On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
You might think that a tidal wave of denunciation would ensue if a cartoon depicting John McCain being tortured in a bamboo cage by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and another person (who might be George W. Bush) were to appear in a supposedly respectable or trendy publication.
You might further think that giving McCain's three torturers stereotypically exaggerated Asian features would only further fuel the outrage.
Sorry to disappoint you, but the cartoon involved appeared last month in Rolling Stone. As far as I can tell, what you are about to see has produced not a single ripple of protest (HT Taxman Blog via tip from Weapons of Mass Discussion):
Can a publisher, editor, and owner of magazines be any more biased than proudly admitting on national television that he's contributed to Barack Obama's campaign?
While you ponder, consider that on Sunday, the publisher and editor of Rolling Stone -- who just so happens to also own Men's Journal and Us Weekly -- told CNN's Howard Kurtz that he's given money to the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee.
In fact, Jann Wenner did so without batting an eye in an interview aired on "Reliable Sources":
Rolling Stone is a left-wing magazine which puts liberal politicians on its cover and this year has already featured a cover story on Barack Obama, yet despite the seeming lack of any newsworthiness in a second Obama cover story, this one written by an “unabashed Obama supporter,” on Wednesday morning NBC's Today show devoted a full story to how the just-released issue of the magazine illustrated “fascination” with Obama. Co-host Matt Lauer marveled: “On the cover not a musician but a politician, Barack Obama. It's the second time he's been featured there but this time there will be no cover lines, just that photo. The magazine usually does that for the likes only of people like John Lennon. So what is the fascination with the Illinois Senator?”
In Lee Cowan's story, with “Barack Star: Obama on the Cover of Rolling Stone” as the on-screen tag, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, who conducted the interview with Obama, gushed: “The tides of history are running strong and fast these days. Ride them or be crushed. Obama has history on his side and that's pretty irresistible.” Cowan then described Wenner as “an unabashed Obama supporter. So not surprisingly today's six-page spread offers no hard questions,” as if that's any different than the friendly approach taken by Cowan and his media colleagues.
Cowan proceeded to recite Obama's answers to the easy questions, starting with how “he describes his iPod as a mix of everything from Stevie Wonder to Jay-Z,” before tossing in his own adulation: “Just this week, Donatella Versace debuted a clothing line she says was inspired by the Senator.” Cowan concluded with a portrait of a humble Obama just trying to do good in the face of unwanted publicity:
Despite it all Obama says he no longer takes great satisfaction in being the center of attention. In fact he tells the magazine that feeding his vanity is not what's important, but doing good work is. The problem: with one, comes the other.
Maybe the mainstream media are growing tired of hackneyed images of Barack Obama appearing in Christ-like poses, because now the Obama-friendly scribes at Rolling Stone have crafted an even more preposterous way of peddling the junior senator from Illinois: his image on a magazine cover devoid of any headline.
Yes, the cover of the most recent edition of Rolling Stone features a giant picture of a grinning Barack Obama without any headline attached to it. It is the second Rolling Stone cover for Obama in just a matter of months, following up on a cover that portrayed Obama with an otherwordly aura emanating from behind him.
Sen. John McCain is still awaiting his first Rolling Stone cover and the editors can't use age as an excuse. After all, Keith Richards has appeared there numerous times.
The May 29 edition of Rolling Stone looks ahead to the summer concert season, and the rock-music mag is praising the Dave Matthews Band for their use of biodiesel for buses and "biodegradable goods for catering." But this exchange was interesting, about Al Gore's "Live Earth" concerts.
ROLLING STONE: Some people argue that the live experience is sort of inherently "un-green."
DAVE MATTHEWS: There’s no doubt that it is. The whole joke of Live Earth was how wasteful it was. But the idea that touring will end is sad. I’d like to think that the traveling minstrel is not a thing of the past, but the methods of travel have to be improved.
Elsewhere in this edition, Rolling Stone’s "Hot List" of editor’s favorites includes "Violet Hill," a new single from Coldplay:
For a few bars, the first single from CP’s fourth album seems like it might be yet another piano balad about space and stars and stuff. But it’s actually a (relatively) hard-rocking attack on Fox News’ America. Take that, Cavuto!
Rolling Stone Gives Obama Campaign Some Free Damage Control
Back on Feb. 22nd, Rolling Stone published their in depth story (6-pages on the net) about Barack Obama's "charisma" under the title, "The Radical Roots of Barack Obama." However, the story has lately been retitled "Destiny's Child." One might wonder why Rolling Stone made the sudden change avoiding the word "radical"... unless, that is, one were living under a rock and isn't aware of the trouble Barack is lately having with the anti-American and racist ranting of his "spiritual mentor," the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.
Many hard questions arise over Rolling Stone's self-censorship. Why did they make the title change? Why did they feel "radical" was good this morning, but not later the same day? Does Rolling Stone regret not having the journalistic integrity to stand for what they originally wrote? Why did they not append a notice about the title change to the story? More pointedly, has Rolling Stone registered as official Obama Campaign staffers? After all, they are obviously offering Barack some free damage control.
It's turning into quite the morning for, uh, outing double-standards in the media. First was my item mentioning that Bob Herbert of the NYT had accused Hillary Clinton of "opening a trap door" under Obama. Readers are invited to imagine the PC outrage if a conservative had expressed the desire to do the same to the Illinois senator.
Now comes Mike Allen of the Politico. In his Playbook column of this morning, Allen offers this quote from Jann Wenner's over-the-top endorsement of Obama in Rolling Stone:
We have a deeply divided nation . . . A new president must heal these divides . . . Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon 'the better angels of our nature.'
Allen's suggestion to Wenner in reaction to his breathless prose: "Get a room!"
Has American journalism degraded so far that a magazine with a circulation of over 1 million would allow one of its columnists, in an article about a Republican nominee for president, to refer to a popular albeit controversial author as a "skanky bitch-whore?"
Such was the case in the most recent issue of "Rolling Stone" wherein Matt Taibbi, in a tremendously defamatory piece about John McCain, also took the opportunity to vulgarly attack Ann Coulter whilst regularly besmirching conservative talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
For those with a strong stomach and/or a masochistic strain, the hits in this rancid pile of detritus came early and often (emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer Rusty Arnold, vulgarity alert!):
Terminally tasteless Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi has a new piece in the February 7 edition proclaiming Hillary Clinton is "The New Nixon." The article comes complete with a cartoon of Hillary with Nixon's ski-lift nose. (Earth to Rolling Stone: the Weekly Standard beat you to this punch by at least a decade.) Taibbi is so far left that both Hillary and Barack Obama are on the right. The pull quote reads "It's Kennedy-Nixon redux -- two superficial conservatives selling highly similar politics."
The longer quote in the text is this: "In Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, we've basically got Kennedy-Nixon redux, and I mean that in the most negative possible sense for both of them -- a pair of superficial, posturing conservatives selling highly similar political packages using different emotional strategies." I quote this not because Taibbi is worth reading, but because his political radar is so mangled.
In his interview in the 40th anniversary of Rolling Stone, rock star Bono sounded more moderate on terrorism, but sadly, he turned to how Bill Clinton was a genius in talking with the IRA (his role in Irish peace was hailed by the media during his presidency) and how we need to talk with terrorists:
There is an imminent threat. It manifested itself on 9-11. It’s real and grave. It’s as serious a threat as Stalinism and National Socialism were. Let’s not pretend it isn’t. I think people as reasoned as Tony Blair looked at the world and didn’t want to be Neville Chamberlain, who came back from meeting with Hitler with a piece of paper saying "peace in our time," while Hitler was planning to cross the channel from France.
The November 15 edition of Rolling Stone, the talky 40th anniversary issue, is stuffed with interviews. The hippie magazine's estranged relationship with God is quite obvious. We mentioned Bill Maher recently, but there was more atheistic talk included. Take rock star Dave Matthews, who found the notion of an all-powerful, loving God "more irritating than Santa Claus." He'd like the idea, but it's "absurd. It's just our attempt to be more important than a tree."
Matthews was discussing the fate of the planet. He said social issues like so-called gay marriage are "tiny" next to our environmental survival. He warned of the possibility of "massive die-offs of people – which has been predicted," but then turned to the idea that maybe the existence of man doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the cosmos:
The 40th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone interviewed several top actors on their political views. Meryl Streep and George Clooney each disparaged conservatives in different ways. Streep compared the Bush administration to the Nazis, and Clooney compared conservatives to the Salem witch burners. In line with Streep's current role in the flop Lions for Lambs, Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers asked about playing the part of "the hated, compromised media," and she replied:
The dilemma of the journalist is everybody’s dilemma. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights protected the Fourth Estate so vehemently because we rely on these voices. And if we don’t have them, then God bless Sean Penn for speaking up. God bless the people who put themselves on the line to be fodder for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh’s next raise. We all have to be citizens first, and then whatever our job is.
The Nazi comparison came when Travers asked: How to do things change for the better?
For Rolling Stone’s 40th anniversary magazine, one of the celebrities interviewed was the atheist, leftist HBO comedian/pundit Bill Maher. Even as Maher has long professed his support for Bill Clinton's sexual freedom (remember this gig as Clinton's talking little Willy?), he still says of Hillary, "F— them and their Clinton baggage...when the Democrats want a sure winner, John Edwards looks like it." Whoever wins for the Democrats, Maher hopes they’re good at lying to the voters:
ROLLING STONE: What’s your best case scenario for the future?
MAHER: First of all, some Democrat better win it in 2008. Then that person should go for broke and say to the people, "Now I have to tell you the truth. I couldn’t do it when I was running, because you are a bunch of babies who can’t take the truth, and you know damn well you wouldn’t have voted for me if I said that. But we’re going to take these painful measures."
The sad part of it is, the money is there to do almost anything we want. It’s not as if you’d have to raise taxes so much. If you took the money being wasted on Iraq, corporate welfare and the drug war, you would have trillions of dollars to work with. That’s the core of it. Whoever is the next president has to get at this corporate state we’ve found ourselves living in.
In the November 15 Rolling Stone, the hippie mag interviews a pile of politicians, media stars, and rockers to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, was interviewed by Jeff Sharlet of The Revealer. In a strange interview he unloaded the usual criticism on Ann Coulter, but praised old American socialists Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas. Coulter came up as Stewart tried to say that no one mocking the government today is a "Soviet dissident," that our discourse is free enough that "It's very difficult to shock anybody any more. I'm not even sure what the subversive edge is." This exchange followed:
ROLLING STONE: Ann Coulter suffered repercussions from calling John Edwards a faggot.
JON STEWART: As a businessperson, she has made a choice: "Even if I narrow my audience to true believers, there’s enough money there. I have to keep pushing until it’s just me and one other crazy person with a lot of money." Maybe she’ll be hired by a crazy billionaire, just her and him, and he’ll go, "Say something about lesbians! Heh-heh! 9/11 widows! Gimme another!"
The press loves to headline celebrities who speak out against President Bush, the war against Islamic fundamentalism and anything else that falls in with the media's favorite storylines. How will they report it when a celebrity does not hew to the accepted partyline? Bono, frontman of the music group U2, is about to find out. Bono is one of the few celebrities for whom I confess to some admiration. His efforts for Africa, unlike many other celebrities, appear to be honest and he has shown himself to be unconcerned with who helps him, as shown by his workings together with President Bush- a state of affairs that would be anathema to most of his fellow celebrities. Now comes evidence that Bono also understands the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists such as al-Qaeda, and his courage to call evil by it's name. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Bono said of the Islamic fundamentalists:
Want to know the fate of humanity? Why pick up a copy of Rolling Stone, of course. There you'll find the latest eco-extremist prediction designed to scare the world into global warming action. Gaia theory creator James Lovelock is in the latest issue predicting mankind will almost be wiped out by 2100 from global warming.
Lovelock told Rolling Stone that predictions of the earth's warming will be "nearly double the likeliest predictions of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Rolling Stone summed it up by saying "The human race is doomed," in a story posted on its site October 17. Only as few as 500 million will survive "with most of the survivors living in the far latitudes - Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin."
What happens a guy with verifiable liberal credentials (contributing editor at Rolling Stone and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic and Air America) just happens to have written a book highly critical of the coal industry – “Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future”?
But if you’re a viewer, you might not know Jeff Goodell is predisposed for a variety of reasons against the coal industry. Goodell is opposed to coal as an energy source because he believes it contributes to global warming, is not convinced technological advances will make it more environmentally friendly, thinks it is unsafe to mine and has doubts about its sustainability as a resource.