[Update, 3:05 pm: Transcript of Toobin's remarks added below.]
For two straight days, CNN repeated liberal rumors about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s political record – rumors that had already been debunked by their own correspondents, as well as the respected FactCheck.org, a group led by former CNN reporter Brooks Jackson.
During Monday evening’s Election Center program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin claimed that Palin "wants to ban all abortions," despite a September 2 report by his own network which included a quote from the Alaska governor that she is "pro-life... [w]ith the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued." Toobin also claimed that Palin "wants to treat -- to have creationism taught in public schools." This isn’t the entire story. A FactCheck.org report released on Monday, which aimed to refute "dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCain's running mate," clarified that Palin "supports teaching creationism alongside evolution, though she has not actively pursued such a policy as governor."
Tom Brokaw had his Pauline Kael moment on MSNBC this morning. Though the story might be apocryphal, the late New Yorker film critic is famously credited with saying she was shocked by Nixon's 1972 victory, since everybody she knew had voted for McGovern.
Here's Brokaw on today's "Morning Joe," discussing the importance of the upcoming debates.
TOM BROKAW: Debates should be judged on two big counts: tonal and substance. You know, are you comfortable with this person? Look, everybody believes that on debating points, John Kerry probably beat George Bush, the 43rd, the last time around. But people liked Bush.
Do you ever get the impression the liberal media disdain Gov. Sarah Palin not just because she's a strong conservative addition to the McCain ticket, but because she's a mother of five who practices the family values she preaches? I would submit that's a strong likelihood, at least in the case of Slate's Jacob Weisberg, who posits in the September 15 Newsweek that (emphases mine):
Palin's pro-life purism is as ethically flawed as it is politically damaging to the GOP. By vaunting their pro-life agenda over everything else, conservatives are abandoning one of their most valuable insights, that intact, two-parent families are best for children and the foundation of a healthy society.
Weisberg is so skeeved out by Gov. Palin's "purism" on abortion that he practically waxes nostalgic for the days of Vice President Dan Quayle:
Frank Rich expends his 1,500-words today ripping into Sarah Palin. Into John McCain for picking Sarah Palin. Into any members of the press who might not rip into Sarah Palin. What's got Rich so riled up? Cut to Frank's final line: "they just might pull it off." With props to the late Robert Palmer, Frank's got a bad case of not-loving Sarah Palin—but he's badly worried America will find her simply irresistible.
We've had fun with this kind of thing before, so let's ring up the curtain on Rich, Fisked: Act II.
Rich's headline is "Palin and McCain’s Shotgun Marriage." He later describes McCain's process of picking Palin as "speed-dating" and writes of his "embrace" of her. My, my. Sexualizing a woman politician in order to diminish her? Isn't that just the kind of thing that would normally be condemned by, say, a liberal columnist of the NY Times?
In his Friday "Political Memo," "Firing Up the Faithful With Echoes of Culture War Rhetoric," the New York Times's conservative-beat reporter David Kirkpatrick, watching the Republican Convention, uniquely managed to hear echoes of the GOP's 1992 convention -- specifically what Kirkpatrick called the "belligerence" of Pat Buchanan's "cultural war" speech, widely cited in the media (though not necessarily at the time) as leading to the downfall of the Bush-Quayle re-election campaign. Yet Kirkpatrick's argument boils down to just one social issue -- abortion:
Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York, said Senator Barack Obama thought a small Alaska suburb was not "flashy enough" or "cosmopolitan enough," linking his campaign to "Hollywood celebrities." Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, denounced the "Eastern elites" that he said dominated the television broadcasts and editorial pages.
Fred D. Thompson, a former Tennessee senator turned actor, mocked Mr. Obama for trying to deflect questions about the science and theology of abortion, promising the Republican convention audience that Senator John McCain would be "a president who doesn't think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani faced liberal lines of questioning from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borger during the 6 PM EDT hour of The Situation Room before the network’s Thursday night coverage of the Republican convention. In particular, Borger pressed Giuliani on his differences with Sarah Palin on social issues: "Last night, you spoke before Sarah Palin, a woman who -- with whom you have very little in common on the social issues, right? She's pro-life.... [L]et's just say she's a heroine to the right wing of this party, and you're not their hero, okay?... [M]y question is, has the big tent of the Republican Party, which you always talk about -- has that gotten a little narrower?"
During FNC’s Republican Convention live coverage, former Dukakis campaign manager and liberal FNC analyst Susan Estrich voiced her disapproval of the "vicious and mean-spirited attacks" on Sarah Palin by the media as she appeared late Tuesday/early Wednesday night with anchor Greta van Susteren. Estrich: "I’ve never seen anything this bad in my life ... I was with Geraldine Ferraro in ‘84 – and this is worse. ... I have never seen from some of my friends such vicious and mean-spirited attacks on her most personal choices, which is what they are."
A bit earlier at about 12:05 a.m., conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham had also complained of Palin’s treatment. Asked by van Susteren if Palin was getting "fair treatment," Ingraham argued that Palin is being "reviled and hated" because she is conservative and pro-life. In response to van Susteren’s question of "who’s reviling her," Ingraham elaborated: "Did you read the New York Times today? Have you read some of the left-wing blogs about her? Have you heard some of the comments on our competitor networks? It’s vile, it’s nasty, it’s vicious."
Reflecting the media's continued disdain for the pro-life position, interviewing Cindy McCain for Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric painted Sarah Palin as an extremist, zeroing in how “even Republicans” supposedly, “seemed surprised that Senator McCain picked a running mate who opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest.” Couric then turned the session into an interrogation about Mrs. McCain's personal views on abortion:
Where do you stand on abortion?
So, do you oppose it even in the cases of rape and incest?
Do you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned?
Why not? Your husband does.
So you do believe it should be overturned or shouldn't be?
Republicans really hold racist double standards when it involves teenage pregnancies and marriages. This according to Joy Behar, who shared such a sentiment on the September 3 edition of "The View." Discussing the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, Behar expressed sympathy for the father and fiancé, Levi Johnston.
Behar exclaimed it’s "the end of his life" because "he’s married at 17" (Johnston is actually 18, which is the legal difference between a child and an adult) When Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked "why isn’t that the beginning of another [life]?" Joy Behar, implying Republicans are racist, rebutted "if this was a black teenage couple, you wouldn’t be saying it so easily. Not you, but the Republican party would be all over that." Behar subsequently added "they’re white, they’re Christian. Everybody loves them on the right wing."
Feminism took a step backwards this week. After being told for decades that women are being held back by the proverbial glass ceiling the left is looking to repair its most recent cracks with duct tape.
Apparently a mom, the once dispensable facet of the nuclear family according to many a card carrying liberal, is now so indispensable that she should actually feel guilty for seeking the job as Vice President of the United States. And you should be guilty too for recommending her for the post. This is the new theme as demonstrated by Liz Hunt of the Daily Telegraph and repeated by others that seem to have a new found problem with successful conservative mothers.
Hunt actually appears more desperate than most when attacking Sarah Palin by implying that Palin's daughter Bristol is getting married instead of getting an abortion for reasons of her mother's "political expediency".
Love and support are all very well. But what about choice. I just hope poor Bristol had a say in it too and that she isn't becoming a wife and parent at such a young age for reasons of political expediency and her mother's soaring ambition.
I suppose that Hunt could be implying that Bristol put the child up for adoption. But when left to poinder the phrasing, "what about choice", the left usually means "what about choice (for abortion)?"
Obsessing over Sarah Palin's pro-life position on abortion, MSNBC hosts and reporters on Tuesday night repeatedly raised it and painted it as a detriment to Republicans even though last week with Democrats the channel did not similarly pursue how a solidly left view on abortion might hurt Obama and Biden. By the count of the MRC's Geoff Dickens, between 8 PM and midnight EDT, MSNBC raised abortion at least 16 times, twice with an edge that painted the GOP position as extreme by applying a “hard right” label. Chris Matthews declared “they are going hard right on abortion rights” and later David Gregory asserted: “The abortion platform here is pretty hard right.”
Chuck Todd, Political Director for NBC News, fretted over how “this is as stringent of a platform on abortion the Republican Party ever has. And the problem is” that “these delegates are more conservative than even the ones four years ago.” Andrea Mitchell described Palin as “very conservative” and pressed a Republican Congressman: “Now there are a lot of women in that area who are less conservative socially than Sarah Palin. There are a lot of women who believe in choice. So how do you square the circle there?”
Matthews bemoaned to Tom Ridge that “it seems like you got a convention saluting a vice presidential nominee who wants to outlaw abortion, period, across the country. Is this going too far?” To Tim Pawlenty, Matthews demanded:
Do you believe you can win with the cultural statement being made by the selection of Governor Palin? That statement being someone from the very culturally conservative part of your party?
A presidential candidate who shares his or her religious beliefs is "impinging on the Constitution" according to "View" co-host Joy Behar. On the show’s season premiere September 2 the panel caught up on the many hot button political stories from Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter to sharing religion in a public forum.
When Barbara Walters brought up the discussion of Senators Obama and McCain attending a forum with Reverend Rick Warren, Behar declared "both of them needed to say that Jesus Christ was their savior. That is very much impinging on the Constitution in my opinion. Why do we need to know who’s their savior?" Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd disagreed wondering what is wrong with them making such a statement.
Bristol Palin's pregnancy is a "damaging revelation " that has caused Sarah Palin's image to "suffer." Says who? Says ABC News, in an article by Rick Klein and Jennifer Parker.
In Palin Pregnancy Rocks Political World, Klein and Parker report reaction from a variety of Republican and traditional-values sources. Every one, from Dr. James Dobson to Grover Norquist to Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council to a pro-life delegate to the GOP convention who said "the fact that her daughter's keeping it and marrying the father is wonderful," had a positive reaction.
But what do they know? Declare Klein and Parker [emphasis added]:
Palin's image may suffer further if more damaging revelations come out in the coming days and weeks.
I think I've got it now. These are the MSM rules when dealing with the personal lives of national candidates and/or members of their family:
Given the chance to publicly embarrass and humiliate a Republican candidate's 17 year old daughter, do it.
If it's a moralizing former Democratic candidate for president, well, leave that to the National Enquirer.
Today, to head off the many tawdry rumors being passed back and forth between the Daily Kos diarists and their MSM fellow travelers, the McCain camp announced that Governor Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant.
The Obama-infatuated media knows a quote to ignore when it hears one.
That Barack Obama and the Democratic Party is in trouble on abortion is inarguable. Obama has been caught red-handed lying about his past positions and votes on Illinois' Born Alive Infant Protection Act laws, appearing indifferent as to when anyone wishing to eliminate their baby completes the task. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has generated outrage from Catholic bishops and practitioners with her ignorant comments about the history of the Church's opposition to abortion. John McCain's nomination of prolife walk-the-walker Sarah Palin has made the contrast between the two parties' positions as obvious as I've ever seen it.
Fanning the flames by reporting yet another controversial comment from Michelle Obama would add dangerous fuel to an already-burning fire.
That likely explains why you're not hearing about this comment Ms. Obama made at the Women’s Caucus of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday about her husband (bold is mine):
CNN’s John Roberts, after briefly alluding to the issue of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s experience he called into question earlier on Friday’s "Newsroom" program, asked correspondent Dana Bash about how the Alaska governor’s newborn son with Down’s syndrome might be affected if she were elected: "There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome.... Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?"
Bash deftly answered this question, which has the implication that Palin could neglect her infant son, and made a possible counter-argument the McCain camp would use, that a question like Roberts’ would be sexist: "That's a very good question, and I guess -- my guess is that, perhaps, the line inside the McCain campaign would be, if it were a man being picked who also had a baby, but -- you know, four months ago with Down's Syndrome, would you ask the same question?"
The CNN correspondent continued by briefly describing the Palin’s family situation and the thinking that may have gone into the situation for both McCain and Palin herself. She concluded by reporting on the Alaska governor’s appeal to social conservatives because she is "very staunchly anti-abortion," in Bash’s words.
The full transcript of the exchange between John Roberts and Dana Bash, which began 7 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour of CNN’s "Newsroom" [audio available here]:
During his normal "Hardball" program on MSNBC on Thursday evening, Chris Matthews asked Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison if the "Republican party platform is inclusive enough on the issue of reproductive or abortion rights." Hutchison, whose name has been floated as a possible vice-presidential nominee for John McCain, didn’t give a straight yes or no answer, and mentioned that in her view, "...both the Republican and the Democratic platform generally have areas that are not mainstreamed, and I don't think that you can agree with either platform in its entirety, and I think you just have to understand that a candidate’s views are going to prevail and I think people choose the candidate."
Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as pro-life Democrats. And yes, there are some in Denver at the party's nominating convention, even if the mainstream media don't interview them.
Christianity Today has found a few and has been covering them at the magazine's CTPolitics blog. But if you are looking for tough questions, you won't find them from staffer Sarah Pulliam in her interview with Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski.
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.