The news isn't just that self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals nationwide. That's old hat. The big news from Gallup is that conservatives outnumber liberals in every state in the union, including supposedly uberliberal Vermont and Massachusetts.
Hey, if you can't poke fun at someone whose name dovetails with that of a potentially devastating neurological disorder ...
MSNBC cable show host Rachel Maddow demonstrated what passes for humor on her show Aug. 12 when she said this about Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette of Ohio --
MADDOW: Next up on the bizarre health-care debate circuit, Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette attended a town hall event in his Ohio district yesterday. There, he very responsibly urged his audience to be civil. (cuts to footage of LaTourette)
Time magazine’s Joe Klein complained about the legal appearance of openly-carried weapons at protests against President Obama during a segment on CNN’s Newsroom on Monday, and labeled the protests against ObamaCare as a “celebration of ignorance and misinformation.” Anchor Rick Sanchez and his other guest also falsely characterized one of the guns carried at a recent protest.
Sanchez first asked Klein about the appearance of guns at several recent protests against President Obama outside his health care town hall events or speeches: “Joe, I don’t remember people protesting against President Bush showing up with weapons. Do you?” The Time columnist answered, “No. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this. There should be like a Second Amendment equivalent of the First Amendment- shouting fire in a crowded theater.”
On Saturday’s House Call program, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta finally reported the left-wing affiliation of a “health insurance insider” glowingly featured on his network. Gupta noted that Wendell Potter was a “senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy” and that the former Cigna spokesman was now “pro- a public insurance option.” He didn’t label Potter’s organization or position as leftist.
The following day, ABC’s Good Morning America on Sunday ran a sympathetic piece on Potter’s “personal journey from health industry insider to outsider” that treated him as a subject of a human interest story. Despite reporting on the fellow’s “loss of income, status, position and colleagues,” correspondent Ron Claiborne omitted Potter’s new liberal affiliation.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning correspondent Martha Teichner touted President Obama’s latest PR blitz to promote health care reform: "For the third time in five days, Barack Obama used the presidential bully pulpit on behalf of what he’s now calling health insurance reform. No more letting the angry opposition control the agenda."
Teichner dismissed that "angry opposition" by declaring: "Here’s a question. Do they even know what’s in the bills currently being considered by Congress? Do you?" Teichner and two liberal supporters of the Obama health care plan proceeded to educate viewers as to what was being proposed.
She spoke with former head of the left-wing group People for the American Way, Ralph Neas, now CEO of the supposedly "non-partisan" National Coalition on Health Care that is pushing for reform. In addition, Teichner spoke with University of North Carolina Professor Jonathan Oberlander, who in a July 22 article for the liberal British newspaper The Guardian wrote: "The Obama administration is pushing Congress to enact health reform legislation this year. And against all odds, Obama may pull it off....Obama’s election, after all, is a reminder that history is not always repeated. Sometimes it is made."
In an August 14 report appearing on the front page of the paper's August 15 print edition ("Health Debate Fails to Ignite Obama’s Web"), Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times (pictured at right) gave readers a fairly accurate impression, while avoiding the word, of activism turning into apathy in Barack Obama's DNC- and White House-orchestrated Organizing for America (OFA) effort.
While Zeleny's report and detailed work came out of Iowa, his key finding is intended to be a national temperature gauge: "But if a week’s worth of events are any measure here in Iowa, it may not be so easy to reignite the machine that overwhelmed Republicans a year ago."
That's why it's odd, to say the least, that Zeleny ignored the results of the nationwide reignition attempt that occurred and largely failed this past week, namely its "Office Visits for Health Reform." In fact, there are some signs that "Office Visits" did OFA's cause more harm than good.
Here are some key paragraphs from Zeleny's report:
On Thursday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez couldn’t get a straight answer out of Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee about her cell phone use during a recent health care town hall, and after he repeatedly asked why she did it and if it was disrespectful, the Texas Democrat bizarrely raised the possibility that the YouTube video of her on the phone was “doctored” [the entire interview can be viewed here; audio clips from the segment are available here].
Sanchez brought on the Jackson-Lee to ask her about the viral video of her phone use as a woman tried to ask her a question at the town hall. He first asked, “How do you explain what you were doing there? What were you thinking, Congresswoman?” For about a minute and a half, the Democrat filibustered by talking about her town hall appearances and the health care issue. The CNN anchor repeatedly tried to get her to answer his question. He asked again: “Why were you talking on the phone?” She continued by avoiding the issue, talking about the “congressional hotline” her office had set up on the health care proposal. Sanchez interrupted, “Congresswoman, you’re not being fair. I asked you a very specific question....The question is, why were you on the phone and was it disrespectful?”
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith teased an upcoming segment on dispelling myths about health care reform: "There’s so much anger, this vitriol that we see day after day in these town meetings across the country....We’re going to try and determine this morning whether or not some of these bold statements are, in fact, true or not."
Smith turned to Jonathan Cohn, senior editor of the left-wing magazine, The New Republic, to find the "truth" about the President’s health care plan. Smith made no mention of Cohn’s political affiliation or the magazine’s liberal leanings but did find time to promote his guest’s latest book: "Jonathan Cohn is senior editor of The New Republic and author ‘Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis And The People Who Pay The Price.’"
On Wednesday, Cohn wrote an article for The New Republic entitled: "The Swiftboating of Health Reform," in which he attacked conservative critics of the health care plan: "It’d be one thing if the lunatics on the right had a coherent argument for why these initiatives might be ineffective or counterproductive. But they don’t even bother to acknowledge them, preferring instead to throw out scare quotes like this one from [Sarah] Palin: ‘Who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course.’"
Topside Update, 2:15 p.m.: Imagine that -- Roxana Mayer was also an Organizing For America "host" during the Texas primary last year.
Anyone visiting here even semi-regularly knows that the establishment media consistently fails to determine the legitimacy of people who "say the right things." Further, when someone else, often a blogger, digs and finds the truth, the reporters and publications involved may sometimes grudgingly acknowledge it, but even then usually incompletely; and more often than not, they won't give credit where due.
This all-too-typical scenario has played out in the past two days in the case of a certain Roxana Mayer. In two posts (here and here), LA-area blogger Patterico, best known for his relentless skewering of the target-rich environment known as the Los Angeles Times, exposed Ms. Mayer, who claimed to be a doctor when she spoke at a town hall meeting held by Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (and who later hugged her, as seen at the top right), as a leftist fraud.
As Patterico noted in the title of his second post, Mayer's mantra ought to be "I’m Not a Doctor But I Play One at Town Hall Meetings." Patterico also showed that Mayer was also a Texas Obama delegate at last year's Democratic Convention.
At first, the Houston Chronicle took Mayer's word that she is a doctor, failed to investigate her bona fides, and reported the following:
Among Tuesday’s network evening newscasts, all three of which ran stories on the death of Kennedy family member Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the NBC Nightly News uniquely noted that she was strongly opposed to abortion, even while she was liberal overall. Anchor Brian Williams filed a full report on Shriver, which concentrated largely on her work on behalf of those with special needs, including her founding of the Special Olympics. After a clip of former President Reagan awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work, Williams noted that she was a “lifelong opponent of abortion.” Williams: “While a lifelong liberal Democrat, she was a lifelong opponent of abortion – she said, based on her strong Catholic faith.”
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Tuesday, August 11, NBC Nightly News:
CNN’s Elaine Quijano failed to mention the left-wing political affiliation of Wendell Potter, whom she touted to be a health care “insurance company insider” on Wednesday’s Situation Room. When her network featured a glowing segment on the former Cigna spokesman over a month earlier, her colleague Jim Acosta also omitted Potter’s work as a senior fellow for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced Quijano’s report, which aired just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour, and described Potter as a “one-time insurance insider...turned whistleblower on industry tactics to try to sway the health care debate.” The CNN correspondent further described the former Cigna spokesman as being part of the pro-ObamaCare forces’ arsenal: “In the heat of the summer battle over health care reform, Democrats are deploying another weapon- he’s a former insurance company insider who’s speaking out once again.”
At the top of the 8:00AM ET hour of Wednesday’s Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell cited protests at health care reform town hall meetings as evidence that the debate was "turning into a nasty national shouting match."
After playing a clip of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad opposing the health care plan, Mitchell observed: "Democratic lawmakers pushing reform are being jeered at testy town hall meetings. President Obama is urging Americans to ignore those who he says are trying to scare and mislead."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "As President Obama takes his health care reform plan to the people, anger spills out all over the country." Smith later introduced a segment on President Obama’s Tuesday town hall: "First though, tempers boiled over again Tuesday in the heated debate over health care, nearly everywhere that is, except inside President Obama’s town hall meeting in New Hampshire."
"The cruelty inherent in scaring the elderly to score political points is beyond reprehensible.... [T]he sort of scurrilous campaign they are conducting--the seditious fear-mongering that is the main staple of their public diet--is a matter of profound disrespect and incivility toward the individuals whose rights they claim to cherish."
So huffed Time magazine's Joe Klein, in an August 12 Swampland blog post seething at rumors of "death panels" being provided for in health care reform legislation before Congress. Klein expressed disgust at Republicans who would seek political advantage by scaring the elderly with inaccurate and misleading rhetoric.
But one might wonder where Klein's moral indignation was during the 1990s, when the liberal media, including Time magazine, were complicit in bolstering the Democratic meme about drastic Republican "cuts" to Medicare.
As MRC archives show, the liberal media was complicit with liberal Democrats in the 1990s in scaring seniors into fearing non-existent "cuts" to Medicare. From the July 1996 MediaWatch (emphasis mine):
On Wednesday, the CBS Early Show once again feared a rise in right-wing extremism as co-host Russ Mitchell cited a report from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "A report out this morning says anti-government and white racist militias are regrouping around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it is in part a reaction to the election of America’s first black president." [Audio/video (1:21): Mp3 | WMV]
The CBS morning show touted a similar report from the liberal group on April 15, with co-host Harry Smith declaring: "The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report found 926 active hate groups in the country. That’s up more than 50% from just 2000...And they say part of it is because of the election of President Obama." Smith went on to describe how that report coincided with a controversial Homeland Security report that was released at the same time.
The Wednesday story was reported by correspondent Bob Orr, who cited anecdotal evidence:
During a segment on Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and correspondent Ali Velshi bizarrely agreed that the issues of illegal immigration and abortion, as well as the constitutionality of the ObamaCare proposal, had little to do the health care debate, after citizens raised those issues at a health care town hall with Senator Arlen Specter.
Sanchez led the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program with his questioning of the relevance of the abortion and Constitution issues to the health care debate, interspersed with clips from the Specter town hall: “A town hall meeting to discuss health care reform. But instead....children....the Constitution....the Gettysburg Address?...Overwhelmingly Republican and overwhelmingly anti-Obama....Which party is being helped or hurt by this?” The first sound bite was of an unidentified participant who brought up the illegal immigrant issue, and stated “the illegals- they shouldn’t even be here.” The second clip was from another participant who brought up the abortion issue: “While that baby is in the mother, we don’t count that as a person.” The last clip came from someone who quoted from Lincoln’s most famous speech.
The CNN anchor then began the first segment by playing more complete sound bites from the Specter town hall. As he introduced the clips, Sanchez hinted that the only reason why the illegal immigrant and abortion issues were raised at the Specter town hall was because they were “wedge issues.” Out of the five clips, only one came from a participant who brought up an issue that was completely unrelated to the ObamaCare proposal- the planned closure of Guantanamo Bay.
CNN’s Jim Acosta claimed that Rush Limbaugh’s website “compares the [ObamaCare] reform supporters to Nazis” during a report on Tuesday’s American Morning. The website actually draws a comparison between the DNC’s “Organizing for Health Care” logo and the Nazis’ Parteiadler (Party Eagle) symbol. Acosta also claimed that conservatives “falsely compared” ObamaCare to the Canadian health system.
Acosta filed his report from Portsmouth, New Hampshire where President Obama plans to hold a health care town hall meeting later in the day on Tuesday. He began by detailing how opponents to ObamaCare in the state “aren’t just sounding off at congressional town hall meetings...protesters descended on staff members of Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen in the middle of a routine constituent’s services meeting. It wasn’t a town hall forum, and the senator wasn’t even there. The protesters recorded the confrontation and put it on YouTube.”
Most of the viewer responses that CNN’s Jack Cafferty read during one of his “Cafferty File” segments on Monday’s Situation Room agreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Steny Hoyer’s “un-American” label against anti-ObamaCare protesters. Though he surprisingly remained neutral when he presented the issue, all but one of the responses sided with the two Democratic leaders.
Cafferty devoted his 5 pm Eastern “Question of the Hour” to Pelosi and Hoyer’s USA Today editorial which ran in Monday’s edition. He summarized their talking points, and then read an excerpt from Republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s response. His question to the CNN viewers: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Steny Hoyer call the town hall protests against health care reform ‘un-American.’ Are they?”
Ten minutes before the top of the 6 pm Eastern hour, Cafferty returned with his selected viewer responses. Only one response disagreed with the Democrats’ “un-American” label, but this particular example raised a chuckle out of the CNN commentator (who earlier this year compared Pelosi to Mao Zedong).
The liberal media meme on conservative protesters at health care town halls is that they are full of vitriol, but lacking in substance. So how does Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg take on critics of ObamaCare?
But not only are opponents of ObamaCare "dead wrong," argues Steinberg, they're an un-American, if not outright traitorous "fifth column" dedicated to stopping President Obama's agenda at any cost (emphasis mine):
CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen tried to assuage the elderly over their concerns with ObamaCare on Monday’s Newsroom: “If there’s one group of people who needs to worry the least about health care reform, it’s probably the elderly... [they] already have Medicare.” This claim by Cohen ignores planned cuts to Medicare benefits announced by President Obama himself back in January.
Anchor Tony Harris brought on Cohen to answer viewer questions during the first minutes of the 11 am Eastern hour. One viewer named Jake asked if he would lose his Medicare under the Obama proposal. She replied, “If there’s one group of people who needs to worry the least about health care reform, it’s probably the elderly, and the reason for that is that the elderly already have Medicare. They already have government-sponsored health insurance. Reform is about helping people who are under the age of 65. So, he really doesn’t have to worry about his Medicare.”
Reporting on Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews declared: "...she’s not always the reserved, work-aholic judge she portrayed in the Senate hearings....The judge is also known for her can't-miss Christmas parties, which included salsa dancing inside the federal court of appeals in Manhattan." [Audio/video (1:25): Mp3 | WMV]
Andrews offered a detailed report on Sotomayor’s down-to-earth personality as he spoke with her friends and colleagues: "...according to friends, like former law clerk Allison Barkoff, the Judge has a big, engaging, New York personality." Barkoff exclaimed: "She is fun. She – she works hard and she plays hard." No mention was made in the segment of Sotomayor’s infamous "wise Latina" comments.
As an example of how the newest member of the Supreme Court "plays hard" Andrews described: "Melissa Murray clerked for two federal judges, including Sotomayor, and when both judges came to Melissa’s wedding, Sotomayor challenged the other judge to a dance-off." After describing Sotomayor’s "can’t-miss" Christmas party, Andrews added: "Sotomayor knew and invited everyone in the courthouse." Barkoff explained: "The people who work in the cafeteria, the security guards, the custodians, are equally as important as her colleagues."
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O'Reilly hosted a discussion with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg, as the two pointed out the mainstream media's double standard in "obsessing" over how protesters who have been challenging ObamaCare were organized, but have shown no interest in the organization of protesters by left-wing groups. After O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" addressed the subject, Goldberg observed:
The word "hypocrisy" in your "Talking Points" is the key word. Civil rights demonstrations, anti-war demonstrations, pro-abortion rights demonstrations, environmental demonstrations, I don't remember the media obsessing about who got these people out to the demonstration site, who orchestrated the demonstration, who manufactured, to use another of their words, the anger at the demonstrations. ... But the media only feels an obligation to look behind the curtain at the forces that are orchestrating and manufacturing the demonstrations when it's a conservative demonstration.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, August 6, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
On Friday’s Your World program, Fox News Channel’s interviewed Kenneth Gladney, the victim of an assault outside a health care town hall meeting in St. Louis on August 6, along with his lawyer David Brown. A video of the immediate aftermath of the attack (posted earlier on NewsBusters by Seton Motley) showed some of the suspects wearing t-shirts bearing the logo of the SEIU union, which is a member organization of Health Care for America Now!, a left-wing coalition pushing for the passage of ObamaCare [video clips from the segment are available here; audio clips are found here].
Mr. Gladney stated that he arrived outside the building where the town hall meeting was taking place, and started distributing and/or selling flags which bear the famous slogan “Don’t Tread on Me.” He continued that “this guy...walked up to me and said...who in the blank is selling this blank here. And I said, sir, this is my merchandise, and....he was like, what kind of ‘N’ are you to be giving out this kind of stuff here? And he snatched the- the button board. And when he snatched the button board, I snatched it back from him, and that’s when he proceeded to hit me in my face.” He added that others joined in the beat-down.
At the top of the 4:00PM ET hour on MSNBC Friday, fill-in co-anchor Monica Novotny issued a dire warning about protests at health care town hall meetings: "The town hall confrontations are turning violent....Where is all of this heading? New fears for the safety of America’s first African-American president." [Audio/video (0:33): Mp3 | WMV]
In a later segment, co-anchor David Shuster interviewed Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran and asked: "We know that threats to President Obama are up by like something 400% compared to the Bush administration. Is this putting our president in some sort of danger because of some wacko that will see this stuff and say, ‘oh, yes, it’s fascism and the way we dealt with Adolf Hitler was to try to kill him, so therefore, let’s do this with our president.’"
Congressman Moran responded to that outrageous scenario by remarking: "Well, you know, it only took – takes one person. It took one person to shoot Ronald Reagan, Jack Kennedy, and so on. But I think the Secret Service can be trusted to protect the President. But it does discredit those people who are using such extreme measures to achieve an objective which is really corporate profit."
Three of CNN’s political analysts- Jeffrey Toobin, David Gergen, and Gloria Borger- all gave President Obama B’s or B-pluses on the economy and overall job performance during the network’s special “The National Report Card: The Second 100 Days” on Thursday. These grades from these “non-partisan” analysts lined-up with the A’s and B’s that Democrats Paul Begala and Donna Brazile gave the president.
CNN conducted a non-scientific poll by phone and on the Internet of how the American people graded the President mainly on several issues, and others such as Hillary Clinton, Vice President Biden, and the news media in general at the 200-day mark of Obama’s presidency. As Wolf Blitzer and his so-called Best Political Team on Television presented the polling results, anchor Campbell Brown polled the “front panel” of Toobin, Gergen, and Borger, as well as the “back panel” of Begala and Brazile, and Republicans Alex Castellanos and Bill Bennett, for their personal grades of the subject in question. All of the participants held up placards with their grade, and explained how they came to that conclusion.
Just after the beginning of the 8 pm Eastern hour, Brown turned to the CNN analysts’ panel for their grade on President Obama’s handling of the economy. Senior legal analyst Toobin unsurprisingly replied, “I’m giving him a B. You know- he’s off to a decent start. He got a stimulus package planned. It passed. It seems like it’s having some impact, but the economy stinks and he’s the president and the buck stops there.”
During the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer wondered: "Is a poster of the President as the Joker racist? The posters in Los Angeles and elsewhere show the President as ‘The Dark Knight’ version of the Joker above the word ‘socialism.’" She then cited an article from Thursday’s Washington Post making the accusation.
Brewer spoke with the author of the article, Phillip Kennicott, and asked: "nobody seems to know who came up with this.... have you been able to get any further in finding out who’s behind it?" While not knowing who put up the posters, Kennicott went on to recite some of the main points of his piece: "Well, I go back to the original context of the Joker in the Batman films. And these films have always been about urban fears, and quite simply, those fears code in many ways, black. They play into anti-African-American stereotypes."
A skeptical Brewer pointed out: "But we – and we just put it up there – we saw George W. Bush on Vanity Fair as the Joker. I mean, then why would this be racially motivated?" Kennicott then bizarrely argued: "Well, I mean, for the obvious reason that George Bush wasn’t black. I mean in this case, I think what they’re doing is finding an image that actually has undercurrents when applied to Obama that it simply didn’t have when it applied to Bush."
CNN’s Newsroom on Thursday ran a glowing documentary-style report about a pro-ObamaCare rally on Capitol Hill that was organized by a coalition of left-wing organizations. Anchor Heidi Collins introduced the report without referencing any of the organizers, which included ACORN, MoveOn.org and SEIU. The report also featured a former Obama campaign operative who pushed for the president’s plan.
The report, filed by CNN photojournalist Jeremy Moorhead, first ran 19 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour of Newsroom, and ran again two hours later during the noontime hour. Collins introduced Moorhead’s report and described the apparent steadfastness of the left-wing activists, without referencing their ideology: “Despite the summer heat, thousands of activists have turned out on Capitol Hill to rally for health care reform. In today’s ‘Health Care in Focus,’ photojournalist Jeremy Moorhead gives us an inside look at the work and determination of volunteers hoping to make a difference.”
Yet when reporting the story shortly after 9:30 a.m. EDT today, "CNN Newsroom" anchor Heidi Collins neglected to mention Jefferson's Democratic Party affiliation.
What's more, ten minutes earlier, neither Collins nor CNN producer Mike Ahlers mentioned the party affiliation of another ethically compromised Democrat, admitted adulterer John Edwards. The former one-term senator is under investigation for payments made by his political action committee to a former mistress.
On Thursday, all three network morning news programs reported the conviction of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson on bribery charges, but only NBC’s Today identified him as a Democrat. CBS’s Early Show and ABC’s Good Morning America simply referred to him as a "former congressman."
In contrast, Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News did not provide a Democratic label for Jefferson, while ABC’s World News did identify his party affiliation. The CBS Evening News made no mention of the conviction. While both Good Morning America and Today featured news briefs early in the 7AM ET hour on Thursday, The Early Show did not mention the story until early in the 8AM hour.
While CBS finally managed that single news brief Thursday morning, reporter Russ Mitchell framed the story in the context of Jefferson’s attorney appealing the decision: "A lawyer for former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson says he will appeal Jefferson’s conviction on 11 counts of bribery, racketeering, and money laundering." Neither Today nor Good Morning America mentioned the appeal.
UPDATE: Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Sean Hannity read Bozell's statement on the air on August 6th. The audio can be found here.
Liberal Democrats have launched a war of outrageous hate speech directed at Americans who haved dared to express opposition to Obama's health care "reform."
First, the Democratic National Committee launched a Web video charging "desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies" with "organizing angry mobs" to "destroy President Obama." Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused town hall protestors of "carrying swastikas."
In response this morning, MRC President Brent Bozell called on the mainstream media "to report on this hate speech, who is behind it and how vicious it has become."
Mr. Bozell's full August 5 statement is printed below: