The White House has berated Fox News for days now for purportedly pushing an agenda and calling it news. So Americans may have been surprised when, as reported by Noel Sheppard, Obama invited two of MSNBC's most divisive liberal pundits--Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow--to the White House for an off-the-record briefing.
As it turns out, Maddow and Olbermann were only two of the left's heavyweights at the briefing. Yesterday, TVNewser received from the White House a complete list of names. Virtually all of them have their histories of shilling for the administration or Democrats generally, and of bashing conservatives.
Let us review the colorful histories of these pundits, and the reader can decide whether they "have a perspective," in the words of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (in the context of a Fox News attack).
However, will they be so eager to echo the sentiment of David Brooks in the wake of President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize announcement? On PBS's Oct. 9 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Times columnist had some disparaging words for Obama's award - despite a sentiment from some liberals that those who question it were somehow un-American.
"Well, my first reaction is he should have won all the prizes because he has given speeches about peace, but also he's give economic speeches. He wrote a book - that's literature. He has biological elements within his body. He could win that prize. He could have swept the whole prizes," Brooks said tongue-in-cheek before delivering the knock-out blow. "Now - it's sort of a joke."
With President Obama seeking to nationalize more and more private industry, Michael Moore promoting his latest socialist agit-prop and the left gleefully proclaiming the death of capitalism, a documentary special airing tonight offers a welcome antidote.
“The Power of the Poor with Hernando de Soto” airs Oct. 8 at 10:00 pm ET on PBS. Produced by Free to Choose Media and funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the documentary posits – and proves – a simple, powerful hypothesis: fair, unfettered access to the market economy will lift millions of the world’s people out of poverty and inoculate them against extremism.
The hour-long special is hosted by renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, the founder of Peru’s Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD) and an advocate for property rights. In the film, he takes viewers on a tour of shanty towns around Lima, Peru the likes of which can be found across the developing world.
In Peru during the 1970s and 80s, millions left subsistence agriculture behind and migrated to Peru’s cities. Across the developing world, the migration continues and major cities grow by hundreds of thousands of people each year. “The poor are no longer isolated,” de Soto said. “They are here, knocking at the door, demanding to be let in.”
These vast squatter communities that ring the cities in poor countries are teeming with what de Soto called “candidates for capitalism.” Indeed, they are already engaged in their own “extralegal” market activity. The economist estimated that 98 percent of all business done in Peru is extralegal, initiated by entrepreneurs who operate outside the official legal and commercial system.
The public-broadcasting-insider newspaper Current passed along a survey from The Chronicle of Philanthropy on executive compensation at large nonprofits in 2008. The salaries can be higher than the current presidential salary of $400,000 (and the current congressional salary of $174,000). The list includes national executives and leaders at large stations like WNET (New York), WETA (Washington), WTTW (Chicago), and KCET (Los Angeles.)
Former NPR C.E.O. Kenneth Stern, who departed in 2008, is atop the pubcasting list, receiving $1,319,541 as part of his four-year contract. Another former exec, PBS C.O.O. Wayne Godwin, who served from 2000 to 2008, was paid $398,063. Current PBS C.E.O. Paula Kerger, $534,500, up from $424,209 at end of fiscal 2007.
In the first few moments after Barack Obama's speech to Congress on Wednesday night, PBS anchor Jim Lehrer turned to his allegedly liberal vs. conservative duo of pundits, Mark Shields and David Brooks. Shields said the speech was terrific, the best speech of his presidency. Brooks said....the speech was terrific, the best speech of his presidency. Without a Bob Dole flourish about deficits, a viewer would scarcely know there was any difference in opinion.
Shields hailed how Obama had put down the "the slanders and libels" about ObamaCare, and the first words out of the mouth of Brooks? "I agree with Mark." He may not have agreed with the "libels" line, but he never objected to it. He found Obama's exploitation of Ted Kennedy "moving" and then said the center was Obama's "natural milieu." It's too bad conservatives don't seem to have a spokesman on the tax-funded network:
LEHRER: Now we have some reaction to what the president said from Mark Shields and David Brooks. Mark? First, your overview.
The Charlie Rose show on PBS was a natural place to get the warmest, most exaggerated praise for Ted Kennedy on the night after his death was announced, on August 26. Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of the networks’ favorite pundits, declared he was "an unparalleled giant in history." Rose said his record was a "towering, towering achievement, far beyond many presidents." Newsweek editor Jon Meacham was placing him in a tiny Senate Hall of Fame: "Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Ted Kennedy." After that, he said, a huge dropoff in talent.
Al Hunt was the strangest, but at least he began to realize his exaggeration was too implausible to continue: "He didn't demonize people at all. He demonized positions, but not people. Bob Bork might have been a rare exception of that."
That's the advice PBS host Bill Moyers had for President Barack Obama in an appearance on HBO's August 28 "Real Time with Bill Maher." According to the former press secretary for President Lyndon B. Johnson, a defeat on health care/health insurance reform would do the left more good than crafting some sort of compromise.
"I mean, I would rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous, strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a bill - look, BusinessWeek had a cover story last week, ‘The Insurers are Winning,'" Moyers said.
Not one to disappoint her fans at NewsBusters, PBS "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News & World Report contributing editor Bonnie Erbe again shot from the hip with factually-challenged anti-gun rights bluster in an August 18 blog post.
Watching CNN between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday, I was treated to the sight of a young man with an automatic weapon strapped to his back across the street from a presidential rally in Arizona. This is not the first time armed persons have appeared outside a building where the president is making an appearance.
Of course the man she is referring to, who identified himself to the media only by his first name "Chris," was carrying a semi-automatic AR-15, not an automatic weapon. Yet in the next paragraph, perhaps thinking automatic and semi-automatic are as interchangeable as the terms flammable and inflammable, Erbe described the AR-15 as a "semiautomatic mass killing machine":
With the Obama administration and their friends in the media denouncing the sometimes loud dissent that liberals are facing in town hall meetings on health care, it’s worth recalling how some of those same journalists celebrated the anti-Bush dissenters and denounced what they claimed was the Republican administration’s attempts to stifle dissent.
Back in 2006, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann attacked what he called President Bush’s “portable public chorus” (does President Obama have one of those?) For telling “those who dissent...[that] we are somehow un-American.” PBS’s Bill Moyers in 2003 found it “galling” to see “all those moralistic ideologues in Washington...attacking dissenters as un-American.”
In 2003, Olbermann saluted protests: “It is political dissent that created this country and sustained it and improved it.” But on Friday’s Countdown, Olbermann called the anti-Obama protests “societal sabotage,” determined that the grassroots groups are “fake” and insisted that “the protestors are not interested in hearing any voices other than their own.” (But the anti-Bush protesters were open-minded?)
NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg criticized conservative opposition to socialized medicine on Friday’s edition of the talk-show Inside Washington, distributed to PBS stations. She suggested that Republican delays are "mischief-making," proclaimed "the misinformation on what’s in the bill is astonishing," and even suggested she was about to use a crude metaphor for the overwhelming power of insurers: "The insurance companies have – unless there’s a very aggressive regulator, they have – I was about to use an expression one shouldn’t use on television."
First, she complained that Republican leaders are obstructing progress on health care:
And the reason that the Gang of Six, so-called, in the Senate Finance Committee didn’t produce something is that the Republican leadership intervened and said ‘Don’t do this. Leave us August to do what we can do.’ You can call it mischief-making, you can call it obstructionism, you can call it constructive criticism, but that’s what happened.
From there, the longtime NPR star went on the attack against the overwhelming power of insurers. I’d guess she was going to say insurers have Americans by the family jewels:
In the world according to U.S. News & World Report contributing editor Bonnie Erbe, voyeuristic video of a female sportscaster primping naked in a hotel mirror is ultimately, in part, the blame of female sportscasters and sports fans.
In Erbe's July 27 blog post, the PBS "To the Contrary" host notes that she wishes "women would stop propping up men's sports" and that this type of a perverted incident would not happen "if women didn't attend NFL games or NBA games, or even watch them on TV to help drive up ratings."
Erbe adds that if they do this, "they would be doing more to stop men from behaving badly than they could ever do otherwise." By that logic, women should just stay out of anything that is predominantly male, in order to keep men from fantasizing and becoming perverts. Erbe went on to explain the popularity of the story on the Internet by explaining, without any awareness of the irony that:
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers unleashed his anger at Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio hosts on Friday night’s Bill Moyers Journal, suggesting they "scream like martyrs being stretched on the rack" about the alleged Fairness Doctrine and they "earn millions inciting riots in the public mind." Limbaugh played a clip and responded that it was laughable that Moyers would pose as a "paragon of virtue on fairness."
MOYERS: Ronald Reagan abolished the [Fairness] doctrine in 1987, but mention it today and the Rush Limbaughs of the world still scream like martyrs being stretched on the rack. These people earn millions inciting riots in the public mind. If they were required to be fair, they would soon be penniless, out on the street, cup in hand. So when we first telecast our report on the killings in Knoxville last year, some of them threw a tantrum, as if our criticism of their malicious rhetoric was a call for government censorship.
PBS’s Jim Lehrer forwarded several questions with a clear leftward tilt during an interview with President Obama on his Newshour program on Monday. He urged the executive to “crack heads” to get his health care plan passed, and inquired if “taxing the wealthy” was an option to fund it. Lehrer later pressed Mr. Obama on the “huge profits” being made by “big Wall Street banks.”
The PBS anchor led the interview with a sympathetic question on the president’s slipping poll numbers: “Mr. President, it must have been a little unpleasant for you to wake up this morning to see this headline: ‘Washington Post poll shows Obama slipping on key issues, approval rating on health care falls below 50 percent.’ What’s that mean?”
After the president’s initial answer, Lehrer went right to health care, and hinted that the Democrat’s “reform” plan should be passed with little to no congressional input: “As you know, a lot of the commentary over the weekend was that nothing’s going to happen, getting from here to the final hurdle here, unless you really start cracking some heads, and really say, ‘Hey, this is the Obama plan, this is what I want. So much for what this committee wants and that- what that committee wants. Here’s what I want, and I'm going to push and go.’ Are you ready to do that?”
Struggling to sell a "public option" of socialized medicine on America, the left needs demons. So here comes, right on time, the focus on all the "lies" that free-market "front groups" are pushing on the failures of nationalized health care in countries like Canada and Great Britain.
These leftists are shameless. Their intellectual dishonesty is boundless. One wonders if socialized medicine might include treatment for this condition.
A man named Wendell Potter was the star of the hour on PBS’s "Bill Moyers Journal" on July 10. Potter used to be a spokesman for the insurance giant Cigna. He painted a picture of gilded excess. "I was served my lunch by a flight attendant who brought my lunch on a gold-rimmed plate. And she handed me gold-plated silverware to eat it with." Sitting in a spacious corporate jet, he said he was overcome by guilt at the gap between his creature comforts and the health struggles of the poor and uninsured.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg apparently needs to brush up on her knowledge of judicial philosophy and American jurisprudence. On the July 13 edition of “Charlie Rose,” Totenberg told Charlie Rose that Supreme Court nominee Sonya Sotomayor has “a pretty conservative record.” There are many words and phrases that could be used to accurately describe Sotamayor: intelligent, successful, to name a few. But conservative?
Totenberg went on to tell Rose that Sotomayor’s record is “very much in the mainstream,” and that “you could say that she's more conservative than some members of the Supreme Court, including Justice Scalia, perhaps.” Judge Sotomayor’s decision to uphold the New Haven firefighter case, Ricci v. DeStefano, which was overruled by the High Court this May, and whose majority included all four of the “conservative” justices, clearly illustrates that Sotomayor is in no way, shape, or form a conservative.
Michael Jackson’s death offers a reminder that some old TV news encomiums were too gooey, even in their own time. On April 7, 1993 on PBS, MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour essayist Anne Taylor Fleming offered a tribute to Jackson as "The new-age Fred Astaire…an urban urchin with wings on his feet." Fleming was fixated more on the dancing: "I must confess that his singing has always seemed secondary to me, the leftover choirboy trying to rhapsodize about romance. It doesn’t ring right. It’s like Madonna trying to be soft and Monroe-like."
What followed became a Notable Quotable, where the liberal babble began:
If either of the two [Madonna or Michael Jackson] is the logical heir to Marilyn Monroe, it is clearly Michael Jackson, who is the more bruised and authentically vulnerable of the two....He doesn’t leave a single metaphor untouched. Not only is he black and white, male and female, but also young and old, hip and square, the crotch-grabbing self-appointed guardian angel of the world's children.
Months later, when allegations of child sexual abuse surfaced, Jackson was then compared to Ronald Reagan:
The Public Broadcasting Service recently announced it will not allow new religious programming on their taxpayer-subsidized airwaves. The handful of stations that have shown a Catholic Mass or Mormon devotions will be allowed to continue, but the other 300-plus stations have been instructed to avoid any kind of evangelism.
Welcome to Barack Obama’s new world order.
News reports explained that the PBS station services committee insisted on applying a 1985 rule that all PBS shows must be "noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian."
To everyone who’s watched a pledge drive or contemplated a toy store stuffed with "Sesame Street" toys, the idea that PBS is following any "noncommercial" policy is absurd.
To everyone who’s watched two minutes of "Bill Moyers Journal," with its panels unanimously screaming for Bush’s impeachment, or more recently, for a single-payer socialist health-care system, the idea of PBS being devoted to a "nonpartisan" stance is several miles removed from ridiculous.
On Friday, June 12, the PBS program Now (formerly hosted by Bill Moyers) devoted most of its half-hour to the complaints of late-term abortionists Warren Hern and LeRoy Carhart smearing the pro-life movement. Hern called it a "terrorist movement," and Carhart said despite the flood of pro-life group press releases denouncing George Tiller’s murder, the movement’s "heart was certainly with Scott Roeder on the day he shot Dr. Tiller."
The only outbreak of a pro-life viewpoint in Maria Hinojosa’s report (it ran more than 20 minutes) was a set of clips of Bill O’Reilly denouncing "Tiller the Baby Killer." (The screen on PBS very clearly read "Daily Kos TV.") Ken Bode, a former NBC and CNN reporter and PBS host now serving as an ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, praised this incredibly one-sided segment and agreed that O’Reilly is guilty of aiding terrorists:
In addition to disparaging Brian Williams for offering a "candygram" to Barack Obama in prime time, PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers organized another one-sided left-wing discussion on the alleged conservative bias of the news media last Friday, picking up on Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne’s complaint that the media are giving too much time and weight to Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich on the Sotomayor nomination. Former NPR correspondent Brooke Gladstone, who now hosts the weekly show On The Media for WNYC radio (distributed nationally by NPR), denounced the "canard" of liberal media bias and how it causes "overbalance":
Conservative talk-show hosts and bloggers have been hammering away at the gooey NBC News Inside the White House specials with Brian Williams adoring Obama. But Williams also drew fire from the hard-core left. On Friday’s Bill Moyers Journal, the PBS omnipresence and former LBJ press aide said Williams offered a "candygram" to the president:
BILL MOYERS: Meanwhile, NBC News this week delivered a candygram to the president -- two prime time specials called "Inside the Obama White House." President Obama couldn't have asked for a sweeter salute...
BRIAN WILLIAMS: People react strongly to this president. We've seen people moved to tears after just the briefest encounter with him.
MOYERS: As for an exclusive revelation about your government from behind the White House's closed doors, well, hold your breath, here it comes...
WILLIAMS: There are apples everywhere. Orchards worth of them in bowls throughout the building. They are meant of course to promote healthy eating but what we saw more often is this: the West Wing may lead the western world in candy consumption.
WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: These are official White House M&Ms.
This interview is a little old, but worth sharing. Socialist actor Ed Asner appeared on PBS’s Tavis Smiley show on May 21 to promote his new Pixar film "Up." Asner typically kvetched about the wasteful disaster of Iraq and blundered into an odd quote when he lamented "The crime is you can convince all those Congressional people and the people through the media to piss away all that money overseas and it becomes socialism to convince them to piss away the money here at home."
He also suggested illegal Mexicans are taking some of the racist hate off black people, which Smiley protested, since he didn’t want anyone thinking we were living in "post-racial" (or post-racist) America. Asner also patted himself on the back for having the political courage to play a slave-ship captain on the 1977 ABC miniseries "Roots."
SMILEY: I only know that because I saw you in "Roots" when I was a kid. You played that villain pretty good.
ASNER: I regard that villain as, let's call him, a guy who was trying to be a good Nazi and he failed.
You know the saying, "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging"? It seems liberal journalist Bonnie Erbe either never heard it, or just doesn't care.
Yesterday I noted how the PBS "To the Contrary" host denounced Playboy writer Guy Cimbalo's list of 10 conservative women he's like to "hate-f***," only to hint that she thought syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin deserved to be degraded by the nudie mag writer.
Today, the U.S. News & World Report contributing editor took to her Thomas Jefferson Street blog to take on conservative blogger Gateway Pundit for supposedly distorting her argument. You see, Erbe insists, she never said she thinks Malkin would have it coming to be raped, only that she has it coming to be viciously and obscenely degraded by some loser writing for a softcore porn mag:
It was wrong of Playboy to publish a top ten list of conservative women its writer Guy Cimbalo would like to "hate-f***" but, c'mon, we all know Michelle Malkin had it coming. That's the gist of PBS "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News contributing editor Bonnie Erbe's June 3 blog post, "Playboy Mix of Sex, Hate, and Politics Demeans Conservative Women" (emphasis mine):
Yesterday, I was contacted by the executive director of SmartGirlPolitics.org, a conservative women's website, to stand up for conservative women treated despicably by the media. Here I am, doing just that.... A couple of caveats are in order. First, I probably disagree politically with much of SmartGirlPolitics.org's agenda--I know I disagree completely with the group's position on abortion rights. But as a nonpartisan, I'm also a firm believer in supporting all members of my gender when attacked due to their gender. I am supporting these women herewith.
Of course, by "pro-life extremists," the PBS "To the Contrary" host means anyone who has ever called abortion what it is -- the killing of an unborn baby:
Let George Tiller's murder be the last straw. It is time for America's pro-choice majority to stop standing idly by as extreme so-called pro-life advocates murder obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYNs) who are providing women with the legal right to terminate pregnancies. I am careful to note I am referring here to EXTREMIST pro-life advocates, people who refer to abortion as "baby-killing" and other inflammatory rhetoric. I am explicitly not referring to mainstreamers who object to abortion due to religious beliefs, but who refrain from using inflammatory speech.
On Tuesday night, PBS’s NewsHour discussed the Sotomayor nomination with a panel including Jenny Rivera, a former Sotomayor clerk and head of the Center on Latino and Latina Equal Rights. You could hear the latest buzz words on diversity being used. The addition of Latina diversity brings a certain "integrity" to the Supreme Court, which suffers from an "insularity," from being encased in a bubble:
GWEN IFILL, anchor: Jenny Rivera, how much is there -- is there a just concern about identity politics beginning to define the day for picks like this? Here we have another first.
RIVERA: Well, I think the president didn't make a choice based on identity politics. He made the choice based on the merits of her intellectual capabilities, on the experience that she brought to the court.
And you heard David Axelrod say, you know, the fact that she happens to also be Latina and be a woman, it's wonderful that we can bring that to the court. But this was a choice based on the strength of her background, her experience, and her intellect. And, certainly, that's important.
The website of the NewsHour on PBS has a NewsHour Extra for students. Its Extra article by Lizzy Berryman on President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame carried this surprising sentence: "While historically Democrats have been pro-choice, in recent years Democratic candidates have softened their rhetoric. President Obama has defended a woman's right to choose -- but says abortion should be rare and may be restricted."
Considering that candidate Obama pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, scrapping every state abortion restriction, that’s not exactly an accurate picture for students to read. In captions of Presidents Obama and Bush, Obama was merely "pro-choice," while Bush was an "ardent opponent of abortion rights."
The bias was even more obvious at the article’s end, which sought to explain away the new Gallup poll showing a 51-42 chasm in favor of the pro-life position. The article’s subhead painted away the victory: "Polls show Americans are divided on the abortion issue." The actual 51-42 gap is never mentioned:
James Carville appeared to plug his new book predicting 40 years of Democratic dominance on the Charlie Rose show on PBS Monday night. Since Carville supported Hillary Clinton in the last round of Democratic primaries, he ended up sounding noticeably less enthusiastic than Rose about President Obama’s power to change things. Rose calmly declared that Obama has given the country "Confidence, a sense of esteem, a sense of feeling young again...a sense of feeling that the democratic values the country believed in are intact." He also suggested "this is a centrist government" and Carville agreed.
But first, Carville knocked any "ism" words coming from right-wing talk show hosts:
CHARLIE ROSE: In terms of policy and your sense of the country, is he on the right track?
The defection of Arlen Specter is still drawing stories bashing the Republican Party as too conservative. On Thursday night's NewsHour on PBS, correspondent Kwame Holman announced "Specter's departure from the GOP has reignited the debate over whether the Republican Party has lost ground with the public because it has become too ideologically conservative and unwilling to listen to moderates in its ranks."
The soundbite count was very slanted, with nine snippets of moderates decrying the party's tilt (counting one from the departing Specter, since it's his rationale for party-switching) to just two clips from conservative Sen. Jim DeMint.
Holman suggested the ranks of Senate moderates had shrunk to just the two females from Maine, even as they used "centrist conservative" Lindsey Graham to bolster the Specter narrative. There were four soundbites from Sen. Susan Collins, two from Sen. Graham, and two from Sen. Olympia Snowe, as Holman touted her New York Times op-ed piece:
Here’s a quick informal poll:Who has heard news of Russia’s recent troop buildup in the South Ossetia region of Georgia?
Most of our readers would immediately think of the Russian invasion of that region last summer, during the presidential contest, but the Russians are arguably saber rattling again with a fresh buildup of boots on-the-ground ahead of planned NATO exercises.
Last August, the media coverage immediately took the angle of breathless anticipation on how each presidential candidate would react to such a situation.John McCain’s position was easily established from his record over many years in the Senate.Then-Senator Obama’s position was much more difficult to ascertain – but the media gave him ample time to figure it out, helping the candidate defer those questions to the September 26 debate.In fact, a good example of such activism was shown in the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, who in his August 31 op-ed insisted:
The PBS "To the Contrary" host and contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report launched into a four-paragraph attack on the author and conservative radio host, and as usual, she not only breathed left-wing fire at a conservative target, she was factually inaccurate (paragraph breaks removed, emphasis mine):