The Seattle Times compiles what it calls "The Favor Factory," which it calls "A database of lawmakers, earmarks, and campaign giving."
One noteworthy congressman in the Favor Factory is Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA; picture at right is currently at his home page).
Moran's Favors Factory page for 2008 lists 29 earmarks totaling $40.6 million, and over $890,000 in capaign contributions from earmark recipients.
Recall that Nancy Pelosi promised "Fiscal Restraint If Democrats Win" in a July 2006 Wall street Journal interview about the congressional elections that would be taking place four months later (link is to cato.org, which excerpted the now unavailable WSJ report). She also told the Journal:
“Personally, myself, I’d get rid of all of them,” she said. “None of them is worth the skepticism, the cynicism the public has… and the fiscal irresponsibility of it.”
Rep. Moran begged to differ just one month earlier, using language he would hopefully avoid around the second-graders with whom he is pictured above (actual offensive four-letter word is at link), as reported by a local metro DC community newspaper, the Sun Gazette:
In what was an otherwise critical story about President Obama signing an earmark-laden spending bill despite promising an end to such pork barrel projects, on Wednesday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid decided to mention a modest earmark by former Idaho Senator Larry Craig: "And it's not just Democrats, about 40% of the earmarks were inserted by Republicans. Even retired lawmakers. Remember Republican Senator Larry Craig, arrested in a bathroom sting? He retired, but his legacy lives on through a million dollars in earmarks for Idaho." If Reid wanted to cite much more egregious Republican offenders he could have picked Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who had $114 million in pet projects, or Missouri Senator Kit Bond, who had $86 million. Of course, neither of them were recently involved in sex scandals.
Other than the Craig mention, the piece was unusually tough on Obama, as anchor Katie Couric began the broadcast by declaring: "Also tonight, he campaigned against earmarks, but today President Obama signed a bill loaded with them behind closed doors." Reid reported: "The last thing the President wanted was a high-profile ceremony as he signed a bill stuffed with pork barrel spending...behind closed doors, it was, critics say, business as usual, as the President quietly signed a $410 billion domestic spending bill. 1,100 pages loaded with about 8,500 pet projects known as earmarks, inserted by members of Congress without legislative review...Some are the handiwork of former lawmakers who now work for the President. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has $6.5 million in projects for Illinois."
Los Angeles's NBC television affiliate must not have gotten the memo telling them that they should not utter the name of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), lest anyone reach the "wrong" conclusions.
NBC Los Angeles is the only media outlet I have found thus far to identify ACORN's presence in a story about a "disruptive display of disobedience" by members the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) at a school board meeting Tuesday (the story credit is to "Associated Press/NBC Los Angeles," but as you will see later, I found no AP story containing an ACORN reference).
Here is the story headline that the Google News crawler apparently originally found:
During the 8:30AM EST half hour of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell introduced a fawning news brief on Michelle Obama’s first 50 days as First Lady: "In the seven weeks since the new President was inaugurated, the new glamorous First Lady has found her place in a glamorous world. Thalia Assuras has a look at Michelle Obama's successful new life." Assuras began her report: "Everyone wants an invitation to her parties. She's graced several magazine covers. Even Oprah is giving up a slice for the first time. She's the focus of fashionistas, those buff arms igniting commentary, and websites produce constant chatter."
Assuras went on to describe how Michellle Obama had surpassed other First Ladies: "Michelle Obama has created a stir like no other First Lady...Style watchers caution that all new First Ladies cause excitement, but Mrs. Obama is a celebrity who embodies a new generation...That thing, that polls show, produces more positives than recent First Ladies at the outset of past administrations."
Assuras spoke with Washington Post gossip columnist Amy Argetsinger, who exclaimed: "People are sort of reacting to her the way they would to a movie star...She's the youngest First Lady we've had in a while, but she's also got a charisma about her. She's got the height of a fashion model, she looks great in clothes. And, you know, there's kind of that Jackie O thing going on." Following Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal giving the Republican response to Barack Obama’s address to Congress last week, Argetsinger remarked about Jindal: "I found his [pyschotic killer Charles] Manson eyes disturbing."
At the top of the 8 a.m. EST hour of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming interview with John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain: "And young Mac attack. Senator McCain's daughter, Meghan, takes aim at conservative Ann Coulter and tells us about her post-election dating issues." Later, co-host Harry Smith opened the segment by declaring: "Senator John McCain's daughter, Meghan, has left the campaign trail and found herself working in the blogosphere as a writer for The Daily Beast. And on it she has written some tough things about Ann Coulter as well as her ongoing search for Mr. Right, or Mr. Far Right."
After Smith asked her about her "search for Mr. Far Right," he turned his attention to her recent criticism of conservative author Ann Coulter: "Well here's one of the things you wrote about Ann Coulter, who's been a guest on this program in the past, we had interesting conversations, ‘I straight up don't understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time. If figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off, then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well.’" McCain replied: "And I think it's hard for me to explain to my friends that are in their 20s, when these icons of the party say radical things. I have a friend that's Jewish. She made anti-Semitic comments. It's hard to defend-" Smith interjected: "The Jews need to be perfected and stuff like that." McCain replied: "Yeah, which obviously, I completely disagree with and think is crazy."
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen incorrectly declared: "Reversing course. President Obama lifts the ban on embryonic stem cell research today...But is the President going far enough?" During the later segment, co-host Maggie Rodriguez had to offer a correction: "And we should say, this under President Bush was not banned or illegal, except now we're getting federal funding."
The segment began with a report by correspondent Bill Plante: "...for those who believe that stem cells bring healing, there's no debate...Henry Strongin-Goldberg was sick with a rare blood disease that took his life when he was just 7...Henry's parents, Laurie Strongin and Allen Goldberg, believe their son's chance of survival ended when President George W. Bush signed an executive order in August, 2001 banning the federal government from funding embryonic stem cell research." Plante’s over 300-word report only gave only 21 of those words to critics, allowing David Prentice of the Family Research Council to mention: "In terms of scientific advances, I don't think we're going to see anything from this. This is more an ideological move."
Following Plante’s report, Rodriguez spoke with CBS News contributor Dr. Holly Phillips about the President’s decision: "In what kinds of diseases or ailments, specifically, do you think we may see advancements?" Phillips replied: "People are most excited about the neurologic illnesses, things like Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's...hopefully cure spinal cell injuries...hope in treating diabetes, heart disease, and even stroke. So really millions of people could be -- could be affected by this research." Phillips left out a recent case of embryonic stem cells causing cancer in an Israeli teenage boy.
Coverage of "tea party" protests in various cities around the country (this March 4 Pajamas Media press release, HT to FreeRepublic, cited 22 locations on February 27 and seven this weekend) has been sparse to non-existent, especially at major establishment media outlets.
Most notably, based on a seach on "tea party" (not in quotes) at its ap.org home page at about 10:00 a.m., there has been no coverage of this weekend's or last weekend's protests by the Associated Press, the self-described "essential global news network":
At the end of Thursday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid reported important breaking news about President Obama's graying hair: "...the rate at which President Obama is adding salt to his pepper is what’s surprising, even if his inner circle says ‘no big deal.’" Axelrod observed: "The gray seemed to be on him from the moment he took the oath. There was talk during the campaign that maybe he was dying his hair gray to look more seasoned, but his barber says bunk." He later concluded the report by declaring: "If there's any consolation for Mr. Obama, it's that gray equals gravitas, and a president can never have too much of that."
Perhaps a good example of the President’s "gravitas" would be the gift he gave to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during a diplomatic visit this week: a 25-DVD box set, including such films as E.T., The Wizard of Oz, and Star Wars. So far, neither CBS nor any of the networks or cable channels have covered this Obama gaffe.
During the 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC on Thursday, anchor Norah O’Donnell teased an upcoming segment on Rush Limbaugh and the Republican Party: "Coming up, is the party of Lincoln in danger of becoming the party of jell-o? Why conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh could be a liability for the Grand Old Party." O’Donnell was referring to an Newsweek article by columnist Jonathan Alter and later spoke to him about it: "I want to read from your piece. You write, 'everyone knows he has jumped the shark culturally, becoming a black-shirted joke even as he dominates the headlines. But it's worse than that for Republicans, Limbaugh has taken the great GOP calling card -- toughness -- and shredded it. The party of Lincoln is in danger of becoming the party jell-o.' Explain further."
Alter elaborated on his argument: "Okay. Norah, the great strength of the Republican Party for the last 75 years has been strength. The fact that they are a tough party and their rhetoric has been tough. They were tough against the New Deal. They were tough in a Cold War. They were tough on Monica Lewinsky. If you can't even stand-up to Rush Limbaugh, if the dittoheads come after you and you wilt and then apologize for perfectly legitimate criticism of a radio talk show broadcaster, how tough is that. You look wimpy, you look weak, you look whiney." According to Alter, by not denouncing Rush Limbaugh for being tough on Obama, the Republican Party is not being tough.
At the top of Wednesday’s 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "Well, the back and forth between Rush Limbaugh and RNC Chairman Michael Steele continues. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the GOP's approval is sinking fast, only 26% of those polled give the party a positive rating." O’Donnell spoke to Jennifer Skalka, editor of the blog Hotline On Call, and asked her about Rush: "Rush Limbaugh, today, really upped the ante, for the first time, saying he wants to challenge Barack Obama to a debate on his show...What's he doing? Is he walking into the trap that the Democrats, including President Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, set? Which is to try and anoint and make Rush Limbaugh the face of the Republican Party."
Skalka replied: "Well, you kind of get the feeling that Rush Limbaugh is enjoying being the face of the Republican Party, whether or not that hurts the chairman of the RNC and congressional Republican leaders, Rush Limbaugh is another big personality." O’Donnell followed Skalka by wondering: "But politically speaking, when we showed the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, that the party's approval ratings are 26%. And they've done polling that shows Rush Limbaugh is very unpopular with the independents. How does it hurt the Republican Party to have Rush Limbaugh as the face in many ways?"
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Lara Logan reported on the Obama administration’s effort to improve relations between the United States and Russia by abandoning a missile defense system proposed under the Bush administration: "It's become one of the most contentious issues dividing the U.S. and Russia. American plans to deploy a missile defense system on Russia's doorstep...The Obama administration's willingness to even open discussions on the issue is a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy under President Bush, who dismissed Russian objections. That dispute helped bring U.S.-Russian relations to their lowest point since the break-up of the Soviet Union nearly 20 years ago. Today the President made it clear he's already started to change that."
Rather than offer any criticism, Logan cited Steven Pifer of the left-leaning Brookings Institution, who declared: "It seems to me that when we're looking for issues on which we can signal to the Russians that we're prepared to be more flexible and listen to some of their concerns, missile defense is one." At the top of the broadcast, anchor Katie Couric teased the segment by describing Obama’s proposal as an "intriguing suggestion."
At the top of the 12PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage on Tuesday, anchor David Shuster spoke with Washington Post reporter Keith Richburg about the recent divide between Rush Limbaugh and RNC Chair Michael Steele: "Following the latest Republican Party civil war. A complete about-face by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, after calling Rush Limbaugh's show 'ugly' and 'incendiary.' Steele's now apologized in the face of a withering attack from the radio host." Richburg later observed: "You know, it's fascinating. It's like the circular firing squad. I mean, maybe this is what Rush had in mind when he was talking about ‘Operation Chaos.’"
Shuster later asked Richburg: "I mean, when Rush Limbaugh says that all Republicans want President Obama to fail. What's so difficult with somebody saying, 'no, no, we think that his policies may fail, but we don't want them to fail.' What's so difficult about that?" Richburg replied: "...it almost seems like the Republican Party needs a 'Sister Soljah' moment...It seems like the Republicans need somebody who's willing to stand up and say Rush doesn't represent all of the views of the Republican Party and then not rush and apologize to him...I'll bet you whoever does that could end up as the, you know, the nominee of the party or at least the major party."
During a 6-minute segment on the Saturday Early Show on CBS, co-host Erica Hill spoke with liberal journalists Mort Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S. News and World Report, and Steven Kornacki of the New York Observer, about the future of the Republican Party. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Leslie Sanchez was also part of the panel discussion, but was only allowed 44 seconds to speak during the segment, frequently being cut off by Hill, Zuckerman, and Kornacki.
Zuckerman described the future of the GOP this way: "Obama's popularity is surging and the support for the Republican Party is declining, in part because if there is any symbol of the Republican Party, it was Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, speaking after President Obama, and articulating a philosophy that was so completely discredited under the Bush administration that it's hard to imagine that they think they're going to do anything other than consolidate their support in a very small number of arch-conservative districts in the United States."
Kornacki shared a similar view, suggesting Republicans give up on conservative principles and simply follow Democratic Party ideals: "Republicans in Congress, the Republicans on talk radio, on Fox News, Republicans who are dominating the party and driving the philosophy of their party right now and they are denying reality...2008 was a revolt against the excesses of the Reagan philosophy, and the Republicans right now seem to be saying...'we got to click our shoes together three times, repeat our favorite Reagan catch phrase and poof, we're going to be good again.' It's not going to work. The public is looking for people who want government to take a leading, active, and aggressive role. Republicans aren't even speaking to that."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez spoke with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, who a year ago was named in a New York Times article implying she had an affair with then presidential candidate John McCain, an accusation Iseman flatly denied: "No, I did not. And four New York Times reporters, two editors, their entire institution, 200 people that they went out and sought to try and figure out if this was true or not, came back and said there's no there, there...They were calling friends and family and colleagues and former staffers, it was just -- people I'd hired and fired at my firm, it was nuts. It was just unbelievable...They became so invested in this that they couldn't walk away...this was just out of control, they just could not, for some reason, walk away."
While Iseman detailed how absurd the Times’ accusations were, Rodriguez still worked to give the paper the benefit of the doubt: "So everybody believed that you had an affair with him, even though the article, according to the Times, didn't mean to imply that and certainly didn't prove that, all of a sudden you were that girl?...You sued the New York Times, they printed a note to the readers that said ‘we never intended to imply she was having an affair with him.’ Where do you think they went so wrong? Because they have sources and they did try to contact you. Where do you think the New York Times failed here?
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%."
There is a new group throwing its hat in the "reform the conservative movement" ring. They are called the Young Conservatives Coalition and they want to raise up a new generation of conservative leaders. Here is a snippet of how they describe themselves:
The YCC is an advocacy organization dedicated to leading the next generation of the conservative movement by organizing and mobilizing young professional conservatives across the country. The coalition seeks to answer two questions: 1.) What does it mean to be a conservative in the year 2009? and 2.) Who will lead the next generation of the conservative movement?
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."
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."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on conservative leader Benjamin Netanyahu being chosen as Israel’s prime minister: "Israel's president chose hardline Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu today to form a new Israeli government. As prime minister, Netanyahu will try to cobble together a coalition of right-wing parties. Such a government might dim hopes for peace with the Palestinians."
An article on the CBS News website went on to stress the importance of Netanyahu forming a moderate centrist government: "Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in a seeming about-face, indicated she might be willing to come on board a Netanyahu government. But Livni, a centrist, would certainly exact a high price: sharing the prime minister's job she so fervently sought with a reluctant Netanyahu. Should he balk, his alternative would be an unstable coalition of right-wingers sure to collide with the Obama administration and its ambitious plans for ending 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Later, the article stated: "With Livni out, Netanyahu might have little choice but to forge a coalition with nationalist and religious parties opposed to peacemaking with the Palestinians and Israel's other Arab neighbors."
Rick Sentelli's rant for the ages (transcript here) on CNBC's Squawk Box yesterday criticizing the recently passed stimulus package and the Obama administration's mortgage modification program was marred somewhat by the studio hosts. Though their tone was semi-humorous, it's telling that their instincts were to characterize the traders present at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as a "mob," and to assume that Santelli somehow controlled them ("putty in your hands"). When Santelli suggested a Chicago Tea Party, one of the hosts warned that Mayor Daley and the National Guard would be mobilized.
In October of last year, in a memorable exchange on the day that history may decide was when American free-market capitalism entered the point of no return, CNBC reporters seemed somewhat amused that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson had "put a (figurative) gun to the heads" of major bank CEOs to force them to accept government "investment."
Well if you don't mind my asking, will we see any reaction out of CNBC's studio folks to an example of real mob rule in the mortgage marketplace?
President Barack Obama's recent statement about his opposition to resurrecting the so-called Fairness Doctrine is a good first step, but shouldn't be the only step his administration takes to burying political censorship by the FCC for good, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist argued in a joint statement released today.
[click logo above at right to be directed to the Free Speech Alliance petition]
After all, liberal organizations and individuals like MoveOn.org, ACORN, John Podesta's Center for American Progress, House Energy and Commerce Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) have expressed their intention to silence talk radio by alternative regulatory means such as nebulous FCC "diversity" in ownership and "localism" requirements.
President Obama must make clear his opposition to those back-door regulations as well, Mr. Bozell declared:
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith opened the show by declaring: "As President Obama heads on his first foreign trip, some state governors are saying 'thanks, but no thanks' to the stimulus money, even in these desperate times. We'll ask one of them why." Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Republican South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and asked: "Even if it takes a while to get the money, how do you justify, let's say, not taking it to your constituents when in your state, for example, in December had the third highest unemployment rate in the country. Don't you need the money?"
After Sanford explained that he was opposed to the bill but may accept some of the funding, Rodriguez responded: "You say you're against it, but you still might take the money. Do you realize how some people might think that you're putting ideology ahead of the interests of your constituents?" He began to reply: "Well, I'd say it's the reverse. If we take the money -- in other words, I've said -- I've made my ideological stand, saying this is a bad idea-" Rodriguez interrupted: "But if you're so against it, why take the money?"
"Well, the saints might go marching into New Orleans, but the scientists are marching right on out. A group of more than two thousand biologists have decided NOT to hold their 2011 annual meeting in the Big Easy," "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric noted at the open of her February 18 video blog entry.
Couric proceeded to turn a biologists convention's PR stunt into evidence that Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) is an enemy of the "scientific community.":
The reason? Louisiana has a law that allows teachers to use supplemental materials in science class - things other than the state approved curriculum. Republican-up-and-comer Bobby Jindal signed it last summer after it passed the state legislature with overwhelming support.
The scientific community says the law is nothing more than a free pass for the teaching of creationism, and that religion has no place in a biology class.
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 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."