UPDATE: Kosmonauts upset Obama flack decried Helen Thomas comments: "when has he [Obama] ever kicked anyone's ass? Not counting little old ladies, that is."
Even as she sneered that the Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine," Helen Thomas could easily find fervent defenders in the hard-left environs of the Daily Kos. Some of them couldn't believe such a sweet and good-natured woman would be demonized. The blogger "General Choomin" literally claimed that on Tuesday night:
This diary is mostly about the smear campaign aimed at Helen Thomas and how right wing propaganda easily mixes with Israeli propaganda. It is a story that people would label me as crazy if I didn't have the facts to back it up. How could such a good natured woman have so many people denounce her without even knowing the effort that went into it? How could so many people turn their backs on her even though she served her country in a way that most civilians never could?
Perhaps these people should try being on the other end of one of her rants before they try to paint her as Sweet Polly Purebred. "Chipoliwog" agreed on Tuesday that Helen the "patient heroine" had been wronged and her legacy of greatness was unappreciated:
Yesterday, the world lost the voice of one of it's greatest journalists. Lost to the exigencies of political correctness. Hoisted on her own petard.
"When CNN bid for the front row in 2007, Fox could have challenged it and had a knock-down, drag-out fight like the one we might have this time," Henry said. "But they did the gentlemanly thing and said CNN had more seniority. I've got to honor that commitment."
An emerging defense of Helen Thomas's "Jews go home" comment is that either what she said really was not that bad, or that others occasionally say worse things without the same level of reproach.
Richard Greener, writing at the Huffington Post on Monday, was so close to making a good point. He noted that a number of other public figures have said things that could reasonably be interpreted as more offensive than Helen Thomas's comment, and have not been forced into retirement.
Though Greener neglected to note the higher standard to which White House correspondents are inevitably held, his credibility was instantly reduced to ashes when the only example of vitriol from the left he could come up with was Keith Olbermann saying Sarah Palin is "an idiot." And he even followed it up with a pathetic attempt to satiate his readership's intense hatred for Palin (and Olby affection) by noting that "perhaps truth is an absolute defense."
Well that didn't take long. The folks at the left-wing MoveOn.org are practically in mourning over Helen Thomas's "retirement."
Just a few hours after news broke that Hearst columnist Helen Thomas is calling it quits after a viral video of her anti-Semitic comments led to widespead condemnation of the White House press corps dean.
The abrupt retirement of Helen Thomas from her perch as the ranking member of the White House press corps was essentially accepted as a fait accompli by supporters and detractors alike after her controversial remarks urging Jews to leave Israel surfaced.
Indeed, if there was any defense made of Thomas's comments, it wasn't done persuasively or at an influential level. But that didn't stop the progressive community -- many hearing about her retirement while at the Campaign for America's Future conference in D.C. -- from collectively fretting on Monday about what the loss of her voice bodes for the day-to-day interaction between the White House and the Fourth Estate.
Her absence will be felt "significantly," said Ilyse Hogue, Communications Director of Moveon.org. "The burden will fall on the rest of the press corps to make sure the administration feels the need to be transparent about its plans to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan."
Sexism is a selective phenomenon for much of the media. It seems even satirical or light-hearted content, when produced by conservatives, has the amazing ability to acquire the label while even the most vitriolic and derogatory liberal writings can avoid it.
RightWingNews, the popular conservative blog, surely knew it would garner some disdain from the left in publishing its 2010 edition of the "20 Hottest Conservative Women In The New Media." Right on cue, Newsweek weighed in with accusations of "gender hypocrisy." Full disclosure: NB's own Dan Gainor was one of the judges.
One of the top 20--Lori Ziganto, aka "Snark and Boobs," of RedState and NewsReal, among others--took to publicly shaming the magazine for its own show of hypocrisy: implying that women (or maybe just conservative ones) must be intelligent or attractive, not both. Of course this is all from the same magazine that published the cover at right.
The amateur liberal blogosphere is dead, according to a prominent lefty blogger. Chris Bowers made his proclamation Thursday, on the heels of the New York Times's acquisition of FiveThirtyEight, a prominent liberal polling site run by Nate Silver.
Silver, pictured right, was the latest in a string of moves from the liberal blogosphere to traditional media outlets. The Washington Post has, with much fanfare, beefed up its blogging staff of late, most recently by hiring Dave Weigel to cover the political right.
The trend of professionalization should not be surprising. Traditional media are overwhelming liberal, and new media comprise some of the sharpest journalistic minds the nation has to offer. Traditional media need ways to remain relevant. Why wouldn't they draw talent from the vast pool of bloggers?
Daily Kos boss Markos Moulitsas is scheduled to appear on Jake Tapper's Sunday roundtable on This Week tomorrow. It would be great -- although the odds are very slim -- if Tapper would quote some of this Daily Kos bilge and ask Moulitsas to defend it. This Saturday morning post by Karen Hedwig Backman imagined Dick Cheney as a malevolent Angel of Death. It's called "Dick Cheney's Dismal Swamp of Death," and is so overwrought it's unintentionally funny:
A vast sea of dead and dying creatures presided over by the fat, repulsive Angel of Death Cheney. His ratlike minions scuttle around clutching their Blackberries and chittering corporate code.
Gloating, he hovers over the Gulf of Mexico, his oil-grimed black wings sinuously flapping... eldest daughter gleefully yapping at his ankles.
For the moment they are strangely silent, after months of constant presence on accommodating American television, showboating on Fox, one hopes that they might at last be experiencing guilt and shame -- but no.
They are momentarily stunned by the awesomeness of their success, silently savoring the sight of their spoils, dying pelicans dripping crude oil on the beaches, whitening and fouling corpses of fish, sea mammals, all manner of dead creatures brought to life by the seas and felled by the U.S. Supreme Court-strengthened arm of the Almighty Corporation.
Writing anonymously at the Daily Caller, an anchor for a prominent TV news channel called that channel's coverage of the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla "an abomination" and "grotesquely distorted and biased."
"I’m embarrassed by our coverage," the Anchorman concluded in an unsent email to his boss. "I take this job and my reputation seriously. But that’s nearly impossible with coverage like this." He accused the network of "acting as a public relations arm of Hamas."
The Anchorman, his pseudonym at the Daily Caller, was livid about his news organization's kid-gloves treatment of controversial former US ambassador Edward Peck. In an interview with Peck, the Anchorman claims, an on-air personality omitted "anything that might cast the slightest doubt on Pecks political motivations."
It seems that the vast majority of journalists who bemoan unaccountable, unabashedly opinionated digital reporting are the same ones who have, without challenge, pushed a liberal perspective through their own reporting.
The latest such journalist, Newsweek's Howard Fineman, is concerned that "nobody is cross-examining" the "position papers" that supposedly comprise a critical mass of new media journalism. Of course without new media, Fineman's position papers would be virtually immune from meaningful cross examination.
His position is common among the media's old guard: accountability for thee, but not for me. This view stems both from a sort of meta-double standard: Fineman and his ilk extrapolate a few bad apples among the new media crowd into a larger trend of malfeasance, while treating instances of journalistic malpractice among old media reporters as isolated incidents that have no real bearing on Old Media's accountability (or lack thereof).
Parts of the U.S. establishment press have acknowledged "climate science" reality, six months late.
The fallout from ClimateGate (link is to the NewsBusters tag), the name eventually given to the scandal resulting from the unauthorized posting of over 1,000 emails and dozens of documents obtained from University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the UK, goes back a full six months to November of last year.
On November 20, Australia's Andrew Bolt crisply described the contents of the aforementioned items as providing substantial evidence of: "Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more."
Time's Michael Crowley, late of the liberal publication The New Republic, took to his new magazine's Swampland blog with a salutatory post yesterday. After the obligatory kind words about how excited he was to be on board "another great [journalistic] institution," Crowley laid out his case about why author Joe McGinniss was foolish for renting a house right next door to the Palin family's Wasilla residence.
He did take a few swipes at Palin in the process -- arguing Palin is on a mission to discredit journalists and this just bolsters her argument -- but Crowley's case is the polar opposite of Slate's Jack Shafer, who defiantly praised McGinniss's journalistic "a**holery." Here's the relevant excerpt from Crowley's May 27 post (emphases mine):
Imagine if, in 2004, Karl Rove had offered then-Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) a cushy administration post if only he dropped his primary challenge of then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, whom the Bush White House was backing for reelection.
Surely the media would merely smell "stupid politics" rather then the stench of corruption and complain that Democrats making hay of the matter were cynically making a federal case out of something that happens in Washington all the time.
Of course both you and I know that's the exact opposite of what would happen. But when it comes to Joe Sestak's alleged job offer by the Obama White House, Time magazine's Michael Grunwald is peeved at Republicans, practically telling them in his May 27 "Viewpoint" post at Time.com to move along:
From the "Did I Say That Out Loud?" Department: "Crashing Vor" on the Daily Kos asserted on Tuesday morning that a good crisis should never go to waste. The Gulf oil spill must be exploited, and the greens must "use this moment, use the deaths of species and the suffering of people who depend on them, in the most cynical, calculated way, as bad as a Republican after 9/11, to make real, lasting change in how we address the costs of our way of life." That means a command-and-control "climate change" bill. Get it now, before stupid Americans lose interest:
There is only one possible redemption in this horror, and even that is a slim chance. If the enormity of what has happened in the Gulf can hold the country's atrophied attention long enough, and if we can mobilize fast enough, we might, just might, be able to bring about a positive change from this:
Real and comprehensive energy and climate legislation.
We must act now to force our legislators to write law with teeth and real effect, law that requires consumers pay the true price of the carbon they burn, law that requires business to pay the true price of the carbon they spew, law that includes the costs of things "no one could have anticipated" into the price of doing business.
A protest noticed by the target's next-door neighbor who happened to be home at the time, namely journalist Nina Easton (who also took the photo at right), occurred in a Metro DC suburb in Maryland marked the next round of a national labor union's attempt at persuasion through intimidation.
IBD concisely describes what happens, and why it should cause so much concern:
Mob Rule From SEIU
On May 16, Washington, D.C., police escorted 14 busloads full of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members at least part of the way to storm the Chevy Chase, Md., home of Bank of America's deputy legal counsel, Greg Baer.
While liberals consistently worry out loud that conservative talk radio inspires violence, they're still avoiding blogs like the Daily Kos, which posted an item on Sunday headlined "I don't want to punch Rand Paul in the face, but...." This tongue-in-cheek lameness unfolded:
....but if someone happens to punch him in the face, I believe that this is their right and that we as a people should not put safeguards in place to prevent such an occurrence.
My name is glutz78 and I'm a Libertarian through and through (not really but let's just say...) and especially when it comes to punching people in the face. Because getting punched in the face is part of the free market....
The former Newsweek editor snarked on GQ.com's The Wire blog earlier this afternoon about Missouri Republican Roy Blunt's "follow Friday" (#ff) tweet urging his Twitter followers to check out and follow Best Buddies International and the Special Olympics.
In a post entitled, "Really? You're Using #FollowFriday To Score Cheap Political Points?", Devin Gordon snarked:
Yesterday I tackled how Newsweek's Howard Fineman was attacking Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul for picking a fight that the liberal media, in fact, was whipping up.
Today, it's Fineman colleague Ben Adler and his insistence that conservatives are fixated on smearing both Elena Kagan and softball players everywhere as gay.
Adler made his argument in his May 20 The Gaggle blog post, "What Is With Conservatives, Gays, and Softball" by picking apart a comment Fox Business Network's John Stossel made on Fox News Channel in which he defended Paul's comments regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964.What annoyed Adler most was Stossel's quip that gay softball leagues, for example, should not be forced to admit straight players:
The gay softball team? The proverbial black student association has long been every anti-civil-rights pundit's favorite shibboleth, but why suddenly gay softball team? Do gay people have separate softball teams that don't allow straight people to play for them? If so, it's still an awfully random example. Oh wait, no it isn't, it's a dog whistle to everyone who thinks that women who play softball are gay, and that therefore Solicitor General Elena Kagan is gay. Stay classy, John.
There are two problems with this. First and foremost, it was gay groups that first made a stink about an innocuous photo by the Wall Street Journal that was clearly selected as a clever tease for a story in the May 11 edition. The headline and caption for the Kagan-playing-softball photo were as follows:
"Although the Gulf spill has lowered the percentage of Americans who support offshore oil drilling, a new Pew Forum poll finds a stunning 54 percent still support it," an incredulous Erbe wrote, adding, "So it will take more than a major, irreversible environmental disaster to persuade gas glugging Americans to trade in their pickups for hybrids. I see."
To Erbe, it can't possibly be that average Americans are more even-keeled than their hot-headed, grandstanding congressmen who would capitalize on a disaster for crass political gain. No, it's that oil-addicted American idiots across the fruited plain just aren't following the example of their betters on the Hill:
The general election campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak has started "ugly," according to Jay Newton-Small. In her May 20 Swampland blog post, the Time magazine staffer offered as evidence the former's press conference yesterday in which:
[H]e spent much of the speech blasting Sestak. In his 7-minute opening remarks he said “I” or “me” 52 times – including the thank yous – and “Joe or “he” 43 times.
Newton-Small did go on to note that "the beginning of a general election is all about defining your opponent" and added that:
"In a 7-2 ruling [on Monday], the Supreme Court expanded Congressional powers just a mite, by allowing the federal government to keep sexual predators in prison beyond their terms if they are deemed too dangerous to be released," U.S. News & World Report contributor Bonnie Erbe noted in a May 18 Thomas Jefferson Street blog post.
[T]he two dissenters were arguably the most conservative on a majority conservative court: Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. One would think that law and order conservatives would be more concerned about keeping sexual predators away from the public than about a very minor expansion of federal powers. Apparently not.
Of course that's a patently unfair cheap shot and Erbe knows it. Thomas's dissent in U.S. v. Comstock (scroll to page 36 at this link)-- published to the Supreme Court's Web site on May 17 -- clocks in at a brief 23 pages, easily readable for a journalist, especially one who graduated cum laude from Georgetown Law in 1987.
Taxpayers may be forced to foot a portion of the bill for a new movie that has become a stark -- and violent -- message against the recently passed Arizona immigration law. The liberal political stance is nothing new in the movie world. That the film is still being considered for indirect public funding, however, is quite striking.
An online trailer for the film "Machete," released on Cinco de Mayo (and embedded below the fold), begins with the title character saying he has a "special message...to Arizona!" That special message, as the New York Post writes, seems to be "They just f---ed with the wrong Mexican."
Some commentators believe that the film could actually provoke violence. But at the very least, "Machete" seems to be making a very strong and provocative political statement about an extremely divisive issue -- while at the same time applying for tax breaks from the Texas state government. So Texans may be forced to help pay for a statment to which -- if national polls are any indicator -- many are opposed.
While the 10-paragraph article in itself didn't raise any bias alarm bells, I was disappointed but hardly surprised that the Post buried the story on the last page of its A-section.
Gardner's article focused on how Palin, "[s]peaking to a breakfast gathering of the Susan B. Anthony List in downtown Washington on Friday" observed that liberal pro-choice feminists are hypocrites for on the one hand insisting that women can hold fulfilling careers while being mothers but at the same time those same feminists hold out abortion for young women who might feel their unwanted pregnancies are an inconvenience obstacle to career or educational goals.
That observation led Post staffer Jonathan Capehart, no Palin acolyte he, to concede Palin makes a "very interesting point":
If you think it's odd for Chris Matthews to blame Dick Cheney for the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Daily Kos will go one further. The Kosmonaut with the byline "RFK Lives" is blaming Ronald Reagan:
For 30 years, our public policy has been dominated by this basic creed. Whether it was telecom deregulation, financial deregulation, welfare "reform," regulatory "reform," or most any other issue, the Reaganite philosophy almost invariably prevailed. Whether it was Gingrich, Greenspan, W, Cheney, or anyone else playing the tune, they were all using St. Ronnie's sheet music.
We have, sadly, reached the logical end result of Reaganism.
Enraged voters, too dumb to appreciate the purveyors of pork . . .
That was Mike Allen's take on Morning Joe today. Politico's chief political correspondent labelled "absurd" the decision of Utah and Nevada voters not to re-elect Bob Bennett [done deal] and Harry Reid [likely goner]. And why is it such a bad mistake? Because Bennett and Reid are proven pork providers for their states.
Allen offered his analysis in response to Mike Barnicle's suggestion that in the current political climate, bringing home the bacon might actually backfire on politicians.
One can't help but be a bit stunned at the audacity of an organization built by Morton Halperin and George Soros lecturing others on "astroturfing." But that same audacity -- not the good Barack Obama kind -- is taken to extremes when that same organization alleges a corporate conspiracy where there simply is none.
Think Progress's Lee Fang was practically giddy that he had uncovered the next vast right-wing conspiracy, proclaiming that a powerpoint "obtained" by the website "reveals how the telecom industry is orchestrating the latest campaign against Net Neutrality" via layers of astroturfing "front groups."
In reality, the powerpoint was the creation not of the giant telecoms that quite openly oppose Net Neutrality, but rather of six students in a contest at a "think tank MBA" program held by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. The whole project cost under $200. And far from being "secret," as Fang claimed, the powerpoint was posted online, as was the audio of the students' presentation to the contest's judges. Some astroturf!
In the latest example of a pattern of opacity, the White House has cut off the press's access to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Kagan has extensive ties to journalists, which only serves as a testament to this administration's determination to control the message on its major initiatives, including Kagan's nomination.
"Tell her we're deeply frustrated," one reporter told White House press secretary Robert Gibbs of the administration's refusal to grant Kagan a traditional interview with the press. Kagan did do a short interview with a White House staff member released only online, in what CBS White House correspondent Peter Maer called "Kagan 'in her own words' without anyone else's words."
Washington Examiner White House correspondent Julie Mason was harsher in her criticism. The White House interview "doesn't count toward the administration's 'accountability' totals," she wrote on the paper's Beltway Confidential blog. "It's just another campaign commercial, masquerading as openness."
The mainstream media often have little use for religious folks, except, of course, when they sing from the same hymnal on an issue dear to liberals.
We've seen it before with how the media bash the Catholic Church as behind the times when compared to its American laity who are decidedly less conservative on sexual mores, abortion, and women or married persons in the priesthood. Yet when Catholic bishops come out against say the Arizona anti-immigration law, the media all but stand and cheer the bishops for trying to lead their flock in opposition.
Ever since the passage of Arizona's new immigration law, the Left has been attacking anything associated with the state. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann continued the trend by going after Arizona's major league baseball team for what he claims is a lack of diversity.