Yesterday, in a stinging indictment of his Old Media colleagues' la-la-la treatment of the story of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten asserted that Edwards "may have ended his public life but he certainly ratified an end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism."
I'll get to Rutten's mostly perceptive points in a bit.
That's because recent developments indicate that Edwards may still be believe he can eventually re-enter public life, and they are relevant to Rutten's assertion:
This doesn't qualify as any kind of surprise, but it should be noted nonetheless.
Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama gave a stunningly downbeat assessment of the nation's overall situation in a response to a seven year-old girl who asked him why he is running for president. Obama's media water-carriers have virtually ignored his very telling response, one that is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's gloomiest, malaise-based assessments of America during his awful presidency.
Want to know just how beholden Democrats are to the ultra-left members of their Party?
Well, consider that Elizabeth Edwards actually posted an apology for her husband's affair -- as well as her own complicity in hiding it from people that were working for and supporting his presidential campaign -- at the extreme-left website Daily Kos.
Here are some highlights (emphasis added, h/t Lee Stranahan, photo courtesy Washington Post):
Profanity, those taboo words banned from the broadcast airwaves, is a feature of many people's daily lives. It's much less so in the establishment media world. TV and radio broadcasts are legally prohibited from using it, most newspapers have traditionally refrained from its usage.
That's not the case with the Web, where bloggers and readers face no such restrictions. That likely comes as no surprise; what may be surprising, however, is to what degree profanity seems to be a feature more common on one side of the political blogosphere than the other.
Which side is that? For answers, I turned to the search engine Google to see how common swearing is in the right and left blog universes by looking up the late stand-up comic George Carlin's "seven dirty words" in the most popular blog communities.
The results showed that online liberals tend to use profanity a lot more than online conservatives.
Despite penning 38 paragraphs for his obituary, the closest AP's Douglas Birch came to mentioning the late Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Christian faith was by remarking how the bearded author and Soviet dissident looked like a religious icon:
In a 1978 speech at Harvard University, Solzhenitsyn - who with his beard and dour demeanor resembled a figure from an Orthodox icon - denounced the Western view that liberal democracy was fated to triumph in non-Western civilizations, which he called "worlds" unto themselves.
Yet it was in that speech -- "A World Split Apart" -- Baptist theologian Albert Mohler argues, that Solzhenitsyn famously diagnosed secularism as a disease corrupting the West and, what's more, he did so thoroughly anchored in his Orthodox Christian faith (emphasis mine):
It appears something else that isn't tolerated at the ultra-left-leaning website Daily Kos is too much discussion about the extra-marital sexual escapades of Democrats the Netroots hold in high esteem.
At least, this appears to be the case given Saturday's banning of Lee Stranahan, a liberal blogger and video producer who's been writing diaries at DKos since at least April 2007, and has had his work featured at the Huffington Post.
My colleague P.J. Gladnick referenced Stranahan's HuffPo piece about Edwards back on July 27:
In a stunning development, Republicans are currently staging a revolt against House Democrats who adjourned a few hours ago to head on a five week vacation instead of allowing a vote which would permit additional offshore oil drilling.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.
The protest came moments after the GOP presented Pelosi the following letter:
"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy," Obama said. "Making sure your tires are properly inflated - simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling - if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!"
Yes, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) actually suggested on the campaign trail that inflating your tires will save as much oil as can be procured by expanding domestic oil drilling, a suggestion that is downright laughable and mathematically impossible (see below the page break for more on that).
Government is notorious for moving slowly, but when it comes to adapting to technology, government's pace can be downright troublesome.
Consider Capitol Hill efforts to update Watergate-era laws and Internet-usage rules from the 1990s for use in Congress in the 21st century.
Many members of Congress and their staffs routinely participate in Web 2.0 at YouTube, Digg.com and Facebook, despite the fact that current congressional communication rules do not allow members to post any official communication (i.e., non-campaign material) on a Web site that is not House.gov or Senate.gov.
After Barack Obama’s more-than-enthusiastic greeting by many attendees at the UNITY convention for minority journalists in Chicago on Sunday, some in the media have expressed outrage that some have now questioned their objectivity, despite the appalled reactions from some of their own peers to the display and the live video shown on CNN (at right).
April Yee wrote on Andrew Romano’s blog on Newsweek.com on Monday about the question of whether minority journalists can cover the Illinois senator objectively. She quoted Ernest Suggs of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who objected to this question even coming up in the first place: "That mindset needs to change.... It is offensive that because we have the same color or the same agenda, our journalistic ethics and responsibilities go out the window."
Suggs might have a point, since two of the biggest cheerleaders for Obama in the media are white men: Lee Cowan and Chris Matthews.
NewsBusters has reported for years how the ultra-left wing website Daily Kos will publish all kinds of hateful articles about conservative politicians and figures without ever deleting or editing them.
On Sunday, it was made infinitely clear to the Kossacks that although attacks on right-leaning figures are encouraged -- even if they've just passed away, such as the recent disgraceful posts about Jesse Helms' death -- you're not allowed to say anything bad about their hero, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
UPDATE at end of post: Kos denies the allegations.
Although frequent DK poster The Baculum King's "Keith Olbermann Stooping to Fox's Level Now??" has been deleted, Google still has the cached version for all to see (h/t NBer Thomas Stewart, vulgarity alert):
For the second time in about two weeks, the Huffington Post has published bad health news about a high-ranking conservative media member, and has closed comments on the article likely to prevent its readers from disgracefully applauding the event.
UPDATE at 5:40PM: Comments still closed almost five full hours after the announcement.
On July 16, Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times's Top of the Ticket Blog wrote the following (bold is mine):
When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, (Barack) Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse," a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.
This YouTube video (different from the compare/contrast video at the bottom of the LAT's link) shows Obama reciting the lines just quoted.
The LAT Blog notes earlier in its entry that "The parts (of Obama's web site) that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared."
Something else disappeared this week. Team Obama, for all its posturing, probably saw something like this coming -- which explains their web site scrubbing.
Hopefully this event will repeat itself frequently. You have to get all the way to the end of an apparently weekly routine Associated Press report to see it, but there it is:
Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, while waffling, has wanted to appear to many of his constituents as being opposed to free trade agreements, or at least wanting to renegotiate the terms of many of them.
On Wednesday, the Department of Commerce issued a press release, the kind of thing you would hope business journalists get in their e-mail boxes. But I found no coverage of this news in a Google News Search on [commerce "free trade'] (typed as indicated inside brackets).
Perhaps it's because the news would be inconvenient for Obama, who is in the midst of an Excellent Overseas Adventure, speaking to fawning crowds who fortunately will have no say at the ballot box in November.
NewsBusters has learned that presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama has cancelled plans to visit two U.S. military bases while in Germany, this despite having all kinds of time to speak to gushing Berliners as well as getting in a workout at the Ritz Carlton.
One of the bases, The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, "is an overseas military hospital operated by the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense...[that] serves as the nearest treatment center for wounded soldiers coming from Iraq and Afghanistan."
Yet, as Ed Morrissey's Hot Air reported a few hours ago, Spiegel Online claimed at 1:42 PM local time (picture courtesy Chicago Tribune):
Earlier this month, former senator and John McCain economic advisor Phil Gramm was widely excoriated for his remarks about America being a "nation of whiners," discouraged by negative media reports fueling fears of recession.
As my colleague Nathan Burchfiel noted, the context of Gramm's remarks were the media's role in accentuating the negative in economic news and hence ginning up the public's economic fears and complaints.
Of course, the media has done little to prove Gramm wrong. Take, for instance MSNBC.com's "My Miserable Summer" series, which, among other things, takes tales of woe from readers and publishes them on the Web site (h/t NewsBusters tipster Jeff Williams).
Besides coming to grips with the lukewarm presidential candidacy of Sen. John McCain, there are few questions roiling the online Right more than what the future holds.
Get the average conservative or libertarian talking, and you'll hear a variety of explanations for what went wrong. For the most part, most discussants seem to break down into two camps, one believing things are bad because allegedly conservative politicians have gone astray following the siren call of big government.
The other group blames the current state of affairs on technological ineptitude.
Both have some reason to their arguments, and yet both get it wrong. During the Bush era, the Republican Party at both the presidential and congressional levels seems to have acted less conservatively than before. This has been a great disappointment to many on the right. Unfortunately, they draw the incorrect conclusion that the sole reason the GOP's electoral fortunes look dim is because it hasn't been sufficiently conservative.
The Washington Times is debuting a new weekly column today by NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield. His first piece is on the left-wing Netroots Nation conference and its new counterpart, RightOnline:
With the general election a long way off and much of the general public still tuning out the presidential race, you'd think the online activist corps that have injected unprecedented amounts of cash to fuel this campaign season might want to take a few weeks off.
You'd be wrong.
As I write this, thousands of political webheads are gathering in searing-hot Austin, Texas, with the intent to amplify their collective voices and influence their preferred candidates. Like moths to a flame, many of these candidates are here as well, trying to press the flesh but also to get a handle on what makes bloggers and their readers tick. Lots of political nonprofit types are there as well, each eager to start their own fires.
When media personality Tim Russert, once a top adviser to leading Democratic officeholders in New York, died of a heart attack in June, editors at YouTube rightly paid tribute to him by promoting videos that celebrated his work and life.
They didn't extend the same courtesy to conservative journalist Tony Snow over the weekend. Instead, YouTube chose to mark Snow's passing by featuring a liberal rant that blamed Snow for "hundreds of thousands of deaths," including those of innocent children, because he briefly served as President Bush's spokesman.
The video was one of two promoted in YouTube's news and politics section after Snow died of cancer at age 53. The first clip, from an interview with White House counselor Ed Gillespie on CBS' "Face The Nation," gave Snow his much-deserved due as "one of the good guys."
But in an apparent and twisted attempt at balance, the second Snow-related clip that YouTube chose was headlined "Tony Snow Job." Here's how it began:
It appears the good folks at the Huffington Post have a firm grasp on the hatefulness of their members, for the article published there on Saturday concerning the passing of Tony Snow is not accepting comments.
I guess Huffington's employees anticipated disgusting remarks about the former White House press secretary, and rather than deal with them on an individual basis chose to prevent them completely.
This seems a good decision considering the disgraceful behavior of HuffPosters in February 2007 when a homicide bomber struck outside a military compound in Afghanistan where Vice President Dick Cheney was staying.
Update at end of post: Netroots on the offensive concerning Snow's demise.
Yes, it's unscientific and it is a Web poll, so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but a Time.com survey today finds 61 percent of respondents think that, yes, America is a nation of whiners.
The screen grab at right was taken shortly before 12:45 p.m. EDT. Around 12:30, when I first saw the poll, the numbers were similar: 60-40.
Here's how the question was worded: "As Phil Gramm suggests, is America a 'nation of whiners'?"
I'd suggest a follow up Web poll: "Is the mainstream media collectively a profession of whiners?" For more on that, see my colleague Scott Whitlock's post on how the media refuse to take responsibility for their role in hyping doom and gloom to make America's economic woes seem worse than they objectively are.
When it comes to illustrating high gas prices, the liberal media sure love San Mateo, California. What with its gorgeous, sunny weather and consistently above-average gas prices, it makes for a shocking image of "pain at the pump."
In the top headlines feature for ABCNews.com, editors included a tease for a story on oil prices heading towards $147-a-barrel, and chose a photo of a gas marquee showing regular unleaded at $5.219. That's a whopping 27 percent above the nationwide average as recorded at AAA's FuelGaugeReport.com.
The photo was taken by yesterday by AP photographer Paul Sakuma in San Mateo, and the caption that came with it noted that the the price was way above "the average roadside price for gasoline" which on July 10 "stood at $4.104 a gallon _ just a hair below the record $4.108 hit Monday, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express."
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):
As media gasp over Rev. Jesse Jackson's indelicate remarks concerning presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's naughty bits, an interesting point was revealed at the Huffington Post: if this had been said about Vice President Cheney, the press would be laughing their heads off.
In the end, the disgust isn't about the language or the imagery; it's about the person it was directed at.
Such was accurately espoused Thursday by Dan Sweeney, an associate editor for South Florida's City Link magazine (emphasis added, minor vulgarity alert):
Exploring the notion that some Anglican parishes could soon return to full communion with Rome in protest of the Church of England allowing ordination of female bishops, Time magazine writers David Van Biema and Jeff Israely felt it necessary to throw in some loaded language about how English conservative Anglicans are different than their American Episcopal cousins:
Both the special nature of the English crisis and the Pope's possible involvement hinge on the fact that most of the English dissidents this week are not the evangelical, Bible-thumping members of the Communion whose fury at the American ordination of an openly gay bishop has led to talks of schism this summer. Rather they are members of a faction, heavy on liturgy and ritual, that abhors evangelicalism but considers itself very close to the Catholicism from which the Anglican Church originally sprang.
But wait, if conservative Anglicans across the Pond are about to bolt their church because the Bible forbids female bishops, how is that any less "Bible-thumping" than conservative Episcopals in the United States leaving the church because of openly homosexual bishops, a practice that also runs afoul of Scripture?
You have to wonder sometimes what the headline writers at the news network Web sites are thinking.
Take in this gem from FoxNews.com today:
Um, yeah, the "notion of [a] suffering" Messiah comes from Hebrew prophecy itself (see Isaiah 53), according to historic Christian teaching, which holds that Jesus Christ fulfilled the numerous prophecies about the Messiah from the Old Testament, starting from Genesis 3:15 (the protoevangelion) and extending all the way through the books of "the Law and the Prophets" (Acts 28:23).
It's hardly an earth-shattering notion that Jesus Christ was prophesied in the Old Testament, and even journalists who don't believe in Jesus as Messiah should surely have a functional knowledge of this basic, nay central, claim of orthodox Christianity.