If a media personality is to attack a political figure for lack of experience one would expect this person to get the facts correct. That is what Diane Sawyer failed to do on the August 28 edition of "Good Morning America." After guest Minnesota Governor and potential McCain running mate Tim Pawlenty noted Barack Obama’s lack of experience, Sawyer sought to level the playing field claiming Pawlenty, as a possible vice presidential candidate, has "only been governor for two years."
On the air, Pawlenty corrected Sawyer reminding her that he has actually been a governor for six years. Sawyer immediately retracted telling the Minnesota governor "thanks for correcting me there. I in meant to say six years and thank you for the truth squad there on your own."
Earlier in the interview when questioning about McCain’s potential running mate Sawyer asked "do you think in your view that the vice presidential choice for John McCain must be pro-life?" Oddly, the mainstream media never seems to question Democrats if their vice presidential choice "must be pro-choice."
Update | 10: 30 AM: Scarborough acknowledges Biden's 'F' rating. At 8:36 AM EDT, Joe said that "a blog" had attacked him, noting Biden's 'F' rating from gun owners. View video here, which also contains Chuck Todd's statement that even Dems acknowledge Biden's speech "wasn't great."
Joe Scarborough and the rest of the Morning Joe crew actually had my sympathy this morning. Amidst all the infighting at MSNBC, including demands for Joe's head in Olbermann-friendly circles, one could sense that the panel was on its best behavior. During the opening hour, a subdued David Shuster—who had openly fought with Joe just two days ago—was there, but just barely. A conciliatory Scarborough could not have been more enthusiastic in his praise for yesterday's DNC proceedings, from Bill's speech to the historic fact of the nomination of an African-American.
But if my impulse is to cut the Morning Joe folks some slack today, I have to draw the line at the whopper Joe got off at 6:45 AM, in which he claimed that Biden's presence on the ticket will help reassure gun owners that Obama won't take their weapons.
Click on the image to the right to see what Joe had to say, then compare it with Biden's record on gun ownership. As you'll see, the contrast couldn't be more stark.
According to the New York Times, pro-life Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey, Jr. spoke last night at the Democratic convention to “reach out to religious voters and anti-abortion Democrats and independents.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews noted prior to Casey’s speech that it was part of the Democratic party strategy to “build a coalition, largely of pro-choice people, but with some, a few, pro-lifers, in order to win 60 seats in the U.S. Senate.” Former Clinton advisor Paul Begala told CNN that Casey speaking at the convention was “an example of Senator Obama’s ability to find common ground.” CNN’s Gloria Borger stated, “Having Senator Casey up there, who disagrees with Barack Obama on the issue of abortion, who will talk about it and talk about how they disagree, but how he respects Obama and the way he handles this issue, it's something that they hope Catholic voters will be listening to.”
The only problem was that Casey didn’t “reach out” to pro-life voters. He simply acknowledged his and Obama’s differing views on abortion in the following statement: “Barack Obama and I have an honest disagreement on the issue of abortion. But the fact that I'm speaking here is testament to Barack's ability to show respect for the views of people who may disagree with him.” That’s the only mention of abortion that appeared during the seven minute speech."
A San Francisco Chronicle article last Wednesday relating to growing concerns about Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's recent campaign performances "evolved" in a quite convenient way for the Illinois senator by the time it got to the paper's print edition and went through its final web revision. That article, among other things, addressed Obama's appearance at Rick Warren's Saddleback Values forum the previous weekend.
The current entry at Google News, obtained by searching "That's above my pay grade" (entered in quotes), reads as follows:
Although it's framed in a very biased way ("thoughtful but fuzzier"?), at least a reference to Obama's infamous "That's above my pay grade" comment is present (the original transcript segment containing that remark is here).
Tuesday’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC highlighted recent criticisms from Catholic Church leaders toward Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her recent claims that "the Doctors of the [Catholic] Church have not been able to make that definition" of whether human life begins at conception. Appearing on Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC, when host Tom Brokaw turned to the abortion issue and asked her when she believes human life begins, Pelosi responded: "I would say that, as an ardent practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is, over the centuries, the Doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition."
While the national media fret over whether or not there will be unity in the Democratic Party and gush over Monday night’s speeches by Senator Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama, pro-lifers are out in Denver, Colorado, protesting and working hard to get their message across. Of course, it would be easier to get their message out if the national media paid attention to their protests.
None of the big three broadcast network morning shows -- ABC’s "Good Morning America," NBC’s "Today" and CBS’s "Early Show" -- reported on these protests. Of course, this should come as no surprise. The broadcast networks also ignored this year’s March for Life as well as the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling.
In contrast, all three of the network evening news broadcasts reported on the anti-war protests on the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Moreover, these reports all aired within the first ten minutes of each program.
By now I'm sure you've seen the cable networks give behind-the-scenes glimpses of their newsrooms, green rooms, spin rooms, and other inner workings of the Pepsi Center in Denver.
But that's just scratching the surface. Washington Post's Dana Milbank used his August 26 "Washington Sketch" feature to give readers a taste of the carnival atmosphere that's descended on Denver with the arrival of the Democratic Convention, complete with bowling for abortion and the ever-so-fun condom-on-banana race (see Milbank's video here or by clicking on the picture to the right):
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, during an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, NBC host Tom Brokaw brought up Barack Obama’s recent declaration at the Saddleback Forum that the question of "at what point does a baby get human rights," is "above my pay grade." After playing the relevant clip of Obama from the August 16 candidates forum, Brokaw asked of Pelosi: "Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you’re looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, ‘Help me out here, Madame Speaker, when does life begin?’ what would you tell him?"
After Pelosi, labeling herself as an "ardent Catholic," avoided giving a straight answer, and contended that "over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition," Brokaw jumped in: "The Catholic Church, at the moment, feel very strongly it begins at the point of conception."
Ed Morrissey writes about Pelosi's response to Brokaw's question, and includes video here.
Linda Douglass, the former ABC News reporter and current senior advisor to the Obama campaign, lashed out at John McCain and Mitt Romney by labeling them “extremely conservative on social issues” in an interview on Saturday’s “Morning Joe.” Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski failed to point out that liberals like Obama can be extreme in their views on social issues, too.
After Douglass repeatedly played up the foreign policy experience of Obama’s chosen running mate Sen. Joe Biden, Brzezinski asked Douglass about Biden’s experience in dealing with economic issues, especially if Romney, known for being well-versed in economic issues were to become McCain’s running mate. Douglass touted Biden’s experience with economic policy before inexplicably twisting her answer to include abortion.
In a below-the-fold August 22 front page story, the Washington Post cast a "controversial" new federal regulation aimed at safeguarding the consciences of medical professionals as pitting "conservative groups" and "abortion opponents" against "[w]omen's health advocates."
The Bush administration yesterday announced plans to implement a controversial regulation designed to protect doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who object to abortion from being forced to deliver services that violate their personal beliefs.
Everybody see the Saddleback Civil Forum last Saturday night? Well, we all know the candidates went separate for their interviews with Pastor Rick Warren. And even better, Pastor Warren asked them identical questions. But, we didn't really get a good comparison of answers to the same question because we had to wait 45 more minutes after Obama's answer to hear McCain's answer. Well, here's some good news for you!
Don't want to take Rush's word for it? How about Mark Halperin's? The editor of Time's "The Page" thinks the choice by John McCain of a pro-choice running mate would be nothing short of a "disaster." Halperin expressed his view during an appearance today on CNN's American Morning.
KIRAN CHETRY: What about some potential running mates for John McCain? Because there's been a lot of talk all over talk radio. A lot of people are saying if he tries to go with somebody who's pro-choice like a Lieberman, that that would be it for the base: a big deflation for the convention.
MARK HALPERIN: Look, so many of the people who go to the convention in St. Paul are going to be pro-life, and very strongly pro-life. I think it would be a disaster for him to pick someone who was not in agreement with the party platform on abortion.
Wolf Blitzer for one apparently doesn't think Tom Ridge's pro-choice position should disqualify him as John McCain's VP pick. The former Pennsylvania congressman and governor was a guest on this afternoon's Situation Room, and Blitzer began by playing a clip of Rush Limbaugh urging McCain not to pick a pro-choice running mate, saying it would "obliterate all the progress that he experienced" at the Saddleback forum.
Ridge surmised that "Rush and everybody else hopefully can see that there's a clear choice regardless of the vice-presidential candidate. A choice that says that John McCain is needed now as president of the United States in this perilous time."
That's when Wolf made a more muscular case on Ridge's behalf.
WOLF BLITZER: And if he did pick you, he, the president, he'd be calling the shots. You'd be the vice-president. You'd be doing whatever the president asks you to do.
If Barack Obama is looking for an elder statesman with national security credentials as his running mate, my two cents say he should pick Sam Nunn. The conventional wisdom, though, has Obama leaning toward Joe Biden. If the senior senator from Delaware is indeed tapped, we can expect that mere milliseconds will elapse before some MSM outlet labels Biden a "moderate" or a "centrist."
We thought it might be useful to do a little prophylactic exploration of the Biden record. Given his long tenure in the Senate, he's earned literally hundreds of interest-group ratings over the years. But here is a representative sample, as culled from the invaluable Project Vote Smart. Although his "grades" have of course varied from year to year, overall we find—surprise!—that Biden is a garden-variety liberal.
CNN correspondent Mary Snow’s report on Monday’s The Situation Room about Barack Obama’s charge that pro-life "folks are lying" about his abortion record actually just presented both sides of the controversy without getting to the reality of the matter. The report, which was promoted as "checking the facts" by host Wolf Blitzer, also omitted how Obama’s campaign conceded on Sunday that the pro-lifers were actually accurately representing his record.
Before Snow’s report aired just before the top of the 6 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, Blitzer read two promos for it. In the first, he announced how "Barack Obama [is] in the middle of an abortion battle. Now, he's pushing back after an extraordinary claim against him. We're going to examine the record." In the second promo, Blitzer played Obama’s "lying" sound bite, and stated, "Senator Obama blasts opponents for distorting his record on abortion-related legislation. We're checking the facts."
Cynthia McFadden didn't exactly say John McCain had no character, but she certainly implied it. In an interview with Pastor Rick Warren on ABC's "Nightline," McFadden was trying to get Warren to indicate if he would counsel his flock on who to vote for, and what he would say to people who say "forget character," pick the pro-lifer.
The feature on Warren came after the pastor's Civic Forum on the Presidency held over the weekend at his 22,000-member church in southern California. McFadden asked Warren if he "owed" it to "people who look up to you" to tell them for whom he was voting .
Question: Isn't it big news when a leading candidate for president of the U.S. admits that since 2003 he has been lying about a vote he once made? Even more to the point, isn't it big news when the candidate himself was on TV not long before that admission saying that everyone else is the liar? So, why is the media silent on the 180 degree about face that the Obama campaign has just made concerning Obama's BAIP vote?
As NewsBusters reported on August 13, the media pretty much ignored the great work by Jill Stanek in uncovering the truth that contradicted nearly 6 years of claims that Obama made concerning his vote on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act when he was in the Illinois State Senate. Obama claimed that the Federal "neutrality clause" wasn't in the Illinois bill and that if it were he would have voted for the bill instead of against it. Stanek proved that the exact same clause Obama said wasn't in the bill was actually placed in the bill by the very committee Obama chaired. Yet he still voted against it.
In your news release about the candidate forum, you suggest that you will avoid "gotcha" questions. The topics highlighted in the release are poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights with a special emphasis on character and leadership rather than programmatic details.
There is much to be said for rising above partisan politics. After all, the church is on a mission from God to all the earth....
Jill Stanek has done yeoman's work on uncovering the fact that Barack Obama and his surrogates have been outright lying about Obama's constant votes against the Live-Birth abortion bills when he was in office in the State legislature. His claims have been a staple of Old Media reports from the beginning, but now that Stanek has revealed the truth we will have to see if the Old Media corrects the record or if they suddenly just go mum on the subject like they have so far.
The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) both in the Illinois and Federal legislatures was meant to make illegal death by neglect of born but unwanted infants. These bills were opposed by the bulk of the Democrat Party because of the fact that the original bills could have been construed to say that a pre-birth fetus was a "person" that was protected by law. So, the bill in Congress was altered to address that concern by adding a "neutrality clause" that made it clear that the bill would not protect a fetus in utero.
As Obama continues to tell the tale, as a State Senator he said he voted against the Illinois bill because the Federal "neutrality clause" was not included and that therefore he could not support the Illinois bill. Turns out he is not telling the truth about this fact. Even worse, he knows better because he was part of the legislative committee that added that very "neutrality clause" to the very bill he voted against in 2003.
CNN co-anchor Don Lemon, during a brief report on Tuesday’s Newsroom program about a pro-life measure on the ballot in South Dakota that would greatly restrict abortion, gave only the pro-choice side of the debate over the proposed law. He also oversimplified Barack Obama’s stance on the abortion issue.
Lemon stated how the Great Plains state "is becoming a new focal point in the abortion debate" due to the measure, which is called Initiated Measure 11. He then introduced the sole sound bite from a Planned Parenthood official: "Opponents say it would be one of the most rigid and inflexible bans in the country. They worry about the impact it could have on Roe vs. Wade."
During the sound bite, Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota argued, "Nowhere in America is abortion harder to access than in the state of South Dakota, and while South Dakota accounts for only 0.1 percent of abortions nationwide, it has a potentially disproportionate, powerful effect on public policy in our country, because of the attempts in South Dakota to create a vehicle to overturn Roe vs. Wade."
It's a bit early for politicians to be creating distance between themselves and their party's presidential candidate, is it not?
Whether it's because of a (cough, cough) "clerical error" or an exercise in political self-defense, Louisiana Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu has done that.
But in a report early this afternoon, Associated Press writer Melinda Deslatte was curiously incurious (saved at host for future reference) as to why Landrieu might be concerned about being tied too closely to the Illinois senator. Instead, Deslatte turned her report into an exercise in charge-trading between the incumbent and her Republican challenger, the deliciously named John Kennedy:
"As a party we have to remember we are the big tent and have to make room for people with diverse views on this issue," said Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life in America, a group that opposes capital punishment and euthanasia in addition to abortion.
The proposed new language mentions better care for pregnant women and newborns, the need for easier adoptions and an overall effort to reduce abortions.
"We're hopeful that some language will be included that will say pro-life Democrats welcome, but at the end of the day we're still Democrats and we're gonna work hard to work on things that we strongly believe in," Day said.
On Sunday's The Chris Matthews Show on NBC, during a discussion of how well a President McCain might work with a Democratic Congress, host Matthews seemed to generalize about the political opinions of women as he contended that "one of the biggest fears women especially have" is that McCain would appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, whom Matthews branded as "hawkish" on abortion: "One of the biggest fears women especially have is that we'll have a Supreme Court judge retirements or deaths or whatever, need to [be] replaced. McCain could come in there, he's a pro-lifer, pick some real hawkish people on the topic of a pro-life anti-abortion stance." He also euphemistically referred to the Democratic majority's ability to block pro-life appointments as being a "safety net." Matthews: "Would one of the safety nets be for the Democrats, they've got almost 56, almost 60 Democratic Senators that would say no way?" (Transcript follows)
Appearing on the Monday, July 21, Tonight Show, MSNBC host Chris Matthews defended his declaration from last February that a Barack Obama speech caused him to feel a "thrill going up my leg," and suggested he really is not biased in the presidential race as he contended that "I’m a freaking American" and "who I’m rooting for" is "us." Referring to Obama having "seen on both sides of that San Andreas Fault of race in this country," Matthews effused that Obama was "inspiring." Matthews: "I was inspired by it, and I said so at the time, and I took some heat for it, but I’d rather be honest and say what I feel ...You know, I mean, I'm a freaking American. I do have a reaction to things, and I do react emotionally to my country. I care about this country. I want to look out for it. It's my job. I'm not just some umpire. You know, I take a side: Us. That's who I'm rooting for." Video of Matthews' "thrill" comment from February 12 can be found here.
But after seeming to claim that he was not cheering for either candidate, as he discussed the expected closeness of the election, Matthews focused on his fear that many 70- and 80-year-olds will be "suspicious of change," which sounds like a reference to Obama, as he advised the elderly to "think like your kids for once." Matthews: "I hope one thing. When people go to vote, they look at the guy's background, they look at the age of the two candidates, they look at their abilities and really open up their hearts and say what's really good for my kids, who don't have any color awareness. Kids don't think about that, race. Think like your kids for once. Think the way they think. It would be great if the older people in the country, the 70-year-olds, the 80-year-olds who are suspicious of change, to say, ‘You know, why don't I think the way my kids are thinking and think about the future?’ Whatever they decide, just open up your heart to this prospect of something different. That's what I hope we do." (Transcript follows)
Now here is an interesting little story that doesn't seem to be getting any media coverage. In South Dakota after being held up in courts since 2005, a new law finally took effect on July 21 requiring any abortion doctor to read a statement covering the possible ill effects that abortions have on women -- both mental and physical -- at least two hours before the procedure occurs. The one Planned Parenthood office in South Dakota had taken the state to court to stop this law being implemented, but lost their case on the 18th. On the day the law was to take effect, though, the Planned Parenthood office did not open its doors for "business," refusing to abide by the new laws. Doesn't this refusal to operate tend to confirm that Planned Parenthood is in the game for ideological reasons as opposed to being only interested in women's health?
This is a big defeat for Planned Parenthood, and a great victory for anti-abortion supporters yet the media is silent on the issue. That seems rather curious.
The Washington Examiner’s Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin reported Monday in their regular "Yeas & Nays" feature that Katie Couric had announced with pride, "I am a feminist." The ultra-liberal National Organization for Women honored Couric at their annual Intrepid Awards Gala last week in Washington, DC, and the CBS Evening News anchor received a warm welcome from her feminist compatriots.
During her speech before the NOW Gang, Couric "opened up," as Dufour and Gavin put it. She quipped to her hosts that "[i]f everyone in the country was like you, CBS News would be number one." Yes, perhaps if everyone were liberal feminist Democrats, then maybe Couric’s program wouldn’t be dead last in the ratings.
Now, this isn’t exactly a surprising "full disclosure" by Couric. When she was still on the Today Show in 1997, guest Whoopi Goldberg outed Couric’s "pro-choice" position on abortion when the comedienne revealed the two had attended a "pro-choice" march together. In October 2006, after the father of a victim of the Columbine shootings declared his pro-life position in a "freeSpeech" segment on CBS Evening News, Couric wrote on her blog that his view might be seen as "repugnant."
The New York Times sent veteran Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse into retirement in grand style on Sunday, turning over to her the front page of the Week in Review for "2,691 Decisions," a title marking the number of court cases she had covered during her tenure.
Unmentioned were her off-the-clock denunciations of conservatives, such as her infamous speech at Harvard in June 2006 when she tore into the Bush administration. What was included: Her clear belief that the world is a better place with Anthony Kennedy on the Court and Robert Bork not.
First, some of what Greenhouse told Harvard students in 2006:
...our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world. And let's not forget the sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism."
Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is walking a "minefield" on the abortion issue with recent hints that he's taking baby steps to the right on the issue. By doing so, he's risking the alienation of the absolutist activists in the abortion rights movement, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico reported today.
But given Obama's much-reported efforts at courting evangelicals and other historic constituents of the GOP coalition, it certainly makes sense that the Illinois senator would seek to soften his image with pro-lifers to win over a few of them, or at the very least dampen the outrage among the pro-life community that might swell their ranks at the polls voting for Sen. John McCain.
Yet instead of considering how a potential problem at the polls for Obama and other Democrats in swing states might be abortion rights extremist activists, Budoff Brown painted Obama as facing danger by straying too far from the strict NOW/NARAL/Planned Parenthood line (emphasis mine):
If there's one person in the NBC news stable who combines solid analytical skills with a commitment to fairness, it could be political director Chuck Todd. Evidence thereof comes from no less a certified conservative source than Tom DeLay. Appearing on this evening's Hardball just after Todd had offered his breakdown of the electoral map, DeLay allowed that he "can't dispute" any of Todd's analysis, prompting Chris Matthews to exclaim "that's a development for us here: objective truth for you!"
So what was that Todd analysis that DeLay didn't dispute? There was much to it, but for present purposes let's focus on this: Todd can't see how Obama wins without Pennsylvania, and that having former governor Tom Ridge on the McCain ticket would help deliver the Keystone State. The catch is that Ridge is pro-choice, which in turn poses the question of whether pro-life Republicans would revolt if McCain chose him for the veep slot.
In a report on Monday’s "The Situation Room" purporting to clarify how Barack Obama "really voted on abortion" (as the graphic on-screen at right stated), CNN correspondent Carol Costello misconstrued the Democrat’s stance on legislation during his time in the Illinois state senate that would have protected infants that survived abortions. Besides the two votes specifically mentioned by Costello in the report, Obama also voted against it at the committee level, and when he was committee chair, denied a simple up or down vote on the legislation. The CNN correspondent also misrepresented the apparent pro-life stance of pro-abortion senators like "liberal Ted Kennedy" when the U.S. Senate voted on similar legislation. The bill passed by unanimous consent, so none of the senators actually voted yes or no on it.
Substitute host John Roberts introduced the segment, and asked Costello, "what are the allegations and what's the truth about Obama's abortion record?" Though the CNN correspondent did present both sides of the debate on the issue, she left out key details about Obama’s voting record.