As noted Friday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Jake Tapper at ABC's Political Punch blog revealed that former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle, Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, had failed to pay over $100,000 in federal income taxes for 2005, 2006, and 2007, because he did not originally report the "the services of (a free) car and driver" provided to him by his employer, private equity firm InterMedia Advisers.
At 11:24 last night, Tapper posted a separate update (HT to NB commenter "slickwillie2001") indicating that Daschle's tax problems involve larger amounts, go well beyond the matter of a "mere" car and driver, and are not completely resolved (bolds are mine):
Former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle (picture at right is part of a Getty Images pic at a related New York Times story) has just upped the ante in Washington's tax-avoiding/evading game of "Can you top this?"
Whereas recently confirmed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner "only" $40,000 in back taxes and interest, principally relating to unpaid Social Security and Medicare taxes (with a dash of retirement-plan penalty and illegally deducted overnight summer camp expenses included in the mix), the man who Rush Limbaugh used to call "Puff" Daschle during his Senate days has upped to ante to six figures.
A 14-picture slideshow of "Historic Moments of Inaugurations Past" that begins with an illustration of Washington's 1793 swearing-in and mostly includes flattering photos of other commanders-in-chief ends not with a photo of President George W. Bush but of left-wing protestors at his first inauguration. (h/t e-mail tipster Chris Lowery)
Even President Nixon was shown flashing his "classic double victory salute" to inauguration attendees in 1969. Of course,the caption accompanying that picture noted that he "was greeted with less than warm feelings from the crowds. Protestors threw smoke bombs, sticks and stones at the presidential limo on its way to the Capitol Building."
Yet when it came to portraying President Bush's inauguration, ABCNews.com photo editors decided to show protestors at the 2001 inaugural, including one holding a "Hail to the Thief!" sign (depicted above at right). The caption accompanying that photo:
In a January 18 ABC News exclusive interview, former Obama pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright confessed to, but did not repent of, his inflammatory rhetoric directed at the media. Wright's excuse:
"They were arrogant, they were evil, they were devious and I responded in kind," Wright said. "I just talked to you about a 500-year tradition but you don't ask me one question about that because that's not your interest, your interest is to taint Barack Obama. So no, I'm not going to be conservative, I'm not going to kiss anybody's behind and if I'm standing up straight you can't ride my back.
Yet apparently ABC staffers Tahman Bradley and Ferdous al-Faruque failed to question Wright on whether his demeanor from the pulpit exhibited more the gospel of class and race warfare than the gospel of Jesus Christ. What's more, Bradley and al-Faruque failed to point out that some print journalists such as Newsweek's Eleanor Clift have hailed Wright as a "prophetic" voice, something that cuts against Wright's view that the MSM has had it in for him.
Looks like ABC News is starting out 2009 with a partisan bang. On its main page, ABC News is hosting a slide show featuring what it is calling the "All Time Dumb Quotes." Now, these are not all strictly political dumb quotes, to be sure. They also have the empty headed Christina Aguilera, that sharp as a tack Jessica Simpson and other denizens of the Hollywood Mensa club among the 16 featured quotes -- and some of them are doozies, too. But, there are six political quotes five by Republicans and one by Tina Fey making fun of a Republican (Palin, naturally), yet there are no "All Time Dumb Quotes" from any Democrats. Not a one. Apparently ABC doesn't think there's ever been a dumb Democrat?
Even more absurdly, all these "dumb quotes" are from the last year or so. Apparently, ABC also is not aware of anything "dumb" that was ever said before contemporary history. Yet, even as all these supposedly "All Time Dumb Quotes" are recent, they have one quote.... just one... from farther back in time than just recently. And guess who it’s from? Amazingly, the ONLY "All Time Dumb Quote" ABC can find from before the year 2008 is a 1988 quote by... drum roll please... Dan Quayle!
"We're going to turn next to some of the extreme measures that some Americans are taking because of the faltering economy," Gibson said. "According to an ABC News Poll, more than one in four people say someone in their household has been fired, faced a cut in pay or a reduction in work hours. Facing mounting debts and dwindling finances, some people are deciding to put their bodies at risk."
Barack Obama doesn't mind a fight with gay activists over selecting Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration because the President-elect is bound and determined to govern as a centrist.
President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration has ignited a firestorm of criticism from the gay-rights community, where Warren is considered something of a sworn enemy.
Yet Obama’s response to a question about his selection of Warren seems to confirm one perception: that this is a fight that the president-elect isn’t necessarily sorry to be having.
A collection of "The Faces of Political Scandal," assembled by ABC News yesterday (HT to an e-mailer), once again demonstrates the media's relative reluctance to identify the membership of Democrats involved in scandal.
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Here's the detail, slide by slide:
Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- Party not ID'd, while containing a quote with a Republican frame of reference ("Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.").
"In picking church, Obamas will weigh political, religious and personal feelings," the subheading to Russell Goldman's reads.:
Come Jan. 20, Barack Obama knows the house in which he and his family will live, but he has yet to decide at which house of worship they will pray.
Within steps from the White House, the Obamas can choose from a bevy of churches, each offering reasons to be selected, from historic connections to the presidency to historic connections to the African-American community.
Finding Michelle Obama to be the "First Lady of Fashion," ABCNews.com's Luchina Fisher wondered if the president-elect's wife could save the fashion industry.:
Michelle Obama will soon be the nation's first lady and mom in chief, but others are expecting even grander things from her, like saving the fashion industry.
And who in their right mind would think that?:
"We're all obviously trying to look at the silver lining," designer Norma Kamali told ABCNews.com. "Where do we look for hope, an opportunity to create good feelings for the customer? There is real hope with Michelle Obama. I think she can keep women interested in purchasing."
Trumpeting an "exclusive," ABCNews.com is proud to announce that transsexual Thomas Beatie is pregnant again. As we've documented at NewsBusters, the biologically female pregnant "man" was the mid-summer fascination of ABC News both in broadcast and on its Web site, ABCNews.com. Beatie gave birth in July but is preggers again and that's enough to make the Breaking News e-mail circuit at ABCNews.com.
Here's the text of the Breaking News alert I received in my inbox around 11:30 a.m. EST today:
On its Blotter from Brian Ross Blog, ABC News is trying to re-ignite the "Troopergate" issue by portraying Alaska state trooper Mike Wooten as a victim of "threatening phone calls." And, in reporting this new aspect of the story, ABC waits until the last sentence of the story to mention that Governor Palin was deemed innocent of charges of ethics violations in trying to be rid of Trooper Wooten even as 90% of the story pounds home what the supposed charges against the Governor were. Further, ABC misrepresents the charges against Wooten as a simple "she said" argument by Palin and fails to mention that he was actually found guilty of many of them.
In fact, this whole report subtlety makes Governor Palin look like the bad actor in this situation and garners sympathy from the reader for Trooper Wooten. In the first paragraph, the piece talks of Palin's "harsh allegations" and states that he has been "taken off patrols recently for his own safety" because of "threatening phone calls." The report mentions that both Wooten and his union are whining that he cannot get over time pay since he's stuck on a desk job "for his own safety." Looks like ABC thinks Trooper Wooten is a victim here.
Now that Barack Obama has won his bid for the White House, Americans should get ready to learn some inconvenient truths about him and the folks surrounding the president-elect that media have safely hidden from the public in order to promote his messiah-like image.
First out of the gate were revelations about Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the Obama supporter and Congressional Democratic Caucus chairman Obama has tapped to be his Chief of Staff (please see my colleague Jeff Poor's November 6 report on this subject).
On Friday, ABC's Brian Ross reported that Emanuel was on the Board of Directors of the failed financial institution Freddie Mac, a nice little tidbit conservatives on radio and in the blogosphere felt was important during this campaign, but for the most part mainstream media outlets didn't care about...conveniently until now (emphasis added, photo courtesy ABCNews.com):
Update: ABCNews.com has since changed out the McCain photo to show a grinning McCain.
Lee Boggs found that ABCNews.com augmented a generic horse-race campaign story by Mark Mooney on Monday morning with this slanted "photo illustration" -- or is it some sort of movie poster, with obvious Good Guy vs. Snidely Whiplash overtones? Or just JFK vs. Nixon? Mooney's article suggested Ohio was up for grabs between Good and Evil:
McCain started the week with good news in the Buckeye State, which was critical in President Bush's win over Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and Vice President Al Gore in 2000.
An Ohio Newspaper/University of Cincinnati poll indicates the Ohio race is a statistical dead heat, giving a 49-46 edge to Obama.
Could this agitprop art be more over the top -- on a "news" site?
The leftwing blogosphere went into full panic mode Saturday as a result of a tough interview Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden had with a Florida anchorwoman two days ago (video embedded right).
As my colleague P. J. Gladnick previously reported, Barbara West of the ABC TV affiliate WFTV in Orlando gave Biden quite a grilling Thursday.
Yet, despite the obviously favorable and well-documented treatment Barack Obama and his running mate have received from the press during this campaign, Netroots members were shocked and appalled with how Biden was questioned.
Katharine Zaleski, the Senior News Editor at the Huffington Post, published the following Saturday (emphasis added):
Just how bad has the presidential campaign coverage been this year?
So bad that popular online columnist Michael S. Malone, aka ABC.com's "Silicon Insider," wrote Friday, "I’m deeply ashamed right now to be called a 'journalist.'”
So strong were his words that they should be required reading for all the Obama-loving media members that have disgraced themselves as well as their industry this year, especially if Malone's assertion that they're doing this to protect their own careers via a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine that will "crush the alternative media" is correct (h/t LGF via NBer Paul Wright, picture courtesy Santa Clara University):
ABC's Sam Donaldson has validated Joe the Plumber's worst fears: socialism has indeed washed over capitalism.
Maybe worse, Donaldson is clearly less unhappy about this than our new campaign spokesman from Ohio.
Such appeared to be the case when the former White House correspondent published a rather ominous commentary at ABCNews.com Tuesday both in written and video form (emphasis added, h/t Extreme Mortman via Glenn Reynolds):
Wurzelbacher has become the focal point of the presidential election because of his objections to Obama's plan to boost taxes on people who earn more than $250,000. Ironically, the plumber currently has an income level that would make him eligible for Obama's proposed tax cut rather than the tax increase.
But that doesn't address what impact Obama's tax hikes might have on Wurzelbacher's boss and how new taxes might adversely impact the plumbing company's payroll under an Obama administration.
After noting that Wurzelbacher admitted the company he's hoping to buy doesn't cross the quarter-million threshold, Ibanga seemed perplexed at his anger at the notion of taxing "rich" people for their success:
Although it seems unlikely the disgusting, Sarah Palin-bashing T-shirts my colleague John Stephenson shared with readers today will get much attention from Obama-loving media, at least ABC's Jake Tapper has taken offense.
Writing at his Political Punch blog Sunday, Tapper, who continues to distinguish himself as one of the few impartial journalists still working for a mainstream press outlet, didn't mince words (photo edited for decency):
It was revealed Monday that Democrat Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-Fl.), the man who replaced Mark Foley (R-Fl.) in 2007 after the latter resigned for having sent e-mail solicitations to male pages, has been caught in his own sex scandal with a former mistress who used to work for him.
Given the extraordinary irony involved in the man who campaigned on bringing back to his district "a world that is safer, more moral" now being caught in a seedy affair of his own, one has to wonder just how much attention the Obama-loving press will give to this matter three weeks before Election Day.
This seems especially important given the many weeks of constant media focus Foley's scandal was given prior to the 2006 elections, and just how much that assisted Democrats in winning back the Congress.
As reported by ABCNews.com moments ago (emphasis added, h/t NB reader Chuck Vieth, photo courtesy ABCNews.com):
In a 4-3 decision today the Connecticut Supreme Court decided that civil unions for same-sex partners were not equivalent to marriage and as such ordered the state to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples applying for them.
In reporting the decision, ABCNews.com put the story in the top headlines rotation with the following teaser:
Conn. Gives Blessing to Gay Marriages; State Supreme Court ruling paves way for same-sex marriages to start next month.
The story in question took the skilled labor of a grand total of four ABCNews staffers, chief among them Martha Raddatz. In her lede she noted the Dow dropped 107 points in the course of the seven minutes President Bush spoke from the White House on the ongoing financial crisis.
But it seems Raddatz, along with Lisa Chinn, Jon Garcia and Kate Barrett wrote too soon. The market rebounded from its deepest losses earlier in the day to close down only 128 points.
"Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans; U.S. Officers' "Phone Sex" Intercepted; Senate Demanding Answers," reads the headline and subhead for an ABCNews.com "Blotter" post by Brian Ross.
Written with fellow ABC staffers Vic Walter and Anna Schechter, Ross's October 9 post aimed to make National Security Agency phone monitoring of calls into and out of Baghdad out to be little more than a voyeuristic game of listening in on Americans talk dirty to each other:
"These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA's Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.
Kinne described the contents of the calls as "personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism."
Updated below. Last Monday as the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the initial bailout package,both Fox News and CNN sent e-mail alert subscribers numerous alerts about the Dow's dive. The market recovered some the following day, a development that CNN neglected to mention in the same e-mail alerts.
UPDATE at end of post: the can has already been opened!
Without question, ABC's Jake Tapper is one of the few members of the mainstream media who's actually willing to publish less than favorable reports about Barack Obama.
In a "Political Punch" blog posting Saturday about new revelations involving indicted fundraiser Tony Rezko, Tapper deliciously summed up a Washington Post piece as claiming that "Sen. John McCain's campaign...is about to open up a can of whoop-ass on Obama with a focus on his personal associations."
I kid you not (emphasis added, photo courtesy ABC):
Today’s version of our exercise, in which we dissect the media’s attempts at interjecting bias into a simple headline, may stun some of you.
The shocking aspect? The Washington Post didn’t partake in the liberal doctoring of the headline. Let’s take a look…
The Pentagon just released a report entitled ‘Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,’ which highlights a decline in violence in the country in 2008.
Surprisingly enough, the WaPo ran this headline:
Violence Declines Further in Iraq
While positive news in a Post headline is a bit hard to believe, they did include the following sub-headline, managing to interject that ol’ liberal pessimism we’re more accustomed to:
Pentagon Report Cites Factors That Could Rekindle Attacks
That said, we have to give them some credit for combining the positive and negative into one headline, making it less biased than their competitors. Observe…
In her October 1 ABCNews.com story, "Should Candidates' Sons Serve on the Frontline?", Emily Friedman explored the potential problems that could arise with the sons of presidential candidate John McCain and vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin serving on the front lines in armed conflict:
While Biden, 39, and Palin, 19, are just ordinary troops today, on Nov. 5, the day after the election, one of them will also be the son of the vice president of the United States of America.
A protective Secret Service detail will arrive soon after, along with the "Prince Harry question": Should they stay like any other soldier, or will they have become too tempting a target that endangers them and the other soldiers in their units? Should they be reassigned?
We've covered it here before. It's akin to that old child's game where one person whispers something into another's ear, passes it on to several others, until the final statement is no longer vaguely recognizable as being related to the first.
So, here we go again with Anatomy of a Biased Headline...