It's one thing for Chip Reid or David Gregory to give Mitt Romney a hard time over his abortion position change, as I documented here and here. But on this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews took it to a fiery new level, and Pat Buchanan got into the act.
Matthews: "This is like the kind of conversions you had in Spain in the old bad days where if you were Jewish, you were Christian the next day or you were burned alive!"
The screencap shows Chris Matthews giving Pat an approving finger as the paleo-con posed and answered his own question:
"Do I believe these are sincere, honest conversions of Rudy or Romney? In my judgment, probably not. I think they're changing their positions for political reasons. And you either accept that or you take the alternative which may be Hillary Rodham Clinton."
As we noted here, within minutes of Mitt Romney having announced his candidacy this morning, MSNBC, in the person of Chip Reid, branded him "far right."
David Gregory has now made it a one-two punch. A bit later on MSNBC, Gregory played clips from 1994 of Romney expressing pro-choice and pro-gay rights views. Noting Romney's subsequent change to a pro-life position, Gregory expressed this opinion, in the guise of a question, to his two MSM guests:
"With all respect to Governor Romney, is anybody really going to buy that, buy the timing of that, that that was some genuine change of heart?"
Words don't do justice to the contemptuousness of Gregory's tone. View the video here.
Don't believe me? Ask the Boston Globe. Better put, have a gander at the paper's editorial cartoon of today. What does the Globe mean by saying that Mitt Romney "once worshipped at the church of moderation"? No doubt the Globe has in mind Mitt's glory days of 1994, campaigning against Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat.
As the Globe documented here, in 1994, Romney aligned himself with Kennedy on abortion, arguing that it should be safe and legal. He also voiced support for the controversial abortion pill RU-486. And when it came to gay rights, Romney portrayed himself as being an even more ardent advocate for the cause, promising "more effective leadership" than Kennedy on winning "full equality" for gays and lesbians, opposed a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and advocated gays serving openly in the military.
The vicious anti-Catholic (and in general, anti-religious) bloggers hired by the John Edwards campaign came under surprising condemnation from liberal columnist (and PBS NewsHour pundit) Mark Shields and liberal NPR reporter Nina Totenberg on the Friday night TV talk show "Inside Washington." Shields said he hesitated to agree with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, but he was "right." Shields dared go where media accounts have not, explicitly reading Amanda Marcotte’s sleazy joke about the sperm of the Holy Spirit and Mary aborting Jesus with the Plan B pill, saying "if she had written similarly about a Jewish person, an Islamic person, a gay or a lesbian, she would be banished to the outer darkness." Totenberg called it "disgusting."
Only Newsweek’s Evan Thomas seemed to try and make excuses for Edwards by slamming bloggers in general: "Read blogs. They're full of that kind of stuff."
Have you ever watched a book-based TV segment in which the hosts never mentioned the book's title? Fox & Friends Weekend pulled off the feat this morning -- presumably because the title of the cookbook in question was a bit too spicy for Fox's taste.
With Valentine's Day looming, Martha Hopkins was in to suggest some sensual dishes to share with one's sweetie. Her claim to expertise? She is co-author of a book entitled . . . "Inter Courses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook." Hopkins treated the Fox hosts to two of her recipes: artichoke hearts and strawberries and whipped cream.
But while the camera flashed on her book sitting on the buffet, items were artfully arranged to obscure its full title. I'm providing a larger-than-normal screencap so readers can see the careful camouflaging. The book title once appeared briefly at the bottom of the screen, and a full image of the book was flashed at the end of the segment. But the two Fox hosts, Kelly Wright and Brigitte Quinn, managed to avoid ever mentioning its title.
Political correctness is on the march again in the Washington Post sports section. In a column highlighted on the Post home page today with the headline "Sexuality Disclosed, Ignorance Exposed," sports writer Michael Wilbon uses former NBA player John Amaechi's coming out as gay as an opportunity to bludgeon the "ignorance" of anyone who would offer a discouraging word.
If we're lucky, the men and women who are both enlightened and emboldened will not only be supportive but will drown out the knuckleheads and Neanderthals and everybody who wants to slow the march of progress. Even one step away from tolerance, whether we're talking about race, gender, religious beliefs or sexuality, simply slows the march to the day when none of this stuff matters.
John Edwards is retaining his attack-dog leftist bloggers. His campaign has a statement on the Edwards blog, and the candidate claimed "they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked."
As anyone who's read the Kathryn Lopez smackdown on their blazing blog guns at Catholics (and Pope Benedict, the alleged dictator) knows, it's quite clear they intended to malign a faith. The subject emerged on CNN's The Situation Room Wednesday night, but the most disturbing part of the story appeared on screen. The graphic emphasized unproven allegations:
What? Kathryn's beginning made the vicious anti-Catholic flavor of Amanda Marcotte's blogging very clear:
The Laura Ingraham Show this morning had a big discussion about the odd part of Prince's performance of "Purple Rain" during the Super Bowl halftime show last night. Prince is obviously self-impressed with the symbol he used for a name for a few years (the TAFKAP Era, for The Artist Formerly Known As Prince). Not only was there a huge symbol on the stage, it was also the shape of his guitar.
So many people thought putting Prince behind a flapping curtain with a spotlight so you could see him in silhouette playing his odd guitar sent an obvious er, male-genitalia message last night. Was this just a dramatic flourish gone awry? Some sort of Austin Powers hommage? And why would CBS let it slip through their censors after the Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction of 2004? Anyone else think of old Prince lyrics about the "lion in his pocket"?
Sunday's Washington Post Magazine had another one of those true Post chestnuts, chronicling how cruel and backward the state of Virginia is to lesbians. April Witt's story focused on two women who entered into a civil union in Vermont now battling for custody of an artificially inseminated daughter. Vermont says Janet the lesbian partner is automatically a parent, Virginia says not so fast. The story contained several elements that the gay left does not appreciate -- Lisa the birth mother left behind homosexuality and embraced Christianity, and the story mentions ex-gay authors and ministries. But it also carried the classic tendency to divide the ideological combat between "conservatives" and not liberals, but "gay rights activists," activists whose work is in historic "landmark" cases.
The trend starts early in the story: "On one side are lawyers who are leading gay-rights activists; on the other are legal combatants for a conservative Christian foundation associated with Jerry Falwell."
How can Katie Couric claim to keep her politics our of her work when she offers up her own editorial positions on a variety of subjects? She does so in the course of her "Katie Couric's Notebook" segments. It's true that Katie normally avoids the controversial. On January 16th, for example, she took a bold stand against procrastination. And when she did address abortion on January 22nd, she played it largely down the middle -- though pro-lifers might argue that her mention of the way the issue has sparked violence ignores the daily violence of abortion itself.
But at times Couric takes positions on hot issues of the day, such as on January 12th when she expressed the hope that the Gitmo prison "is closed down soon." On January 26th, Couric came out for "breaking our addiction to oil." Or how about this one, in which, incredibly, Couric argued in favor of congressional earmarks!
Democratic presidential candidate (for now, anyway) Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware got headlines for all the wrong reasons yesterday when he referred to Sen. Barack Obama, who's also running for president, as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" in an interview with the New York Observer.
"Biden Unwraps His Bid for '08 With an Oops!" read the headline over Adam Nagourney's Thursday story in the New York Times. Credit the Times for putting it on the front page, and to Nagourney for bringing up Biden's equally strange comment last summer that aired on C-Span: “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
Push Poll: Definition: "A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. Push polls are generally viewed as a form of negative campaigning. The term is also sometimes used incorrectly to refer to legitimate polls which test political messages, some of which may be negative. Push polling has been condemned by the American Association of Political Consultants."
Melissa Russo, political reporter for NBC's NYC affiliate WNBC, recently followed Rudy Giuliani up to New Hampshire. In her report on this morning's "Today," Russo stressed that at a GOP campaign stop, Giuliani failed to inform the Granite State Republicans that "he's far from a social conservative."
While Vice President Dick Cheney stared daggers into CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer over his pushing questions about his lesbian daughter’s December announcement of her pregnancy, Blitzer insisted it was a “responsible and fair question.” Cheney disagreed. There's an argument that Blitzer's question citing Focus on the Family, when considered alone, is a fair (if not kind) question. There's no doubt that Blitzer's question was a trouble-making question, which could easily serve to sow division among Republicans and press Cheney into making a big gaffe or controversy.
Here’s where it’s clearly unfair. When has a Democratic national candidate’s sons or daughters ever been the subject of a national controversy? Try this as Exhibit A. In 2000, while the networks tried to make great hay in the election’s last weekend over an antique George W. Bush drunk-driving ticket, CNN and the other liberal networks hyper-sensitively avoided the story of Al Gore's teenage son Albert Gore III, caught driving 97 miles per hour on an interstate highway, an offense on the public record, just two days before the 2000 Democratic convention. As I wrote for National Review Online in 2000:
The View co-hosts are so anxious at an opportunity to blast the vice president, that the truth does not seem to matter. On Thursday’s View, co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar, and guest co-host Tina Fey weighed in on the recent interview Vice President Cheney gave to CNN regarding Cheney’s lesbian daughter’s pregnancy. Through the course of the conversation they falsely asserted that Cheney is a staunch gay-marriage opponent.
Although token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck thought inquiring into his family life was inappropriate, they all agreed the vice president is a hypocrite for not supporting gay marriage while retaining a strong relationship with an openly gay daughter. Joy Behar summed it up along with her ignorance of the vice president's role.
On Wednesday, during an interview with Dick Cheney, "Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer continued to badger the Vice President and quizzed Cheney about the month-old story of the pregnancy of his lesbian daughter, Mary. (Hat tip to Drudge) Cheney bluntly responded to the CNN anchor, " I think you're out of line with that question." That comment came after Blitzer, who appeared to be attempting to drive a wedge between conservatives and the Vice President, quoted a Focus on the Family statement, from December 6, 2006:
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 5:35pm on January 24, follows:
Wolf Blitzer: "Your daughter Mary, she's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby. You're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting, for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family: ‘Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn't mean it's best for the child.’ Do you want to respond to that?"
Dick Cheney: "No, I don't."
Blitzer: "She's obviously a good daughter."
Cheney: "I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question."
Proving the pro-life movement is alive and well despite abortion advocates obtaining control of Congress last November, hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates participated in the annual March for Life. The mood was optimistic and positive despite 34 years of legalized abortion since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
Independent confirmation of the size of the crowd, plus additional chances for readers to get a perspective on the number of people present (no aerial shots, unfortunately), is at "Barbara's Public March for Life 2007 Gallery," where Barbara says:
As a former radical leftist, I attended many demonstrations in Washington, DC. Now having attended the March for Life two years in a row, I'm amazed at how under-reported the March for Life is - and all too aware of how that under-reporting contributes to the rampant stereotyping of pro-lifers as middle-aged white males. I actually saw very few of those today! What I saw were hundreds of thousands of people willing to brave the cold (DC had its first snow of the winter the night before) to affirm that a baby in the womb is not property to be destroyed, but a person that those committed to human rights must defend. It's a child, not a choice!
As has been the case for decades, those who are supposed to bring us the news couldn't and/or wouldn't accurately report what was occurring right in front of them:
ABC News is trying to assure us that young girls who have a "fascination with itsy-bitsy clothing, misogynistic hip hop music and porn star-esque celebrities " is just behavior that "isn't cause for alarm".
Wearing short-shorts and belly shirts, grinding to hip-hop hits, and posting provocative pictures of themselves on the Internet — the behavior of many teen and tween girls has parents wondering if their daughters are bound for a lifetime of promiscuity and loose morals.
Lifesite had the report that early Thursday morning’s edition of NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" displayed a character called "the homophobic country western singer." Conan O’Brien introduced him: "Our last new character's heart is in the right place, even if he's a complete idiot. Please welcome the homophobic country western singer." The singer began to play a guitar and sing a song warning Jesus Christ not to make a gay pass at him:
Oh I love you Jesus But only as a friend. You touched my heart but I hope That's where the touchin' ends.
You're always lookin' over me When I need a higher power. But you better look at somethin' else When I'm in the shower.
As NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston has noted, Sen. Barbara Boxer took an unseemly jab at Condi Rice yesterday.
Of all the members of the Senate, the one you might expect to be least likely to call attention to a woman's single, childless status for purposes of scoring political points would be Boxer. And yet it was the oh-so-broadminded senator from the Bay Area who did just that when Condi Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday to defend President Bush's newly-announced Iraq plans.
In a segment narrated by ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, today's Good Morning America highlighted Boxer's questionable comment, running a good-sized clip of the exchange.
Rather than the "liberal bias" rubric, file this one under "coarsening of the culture." We had a dubious first this morning: a network news host informing the world that one of her guests had just experienced a hot flash.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman was Meredith Vieira's guest for purposes of discussing the good news that scientists have discovered a way to extract stem cells from amniotic fluid and placentas, a breakthrough that could render moot the embryonic stem cell controversy.
But at the end of the interview, in promoting an upcoming segment devoted to menopause, Vieira "outed" Snyderman in these terms:
"You'll be back for our menopause series. And Nancy was actually fanning herself earlier. She had a hot flash. She knows what she's talking about."
Granted, the coverage of the Duke rape matter on this morning's "Today" was heavily skeptical of the prosecutor's case. And yes, host Alison Stewart did preface her remark by suggesting that she "play devil's advocate here." Even so, it's hard to see any journalistic justification for a scurrilous suggestion Stewart made. Speaking with NBC legal analyst Susan Filan, Stewart said:
"Why would she change her story at this point? She told doctors, nurses and police that she had been raped. Yet now she says she doesn't remember. Could someone have gotten to this woman?"
The front page of Monday’s Washington Post is a topped with a local religion story, as seven Episcopal parishes voted to break with the Episcopal Church USA over the church’s tilt away from the Bible and toward a "progressive" future with gay bishops and gay "marriage" ceremonies. Reporters Michelle Boorstein and Bill Turque describe these dissidents as "conservative" four times in the story (and once in the headline), but there are no "liberals" in the piece, not gay Bishop Gene Robinson and not the top Presiding Bishop, Kathleen Jefferts Schori. In paragraph 17, the reporters do attribute talk of a "leftward drift" to a disgruntled parishioner.
(Perhaps most surprising is the picture: conservative opponents of homosexuality embracing after the decision to split away. Nearly every national newspaper story on gay issues is illustrated by gay plaintiffs, gay protesters, gay parents – and social conservatives go for years without being pictured.)
One of the more interesting double standards in the media and politics is how folks on the left are allowed to make sexist remarks – or, in the case of a former president, exhibit obviously sexist behavior – with total impunity. Yet, the same actions by someone on the right will be met with so much scorn as to threaten the individual’s career.
A fine example of this occurred on Tuesday’s “Hardball” when host Chris Matthews made some extraordinarily sexist comments to former Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. So as not to offend anyone, the partial transcript of this exchange follows in the “Read More” section. Furthermore, the must-see video is available here:
If political reporters think their job is to lay out the facts, then why would anyone try to claim Nancy Pelosi is not a liberal? In Tuesday's Baltimore Sun, reporter Matthew Hay Brown is the latest Pelosi profiler to suggest liberal is just a "brand" Republicans have tried to burn on her. He began: "As she introduces herself next month to a national audience, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be stressing her roots in working-class, Catholic Baltimore as a way of recasting the liberal image with which Republicans have tried to brand her." Brown extensively used liberal professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson, often used by network reporters over the years to debunk political ads, to attempt to make plausible the bunk that Pelosi is firmly in the mainstream because, forget the voting record, she's a Catholic grandmother. In 19 years in the House, Pelosi has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of three out of 100.
Cato the Elder famously dragged Carthage into every speech, calling for it to be destroyed. Like a modern-day Cato who has played the DVD of "An Inconvenient Truth" way too many times, The Boston Globe manages to drag global warming into an editorial this morning about, of all things, the baby that Mary Cheney is expecting. In doing so, the Globe hypocritically invades the very Cheney privacy it claims to want to champion.
Writing of the decision of Cheney and Heather Poe to bring a child into the world, the Globe claims that:
"Like any couple choosing to become parents, they must have concluded that the joy of raising a child outweighs the uncertainties of introducing it to a planet threatened by global warming, nuclear proliferation, and other terrors of the modern world."
Ana Marie Cox of "Time" magazine asserted that the pregnancy of Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, shames the White House and pondered whether it was a "...genetic experiment to extend the lineage," on Tuesday’s "Imus in the Morning." Cox, appearing in the 6:00 hour, alluded to Ms. Cheney’s sexual orientation on several occasions and emphasized that she is the vice president’s "gay daughter."
Cox claimed that the Bush administration is "falling apart" because the news of Mary Cheney’s pregnancy is the best they’d received recently:
"This administration’s really falling apart though, I do agree. I think, you know, you know times are bad when the best news the White House has had recently is, you know, Dick Cheney’s gay daughter is pregnant. Like, he’s going to be a granddad, that’s pretty much it."
Well, at least he didn't blame it on Bush. In his column of yesterday, Market Watch's Jon Friedman tells us not to rule out this explanation of CBS Evening News's disappointing third-place finish under Katie Couric's baton:
"America wasn't truly ready for the first solo woman evening-news anchor, let alone someone smart and attractive with pretensions to sounding puckish and hip."
Oh, please. Does Friedman really believe that? From Maureen Dowd [love her or hate her] to Oprah to Katie herself back in her 'Today' days, millions of Americans are comfortable getting their news and views from women opinion-leaders. Katie hasn't flopped because of her sex. She's been unsuccessful because she's done nothing to distinguish herself from her liberal media competitors - with the exception of letting her show's precious few minutes of hard news be crowded out by the awkward "Free Speech" segment.
Imagine for a moment that a sex scandal involving pages had forced a Democrat Congressman holding a safe seat to resign in disgrace weeks before crucial midterm elections, while also reflecting badly on other members of his Party in tight races across the country. A month after the votes had been tallied, and the Democrats had surrendered control of both chambers of Congress in a stunning defeat, a House ethics panel released a report on the subject containing the following information:
The leaks to the press concerning this matter had come from the communications director for the House Republican Caucus
A high-ranking staff member for the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee had been informed of the misdeeds of the Democrat Congressman almost twelve months before they were revealed by the press
Now assume that this head of the NRCC had declared four weeks prior to Election Day that nobody in his office was aware of the Democrat Congressman’s sexual indiscretions before they were revealed. Would the contradictory findings of this panel be headline news the day they were reported?
You can sense that when the liberal media covers the pregnancy of Mary Cheney, there’s a glee there, like when they find an evangelical preacher with a crystal meth problem (although it must be said that in their current glee, Mary is the heroine, and again, the religious right is wrong). Some conservatives have argued that Mary Cheney probably just wants her privacy, and it’s the activists who’ve hijacked the story. But do we know that to be true?
The story broke on Wednesday morning in the gossip column of the Washington Post, and gossips Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger don’t say who told them, but I think it’s fair to bet that Mary Cheney told them. She may have called them up. They might have heard about it, and called her up. But the idea that Mary Cheney doesn’t really want to be a crusader for gay marriage on this story doesn’t match her record of gay-left activism (albeit mixed with her support for the GOP and her terrorist-fighting dad).