On last night’s broadcast of the PBS Newshour, anchor Gwen Ifill discussed the latest polls with Pew’s Andrew Kohut and Mark Blumenthal, "senior polling analyst" of The Huffington Post. Her talk about voter engagement and enthusiasm got a little hazy – if not completely insensitive – when she referred to last week’s embassy attacks as a “dust up.”
Perhaps "dust up" in her mind only refers to the liberal media's insular discussions about foreign-policy developments, but could she sound more cavalier about the deaths of Americans in Libya?
Bob Woodward continued his lecture circuit on how he’s the source of “the best obtainable version of the truth” in politics by demanding Republican nominee Mitt Romney to apologize for his “off the cuff” remarks captured in a leaked video at a private fundraiser in Florida. During his typically soporific interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour, which will air later this week – Woodruff claimed such antics “doesn’t work in journalism, life, or politics.”
If you had any doubts about the level of zealotry involved in today's global warming movement, they likely will be erased by the goings on at PBS the past few days.
Since allowing well-known climate realist Anthony Watts on NewsHour Monday to voice his views on this controversial issue, PBS has been under attack for doing so (videos follows with transcripts and commentary).
After offending religious Americans by appearing to boo God, the Democratic National Convention had the top ranking Catholic official in the country perform the closing Benediction Thursday night. Cardinal Timothy Dolan did the same for the Republicans last week in Tampa Bay, but those delegates didn’t seem to have a problem with a party platform that included God and Jerusalem.
The only networks respectful enough to show the prayer in its entirety without interruption was Fox News, Fox Business and C-SPAN. ABC, CNN, and PBS kept it in background while talking over it. MSNBC completely ignored it, cutting the audio feed to let their pundits share their opinions without distraction. CBS and NBC returned to local news affiliates as soon as he began.
Gwen Ifill of the PBS Newshour hosted Jonathan Martin of Politico and Molly Ball of The Atlantic magazine in a left wing cuddlefest that bashed Romney over Bain, his taxes, and Solyndra on July 16. Ms. Ifill was not the least concerned that this story is mere fodder for the Obama campaign to pivot away from its abysmal economic record, but nevertheless, started off the shooting gallery by asking Jonathan Martin to "help us explain this Bain back-and-forth."
"At the end of this weekend, was there any more clarity about when he left and if he left Bain?" Ifill asked:
Conservative author Glenn Beck on Sunday took to Twitter to blast New York Times columnist David Brooks for comments he made last year about the talk radio host's predictions concerning Egypt without President Hosni Mubarak.
On PBS's Newshour last February, syndicated columnist Mark Shields mentioned Beck in a discussion about how people attending the CPAC convention viewed the goings-on in Egypt from a domestic political perspective (transcript via LexisNexis):
A story that aired on PBS NewsHour Monday showcases the innate pro-bigger-government bias of that program, embedded in a discussion of mandatory motorcycle helmet laws and an increase in motorcycle accident fatalities.
Host Gwen Ifill introduced the segment as a look at "the correlation between motorcycle casualties and helmet laws," featuring a Judy Woodruff interview with Rick Schmidt, who was billed as a reporter for FairWarning.org.
After failing for the entire calendar year of 2012 to cover the Fast and Furious scandal, the PBS NewsHour suddenly showed up on the beat Tuesday night -- not to question Holder, but to wonder why Holder was being punished by Republicans. Online, the segment title was "Why Eric Holder Is a 'Lightning Rod to Conservatives'." Why on Earth does "lightning rod" have to be in quotes? Because it's just so implausible?
Woodruff invited on two liberal journalists -- NPR legal correspondent Carrie Johnson and Daniel Klaidman of Newsweek -- to discuss how Holder is being punished because he's liberal, not whether he's stonewalled and lied to Congress.
On Friday's PBS NewsHour, both "conservative" David Brooks and liberal Mark Shields thought this was a tough, tight election for Barack Obama. Shields said "it becomes a race about disqualifying, a campaign about disqualifying your opponent. And that's not attractive or appealing. It's not hope and change. It's blood and guts."
But Brooks really felt Obama's pain: "So the president is obviously going to try. He is going to have. And to some extent, you have to feel sorry for him. This is in large degree not his fault. Things are happening way beyond his control. I don't believe a president has control over a quarterly economy in any case." He added:
President Obama infuriated the leaders of Poland on Tuesday while honoring Jan Karski with the Medal of Freedom. He said Karski smuggled into a “Polish death camp” to see the Holocaust. (Um, no, that’s a Nazi death camp located in Poland). Despite the international incident, ABC, CBS, and NBC aired nothing on the gaffe.
But shamelessly, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today both found “news” in the scoop-let that the Romney campaign misspelled “America” in an iPhone app. (CBS skipped both.) The gaffe also recalled the so-called “fashion faux pas” of 2005, when Vice President Cheney wore a parka to an anniversary at Auschwitz -- except the Poles weren't furious at that one.
Monday's "Reliable Source" gossip column in The Washington Post reports under the headline "Surreal Estate" that New York Times columnist (and official PBS and NPR "conservative" pundit) David Brooks is rolling in dough. He's bought a home in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington for $3.95 million.
"The New York Times op-ed columnist and wife Sarah are trading up — from their longtime home near Bethesda’s Burning Tree Club to a century-old (exquisitely renovated) five bedroom, four-and-a-half bath house in Cleveland Park," they wrote. "It includes a two-car garage, iron and stone fence, generous-sized porch and balcony, and what appear to be vast spaces for entertaining. The timing seems to have been right: After only a few days on the market, their old place (which also boasts five bedrooms) is under contract for $1.6 million."
Just like NPR, the PBS NewsHour on Thursday night invited on liberals Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein to pound away at the "extremism" of the Republican Party (Tea Party Edition). Propose defunding public broadcasting, and this is how the Empire strikes back.
Thomas Mann unleashed on the GOP: "They are ideologically extreme, contemptuous of centuries worth of policy, economics and social; scornful of compromise, no use much for facts, evidence, and science, and really not accepting of the political legitimacy of the other party." As if Mann is sounding like he believes in the political legitimacy of the Republicans?
My Wednesday blog on PBS anchor Gwen Ifill emceeing a gay group's fundraiser that honored HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for implementing ObamaCare drew some attention across the web, including The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. WashPost media blogger Erik Wemple looked askance at the PBS star's appearance of a conflict of interest. But the strongest response came from PBS ombudsman Michael Getler: he declared Ifill should have skipped the event.
Ifill responded to Wemple's questions by claiming she isn't being paid, she wasn't going to honor Sebelius, and she accepted without knowing of the honor. She was just going to say "welcome," announce some anodyne agenda items, and "announce dessert." The Whitman-Walker Clinic is "just using me as a draw." That's still using her name (and PBS cachet) to raise money for gay-left lobbying, legal services, and health services. Wemple wrote:
In 2008, it was questionable that PBS NewsHour and Washington Week anchor Gwen Ifill could moderate the vice-presidential debate as she was writing a book called “The Breakthrough” about the rise of Barack Obama and other black liberal politicians. On Thursday night, Ifill will cross another Obama line by acting as emcee for a fundraiser for the LGBT health and advocacy group the Whitman-Walker Clinic that will honor Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services for her work in implementing ObamaCare.
The invitation says “Please join Gwen Ifill, managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for the PBS News Hour, and the Whitman-Walker family as we honor United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for advancements in health care.” To be an "event host" and be listed on the program requires a $1,000 donation. Individual tickets are $150.
While protesters only began shouting "We are the 99 Percent," a few months ago, the class warfare sentiment that the top 1 percent and the 99 percent are at odds is not a recent phenomenon. It was a claim made in media appearances before the first protests began in Zuccotti Park.
In a Democracy Now! video of Occupy protests in October 2011, a doctor, nurse and others complained about income inequality, the lack of fairness and claimed that "never" had "this much wealth been concentrated in so few hands." But before that, PBS, Vanity Fair magazine, The New York Times and other media outlets had all used left-wing class warfare messaging to criticize the amount of wealth held by the top 1 percent or the problem of "rising" income inequality.
On the Friday news roundup on the PBS NewsHour, pseudoconservative analyst David Brooks of The New York Times kept up his disparaging of Herman Cain, predicting "he will be deflated very seriously within a week or two." He attacked Cain for "behaving badly" and having "gone for the home run" in denying all sexual harassment claims. Mr. Brooks didn't consider it at all possible that Cain could be truthful in denying all claims.
On both NPR and PBS Friday, Brooks lamented that Jeb Bush isn't in the race and would be the frontrunner pleasing both conservatives and moderates if he had chosen to make a run. He clearly has no respect for Herman Cain:
On the PBS NewsHour Friday, there was the typical agreement between "conservative" David Brooks and liberal Mark Shields on the sour state of the economy, and that despite that, Brooks said President Obama's "hanging in there reasonably well," and Shields agreed he's "defied gravity."
Brooks slammed Herman Cain's response to the incredibly vague Politico story: that he "didn't do kindergarten-level preparation for this story is just incredibly damning." Shields agreed, adding a slam on conservatives hating candidates with any experience: "Herman Cain's candidacy is a reflection, if not a direct product, of the feverish anti-government flavor, fervor of Republicans, because they really have so little regard, Republican primary voters, for government."
President Obama's vacation in Martha's Vineyard also became an occasion for a panel of liberal journalists, politicians, and academics to mourn his alleged mistreatment in the media at a race-and-the-media panel discussion organized by Harvard professor Charles Ogletree. PBS Washington Week anchor Gwen Ifill lamented the overwhelming media bias against Obama in the Henry Louis Gates controversy, when Obama said he didn't have all the facts, but the local police "acted stupidly" for their actions in arresting Gates on his own porch.
Ifill somehow ignored that the Obama-supporting news networks pouted over how this comment was a "distraction" from passing ObamaCare, and overpublicized the "beer summit" Obama held at the White House with Gates and his arresting police officer to fix any public-relations damage he might have incurred. (She even ignored the newscast she sometimes anchors, the PBS NewsHour.) On August 18, the Vineyard Gazette reported Ifill complained:
It might not be surprising to see someone sit in the rarefied liberal air of a PBS set and dismiss the undignified palaver of talk radio and Ann Coulter, but on Friday's PBS NewsHour, this line was coming from former Bush speechwriting chief Michael Gerson, and the target was Gov. Rick Perry.
Gerson and liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus were sitting in for David Brooks and Mark Shields. (In other words, Gerson was in the "I agree with Mark" chair.) Both agreed that Perry really gaffed in suggesting Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was "treasonous" if he shoveled more dollars into the economy before the election:
An old reliable libertarian maxim was “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” which stood in stark contrast to socialists always boasting of “free” health care or day care or other public benefits. On the PBS NewsHour Friday night, that maxim was turned upside down.
Conservatives who really wanted to see at least a spending “haircut” for NPR or public broadcasting in the underwhelming budget deal for 2011 might have suggested at least some symbolic victory for conservatives. Here it is: Fire David Brooks as the alleged conservative or Republican “counterpoint” on PBS and NPR on Friday nights. We could hire Donald Trump to announce it from the boardroom.
Or keep him, but banish forever, for once and for all, the notion that he is a man of the Right.
After President Obama’s budget speech at George Washington University, Brooks wrote a column for The New York Times declaring: “It doesn't take a genius to see that Obama is very likely to be re-elected.” Republicans may try to reform entitlements, but “voters, even Republican voters, reject this.” Obama “hit the political sweet spot with his speech this week. He made a sincere call to reduce debt, which will please independents, but he did not specify any tough choices.”
The PBS NewsHour tried to balance a conservative Republican with a liberal Democrat when it interviewed (on two different Thursdays) Dick Armey and Arianna Huffington. Left-wingers complained to PBS ombudsman Michael Getler that NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff failed to press Armey about the Tea Party's funding from corporate billionaires. The far-left media monitors at FAIR wanted Woodruff to bash Armey as a hypocrite who benefits from government entitlements, like Bill Moyers did.
Getler's response was jaw-dropping. He claimed that PBS had failed to achieve balance, since Armey is conservative and Arianna Huffington is a centrist "and her widely viewed website strike me, as a reader, as an equal-opportunity critic. Armey is not. There are plenty of sharp, critical assessments of the Democratic Party and administration on her site." Doesn't it matter that those critics are banging away that Obama isn't socialist enough?
Worse yet, Getler said this should be "remedied" by bringing on another leftist, author Will Bunch of Media Matters for America, because Arianna was clearly not left-wing enough or critical enough of the Tea Party. Getler lamented that PBS has lost left-wing shows like Now and Bill Moyers Journal that are "not in the safe comfortable center."
Reporting a U.S. District Court judge overturning California's Proposition 8, PBS correspondent Spencer Michaels noted that if the case is appealed to a higher court, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would handle it. Michaels watered down the court's infamous history of liberal rulings, saying that though it may be liberal, it is not more so than any other U.S. Circuit Court.
The Ninth Circuit has "kind of a liberal bias – at least that's the charge," Michaels quickly corrected himself. "In actual fact, they probably aren't any more liberal than any other court," he insisted of the circuit with the dubious distinction of being the most-overturned of any by the Supreme Court.
The Ninth Circuit has a long history of being stacked with liberal judges since the days of President Carter, and infamously struck down "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in 2002. The Court has arguably inched to the right with the addition of moderate and conservative judges, but is still widely regarded as the most liberal of the circuit courts.
James Taranto, member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, described the court as "notoriously liberal," in his piece about the reversal of Proposition 8. Ashby Jones, writing for the WSJ's law blog, said that the court has a reputation for being "packed with liberal judges."
The sentiment isn't confined to conservative-friendly publications.
Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large for Reuters, believes the new financial regulations are still pretty loose.
"It is still a very feudal, very Byzantine regulatory system," Freeland complained on the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer, referring to the Senate's approval of a financial regulations bill yesterday.
A radical policy, Freeland maintained, could have done away with the current "fractured" group of regulators and established a much stronger, more unified single regulator.
However, Freeland said the bill succeeds in tempering the rapid movement of capital. She did acknowledge that Main Street folks will have more trouble getting mortgages than they did in the past. "That's the price of having a safer financial system," she said.
Freeland's championing of the new regulations does not diminish some other aspects of the bill, which include no additional regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, tougher times ahead for small businesses trying to procure loans from banks, and tough times for small banks themselves, who lack the resources of Wall Street to deal with the new regulations.
For taxpayer-funded PBS, the blueprint for America's future is centered on advancing the Obama administration's taxpayer-funded green agenda. In the June 17 installment of "Blueprint America," Miles O'Brien, a "NewsHour" special correspondent, hailed Dubuque, Iowa as the "city of the future" for transforming itself into a liberal beacon of environmental sustainability.
O'Brien's piece showered Dubuque with praise as it promoted the city's liberal environmental initiatives, which the correspondent noted are bankrolled with taxpayer dollars courtesy of the Obama administration's economic stimulus package.
"The people in this old factory town along the Mississippi have signed on to a unique experiment," explained O'Brien. "They're attempting to turn Dubuque into one of the nation's most sustainable cities."
Listing the city's seemingly countless awards for "livability" -- a term the PBS reporter struggled to define -- O'Brien championed President Barack Obama's budgetary boondoggle for the bountiful fruit it has given to Dubuque:
Is it the government’s job to spread happiness? A former president of Harvard University, who was profiled on the June 2 PBS “NewsHour,” seems to think so. Derek Bok, author of The Politics of Happiness, believes the government should be in the business of manufacturing happiness.
“I think a government that tries, systematically, to relieve what causes lasting misery and emphasize what gives lasting happiness will eventually win the support of the people,” declared Bok.
In a telling review, Sara Robinson of the wildly liberal blog Firedoglake expressed adoration for the book:
It reads like a progressive wish list — a ratification of the kind of ‘for the common good’ policies we’ve always stood for. But Bok’s approach is academic and disinterested and acutely non-ideological: he reaches these conclusions only because the preponderance of data proves (once again!) that reality has a distinctly liberal bias.
On the PBS NewsHour last night, anchor Judy Woodruff reported on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s lies that he served in Vietnam, but reported with a straight face that he didn’t lie on every occasion: "In fact, on a number of occasions, Blumenthal has correctly stated his record, including at a debate last March, seen in this clip posted on YouTube."
This may sound like "the pilot usually didn't crash the plane." But this was merely a prelude to Woodruff’s interview with Christopher Keating of the liberal Hartford Courant newspaper, who aggressively worked on the damage control squad for Blumenthal. Keating oozed that "his defenders say they will give him the benefit of the doubt, and, clearly, obviously, the veterans who said that he has been to more funerals than probably literally any politician in the state of Connecticut, including the governor -- almost any time that somebody is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, Blumenthal is there."
Keating’s first defense was that he never heard Blumenthal lie about this before – and he didn’t say lie, he offered Blumenthal’s own weasel word, "misspeak" – and neither had his political opponents, through "almost hundreds" of events:
“Part of the reason (for the media’s coverage) is the timeless truth in media that nothing succeeds like excess,” explained Martin and Smith. “But part of the reason is a convergence of incentives for journalists and activists on left and right alike to exaggerate both the influence and exotic traits of the tea-party movement.”
PBS's Jim Lehrer on Tuesday wrongly accused Republicans of always being against major social legislation in this country including the Civil Rights Act, Social Security, and Medicare.
"[T]hrough history, recent history in particular, Republicans have opposed things like Social Security, Medicare, even civil rights legislation, but then, once they lost, they took some deep breaths and moved on, and then finally ended up embracing many of these major changes in -- in laws and in the way we do business here," the News Hour host amazingly said to his guest Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and Kyl quickly corrected Lehrer (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript and commentary, relevant section at 4:40, h/t Cubachi):
The Friday night discussion with Mark Shields and David Brooks on the PBS NewsHour was surprisingly heated. First, anchorman Jim Lehrer seemed to suggest the liberal lingo when the "no" votes were "problem Democrats," as opposed to the Pelosi Democrats:
Where are the -- what -- who are the problem Democrats left right now? We know about the Stupaks and the anti-abortion folks. Who else?
Shields insisted that come the fall, no one will be talking about the process the Democrats used to pass a health-care bill, but Brooks said deem-and-pass was "so repulsive, I'm out of my skin with anger about it." Here's how it unfolded: