On Sunday’s CBS 60 Minutes, commentator Andy Rooney read from some viewer letters: "It's always fun to read the letters people send, I get a lot of them, although, to be honest, if I took all the letters seriously I wouldn't ever say anything again. I get quite a few bad letters and, of course, I pay least attention to those. I don't want you to see me cry."
Some of those "bad letters" came from viewers who criticized Rooney’s and the media’s pro-Obama bias: "Thomas Overley writes from Oceanside, California. He's mad because he thinks I like President Obama. 'Very sorry to see someone I respected contribute to this mass media love affair,' Tom says. Well, to tell you the truth Mr. Overley, I do like Obama but I didn't think you'd notice. Todd, from Las Cruces, New Mexico, says 'the reason I don't hear about the people who hate Barack Obama is because the press has put a muzzle on them.' I don't know about that Todd. I show the producer my piece before it goes on the air every week and he'll tell me it isn't any good but he never puts a muzzle on me."
At the end of the January 25 broadcast, Rooney declared: "Maybe I'm reading the wrong newspapers and listening to the wrong people, but I'm not hearing anyone who hates Barack Obama." Well, apparently Rooney has found some Obama critics, in his own audience.
While reporting on President Obama forcing General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner to resign, on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith happily declared: "It's the end of the road for GM's CEO, Rick Wagoner, ousted by President Obama as the White House demands more from the U.S. auto industry...we saw Bob Schieffer's interview with Barack Obama Sunday Morning and he said we need more from the auto industry. And the more was that Rick Wagoner, whose head went rolling off the guillotine, he is no longer the CEO of General Motors." Little criticism of Obama’s decision was offered during the coverage.
Later, Smith talked to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about that interview: "Can you remember in your lifetime when a President could reach into a private company and say, ‘you don't have a job anymore’?" Schieffer replied: "Well, we haven't had it in the past where the government owned as much of a company as the government now owns of these auto dealers...This was to let people know that he [Obama] takes seriously their concerns. I mean, he was very clear in the interview, as you heard in the sound bite there, that Bill Plante used, things are going to have to change." Smith observed: "And I've got to imagine if you're sitting in a boardroom in a bank in the United States right now, you're wondering about if you might be next with all of the money that's come your way already."
During a segment on Friday’s Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull program, CNN tried to perpetuate left-wing stereotypes about gun owners, and sent mixed messages about whether or not President Obama and his administration is pushing for gun control. Correspondent Sean Callebs interviewed two Texas professionals who owned guns and concluded, “A nurse, an attorney -- not the usual portrait of Second Amendment diehards.” After asking a gun store owner if he was “profiting on this fear” of new gun control measures, Callebs expounded on the concerns of gun owners: “In fact, it may not be rational at all. It might even be paranoid. But one thing is certain. Many gun owners believe this president is somehow out to curb their rights and they’re stocking up just in case.” [audio available here]
Both Callebs and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tried to assure their viewers that gun control was “way off the agenda right now” of the Obama administration, despite the fact that a graphic on the news crawl stated plainly that President Obama “wants to make expired Assault Weapons Ban permanent.”
Just hours after MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews calls Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the "Mata Hari of Minnesota" and Rolling Stone editor Matt Taibbi says "a guy huffing glue out of a paper bag" was making more sense the Bachmann, MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann comes in for clean-up duties.
On the March 27 broadcast "Countdown," Olbermann confirms that Michele Bachmann Derangement Syndrome is alive and well at MSNBC. Dedicating the top of his show to Bachmann, Olbermann accuses the Minnesota congresswoman of breaking "several serious laws," for suggesting the American people should rise up against some of the liberal nonsense going on in Washington, D.C.
"The identity of the speaker is unmistakable, but this is not your standard red meat from Michele Bachmann, she may have broken several serious laws," Olbermann said.
The Washington Post's Friday and Saturday front-page reports by Karen DeYoung on President Obama's escalation of war in Afghanistan are curiously missing one political element: objections from the strident anti-war groups on the left. Whatever happened to the protesters that treated Bush as a reckless warmonger?
Answer: they're either being marginalized, or they were more interested in getting a Democrat in the White House. The real story wasn't unearthed on the front of the Post, but in liberal blogger Greg Sargent's post on Friday at the Post-operated website WhoRunsGov.com:
Don’t look now, but President Obama’s announcement today of an escalation in the American presence in Afghanistan is being met with mostly silence — and even some support — from the most influential liberal groups who opposed the Iraq War....
On Friday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith interviewed Afghanistan war veteran and Obama campaign volunteer Craig Mullaney, author of "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education," and praised the book: "What a wonderful story, the arc, blue-collar kid decides to go to West Point, even ends up in Oxford before he ends up in Afghanistan. Ranger school...And look at you, receiving your diploma from Al Gore, no less....Such a pleasure to meet you. It is such a wonderful, wonderful read. So thoughtful and so articulate. And such good writing. Really appreciate it."
Smith did make vague mention of Mullaney’s political connection to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign: "Fast forward, you come out of the service, decide to become involved politically. You're involved with President Obama now. He's going to announce this in -- another increase in troops in Afghanistan. The thing that people whisper about, the concern they have for this president, will Afghanistan be this president's Vietnam? Does that worry you?" Mullaney replied: "I worry about a lack of patience in the American public. It's been a long time since we've focused on Afghanistan. And we've lost a lot of ground over the last seven years. And it's going to take a big effort to garner the resources necessary to really turn the situation around."
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez characterized those making light of President Barack Obama’s frequent use of a Teleprompter as being on the “far right” during a segment on Friday’s Newsroom program (audio available here). He also used a skit from liberal comedian David Letterman’s show on CBS which made fun of former President George W. Bush’s consistent verbal stumbles to underline his point.
Sanchez made the comment during a segment with comedian Carlos Mencia. He asked Mencia if he had heard of the Obama/Teleprompter humor coming from conservatives: “Hey, have you heard what’s going -- you know, the far right this week has been saying that President Obama is too stupid to talk without a script.” He then played Letterman’s skit, titled “Teleprompter Versus No Teleprompter,” which pitted an excerpt from President Obama’s first address to Congress against a clip from a town hall meeting given by former President Bush, with predictable results.
Erbe began by expressing her glee at the opportunity to write about this: “The controversy over Notre Dame University’s invitation to President Obama to deliver this year’s commencement address is too tempting for me not to join, so here goes.” Not to nitpick Bonnie, but you got the name of the institution wrong. Notre Dame University is in Lebanon. The Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana is the University of Notre Dame. The difference does matter.
Another episode of MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," another angry rant about a conservative disagreeing with liberal agenda - how predictable.
On the March 26 broadcast of "Countdown," Olbermann set his sights on Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, for suggesting that nature adapts to a changing climate - even when the changes predate the theory that man possessed the ability to change the climate.
"But our winner - Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas, back for another round of denying climate change," Olbermann said.
Olbermann quoted Barton in a March 25 hearing, leaving out passages in which Barton cited examples of how mankind has adapted to changing climate throughout history (full video here of statement).
Reacting to a 12:30PM EST Thursday press conference in which House Republicans unveiled an alternative budget plan to President Obama’s, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer seemed to be annoyed that the GOP interrupted coverage of the President’s virtual town hall meeting: "And moments ago, Republican leaders got together for a news conference. They said they would unveil what they called their alternative to the President's $3.6 trillion budget...I am very frustrated...Because I -- we've been waiting for this, we cut away from the President to hear the big buildup. Republicans have plan. They have ideas. They're not the party of no. And all I heard in that news conference was what they don't like about the President's plan."
Congressional correspondent Mike Viqueira responded to Brewer’s criticism: "It does not have, in the sense of a traditional budget, numbers with estimates, an estimate for how much they would reduce the deficit, things of that nature. That, they say, will come next week when they take this up on the floor. For example, what would they do? They would undo what they call the 'recent, reckless, and wasteful Democratic spending binge,' including the so-called stimulus and omnibus bills they would undo."
Brewer replied: "But Mike...Mike, we've heard that before...We've heard them and today you get us all hyped up. You have our undivided attention. And what happens but you get up and repeat the same criticism we've already heard. I didn't hear ideas. I heard the promise of ideas and 'we're going to have more on x, y and z,' but I didn't hear the ideas."
While reporting on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Mexico to address the escalating drug war, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Lara Logan gave a glowing review of Clinton’s job performance so far: "Well, she seems very much at ease. That's one of the things that struck myself and other journalists dealing with her in her new role. She has almost come into her own. She's very open, very direct, taking a lot of time. One particularly important thing to note is that she takes a lot of time to meet with local women and young people, disadvantaged groups...she wants to hear from ordinary people. She finds it very useful to hear from the man on the street."
Logan went on to explain how much effort Clinton puts in to meeting with the "ordinary people": "...that's not a small achievement when you consider the time pressures on trips like these. They're very fast-paced and there's a lot of pressure. And so the fact that Hillary makes this special effort to talk to people is actually noted and appreciated wherever she goes."
Both MSNBC’s David Shuster and CNN’s Rick Sanchez pulled their scoop straight from Media Matters’ blog, and focused on Newt Gingrich’s Twitter comments criticizing President Obama’s upcoming commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, instead of the controversy over the speech itself. Shuster targeted the former Speaker of the House during the “Hypocrisy Watch” segment on Tuesday’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue program, saying that Gingrich was “already telling Notre Dame what to do,” even though he wasn’t Catholic yet and had gone through two divorces.
Almost a day later on Wednesday’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez devoted a whole segment to Gingrich’s Tweet, and also brought up the divorce issue: “Newt Gingrich couldn’t resist taking a shot at President Obama. He seems to infer that the president shouldn’t talk to a Catholic university because of quote, ‘values.’ Should Newt Gingrich, thrice married, go there? Really?”
BET anchor Jeff Johnson bizarrely likened the popularity of President Barack Obama to the reaction many Christians have to the name of Jesus during a segment on Tuesday’s Larry King Live on CNN: “There’s a joke sometimes -- when you can be in a church, and if you just say Jesus, the people will shout. I mean, now, if you just say Obama, people will shout.”
Johnson, who was the main correspondent for BET during the network’s coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign, participated in a panel discussion during the second half-hour of the CNN program with Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former McCain campaign advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer. King’s program aired immediately after President Obama’s press conference on Tuesday evening, and the three participants gave their reactions to the reporters’ questions and the executive’s answers and main issues.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed President Obama’s Tuesday night press conference with Republican Senator Richard Shelby and asked: "The President will head to Capitol Hill today to sell his budget and last night he wondered why Republicans who have been critical of it haven't come up with an alternative budget. What's the answer?"
After Shelby explained that Republicans have serious concerns about the President’s budget, Rodriguez quickly ran to Obama’s defense: "Senator, the President said that even if he takes out all this spending from the budget, he'll still have a deficit, as evidenced by the $1.3 trillion deficit that he inherited from the Republicans." Shelby responded by declaring: "...we had a deficit, but nothing like this...This is scary. I believe we've reached the tipping point now, the tipping point, and if we tip over, it's a point of no return. We're looking at inflation and financial and economic destruction. We cannot go down this road."
Perhaps not fully listening to what Shelby was saying, Rodriguez exclaimed: "But it looks like we are, and what good does it do the American people to -- to point that out? Why not work with the President to try to reach a compromise?" Shelby replied: "Well, I don't think we should compromise destruction of our economic system. And this is where we're going here."
Mainstream media journalists delighted in joining left-wing bloggers in mocking President George W. Bush over his penchant for verbal miscues, often when speaking off-the-cuff. Of course, President Bush wasn't too prickly on this point and on occasion made self-deprecating jokes about his penchant for mangling the English language.
Yet when it comes to right-of-center bloggers playfully mocking President Barack Obama's dependence on the teleprompter, don't expect most journalists to yuk it up with conservatives.
Perhaps this post could be headlined "CNBC Continues to Atone for Its Outspoken Obama Criticism."
As if announcing Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a "CNBC contributor" weren't enough, CNBC has invited the editor in chief of one of the its biggest critics to guest co-host one of CNBC's most popular shows.
Originally reported in a status update from Arianna Huffington's Facebook page on March 24, and later confirmed by Huffington herself in an e-mail with the Media Research Center, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post will co-host CNBC's "Squawk Box" on March 31.
I said earlier this year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that there was reason to believe that 2009 might be the year of the newspaper bailout.
Now one of Maryland's two Democratic US senators thinks he has come up with a way to subsidize and save them -- while simultaneously turning them into house organs for his party.
Ben Cardin (picture at right is from his Senate web site) has introduced "The Newspaper Revitalization Act," would accomplish the just-described goals by allowing papers to convert themselves into not-for-profit entities, providing them tax breaks, and .... prohibiting editorials.
Those who know establishment media reporting know that editorial commentary will then become the sole province of left-leaning beat reporters pretending to be strictly fact-based in their supposedly straight news stories and "analyses," while traditional newspaper editorials, which against all odds still seem to lean barely to the right when averaged out nationwide, will disappear.
MSNBC host David Shuster, who usually touts the liberal line on "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," filled in on Monday's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and came to Barack Obama's defense against comments made by Dick Cheney. Shuster played a "60 Minutes" clip of the President responding to allegations by the former Vice President that he is making the country less safe. The cable host asked guest and Huffington Post blogger Lawrence O'Donnell, "Basically, Obama is saying Cheney claims the founding fathers and American principles that were forged during wartime are failures. Is the President flirting here with calling Cheney un-American?"
Earlier in the segment, the liberal anchor editorialized about Bush: "If the absurdity of the administration that let down its guard on 9/11 lecturing anyone about safety was not enough for you, in our number three story tonight, Mr. Obama hits back." After O'Donnell summarized Obama's argument, that institutions such as Guantanamo Bay have made America less safe, Shuster followed up with a "quick hypothetical." If Cheney keeps up his attack, the host mused, "At what point does President Obama say, 'Okay, you want to debate your tactics? I'll send my attorney general over with a subpoena'?"
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith talked to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about Monday’s stock market rally and wondered: "What was the reaction at the White House yesterday when the stock market closed?...There's been a lot of heat, though, aimed at the White House, aimed at the Treasury Secretary. Was there some degree of vindication?"
Gibbs claimed that the administration does not pay attention to daily stock numbers, but Smith replied: "You have to admit, it's a pretty good day, though, when the stock market goes up 500 points and the AIG executives, at least more than a dozen of them, say ‘we're going to give our money back.’" After Smith’s pressing, Gibbs admitted: "Well, look, Harry. I'll take 500 points and that kind of news any day of the week."
An earlier report by Bloomberg TV anchor Deirdre Bolton credited the White House banking plan for the stock surge: "...yesterday the Dow soared to 6.5%, that was the biggest gain since October. The Obama administration finally giving some -- Wall Street some details on how the bad banks' assets can be treated. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner put together a plan that some say is the best of both worlds to deal with toxic assets."
At the top of the Saturday Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge took a critical look at President Obama's recent media tour: "The Obama blitz, the President’s appearing everywhere but is his media tour taking attention away from his message?" In a later report, correspondent Kimberly Dozier highlighted Obama’s Tonight Show Special Olympics gaffe as evidence: "It can and did go a little bit wrong with what was supposed to be a self-deprecating joke about the President's inability to bowl...The White House has been apologizing ever since...Mr. Obama's critics were not so kind and this gave them another reason to attack in what was arguably one of his toughest weeks in his presidency so far."
Following Dozier’s report, Wragge spoke with Republican strategist Kevin Madden and Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis about the President’s media strategy: "The President likes UNC to win it all, out west on 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno, at home, People magazine. Is there a risk of some overexposure here?...when you keep an omnipresent schedule like this, you are bound to make a gaffe here or there. How significant a gaffe was this Special Olympics comment? Because it really got him off message...You know, we've always heard that he's 'the kind of guy I want to have a beer with,' I guess, notion out there. But is that the type of president the nation needs right now, with all of the things that people have, I guess, going against them right now? Is this a wise strategy?"
Neither the NBC’s Saturday Today nor ABC’s Saturday Good Morning America discussed the issue. However, Friday’s GMA did provide extensive coverage of the gaffe, along with Friday’s Early Show. Friday’s Today mentioned it, but only at the very end of a segment on Obama’s late night appearance.
A left-wing "bus tour" protest prowled the affluent neighborhoods of Fairfield, Conn. on Saturday afternoon, looking for AIG execs to harass. The protest, run by a group sponsored by unlabeled leftists ACORN, were railing against the bonuses paid out to employees of the struggling insurance giant. The New York Times found the stunt worthy of a full story in the national section of Sunday's paper: "Carrying a Populist Message Into A.I.G. Territory." (The online headline differs from the print version.)
Reporter Manny Fernandez, while sounding supportive, remarked drily that more media than passengers were in attendance:
The bus pulled to a stop, and a pastor whose sister-in-law was facing foreclosure, a laid-off steelworker with a wife and five children, and a few of their colleagues nervously stepped out, like sightseers in some exotic land.
The three largest mainstream media wire services all agreed that supporters of Pope Benedict XVI who dared to stand up to anti-Catholic leftists in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday were extremists of the right of some sort. The Associated Press used the “right-wing” label to describe the faithful Catholics. Both Reuters and the French Agence France-Presse both used the term “far-right youths,” with the AFP going so far as describing the pro-Benedict protesters as “far-right militants” in another report.
ACT-UP Paris, joined by communists and “green” activists, protested in front of the famed Gothic cathedral to voice opposition to the pontiff’s recent remarks against condom use during his visit to Africa. In addition to holding signs which labeled Benedict XVI an “assassin,” they threw condoms on the ground while giving others to passers-by as people were leaving Mass. The radical left-wing activists skirmished with the supporters of the Pope, leading to the arrest of eleven people by police.
A black woman from the District of Columbia who lost children to "gun violence" and who advocates for the victims of unsolved murders is calling on liberal Democrats to come to grips with the Second Amendment and vote for a bill before Congress that would give D.C. a vote in the House of Representatives at the cost of rescinding the city's stringent gun control laws.
"I want my vote to be counted. I want representation in Congress. And I also want the right to bear arms," Valencia Mohammed, director of Mothers of Unsolved Murders, is quoted in the March 21 Washington Post.
Mohammed went on to note the racist history of gun control against slaves and former slaves during Reconstruction before asserting she wants "all of those rights that they were denied."
On Friday's "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer actually provided some skepticism about the actions of the Obama administration over the last week and wondered if the White House has "been knocked off its stride this week." This piece was GMA's third segment of the day on the controversy the President created on Thursday when he told "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno that his bowling skills were on the level of "Special Olympics or something." (Obama has since apologized.)
An ABC onscreen graphic challenged, "Obama on the Defense: Should President be on Late Night?" Sawyer talked to liberal political operative James Carville and former Bush White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. She pressed Carville, "Even Democrats are saying the combination of the TV time spent on the NCAA brackets, also Jay Leno and the apology this morning about the Special Olympics means the White House off its stride. Mixing messages. What do you say?"
An important story appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday. Here's how it began (Warren County is adjacent to and northeast of Cincinnati's Hamilton County):
County: no more food stamps for rich
Warren County’s poor (population) does not include someone with $80,000 in the bank, a paid-off $311,000 home and a Mercedes, members of the Warren County Board of Commissioners said Tuesday.
And if they have to fight the state and federal government over it, they will.
Recently the commissioners learned that this person, with the before-mentioned property, qualified for $500 a month in food stamps after she lost her job.
The Enquirer never told us why the County suddenly became motivated to do what it did.
Here's why (and how typical it is that the Enquirer either doesn't know this, or refused to give credit where due).
Someone who is "a source in the business" e-mailed State of Ohio Blogger Alliance founder Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion. Matt put up a memorable post on March 13 containing the text of that e-mail:
NBC's "Today" show on Friday minimized and neglected a gaffe by Barack Obama that his bowling skills are on the level of the "Special Olympics or something." In contrast, ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "Early Show" heavily covered the remark. GMA devoted the first two segments to the ill advised joke the President made on Thursday's "Tonight Show With Jay Leno." And although "Today" opened the program with Obama's appearance, they didn't get to the Special Olympics crack to the very end of the piece. Co-host Meredith Vieira awkwardly explained that the President "said something that forced the White House to issue an explanation afterward."
Fellow co-host David Gregory vaguely added, "When you're on comedy shows, there's always a chance that a punch line doesn't work." What was the punch line? He didn't say. Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd then reported on the story and only got to the gaffe at the segment's end. In contrast, "Good Morning America" senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper asserted that Obama "proceeded to put his foot in his mouth" with his remark. GMA featured the offending line right at the beginning of the piece and also included a graphic that announced, "Late Night Gaffe: Obama's Special Olympics Joke." Co-host Robin Roberts even observed that "some have an issue with the venue" of the talk show.
In an exclusive on Thursday, the Washington Times reported that only five days before assuming the presidency, Barack Obama received a $500,000 advance to write a children's book. Times writers Jim McElhatton and Christina Bellantoni put it this way: "As he empathized with recession-weary Americans, President Obama arranged in the days just before he took office to secure a $500,000 advance for a children's book project, a disclosure report shows."
The Times piece quotes campaign finance lawyer Jan Baran as asserting, "I don't recall any sitting president entering into a book deal." The former general counsel to the Republican National Committee added, "They all have historically done that after they leave office." McElhatton and Bellantoni pointed out that Obama doesn't appear to have broken any rules by signing the deal. But, considering how the President has railed against excess greed on Wall Street and bonuses for Wall Street CEOs, it will be interesting to see if networks such as CBS, ABC and NBC cover the issues raised in the Times report.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell shared President Obama’s bracket picks for the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four: "And it appears March Madness has reached the White House. The fan-in-chief President Obama tells ESPN his NCAA Final Four bracket includes Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina. And he predicts a Tar Heels victory over Louisville in the final. There is the music. You can catch all the action of the NCAA men's tournament right here on CBS, beginning tomorrow afternoon. We all picked North Carolina." On Wednesday’s Evening News, while filling in for anchor Katie Couric, Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez also touted the presidential picks.
However, both Mitchell and Rodriguez failed to mention that thehead coach of Duke University’s men’s basketball team, Mike Krzyzewski, recently criticized the President for being distracted by March Madness: "Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets."