Can anyone imagine a top Bush 43 adviser, say Karl Rove, telling a reporter that his boss couldn't attend an important American historical anniversary event because "he's too busy trying to save the Republican Party"?
Dan Pfeiffer is "Assistant to the President of the United States and Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications." Today, in response to a tough but fair question tweeted by Ron Fournier at the National Journal, Pfeiffer said that President Barack Obama wasn't attending the ceremonies surrounding the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address because "there's this whole website thing that someone suggested might destroy the Dem Party." The exchange would surely generate a great deal of press coverage if it involved a conservative or Republican presidential adviser, but the only story other than at Fournier's National Journal was at the Hill, a popular burial ground for such stories. The Fournier-Pfeiffer exchange, with some external razzing, follows the jump (HT Twitchy):
If there is to be a tidal wave of defenders of President Barack Obama's "it if it hasn't changed" revision to his original guarantee — "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan" — Ron Fournier (NewsBusters history here), who toiled at the Associated Press for 20 years and joined the National Journal several years ago, will not be among them.
In 2008, Fournier advocated "accountability journalism." When he took over as AP Washington bureau chief, he pushed for what was described as "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing" as a "new direction AP should take." Both were, in my view, thinly veiled attempts to inject more left-leaning bias into what news consumers to this day still mostly believe are "objective" wire service reports. With that demonstrated pedigree, perhaps it's a surprise that Fournier would be so vocal about Obama's attempt to "reinvent history" (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the Obama-loving media are clearly sickened by how the rollout of the President’s signature piece of legislation has gone.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Tuesday, National Journal’s Ron Fournier excoriated Obama’s performance in the Rose Garden the previous day and said of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “Maybe she should have been shown the door” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Give Nancy Cook at NationalJournal.com credit for a generally well-written though somewhat naive report ("Forget the Unemployment Rate: The Alarming Stat Is the Number of 'Missing Workers'") on the unprecedented plight of the millions of adults who have dropped out of the labor force.
But in discussing the "glaring caveat" in Friday's employment report from the government, namely that "the 'labor force participation rate' held steady in April at 63.3 percent—the lowest level since 1979," she missed a major source of the rise in the rate to a record level in the late-1990s. She also left readers otherwise unaware of the actual history with the impression that the rate has been "on a gradual decline" since then, which is simply not the case.
In his March 20 piece, "Cowardly Congress, Ruthless NRA, and an Impotent Obama Conspire Against Assault-Weapons Ban" National Journal’s Ron Fournier attempts to shame 2nd Amendment-supporting Americans over Democrats killing an assault weapons ban before it had the chance to hit the Senate floor.
Fournier groused that “the gun lobby deserves most of the blame for creating a political climate in which any regulation of firearms is viewed as an attack on the constitutional right to bear arms. This as much a financial issue to the NRA and its industry allies as it is a constitutional one.” What climate is he talking about? The liberal media have been behind Obama’s gun control agenda since December, using every opportunity possible to use the tragedy to press a gun control agenda.
What's more, while it's supposedly "ruthless" for the NRA, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, to defend the 2nd Amendment from encroachment, Fournier has no qualms about today's edition of the New York Daily News, which featured the victims of Sandy Hook in a ghoulish display of political exploitation. It’s advocacy journalism at its most craven.
**UPDATE** Earlier version of blog incorrectly stated that Ron Fournier had deleted tweets in question when in fact they are still on his account.
It appears as though the days of civility and integrity in journalism are long gone. On March 1, National Journal’s Ron Fournier, formerly the Washington bureau chief at the Associated Press, took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction with government sequestration, suggesting that President Obama:
Can handle Bin laden, not Boehner? He may be POTUS, but Obama incapable of “a Jedi mind meld.”
Fournier continued his violent rhetoric in a follow-up tweet, suggesting that, “Bin Laden didn’t compromise. Handled him pretty well.”
The Beltway news operation National Journal attacked Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli for his stance on political issues, particularly global warming. In a March 2 article entitled “Can Climate-Change Denier Ken Cuccinelli Win a Swing State?” National Journal asked how “[i]n storm-battered Virginia, the Republican candidate for governor still doubts the science.” The story was illustrated with a flood picture to underscore the point.
Throughout the story, Cuccinelli was depicted in negative terms: “partisan firebrand,” “extremist” and “hard-right.”
CNN had a friendly take on President Obama's Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew, despite the pick receiving sharp criticism from conservative circles. "He's definitely the guy for the next several months," CNN's Ali Velshi gave the White House spin on Thursday's Newsroom.
"Yeah, funnily enough if Wall Street hates him, he might be perfect for the job," chuckled anchor Michael Holmes."That's what a lot of people think, Michael, actually," Velshi added. Back in 2008, however, CNN framed Wall Street support for potential nominee Tim Geithner as a good thing.
According to Dylan Byers at Politico, the National Journal's Ron Fournier is going to "step down as editor-in-chief" and moving to "a role as editorial director." Before joining that publication in June 2010, Fournier worked at the Associated Press for a total of over 20 years in two different stints. In an email response to Politico yesterday, Fournier elaborated on the motivation behind his move (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, just hours after Mitt Romney's "crisp" debate performance, Norah O'Donnell stuck to her fixation on playing up the Republican's supposed negatives. O'Donnell maligned how Romney phrased his opposition to the federal government's subsidization of PBS: "This may have been the first time in a presidential debate that Big Bird was mentioned. It seems kind of like a silly thing to bring up."
Gayle King, an admitted friend of Michelle Obama and donor to the President's reelection campaign, also spotlighted a Tweet that referenced a decades-old anecdote about Romney placing his dog, Seamus, in a carrier on top of his car: "This wasn't a debate so much as Mitt Romney just took Obama for a cross-country drive strapped to the roof of his car."
Having seen the candidate the press corps so obviously favors perform poorly while his opponent shined, Ron Fournier at National Journal, an Associated Press alum, dove so deeply into excuse-making that I half expected him to claim that the dog ate President Obama's debate prep.
The primary culprit, according to the forlorn Fournier, is something over which Obama has no control, as seen in the following excerpt from the 11:30 p.m. version of his dispatch. The report has an accurate headline admitting to something Fournier wouldn't directly acknowledge, namely that Romney won the night (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
A week ago, National Journal's Michael Hirsh quoted an unnamed State Department official who claimed that "The war on terror is over. Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism." If it's so over, then why were government officials referenced in Kimberly Dozier's Associated Press report this evening about the state of Al Qaida a year after Osama Bin Laden's death "on condition of anonymity because they say publicly identifying themselves could make them a target of the terrorist group"?
Dozier is a noteworthy exception to the usually dreadful reporting at the wire service, and has a personal reason for having her eyes open. While she was with CBS News in May 2006, she was critically injured by an IED in Iraq. After nine months, she returned to work. According to Wikipedia she joined the AP in the spring of 2010.
"The Obama administration urged the now-bankrupt solar-energy firm Solyndra and its top investor to hold off announcing planned layoffs in 2010 until after the Nov. 2 elections, according to e-mails released by House Republicans on Tuesday," Amy Harder of National Journal reported this morning:
"Obama Takes Republicans' Night From Them With Speech," exults the August 31 headline for National Journal reporter George Condon Jr.'s story on the president's wish to give a speech on his economic recovery plan on September 7.
The text of the article practically rings with approval of the president's rude and presumptuous request (emphasis mine):
As much as liberal media members pushing for tax hikes don't understand the fiscal and economic reasons for not doing so, they've been deceitfully ignoring the political ramifications for Republicans caving on this issue.
On Monday's "Hardball," National Journal's Major Garrett explained to Chris Matthews that if the President didn't raise taxes high enough for his liking when the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress for two years, it's absurd to expect the GOP to do it for him now (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In an interview with CNSNews.com last week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) referenced President Obama's African-American heritage last week and "found it remarkable" that he could be pro-abortion. Santorum, later clarifying his comments under media scrutiny, said he meant he is dismayed that a President who "rightfully" fights for civil rights ignores the civil rights of the unborn in America.
Santorum, speaking of President Obama's position on abortion, said in the interview "the question is--and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer--is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people."
The media picked up on the comment and, without publishing what Santorum said leading up to the segment, questioned if he had racial motivations. Jennifer Epstein's Politico piece was headlined "Rick Santorum plays race card on President Obama." Epstein labeled Santorum's remark "eyebrow-raising."
Monday's "Morning Joe" panel on MSNBC mocked the House Republicans' plan to vote to repeal President Obama's health care legislation in full. "Waste of time" and "meaningless legislative exercise" were some of the phrases used to describe the first announced GOP priority.
"It's going to take them fifteen minutes, they're going to vote to repeal it, and the Senate's not going to do it," explained co-host Joe Scarborough. "It is a meaningless legislative exercise, but you know what? The base will like it."
"Republicans in Washington are planning to waste some time. Is anyone surprised by that?" co-host Mika Brzezinski tersely introduced the segment in the 7 a.m. EDT news hour.
Both Scarborough and Brzezinski sarcastically mocked the plan. "Good for them. Thank you," Brzezinski spat. "You are big men," she derided the House Republicans. "You so tough," Scarborough chimed in, followed by Brzezinski making strange growling noises.
Not that it justifies the horrible consequences of leaking classifed information, thereby endangering our troops, our allies, our friends, and their families (of course it doesn't), but the WikiLeaked documents being carried at outlets like the New York Times are revealing some truths that are proving quite inconvenient for Iraq war opponents.
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that a post at one of Wired.com's blogs ("WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results") rnoted that "for years afterward, WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction." Add that to the already large pile of evidence that totally debunks the leftist folklore that "there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Now Andrew Bolt at Melbourne, Australia's Herald-Sun (HT Instapundit) tells us that another leftist myth about the war's impact on Iraq's general populace is getting retired to the ash heap of false history (links are in original):
National Review's Rich Lowry on Sunday had a classic debate with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne about whether or not the tax cuts implemented by former President George W. Bush should be allowed to expire.
Dionne agrees with President Obama that they should only be extended for folks making less than $250,000 a year; Lowry thinks that raising anyone's taxes right now could send the country back into recession.
With this in mind, NBC's David Gregory opened the panel segment of "Meet the Press" with a discussion about the current state of the economy and how this issue might impact the upcoming midterm elections.
As he tossed the baton to Lowry and Dionne, one got the feeling Gregory was intentionally lighting a fuse he knew would result in some entertaining fireworks (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
Completing a full spin through the revolving door, Linda Douglass, a long-time CBS and ABC correspondent before jumping aboard the Obama campaign in 2008 – followed by HHS and White House positions promoting ObamaCare -- has re-joined The Atlantic as a Vice President who “will concentrate on company strategy and communications,” the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz reported online Thursday morning.
Before joining the Obama campaign as senior strategist and senior campaign spokesperson on the road, Douglass toiled for National Journal, part of Atlantic Media which also owns The Hotline. Her first stint in the new administration was as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, followed by Communications Director for the White House’s Health Reform Office, a slot she left in April.
Atlantic Chairman David Bradley recognizes the conflict between her political agenda and being a journalist, but he told Kurtz “she's too big an editorial talent for us to keep her out of the editorial product.”
The Associated Press managed to report on yesterday's primaries in North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio while muddling the incontrovertibly disastrous results for Democrats in those states. Even while touting the races as harbingers for November, the AP failed to extrapolate the trends right before their eyes.
In short, turnout for Republican primaries in all three states was up almost across the board, while Democratic turnout "dropped precipitously," in the words of National Journal's Reid Wilson.
The AP noted the "exceptionally light [turnout] in Ohio and North Carolina," failing to mention that GOP turnout in these states was up in virtually every race, while a drop in Demcorats at the polls produced the "light" numbers it mentions.
It is a strange paradigm among much of the mainstream media that plummeting poll numbers are of far greater import for Republicans than they are for Democrats. That, at least, is the logical conclusion of the relative silence of major media outlets on the steep decline in President Obama's poll numbers compared with the decline in President Bush's.
According to an Allstate/National Journal poll released Wednesday, 50 percent of Americans would vote against President Obama if the presidential elections were held today. Only 39 percent say they would vote to re-elect the president.
But so far, this stunning development--given the President's sky-high approval ratings upon entering office--has gone seemingly unnoticed by the major television networks and most prominent print publications. Aside from some prominent blogs (whose coverage is by no means substandard), the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Washington Examiner are so far the only major outlets to report on the poll, according to a google news search (as of 2:00 PM).
"Last night was a triumph for the conservative movement and repudiation to those who said Republicans had to move away from the conservative ideology to achieve victory," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell declared today.
"I hereby grant the Dewey Defeats Truman Awards for the most incompetent political reporting of the year to the following journalists for their impeccably inept coverage," Bozell noted in a press release earlier today before listing Politico's Mike Allen, CBS's Katie Couric, National Journal's Ron Brownstein, and the entire New York Times editorial board as the recipients of the (dis)honor.
"Congratulations for embarrassing yourselves, your news organizations and the industry for a backfire that only President Truman himself could truly appreciate," proclaimed Bozell.
For the full press release, including the quotes that were the catalysts for the Deweys, click here.
You know when a liberal has lost any capability to understand the common American when they completely miss the pain that liberal tax hikers cause the average citizen in this country. Charlie Cook recently showed this elitist attitude in a National Journal column on the outrageous costs of the Cap and Trade bill – better called the Cap and Tax bill. Of course, to him, the tax hike on the average American is not a big deal and he doesn’t understand how anyone could be upset over it all.
Cook is perplexed why Washington pols were “getting an earful” from constituents over the energy tax hikes that the Cap and Trade bill will force on the nation. He just couldn’t figure why adding “only” an additional $175 a year to the average citizen’s electric bill was such a big deal.
Remember how the media told us throughout 2008 that then-candidate Barack Obama had the most "tech-savvy" presidential campaign in U.S. history? And who can forget all the buzz during the transition period about how the president might have to part company with his Blackberry due to Secret Service security worries. To the media, Obama was light years ahead of any Republican when it came to the Web.
Well, with the 100-day mark right around the corner, it seems new media experts are only giving the 44th president a gentleman's C when it come to his communications shop's take on the WhiteHouse.gov Web site and the Obama administration's signature Recovery.gov Web site.
Reports the National Journal's David Herbert, the chief complaints seem to be that the Obama team sees the Web as a propaganda tool, not a way to genuinely engage citizens with their government and its elected chief executive (emphasis mine):