ABC stole the Left's mojo on a McCain-slamming "pastor problem" story.
Why am I not surprised?
Here's the complaint of David Corn at Mother Jones magazine's MoJo blog yesterday (h/t Romenesko):
I'm glad that Good Morning America covered the connection between John McCain and Rod Parsley, the Ohio megachurch pastor who has said it is the United States' historic mission to see the "false religion" of Islam "destroyed."
But did ABC News' top investigative reporter, Brian Ross, have to swipe the story from us?
CNN correspondent Carol Costello compared Cindy McCain to a "Stepford Wife" due to her "low key" role in her husband’s campaign so far, in a segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room." Costello, detailing Mrs. McCain’s recent photo spread in Vogue magazine, stated the feature "projects an image quite unlike the Cindy McCain we see on the trail," and a talking head described this "Cindy McCain we see" as "low key... taking the traditional role of standing by her husband's side at events." Costello then quipped, "A role critics say makes Mrs. McCain look like -- well, Glenn Close in the movie ‘The Stepford Wives.’" [audio available here]
On the other hand, Costello described Michelle Obama’s Vogue spread more glowingly: "...Michelle Obama chose a traditional black dress with pearl earrings for her Vogue spread. As The Washington Post described it, it was if Michelle Obama was saying 'I am not some scary other.... I am Camelot with a tan.'"
New York Times Congressional reporter Carl Hulse on Thursday paid tribute to Sen. Ted Kennedy, diagnosed earlier this week with an inoperable brain tumor, in "Kennedy: A Little Like Everyone, a Lot Like No One Else." But Hulse went beyond acknowledging Kennedy's influence as a legislator to push the famous Massachusetts' senator's big-government worldview: "And if some of his solutions cost the government some money, well, that is what the government is for." Doesn't he mean "that is what taxpayers are for"?
Congress is rife with types: the Serious Legislator, the Bomb Thrower, the Show Horse, the Workhorse, the Blowhard, the Orator, the Partisan, the Statesman, the Prima Donna, the Mentor, the Old-fashioned Pol and the Visionary.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy is the rare man who shows flashes of them all, making him a singular senator, one of the last towering figures on a stage where the players and the performances seem to be shrinking even as the problems expand.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Julie Chen took the relatively obscure milestone of Obama winning Tuesday’s Oregon primary, thereby getting the majority of pledged delegates, and declared that it was: "An enormous day in American politics as Barack Obama inches closer to his dream."
In a later report, correspondent Dean Reynolds also spoke of Obama closing in on the nomination: "...it was a melancholy moment for Senator Clinton because Barack Obama is that much closer to his goal." At the beginning of the 7:30am half hour co-host Harry Smith acted as if Obama had already reached the 2025 delegates needed to clinch the nomination: "...the big headline is that last night Senator Obama well surpassed the number that he needed to claim that he has a majority of pledged delegates. Only three primaries are left, but they may not really matter at this point, so as the Democratic race begins to wind down, let's get some analysis of how the delegate count has played out..."
"American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips pressed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the Iraq war on Wednesday, asserting that her liberal talking point was a fact. When Giuliani defended President Bush’s legacy, that he "will go down as he has protected us against terrorism when nobody thought it could be done," Phillips retorted, "But the Iraq war is not about protecting us from terrorism. It's been the most unpopular and controversial war." When the former mayor challenged this statement as her opinion, Phillips became rather defensive. "Oh, I’m not saying that. No, no, no, I'm not voicing my opinion.... I'm voicing what's out there. I’m voicing the realities" [audio available here].
From CNN to the New York Times, the media hyped Barack Obama's Portland, Oregon rally on Sunday, some comparing him to a rock star.
Unmentioned in national reporting was the fact that Obama was preceded by a rare, 45-minute free concert by actual rock stars The Decemberists. The Portland-based band has drawn rave reviews from Rolling Stone magazine, which gave their 2005 album Picaresque four and a half stars (out of five), and another four and a half stars for 2007's The Crane Wife.
How many of the people showed up to hear Obama, and how many to hear the band?
Here's how the local paper The Oregonian,which estimated the crowd at 72,000, reported the rally:
Lou Dobbs, during an interview on Monday evening with James Rubin, challenged the Clinton campaign advisor over his accusation that John McCain was a "hypocrite" and a "flip-flopper" in terms of dealing with Hamas, noting that CNN’s own interview of McCain contradicted Rubin’s charge. Dobbs chastised, "I would not have taken it as far. I would not put it as forward-leaning as you on the issue."
Doesn't Mika Brzezinski have any Republicans in her Rolodex? With Joe Scarborough home in Florida awaiting the birth of a baby, Mika has been filling in as anchor, and I sense doing much of the show's booking [mention is often made of her work in that regard]. Today's guest lineup consisted of six Dems/liberals versus a sole Republican, brought in almost at show's end.
Here's the list, in order of appearance, of today's political guests coming from outside the NBC/MSNBC family [Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell also appeared as guests, and Harold Ford, Jr. and Pat Buchanan served as panelists]:
Jonathan Capehart--WaPo editorial writer
Ted Sorensen--former JFK speechwriter
Doris Kearns Goodwin--historian and former LBJ aide
Tom Daschle--former Dem senator [check out the spiffy red spectacles]
Terry McAuliffe--Clinton campaign chairman
Jon Meacham--Newsweek editor and contributing editor of the center-left Washington Monthly
CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, during a discussion of President Bush’s recent trip to the Middle East on Monday’s "American Morning," cited her discussion with unnamed "analysts and experts," and concluded " it's hard to discern any evidence of any success on this trip whatsoever." "American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips, following-up to Amanpour’s analysis, remarked, "Well, critics have come forward and said, okay, whether it's his policies in Iraq, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he's failed everywhere."
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed Democratic Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, about the Senator’s new book and began by declaring that: "...you seem to me the least political person I know who's ever run for political office." [Audio available here] Of course this is the same non-political Jim Webb that said he "wanted to slug" President Bush after a White House meeting in which the President asked how Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq, was doing.
Smith went on to ask Webb: "What was that like? Talk about your experience of running for the Senate and were you really prepared for the rough and tumble of what it was really like?" Webb proceeded to give his resume, perhaps in preparation for a vice-presidential nomination: "I've been involved in political debate for my entire adult life. You know, I've got four years as a committee counsel in the Congress, five years in the Pentagon, was Secretary of the Navy, journalist, written a lot of – " Smith then interjected: "Phenomenal novels."Later in the interview, Smith also described Webb’s novels as "amazing."
During Saturday’s “Breaking News” coverage of Senator Edward Kennedy’s hospitalization for a seizure, CNN anchors Fredericka Whitfield and T. J. Holmes sycophantically referred to the Kennedy family and the Senator himself as “political royalty” and “American royalty,” as if all Americans — or even all in Massachusetts — bend their knee before the throne of Camelot.
While the Bush family, for example, has produced a Senator, two Presidents and a Governor, it’s impossible to imagine that CNN (or any other network) would allow its on-air personnel to casually refer to the family as “royalty.” And while many Americans certainly have high regard for the Kennedys, conservatives and many others staunchly oppose their liberal policies and avoid the kind of hero-worship exhibited by liberals.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to Democratic strategist Bob Shrum about Senator Ted Kennedy being hospitalized over the weekend and asked: "How important -- is there a way to measure this? Because everybody took a deep breath on Saturday and took a second to say, ‘oh, my gosh.’" Shrum responded: "I thought it was an incredible acknowledgment of the fact that this is probably the most effective and significant Senator in the last 50 years, one of the most significant in American history."
Shrum continued to lionize Kennedy: "...this is someone who literally has touched almost everybody's life in America. There isn't a bill for economic or social justice that doesn't bear his imprint. He's lived the Kennedy legacy, which we're all fascinated with, but he's vastly enlarged it." Smith followed up by describing how Kennedy even garnered respect from the Republican nominee:
We put a little bit of John McCain's statement up just a second ago. I want to put it up in full because this is really important. Here's a guy who should be his ideological opposite theoretically and this is what John McCain says: 'Senator Kennedy's role in the U.S. Senate cannot be overstated. He is a legendary lawmaker, and I have the highest respect for him.’
CNN contributor Roland Martin, asked about Democrats’ low poll results concerning national security on Friday’s "Election Center" program, answered using his best Barack Obama impression. "...John McCain, you're a war hero. You served. But you also voted for the war that's led to the death of 4,000 Americans. We have spent billions of dollars and, frankly, it has not stabilized the Middle East.... He's [Obama] going to put the cost of the war and how it has not done what it was supposed to on his back and say, you know what? Explain that, Mr. War Hero."
Twenty-four hours after CNN started giving covering fire for Barack Obama in response to President Bush’s "appeasement" remark, the network has now aided the Democratic spin machine in attacking John McCain as a hypocrite with regards to Hamas, based on a 2006 video clip provided by Clinton adviser James Rubin. In the excerpt, the Arizona Senator appeared to be endorsing negiotiations with the terror group. But CNN conducted its own interview of McCain at the same time, January 28, 2006, in which he insisted that Hamas "renounce this commitment to the extinction of the state of Israel. Then we can do business again." So CNN is trusting Rubin as the authority on what McCain’s stance was two years ago, instead of their own archival video [see video clip below]
UPDATE, 6:30PM ET: National Review's The Corner has a post up indicating that the full Rubin-McCain interview from 2006 also seriously undercuts Rubin's claims of hypocrisy.
Riots in the street or no, Denver might be the place to be this August, if only for August Ritter's sweet Convention after-parties.
DenverPost.com has an article, complete with photos, delving into Gov. Bill Ritter's (D) son reveling with friends at a December 2007 boozefest in the Governor's Mansion. The only rules of said party, the Post noted citing an invitation, were "no throwing up" and "no sexy time."
The one thing lacking from reporter Karen Crummy's story: Gov. Ritter's political affiliation.
The party label is arguably germane to the story. After all Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer defended August Ritter's revelry, which suggests Ritter has a cavalier attitude about his son's disregard of and disrespect for the taxpayer-owned mansion.:
Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show" an entirely one-sided story about the California Supreme Court ruling to allow gay marriage by correspondent John Blackstone, was followed by an entirely one-sided interview of a gay couple by co-host Julie Chen. Chen introduced the segment by declaring: "The landmark decision by the California Supreme Court yesterday to allow gay couples to marry..." while also fretting that the decision "... may be short-lived. Conservative groups hope to undo the ruling by putting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the ballot in November." However, the perspective of those "conservative groups" is never presented in the segment. [audio available here]
Blackstone then offered his report on the ruling, which talked to no lawyers or legal experts and discussed no details of the ruling. Instead, Blackstone began by exclaiming: "In the Castro District, San Francisco's predominantly gay neighborhood...The court's decision was seen as a huge victory for equal rights." In the middle of Blackstone’s statement an overjoyed gay woman proclaimed: "Thank you, goddesses."
Blackstone went on to portray liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as the hero of the day:
Just when you thought the "green" hype couldn’t get any worse, Thursday’s "Newsroom" program on CNN introduced the world to the latest celebrities to jump on the "environmentally-friendly" bandwagon: rocker Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, and Johnny Colt, the bassist for the pop group Train. Co-host Tony Harris interviewed the three for seven minutes during the 11 am Eastern hour of the CNN program so the new trio could promote their upcoming "reality" series, "Battleground Earth" on Discovery Network’s new "green" channel. This brings up the inevitable question, will the Church of Scientology sue for copyright infringement for the show’s title being so close to L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp sci-fi novel "Battlefield Earth"?
Harris, as might be expected, didn’t ask the three any hard-hitting questions, though the celebrities did seem like they were stumped by some of the softballs the CNN host lobbed at them. For example, Harris asked the celebrities about the presidential election and their favorite candidates. Of course, two of them endorsed Obama.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" correspondent Bill Plante reported on President Bush’s speech before the Israeli Knesset and suggested the president was going after Barack Obama: "The president today is slamming Iran, embracing the Israelis, barely mentioning the Palestinians, and he's suggesting, without naming any names, that anyone who's in favor of talking to Iran, like say, Barack Obama, is in favor of appeasement." [audio available here]
Later in the report, Plante again claimed that the president was attacking the Democratic candidate: "The president is also taking what some will interpret as a slap at Barack Obama. He's saying that those who believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, and he calls that appeasement." Plante then dismissed the comments as nothing more that President Bush pandering to voters during an election year: "White House officials deny that Mr. Bush had Obama specifically in mind, but it doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to see this as reaching out to American Jewish voters in an election year."
On the June 7, 2004 CBS "Evening News,"after Ronald Reagan’s death, Plante attacked the former president for what he saw as Reagan’s appeasement of terrorists during the Iran-Contra scandal:
Minutes after President Bush began his speech to the Israeli Knesset, CNN quickly channeled outraged Democratic reaction to his "false comfort of appeasement" remark. "American Morning" co-host John Roberts, in a brief on the speech, claimed the President was "suggesting that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II," though the President did not mention any Democratic official or the Democratic Party.
The graphic on the screen also reflected this belief that Democrats were being unfairly smeared: "Pres. Says Obama, Other Dems Want ‘Appeasement of Terrorists" and "Pres. Bush Compares Dems’ Stance on War to Appeasement of Nazis."
Hillary Clinton won among white voters in West Virginia by a 67-26% margin. Pretty lopsided. Then again, that's nearly an even split compared to the 90+ percent of black votes Barack Obama's been racking up in state after state.
So who does Diane Sawyer suggest should reject race-based votes? Senator 90+? Nope. James Carville was Sawyer's guest during the GMA's opening half-hour today.
DIANE SAWYER: I want to talk about the fact that 20% of the voters coming out of the West Virginia race said race was in fact a factor in their vote, and of those Senator Clinton won 84%. Here's my question: should Senator Clinton say she is rejecting the votes of anyone who votes based in any way on color of skin?
On Wednesday’s "Your World" on FNC, host Neil Cavuto talked with talk show host Montel Williams about the election and asked if Williams was backing anyone, to which Williams responded: "You know, I'm into the election year, but I got to tell you I'm -- here I'll do something controversial, so it'll get us both fired. But I'm sick right now of the way the media is attempting to control this election rather than just report the news." [audio available here]
Williams' condemnation of media went further: "People keep being called or claim to play a race card, when it's really us in the media that are playing the race card, trying to bait people to play into the race card. I'm sick of some of what I feel is some of the most divisive politics that I've seen in the last 20 years."
Cavuto again attempted to find out if Williams was supporting any particular candidate, but instead Williams articulated his responsibility as an influential television personality not to endorse anyone:
In a rare case of balance, Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show" highlighted both sides in the debate over declaring the polar bear an endangered species due to global warming as correspondent Daniel Sieberg declared: "They're at the top of the food chain at the top of the world, but their future is at the center of a political tug-of-war over drilling for oil versus protecting their habitat."
Sieberg began his report with a dire prediction: "There are an estimated 20,000 - 25,000 polar bears in the Arctic region, but environmentalists warn that rising temperatures and disappearing sea ice will cause a 30 percent decline in their population over the next 50 years." He also played clips of liberal California Senator Barbara Boxer and John Kostyack from the National Wildlife Federation.
However, Sieberg also provided perspective from the Heritage Foundation:
CNN’s Campbell Brown, participating in a panel discussion on CNN’s special coverage of the West Virginia primary on Tuesday evening, agreed with the liberal members of the panel and rejected a Republican strategist’s opposition to the idea that John McCain has been receiving a "free ride" over the past weeks. "We can argue he’s [McCain] also not getting a lot of attention right now."
On May 13, John McCain supporter John Hagee issued an apology to the Catholic League for controversial anti-Catholic comments he's made in the past. "Catholic League President William Donoghue [sic] accepted the apology," noted Washington Post's Michael D. Shear in the midst of his 8-paragraph story published the following day.
Shear closed by noting that "[n]ot all Catholics were mollified" by Hagee's letter of apology, citing "Alexia Kelley, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good." Shear failed to label Kelley nor the Alliance as liberal, although a visit to their Web site makes it pretty clear their political agenda skews in favor of liberal Democratic social welfare initiatives.
But more telling is this: Kelley used to work for the DNC during the Kerry campaign as Director of Religious Outreach. Catholic or no, it's not all that surprising that the former liberal Democratic Party staffer would refuse to let the Hagee matter drop in a tense election year when presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has his own share of problems, to say the least, with loopy clergymen in his corner.
The political correctness of the New York Times oozed between the lines of a front-page article Tuesday on Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a "master of the one-liner, a self-described ‘left-handed gay Jew.’" The headline was "A Liberal Wit Builds Bridges To the G.O.P.," and reporter David M. Herszenhorn celebrated the "trademark wit" that compared conservatives’ lack of enthusiasm for government intervention to his lack of enthusiasm for the Miss America pageant.
In a sidebar headlined "A Way With Words," the Times celebrates Frank’s wit in lobbying for the gay agenda, like a 2006 quote that "same-sex marriage is the V-8 juice of America," mocking the opposition of the religious right as if straight married men would greet the court-mandated legalization of "gay marriage" in Massachusetts with the declaration "Wow, I could have married a guy."
During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's West Virginia Democratic primary, Chris Matthews three times compared Hillary Clinton to Al Sharpton because she recently cited her popularity with white blue-collar voters as a reason she should be the Democratic presidential nominee. Matthews: "It's almost like she's the Al Sharpton of white people." Keith Olbermann claimed that media coverage of the Democratic campaign has been fair, but still conceded that "if the media leaned at any point early on in this race, it was not against [Clinton], but towards her." Matthews contended that, similar to the way Bill Clinton in 1992 had "a tremendous wind at his back in terms of press coverage because of generation," this time Barack Obama "has benefitted from being the new breeze."
Former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe also got to poke fun at Matthews over his over the top confession last February that an Obama speech caused a "thrill going up my leg." While discussing Clinton's speech from Tuesday night, McAuliffe joked: "I'm sure it sent shivers up Chris Matthews's leg." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to radio talk show host Michael Smerconish and former Clinton Administration Press Secretary, Dee Dee Myers, about when Hillary Clinton would drop out of the presidential race and asked Myers: "Why is Hillary Clinton still running?" Myers responded by declaring that: "I don't think there's any question that she's going to get out. The only remaining question is when and how. And I think she'll do it in a way that's classy and helps the party." Smith repeated, "classy" and Myers replied "yeah."
Smith later asked Myers about the desperate situation facing the Clinton campaign: "I mean, I don't care how you crunch the numbers. Is there any way for her to win?" Smith went on to similarly ask Smerconish: "...as we watch her incredible shrinking candidacy, does it not seem to you that she's already turned the page?"
In addition to Myers prediction that Clinton would leave the race "in a way that's classy and helps the party," during an earlier news brief in the show, correspondent Jim Axelrod played a clip of Democratic strategist, Tad Devine, suggesting Obama could actually benefit from Clinton staying in the race:
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, during a panel discussion on Monday’s "The Situation Room," reacted sarcastically to John McCain’s recent campaign speech on climate change. "Well, you know, this story illustrates just how low the bar is for Republicans on the environment.You know, the fact that he acknowledges global warming is seen as a big advantage for him, but it's like acknowledging gravity. It is a scientific fact." Toobin then compared McCain to President Bush on the issue, stating that "the real issue is not whether it [global warming] exists. The question is what to do about it, and, in that area, he's not as far as to the right as Bush is, but he's pretty close." [audio available here]
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes" anchor Morley Safer interviewed left-wing actor Alec Baldwin and spent some time focusing on Baldwin's liberal activism: "And yet it's his off-screen performances that can get in the way of a truly gifted man. And often it's his liberal politics that make him red meat for his critics." Baldwin explained to Safer: "They hate liberals who can throw a punch." And when Safer asked: "‘They’? Who's ‘they’?," Baldwin responded: "They, the vast right-wing conspiracy that's after me."
An admiring Safer described Baldwin’s activism this way: "Liberal politics has always been his passion...He has an impressive grasp of the issues and spends a huge amount of his time and money supporting causes he believes in: animal rights, the environment, the arts." Safer then went on to continue to portray Baldwin as a victim of the "right-wing conspiracy":
SAFER: But his bare-knuckled approach to political discourse...
BALDWIN: Not all Republicans are as insane as these extremist conservatives.
SAFER: ...has made him an easy target for conservative junkyard dogs like Sean Hannity.
SEAN HANNITY: He's unhinged. Let's be honest, he's not really bright.