ago that they weren’t going to cooperate on anything.” Smith replied: “I don’t think you can say what you just said and look at what happened with health care, especially in the last month, and be honest about it.”
Dunn, who just recently stepped down as communications director to the Obama White House, disregarded Smith’s challenge:
Harry, I disagree with that, mostly because I was working at the White House for most of this time. And I saw how many meetings with Republicans, how many attempts to reach out, how much time was spent listening to their concerns. An entire summer spent giving a lot of room to a bipartisan process which ultimately Republicans walked away from, even as their leaders from day one announced that they were going to kill health care no matter what was in the bill.
Bad content? Bad business model? No, those reasons aren't why Air America is no longer with us. Air America, a radio network advertised as the next talk radio juggernaut in 2004, was supposed to revolutionize the format and provide a "counterweight" for those left-of-center politically.
But there's another reason according to HLN host and "The View" panelist Joy Behar. In the usual fashion of citing no statistics and making sweeping generalizations, Behar blamed the collapse of liberal talk radio outlet Air America on a gender gap in listeners on her Jan. 25 HLN broadcast.
"Ok, but can I say that men listen to talk radio more than women and men are more conservative, generally speaking," Behar said, proposing a reason for Air America's bankruptcy.
Writing the cover story for the February issue of Newsweek magazine, editor Jon Meacham examined “The Trouble With Barack”, arguing the President: “is accused of being too radical, but he’s been governing from the middle for a year.” Meacham then wondered: “So why all the anger?” Answering his own question: “Because he’s leading with his head, not his heart.”
Meacham began the piece by assuring readers of his own political moderation: “I am a Southerner, a churchgoer, and a swing voter in presidential elections....I have no automatic faith in government’s capacity to solve problems. I share these details to make clear that I am not a reflexive lefty. Far from it.”
Having established his credentials as a “swing voter,” Meacham continued with his assertion that Obama is no liberal: “I hope President Obama does not take the conventional message from the Democrats’ drubbing in Massachusetts...go to the center, Mr. President. Turn right before it is too late....the evidence fails to support the contention that the Barack Obama...was a Chicago Che or even an unreconstructed Great Society liberal. Obama is essentially a centrist.”
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez highlighted the latest attempt at populism by the Obama administration: “President Obama calls for a big spending freeze and focuses on plans to help the struggling middle class, but does he have the political support he needs?”
Moments later, co-host Harry Smith introduced the story with a similar declaration: “President Obama will try and calm voter anger during tomorrow’s State of the Union address. He’ll announce plans to cut the growing federal deficit and help the struggling middle class.” Writing for the Heritage Foundation blog, The Foundry, Alison Fraser pointed out the problem with Obama’s supposed “spending freeze”: “If it applies to last year’s supercharged spending on stimulus steroids baseline, it’s no freeze at all, but a locking in of spending that was supposed to be temporary.”
Freezing government spending at its current record-high level would do nothing to “cut the growing federal deficit” as Smith asserted. White House correspondent Bill Plante pushed the same argument in a report that followed: “...the President has been busy for several days spreading his message of fiscal responsibility....in an effort to show that the federal government has to manage its budget by making choices, just as families must, the President is calling for a freeze on non-security spending for the next three fiscal years.”
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer twisted the meaning of a recent Washington Post poll on the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts: “Three-fourths of those voters...said they wanted Brown to work with Democrats to get Republican ideas into legislation....the vote for Brown was not so much a vote for or against policy or party, as it was a vote against the process itself.”
Schieffer seemed to completely ignore the fact that the poll showed 65% of those who voted for Brown did so to “express opposition to the Democratic agenda in Washington.” Instead, Schieffer tried to spin the data as evidence that voters were upset with both parties: “People don’t like the political games....if the two sides could somehow pay less attention to the voices on the fringes of the Left and the Right, take the Massachusetts voters’ advice, sit down together and see what they can agree on, who knows? They might get something done.”
At the top of his commentary, Schieffer pretended that the meaning of Brown’s extraordinary win was uncertain, rather than a rebuke of the Democratic Party: “Figuring out what Scott Brown’s victory meant has set off a fiercer debate than trying to divine the meaning of the Book of Job. We were all certain it meant something profound, we just weren’t sure what.”
Is the luster finally wearing off the love affair between the White House press corps and President Barack Obama? It is, if CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid's analysis of President Barack Obama's latest Wall Street proposals is anything to go by.
"Well, you know, it's really the same as it's all been," Reid said. "That there's some unease about both of them, but the President has been satisfied with the jobs they've done. Behind the scenes, they both still have a lot of control. They lost this battle to Volcker, but now they're on board on this new plan for Wall Street, although it really sounds more like politics than a real plan because it's hard to believe it would get through."
If Ellie Light is indeed a Democratic operative, she is only the proverbial tip of the party's astroturfing iceberg. Patterico's investigative work, which was also at the forefront of the blogosphere's efforts to expose Light, have revealed an even greater effort at manufacturing the appearance of public support for Democratic policies.
Organizing for America and the Democratic Party each have forms on their websites for supporters to write letters to the editors of their local papers. Both have suggested "talking points" next to the submission form. Both advise supporters to use their own words, but talking points from both of the sites have appeared in letters to the editor in a multitude of newspapers nationwide.
But on the off chance that what follows might actually mean something, here is an excerpt from a lengthy piece of investigative journalism from Fox News's James Rosen (HT to an e-mailer):
Obama Administration Steers Lucrative No-Bid Contract for Afghan Work to Dem Donor
Despite President Obama's long history of criticizing the Bush administration for "sweetheart deals" with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.
Margery Eagan, a liberal columnist for the Boston Herald, ripped MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN over his “homophobic, racist, reactionary” label of Senator-elect Scott Brown on the night of the Massachusetts special election: “This is crazy...it’s sick.”
Eagan appeared during the lead segment of the CNN program with Jonathan Martin of Politico and conservative CNN contributor Amy Holmes. Anchor Howard Kurtz played Olbermann’s smear of Brown nine minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour, and after asking Holmes for her take, he played a sound bite of Glenn Beck’s recent dead intern crack against Brown. Though Kurtz asked Eagan for her response to the Beck sound bite, she primarily attacked the MSNBC host, lumping in the conservative talk show host in passing.
EAGAN: Listen, I think Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann have both taken leave of their senses. You know, I was a Martha Coakley fan. I thought she was a great D.A. But I know Scott Brown. He’s a great guy. You can’t help but like the guy. He strikes me as a wonderful family guy. He’s out there mowing the lawn. His wife, Gail Huff, has been a great reporter on Channel 5. Racist? A homophobe? Sexist? I mean, this is crazy. His politics are different than mine, but it’s sick.
Rush Limbaugh is so reviled by the left, that even when he agrees with liberals and issues facts supporting their arguments, they criticize him and demand an apology.
The latest such group to deride Limbaugh for supposedly offensive comments that they themselves have supported is the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL has called on Limbaugh to apologize for suggesting that the Obama Administration's anti-banker populism has troubling anti-Semitic undertones. He did not suggest that Obama is an anti-Semite, nor that is policies specifically single out or target Jews. He did suggest that Jews who voted for Obama may be feeling "buyer's remorse" now that the administration is using language that has so often--historically--been used to demean and discriminate against the Jewish community.
Here is the quote in question: "To some people, banker is a code word for Jewish; and guess who Obama is assaulting? He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's - if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there."
When the liberal radio network Air America debuted on March 31, 2004, NBC trumpeted it as the “counterweight” to the "right-wing bent" of talk radio. Katie Couric enthused that Al Franken and his colleagues hoped “to break into what has been a conservative lock on the radio.” However, when the beleaguered Air America announced bankruptcy on Thursday, both the Nightly News and Friday's Today skipped the story. [Video of Today's promotion can be found above. Audio can be found here.]
Back in 2004, Today co-host Matt Lauer enthused, “If you're a talk radio fan, chances are you're a conservative, too. But, a liberal talk radio network hits the airwaves today. We're gonna ask new talk show host Al Franken if people will rush to listen to him?” Couric touted, “Also a new voice is launching on talk radio today hoping to be a counterweight to the right-wing bent on the airwaves.”
Couric’s interview that day with Franken amounted to a big promotional push for the left-wing comedian who was debuting as the host of The O’Franken Factor. He was already an alumnus of NBC, having starred in the network’s Saturday Night Live show.