Well, if the President himself can call a sacked consulate and four dead Americans who deserved adequate security and didn't get it "bumps in the road," why not?
Monday morning, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, presented a story in advance of United Nations ambassador Susan Rice's meeting today with certain Republican senators -- a meeting from which Rice, who engaged in serial falsehood peddling during the weekend after the September 11 Benghazi attack, apparently falsehood-peddling Rice emerged today even worse-off than before. In that story, both the headline and first paragraph of Anne Flaherty's coverage characterized Benghazi as a "PR (public relations) disaster."
This morning the Obama administration's "National Economic Council & Council of Economic Advisers" jointly released "The Middle-Class Tax Cuts' Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers." Among the howlers in this non-economic political document: "Independent Economic Analysis Clearly Demonstrates Why We Need to Extend the 2001/2003/2010 Tax Cuts for the Middle-class." But not everyone else? Don't high income-earners spend money too?
The primary thrust of the administration's release is that, in regards to negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff," is the predictable class warfare clarion call, complete with kidnapping-related rhetoric: "There is no reason to hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the highest income earners." The word "hostage" appears three times in the first two pages of the document. The subtext, of course, is that the hostage-holders are the Republicans in Congress, particularly the House of Representatives. At the Politico, Byron Tau ignored this classless, tasteless partisan tack by supposed professionals:
As has so often been the case for nearly four years, one needs to go to the editorial pages of the nation's two leading financial publications, the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, to get to the truth behind news developments, especially the ones with potential to cast the Obama administration in a bad light.
There may not be a better example of the press ignoring the obvious than the circumstances surrounding Mohammed Morsi's dictatorial power grab in Egypt. Morsi gained substantial perceived world standing when the U.S. government praised him lavishly (or is it slavishly?) for his involvement in brokering a truce of sorts in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a Friday IBD editorial pointed out, Morsi is now "using America's stamp of approval to oppress his own people" (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The third page of an unbylined report with an early Saturday time stamp credited to "USA Today" carried at the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger (like USAT, a Gannett Company) claimed that "Walmart heiress Alice Walton expressed solidarity with Walmart's striking workers."
Putting aside whether or not an action taken by what the company estimated may have been fifty associates is a "strike" or a "temper tantrum," the claim was not true. USA Today fell for a hoax. Following the jump are several paragraphs from the Clarion Ledger report and an LA Times writeup identifying the hoax. Additionally, I learned that Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum was the object of Occupy and union movement protests when it opened a year ago.
Well, that didn't take long. Fulfilling a fear expressed on Tuesday by David Horovitz in the Times of Israel, someone is already using the country's mostly (but to be sure, not completely) successful deployment of its Iron Dome missile defense system as an argument against Israel's right to robustly defend itself.
The assertion came the very next day in the form of a tweet from a member of the establishment press (how unsurprising), one Anthony De Rosa from Reuters, the wire service's Director of Social Media. Alert responder "Robbie Guy" posted a riposte so deliciously effective that De Rosa removed the tweet. Too late. The takedown came after Simon Plosker at Honest Reporting (HT Bruce Kesler at at Maggie's Farm via Instapundit) had captured shots of both items.
So what's more important, the fact that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was involved in brokering a Gaza-Israeli peace deal which appears to be more than sightly tilted in Hamas's direction, or the fact that Morsi has opportunistically seized nearly dictatorial powers?
They're arguably equal, but if compelled to choose, I believe most readers here would contend that because of the difficulties seen throughout human history in undoing such things, Morsi's power grab is more important. The Associated Press doesn't share that evaluation. In its summary of "10 Things to Know for Friday" the wire service notes the "peace" accord but not the power grab:
Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for Americans to come together, be grateful for their blessings—and tell people with different politics to stuff it?
That's apparently Ed Schultz's take on the holiday. On his MSNBC show this evening, gloating over his presumption that taxes will be going up on the top 2%, Schultz sent this warm 'n fuzzy message to John Boehner: "think about it over your turkey and stuffing Speaker Boehner. And by the way, you can put some gravy on that--and you know the rest of the sentence." View the video after the jump.
Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from office today. The timing of the Democratic congressman's resignation (even beyond it taking place on Thanksgiving Eve) is convenient, coming just two weeks after his reelection and prior to what in apparently an imminent indictment. The former enables Democratic Party kingpins in Chicago and its south suburbs to ensure that the seat stays with someone they like and can control (a general election situation with a preceding mini-primary might have been more problematic), while resigning before an indictment makes it likely that Jackson will be eligible for a congressional pension he might have lost had he still been in office when charged.
We are told that Jackson is too distraught to get through a publicly spoken resignation and that he cancelled a conference call with his staff. His resignation letter (original here; Washington Post transcription here) to House Speaker John Boehner, our best potential window to his current state of mind, reveals a man who is utterly full of himself and his wonderfulness. In the process of building this monument to himself, Jackson delivered several self-evident falsehoods the press would never let a Republican in a similar position get away with making without sharp criticism. Since it's a public document, the letter follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In his Monday evening coverage of a federal judge's refusal to grant retailer Hobby Lobby injunctive relief from ObamaCare's mandate that it "provide insurance coverage for the morning-after and week-after birth control pills," the Associated Press's Tim Talley "cleverly" recast the government's argument over what constitutes an abortion (the government says that the morning-after pill isn't an abortifacient, when it really is) into one over when "pregnancy" (instead of life) begins. The company faces fines of $1.3 million per day (not a typo) starting on January 1 if it does not comply.
Several paragraphs from Talley's writeup will illustrate the misdirection (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Continuing his wire service's sadly predictable kid-glove treatment of the Occupy movement which sometimes verges on open romance, Chuck Murr's Tuesday evening story at the Associated Press on the sentencing of three of the five participants in the foiled plot to bomb a major bridge in a Cleveland suburb utterly failed to note the active involvement of the convicted domestic terrorists (the sentencing judge's characterization) with Occupy Cleveland. It also failed to note a supportive tweet sent by Occupy Wall Street (HT Twitchy.com) claiming "entrapment" and linking to a legal defense fund web site.
By contrast, in its coverage of the sentencing today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's James F. McCarty reminded readers, complete with a link back to the paper's May 2 story describing their involvement, that all five were "members of Occupy Cleveland movement."
From Joe Scarborough to John Heilemann, Katty Kay to Mark Halperin to Willie Geist, it was unanimous on today's Morning Joe. Whatever the substance, whatever the policy, Republicans would be making a massive political mistake by opposing the possible nomination of Susan Rice as Secretary of State.
Summed up Scarborough the MJ zeitgeist: "do a bunch of old white guys want to make their first big battle, post-election, a battle going up against a younger woman of color?" View the video after the jump. H/t reader cobokat.
On November 14, the Hill reported that "Senate Democrats, feeling confident from their net gain of two seats in last week’s election, say any deficit-reduction package negotiated in the coming weeks must include stimulus measures." Alexander Bolton's writeup quoted Senator Chuck Schumer publicly asserting that "We have to do something because the economy is not growing fast enough in the first year or two." Although Schumer was referring to 2013 and 2014, the "not growing fast enough" characterization fits the U.S. economy under President Barack Obama's and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's "stimulus"-oriented policies ever since the recession officially ended in June 2009.
The fact that Democrats insist on more so-called "pump-priming" after four years of trillion dollar-plus deficits accompanied by tepid growth, thereby increasing the chances that the deficit streak will hit five years or more, even with tax hikes, while growth remains anemic, is something one might consider to be, well, news. But apparently not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, or the Politico.
In a Friday report at the Associated Press on Friday with a celebratory headline ("2 YEARS AFTER IPO, GM IS PILING UP CASH"), Auto Writer Tom Krisher described bailed-out General Motors as "thriving," but didn't identify one of the important reasons for that characterization.
In paragraphs about the company's profitability and cash stockpile, Krisher failed to note that the company still hasn't paid any U.S. income taxes since emerging from bankruptcy, or why that's the case (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Yesterday, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka may have broken a modern record for chutzpah exhibited by a labor leader Friday in criticizing management's decision at bankrupt snack maker Hostess Brands to liquidate in the wake of irreconcilable issues with its unions. In a Friday afternoon report at Politico, Kevin Cirilli not only let Trumka get away with it; he also lent the labor leader's contentions additional misleading support.
Trumka blamed the company's apparently imminent demise on "Bain-style Wall Street vultures." He wants everyone to believe that it's greedy, eeeevil Republican private-equity types who are on the brink of putting yet another company out of business. The "clever" framing of that quoted phrase appears to indicate that Trumka already knew better. It seems very likely that Cirilli also knew better. Three hours before the initial time stamp of Cirilli's report, Zero Hedge re-exposed the heavy involvement of D-D-D-Democrats in Hostess's management and advisors originally documented way back in july at CNNMoney by David Kaplan (additional paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Someone needs to tell Emily Jane Fox that for workers refusing to do scheduled work assigned by their employers to be engaging in a "strike" ("a concerted stopping of work or withdrawal of workers' services, as to compel an employer to accede to workers' demands or in protest against terms or conditions imposed by an employer") there needs needs to be enough of them to matter. If there aren't, it's pretty much a small group of people conducting a (conceivably justified) protest.
As Fox described it in her Thursday report at CNNMoney.com about a group of Wal-Mart employees workers planning a Black Friday walkout -- which, if large enough, may qualify for "strike" status -- what happened in October appears to have been little more than a tiny temper tantrum:
For a second there, it sounded like David Gregory was onto something. But just as fast, he reverted to liberal form . . .
On today's Morning Joe, the Meet The Press host first argued that Republicans don't have to become more moderate—they just need to change their "tone." But within seconds, Stretch was singing Mitt Romney's praises for having favored, prior to the primaries, "massive [read: liberal] immigration reform." Gregory then bemoaned the fact that during the primaries, Romney "had to keep moving to the right." View the video after the jump.
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how several reports from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press (here, here, and here) buried the major news about President Obama's opening demand to Congress over resolving the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes scheduled to take effect on January 1. His demand for $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years is twice what he sought during the August 2011 debt-ceiling negotiations. You have to go to middle or near-ending paragraphs to get that from the three AP reports linked above.
Those three reports also each contain an additional paragraph which allows the administration's misstatement of its alleged "balance" between tax increases and reductions in projected levels of spending (falsely characterized as "cuts") to stand unchallenged:
When it comes to reporting on the what the White House wants to achieve in talks with Congress about averting the "fiscal cliff," one apparent theme at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has been "Bury the lede about the size of Obama's tax increases." I'll cover another theme ("Let them get away with misstating the 'balanced approach'") in a later post.
President Obama now wants $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years, which is double the amount he sought during last year's debt-limit standoff. In ordinary times with a responsible press corps, such a massive change in posture would be headline-driving material, but not at AP, which appears to be doing its utmost to ensure that most Americans don't know about it while still being able to claim (sort of) that "Well, we told 'em."
For adman Donny Deutsch, there's really no difference between pushing a political party or a bag of potato chips: it's all about the branding. S.E. Cupp, in contrast, is a conservative with bedrock principles.
Seated next to each other on today's Morning Joe set during a discussion on GOP strategy going forward, a blow-up was clearly in the cards. And clash they did, with Cupp arguing that the GOP doesn't need to re-brand itself, but rather to "spend more time explaining why their policies work for everyone." Deutsch, repeatedly trying to cut Cupp off, exclaimed that she "couldn't be more wrong" and that her anti-re-branding argument was "absurd." View the animated video after the jump.
Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
"The color of the world is changing day by day." -- "Les Miserables," the musical
A look at the electoral map indicates the Republican Party won in square miles. Unfortunately for them, electoral votes, not landmass, won President Obama a second term. Analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics estimated that total spending on federal elections would peak at nearly $6 billion, an all-time record. This spending included ads that carpet bombed swing states; yet we are still an almost equally divided nation. But America is rapidly changing.
In a Thursday afternoon item carried at the Los Angeles Times via reporters Shashank Bengali and Joseph Serna (HT NewsBusters tipster Gary Hall), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed that "When we built New York, we didn’t think about floods, about storms. We didn’t have hurricanes and floods. ... Extreme weather is here to stay. Climate change is a reality. Political gridlock has held us back too long. ... Maybe Mother Nature is telling us something. One time, two times, three times. There are places that are going to be victimized by storms. We know that now."
Let's review a little history -- history anyone in the establishment press could have found in the Google News Archive and Wikipedia as I did. What I found demonstrates how extreme and outrageously untrue Mr. Cuomo's "we didn't have hurricanes and floods" claim really is.
Didn't anyone ever tell Rachel Maddow that revenge is a dish best eaten cold?
Using the thinnest of pretexts, Rachel went on a Republican-taunting rampage on her MSNBC show last night. The supposed subject was the decision of Senate Republicans to elevate John Cornyn to the #2 leadership spot, despite the disappointing results for the GOP's senatorial campaign committee that he led. That gave Maddow an excuse to variously refer no fewer than a dozen times to Republican "failure", "catastrophe" and "disaster." View the video after the jump.
"We can all be thankful" that "after 30 years of taking Christianity hostage and claiming that the church was really the Republican Party at prayer, this election actually revealed that the church is owned by neither Democrats nor Republicans," MSNBC's Martin Bashir pontificated at the open of is "Clear the Air" commentary which closed his eponymous November 9 program.
Fortunately for Mr. Bashir, making straw-man arguments and spouting overheated political rhetoric is not a sin. What is, however, is hypocrisy. You see, Bashir has been fond of using the Bible as a cudgel to attack conservative Republicans for having allegedly unbiblical, even anti-Christian politics. Take his hostile interview with Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) back in May, in which Bashir slandered Barton by saying he was for slashing funding to Meals on Wheels and that cutting back funding to the program was unbiblical:
David Frum blames the media for Mitt Romney's loss. Not the liberal media, of course--we are talking David Frum, after all. No, Frum blames the conservative media, or as he calls it, "the conservative entertainment complex."
Frum touted his upside-down take on the media during a Morning Joe appearance today while promoting his instant e-book, "Why Romney Lost." Joe Scarborough liked the line so much he asked Frum to repeat it. Frum refused to name names, saying he does so in his book, but do we doubt whom he was targeting? View the video after the jump.
As of shortly before 1 p.m. ET, at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, there is no story about what the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday evening about just-reelected Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., namely that he " is in the midst of plea discussions with the feds probing his alleged misuse of campaign funds." There is also no story on the home page at Politico.
Selected paragraphs from Michael Sneed's Sun-Times report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Should Republicans unilaterally disarm in the media-bias wars? Joe Scarborough seems to think so. Arguing that it distracts Republicans from performing the political blocking-and-tackling needed to win elections, Scarborough has called on Republicans to "stop blaming the media."
Saying "let's makes this personal," Scarborough cited as an example of the supposed distractions to which he was referring the controversy over the tape Morning Joe aired in September from a Romney campaign stop. Readers will recall that the clip seemed to show Romney asking the crowd, which had been chanting "Romney!", to change to "Romney/Ryan." But Scarborough suggested just the opposite: that the crowd had been chanting "Ryan!" and that Romney asked them to change to "Romney/Ryan." View the video after the jump.
So the meme is supposedly set. Final pre-election expectations are that the popular vote in the 2012 presidential contest will come in roughly deadlocked. Rasmussen and Gallup show Republican nominee Mitt Romney up by one point. Other polls show either a tie or slight lead for incumbent Democrat Barack Obama.
Set against this expectation, don't be surprised if someone in the press, perhaps even at one of the big networks, gets overexcited and projects Barack Obama the winner based on Tuesday's early exit polls without realizing that their scope and design have changed from previous presidential elections in two fundamental ways.
Though it occupies four web pages, it's hard to avoid thinking that Alex Isenstadt at Politico is hoping news consumers only look at his story's headline ("Democrats' drive to retake House falters") and not its damning yet still woefully incomplete content.
The headline would make you think that Dems will gain seats, but not enough to achieve a majority. Isenstadt bravely concludes early on that "Democrats are expected to pick up five seats at best ... (and) might even lose ground and drop one or two seats to the Republican majority. But the rest of his writeup virtually screams "double-digit losses," and fails in several respects to properly assign blame for what appears to be an impending Democratic Party debacle (bolds are mine):