Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Friday smacked down PBS's Mark Shields in a discussion about late Rep. Dan Rostenkowski's legacy.
As the conversation on this week's "Inside Washington" turned to the passing of the former powerful Democrat, Shields swooned liked so many of his colleagues:
Danny Rostenkowski was a throwback...he worked across the aisle. I mean, he was just phenomenal that way. There was no ideology to him. And, you want to know how politics has changed? Danny Rostenkowski used to go back to Chicago by car. You know who rode with him? Bob Michel, the Republican leader rode with him and back, and Henry Hyde, the conservative leader, and they were friends.
With the ball nicely set up on the tee, Krauthammer ripped a monster drive down the middle of the fairway (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Charles Krauthammer on Friday made a truly wonderful observation about how differently the media handle leaks of classified information depending on whether there's a Democrat or a Republican in the White House.
As the discussion on PBS's "Inside Washington" moved to the Wikileaks affair, the Washington Post's Colby King said, "I don't see it as such a difficult issue at all for the Pentagon. It's, you know, it's our material, it's not [Wikileaks']."
This led Krauthammer to ask, "How come in the Bush years and the Nixon years, when you leaked stuff that's our material, classified material, you end up with a Pulitzer Prize, and now if you have a Democratic administration, you end up being condemned from left and right?"
He continued, "I'm not sure I understand" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Reporting a U.S. District Court judge overturning California's Proposition 8, PBS correspondent Spencer Michaels noted that if the case is appealed to a higher court, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would handle it. Michaels watered down the court's infamous history of liberal rulings, saying that though it may be liberal, it is not more so than any other U.S. Circuit Court.
The Ninth Circuit has "kind of a liberal bias – at least that's the charge," Michaels quickly corrected himself. "In actual fact, they probably aren't any more liberal than any other court," he insisted of the circuit with the dubious distinction of being the most-overturned of any by the Supreme Court.
The Ninth Circuit has a long history of being stacked with liberal judges since the days of President Carter, and infamously struck down "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in 2002. The Court has arguably inched to the right with the addition of moderate and conservative judges, but is still widely regarded as the most liberal of the circuit courts.
James Taranto, member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, described the court as "notoriously liberal," in his piece about the reversal of Proposition 8. Ashby Jones, writing for the WSJ's law blog, said that the court has a reputation for being "packed with liberal judges."
The sentiment isn't confined to conservative-friendly publications.
PBS recently responded to accusations of a liberal slant to its July 23 Need to Know program which featured satirist Andy Borowitz making fun of Sarah Palin’s intelligence as the show's executive director Shelley Lewis claimed that, because the previous week's episode had featured a segment that was critical of President Obama, the program in reality has been balanced in going after political figures. According to TVNewser, quoting from Michael Getler's July 28 "The Ombudsman Column" on the PBS Web site, Lewis argued: "Is a little joking about Ms. Palin's penchant for malaprops really such a big deal? Last week, editorial cartoonist Steve Brodner was pretty tough on President Obama, and we heard plenty from Obama fans about how unfair we were, how right-wing we were, etc. We do try to have some fun at both sides' expense..."
But the July 16 segment that poked fun at Obama actually criticized him for not being liberal enough in keeping his campaign promises as cartoonist Steve Brodner was shown drawing sketches of Obama while a voiceover of the cartoonist lamented that "the presumed anti-war Obama became the 30,000 more troops Obama," and that "the previous stimulus advocate Obama who faced McConnell finally and a vocal conservative movement, he didn't campaign consistently for the stimulus that he mentioned in the State of the Union, wound up advocating for that along with deficit reduction, making him at least partly like McConnell."
Most PBS stations tonight will air Paul McCartney: In Performance at the White House, a concert performed back on Wednesday, June 2 at which the ex-Beatle delivered a cheap shot at former President George W. Bush: “After the last eight years, it's great to have a President who knows what a library is.” (Earlier NB post)
Wednesday's USA Today noted PBS won't air that comment which came after the Obama family had left the East Room, but McCartney told the paper's Edna Gundersen his snarky remark earned “amazing support” as “I got: 'Yeah, man, way to go, rock 'n' roll.” McCartney also added a fresh slam: “And I know George Bush knows what a library is: It's a place to keep DVDs.”
Charles Krauthammer on Friday scolded Gordon Peterson, the host of PBS's "Inside Washington," for blaming Shirley Sherrod's termination on Fox News.
As he introduced the first topic of the evening, Peterson said, "Which brings me to the story of ousted Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod who was let go on the basis of a single piece of internet video that was edited out of context, posted on a conservative website, picked up on Fox News, and bought lock, stock and barrel by the Obama administration."
When Krauthammer got his turn, he went right after Peterson saying, "Speaking of apologies, perhaps you ought to apologize for saying that Fox News had her on the air before the administration had fired her" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On Friday’s Need to Know program on PBS, during the show’s semi-regular allegedly humor-based "Next Week’s News" portion of the show, Andrew Borowitz devoted the entire segment to mocking Sarah Palin’s intelligence as he faux-predicted that, after winning the 2012 presidential election, "Her first official act will be to cancel the agreement between nouns and verbs," and that she will then "replace the English language with ‘Palinese,’ a language known only to her." He added: "He also asserted: "I figure if we learn three words a day, in two years we might have a shot at understanding her State of the Union Address."
Using Palin’s recent "refudiate" Twitter misspelling as a premise, Borowitz made up other words to jab the former Alaska governor’s intelligence, as he alluded to her history of writing notes on her hands, and used the made-up word "rignorant" to portray her as stupid for wanting to continue oil drilling in the ocean after the BP oil spill disaster.
Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large for Reuters, believes the new financial regulations are still pretty loose.
"It is still a very feudal, very Byzantine regulatory system," Freeland complained on the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer, referring to the Senate's approval of a financial regulations bill yesterday.
A radical policy, Freeland maintained, could have done away with the current "fractured" group of regulators and established a much stronger, more unified single regulator.
However, Freeland said the bill succeeds in tempering the rapid movement of capital. She did acknowledge that Main Street folks will have more trouble getting mortgages than they did in the past. "That's the price of having a safer financial system," she said.
Freeland's championing of the new regulations does not diminish some other aspects of the bill, which include no additional regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, tougher times ahead for small businesses trying to procure loans from banks, and tough times for small banks themselves, who lack the resources of Wall Street to deal with the new regulations.
Travel writer and public television personality Rick Steves lauded Europeans's "more relaxed" attitude about nudity in public and on television while labeling Americans "overly prudish" by comparison in a Tuesday column on CNN.com: "I like a continent where the human body is considered a divine work of art worth admiring openly."
Steves's ode to European nudity began six paragraphs into the column, "European nudes and American prudes," after he gave a detailed sketch of his 1978 experience at a Turkish bath: "Any traveler to Europe who's visited a bath, perused a newsstand, hung out at a beach or park on a sunny day, or channel-surfed broadcast TV late at night has noticed that Europeans are more relaxed than Americans about nudity."
The writer, who, back in 2003, feared that the American flag was being "hijacked" as a "logo" for support of the war in Iraq, then spent several paragraphs describing how widespread this practice is on the European continent and how apparently great it is (including his "overly prudish" label about Americans):
Apparently, Tavis Smiley of PBS knows what's best for Gulf residents, even if it would mean widespread unemployment.
Smiley hosted a Wednesday night interview with Rep. Henry Waxman (D) on his show, where the liberal Californian admitted that while alternative energy sources need to be explored and developed, America still needs to drill for oil, albeit safely.
But Smiley wondered aloud how American can move beyond politics and transcend its oil-dependent energy policy. He thought Obama's Oval Office speech was one that "most people, left and right, seem not to like."
"How do you move beyond the politics to make that happen?" Smiley then asked Waxman, even though, as he himself claimed, most of the country was not enamored with Obama's words.
Smiley also brought up the Gulf residents' clamors to keep oil drilling alive there. "I say this respectfully, because I understand how their economy works down there," he said, before asking why Gulf residents are hesitant to "move beyond oil drilling."
Advocacy groups have increasingly labelled their opposition as "astroturf," or corporate-funded fake grassroots, groups in order to demean them and lessen the fact that both sides enjoy some measure of public support. Many of the organizations throwing around accusations of astroturfing, such as the Marxist net neutrality advocacy group Free Press and the liberal ThinkProgress not only engage in astroturf strategies, but are financially supported in ways they decry as astroturf. The media, unsurprisngly, has often chosen to ignore leftist astroturfing and focus on accusations of rightist astroturfing.
The Daily Caller reported Wednesday on a pro-neutrality letter circulated around Capitol Hill by Free Press which was a product of the same astroturfing tactics Free Press has decried.
The "signatories" of the letter had no recollection of the letter and had no idea they had signed it. One of the signatories, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation wrote to the Federal Communications Comission, The Hill reported, asking to be removed from the list of signatories. Tellingly, a Free Press spokeswoman suggested that they were pressured to do so. Presumably by the Satan-worshipping board of directors of some telecommunications company.
Given that our tax dollars are subsidizing her salary, is it too much to expect PBS's Bonnie Erbe to have at least some intelligent command of the issues of the day?
On second thought, don't answer that.
In her latest blogging misadventure at USNews.com, the "To the Contrary" host portrayed yesterday's 5-4 ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicagoas a blow to "local rights":
The Supreme Court's decision, taking away important local rights to control gun ownership, marks another sad day in America's now seemingly endless political appetite for increasing the number of privately owned guns in this country.
For taxpayer-funded PBS, the blueprint for America's future is centered on advancing the Obama administration's taxpayer-funded green agenda. In the June 17 installment of "Blueprint America," Miles O'Brien, a "NewsHour" special correspondent, hailed Dubuque, Iowa as the "city of the future" for transforming itself into a liberal beacon of environmental sustainability.
O'Brien's piece showered Dubuque with praise as it promoted the city's liberal environmental initiatives, which the correspondent noted are bankrolled with taxpayer dollars courtesy of the Obama administration's economic stimulus package.
"The people in this old factory town along the Mississippi have signed on to a unique experiment," explained O'Brien. "They're attempting to turn Dubuque into one of the nation's most sustainable cities."
Listing the city's seemingly countless awards for "livability" -- a term the PBS reporter struggled to define -- O'Brien championed President Barack Obama's budgetary boondoggle for the bountiful fruit it has given to Dubuque:
Appearing on Charlie Rose's PBS program, Time magazine's Mark Halperin dismissed the GOP responses to President Obama's Oval Office speech as "childish" and "churlish" adding that the GOP "mocked" the President on Tuesday night, instead of seeking common ground with him on new energy legislation.
The Time reporter thinks the present Gulf disaster constitutes a "national crisis," but also posited that another crisis exists -- "not having a national energy policy," as he framed it.
"I think everything they do must go towards trying to solve the generation's-long crisis of a lack of energy policy," Halperin said of the Obama administration. And of course in Halperin's view, "the biggest barrier to that now is there are no Republicans on board."
Have liberals blacked out the sex-and-perjury impeachment of Bill Clinton? MSNBC's Chris Matthews appeared on the Charlie Rose show on PBS Thursday, and Rose asked him about how Sen. Blanche Lincoln had a “secret weapon” in her primary race in Arkansas. Matthews responded by laying it on thick about how great Bill Clinton is. Surely viewers giggled as Matthews talked about Clinton giving Lincoln “the full Bill.”
Boy, that hug, that goes down in history, he had the French cuffs, looked like a million bucks, he put the full Bill around her. It was really an embrace. And you notice it was gender, because when she came out of that hug she was actually just overwhelmed physically, it was like you could see in her face, "I can`t believe the guy likes me that much and wants to help me that much." It was great. It was very real.
Matthews even claimed Clinton was a terrific asset in “culturally conservative Democratic” areas – as if being a "cultural conservative" isn't at odds with what Bill Clinton represents. But Matthews is still channeling the more-conservative-than-Obama line from 2008, and then he broke down and said Clinton is great anywhere he goes:
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.