MSNBC on Monday featured the Nation magazine’s sports editor to rant against Rush Limbaugh as a "unreconstructed racist," a "swine" and also lobby that the conservative host shouldn’t be allowed to purchase the St. Louis Rams football team. Morning Meeting guest host Contessa Brewer completely ignored the left-wing affiliation of Dave Zirin and identified him only as "sports writer." [Audio available here.]
Raging against the idea that the Limbaugh might soon own a football team, Zirin asserted that the issue is "about having somebody in an NFL owners box who [players] know views them with naked and open contempt because of the color of their skin." He fumed that the radio star is someone who "has made hundreds of millions now on the issues of hatred and division."
Zirin even used a dubious, disputed quote that he assigned to Limbaugh: "[Players] don't want an owner who has said slavery was a good thing because it made the streets safer." A Google News search finds this supposed comment attributed to the host: "I mean, let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."
A New York Times article by Nick Bunkley on Friday targeted for print on Saturday about the status of contract talks between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers piqued my interest in a previously neglected but important matter.
Ford and the UAW are apparently close to an agreement. In describing what Ford workers are being asked to give up, Bunkley wrote the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ford executives have said the company needs more concessions to keep G.M. and Chrysler from having an advantage.
.... The deal that U.A.W. workers at Ford approved in March got rid of cost-of-living pay increases and performance bonuses through 2010 and eliminated the jobs bank program, which allows laid-off workers to continue receiving most of their pay. In addition to those concessions, G.M. and Chrysler workers agreed to work-rule changes and a provision that bars them from striking.
What? From press coverage at the time, you would have thought that unionized GM and Chrysler workers made ginormous, humungous, unprecedented sacrifices to enable their companies to get through bankruptcy and to emerge as lean, mean vehicle-making machines.
If there was any question which side of the ideological blogosphere a lot of the inside-the-beltway media establishment go to regularly, Politico may have just cleared that up.
In an Oct. 11 Politico story headlined "Think Progress makes its mark," which was the top story on its Web site that evening, Daniel Libit paid reverence to the left-wing Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog.
"Can a liberal blog launched in the midst of the Bush era - a blog that once obsessed over Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and the outing of Valerie Plame - still make its mark in the age of Obama?" Libit wrote. "In the case of Think Progress, the answer so far is yes."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer wondered about negative political fallout from President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win: “one European commentator who said ‘will this become a poison chalice?’ In other words, is this going to hurt the President rather than help him?...is this going to widen the part of partisan divide rather than bring people together?”
Schieffer spoke with Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, who asked: “Clearly a surprise to everyone, including the White House, for the President to be awarded this less than nine months into his term. And already some people are questioning whether he deserves it.” Schieffer expressed that skepticism: “My first reaction was, ‘what?!....It’s almost as if they’re saying ‘we’re giving you the Nobel Peace Prize for winning the election.’...I can’t recall anybody who won this prize for his aspirations. People usually get it for results.”
During 11AM CBS breaking news coverage of the President’s acceptance speech, anchor Jeff Glor got more Scheiffer reaction: “Is this more a commentary on the current administration and the current president or the previous administration, Bob?” Schieffer replied: “It’s almost as if the committee today was giving Barack Obama a prize for not being George Bush.”
Following the talking points of the Democratic Party, at the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared a win for health care legislation being pushed by Montana Senator Max Baucus: “President Obama’s health care plan gets a green light from the Congressional Budget Office, as a key bill not only pays for itself, but actually saves billions.”
Rodriguez later introduced a report on the CBO estimates by declaring: “This morning Democratic leaders are cheering a report that shows that the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill actually saves money.” Correspondent Nancy Cordes followed: “The new bill would actually reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion according to the new estimates. The price tag, $829 billion over ten years, would be fully paid for, and then some, by an excise tax on top dollar insurance plans, by fees on drug makers and medical device manufacturers, and more.”
During the segment, an on-screen headline read: “One Step Closer? New Health Care Estimate Raises White House Hopes.” In her report, Cordes cited Jonathan Cohn, the senior editor of the liberal magazine, The New Republic, who praised the bill: “You’re average family will have security they don’t have, they won’t – they’ll know they won’t lose their insurance if they lose their job. If they need financial assistance paying for their health care, that will be available to them.”
Today on "Hardball," host Chris Matthews sought to portray President Barack Obama as being on the rebound from a beating in his approval rating during "all the crazy stuff of the summer" such as "the tea parties, the birthers, the nutbags out there" who drove up Obama's disapproval numbers.
But the single poll he cited was dismissed as an outlier by guests Charlie Cook of Cook Political Report fame. John Harris of The Politico also agreed with Cook's assessment.
So while chuckleheads like Jesse Jackson and Senator Roland Burris hilariously blame George Bush for Chicago losing the 2016 Olympics, whiny columnists like Mike Lupica are up in arms that conservatives might be gloating over President Obama’s big screw-up. Apparently laughing at all this is somehow anti-American, because Obama is our President, and he was doing this for all of us.
You know… kind of like when Bush was trying win a war in Iraq – and all those left wingers stood behind him.
And that’s my first point: The right has every right to gloat over Obama’s humiliation, because, thankfully, NO ONE DIED.
In a display of the ever lowering standards by which the media judge Barack Obama’s presidency, on Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer downplayed the President’s failed Olympic bid: “this is going to come as a surprise to some but the world did not end Friday....a lot of people thought it might if the President flew to Copenhagen and failed to bring home the Olympics.”
Schieffer went on to chastize those who speculated that Obama would take a political hit for such a failure: “Washington spent most of the week gnashing its teeth about whether he should have gone. Republicans accused him of dereliction of duty. Some in his own party shuddered at the possible humiliation of it all. Frankly, it didn’t seem all that big a deal to me.” He added: “I said at one point that if a trip to Copenhagen took his presidency over the side then it wasn’t much of a presidency.” Schieffer was referring to his defense of Obama’s trip on last week’s Early Show.
Wrapping up his end-of-the-show commentary, Schieffer argued: “If he wanted to give his hometown a boost, why not? Chicago is part of America the last time I looked.” He then sarcastically declared: “Anyway he’s back. Nothing happened. When I drove in this morning, the Washington Monument was still standing.” So as long as the nation’s capital isn’t crumbling to the ground, Obama is doing a fine job.
Reviewing September's detailed sales results in the car business carried at the Wall Street Journal, three things stick out immediately:
The awful performance at General Motors -- down 45% from September 2008.
Chrysler's even worse performance -- down "only" 42% from September 2008, but a mind-boggling 61% from September 2007 (62,197 in 2009, 156,799 in 2007)
Ford's tiny decline of only 6% from a year ago, despite the end of the Cash For Clunkers program in August.
No other major maker had a year-over-year September decline that was even half of that seen at GM or Chrysler.
Yet the press, while beginning to acknowledge serious problems at the companies, both of which were first bailed out by the government and then taken through government-orchestrated, contract law-violating, UAW-favoring bankruptcies (GM discussed here, Chrysler here), still will not entertain the possibility, despite the evidence, that consumers are shunning them because of their bailed-out status and their heavy-handed tactics in bankruptcy.
What follows are excerpts from three reports that covered September's industry results.
A week after aggressively defending school children in New Jersey literally singing Barack Obama’s praises, on MSNBC on Friday, anchor Norah O’Donnell once again expressed her support of the song and went after critics: “I think this is sort of a silly issue, I do, I’ll just say that, you know, and I’m not an ideologue. And I got hammered in the blogs for making that comment.”
As NewsBusters’ Scott Whitlock reported on September 24, O’Donnell argued with conservative columist Tim Carney, seeing no problem with the disturbing song: “I mean, this is children. They're singing a song...If you can make your point again about why this is indoctrination, political indoctrination to praise your President...I remember certainly in elementary school when Ronald Reagan was President and we sent him jelly beans.”
On Friday, during MSNBC’s weekly New York Times Edition program, O’Donnell explained to liberal New York Times columnist Nick Kristof:
Nick, you know, there was – this was something that was on the Right that got a lot of play, which was these school students who were singing a song about President Barack Hussein Obama. It was during black history month, and those on the Right, in conservatives circles, have used that to say they’re now indoctrinating kids, essentially, in schools....I just wonder what it is then, when we can’t allow our children to praise a president or sing about a president, whether they’re a Republican or a Democrat or an independent or even people of different religions.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez speculated on the impact of President Obama’s personal appeal for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Chicago: “President Obama arrives in Copenhagen, carrying the torch for Chicago as the best candidate for the 2016 summer Olympics...Will he bring home the gold?” When the announcement came, Chicago was immediately eliminated from contention.
In the report that followed, correspondent Sheila MacVicar declared: “For this Olympic bid, it’s all about celebrity star power and supporters of Chicago’s bid hope President Obama will be the biggest star of all.” An on-screen headline read: “Chicago Hope; Obama Makes Case For 2016 Olympics. ” MacVicar fawned over the first couple’s emotional appeal: “ For Michelle Obama, a very personal story about her own father, who struggled with multiple sclerosis...And from the President, a heartfelt pitch for his adopted hometown.”
MacVicar concluded her report: “And that if Chicago does take it in a very tight race, analysts here say they’ll be calling it the ‘Obama effect.’” Apparently that effect was overrated.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith painted a glowing portrait of the Clinton administration while previewing a new book on the former president: "During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the nation prospered, he worked to broker peace in the Middle East and in the Balkans, championed welfare reform, and signed the NAFTA free trade agreement."
The book, entitled The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With The President was written by Clinton friend and historian Taylor Branch, who recorded a series of 79 conversations with the president while in office.
After listing Clinton’s supposed accomplishments, Smith lamented: "But his presidency was marred by numerous investigations, a lawsuit brought by Paula Jones charging sexual harassment, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal." Smith later asked Branch about the scandals: "What was he [Clinton] like during that time?" Branch responded sympathetically: "He talked about it seldom and painfully....He said ‘I cracked’....A little later he said he felt sorry for himself, that he thought he had beaten down all the scandals and then they would keep reviving and coming back....he just said this ‘it’s never going to stop.’" Smith repeated: "Never going to stop."
In a Chicago Tribune article today that appears to open as an attempt at humor but quickly devolves into nastiness, NPR-dependent radio host and author Garrison Keillor, among other things, attacks social conservatives, blames them and not those who have brought legal actions for years-long fights over keeping religious symbols right where they are, and -- while conveniently forgetting that Republican Mitt Romney gave us the Massachusetts disaster known as CommonwealthCare that current Bay State Democratic governor Deval Patrick considers the model for ObamaCare -- ponders the pros and cons of cutting Republicans "out of the health-care system entirely."
There are few if any indications in the last 2/3 of his column that Keillor was attempting anything resembling humor. If he was, he failed.
Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on this morning's edition of "Fox & Friends" to discuss how the mainstream media is downplaying or ignoring ACORN's history of legal trouble over voter fraud, all while casting the liberal community organizer as the victim of conservatives and Republicans.
Fox News anchor Steve Doocy had Mr. Bozell explain the inaccuracies in a September 23 USA Today article.
You can watch the video by clicking the play button in the embed at the right. A transcript appears below the page break:
Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer shrugged off any concerns over President Obama traveling to Copenhagen to lobby for the 2016 Olympics in Chicago: "I mean, being associated with the Olympics has always been good politics for presidents....I don’t think it’s going to make any difference to the success or failure of the Obama presidency."
Co-host Harry Smith agreed with Schieffer’s assessment: "Fourteen hours on an airplane will not make or break his presidency, I think we can go along with that." However, Smith still worried about the political fallout: "But doesn’t this seem awfully risky for this president to do right now?...we’ve got Iran coming to a boiling point, Afghanistan waiting for a decision on how many troops should or should not be sent there, health care bubbling back on the back burner. Does he have time to do this?"
Such skepticism from Smith was certainly a change from his declaration on Monday’s Evening News: "The Olympic motto is ‘swifter, higher, stronger.’ Apparently, President Obama is taking that to heart. In a change of plans today, the President decided he will go to Denmark to try to win the 2016 summer games for his hometown."
In a great NewsBusters post early this morning, Rusty Weiss wondered how much local media coverage there has been of ACORN's suspension of services, and focused on potential vote fraud in Albany and Troy, New York.
Here's a question local reporters looking for an angle should be asking, even in the somewhat unlikely event they can't find anything corrupt or criminal at the ACORN office in their town: How effective is the organization's outreach?
Based on what little I've learned, a more legitimate question might be, "Is ACORN's so-called outreach really just a facade to conceal other not well-known activities it really considers more important"?
The issue first occurred to me when I read a September 18 report by WCPO in Cincinnati (WCPO apparently stands for "We Constantly Promote Obama") about the office's decision to suspend services (bolds are mine):
Monday’s CBS Early Show touted a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll about American cultural attitudes, with CBSNews.com’s Cali Carlin asking co-host Maggie Rodriguez one of the survey questions: "Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie or Beyonce...Who would you want to swap lives with for a week?" Rodriguez immediately responded: "Hands down, Michelle Obama."
Carlin happily declared that Rodriguez, who had not yet seen the poll results, was "in step with mainstream America." Carlin further explained: "26% of women we surveyed said they’d want to switch with Michelle Obama. In fact overall, Washington beat out Hollywood, surprisingly. So both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton beat out Angelina Jolie and Beyonce."
The poll had a similar question for men, as Vanity Fair online editor Michael Hogan asked co-host Harry Smith: "Okay, so the choices are George Clooney, Bruce Springsteen, Barack Obama, or Tom Brady. So what do you think?" Smith went the Hollywood route: "George Clooney... I mean that’s who I would switch places with. I mean, I know he wants to switch places with me, obviously." Rodriguez joked: "We could arrange that."
The headline and the first paragraph from this Friday Wall Street Journal report by Josh Mitchell and Stephen Power reads like a bad joke Jay Leno's writers would have discarded, because no one would believe it. The second paragraph isn't much better:
Gore-Backed Car Firm Gets Large U.S. Loan
A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.
The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.
That's a combined total of just shy of a billion dollars going to two companies currently making toys for the wealthy under circumstantially suspect conditions.
Appearing on the September 28 "Fox & Friends," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher mocked the New York Times's admission that it was "slow off the mark" in reporting on the recent ACORN prostitution sting video scandal (audio available here):
It's just like [ABC's] Charlie Gibson days after the fact saying in an interview that he has no idea what ACORN is all about, that he was out yachting. These people just don't get it. When we say that they live in their little world somewhere between the corridors of Washington, D.C., and New York City, it's true.... When they see the real world, they see it through the lens of those right-wing zealots up to no good on Fox television.
"Fox & Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Bozell how the Times, which most certainly monitors cable news networks for breaking news, "how could they not be aware of those undercover videos?" Bozell answered:
The Washington Post on Friday buried the announcement by Douglas Wilder, a popular Democratic ex-governor of Virginia, to not endorse his party’s current nominee for that office, Creigh Deeds. The Post placed the story, with the bland headline, "Wilder Declines to Endorse Anyone for Governor," below the fold in the Metro section.
In contrast, the Washington Times highlighted it on the front page, with the announcement: "Wilder to Deeds: That’s Not ‘Leadership.’" Over the last month, the Post has engaged in an aggressive campaign to play up a 20-year-old thesis by Republican candidate Bob McDonnell as supposedly anti-woman, producing story after story.
At the same time, the paper has repeatedly downplayed negative articles about Mr. Deeds. For instance, The Post minimized the endorsement of McDonnell by the powerful Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, a prominent organization in vote-rich Northern Virginia. On Thursday, the Post hid that story on B4 of the Metro page.
If you haven't been under a rock the last few weeks, or relying on the mainstream media as your sole source of news, you are likely aware of some of the questionable circumstances surrounding the organization Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
A pair of intrepid investigative reporters, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, with the help of Andrew Breitbart, made it possible for the public to be aware of these practices by ACORN. However, the embattled organization, in a retaliatory maneuver, has filed a suit against O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart. Breitbart appeared on Fox News Channel's Sept. 24 "The O'Reilly Factor" and responded to the suit.
"So, all I can see is that this lawsuit is an attempt to stifle free speech and the First Amendment and an attempt to make sure that the American people don't see the rest of the tapes and there are more tapes," Breitbart said.
MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell on Thursday appeared mystified as to why anyone would have a problem with New Jersey school children being led in a song praising Barack Obama. The February 2009 video contained these lyrics: "He said we must be fair today! Equal work means equal pay! Barack Hussein Obama! He said, red yellow, black or white, all are equal in his sight! Barack Hussein Obama!"
She complained to conservative columnist Tim Carney, "I mean, this is children. They're singing a song...If you can make your point again about why this is indoctrination, political indoctrination to praise your President." The MSNBC News Live guest host also dismissed, "I remember certainly in elementary school when Ronald Reagan was President and we sent him jelly beans." Carney quickly quipped "Did you sing a song praising the 1981 Kemp/Roth tax cuts? ‘Cause we sure didn't."
After Carney pointed out that the line about equal pay for equal work is a specific policy endorsement, O’Donnell attacked, "Oh, you don't believe in equal pay for equal work?" The quick-on-his-feet Carney again shot back, "I believe in equal pay. I would love to make equal pay to you ladies, but I don't."
Enraged over Republican opposition to ObamaCare, on The Ed Show on MSNBC Wednesday, host Ed Schultz screamed at viewers: "The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse! They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don’t have anything for her."
The woman Schultz was referring to was a relative of a woman who asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor a question at a health care town hall in Virginia. Cantor replied to the woman, Patricia Churchill, by mentioning charitable care. After playing the question and Cantor’s response, Schultz launched into a diatribe: "This is a classic, because when you present the Republicans and the obstructionists with a real-life scenario, they don’t have an answer.... they’re great at holding up the socialism, the communism, the Marxism, all kinds of ’isms, but they don’t have an answer for that woman...Americans, you can’t trust Eric Cantor!"
Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared this morning on the only major network President Obama neglected in Sunday's morning show press blitz, the Fox News Channel. During his appearance, Bozell argued that President Obama is "lying with disturbing regularity," that the media are not calling him on it, and that Obama's press strategy is not working in building support for his policies, despite a media biased in his favor.
Asked by "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy if the president's Sunday morning show blitz was fruitful, Bozell answered in the negative, arguing that Obama is turning off the audience he's trying to win over:
What's settling in is Obama fatigue. The man is giving the same speech over and over and over and over again, and now he has to go on five networks to find an audience, cumulative audience, because the audience just isn't there. And the audience that is listening is being turned off.
As to why Obama refused to go on Fox, Bozell argued that it was because unlike the other networks with those networks' generally softball questions, "he's going to get a serious question or two" on Fox.
Bozell also noted a major contrast with "The Great Communicator," President Ronald Reagan:
Exulting in the "awesome train wreck" that was former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (Texas) first appearance on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," (DWTS) Newsweek's Holly Bailey spewed vials of venom in her September 22 post at the magazine's The Gaggle blog.
Her invective seems more befitting the pen keyboard of a leftist blogger than an ostensibly balanced journalist:
In a somewhat schizophrenic report on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed President Obama is: "still the darling of the international community. Warmly welcomed by a world that grew weary of President Bush’s brash go-it-alone style." But also admitted: "But with scant progress on a long his of issues, the question now is what does he have to show for it?"
Anchor Katie Couric opened the segment by asking Reid: "Can the President be anything other than the center of attention? Can he do more with that?" Reid replied: "He sure would like to be, Katie. You know, at every international summit he has attended he has been the most popular person in the room. But now many people are asking what good is popularity if it doesn’t lead to concrete results?" After denouncing President Bush’s "brash style," Reid praised Obama for his "sharp departure" which " has recommitted the United States to working with the U.N. and engaging the world."
Last Wednesday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis promised that her organization would conduct a "total audit," and would name an independent auditor by Friday ("within 48 hours"). Later, it said it would do so yesterday.
The group finally acted today, in totally underwhelming fashion. We're not going to get a "total audit" after all. Instead, there's going to be an "internal investigation," and it will be conducted by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.
If this were a Republican group, or if the press were doing its job, this change in mission would be correctly labeled a watered-down cop-out. Instead, the Associated Press's Sharon Theimer played along with it and made no reference to ACORN's high-minded promises last week.