Is it the government’s job to spread happiness? A former president of Harvard University, who was profiled on the June 2 PBS “NewsHour,” seems to think so. Derek Bok, author of The Politics of Happiness, believes the government should be in the business of manufacturing happiness.
“I think a government that tries, systematically, to relieve what causes lasting misery and emphasize what gives lasting happiness will eventually win the support of the people,” declared Bok.
In a telling review, Sara Robinson of the wildly liberal blog Firedoglake expressed adoration for the book:
It reads like a progressive wish list — a ratification of the kind of ‘for the common good’ policies we’ve always stood for. But Bok’s approach is academic and disinterested and acutely non-ideological: he reaches these conclusions only because the preponderance of data proves (once again!) that reality has a distinctly liberal bias.
In a PBS interview June 2, Vice President Joseph Biden predicted 700,000 to 1.4 million jobs would be created by the end of 2010. But at most, that would still be more than 5.2 million jobs shy of matching President Obama's claims about economic stimulus.
Biden forecast job creation "between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs on average all the way through this year" in an interview with Charlie Rose. He also predicted "trouble in paradise" for the GOP.
Left-wing website The Huffington Post reported the prediction calling it "fairly safe" by "recent trends." Sam Stein wrote that, "Biden would not, however, mark a date when he thought the unemployment rate would dip to, say, six percent."
Stein didn't remind readers that Obama said the stimulus package would create more than 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. Once you take out temporary jobs and the 100,000 minimum needed every month to keep up with population growth, the economy would need to create 932,000 new permanent jobs each and every month through the end of 2010.
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler on Tueday addressed Tavis Smiley's claim that Christian terrorists commit far more violence than Muslim ones. Smiley also issued a statement that defended his comments, though it misrepresented what those comments actually were.
"I don't think he made his case, or even came close," Getler said. He rightfully noted that the 2000 Columbine massacre, Smiley's only example of supposed Christian terrorism, "had nothing to do with Christianity." In fact, as Brent Bozell noted in his column today, the shooters even "mocked students who cried out for God to save them."
Though Getler should be applauded for noting Smiley's total failure to offer a convincing argument, he seems to suggest that a convincing case could be made, but simply wasn't in this instance. "One would think," Getler states, "that Smiley would have been better prepared to make what was certain to be a controversial case."
PBS station managers made a big push last year to drive any trace of “sectarian” Christianity out of the taxpayer-funded broadcasting system, banning any church services or religious lectures that appeared on a handful of stations. They ultimately compromised and banned any new church programming. But on at least one program, PBS sounds like it’s declaring war on Christianity, including smears on Christianity that are not based on reality.
If that sounds shocking, imagine what the average Christian PBS viewer might have thought as he watched Tavis Smiley’s weeknight talk show on May 25. The guest was ex-Muslim and atheist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, there to promote her latest book, “Nomad.” Smiley claims to be a Christian, but he attacked Ms. Ali for “idealizing Christianity” and recklessly turning people away from Islam.
Right out of the box, Smiley was out to make a point. “You say unapologetically and rather frankly that your mission here is to inform the West about the danger of Islam,” he began. “What danger do we need to be made aware of?”
Tavis Smiley has apparently been asleep for the last ten years. That, at least, is the only logical explanation for his claim that Christains engage in terrorism far more often than Muslims. He also thinks the Tea Party is a comparably dangerous force to radical Islam.
"There are so many more examples of Christians who do that," Smiley claimed, referring to terrorism, "than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work." He was discussing terrorism with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born writer and former member of the Dutch Parliament.
Ali claims it is her mission to "inform the West about the danger of Islam," but Smiley was more concerned with the danger posed by Tea Party protesters, who "are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people 'nigger' as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people." None of those claims are true, but then again the segment was replete with falsehoods (Full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Greg Hengler).
NBC Meet the Press anchor David Gregory appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Tuesday night, and Smiley was outraged at Rand Paul for canceling on Gregory: "I was waiting for you to walk on the set, assuming that there would be steam coming out your ears, but I assume you calmed down now about Rand Paul canceling on you. How often does that happen, when people cancel on "Meet the Press?"
Gregory said a review found there's only been three cancellations, the others by Louis Farrakhan and Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. Gregory said he thought the cancellation wasn't personal, but was about Paul feeling overexposed. Smiley followed up: "But is there a lesson to learn, though, from that strategy of ducking the national press? Sounds Sarah-Palinesque, ducking the national media."
Smiley said this at a time when President Obama hadn't held a full-blown press conference in more than 300 days. How is it only "Palinesque" to avoid the press? And doesn't it make more sense for Palin to avoid the liberal media than the often-hallowed Barack Obama? Gregory added:
On Friday’s Need to Know on PBS, co-host Jon Meacham – also of Newsweek – devoted the show’s regular "In Perspective" segment to highlighting "anger" and "hate" felt by some conservatives toward President Barack Obama, and included examples of protesters and anger expressed toward liberals. He began the segment by raising the possibility of violence resulting from "extremism": "Perhaps we should not be much surprised anymore about the language of extremism. But we can't let the prevalence of far-out rhetoric dull us to its pernicious and possibly violent effects."
He asserted that most of the "hatred" is coming from conservatives: "For the most part, the fury is on the right, and it started with the rise of Barack Obama. Change and rage. It's a curious thing. Obama – hardly a radical figure – provokes hatred among some who feel alienated by the times."
The PBS host soon revisited the possibility that anti-Obama "hate" could result in violence: "But there have been times when the force that perennially divides us is not anger as much as its more violent and more disturbing cousin: hate. These are the times when men with weapons have emerged from the shadows, and changed history." Clips of Lee Harvey Oswald, Timothy McVeigh, and wreckage from the Oklahoma City Bombing were then shown.
They say people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. But that saying didn't stop NPR's Nina Totenberg and PBS pundit Mark Shields from making fun of the sex appeal of conservative Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana, who resigned this week after admitting an affair with a female staffer.
On the local PBS talk show Inside Washington, Totenberg mentioned the abstinence video Souder made with his lover, and added "I don't know why anybody would want to not abstain with him."
Shields joined in: "Who was it? Henry Kissinger, who said 'power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.' Mark Souder is the real test of that, because a George Clooney look-alike he is not." As if Mark Shields could compare. Shields is just about to turn 73. Totenberg is 66.
"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:
On the PBS NewsHour last night, anchor Judy Woodruff reported on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s lies that he served in Vietnam, but reported with a straight face that he didn’t lie on every occasion: "In fact, on a number of occasions, Blumenthal has correctly stated his record, including at a debate last March, seen in this clip posted on YouTube."
This may sound like "the pilot usually didn't crash the plane." But this was merely a prelude to Woodruff’s interview with Christopher Keating of the liberal Hartford Courant newspaper, who aggressively worked on the damage control squad for Blumenthal. Keating oozed that "his defenders say they will give him the benefit of the doubt, and, clearly, obviously, the veterans who said that he has been to more funerals than probably literally any politician in the state of Connecticut, including the governor -- almost any time that somebody is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, Blumenthal is there."
Keating’s first defense was that he never heard Blumenthal lie about this before – and he didn’t say lie, he offered Blumenthal’s own weasel word, "misspeak" – and neither had his political opponents, through "almost hundreds" of events:
"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.
Catching up on an item from the first episode of PBS’s Need to Know program, which aired on Friday, May 7, liberal satirist Andrew Borowitz suggested that Sarah Palin and Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann are two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse during the show’s regular "Next Week’s News" humor segment: "Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will announce that they are looking for, quote, ‘two additional horsemen.’" Imagery of fire burning behind Palin and Bachmann was shown as Borowitz read his item.
According to the New Testament’s Book of Revelation, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are four beasts that will arrive before the end of the world, and will represent pestilence, war, famine and death.
As previously documented by NewsBusters, on the May 14 Need to Know, Palin was again targeted by Borowitz as he joked about the intelligence of both Palin and conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Borowitz:
On Friday’s Need to Know program on PBS, during the show’s regular "Next Week’s News" humor segment, as liberal satirist Andrew Borowitz recited four predictions for next week, in two of his items he took shots at the intelligence of prominent conservatives – Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Playing off the upcoming confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, Borowitz predicted:
Blasting Elena Kagan for her lack of judging experience, GOP Senators will propose an alternative: Paula Abdul. As a judge on American Idol, Ms. Abdul often seemed absent and didn’t say anything. But one Senator will argue you could say the same thing about Clarence Thomas.
After poking fun at the idea of people protesting illegal immigration from Canada, and at what leftist Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez may do with his new Twitter account, Borowitz returned to trashing the intelligence of conservatives:
And finally, some news out of Wasilla, Alaska. Sarah Palin will make it official: She has now written more books than she has read. When asked which of her two books is her favorite, Governor Palin will reply, "All of them."
Below is a transcript of the relevant segment from the Friday, May 14, Need to Know on PBS:
On his PBS show, Charlie Rose usually begins with a snappy soundbite of the long interview to come. With New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on Thursday night, there was this stunning clip at the show's top:
You know, Charlie, for 60 years you could say being a political leader was on balance about giving things away to people. That's what you did most of your time. I think we're entering an era -- how long it will last I dare not predict -- where being in politics is going to be more than anything else about taking things away from people. And that shift from leaders giving things away to leaders taking things away, I don't think we know what that looks like over time.
Put aside for a moment that governments (half-solvent ones, at least) take away as much as they give. Friedman and Rose were discussing the recent British election, where the candidates all talked about the "pain" of government living within its means.
What is the religious right doing by campaigning against abortion? First and foremost, its efforts seem aimed at trying to keep church pews filled by bringing more and more poor people into the world. Second, it will just end up boosting the teen unwed pregnancy rate every time it guilt trips an unwed, pregnant teen into bringing to term a child she does not want and cannot afford to raise. Third, it will effectively subjugate women and girls in the same way women and girls in developing nations are consigned to a life of child-bearing and little else.
PBS's Jim Lehrer on Tuesday wrongly accused Republicans of always being against major social legislation in this country including the Civil Rights Act, Social Security, and Medicare.
"[T]hrough history, recent history in particular, Republicans have opposed things like Social Security, Medicare, even civil rights legislation, but then, once they lost, they took some deep breaths and moved on, and then finally ended up embracing many of these major changes in -- in laws and in the way we do business here," the News Hour host amazingly said to his guest Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and Kyl quickly corrected Lehrer (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript and commentary, relevant section at 4:40, h/t Cubachi):
The Friday night discussion with Mark Shields and David Brooks on the PBS NewsHour was surprisingly heated. First, anchorman Jim Lehrer seemed to suggest the liberal lingo when the "no" votes were "problem Democrats," as opposed to the Pelosi Democrats:
Where are the -- what -- who are the problem Democrats left right now? We know about the Stupaks and the anti-abortion folks. Who else?
Shields insisted that come the fall, no one will be talking about the process the Democrats used to pass a health-care bill, but Brooks said deem-and-pass was "so repulsive, I'm out of my skin with anger about it." Here's how it unfolded:
On Tuesday night, the PBS Newshour discussed the debate over gays in the military, but that didn’t mean there was a debate on the show. Instead, PBS booked three gay-promoting liberal academics and pollster Andrew Kohut to talk about "American attitudes evolving." The liberal hope and dream of suppressing religious speech against homosexuality was blatantly expressed by Georgetown history professor Michael Kazin:
KAZIN: You know, one of the things that -- when laws change, that helps to change consciousness. When the civil rights law was passed, when the Voting Rights Act was passed in the 1960s, then people's attitudes began to change.
Even if they didn't necessarily -- white people didn't like African-Americans any more, but they felt that, well, it wasn't OK anymore to voice their dislike of African-Americans. Racism began to be something that was marginal, that you had to talk about in private. And that I think could begin to happen also with views about gay rights...
Over the weekend, poor and biased media reporting, dysfunctional politics, blindly ambitious activism, and economic ignorance fed on each other to produce a phenomenally false narrative that went out to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. The result not only doesn't pass the smell test; it fails the stench test from a mile away.
The first origins of the activist narrative burst forth during Friday's PBS News Hour, when the network's Betty Ann Bowser opened her report on health care costs with two sentences that belong in the Sloppy Statement Hall of Shame (bold is mine):
Health care spending devoured 17 percent of the entire economy last year, about $2.5 trillion. That's the biggest one-year growth since record-keeping began in 1960, according to projections from the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, this week.
If you don't mind my asking -- What exactly is the "that" to which Ms. Bowser referred?
But what does it mean, to replace capitalism with democracy? He sighs and tries to explain. In the old Soviet bloc, he says, communism was the political system and socialism the economic. But with capitalism, he complains, you get political and economic rolled in to one. Big business buys votes in Congress. Lobbyists write laws. The result is that the US political system is awash in capitalist money that has stripped the system of much of its democratic accountability.
On Monday’s Charlie Rose show on PBS, during a discussion of how the Obama administration might change course after the Democratic party’s loss of the Massachusetts Senate race, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham argued that President Obama has so far pursued “centrist” policies, even claiming that the bailouts could be described as “center right.” After the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut argued that, at the White House, they are not yet sure which ideological direction they will head next, prompting host Charlie Rose to ask whether they would move “to the center,” Meacham seemed to bristle as he insisted that President Obama is already “in the center,” and scoffed at Tea Party activists:
Want government to fund public media? Then PBS has a place for you. If you back giving news organizations tens of billions of dollars, that's good for nearly 25 minutes of air-time.
That's how the PBS weekly newsmagazine "NOW" addressed a left-wing solution to the decline of the news industry. On Jan. 15, "NOW," welcomed the founders of the left-wing media think tank Free Press - John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney - to tell how tax dollars can be the key component of "Saving American Journalism."
The duo recommended the United States pay $30 billion a year to fund media, what Nichols called a "pretty sane number." "This is sort of the number a free society pays to have credible journalism," he argued.
Driving through Chick-fil-A to get a kid’s meal for my daughter today, the "toy" that came with the chicken nuggets was a CD-Rom from the public-TV kids’ show Between the Lions. The logos for Boston PBS superstation WGBH and Mississippi Public Broadcasting were right on the CD case.
This underlines how blurry the line is between public television and private-sector merchandising. On Thursday, Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes reported from Pasadena that "PBS President Paula Kerger opened her Q&A at Winter TV Press Tour 2010 by blasting commercial broadcasters" for failing to educate children.
DeMoraes was skeptical enough to include how the PBS boss actually faced challenging questions from a troublesome "critic" on the incessant merchandising of public-broadcasting kids’ shows like Sesame Street (once estimated by the Licensing Letter to offer 1,000 licensed products.) This is terrific:
On Friday night’s Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Moyers ran anti-Obama clips from conservative talk show hosts and marveled that anyone would believe them, when they were responsible for what he called the "Decade of Conservative Failure." Moyers’ guest, leftist Wall Street Journal columnist Thomas Frank, cracked wise: "That is America for you. That is the demented logic of our politics."
Frank suggested (and not in a good way) that America is "pretty much unique" in having such a strong belief in free markets, or as Frank put it, half a political system "dedicated to the destruction of the government." Frank bizarrely claimed Democrats never stick up for the government, and need to explain that the present health-care bills are "a way of growing our freedom."
Moyers ran a montage of talk show hosts he can’t stand at the beginning, which was the closest the one-sided PBS showcase came to an opposing viewpoint:
MOYERS: How is it that the people who are responsible for the mess Obama inherited are getting away with demonizing him when he’s only had less than a year to clean it up? Let me show you just a sample of right-wing commentators railing against the president.
Here is the latest episode of NewsBusters’ Notables Quotables show, featuring the liberal media’s most outrageous sound bites.
In this week’s episode we have Chris Matthews wondering what’s wrong with a quick phone call to terrorists, Matt Lauer worried about America getting a big head, and Actor Scott Wolf revealing the inspiration behind his role as a sell-out journalist in a new TV series.
Enjoy the show and to see current and past episodes in a larger format, visit the ‘Notable Quotables Show’ channel on the Media Research Center’s video sharing website, Eyeblast.
"Sesame Street" producers are getting criticized for a parody that suggested Fox News was "trashy," and the ombudsman for PBS says that the criticism is justified.
Foxnews.com reported that in a two-year old episode that was rebroadcast on October 29, Oscar the Grouch starts the Grouch News Network, or GNN. The skit later featured CNN’s Anderson Cooper filling in for Oscar as he chats with "Walter Cranky" and "Dan Rather-Not."
But when another green grouch Muppet caller decides that the news is not grouchy enough, she says she is changing the channel to Pox News. "I am changing the channel," the irate muppet says. "From now on, I am watching Pox News. Now there is a trashy news show."
PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, like many viewers, thought he heard "Fox" instead of "Pox," but regardless, he suggested it wasn’t classy to suggest Fox was "trashy" in front of the little ones:
If Democrats get a spanking at the polls today, it's not because American voters are trending conservative or are frustrated with the direction liberal Democrats are leading the country, but because the electorate's disdain for the former Bush administration has abated.
That according to liberal PBS "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News contributing editor Bonnie Erbe.
Barack Obama is just as much a woman-hater as the late conservative North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms in the wild eyes of radical abortion-mongering feminist and PBS "To the Contrary" host Bonnie Erbe.
And just why is Ms. Erbe so steamed at President Obama? Because, and I kid you not, the commander-in-chief doesn't shoot hoops with women.
The liberals inside the taxpayer-funded PBS sandbox know how to keep looking down their noses at their competitors in conservative talk radio and TV. Once again, on Friday night’s NewsHour, the supposedly opposing duo of Mark Shields and David Brooks offered their shared revulsion of any Republican spokesman to the right of Sen. Lindsey Graham.
It started when NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff asked their reaction to former Vice President Dick Cheney accusing Obama of "dithering" on Afghanistan. Sheields called Cheney a "gift." Brooks lamented that the Republicans lack leaders that sound exactly as moderate as he is:
I always wish it was John McCain or Lindsey Graham or somebody of that nature who was leading the charge.
The Republican Party has a terrible problem of who its spokespeople are. It tends not to be the best voices in the party. Lamar Alexander, senator from Tennessee, said he completely understood why Obama was taking his time to make this decision. And instead of those voices getting prominence, you get Dick Cheney, you get Rush Limbaugh, you get Glenn Beck. That's part of a larger problem.