For about a year, John Murtha was portrayed by the liberal media as a bold Marine hero of the anti-war movement. So why did they almost never mention Murtha's sleazy role as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam probe? And why is it important now? If the question was Murtha's fitness to be House Majority Leader, surely it was known that Murtha was running for that post before the midterm elections. The media withholding this story line until it fit with the timing of the Democratic Party's mainstream defines a liberal media bias. It was certainly considered bad form when our CNSNews.com wrote about it in January:
Since Murtha's Nov. 17, 2005, call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, one CNN anchor has called him "one of the most highly respected members of Congress," the Associated Press has referred to Murtha as "one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats," and ABC News has noted that he is "a decorated marine who served in Vietnam."
Commuting can be dangerous for a conservative if the car radio is tuned into National Public Radio. On Wednesday night’s "All Things Considered," NPR anchor Michele Norris interviewed ultraliberal Henry Waxman, now returning to his perch as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. He claimed that his return meant an end to investigative politics: "And oversight ought to be done based on our responsibility, not our political point of view."
This is simply bizarre, and NPR should know it, and not let it go unchallenged. But Norris did.
I recall an example from 1997, when the Government Reform committee was investigating how the Clinton-Gore campaign and the Democratic National Committee accepted contributions from mysterious Asian donors. In the Weekly Standard, Matt Rees really captured how partisan Waxman was:
Now that the Democrats have picked their Majority Leader in the House the outcome gives us (and her) the first hint that Speaker Pelosi is not the powerhouse she thought she was. Her man, Murtha, lost in a landslide: 149 to 86... a thumpin' to say the least.
In my last report on how the MSM covered this little inter Dem fight I pointed out that they were ignoring how distant were the two positions on pulling out of Iraq that is held by the erstwhile candidates for Majority Leader.
I noted how they refused to portray Murtha's position as "extreme", even as he supports pulling out of Iraq immediately to Hoyer's, who does not. I noted that the MSM did not waste much breath contrasting Murtha's position with the far less volatile position held by Hoyer.
It seems strangely inconsistent that the MSM ignored the Iraq war issue in their stories since they made the entire recent election all about Iraq and how it is a mess and that our soldiers should come home. Yet, a guy who does not want an immediate pull out defeated Murtha and this fact went uncommented upon.
The Democrats may have selected Steny Hoyer to be Majority Leader, but CNN’s sympathy clearly went to Representative John Murtha. "American Morning" aired two reports on a 1980 bribery investigation that involved the Congressman and, despite a damning video in which Murtha indicates possible future interest in a bribe, both accounts gave him more than the benefit of the doubt. Andrea Koppel began her segment, which included a dismissive onscreen graphic that read "Old Allegations," by playing the grainy video footage of Murtha. She then shifted into defense mode:
Andrea Koppel: "January 7th, 1980, an undercover FBI agent shows off the bribe he's about to offer a couple of congressmen. One of them is Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha. Murtha turns down the offer, but suggests he might be interested in the future."
FBI Agent: "You are telling me that's not what you -- you know -- that's not --
Murtha: "I'm not interested."
Murtha: "At this point. You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't."
Koppel: "Murtha was never charged. And to this day, professes his innocence."
It has been interesting, to say the least, to watch the MSM twist itself into knots trying to report this story of Pelosi backing the extremist Murtha for Party leadership over the objections of the so-called "blue dog" Democrats who were recently elected to Congress.
Pelosi has decided to ardently back the extreme anti-war activist, John Murtha (Dem, PA), for the Democrat's Majority leader position in a move that has 'baffled" many Democrats, especially those incoming Democrats who ran as conservative alternatives to Republicans -- as well as other incumbent moderate Democrats -- who are instead backing Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer.
Hoyer is well known on the floor not to be quite as extreme as Murtha is on a pull out from Iraq (Hoyer voted to give Bush the OK to go into Iraq in 2002, but he IS for gradual withdraw to be sure), but few Americans will have even heard of Steny Hoyer, he not being much of a "national" figure. On the other hand, anyone who had paid politics much attention knows that Murtha is against the war and is a vocal critic of President Bush. Murtha is well known for his many extreme positions and statements.
As John Murtha appeared as a guest on Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews questioned the Democratic Congressman about the infamous FBI tape from the ABSCAM scandal in which undercover FBI agents talked with Murtha about the possibility of bribery, with Murtha having suggested to them the possibility that he would be "interested" at a later date. After pressing Murtha on what his words meant with Murtha contending that he was just trying to acquire investment for his Congressional district, Matthews ended up asking him if it was "just a way of finessing your way out of the conversation," to which Murtha agreed before Matthews dropped the line of questioning. (Transcript follows)
The Washington Post, this morning, is demonstrating that they aren't biased in favor of liberals, nosirree. What, just attack Republicans? Us? No way! This fascinating column by Ruth Marcus, prominently positioned on page A21, demonstrates that they aren't going to just roll over on corruption just because it's a Democrat being talked about! Nope, Marcus is actively going after Jack Murtha, going so far as to say that "On its own, Murtha's ... conduct is disqualifying."
"The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history," Pelosi pledged on election night. Five days later she wrote Murtha a letter endorsing his bid to become her No. 2.
"Washington Post" reporter Sally Quinn appeared on Monday’s "American Morning," ready to psychoanalyze President Bush in the wake of last week’s midterm defeat. Quinn discussed the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the hiring of Robert Gates as a replacement, and how President Bush is secretly "relieved" over the drubbing the GOP received. Now, either Ms. Quinn has become a psychological expert on why Bush is hiring former advisors to his father, or she’s just another member of the media who wants to be a part of important inner-circle decisions:
Quinn: "But I just have a feeling that it was clear to the father that the son -- clearly, he made Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense -- that the son did not want his father's advice on a lot of these things....I felt the other day watching Bush that he was almost relieved in a way about losing the House and the Senate. I know that sounds weird, but it was as though, ‘Okay, now I really have permission. I can take my father's advice.’ And, also, that it's not all on him anymore. It's not all on the Republicans. The Democrats are going to have to take a lot of the responsibility now."
O’Brien: "It's nice to, nice to share a little blame, isn't it, in some cases? And in this case, perhaps share some blame with his father. I wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. Did -- was -- did he have to have that election in order to prompt this?"
Aren’t liberals supposed to be the tolerant ones? On Wednesday’s "American Morning," co-anchor Miles O’Brien derided a plan by disgraced former minister Ted Haggard to seek spiritual counseling as a "reality show." Haggard resigned his positions as pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado and head of the National Association of Evangelicals after being accused of drug use and a gay affair. He has announced that he will undergo an intense form of religious counseling known as restoration. Reporter Ali Velshi and Mr. O’Brien seemed to find the whole concept laughable. Velshi, describing the individuals who would and wouldn’t be involved, began by talking about "fixing" Ted Haggard:
Ali Velshi: "But one of the godly men, theoretically, asked to be involved was James Dobson of the -- he was the founder of Focus on the Family, also a Colorado-based Christian ministry. He's already backed out. Apparently, this is so tough, James Dobson says that he backed out because 'emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help, but the reality is, I don't have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility.' I think this is more than just a PR thing. They really -- these guys believe it's going to fix Ted Haggard."
Miles O’Brien: "Well, I think it could be a tremendous reality show."
CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien talked with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Wednesday and displayed a snide attitude over the Republicans’ midterm losses. She even tried to goad DeLay into bashing Karl Rove:
O’Brien: "Think Karl Rove is still a genius?"
Delay: "Oh, yes. Just because you lose one ball game doesn't remove your genius."
O’Brien: "Really, you think that -- this is kind of a big ball game to lose. Some people might say, yes, but if you lose the big one, it actually could chip away at your title."
Apparently victories in 2000, 2002 and 2004 don’t mean anything.
Lynne Cheney was right. The Vice President’s wife recently attacked a CNN pre-election special as straight out of Democratic talking points. The program in question, "Broken Government: Power Play," aired on October 26 and discussed presidential power. Reporter John King introduced his special that night on location at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Close your eyes and it sounds like an ad straight out of the DNC:
John King: "Justice, on Mr. Bush's terms, would mean challenge after challenge, test after test of the balance of powers laid out in the Constitution, adopted here in Philadelphia's Independence Hall 219 years ago, written by men, who, for all their brilliance, could not have imagined jet aircraft, let alone jet aircraft used as weapons. Nor could men determined to find the lasting antidote to tyranny have imagined the Internet, spy satellites, other technological advances now so central in the war on terror. But they did warn, in this hall, time and time again of too much presidential power, creating a careful system of checks by the Congress and the courts, lines the Bush administration, in the name of protecting Americans from another attack, has repeatedly stretched, rewritten, and sometimes just ignored."
Monday’s 'Good Morning America' highlighted anti-GOP sentiments from the American heartland during a report in the 7am half hour. Reporting from a diner in Columbus, Ohio, ABC’s Jake Tapper had assembled a group of five "real-life actual voters" to discuss the upcoming midterm elections. Amongst the group of voters in Tapper’s panel: a Republican voter voting Democratic this year; a Democratic Navy veteran who had been against the war; a conservative Christian eager to express "I'm not pro-war"; a new U.S. citizen who believes that illegal immigrants are being treated unfairly; and a cynic who believes that the whole political system is corrupt. Not one of the voters expressed support for the President or Republicans. Furthermore, none of the panel members, except for the cynic, expressed any reservations about a potential Democratic takeover of Congress.
Some highlights from the panel discussion:
Tapper: "You're a Republican voter, but the war in Iraq, among other issues, has you thinking that you might vote Democratic this year. Why?"
Larry [no last name given; Republican voter]: "...I think we're in the wrong place, and I just think it's time for a change, someone who can help us and get out of the quagmire we have."
Tapper: "Now, Kenny, you disapproved of the war from the beginning and you're, you're a Navy veteran...But, you have an issue with the fact that you think that those who have questioned the war, their patriotism has been challenged, right...You're an independent voter. But what struck me was that you said that you don't think, even though you think that there's a lot of corruption amongst the Republicans controlling Congress, you don't think that it's necessarily going to be any different if the Democrats take control. Why is that?"
On Sunday October 15, 2006, the Los Angeles Times published a 1488-word, front-page article entitled, "Displease a Lobbyist, Get Fired," by Times staffer Peter Wallsten. The gist of the piece (if you can't glean it from the title): Lobbyist Jack Abramoff "manipulated the system" and used his influence at the White House to get Allen Stayman, a State Department official who was working against the interests of Abramoff's clients, fired. Wallsten's lengthy piece portrays Stayman as an unwitting government official who was innocently bulldozed for standing in the way of Abramoff and his interests.
However, Wallsten's article left out a big chunk of the story. Wallsten failed to inform his readers that Mr. Stayman, back in the 1990's, resigned from President Clinton's Department of Interior. He stepped down after serious criminal investigations was conducted against him and his department for illegal political activity. Documents show that his office contacted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to "target" Republican lawmakers who were up for reelection in 1998. The bulk of this campaign activity resulted out of an issue on which Abramoff and Stayman clashed.
One of the maddening things about the Mark Foley scandal is how the media can take one congressman’s creepy Internet messages about masturbating, declare it an issue in 468 congressional races, demand the head of the Speaker of the House, and then decry other people for ruining democracy with desperate negative ads that besmirch honest public servants. It’s exactly how Michael Grunwald’s Washington Post story on Friday began, with the Republican opponent to Rep. Ron Kind (who represents my dear old home town of Viroqua, Wisconsin) mocking his backing of federal sex studies. Grunwald and the Post predictably summarize, with typical spit and polish, the DNC talking points of the day, that it's the GOP that wins the prize for negativity:
Looking out your window this morning, don't be surprised to find not one but two pigs flying in tidy formation. As we noted here, on yesterday's 'Today' show, Matt Lauer eschewed the Rush-bashing bandwagon that developed in response to El Rushbo's remarks about the Michael J. Fox ad. As Matt put it: "if Michael Fox goes out there politically and puts himself into the fray, he has to expect to be, you know, taken to account."
If that was enough for Hell's equivalent of Al Roker to issue a frost warning, an editorial in this morning's NY Times is enough to send Hades into the deep freeze. For the Gray Lady has . . . endorsed a Republican, Chris Callaghan, for the statewide office of New York Comptroller.
The Times jumps into the liberal-inspired brouhaha over the RNC's supposedly racist TV ad against Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr., who is running in Tennessee against Republican Bob Corker.
"The Tennessee Senate race, one of the most competitive and potentially decisive battles of the midterm election, became even more unpredictable this week after a furor over a Republican television commercial that stood out even in a year of negative advertising.
CNN’s latest political special, "Broken Government: The Do Nothing Congress," featured Dan Rostenkowski as a quasi-ethics expert, agitation for divided government, and general trashing of the Republicans in Congress. Rostenkowski, for those too young to remember is the former Democratic Congressman who ended up being expelled from the House after being accused of, among other things, charging thousands of dollars worth of gifts to a congressional account. (CNN couldn’t find time to mention his transgressions until 34 minutes into the program.) But, mail fraud and prison apparently aren’t an impediment to being an expert on all things wrong with the GOP. Host Ed Henry used Rostenkowski as a springboard to call for divided government:
Rostenkowski: "The secret of my success, I think, is that, the 14 years that I was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, 12 of them were under Republicans."
Henry: "It seems logical that divided government, Democrats in charge of one branch, Republicans running the other, might cause gridlock. But, when you think about it, it actually seems to produce better results."
Norman Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute) : "I have come to the conclusion, reluctantly -- and I don't have a partisan dog in the fight -- that divided government now may be a better way to go, simply because the incentive, if you're leading an institution that you -- in which you share the responsibility for governing, is to try and make your institution work, because the onus is going to be on you to do so."
What interesting timing? It’s unlikely that CNN had such an appreciation for divided government in October of 1994.
As reported Friday, a Democrat staffer was suspended last week over possibly being the source of the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times. New reports from the Los Angeles Times and Fox News identified the name of the staffer in question, and that he has ties to Rep. Jane Harman (D-California) who expressed such outrage over the incident (hat tip to Michelle Malkin):
The aide was identified by other congressional officials as Larry Hanauer. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a pending investigation into the leak, said Hanauer had held positions with the departments of Defense and Homeland Security before joining the professional staff of Democrats on the House intelligence panel about two years ago.
The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) is apparently fed up with all the leaks coming out of Congress, and sent a letter to Harman’s office addressing such concerns:
Tapper now patrols the political beat for ABC. But his lopsided report on congressional scandals on this morning's GMA reveals that he has lost none of his partisan edge. While Washington University prof Steven Smith was shown stating that 20 members of Congress are currently caught up in sex or money scandals, Tapper focused on seven: six Republicans and only one Democrat.
In Tapper's Republican Hall of Shame were:
George Allen, for 'macaca' and other allegations of racial insensitivity.
Don Sherwood, whose apolgetic TV ad Tapper described as standing for the proposition: "yes I had a mistress but I did not try to strangle her."
Just who is David Kuo? For starters, he used to be the Deputy Director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Additionally, he has now written a book claiming the Bush White House is selling out evangelical Christians. But is he as conservative as the media would have Americans believe? The author appeared on the October 18 edition of "The Colbert Report" and seemed to fit right in with "pretend right-winger" Stephen Colbert:
Stephen Colbert: "Let's get Jesus in the Oval Office. You heard me at the top of the show. Why not do it? How does that hurt to equate God with the President? How does that- How does that hurt?"
Kuo: "Because it gives the impression that Jesus endorses a particular political agenda, you know, that Jesus is somehow, you know, pro-life, anti-homosexual, pro-Iraq war and pro-estate tax. You know, when Jesus actually wasn't about those things. You know, It's the good news. Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus comes to give life, give it in full. That's Jesus. One is politics. A big difference."
On the October 18 edition of "The Situation Room," CNN host Jack Cafferty wondered about the possibility of an October surprise to save the Republicans in the midterm elections. He noted that "many people think Karl Rove would be the architect" behind such an event. Cafferty, who made the comments during the 5:15p.m. segment of ‘The Cafferty File,’ speculated that such a surprise could include finding Osama bin Laden. The CNN host then noted ominously:
Jack Cafferty: "It just so happens, Rove told ‘The Washington Times’ he’s confident the Republicans will keep control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. He says, ‘the Foley matter,’ his words, will have impact in some limited districts, but not overall. Perhaps Mr. Rove knows something we don’t."
After nearly three weeks of covering every aspect of the Mark Foley scandal, CNN’s "American Morning" still hasn’t tired of the story. Wednesday’s edition of the program featured over 18 minutes of coverage. This encompassed seven full reports on the disgraced Congressman and one anchor read. In contrast, there were no reports on the unfolding controversy of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his questionable land deal. Additionally, the October 18 "American Morning" featured only two brief anchor reads on a racially charged remark made by Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
"American Morning" has actually increased their Foley coverage over a similar analysis last week. On October 12, the program devoted 18 minutes and 4 seconds to the story. Today, the scandal received 18 minutes and 19 seconds. There’s an important difference however: Starting October 16, "American Morning" shrank from four hours to three. In other words, the show allocated more time to the story, and they did it with a shorter program.
Democrats across America are measuring the drapes for the majority in the House and the Senate, preparing to swear in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. One of their major talking points this year has been the Republican majority’s “culture of corruption.”
In January on PBS, Jim Lehrer asked Sen. Reid why lobbying reform was moving so slowly. Reid replied, “Jim, it's taken a while for this culture of corruption the Republicans have developed to come into the fore.”Aspiring “Speaker Pelosi” just gave a speech at Georgetown University pledging to “drain the swamp” of GOP corruption on Capitol Hill. The Democratic National Committee even had a page on their website devoted to the “Republican Culture of Corruption.”
It should surprise no one that the media are more interested in the Foley scandal than the American public is. Even the "coverup," the media fallback point if the actual scandal isn't salacious enough, does not outrage Americans as much as it outrages media figures who denounce the Republican leadership. Reports CNN:
Only about a quarter of Americans say the scandal over former Rep. Mark Foley will be "extremely important" in how they vote in November's congressional elections, according to a CNN poll released Tuesday.
That figure falls far below issues such as Iraq, terrorism and the economy.
The Foley scandal ranked fifth on a list of five topics in a poll conducted Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp. (Read the complete poll results -- PDF)
New York Times editor/columnist Frank Rich, fresh off last week's Oprah Winfrey appearance plugging his anti-Bush book, goes wild in his Sunday (TimesSelect $ required) column, "The Gay Old Party Comes Out," doing a little cowardly outing by proxy regarding the alleged "list" of prominent gay Republicans. He doesn't actually wave the list, Joe McCarthy style, but helpfully hints how you can dig it up.
"And while you're cruising the Internet, a little creative Googling will yield a long list of who else is gay, openly and not, in the highest ranks of both the Bush administration and the Republican hierarchy....The split between the Republicans' outward homophobia and inner gayness isn’t just hypocrisy; it's pathology. Take the bizarre case of Karl Rove. Every one of his Bush campaigns has been marked by a dirty dealing of the gay card, dating back to the lesbian whispers that pursued Ann Richards when Mr. Bush ousted her as Texas governor in 1994. Yet we now learn from 'The Architect,' the recent book by the Texas journalists James Moore and Wayne Slater, that Mr. Rove’s own (and beloved) adoptive father, Louis Rove, was openly gay in the years before his death in 2004. This will be a future case study for psychiatric clinicians as well as historians."
Gerry Studds had to die for NBC Nightly News to inform viewers of how the former Democratic Congressman had a sexual relationship with 17-year-old male congressional page, misconduct for which the House in 1983 censured him, but did not prompt Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill and other leaders to force his resignation -- nor raise calls for O'Neill's resignation. Despite the Democratic hypocrisy given their current calls for Speaker Hastert's resignation and investigations of who knew what and when about Mark Foley, Saturday night -- two weeks into the media-fueled scandal -- was the first time, according to Nexis, any NBC News program mentioned Studds' name. Anchor John Seigenthaler, who called Studds “Gary,” relayed how “from Massachusetts comes word of the death of former Democratic Congressman Gary Studds, the first openly gay Member of Congress.” Seigenthaler then gave the gentlest of descriptions as he avoided the word “sexual” in his one sentence on the matter: “In 1983 the House of Representatives censured Studds for his relationship with a teenage page.”
Keeping in line with the Associated Press' penchant for running interference for the Democratic Party, we have another fine example in today's story about the five year prison sentence handed down to Tennessee state senator Roscoe Dixon, a Democrat.
Dixon, convicted of taking $9,500 in bribes, was sentenced as a result of an FBI investigation of Tennessee politicians called Operation Tennessee Waltz.
Amazingly, the AP found no room in their story for party labels. Naturally, they also don't bother to emphasize the many OTHER Democrats that have been indicted in this scandal.
Among others, the top indictments were as follows:
State Senator John Ford (Democrat) of Memphis, TN, State Senator Roscoe Dixon (Democrat) of Memphis, State Senator Kathryn Bowers (Democrat) of Memphis, State Senator Ward Crutchfield (Democrat) of Chattanooga, State Representative Chris Newton (Republican) of Cleveland, Tennessee Barry Myers of Memphis (Democratic Political operative) Charles Love of Chattanooga (Democratic Political operative)
Now imagine if this story was about 6 Republicans and only one Democrat involved in such a deeply disturbing corruption scandal. Do you think Party labels would be left out of the AP story in that case? Who could doubt that, were it a passel full of Republicans under indictment instead of Democrats, the headline would read "Tennessee Republican Corruption Scandal" instead of "Tenn. Senator Gets 5 Years for Bribes"?
So, here we have a story of endemic corruption in the Tennessee state house featuring a gaggle of 99% Democrats... and the AP somehow forgets to mention Party affiliation.
This past week, the media made a very clear distinction between how they view a Republican scandal and one involving a powerful Democrat. MRC analysts found that, over a period of 12 days, the big three networks aired 150 stories on the Mark Foley scandal.
How did those same networks cover an investigation into Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and a very questionable land deal? They generally ignored the story. In the case of CNN, the October 12 "American Morning" aired almost 20 minutes of Foley coverage and devoted 35 seconds to Reid
Not to be outdone, print media also glossed over the emerging Reid scandal. "The New York Times" prefaced a story about Reid earning $1.1 million on a property that he hasn’t owned in three years with this headline: "Senator Offers to Amend Financial Forms." The "Times" is certainly generous in offering the benefit of the doubt...as long as you’re a Democrat.
The media’s vigorous effort to portray the Mark Foley scandal as a vicious blow to the Republican Party’s chances in the November elections continued on ABC's "Nightline" Thursday evening. Reporter Chris Bury’s segment focused on the competitive House race between Democrat Patty Wetterling and Republican Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th District. There was a noticeable difference in how the two candidates were described. While Bury hyped Wetterling as a woman who "has made child protection her life’s mission" with no mention of her ideological positions on any other issue, GOP candidate Bachmann was described as a "staunch" opponent to abortion and gay marriage.
Bury implied Republicans should be worried about their electoral prospects because the race in the "reliably Republican" seat is so closely contested. However, it should be noted that while Minnesota’s 6th district did elect President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, it also has a history of competitive House races, with Democrats being elected to the seat from 1975-1981; 1983-1993; and 1995-2003.