CNN personalities Jack Cafferty and David Gergen continued the chorus of praise for President Obama on Wednesday evening for his first address to a joint session of Congress, twenty-four hours after he had given it. During his regular “Question of the Hour” segment on The Situation Room, Cafferty gushed that the Democrat “had that place in the palm of his hand for the entire time he was in that room” and, despite all the serious issues he discussed during the speech, that the president “seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he’s got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight.”
At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a segment on Tysheoma Bethea, a 14-year-old girl who attended Obama’s address to Congress: "President Obama has said one of the biggest adjustments of his new job is living in a bubble. Now, to combat that problem, he started to read a handful of letters everyday from average Americans. One letter, written by an eighth grader from Dillon, South Carolina, caught his eye, and her story caught ours."
Correspondent Mark Strassmann then reported: "Thanks to Tysheoma Bethea, everyone at J.V. Martin Junior High now shares the audacity of hope...Last night, the 14-year-old watched President Obama read America her letter to Congress, a plea to build a new school for her small town." Strassmann described the situation at Bethea’s impoverished school and how Obama had instantly inspired them: "Too often at J.V. Martin Junior High dreams die early. 85% of students live below the poverty line. This school, built in 1896, is falling apart. For generations here, hope has been in shambles. The dropout rate is 60% and the daily fight is against a poverty of the spirit. But last night, this junior high reconnected to hope."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Tax the rich. New details on how President Obama plans to pay for his $3 trillion budget." Later, correspondent Bill Plante reported on Obama’s proposed budget in a matter-of-fact way with little skepticism: "It spends almost $4 trillion. That's trillion with a 'T.' And the deficit is $1.75 trillion because of spending on the recession. And it raises taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for some new proposals on health care. The president wants to set aside $634 billion over the next ten years as a down payment on health care reform. He'd get the money by lowering the limit on tax deductions for high earners and by trimming some Medicare spending."
In Plante’s report, Politico’s Mike Allen was quoted: "This budget is going to have some highly symbolic cuts to show people that tough choices are going to be made." Plante elaborated: "Those include what officials call 'massive cost overruns' at the Defense Department. A phase-out of direct payments to farmers making more than $500,000 a year. Elimination of the federal mentoring program, a Bush administration initiative which is labeled ineffective. And closing the loophole which allows Wall Street investment managers to pay income tax at the rate of only 15%."
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."
CNN’s senior political analyst David Gergen was positively aglow after hearing President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening: “This was the most ambitious president we’ve heard in this chamber in decades. The first half of the speech was FDR, fighting for the New Deal. The second half was Lyndon Johnson fighting for the Great Society, and we’ve never seen those two presidents rolled together in quite this way before.” He later gushed over the agenda set by the executive during his speech: “I think we’re watching one of the greatest political dramas of our time” [audio available here].
Gergen made the remarks as he participated in a panel discussion during a special post-speech edition of the network’s Anderson Cooper 360. Eleven minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of the program, host Anderson Cooper asked the analyst for his immediate reaction to his speech. After making his lofty comparison, he underlined the apparent ambition of President Obama: “I think most people would have felt just trying to recover from this recession and stop the flow of blood, and get a recovery going would be enough for one president. He’s saying no, no, no -- we’re going to do health care reform this year....Do energy -- we’ll do education. Thankfully -- do national service, and we’re going to cut the deficit.”
It’s not even April 1 yet, and Keith Olbermann is already expressing fears that President Obama "is acting disturbingly like President Bush," because of a number of recent decisions by the Obama administration to continue policies similar to those of President Bush, which Olbermann recounted on Monday's Countdown while the words "Four More Years?" displayed at the bottom of the screen. The MSNBC host then introduced his guest for further discussion: "Here to help us tell the two men apart, Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post."
Responding to Huffington’s hope that Obama’s decisions would only be temporary, Olbermann queried that if, "after one of these six-month reviews – renditioning, for instance – continues on or other detentions without legal rights? What happens then?" prompting Huffington to convey her willingness to oppose Obama: "Well, everybody who cares about what are the fundamental American values of fairness and justice and due process needs to vociferously and unambiguously oppose the Obama administration. I don`t think there is any alternative to that."
In commemoration of the one-month anniversary of the Obama family moving into the White House, on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "For the last month, as President Obama has settled into running the country, the first family has settled into life at the White House. While President Obama has been trying to repair our failing economy, First Lady Michelle Obama has become his number one advocate. Visiting five federal agencies this month,plugging her husband's economic stimulus plan."
Rodriguez went on to describe the Obamas hitting the Washington D.C. social scene: "In one month, the Obamas have engaged in their community, reading to school kids and visiting community organizations...They've become part of the local scene, eating out and attending a performance at the Kennedy Center. They're familiarizing themselves with their new home...They just hosted their first black-tie dinner and have entertained nearly 200 school children at the White House. But above all, in five weeks, Mr. and Mrs. Obama have learned their role as parents-in-chief to daughters Malia and Sasha."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez spoke with FDIC Chairwoman Shelia Bair and asked: "I can't think of a better morning to have you here, because all the talk is about the bank and if you look at the cover of The Washington Post, there it is, the n-word, 'nationalization,' which you have said you would be surprised if we get to that point. But isn't it maybe going to be a necessary evil?" On February 16, Rodriguez asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor: "Can the Republican Party accept that there are situations when large-scale government intervention is necessary?"
After Bair downplayed the possibility of a government takeover of banks, Rodriguez countered: "But it sounds to me like it's a very real scenario that the government could wind up owning a majority stake in these banks if these stress tests show serious cracks because the stock is worth so little now, we don't have to put that much money in to own a majority." Bair replied: "Well, I think the inter-agency statement that was released yesterday indicated a strong presumption in favor of private control. And I think we would like to continue that. It's a very tough thing to run a bank." Rodriguez responded: "You would like to but is it realistic, do you think?"
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."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith played a clip of himself talking to left-wing actor Sean Penn following the Oscars Sunday night: "In a night full of first-time winners, Sean Penn took home his second Oscar as best actor for his emotional performance as slain gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk in Milk. I caught up with him and other big winners at the Governor's Ball." During the interview, Smith admitted to Penn: "As I sat watching the film, seems to happen to me more rare these days, but I wept openly during several scenes in the film because it really is a film about a civil rights movement." On December 10, Smith interviewed Penn’s Milk co-star, James Franco, and called the film "a must-see."
Earlier in the broadcast, a clip was played of Penn describing his feeling’s about the Oscar win during a press conference after the award show: "That means a lot to myself and to everybody involved, not only in the movie, but to anybody who believes in equal rights for other human beings." However, no clip was played of Penn’s actual acceptance speech, in which he declared: "I think it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone."
Sean Hannity invited radical-left actor Richard Belzer to his "Great American Panel" on February 13, and Belzer was hardly returning the honor. After Belzer tried to play professor and suggest that Reaganism was Hobbesian and "antitheticallly opposed" to John Locke and Jefferson, he raised his hand to interrupt, and then decided to offer his other arm in a "Heil Hannity" salute. When will lefties stop comparing conservatives to Nazis? Here's how Belzer greeted Sean's discussion of the "We're All Socialists Now" cover of Newsweek:
SEAN HANNITY: The headline is we're all socialists. This is the single biggest spending bill in the history of this country, transfer of wealth to the government.
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 Newsroom program, CNN anchor Heidi Collins failed to mention ACORN’s role in sponsoring a rally against foreclosures in an Oakland, California neighborhood. During her brief, video clips from the protest clearly showed the presence of the group’s signs, name, and logo.
Collins characterized the rally as “[a]nger over the foreclosure crisis pouring out into the streets of Oakland, California -- protesters had a rally in a neighborhood where last month, more than 165 people lost their homes, or now face the possibility of foreclosure. They’re vowing to stop the banks from taking control of the properties.”
Local media in the San Francisco Bay area did a better job of covering the protest. A news brief in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday mentioned ACORN by name: “Community group ACORN...is launching a campaign to encourage families in foreclosure to refuse to leave their homes. The group staged a rally...at the East Oakland home of Rosa Gonzalez, who has been foreclosed upon but not evicted. ACORN held similar events at foreclosed homes in Los Angeles, New York, Tucson, Baltimore, Orlando and Houston. About 100 ACORN members and local residents listened to speeches urging a moratorium on foreclosures.”
Amy Sullivan’s article on Time.com on Thursday, “The Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill,” tried to downplay President Obama’s past and current support for abortion, and tried to use a technicality to “prove” that there is no chance of passage for the staunchly pro-abortion Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA): “...FOCA has also provided ammunition for those on the right who want to paint Obama as ‘the most pro-abortion president ever.’ It’s been less than a month since he took office, but so far the President has given social conservatives little evidence to back up that charge. He did repeal the Mexico City policy banning federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provide abortion referrals or services — but so did Bill Clinton.” In reality, the Obama adminstration’s record on the issue consists of much more than merely support for legislative proposals and signing executive orders.
Anchor Campbell Brown’s show on CNN is subtitled “No Bias, No Bull,” but the show displayed plenty of bias during a Wednesday night segment about Attorney General Eric Holder calling America “a nation of cowards” on race issues. Brown praised Holder for “cutting through the bull,” and a panel discussion was utterly unanimous: Gloria Borger, Soledad O’Brien, and Roland Martin all toed the liberal line and praised Holder for lambasting the nation. Martin wholeheartedly agreed with Holder’s characterization. Borger defended the first black attorney general, stating that he was “trying to be provocative on purpose,” while O’Brien thought the Obama appointee was trying to start a “honest conversation” on race.
As for ‘cutting through bull,’ Brown should have corrected O’Brien when she repeated the old radical line that somehow Black History Month is the shortest month on the calendar due to some racial slight, which completely mangles the facts. It began as “Negro History Week” and was founded by African-American historian Carter Woodson in mid-February to honor Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are on the 12th and the 14th respectively.
A discussion on The View on Wednesday about sin quickly devolved as the hosts reiterated common media myths about the Catholic Church and its teachings. Elisabeth Hasselbeck read a bogus list of seven “new” sins that the Vatican supposedly came up with, while Joy Behar misrepresented the Catholic Church’s teachings on papal infallibility. When Barbara Walters later asked what the “biggest sin” was, in their opinion, Behar and Whoopi Goldberg agreed that it was “intolerance.”
Goldberg began the discussion by bringing up how a “new study by the Vatican says that men and women sin differently. They said men are more likely to commit sins of lust and gluttony and sloth, and for women, it’s pride, envy, and anger.” She then prompted her co-hosts for their take on this. Barbara Walters joked, “Yeah. I mean, with men, it’s much more the sexual and the lust, and the women are angry that it’s much more the sexual and the lust....They cheat more.” It’s funny that the ABC veteran put it that way, since she admitted to having an affair with former Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke.
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 CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Kimberly Dozier interviewed former C.I.A. agent Robert Baer, who argued that Iran: "...is empire by proxy. You get people -- it's like Communism. You get people to go along with you and your vision of the world. And they're saying, you know, ‘we can finally drive the United States out of the Middle East.’" Dozier added: "Unless, Baer says, we give President Ahmadinejad and his religious backers what they want."
Baer explained what Iran wants: "First of all, they want to be recognized as a major power in the Gulf...By the United States, by the Europeans. They want to be deferred to on big issues like Iraq and Afghanistan, issues that directly affect them." Dozier asked: "But in a sense, wouldn't the U.S., wouldn't Europe be rewarding them for bad behavior?" Baer replied: "Well, we would be. But does it matter? We have to be pragmatic about this."
Dozier went on to explain: "If we don't negotiate, Baer worries, the United States may find itself in yet another war we can't afford to fight." Baer exclaimed: "And do we really want to take down the most powerful country in the Middle East? I mean, we've just taken down Iraq, the second most powerful country, and it hasn't done a bit of good for anybody in the region." Dozier interjected: "It's a mess." Baer agreed: "It's a mess and it's going to remain a mess. Let's talk them back into the game of nations."
On Tuesday’s American Morning, anchor Kiran Chertry and correspondent Jason Carroll failed to mention the left-wing politics of filmmaker Michael Moore during a report about his latest project, which targets the financial industry, and included a sound bite from People Magazine’s Leah Rozen, who expressed a desire to “see Michael Moore spank Wall Street.” Carroll emphasized Moore’s credentials, and agreed with Chetry that many would rush to assist him: “They loved that ‘gotcha’ kind of filmmaking, and Michael Moore does it better than no one else and he’s about to do it again.”
The segment on Moore’s new production began with a clip from “Sicko,” his last movie, as Chetry announced that “the controversial filmmaker is setting his sights on Wall Street. He’s actively recruiting people who’ve worked in the financial sector to expose what he calls the biggest swindle in U.S. history.” As she introduced Carroll, the anchor continued that Moore “probably has a rapt audience at this point, because everything that’s happened with this financial crisis and a lot of people are blaming Wall Street.”
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."
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."
This "Name That Party" situation has many of the usual elements. There are several stories about two Democratic judges involved in criminal behavior in Pennsylvania, and, with one exception, they "somehow" don't get around to identifying their party.
But this saga is different for two reasons:
The crimes to which the judges have pleaded guilty involve "thousands" of juveniles.
In one lonely exception, the Associated Press's coverage prominently identified the judges' party. But in what was apparently a subsequent longer revision, their party identification disappeared.
What follows is a side-by-side picture of the first four paragraphs of a February 11 AP story carried at topix.com (also saved at my host for future reference), and of the five paragraphs of the story as it now appears at MSNBC (also saved at host; red and green boxes are mine; portions of the Topix link were moved from their original locations on the page for demonstration purposes; MSNBC graphic is of the printer-friendly version):
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."
I knew he was a prolific text-messager, but I had no idea former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was a whiz with computer software.
Yet the perjurious former chief executive of Motor City is "talented and has a lot of charisma," as the Associated Press today described Compuware Corporation executive Peter Karmanos's assessment of Kilpatrick. According to the AP, Kilpatrick will be a customer representative for the company, dealing with public sector clients such as state government agencies.
Besides leaving out Kilpatrick's Democratic party affiliation, the AP's February 13 item left unmentioned that Karmanos is a hefty political donor to both sides of the aisle -- over $213,000 in federal contributions since 1994 -- and once gave $1,000 to the 2004 congressional campaign of Kilpatrick's mother, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), according to OpenSecrets.org.
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.”
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.”
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."