On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer fretted over health care reform protesters legally carrying guns: "A man at a pro-health care reform rally...wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip....there are questions about whether this has racial overtones....white people showing up with guns."Brewer failed to mention the man she described was black.
Following Brewer’s report, which occurred on the Morning Meeting program, host Dylan Ratigan and MSNBC pop culture analyst Toure discussed the supposed racism involved in the protests. Toure argued: "...there is tremendous anger in this country about government, the way government seems to be taking over the country, anger about a black person being president....we see these hate groups rising up and this is definitely part of that." Ratigan agreed: "...then they get the variable of a black president on top of all these other things and that’s the move – the cherry on top, if you will, to the accumulated frustration for folks."
Not only did Brewer, Ratigan, and Toure fail to point out the fact that the gun-toting protester that sparked the discussion was black, but the video footage shown of that protester was so edited, that it was impossible to see that he was black. The man appeared at a health care rally outside of President Obama’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, Arizona.
The news isn't just that self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals nationwide. That's old hat. The big news from Gallup is that conservatives outnumber liberals in every state in the union, including supposedly uberliberal Vermont and Massachusetts.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning correspondent Martha Teichner touted President Obama’s latest PR blitz to promote health care reform: "For the third time in five days, Barack Obama used the presidential bully pulpit on behalf of what he’s now calling health insurance reform. No more letting the angry opposition control the agenda."
Teichner dismissed that "angry opposition" by declaring: "Here’s a question. Do they even know what’s in the bills currently being considered by Congress? Do you?" Teichner and two liberal supporters of the Obama health care plan proceeded to educate viewers as to what was being proposed.
She spoke with former head of the left-wing group People for the American Way, Ralph Neas, now CEO of the supposedly "non-partisan" National Coalition on Health Care that is pushing for reform. In addition, Teichner spoke with University of North Carolina Professor Jonathan Oberlander, who in a July 22 article for the liberal British newspaper The Guardian wrote: "The Obama administration is pushing Congress to enact health reform legislation this year. And against all odds, Obama may pull it off....Obama’s election, after all, is a reminder that history is not always repeated. Sometimes it is made."
In an August 14 report appearing on the front page of the paper's August 15 print edition ("Health Debate Fails to Ignite Obama’s Web"), Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times (pictured at right) gave readers a fairly accurate impression, while avoiding the word, of activism turning into apathy in Barack Obama's DNC- and White House-orchestrated Organizing for America (OFA) effort.
While Zeleny's report and detailed work came out of Iowa, his key finding is intended to be a national temperature gauge: "But if a week’s worth of events are any measure here in Iowa, it may not be so easy to reignite the machine that overwhelmed Republicans a year ago."
That's why it's odd, to say the least, that Zeleny ignored the results of the nationwide reignition attempt that occurred and largely failed this past week, namely its "Office Visits for Health Reform." In fact, there are some signs that "Office Visits" did OFA's cause more harm than good.
Here are some key paragraphs from Zeleny's report:
On MSNBC Friday, anchor John Harwood spoke with New York Times Week in Review editor Sam Tanenhaus about the health care debate, wondering: "...you know an awful lot about the patron saint of modern conservatism William F. Buckley. What do you suppose Bill Buckley would think of the nature of the arguments that are being made against the Obama health care plan right now, death panels and all the rest?"
Harwood, hosting the 2:00PM ET weekly New York Times Edition broadcast, was asking about Tanenhaus’s upcoming book, ‘The Death of Conservatism.’ Tanenhaus argued: "Well, you know, one of the great contributions Bill Buckley made to conservatism was to move it toward the center. And one way he did that was to repudiate in a very forceful way what was then called the lunatic fringe."
At that time, Harwood interjected: "The John Birch Society." Tanenhaus continued: "And they weren’t necessarily a dangerous group, but what they did was discredit serious conservative arguments." He then made the comparison to the current health care debate: "...and we may see in the days ahead where serious responsible Republicans and conservative thinkers say if they’re going to make a forceful argument the country can accept, they’ll have to cut themselves off from this more extreme view."
Harwood concluded: "Well, it’s an interesting point. It’s – I don’t see right now anybody cutting off that extreme view all that much."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith teased an upcoming segment on dispelling myths about health care reform: "There’s so much anger, this vitriol that we see day after day in these town meetings across the country....We’re going to try and determine this morning whether or not some of these bold statements are, in fact, true or not."
Smith turned to Jonathan Cohn, senior editor of the left-wing magazine, The New Republic, to find the "truth" about the President’s health care plan. Smith made no mention of Cohn’s political affiliation or the magazine’s liberal leanings but did find time to promote his guest’s latest book: "Jonathan Cohn is senior editor of The New Republic and author ‘Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis And The People Who Pay The Price.’"
On Wednesday, Cohn wrote an article for The New Republic entitled: "The Swiftboating of Health Reform," in which he attacked conservative critics of the health care plan: "It’d be one thing if the lunatics on the right had a coherent argument for why these initiatives might be ineffective or counterproductive. But they don’t even bother to acknowledge them, preferring instead to throw out scare quotes like this one from [Sarah] Palin: ‘Who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course.’"
Topside Update, 2:15 p.m.: Imagine that -- Roxana Mayer was also an Organizing For America "host" during the Texas primary last year.
Anyone visiting here even semi-regularly knows that the establishment media consistently fails to determine the legitimacy of people who "say the right things." Further, when someone else, often a blogger, digs and finds the truth, the reporters and publications involved may sometimes grudgingly acknowledge it, but even then usually incompletely; and more often than not, they won't give credit where due.
This all-too-typical scenario has played out in the past two days in the case of a certain Roxana Mayer. In two posts (here and here), LA-area blogger Patterico, best known for his relentless skewering of the target-rich environment known as the Los Angeles Times, exposed Ms. Mayer, who claimed to be a doctor when she spoke at a town hall meeting held by Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (and who later hugged her, as seen at the top right), as a leftist fraud.
As Patterico noted in the title of his second post, Mayer's mantra ought to be "I’m Not a Doctor But I Play One at Town Hall Meetings." Patterico also showed that Mayer was also a Texas Obama delegate at last year's Democratic Convention.
At first, the Houston Chronicle took Mayer's word that she is a doctor, failed to investigate her bona fides, and reported the following:
At the top of the 8:00AM ET hour of Wednesday’s Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell cited protests at health care reform town hall meetings as evidence that the debate was "turning into a nasty national shouting match."
After playing a clip of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad opposing the health care plan, Mitchell observed: "Democratic lawmakers pushing reform are being jeered at testy town hall meetings. President Obama is urging Americans to ignore those who he says are trying to scare and mislead."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "As President Obama takes his health care reform plan to the people, anger spills out all over the country." Smith later introduced a segment on President Obama’s Tuesday town hall: "First though, tempers boiled over again Tuesday in the heated debate over health care, nearly everywhere that is, except inside President Obama’s town hall meeting in New Hampshire."
"The cruelty inherent in scaring the elderly to score political points is beyond reprehensible.... [T]he sort of scurrilous campaign they are conducting--the seditious fear-mongering that is the main staple of their public diet--is a matter of profound disrespect and incivility toward the individuals whose rights they claim to cherish."
So huffed Time magazine's Joe Klein, in an August 12 Swampland blog post seething at rumors of "death panels" being provided for in health care reform legislation before Congress. Klein expressed disgust at Republicans who would seek political advantage by scaring the elderly with inaccurate and misleading rhetoric.
But one might wonder where Klein's moral indignation was during the 1990s, when the liberal media, including Time magazine, were complicit in bolstering the Democratic meme about drastic Republican "cuts" to Medicare.
As MRC archives show, the liberal media was complicit with liberal Democrats in the 1990s in scaring seniors into fearing non-existent "cuts" to Medicare. From the July 1996 MediaWatch (emphasis mine):
On Wednesday, the CBS Early Show once again feared a rise in right-wing extremism as co-host Russ Mitchell cited a report from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "A report out this morning says anti-government and white racist militias are regrouping around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it is in part a reaction to the election of America’s first black president." [Audio/video (1:21): Mp3 | WMV]
The CBS morning show touted a similar report from the liberal group on April 15, with co-host Harry Smith declaring: "The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report found 926 active hate groups in the country. That’s up more than 50% from just 2000...And they say part of it is because of the election of President Obama." Smith went on to describe how that report coincided with a controversial Homeland Security report that was released at the same time.
The Wednesday story was reported by correspondent Bob Orr, who cited anecdotal evidence:
When it comes to insulting people opposed to ObamaCare, you might say Ed Schultz has plumbed new depths . . .
On his MSNBC show this evening, Schultz branded people turning up at town halls as "dumber than Joe the Plumber." For good measure, he added a variation on the Washington Post's old canard about certain conservatives being "poor, undereducated, and easy to command."
The liberal media meme on conservative protesters at health care town halls is that they are full of vitriol, but lacking in substance. So how does Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg take on critics of ObamaCare?
But not only are opponents of ObamaCare "dead wrong," argues Steinberg, they're an un-American, if not outright traitorous "fifth column" dedicated to stopping President Obama's agenda at any cost (emphasis mine):
Reporting on Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews declared: "...she’s not always the reserved, work-aholic judge she portrayed in the Senate hearings....The judge is also known for her can't-miss Christmas parties, which included salsa dancing inside the federal court of appeals in Manhattan." [Audio/video (1:25): Mp3 | WMV]
Andrews offered a detailed report on Sotomayor’s down-to-earth personality as he spoke with her friends and colleagues: "...according to friends, like former law clerk Allison Barkoff, the Judge has a big, engaging, New York personality." Barkoff exclaimed: "She is fun. She – she works hard and she plays hard." No mention was made in the segment of Sotomayor’s infamous "wise Latina" comments.
As an example of how the newest member of the Supreme Court "plays hard" Andrews described: "Melissa Murray clerked for two federal judges, including Sotomayor, and when both judges came to Melissa’s wedding, Sotomayor challenged the other judge to a dance-off." After describing Sotomayor’s "can’t-miss" Christmas party, Andrews added: "Sotomayor knew and invited everyone in the courthouse." Barkoff explained: "The people who work in the cafeteria, the security guards, the custodians, are equally as important as her colleagues."
At the top of the 4:00PM ET hour on MSNBC Friday, fill-in co-anchor Monica Novotny issued a dire warning about protests at health care town hall meetings: "The town hall confrontations are turning violent....Where is all of this heading? New fears for the safety of America’s first African-American president." [Audio/video (0:33): Mp3 | WMV]
In a later segment, co-anchor David Shuster interviewed Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran and asked: "We know that threats to President Obama are up by like something 400% compared to the Bush administration. Is this putting our president in some sort of danger because of some wacko that will see this stuff and say, ‘oh, yes, it’s fascism and the way we dealt with Adolf Hitler was to try to kill him, so therefore, let’s do this with our president.’"
Congressman Moran responded to that outrageous scenario by remarking: "Well, you know, it only took – takes one person. It took one person to shoot Ronald Reagan, Jack Kennedy, and so on. But I think the Secret Service can be trusted to protect the President. But it does discredit those people who are using such extreme measures to achieve an objective which is really corporate profit."
During the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer wondered: "Is a poster of the President as the Joker racist? The posters in Los Angeles and elsewhere show the President as ‘The Dark Knight’ version of the Joker above the word ‘socialism.’" She then cited an article from Thursday’s Washington Post making the accusation.
Brewer spoke with the author of the article, Phillip Kennicott, and asked: "nobody seems to know who came up with this.... have you been able to get any further in finding out who’s behind it?" While not knowing who put up the posters, Kennicott went on to recite some of the main points of his piece: "Well, I go back to the original context of the Joker in the Batman films. And these films have always been about urban fears, and quite simply, those fears code in many ways, black. They play into anti-African-American stereotypes."
A skeptical Brewer pointed out: "But we – and we just put it up there – we saw George W. Bush on Vanity Fair as the Joker. I mean, then why would this be racially motivated?" Kennicott then bizarrely argued: "Well, I mean, for the obvious reason that George Bush wasn’t black. I mean in this case, I think what they’re doing is finding an image that actually has undercurrents when applied to Obama that it simply didn’t have when it applied to Bush."
Yet when reporting the story shortly after 9:30 a.m. EDT today, "CNN Newsroom" anchor Heidi Collins neglected to mention Jefferson's Democratic Party affiliation.
What's more, ten minutes earlier, neither Collins nor CNN producer Mike Ahlers mentioned the party affiliation of another ethically compromised Democrat, admitted adulterer John Edwards. The former one-term senator is under investigation for payments made by his political action committee to a former mistress.
On Thursday, all three network morning news programs reported the conviction of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson on bribery charges, but only NBC’s Today identified him as a Democrat. CBS’s Early Show and ABC’s Good Morning America simply referred to him as a "former congressman."
In contrast, Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News did not provide a Democratic label for Jefferson, while ABC’s World News did identify his party affiliation. The CBS Evening News made no mention of the conviction. While both Good Morning America and Today featured news briefs early in the 7AM ET hour on Thursday, The Early Show did not mention the story until early in the 8AM hour.
While CBS finally managed that single news brief Thursday morning, reporter Russ Mitchell framed the story in the context of Jefferson’s attorney appealing the decision: "A lawyer for former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson says he will appeal Jefferson’s conviction on 11 counts of bribery, racketeering, and money laundering." Neither Today nor Good Morning America mentioned the appeal.
UPDATE: Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Sean Hannity read Bozell's statement on the air on August 6th. The audio can be found here.
Liberal Democrats have launched a war of outrageous hate speech directed at Americans who haved dared to express opposition to Obama's health care "reform."
First, the Democratic National Committee launched a Web video charging "desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies" with "organizing angry mobs" to "destroy President Obama." Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused town hall protestors of "carrying swastikas."
In response this morning, MRC President Brent Bozell called on the mainstream media "to report on this hate speech, who is behind it and how vicious it has become."
Mr. Bozell's full August 5 statement is printed below:
For Congress, the August recess almost always means a round of town hall meetings and other gatherings at which our elected officials get to hear from the citizenry on what they have done thus far in session.
This summer, for those Congressman and Senators voting for or supporting government-run ObamaCare, the cap-and-trade tax and regulatory regime, the $787 billion alleged "stimulus" package and other huge government-tiny result programs, these constituent encounters have been very unpleasant indeed. So unpleasant, in fact, that some are defying orders from Nancy Pelosi and beginning to bail on them.
The instances of taxpayer revolts at these meetings have been mounting, with new videos gone viral appearing it seems almost daily. They must make it on the digital underground, you see, for outside of the gathering for Senator Arlen Specter (D/R/D-PA) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Lamestream Media have been largely reluctant to report on them.
After depicting the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ car buying program as a "runaway success" on Friday, on Tuesday’s Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes argued: "The Department of Transportation says the program has been great for the environment. 80% of the clunkers have been pickups or SUVs, traded in for new cars with an average mileage nearly 10 miles per gallon higher."
Following that declaration Cordes cited car salesman Mario Sosnowski, who praised the program: "Starting from 8:00, 9:00 in the morning, we’re here till – till midnight every day because of the program, because of the excitement."
At the top of the show, co-host Julie Chen depicted Republican opposition to increased funding for ‘Cash for Clunkers’ as a desire to "put the popular program on the scrap heap." Following Cordes’ report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint about his objections: "We now see this morning that this program is, in fact, getting more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. It’s getting people to spend money. So do you still believe, as you have said in recent days, that this is quote ‘a great example of the stupidity coming out of Washington’?"
His show has usually been Fox News third-highest show, behind Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. And since Fox News host Glenn Beck has come on the scene, he has been a thorn in the side of the left-wing machine.
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith touted a White House-produced video: "And your letters to the President...A behind-the-scenes look at how President Obama keeps in touch with everyday Americans." After airing the administration spin, co-host Maggie Rodriguez argued it was "all part of Obama’s promise of transparency in the people’s White House."
Smith introduced the latest White House public relations push by declaring: "Beginning today, the Obama administration is giving Americans a behind-the-scenes look into the inner workings of the White House. This morning we have an exclusive look at how the letters of every day Americans make their way to the President’s desk."
The video that followed featured a montage of President Obama in the Oval Office dubbed with his narration: "These letters, I think, do more to keep me in touch with what’s happening around the country than just about anything else....It gives you a sense of what’s best about America and inspires you and makes you want to work that much harder to make sure that spirit is reflected in our government."
New indictments on theft and perjury charges handed down against Democratic Mayor Sheila Dixon are a “blow to Baltimore’s pride” leading “political watchers” to huff in disgust that it’s time to “get this over with,” reports Annie Linskey this morning at BaltimoreSun.com.
Of course almost all of the political watchers quoted in the story – the exception being University of Virginia’s Larry J. Sabato – are, like Dixon, Democratic officeholders:
The new indictments issued last week in the City Hall corruption probe has many of Baltimore's political leaders impatient for resolution to a case that has spanned three years and left the city's reputation in limbo.
"Most people I talk to are saying 'Let's just get this over with,' " said Baltimore Del. Curtis S. Anderson, a Democrat. "Let's get to trial and see what really happened."
Here's a particularly noteworthy "Name That Party" follow-up.
In a February post ("AP’s ‘Name That Party’ Twist: Disgraced PA Judges’ Dem Party ID Disappears After Initial Inclusion"; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Associated Press had originally identified the party of two Democratic judges involved in a shocking scheme that pushed thousands of juvenile offenders into detention centers for minor offenses in return for millions in kickbacks.
However, in longer subsequent reports, the AP dropped the party affiliation of Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella (pictured at left) and Michael Conahan.
This evening, in a 5-paragraph story (as of 7:47 p.m.; story could change over time) about a federal judge's refusal to accept plea agreements from the pair, AP Writer MaryClaire Dale stayed consistent with the wire service's see-no-Democrats approach to developments in this grisly story:
Reporting on the Obama administration’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ car buying program running out of money, CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes offered a mixed message: "‘Cash for Clunkers’ has been such a runaway success....The program is so popular...word spread it would be suspended...because of fears that sales would soon swallow up the $1 billion for rebates the government had set aside."
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "It’s a week old and incredibly popular. But is the government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program coming to a screeching halt? We’ll see why it may run out of gas and why so many are angry." She later introduced Cordes’ report by explaining: "It appears that ‘Cash for Clunkers’ could be kaput. There’s been a lot of criticism that the week-old federal program is just too confusing. But the White House says it’s so popular that it’s already running out of money, so they’re reevaluating."
The reporter, Leslie Boyd of the Gannett-owned Asheville Citizen-Times, ended up cancelling her scheduled appearance at the July 23 rally in front of Rep. Heath Shuler's (D-N.C.) district offices, but as Jane Q. notes, Boyd's plan to attend the rally as a participant violated specific provisions of the Gannett chain's code of conduct for journalists:
After NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams fawned Tuesday over President Obama planning to have a beer with Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith similarly declared: "...it’s being called the ‘beer summit.’ Tomorrow’s meeting between the President, the professor, and the policeman. We’re going to tell you what’s on tap."
Smith, along with co-hosts Russ Mitchell and Maggie Rodriguez, later devoted nearly two minutes of air time to discussing who would drink what brand of beer at the White House meeting, with Blue Moon, Budweiser, and Beck’s sitting on the table in front of them.
On NBC, Williams reported: "Professor Gates reported to be a Red Stripe man, Crowley is said to be partial to Blue Moon and the White House isn't talking about the President's brand of choice. That might constitute, you see, a White House endorsement."
Taking a break from President Obama’s failing health care plan or the Henry Gates controversy, at the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez focused on a more important story: "And move over, Martha. The First Family chooses a popular celebrity retreat for their vacation. We'll tell you where the President will tee off."
Rodriguez later introduced the segment by declaring: "President Obama and his family have chosen a well-known and classic locale for their summer vacation next month, Martha's Vineyard. An exclusive island off the coast of Massachusetts." Correspondent Bianca Solorzano then reported: "It’s an island retreat, beloved by the Kennedys, the Clintons, the late Walter Cronkite, and soon, the Obamas." A clip was played of Julia Wells, editor of the island’s Vineyard Gazette newspaper, who gushed: "There’s an electric excitement about it all."
Solorzano described the luxurious accommodations the Obama family would be treated to: "...the First Family will stay at Blue Heron Farm. The 28-acre, $20 million enclave is located in Chilmark. The farm suits Obama to a ‘tee’ with golf facilities, a pool, basketball court, private beach, and a rental price tag of up to $50,000 a week." The report failed to feature any criticism of such a costly presidential vacation in tough economic times.
Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Reverend Jesse Jackson continued to promote the idea that Harvard Professor Henry Gates was a victim of racial profiling, despite new evidence to the contrary: "This issue of Dr. Gates being a victim of excessive force and bad judgment is a much bigger subject...This one case could open up the issue of the pervasiveness of race profiling."
Co-host Harry Smith had asked Jackson about a scheduled meeting between Gates, Cambridge police officer Sergeant James Crowley, and President Obama: "Do you think there's any chance these three men can embark after this meeting is over having found common ground?" Jackson argued: "Well, they have the supreme arbiter in the President of the United States of America. It's a big subject for a small meeting." He went on to compare the Gates case to that of Rosa Parks: " If Rosa Parks and James Blake, the bus driver, had met at the White House and did not deal with the issue of denial of public accommodations, it would have been personal and not policy."
Immediately preceding the discussion with Jackson, correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on the newly released 911 call by Gates’ neighbor Lucia Whelan, and pointed out that Whelan: "...describes the scene, but what she doesn't mention is the men's skin color." Solorzano went on to cite Whelan’s attorney, Wendy Murphy: "Now she's glad to have an opportunity to clear the air and make it very clear she is not a racist."