Who needs Fightthesmears.com when you have the New York Times?
Times reporters Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor helped Michelle Obama soften her image in Wednesday's big front-page interview, "After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction." The long, laudatory piece was anchored with a large photo, taking up half the upper fold of the front page, of Michelle Obama listening thoughtfully to her husband's famous race speech back in March.
The Times portrayed criticism of Michelle Obama as either hurtful or out of line. Her controversial comment in Wisconsin, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,"which suggested for many both a lack of pride in America and an unpleasant self-absorption, was dismissed by the Times as a mere "rhetorical stumble," with the implication that the media overplayed it (the Times certainly didn't).
At least the Times did a rowback on its previous false assertion that conservative bloggers had been behind the rumor about Michelle Obama's "whitey" speech, when in fact, as the Times now writes, it was a "blogger who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton" (Larry Johnson) who circulated the claim.
Like rock journalists following Bono, the Times reporters seem utterly fascinated by the minutia of Obama's day, while taking a few potshots at a Bush administration it's already condemned as doomed to perdition in the history books.
Like most presidential candidates, Mr. Obama is developing his executive skills on the fly, and under intense scrutiny. The evolution of his style in recent months suggests he is still finding the right formula as he confronts a challenge that he has not faced in his career: managing a large organization.
The skill will become more important should he win the presidency, and his style is getting added attention as the country absorbs the lessons of President Bush's tenure in the Oval Office. Mr. Bush's critics, including former aides, have portrayed him as too cloistered, too dependent on a small coterie of trusted aides, unable to distinguish between loyalty and competence, and insufficiently willing to adjust course in the face of events that do not unfold the way he expects.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," correspondent Jeff Glor praised the courage of Barack Obama for promoting fatherhood during a speech on Father’s Day while running for president: "A job that usually requires safe, focus-group tested messages. This one seemed like anything but." Obama’s speech, in which the Illinois Senator declared that many fathers, particularly in the African-American community, are "M.I.A.," "AWOL," and "...acting like boys instead of men," was described by co-host Maggie Rodriguez as "A blunt Father's Day message from Barack Obama to African-American men."
On ABC’s "Good Morning America," correspondent Jake Tapper reported: "...it was a provocative speech, the first major party African-American presidential candidate in history took the opportunity of Father's Day to deliver some tough love to the African American community on the subject of the disintegration of the black family." The report also featured a clip of Obama’s speech that lasted a full1 minute and 12 seconds.
Don't feel bad for Geraldine Ferraro. Looks like the Hillary supporter who got into hot water back in March for claiming Obama's race was an advantage has landed on her feet, scoring a gig with the English-language edition of the People's Daily, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party.
For some reason, Geraldine apparently decided to adopt a pen name, writing as "Ding Gang." Perhaps a Chinese-language expert out there can explain the hidden meaning behind her choice of alias.
What's that? The author of Obama Phenomenon in U.S. appearing in today's People's Daily isn't Ferraro? It really is by a guy named Gang? Well, can you blame me for thinking I saw Gerry's hand at work in Gang's article? Compare and contrast the comments that put Ferraro in the MSM doghouse, provoking Olbermann into a scatching Special Comment, with Gang's take:
Via Allahpundit at Hot Air, we learned that Whoopi Goldberg delighted the Manhattan liberal theatre crowd with a little Clarence Thomas-bashing while hosting the Tony Awards last night on CBS. Typically, she suggested that Justice Thomas wasn't really a black man. She introduced actor Laurence Fishburne this way:
And here’s a man who found out just how fantastic it is also when he picked up a Tony in Two Trains Running, currently on Broadway as the first African-American Supreme Court Justice – actually the only African-American Supreme -- no, that’s not true. [Laughter and applause] I forgot! I forgot!
Allahpundit also links to an AP story on how black conservatives like Armstrong Williams and J.C. Watts are thinking really hard about voting for Obama. Saying some kind words about the Democrat might be well-mannered, but Watts goes way beyond that to trash Republican efforts at black outreach:
CNN contributor Roland Martin, a known Barack Obama sympathizer, surprisingly isn’t buying the argument that conservatives/Republicans are behind the rumored Michelle Obama "whitey" comment. During a segment on Thursday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," substitute anchor Campbell Brown asked Martin, "Republicans have made it clear, pretty much, that Michelle is fair game here. Are you surprised by the intensity of the attacks?" He replied, "I'm not surprised by it, but I think, also, we can't blame Republicans for everything. It's these idiot Democrats that started some of this stuff."
Apparently, the Chicago media have decided that the meme for the 2008 general election is going to be that anyone who doesn't vote for Barack Obama is a racist because this is the second editorial (that I've seen, anyway) in Chicago stating such a theory. Last week the Daily Herald voiced the assumption and this week it's the Sun-Times with the volatile Andrew Greeley taking up the cause of ridding the world of racism one Obama vote at a time.
Beginning with some meaningless banter where he throws around the names of a few Greek philosophers to sound erudite, Greeley then voices the fear that if Obama loses in November it might prove we are a racist country. "Sen. Barack Obama's victory, we are told by the cheering sections,"Greeley writes, "was a great victory for the American dream. Racism may well be in retreat... What if Obama is defeated? The whole world and most African Americans will scream 'racism!'" Greeley follows that with enough evidence for us to realize that he believes that the charge would be justified. He informs us that any vote against Obama has been thus far based on "bigotry," "racism," etc.
USA Today Supreme Court Reporter Joan Biskupic penned an article today titled "O'Connor's legacy fading on reshaped court." For this particular title, "reshaped" is code for "conservative." Biskupic's article laments several recent conservative decisions of the court, and she frames these decisions as a blow to the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Biskupic literally builds up O'Connor as a national hero.
When retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor visited Capitol Hill recently to speak publicly about her husband's Alzheimer's, she was greeted as a national hero. Senators lauded her historic place as the first woman on the Supreme Court and the justice whose opinions often set the nation's law.
O'Connor, who was frequently the tie-breaking vote in close cases, is further praised for her "middle-ground" practical approach in her decision making. But things have changed since O'Connor's retirement from the high court.
Barack Obama, liberal? Surely you jest. Rachel Maddow found the suggestion so silly, she literally burst out laughing. The Air America host was part of this evening's panel on Race for the White House. David Gregory couldn't complete his reading of Rich Lowry's take on Obama before Maddow let loose.
DAVID GREGORY: Let's go to Smart Take #2. This is Rich Lowry from National Review Online, he's also talking [in a NY Post column] about Obama [emphasis added]:
Obama represents a rejection of triangulating Clintonism. He had no Sister Souljah moment during the primaries. Indeed, he initially embraced his Sister Souljah, in the form of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, introduced to the public in videotaped anti-American rants. Nor did Obama make any creative policy departures, like Clinton's advocacy of welfare reform in 1992. Obama is the fullest flowering of liberal orthodoxy since George McGovern. And yet his candidacy might not be electoral suicide. He has formidable gifts as a politician; he's eloquent, winsome, a quick study. He confronts a Republican Party that, beset by intellectual exhaustion, congressional scandal and an unpopular incumbent president, teeters on the verge of a Watergate-style meltdown. So Democrats contemplate the delicious prospect of having their purity and victory, too.
As Gregory speaks the words "Obama is the fullest flowering of liberal orthodoxy since George McGovern," Maddow can be heard laughing off camera. When Maddow's turn came to comment, she tried to make the case that Obama doesn't make it as a real liberal.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment about CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric’s recent interview with Barack Obama: "And then Obama. The Katie interview.What he thinks of Hillary," a clip of Couric was played: "Do you think you're chemically compatible?" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez then teased an interview with Clinton supporter Congressman Charles Rangel to discuss Hillary getting out of the race: "Coming up in just a couple of minutes we'll talk to one of her key supporters." However, the cameraman mistakenly focused on Couric, who was sitting in the studio. Rodriguez quickly added: "We're also going to talk to Katie Couric about an interview that she did with Barack Obama." [download video here]
In the later segment with co-host Harry Smith, Couric played a longer clip of her interview with Obama, which began with her pushing Clinton for VP: " In our latest poll, 59% of Democratic primary voters, including 46% of your voters, think you should select Senator Clinton to be your running mate. So in the spirit of Kennedy picking Johnson and Reagan choosing Bush, why not pick Senator Clinton?" Couric then asked the chemistry question: "As you know, a lot of it is about chemistry. So just now sitting here talking about it, do you think you're chemically compatible?"
Obama dodged the question, but Couric was persistent: "But what about chemistry, Senator?" Later in the segment, Smith commented: "I love the chemistry question. I love the follow-up on the chemistry question."
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased an upcoming segment on Barack Obama becoming the first black nominee of the Democratic Party: "And the question, one of the many questions of the morning, is America really ready to elect a black man president? We have a brand-new CBS poll. The numbers will amaze you." At that point, co-host Julie Chen added: "You know who I would love to see handle that question?...Senator John McCain. It would be very interesting to see how he would handle that question." Smith agreed: "Yeah." Does Chen think McCain will say no?
Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez provided a segue to the story when she explained that: "I came to town [New Orleans] last night to interview Senator John McCain as he kicked off his general election campaign. Here in this city where so many voters are African-American. That's an important demographic for the Senator to woo, especially now that the Democratic nominee is African-American."
BET founder Bob Johnson, despite his consistent support of Hillary Clinton, placed an unequivocal importance on Barack Obama’s election as President during a segment on Wednesday’s "American Morning." "I believe that if Senator Obama leads this country the way he ran the primary, it will become a historic event for African-Americans, probably greater than the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed in 1863."
This statement, which he made during an interview at the top of the 7 am hour of the CNN program, was a drastic change of tune for the media mogul. Earlier this year, Johnson hinted at Barack Obama’s drug use during a Clinton campaign rally. "Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues -- when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book." CNN contributor (and thinly-veiled Obama supporter) Roland Martin blasted both Johnson and Hillary Clinton for the remarks on "American Morning" itself at the time.
Who says there's no humor in politics? Obama communications director Robert Gibbs went on ABC's This Week today, and in one of the better deadpan bits since Buster Keaton actually said that Barack Obama's decision to quit the Trinity United Church of Christ was "not political."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: In Philadelphia, just in April, Senator Obama said of Reverend Wright "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." Now he's cut all ties to Reverend Wright, and left his church. What is it a mistake to wait this long?
ROBERT GIBBS: No, George. I think obviously what Barack Obama made in the past few days is a deeply personal, not a political decision. And as you heard the reasoning, he made that decision for two reasons. One, even guest speakers that were at Trinity, their views were ascribed to him even though he didn't hold those views, and secondly, the members of Trinity couldn't do what members of a church do, and that is, sit in quiet reflection and worship God.
Father Michael Pfleger, whose endorsement of Barack Obama until recently appeared on the official Obama website, mocks Hillary Clinton's tears during a sermon at Obama's church, the Trinity United Church of Christ, on May 25, 2008.
Mika Brzezinski realizes that the latest looniness emanating from Barack Obama's church poses political problems for the presidential candidate. But as a person of pallor, the ever-so-PC Morning Joe-er doesn't want to judge a black church—even when the most recent rantings come from the mouth of . . . a white preacher.
Morning Joe opened today with a clip of Father Michael Pfleger guest-preaching this past Sunday at Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ. Pfleger, a fixture on the radical Chicago scene whose endorsement of Obama [h/t Michelle Malkin] until recently appeared on the official Obama campaign website, mocked Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire tears as a sign of her frustrated sense of white entitlement. The screencap shows Pfleger making like Hillary wiping away those tears.
(Watch video above, context included, fast-forward to 3:40 for Brzezinski's humorous comment.)
But while acknowledging the headache Pfleger poses for Obama, Mika was oh-so-loath to comment on the substance or tone of the remarks themselves. Excerpts from her discussion with Tucker Carlson, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist:
In an attempt to explain how race will impact Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama's run for the White House, Newsweek has created a "Racial Resentment Index" exclusively for white people without measuring such biases of non-whites.
Apparently, it's only important to Newsweek to identify if racism is a factor in why whites prefer Republican presidential candidate John McCain and not if racism is a factor in why blacks support Obama.
Such can be read between the lines in the article published Friday entitled "The White Stuff: A new NEWSWEEK Poll underscores Obama's racial challenge" (emphasis added, picture courtesy Getty Images):
Even before I heard Chris Matthews mention it, it struck me too . . .
Among the visuals a big-time campaign carefully choreographs is the human backdrop when the candidate speaks—particularly when it's a matter of an important, nationally-televised speech. So it's very hard to imagine that it was coincidence that the crowd visible behind Hillary this evening as she gave her Kentucky primary victory speech . . . was comprised 100% of people of pallor. Kibitzing with co-anchor Keith Olbermann immediately after Clinton's comments, Matthews mentioned it.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I thought a giveaway line was "who is best positioned to win in November?" That is not exactly a self-crediting commentary. When you position yourself in politics, it's a deliberate effort to try to find a space, not necessarily your own passionate position, or your real position, but to find a place, to triangulate, to try to find a place that appeals to a certain percentage of the voters that will carry you over. And to advertise yourself as the "best-positioned" is not really a statement of authenticity, it's a statement of political positioning. It's a Dick Morris phrase, if anything. It's certainly an odd way to portray it.
I think I know what she's saying, which is "I'm perhaps stronger on defense, perhaps I'm white, perhaps I'm appealing to the working class." I do think it's interesting that her entire crowd was white tonight. That was interesting. Usually they try to mix it up a bit, up near the lectern on purpose, to give it a sense of random selection. It didn't look very random there.
Like choosing Rosie O'Donnell to vouch that someone isn't a 9-11 conspiracy nut?
Of all the people Mika Brzezinski might have selected as a character reference for her father when he was portrayed as a problem for Obama with Jewish voters, Pat Buchanan isn't the first one who springs to mind. Yet that's who Mika [subbing as host for Joe Scarborough, home in Florida awaiting the birth of a baby] called on to defend her dad on today's Morning Joe.
The odd endorsement came at about 6:35 AM EDT today, after Mika highlighted an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal by Global View columnist [and former Jerusalem Post editor] Bret Stephens entitled Obama and the Jews. Stephens's item contained these lines [emphasis added]:
Paul Krugman is over in Berlin, and—surprise!—concludes that Europeans have things better figured out than we benighted Americans do. The gist of his Stranded in Suburbia in today's NY Times is that dense cities like Berlin, which offer good public transportation, are the solution to the high gasoline prices we are seemingly stuck with. Krugman contrasts Berlin and Atlanta:
Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.
So why don't more Americans choose to live in big cities? After citing the current lack of good public transportation and the durability of suburban housing, Krugman points his accusing liberal's finger at his fellow Americans [emphasis added]:
Eleanor Clift's latest online column for Newsweek assumes that white male "Reagan Democrats" are racist and sexist, or at least they're sickened by appeals by too much focus on the "rights" of blacks and women.
Whether the term is Reagan Democrats or NASCAR dads, they're euphemisms for the white men who deserted a party they thought focused too much on the rights of blacks and women.
Isn't that a bit simplistic? Couldn't there be a lot of reasons for white male Democrats to vote for Reagan? There's no room in Clift's racist/sexist analysis for the possibility that defections came because of issues like abortion, the Vietnam War and the "peace" movement, and later, in Reagan's case, the Carter mismanagement of the economy and the Iranian hostage crisis. Clift continued:
On the May 14 edition of "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd revealed her family once lived in West Virginia, but not in singing "take me home." Apparently West Virginians are racist. Why? Because Barack Obama lost of course. The noted historian and geographer added she knows "why [her family] moved" and "overwhelming white" West Virginia "voted for Clinton."
Shepherd also implied Clinton voters who say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee are motivated by race. Sherri Shepherd previously chided Elisabeth Hasselbeck for raising concerns about those who vote for Obama because of his race. On the April 24 edition, Shepherd proclaimed that she is "a black woman" and "so proud of [Obama]."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck then jumped in and asked "is it always because of racism or because of politics too?" Whoopi Goldberg opined "it’s hard to tell."
Hillary Clinton won among white voters in West Virginia by a 67-26% margin. Pretty lopsided. Then again, that's nearly an even split compared to the 90+ percent of black votes Barack Obama's been racking up in state after state.
So who does Diane Sawyer suggest should reject race-based votes? Senator 90+? Nope. James Carville was Sawyer's guest during the GMA's opening half-hour today.
DIANE SAWYER: I want to talk about the fact that 20% of the voters coming out of the West Virginia race said race was in fact a factor in their vote, and of those Senator Clinton won 84%. Here's my question: should Senator Clinton say she is rejecting the votes of anyone who votes based in any way on color of skin?
On Wednesday’s "Your World" on FNC, host Neil Cavuto talked with talk show host Montel Williams about the election and asked if Williams was backing anyone, to which Williams responded: "You know, I'm into the election year, but I got to tell you I'm -- here I'll do something controversial, so it'll get us both fired. But I'm sick right now of the way the media is attempting to control this election rather than just report the news." [audio available here]
Williams' condemnation of media went further: "People keep being called or claim to play a race card, when it's really us in the media that are playing the race card, trying to bait people to play into the race card. I'm sick of some of what I feel is some of the most divisive politics that I've seen in the last 20 years."
Cavuto again attempted to find out if Williams was supporting any particular candidate, but instead Williams articulated his responsibility as an influential television personality not to endorse anyone:
During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's West Virginia Democratic primary, Chris Matthews three times compared Hillary Clinton to Al Sharpton because she recently cited her popularity with white blue-collar voters as a reason she should be the Democratic presidential nominee. Matthews: "It's almost like she's the Al Sharpton of white people." Keith Olbermann claimed that media coverage of the Democratic campaign has been fair, but still conceded that "if the media leaned at any point early on in this race, it was not against [Clinton], but towards her." Matthews contended that, similar to the way Bill Clinton in 1992 had "a tremendous wind at his back in terms of press coverage because of generation," this time Barack Obama "has benefitted from being the new breeze."
Former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe also got to poke fun at Matthews over his over the top confession last February that an Obama speech caused a "thrill going up my leg." While discussing Clinton's speech from Tuesday night, McAuliffe joked: "I'm sure it sent shivers up Chris Matthews's leg." (Transcript follows)
Just a few days ago, Barack Obama scoffed at the suggestion he was playing the age card when he accused John McCain of "losing his bearings." But check out the way the Obama campaign has now chosen to declarethat it wouldn't leave the playing field in Michigan and Florida to its Republican opponent:
"We're not going to let John McCain wander around in those states unchallenged anymore."
Wander around? Like the nice ol' feller found ambling down the street in his bathrobe who has to be gently led back home?
The Society of Professional Journalists has decided that it is best to leave a suspect's race out of crime reporting except for "extraordinary" reasons. Of course, to the SPJ, "good reporting" means race info in a story about crime isn't "useful to people in the community" even if the race of a suspect is part of a police report apparently. Despite their claim that they aren't toeing the PC line, their explanation is filled with just the sort of reasoning based on PC thinking -- one of which is that all whites are racists.
Some of you may remember the story in September of 2007 when the Sacramento Bee announced that they were revisiting their policy of including race in their crime stories. A particularly gruesome crime occurred that brought the Bee to revisit their policy when they reported on the suspect leaving out race while Internet reporting as well as the Bee's own comments section on their internet posting of the story reported the race of the suspect anyway.
Reporter Fred Lucas of CNSNews.com (a project of the MRC) has found an interesting quote for Tim Russert or others at NBC and MSNBC to ask Barack Obama about in their next live interview. A "social justice" minister at Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago wrote an article for the church bulletin last year that the Don Imus incident on MSNBC proved the networks were run by right-wing bigots:
In a column in the April 15, 2007 bulletin, the Rev. Reginald Williams, the associate pastor for social justice at Trinity United, said he was not surprised by the racially charged remarks that talk-radio host Don Imus made about the Rutgers University women's basketball team because "the major networks are run by right-winged conservatives who still see black people as subhuman and portray black people as such."
In the patriotism category, Trinity's Rev. Williams also suggested the Pentagon was training terrorists in Latin America -- an article of faith on the Castro-sympathizing left:
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report: "Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star."
Reid went on to describe Obama’s "rock star" tour of Congress: "Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck."
At one point, Reid explained how Obama reached across the aisle: "Even saying hello to House Republicans." However, Reid pointed out that: "the conversation apparently was less than profound," and played a clp of Obama joking: "They said they were impressed with my jump shot."
After Reid’s report, Smith talked to Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about when Hillary Clinton would get out of the race. Smith began by asking about Clinton’s recent comments in an interview: "First about Hillary Rodham Clinton, gives an interview to USA Today yesterday talking about how well she does with white voters, listening to her husband last night, are the wheels finally coming off this bus?"
Is it the province of a "correspondent" of an ostensibly objective network to proclaim the tactics of a presidential candidate "inappropriate"? Apparently so, when the network is MSNBC and the correspondent David Shuster. The frequent sidekick to Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann got into it with Pat Buchanan on today's Morning Joe.
Shuster spoke out against Hillary's rough-'n-tumble end-game tactics, while a feisty Buchanan defended Clinton's right to go down swinging. Shuster sounded less the reporter and more the DNC member concerned about damage to the party's presumptive presidential candidate. When Mike Barnicle got into the act, he wanted to be sure not to be seen as insulting the Clintons.
DAVID SHUSTER: What is the plausible scenario for what she's doing now, and do you agree, the only plausible scenario is that she's just trying to permanently damage Barack Obama?
MIKE BARNICLE: What about this one, David? What about the fact that, listen, not speaking ill of either former President Clinton or Senator Clinton [God forbid!], but this is all they've ever done in their lives. They've never worked at a private job, they've never worked in corporate America [Rose law firm?], they've been public people for 30 years. All they know is running! That's all they know: that's who they are.
Was it Hardball—or the World Series of Poker? Interviewing Hillary's Howard Wolfson today, Chris Matthews accused the Clinton campaign of playing the white race card. Just minutes later, when Wolfson suggested Matthews might be discriminating against Puerto Rican voters, Chris protested "don't play that card on me."