At long last, the soon-to-be erstwhile Democratic mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, pleaded guilty and will resign as mayor. The Detroit Free Press reports all of the salacious details--except the singular detail that Kilpatrick is a Democrat.
In a courtroom this morning, Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstructing justice by committing perjury. He will spend four months in jail, pay up to $1 million in restitution, and serve five years' probation. [...]
Meet the newly minted traditionalists at the New York Times, two female reporters who seem to doubt whether or not a woman can have it all -- at least if she's a Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The Labor Day edition of the Times's "Political Points" podcast, recorded at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn, was hosted by Jane Bornemeier with commentary from reporters Jackie Calmes, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David Kirkpatrick. The conversation was predictably dominated by "baby-gate" -- the news that Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol was pregnant. Some choice excerpts in which the two female reporters question the judgment of McCain and Palin and find the issue of a teenager's pregnancy fair game:
Confirming that John McCain picked Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, as his running mate, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were quick to jump on the corruption within Alaska’s Republican party, but did not tell the whole story. George Stephanopolous noted that Senator Ted Stevens is under indictment and the state’s at large congressman, Don Young is "facing corruption charges is still in the middle of a recount for their Republican primary."
All of which are true, but Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton aide, did not reveal that Palin actually supports Don Young’s primary opponent. Stephanopoulos also does not seem to have the same concern about Chicago’s Democratic machine when covering Obama.
In fairness, host Charlie Gibson called her a "Republican maverick" and noted she has been "sharply critical" of Alaska’s corrupt Republican machine.
"Obama Campaign Wages Fight Against Conservative Group's Ads" is the third story from New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg in five days that attacks an anti-Obama ad from the American Issues Project that questions the ties between Obama and homegrown terrorist Bill Ayers, cofounder of the Weathermen, the group that tried to blow up the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
In each story, Rutenberg appears far more worked up about the legality of the ads than in the underlying facts of Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers, an unrepentant terrorist turned professor of education in Chicago. The first 10 paragraphs of Rutenberg's online filing Wednesday are devoted to the back-and-forth machinations, again questioning the group's funding while suggesting dubious links to the McCain campaign. Rutenberg noted that Obama is striking back with a counter-ad and the threat of legal action to have the ads taken down.
For good measure, Rutenberg took another bite out of the best-selling book "The Obama Nation" (his first one was in a front-page story on August 13).
In my post on Tuesday, I wrote about Stanley Kurtz's efforts to access the Annenberg Challenge files housed at the University of Illinois-Chicago. These files documented an educational initiative started by Bill Ayers and chaired by Barack Obama.
At that point, only AP writer Pete Yost had written anything about the story. Additionally, U of I rep Bill Burton issued a press release. Since that time, there has been no movement from the university and coverage by the MSM has been minimal, though it is finally beginning to pick up. To wit, as reported in a blog post at the Chicago Tribune, Chicago mayor, Richard Daley, declined to intervene in the matter by pressing U of I to release the documents to Kurtz, saying,
People keep trying to align himself [sic] with Barack Obama. It's really unfortunate. They're friends. So what? People do make mistakes in the past. You move on. This is a new century, a new time. He reflects back and he’s been making a strong contribution to our community.
According to Daley, we should move on and accept that any past relationship between Obama and Ayers was entirely innocuous, on his (Daley's) say so. Right.
Yesterday I noted how the Washington Post practically scolded disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) for fighting in court for the right to travel out-of-state to the Democratic Convention in Denver later this month. I noted that Kilpatrick's party affiliation and superdelegate status were noted in the first two paragraphs of that article, something most reports by the Associated Press have failed to note.
Now in an August 15 report -- "Detroit Mayor Has Turbulent Day" -- AP's Ed White noted Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation in the lede, but waited until paragraph 12 out of 17 to mention his superdelegate status:
(DETROIT) - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's tumultuous day began with one judge suddenly declaring he could get rid of the ankle device tracking his movements and another ruling only hours later that it must go back on. By the end of the day, the embattled politician's hope of attending the Democratic National Convention was dashed.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to People magazine correspondent Sandra Westfall, who recently interviewed friends and family of Elizabeth Edwards who: "...wanted to put out there that she wasn't this wind-up doll that went on stage and let the campaign continue out of some sort of craven ambition, but that she really was going through a lot of anguish." That despite the fact that Elizabeth Edwards went along with the cover up of her husband’s affair throughout his presidential campaign.
Rodriguez described Westfall as someone "who has a close relationship with the Edwards’" and asked: "What was the most important thing they wanted to convey on her behalf?" Westfall explained: "I think that she had hoped that her statement on Friday night would be the end of it for her and was surprised and a little taken aback by how many questions already came up." Later, Westfall elaborated: "...she thought her forgiving him should be enough for everybody else and she was unprepared for the amount of disgust and how swiftly everything else he had done in his career would be wiped away. And that she's really reeling from that and afraid for what it will do to their legacy as a couple and what their children will inherit."
In response to Rodriguez asking: "when did she [Elizabeth Edwards] really find out?," Westfall explained: "The campaign had already gone through its official launch. They were in the middle of this tour. And she felt sort of trapped...He was a candidate. And then he drops this bombshell on her. And only in pieces. He told the truth slowly. So she, you know, didn't have all the information to make the decision right away and she was in shock."
Over the past 10 years or so, one of the most commonly asked questions in media circles is why the public seems to be increasingly tuning out and unsubscribing from America's establishment media.
Various reasons have been offered, including the emergence of interactive media, increased work hours, more commuting - all of which aren't without merit. One explanation that usually isn't discussed is that, just maybe, the public is sick of the media picking and choosing what they think is news.
And while it is amusing to see journalists who oppose government media intervention on behalf of the public (FCC) arrogating that privilege to themselves, we'd all be better off without the laughs because the hypocrisy is frustrating the national discourse. Instead of reporting the news, far too many journalists have now taken it upon themselves to protect the public from it.
Elizabeth Edwards authorized a friend to attack John Edwards over his infamous "she was in remission" interview on Nightline. That's the stunning assertion of Sandra Westfall, the "People" magazine writer who authored the article [excerpt here] containing the friend's crticism. Westfall was a guest on tonight's Verdict with Dan Abrams.
DAN ABRAMS: Sandra, let me start with you.Is it fair to say that the story that you guys have in this week's magazine is effectively Elizabeth Edwards' side of the story?
SANDRA WESTFALL: You know, she authorized her brother and her best friend to speak to me on her behalf.
Following a segment on John Edwards possibly paying hush money to mistress Rielle Hunter, a later segment on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show previewed an interview with Hunter’s sister by Entertainment Tonight’s Thea Andrews: "I sat down with Rielle Hunter's sister, Roxanne Druck Marshall. Roxanne is older by 18 months and she says the two sisters were very close, practically raised as twins. But now Roxanne is hurt and embarrassed by her sister's behavior." Andrews went on to ask Marshall: "Having an affair with someone whose wife has cancer-" Marshall interjected: "-and knowing it, and know -- I mean. And not just knowing it, the whole world knows it. There's no way. I don't know what they were thinking."
Andrews followed up by asking: "Do you think your sister thought about his wife Elizabeth?" Marshall replied: "Apparently not. She obviously didn't think or care enough to stop the relationship." Marshall later commented on the speculation of Edwards making payments to Hunter: "He's, you know, saying, 'oh, I'll take a paternity test.' And then the next day Rielle issues a statement, 'I'm never going to take a paternity test.' Well, isn't that a coincidence? That's very ironic, great coincidence. I just want John Edwards to come clean, tell the truth, and let's get it over with."
While ABC’s Good Morning America suspended its coverage of the John Edwards scandal following reporting on Monday, the CBS Early Show continued to cover the affair for a third consecutive day on Wednesday. Even NBC’s Today, covering the Olympics in Beijing, managed stories on Edwards on both Monday and Wednesday. Considering it was during an interview on ABC’s Nigthline on Friday that Edwards confessed to cheating on his wife, it is interesting that GMA was outdone in covering the story.
On Wednesday, the Early Show looked at the money trail leading from Edwards to his mistress, Rielle Hunter, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "We will also talk about new bombshell revelations in the John Edwards affair, including claims that he did know his mistress was being paid and that he rekindled the affair after confessing to his wife." The segment began with a report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano: "According to the National Enquirer, the publication that first broke the story of John Edwards' extramarital affair, Edwards was aware of payments being made to his former mistress Rielle Hunter, something he denied on Friday...The allegations could not only have legal ramifications, it would shed considerable doubt on Edwards' other denial, that he fathered Miss Hunter's child."
For years, the New York Times has praised misleading books from liberal authors attacking President Bush and the war in Iraq: Tomes by Michael Moore, Seymour Hersh, Kitty Kelley, Richard Clarke, Jane Mayer, and Ron Suskind (who has also reported for the paper) -- too many to mention. Yet when a wildly successful book appears that attacks the Times's favored candidate, Democrat nominee Barack Obama, the paper unloads a front-page pushback against the "unsubstantiated, misleading...inaccurate"book.
In the summer of 2004 the conservative gadfly Jerome R. Corsi shot to the top of the best-seller lists as co-author of "Unfit for Command," the book attacking Senator John Kerry's record on a Vietnam War Swift boat that began the larger damaging campaign against Mr. Kerry's war credentials as he sought the presidency.
Surprisingly, the CBS Early Show continued to report on the John Edwards scandal on Tuesday, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to a friend of Edwards’s mistress: "Edwards claims it was a brief liaison, but that's not how a friend of [Rielle] Hunter's remembers it." At one point in the interview, Rodriguez asked that friend, Pigeon O’Brien, about media characterizations of Hunter: "She's been portrayed as this Fatal Attraction-like woman who was semi-stalking him, madly in love, delusional, talking bad about his wife. The woman that you claim to know for 20 years, does that ring true?" Of course "semi-stalking" seemed to be how co-host Harry Smith described Hunter on Monday’s show: "This woman in question has a very interesting history...knowing her as this kind of bar fly who had this kind of crazy past... From reading everything I read it seemed to me that she targeted Edwards."
In response to Rodriguez’s question, O’Brien criticized those portraying Hunter in such a manner:
Not at all. It couldn't be further from the truth. It -- and that's one reason why I'm speaking to people like you. It really bothers me, what they're saying about her. It could not be further from the truth...It does not ring true that she would ever stalk somebody. They were very mutually engaged in this affair. I can't stress that enough. It was a mutual committed relationship and he persuaded her to believe so.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Tracy Smith reported on the news that John Edwards had cheated on his wife, but wondered: "I guess my question is, okay, sure, so it's going to be reported...But does America care at this point?" After political analyst Jeff Greenfield replied to her question with "sometimes," Smith cited poll numbers on the issue: "Yes, only sometimes. In a 2007 poll, 56 percent said it wouldn't matter to them if a presidential candidate had an extramarital affair."
Earlier in the discussion with Greenfield, Smith explained how "In a statement Friday, Edwards said that running for office made him feel special, egocentric; in effect, that the campaign made him do it." Greenfield then described: "If you're running for president, you get -- you get on a pedestal. You know, they -- motorcades happen for you and you get the adulation of crowds." However, he also asserted: "The one thing you probably can't do is to cheat."
Is one who conspires to conceal a husband’s affair really "an icon of strength"? ABC’s Deborah Roberts seems to think so. In a story about women who fell victim to a cheating husband, Roberts segued into the segment with the news of John Edwards’ admission.
Failing to mention that Mrs. Edwards participated in her husband’s lie throughout his entire 2008 presidential run, Roberts portrayed the first lady contender as choosing "to weather yet another storm with her husband," comparing it to their experience of their son’s death. Roberts even glowed over Mrs. Edwards’ liberal activism as she continued "championing causes like universal healthcare, America’s war on poverty, and cancer research."
Digging back to the past Roberts played an archived 1992 sound bite of Hillary Clinton defending her husband. Deborah Roberts underscored "how hard it was for Hillary Clinton when her husband was running for president." Of course, there was no mention of Senator Clinton’s famous 1998 "vast right wing conspiracy" interview.
Monday’s CBS Early Show, came up with a list of excuses for John Edwards cheating on his wife, including co-host Harry Smith suggesting that the woman Edwards had the affair with, Rielle Hunter, targeted the former Senator: "This woman in question has a very interesting history...knowing her as this kind of bar fly who had this kind of crazy past... From reading everything I read it seemed to me that she targeted Edwards."
The bashing of Hunter began during a segment in the 7am half hour of the show when co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to David Perel, the editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, which broke the story, and asked: "...your impressions of this woman, Rielle Hunter, who's being trashed in New York papers today. On the cover of this one, it says 'Rielle Cruel,' saying that she trashed Elizabeth Edwards. Said she was a woman who had bad karma. What can you tell us about her?"
In the later segment, during the 7:30am half hour, Smith talked to psychologists Robi Ludwig, from Cookie magazine, and Frank Farley, from Temple University. Smith began by posing the question: "Why do politicians like John Edwards risk their careers by having extramarital affairs?" Ludwig decided to blame Elizabeth Edwards’s cancer: "What was the trigger? So I wonder if there was something about his wife's illness that somehow got him to cheat or contributed at least." When a skeptical Smith asked: "You're cutting him a break then it sounds like?" Ludwig replied: "Well, you know, I think that we get so caught up in good or bad, you know. Is somebody a good person or a bad person. Cheating is wrong...But I think that there are multiple factors. Was he doing it because he had a fear of losing his wife? I mean, there are lots of different reasons." Smith then conceded: "No, I hear that...there may be legitimacy to that."
So, why did the Old Media seem to miss the John Edwards Love Affair story? Well, maybe it was because the Old Media hadn't deigned to decide for us that it was "news" until after the New Media had chewed up and spit out the story for days and days? Apparently, that is what David Carr of The New York Times thinks, anyway. In an interview with CNN he alludes to the fact that he is used to the Old Media deciding when something is officially "news" and that maybe he and his contemporary journalists have lost that level of control they were used to enjoying. This fall from grace is being seen most readily in the Edwards story that the New Media had digested for a week before the Old Media got to it
The CNN piece cites many factors from the fact that the Old Media has a disdain for National Enquirer stories to a claim that the Old Media is reticent to exploit sex stories. The former is a sensible precaution and the later an outright laugher. After all, the Old Media had no problem whatsoever in exploiting the rumors of George H.W. Bush's affair, Newt Gingrich's affair, Newt's successor to be Bob Livingston’s affair, the John McCain affair story, Larry Craig's restroom stall story, or Mark Foley's Page Scandal... but then again, THOSE are Republican sex scandals. The same delicacy the Old Media handles sex stories with as claimed by CNN does not exist for those sorts of stories.
Yesterday, in a stinging indictment of his Old Media colleagues' la-la-la treatment of the story of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten asserted that Edwards "may have ended his public life but he certainly ratified an end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism."
I'll get to Rutten's mostly perceptive points in a bit.
That's because recent developments indicate that Edwards may still be believe he can eventually re-enter public life, and they are relevant to Rutten's assertion:
Former Chicago Alderwoman Arenda Troutman pleaded guilty yesterday (8/6/08) to felony counts of mail fraud and tax fraud. She faces up to 5 years in prison. The Chicago Tribune reported the story, and the Los Angeles Times published an edited version of the Trib's report.
Can you guess the one word that you won't find in either story? "Democrat." According to Wikipedia, "In 2006, Troutman was active in fundraising for Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and in 2002 was a campaign advisor for Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards."
Q. How can Scott McClellan tell he's pushed his turncoat trip a tad too far?
A. When even leading media liberals suggest his reputation's in tatters.
Say what you will, but I like Joan Walsh, editor of Salon.com. Liberal? No doubt. But also a grownup. On this evening's Hardball, Walsh had the integrity to acknowledge that by accusing Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly of regurgitating Bush White House talking points, McClellan was looking "worse for wear."
Sitting in for Chris Matthews, Mike Barnicle [who I must say does a more "fair 'n balanced" job than the regular guy] rolled video from the this past Friday's show in which McClellan leveled his accusation.
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows on Tuesday night properly identified indicted Senator Ted Stevens as a Republican -- though not very creatively as they all employed the identical language in describing Stevens as “the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate” -- but they weren't so eager to name the party of Democrats in trouble in recent years.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased World News: “Indicted. The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate is charged with lying about a quarter million dollars' worth of gifts and renovations for his home.” Setting up the story from Jake Tapper, with “(R)” in an on-screen graphic, Gibson repeated his “the longest-serving Republican in the Senate” line.
CBS's Katie Couric referred to Stevens as “a senior Republican” before reporter Jim Axelrod recited “the longest-serving Republican Senator ever” mantra. On NBC, anchor Brian Williams announced: “Tonight, Senator Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history is under federal indictment.”
If there is a previous record for "Highest Level of Saturation Press Coverage with No Political Party Affiliation Named" (HT to e-mailer Jason), the Cleveland press corps almost broke it.
In looking over three publications' stories about today's massive and far-ranging police actions in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, I found only one reference to the Democratic Party affiliation of those involved. Cleveland's sole daily newspaper put up a half-dozen related blog entries and failed to name anyone's party in any of them.
First, though, from the always-reliable (in shielding troubled Dems' party affiliations) Associated Press, writer Joe Milicia named no party in eight paragraphs:
Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has remained largely unhurt by the controversy over his "sweetheart" deal with mortgage lender Countrywide. But CNBC's "Squawk Box" co-host Carl Quintanilla finally bucked the media trend of ignoring the scandal and brought the loan up in an interview July 14.
Showing the kind of intrepid journalism that morning news is known for, on Monday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith led a panel discussion about some recent celebrity divorces, when publicist Marvet Britto observed: "...men are, you know, patting each other on the back when philandering happens. Sad as it may be...You know, look at Bill Clinton. It's not like he's -- you know, we're walking down the street thinking, ‘oh, look what he did.’"
The topic came up when Smith and the other panelists, divorce attorney Raoul Felder and clinical psychologist Robi Ludwig, were discussing Christie Brinkley’s divorce from her husband, who had an affair. In response, Smith awkwardly laughed and quickly moved on.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn about what Hillary Clinton’s legacy will be after leaving the presidential race on Saturday and Quinn declared that: "I think that this is a tortured person who has run and run and run and gone for it and gone for it, and it's power, and it's this and it's that, and 'I've got to be there.' There's never a moment where you see her relaxing, where you see her really stopping to smell the roses."
Smith began the segment by asking: "What are we to take away? What did we see? What did we really witness?" Quinn responded:
...Hillary doesn't know what she wants. And she doesn't know who she really is...Remember when she first came into the White House and she had a different hairdo and a different outfit? She looked completely different. And people kept saying, 'Who is she?'...And even during the campaign this time...she was the strong one and the weak one. And, during this campaign, she -- she allowed him [Bill Clinton] to, on some levels, sabotage her. She was feisty at some point and even shrill, and then she would cry.
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen introduced a video montage of memorable moments in the Democratic race that could have been produced by the Democratic National Committee: "Well, the long primary season for the Democrats has been historic, marked by the first woman and the first African-American to be serious contenders for the Oval Office. And it has been filled with many extraordinary moments." [audio available here]
The video, which often had Paul Simon’s song "America" playing in the background featured clips of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton making inspirational speeches to cheering crowds. It also showed their down-to-earth side, Obama bowling and Hillary downing a beer, with the tune "I am everyday people" playing in the background. However, the montage did also include some campaign controversies, like Jeremiah Wright and Hillary’s Bosnia sniper fire story.
Campaign coverage at the top of the show featured Bill Clinton’s latest attack on the pro-Obama media: "Sleazy... It's part of the national media's attempt to nail Hillary for Obama. It's just a, it's another way of helping Obama." As co-host Maggie Rodriguez described it: "The president's rant. Former President Bill Clinton blasts media coverage of his wife's campaign...We'll talk about what's got him so angry." Later, Chen added: "But what about Bill Clinton, once the media darling, now speaking out against the media, saying some pretty unflattering things about the press."
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to Obama supporter Congressman Robert Wexler and asked: "Here's the question though, Congressman. If Hillary Clinton continues the fight this week, does it ruin the Democratic Party's chances in November?" Wexler responded: " I don't think it ruins chances, but it would be a very, very serious matter. And only Senator McCain wants Senator Clinton to go to the Democratic convention."
Following his interview with Wexler, Smith talked to Clinton Campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe and picked a fight:
MCAULIFFE: Listen, we know it's an uphill climb, but if you look at the results yesterday, Puerto Rico we won by 142,000 votes. She clearly can now argue --
SMITH: In a weak contest where not so many people showed up.
McAuliffe later touted the fact that Hillary Clinton won more votes than any other presidential candidate in a primary and Smith suggested he was lying: "Which is really, really, really not true if you really look at Michigan, you can't really count Michigan. You don't really count the caucus states like Iowa and Washington. It's not really true." Smith was much kinder to former Bush White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan later in the show.