On CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, host Bob Schieffer interviewed Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and compared union protests in that state to the democracy movements spreading across the Middle East: "There are also reports that this could spread to at least nine other states....Is Madison, Wisconsin, Congressman, the Tunisia of American politics now?"
At the top of the broadcast, Schieffer declared "protests at home and abroad" and moments later, he touted the size and duration of the demonstrations in Wisconsin: "For the fourth day in a row and in the largest turnout yet, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets again in Madison, Wisconsin as they marched to protest major cuts in state spending. The question is, will the protests spread to other states where similar proposals to cut spending are also being contemplated?"
The liberal media have virtually ignored the scandal of medical doctors handing out fraudulent sick notes to labor union protesters in Madison, Wisconsin, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham noted on yesterday's "Your World with Neil Cavuto."
What's more, while the media have been quick to portray Wisconsin public sector employees as victims, media outlets have ignored the perspective of parents who have been inconvenienced by the teachers' sick-out, the Media Research Center director of media analysis told substitute host Stuart Varney:
Nothing more cogently demonstrated the left's apparent strategy in Madison, Wisconsin thus far than a group of pro-union demonstrators silencing a Fox News report on a budding scandal there with cries demanding that Fox "tell the truth." Demonstrators, and much of the left over the past week, were unconcerned with the content of Fox's report. The fact that Fox was doing the reporting meant that the truth was not being told.
Fox was attempting to interview the president of the MacIver Institute, a free market think tank based in Wisconsin, which had reported two days earlier that doctors were writing sick notes for union demonstrators in Madison so they could get out of work and attend the protests (check out video of the protesters below the break).
In an interview with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge worried about the fallout from budget cutting in Wisconsin: "It seems to look like this governor [Scott Walker] is trying to basically break unions and that other states may then follow suit. Is this – should unions be on alert all around the country?"
Huckabee pointed out: "I think unions have to get realistic. They can't expect to pay $1 in and get $57 from the state as a pension match. Nobody else gets that." Earlier, Wragge expressed skepticism of Governor's Walker's handling of the issue: "...what you've seen...with the workers and the unions versus Governor Scott Walker and the teacher sick outs, do you think this was handled the best way it possibly could have been?" Huckabee defended Walker: "I think he's got to call attention to the fact that this is a serious issue....You can't borrow money that you can't afford to pay back."
Leave it to "On Faith" to offer a Marxist/left-wing liberation theology twist on the public sector unions protesting Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wis.) budget plans.
On Saturday the Washington Post/Newsweek online feature published a "Guest Voices" by Wendy Cooper in which the divinity student lamented that middle-class government workers in the Badger State have much in common with the masses in Tahrir Square in Cairo, as well as the ostracized imperial Roman tax collectors of Jesus' day (emphasis mine):
In an interview with the Democratic minority leader of the Wisconsin state senate on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill proposed a solution to the political stalemate over curbing benefits for public union workers in the state, suggesting Democrats "work together" with "more moderate Republicans" to "come to some sort of agreement that could then put pressure on the Governor."
Minority Leader Mark Miller eagerly agreed: "Absolutely. I think cooler heads need to prevail....There is such a thing as compromise. The Governor needs to be part of that." Earlier, Hill had explained that: "There's been a proposal put forth by moderate Republicans in the state which would effectively take those collective bargaining rights away [from teachers unions], but only for two years, it would bring them back in 2013." To which Miller remarked: "Well, the problem is, is that the Governor has to agree. And the Governor has not done anything except insist...it has to be his way. All or nothing. And the Governor needs to recognize that this is a democracy, and in a democracy, you negotiate."
"The mainstream media was late to the party when it came to covering" the Wisconsin budget protests, Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney noted as he introduced NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell earlier today on the February 21 edition of "Varney & Co."
But are the media now skewing coverage in favor of the perspective of the public sector labor unions, Varney asked.
Most certainly they are, Media Research Center founder Bozell answered.
[Video of the segment and transcript follow the page break]
Mika Brzezinski learned a life lesson this morning: look before you leap to defend liberals . . . [h/t reader Ray R]
At the top of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough referenced the hateful emails he and Mika had received from the left and the similarly ugly signs held by Wisconsin union protesters. Mika reflexively defended the vileness, saying that people were "hurting and really don't feel like they're being heard."
Aww. But later, the show rolled video of some of the Wisconsin signs, including one with crosshairs on Gov. Walker, another calling him Hitler, one accusing him of rape, and of course that great old standard "death to tyrants."
To her credit, Mika did change her tune. View video after the jump.
Welcome to the reckoning. We have met the fiscal apocalypse, and it is smack dab in the middle of the heartland. As Wisconsin goes, so goes the nation. Let us pray it does not go the way of the decrepit welfare states of the European Union.
The lowdown: State government workers in the Badger State pay piddling amounts for generous taxpayer-subsidized health benefits. Faced with a $3.6 billion budget hole and a state constitutional ban on running a deficit, new GOP Gov. Scott Walker wants public unions to pony up a little more. He has proposed raising the public employee share of health insurance premiums from less than 5 percent to 12.4 percent. He is also pushing for state workers to cover half of their pension contributions. To spare taxpayers the soaring costs of Byzantine union-negotiated work rules, he would rein in Big Labor's collective bargaining power to cover only wages unless approved at the ballot box.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge attempted to portray Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's efforts to curb costly benefits for public sector unions in his state as purely political: "Your teachers union, which votes Democratic...hit very hard. Yet your police, state trooper, firemen unions, who all supported and endorsed you, did not get touched in any of this. Why is that?" [Audio available here]
In the live interview, Walker quickly dismantled the entire premise of Wragge's attack: "Chris that actually is not true. There are 314 fire and police unions in the state. Four of them endorsed me. All the rest endorsed my opponent." Wragge was undeterred in his follow up question: "But you understand their position with some of the state workers, saying you're essentially taking away their voice by trying to break these unions. You understand that, correct?"
A prominent Tea Party group has announced that it will stage a counter-protest in Wisconsin on Saturday aimed at supporting a measure in that state to revoke public employee unions' collective bargaining rights and to force them to pay a slightly larger amount into their own health and pension plans.
That measure sparked large protests in Madison Thursday by union groups, and a walkout by Democratic legislators in a successful effort to deny the State Senate a voting quorum.
While conservatives were shocked at a video showing liberals at a Common Cause rally suggesting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should have his toes cut off one by one, be lynched alongside his wife, or be put "back in the fields," The Washington Post seems to find mostly a burst of liberal pride. On Thursday's Fed Page on A-17, reporter Dan Eggen's story is headlined "Uncommon forcefulness from Common Cause." The Thomas remarks don't surface until the end, in paragraph 17. The story begins with a smile, for the nerds have gotten rowdy:
Common Cause has long been something of a nerd among the jocks. While other activists staged loud demonstrations and nervy stunts, the 40-year-old good-government group was more likely to hold a forum on filibuster reform or the vagaries of redistricting.
But suddenly Common Cause is manning the barricades, leading a rowdy campaign by liberal groups decrying the outsized role of big money in U.S. politics.
James Taranto, who writes the “Best of the Web” column for the Wall Street Journal online, continues to be on fire on the subject of New York Times hypocrisy over “violent” political rhetoric. His Monday column opened with another moral excoriation of the Times, based on its Saturday editorial endorsing the latest cause from Common Cause, a left-wing advocacy group. An excerpt:
The New York Times editorial page, a division of the New York Times Co., on Saturday endorsed Common Cause's personal attack on Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. As we explained Friday, Common Cause, a Washington-based corporation, is complaining about Scalia and Thomas's having joined Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the 2010 decision that overturned a law criminalizing certain political speech by corporations.
After arguing that “Common Cause's complaint is not only meritless but frivolous,” Taranto quoted a damning excerpt from the Times editorial.
Justice Scalia, who is sometimes called "the Justice from the Tea Party," met behind closed doors on Capitol Hill to talk about the Constitution with a group of representatives led by Representative Michele Bachmann of the House Tea Party Caucus.
CNN's 7 pm Eastern hour program John King USA was the only program on Monday and the following morning on Tuesday that mentioned the March for Life in Washington, DC. Anchor John King devoted only 11 seconds to the pro-life demonstration, and omitted crowd numbers and footage from the March. CNN.com's write-up on the annual event downplayed the number of attendees as merely in the "thousands."
King led his evening program with a brief about an Illinois court ruling that former Obama aide Rahm Emanuel was ineligible to run for Chicago mayor. After playing a sound bite from Emanuel, the CNN personality then gave moved on to the March for Life, and added illegal immigration to it as an "emotional issue:"
On Sunday evening, an event in Washington preemptively made mincemeat of the usual press claims that "thousands" would participate in the next day's March for Life.
The next day at the Washington Post, Michelle Boorstein and Ben Pershing followed form ("Thousands of abortion opponents rally in march on Mall"), but did make an interesting, seemingly reluctant observation: "Some attending the events Monday said that more young people appeared to be participating than in previous years."
The Associated Press's coverage of the march added a new twist. Its afternoon report on the rally made no attempt at a crowd size estimate. The New York Times, as far as I can tell, did no story of its own.
The Sunday evening event noted earlier was a pro-life vigil Mass, where the crowd size was relatively verifiable. The homilist, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, took the opportunity to point a finger at the establishment press, and to take note of the youthful energy driving the pro-life movement:
Sunday’s New York Times led with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a three-term Democrat representing Tucson, in an assassination attempt in which six others were killed, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl.
The suspect in custody is 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. The suspect’s Myspace and Youtube pages are filled with crazed syllogisms, dominated by thoughts of mind control. Loughner also recommending a video of an American flag being burned, and is evidently an atheist.
Not exactly the profile of a Sarah Palin fan, right? But that didn’t stop the Times from imposing a “violent rhetoric” template on its front-page Sunday story by Congressional reporter Carl Hulse and Tea Party beat reporter Kate Zernike, “Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics.” The unasked for and unprofessional speculation of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik (who used the term "vitriol" while going after conservative talk radio and TV) also featured high in the Times's recounting, while Times reporters linked to Palin's now-infamous campaign "target map" from March 2010.
The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others at a neighborhood meeting in Arizona on Saturday set off what is likely to be a wrenching debate over anger and violence in American politics.
"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story" must be the motto at Reuters, or at least of the wire service's Richard Cowan, three other contributors, and Editor Jackie Frank.
Cowan's late Sunday afternoon dispatch (HT to an e-mailer) is caricature-driven collection of cliches, half-truth, outright myths, and totally predictable oversights. There's the racial slurs before the heath care vote fabrication. There's an attempt to declare Sarah Palin unfit for the presidency.
And of course, there's the deliberately avoided recall of rhetoric from President Obama (here and here, for warm-ups) that could certainly be interpreted by unstable people as a call to violence, as well as total omission of the left's anger just days ago over Gabrielle Giffords's refusal to back Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader and the leftist inclinations of deeply troubled accused murderer Jared Lee Loughner.
But that stuff's not important when there are disliked right-wingers to pile onto while the piling-on opportunity is there:
Capitalizing on the shooting in Tucson this afternoon, CBS furthered the lunatic left rhetoric that Sarah Palin was somehow responsible for this heinous crime. The theory being that the shooter was inspired by Palin’s midterm election map, which featured Gabrielle Giffords as a potential target.
“…critics of Sarah Palin have already drawn a link between the shooting and the fact that the former Alaska governor put Giffords on a "target list" of lawmakers Palin wanted to see unseated in the midterm elections.”
It’s a little concerning that CBS would fall for such a disgusting attempt to point the finger at Sarah Palin, a theory being perpetrated by liberal bloggers. But more concerning are the critics being cited in the article – commenters on Palin’s Facebook page. Impressive bit of journalism.
The first comment reads:
"What a hypocrite you are. You targeted this woman - literally with a target on her district - one of your freaky Fox followers hunted her down - and now you try to distance yourself from blame."
A man is arrested and detained for months without any charges being brought against him. He is being held in deplorable conditions, forced to endure extreme physical and mental distress. He is exposed to the same ‘torture’ tactics that other enemies of the United States have allegedly suffered through.
So why isn’t the Commander-in-Chief taking heat for this travesty of justice?
Because this isn’t the Bush administration.
Firedoglake blogger, David House, has been detailing a recent visit with Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, at a military prison at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia (h/t Weasel Zippers). Of course, House bemoaned the ‘inhumane’ treatment of Manning, describing the toll that months of solitary confinement have taken on his physical and mental well-being.
AFP ran with the story and made it clear that they had no intention of offering a balanced report. In fact, viewing the headline, one would never know that the story came from an extremely liberal website, reading more as fact than a slanted accusation.
On Friday, all three network morning shows expressed sympathy for protestors in London rioting against college tuition increases, despite a Thursday attack on the royal family. While CBS's Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, and NBC's Today all reported on security concerns over Prince Charles and wife Camilla, each broadcast also lamented Britain's "drastic new budget cuts."
At the top of the Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "There have been these protesters in London for a couple weeks now because tuition hikes for college tuition skyrocketing there." Fill-in co-host Rebecca Jarvis then chimed in by arguing on behalf of the rioters: "Of course they pay very high taxes there so they expect something for those taxes." Later, in an 8:00AM ET hour news brief, anchor Jeff Glor pointed out: "In the last fiscal year, the government spent $60 million on household costs for the royals....But, the government still voted to triple university tuition to $14,000 a year to help control the deficit."
If they [Republicans] think it's okay to raise taxes for the embattled middle class because they're gonna pout if we don't give more money to millionaires, it really is time for people to take up pitchforks.
Phrased differently, McCaskill essentially claimed that if Republicans refuse to support the class warfare codified by Democratic tax proposals, a populist revolt would be an appropriate response on the parts of the American people.
Tea Party members, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan wants you to know that he’s just like you.
Except of course that he’s not a pyromaniacal lunatic hell-bent on destroying America.
That’s how the MSNBC anchor leaned forward, no, make that leaped, into insanity during a November 3 segment with Nicolle Wallace. The former George W. Bush staffer told Ratigan that, like him, Tea Partiers who fueled last night's electoral shakeup were furious at the direction of the country the past few years.
On the eve of a historic midterm election upheaval, President Barack Obama tried to walk back his gratuitous slap at Americans who oppose his radical progressive agenda. "I probably should have used the word 'opponents' instead of 'enemies' to describe political adversaries," Obama admitted Monday. "Probably"?
Here is an ironclad certainty: It's too little too late for the antagonist-in-chief to paper over two years of relentless Democratic incivility and hate toward his domestic "enemies." Voters have spoken: They've had enough. Enough of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner's rhetorical abuse. Enough of his feints at bipartisanship. Whatever the final tally, this week's turnover in Congress is a GOP mandate for legislative pugilism, not peace. Voters have had enough of big government meddlers "getting things done." They are sending fresh blood to the nation's Capitol to get things undone.
Democrats have worked overtime attempting to paint Tea Party-backed candidates as politically extreme, personally nutty, or both. But in most cases it doesn't appear to be working, and it's even backfired in Kentucky's Senate race, a Newsweek writer admitted yesterday.
Although the Rally to Restore Sanity definitely had a decidedly liberal tinge to it, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart did his level best to ensure his official message was that of "a pox on both your houses" to raised voices on the Right and Left in cable news media.
Of course the thin-skinned host of MSNBC's "Countdown" won't have any of it, leaving liberal fans of both Stewart and Olbermann torn between the two.
While Stelter and Tavernise nailed the political tone as "overwhelmingly liberal," the rally's agenda didn't stop them and other Times reporters from enjoying the rally both in print and through live blogging while hyping the numbers for the gathering held as a response to one held two months ago in D.C., "Restoring Honor," sponsored by Fox News host Glenn Beck.
The print edition story ran with a photo of Stewart and Stephen Colbert with Yusuf Islam, the former singer Cat Stevens, who supported the deadly fatwa against novelist Salman Rushdie in 1989 (more on that later).
Part circus, part satire, part parade, the crowds that flooded the National Mall Saturday for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear made it a political event like no other.
It was a Democratic rally without a Democratic politician, featuring instead two political satirists, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert, who used the stage to rib journalists and fear-mongering politicians, and to argue with each other over the songs “Peace Train” and “Crazy Train.”
Though at no point during the show did either man plug a candidate, a strong current of political engagement coursed through the crowd, which stretched several long blocks west of the Capitol, an overwhelming response to a call by Mr. Stewart on his “Daily Show.” The turnout clogged traffic and filled subway trains and buses to overflow.
Milling around the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally today, I couldn't quite figure out the point. The acoustics were so bad also that you could barely hear anything unless you were right by the stage. Straining here and there, I was able to catch a smattering of dialogue but Colbert and Stewart really could not be heard during most of the time in the various locations I was at. Not being able to hear anything didn't seem to bother most of the attendees however, most of whom were wandering around looking at many of the funny (and attempted funny) signs.
Not all of the signs were trying to be funny, however. Most of the ire of the angry demonstrators seemed to be directed against Glenn Beck and Fox News. There were also a few anti-Republican signs as well, including at least one of Republican politicians Sarah Palin, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor with Adolph Hitler mustaches alongside conservative talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
Good Morning America's Claire Shipman on Friday used no liberal labels in a friendly piece to promote Jon Stewart's rally in Washington, Saturday. Yet, on August 28, she warned viewers about the "right-wing" Glenn Beck and his protest in the nation's capital.
Shipman credulously asserted of Stewart and fellow comedian Stephen Colbert: "But what are we to make of a couple of comedians who say they have no political agenda drawing huge crowds to Washington a few days before elections?"
The ABC journalist simply parroted Stewart's claims: "[Stewart] insists he's not the answer to Glenn Beck. He's been talking about a different message." Even though Shipman reported that liberals such as singer Sheryl Crow and actor Sam Waterston will be attending, she never used ideological labels.
Journalists are practically giddy in anticipation of this weekend's Jon Stewart rally on the National Mall. The Rally's staff has recieved more than 1,000 requests for press credentials for the event. Only 400 were given out.
Those statistics underscore just how much the media loves Stewart's leftist message (and it is a leftist message). For some perspective, consider that the September 12, 2010 Tea Party on the Mall received roughly 150 requests for press credentials, according to FreedomWorks, which sponsored the event.