Anchoring CNN Tonight, correspondent Erica Hill reported the findings of a new poll:
While Democrats and the president may be cheering the bill's passage, a majority of Americans still oppose the Senate plan. According to a CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, 56 percent say they are against the measure. Now that's a slight shift actually in favor of the plan from a weeks ago. When as you can see opposition was as high as 61 percent, 42 percent support the plan, that number also up at six points.
And when asked for the effect the health care bill would have on their own family, 34 percent of respondents thought it would change things for the better, 37 percent thought it would make things worst. While 39 percent said it would have no effect. And when you figure the sampling error, almost works out to even across the board.
The responses to the second question total 110 percent, an unlikely result. Unless, of course, the poll were taken in Chicago by federally funded ACORN operatives. That doesn't appear to be the case. The actual poll question (#23) and results:
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen went so far to compare the Senate’s cloture vote early Monday morning on ObamaCare to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. Seconds after the Senate concluded its vote, Gergen lamented the party line vote, and contrasted it with the unanimous finding of the Supreme Court which ended the segregation of schools [audio clips from segment available here].
The analyst appeared during CNN’s midnight special coverage as the Senate concluded its debate on its version of health care “reform” legislation. Sixteen minutes into the 1 am hour, anchor Tom Foreman asked the perennial White House advisor about the expected partisan vote: “What’s wrong with the Democrats simply saying- fine, you don’t want to vote with us? This is entirely ours.”
While it has been documented that CNN's Howard Kurtz chided his own news network for ignoring the recently-revealed scandal involving Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus nominating his girlfriend for a U.S. attorney position -- after the CNN anchor had monitored CNN on Saturday -- it turns out that on Sunday morning, even before Kurtz's Reliable Sources show had begun, CNN had already started to pay more attention to the scandal than the news network had on Saturday, but -- while one may argue the story deserves even more attention -- CNN Sunday Morning actually devoted somewhat more time to the story than the other morning newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, and even FNC.
Baucus was also directly labeled as a Democrat by CNN Sunday Morning co-anchors T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen, which the two had done in the previous day's story on CNN Saturday Morning. The Baucus scandal was mentioned several other times during the day on CNN NewsRoom, each time with Baucus clearly identified as a Democrat.
On CNN Saturday Morning News today, anchors Betty Nguyen and T.J. Holmes reported on a U.S. senator who nominated his girlfriend to serve as a federal prosecutor earlier this year:
HOLMES: Well, it is something -a player, a name that a lot of people normally might not know a whole lot about, from a state that most people don't know a whole lot about. He's been important in the health care debate.
NGUYEN: That is true.
HOLMES: Senator Max Baucus, out of Montana, he is a key player on a Senate committee that has been putting together some health care legislation. News coming out that he actually nominated his current girlfriend for a U.S. attorney position, while the two were involved. They are both divorced here. So that is not an issue and not accused of breaking up each other marriages.
NGUYEN: Yes, there was no affair or anything like that at all.
Two CNN programs ran news briefs on a new study on movie popcorn from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, but omitted its left-wing affiliation. Anchor John Roberts mentioned the group by name on Wednesday’s CNN Tonight, but didn’t mention its liberal politics. His colleague Kiran Chetry didn’t even mention CSPI by name during her brief on the study on Thursday’s American Morning.
Roberts read his news brief on the CSPI study 12 minutes into the 7 pm Eastern hour: “[W]e all know how expensive popcorn and soda is at the movie theater, but you may not know the cost to your waistline. The Center for Science in the Public Interest tonight says it has the answer. The group analyzed how much fat and calories are in a medium sized popcorn from Regal, which is the country’s largest movie chain.” He continued that “an astonishing 1,160 calories and 60 grams of fat- that is three days worth. Add a soda to the mix, and the combination is equal to eating three McDonald’s quarter-pounders plus 12 pats of butter. The calorie and fat count was far more than claimed by the movie theater company.”
Lou Dobbs left CNN after years of tensions between him and the network's brass, who consistently objected to his outspoken, often controversial reports. But the issues that seem to have annoyed CNN execs most were ones on which Dobbs took a conservative stance.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that CNN President Jonathan Klein offered Dobbs an ultimatum a few months ago: "Mr. Dobbs could vent his opinions on radio and anchor an objective newscast on television, or he could leave CNN." Klein reportedly complained about Dobbs's reporting on the Birther movement over the summer, and his outspoken opposition to illegal immigration.
According to the New York Post, one "TV insider" said Dobbs was "polluting the CNN brand" of purported political objectivity. Klein issued a statement saying Dobbs had decided to "carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere."
On CNN Saturday Morning News today, anchor Betty Nguyen interviewed a psychiatrist about Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 and wounded 30 others in a shooting spree Thursday in Fort Hood, Texas. She began by delving into possible reason for Hasan's actions:
NGUYEN: Dr. Paul Ragan, a psychiatrist who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder joins me now from Nashville. Dr. Ragan, let me ask you this. Are the Ft. Hood shootings the action of someone who might have suffered from PTSD?
DR. PAUL RAGAN, SPECIALIZES IN POST-TRAUMATIC SYNDROME: I think actually that's fairly unlikely. Dr. Hasan just finished a two-year fellowship at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress and he had only been an independent Army psychiatrist for about four months. That is at an operational base. So for him to have been suffering from PTSD I think is highly unlikely.
CNN featured pro-illegal immigration activist Isabel Garcia of Tucson, Arizona on two programs on Wednesday night, and inadvertently caught her giving inconsistent answers regarding a 2008 protest where she participated in the beating and decapitation of a pinata effigy of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona [audio clips from programs available here].
Correspondent Soledad O’Brien featured Garcia in the first segment of her ‘Latino in America’ miniseries at 9 pm Eastern, where she was labeled as an “unapologetic champion of people many Americans love to hate- illegal immigrants.” After detailing her involvement with a high-profile deportation case, O’Brien stated that Garcia had “nothing to do with creating the pinata and only picked it up to defuse” the anti-Arpaio protest. The CNN correspondent cast a sympathetic light on the activist by noting how she has apparently received death threats for her work.
The Situation Room on CNN’s “fact checking” of Saturday Night Live’s skit from October 3, which made fun of President Obama as a “do-nothing,” has generated criticism, according to the TVNewser blog on Wednesday. Meanwhile, CNN’s sister network, CNN International, has been airing a “global edition” of Comedy Central’s Daily Show since 2002, a program which has apparently received less scrutiny.
TVNewser’s Kevin Allocca highlighted the criticism the “fact check” report filed by CNN correspondent Kareen Wynter in an article titled “CNN’s SNL ‘Fact Check’ Generates Backlash.” Allocca cited the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto (who labeled the “fact check” a “bizarre exercise.”), the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik (“Fact checking a comedy sketch -- I will say no more.”), and Fox News Channel’s Greg Gutfeld, who snarked, “Seriously, reviewing an ‘SNL’ skit for accuracy is like reviewing McDonald’s for their wine list.” The TVNewser blogger also noted the Web meme that has taken off on Twitter that was inspired by Wynter’s segment.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria gave President Obama’s diplomacy-first foreign policy a ringing endorsement on his program on Sunday, lauding it as a breath of fresh air: “Obama is betting that America has matured, and that we recognize that...without the cooperation of other countries, America cannot be secure at home or prosperous. It’s a bold gambit. Here’s hoping it pays off.”
Zakaria also slammed the Democrat’s critics on the right, hinting that conservatives were out of touch: “Obama’s talk at the U.N. was well received all over the world, except in the right-wing stratosphere in the United States. There, he was accused of selling out America, mounting a coup against the country, siding with dictators, and wishing America would perish. If you heard or read the speech, you would be hard pressed to find a single word that Obama said that fits these descriptions. But that is the nature of political attacks in America these days. They are totally divorced from reality.”
There is no big mystery about Twitter. Anybody with access to the Web can use it. In fact, just to keep things in perspective about this CNN Political Ticker story on how conservatives somehow have the upper hand on Twitter, be sure to watch this video of Ben Stiller explaining the "glories" of Twitter to a skeptical Mickey Rooney. Here are some of Rooney's classic remarks about Twitter in response to Stiller's explanations:
On Saturday’s House Call program, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta finally reported the left-wing affiliation of a “health insurance insider” glowingly featured on his network. Gupta noted that Wendell Potter was a “senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy” and that the former Cigna spokesman was now “pro- a public insurance option.” He didn’t label Potter’s organization or position as leftist.
The following day, ABC’s Good Morning America on Sunday ran a sympathetic piece on Potter’s “personal journey from health industry insider to outsider” that treated him as a subject of a human interest story. Despite reporting on the fellow’s “loss of income, status, position and colleagues,” correspondent Ron Claiborne omitted Potter’s new liberal affiliation.
Three of CNN’s political analysts- Jeffrey Toobin, David Gergen, and Gloria Borger- all gave President Obama B’s or B-pluses on the economy and overall job performance during the network’s special “The National Report Card: The Second 100 Days” on Thursday. These grades from these “non-partisan” analysts lined-up with the A’s and B’s that Democrats Paul Begala and Donna Brazile gave the president.
CNN conducted a non-scientific poll by phone and on the Internet of how the American people graded the President mainly on several issues, and others such as Hillary Clinton, Vice President Biden, and the news media in general at the 200-day mark of Obama’s presidency. As Wolf Blitzer and his so-called Best Political Team on Television presented the polling results, anchor Campbell Brown polled the “front panel” of Toobin, Gergen, and Borger, as well as the “back panel” of Begala and Brazile, and Republicans Alex Castellanos and Bill Bennett, for their personal grades of the subject in question. All of the participants held up placards with their grade, and explained how they came to that conclusion.
Just after the beginning of the 8 pm Eastern hour, Brown turned to the CNN analysts’ panel for their grade on President Obama’s handling of the economy. Senior legal analyst Toobin unsurprisingly replied, “I’m giving him a B. You know- he’s off to a decent start. He got a stimulus package planned. It passed. It seems like it’s having some impact, but the economy stinks and he’s the president and the buck stops there.”
During CNN’s coverage of the Sotomayor hearings on Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin implied that the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision to uphold the Second Amendment was revolutionary: “When I was in law school...the idea that you had a Second Amendment right to a gun was considered preposterous....But the Supreme Court [in Heller]...said that...individuals have a personal right to bear arms.”
Just after the bottom of the 12 noon hour of the network’s coverage, anchor Wolf Blitzer raised the Second Amendment issue with Toobin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and the others on their panel analyzing the hearings, which included anchor/correspondent John King; senior political analyst Gloria Borger; and correspondent Candy Crowley, as well as Republican strategist Alex Castellanos and former Clinton administration official Maria Echaveste. After playing a clip of Republican Senator Tom Coburn asking Sotomayor about the right to keep and bear arms, Blitzer asked Toobin what were the nominee’s “positions, specifically on the federal obligation to support the Second Amendment, as opposed to local communities or states?”
The CNN senior legal analyst harkened back to his law school days in his answer, and possibly revealed a bit of his formation as a liberal:
On CNN’s Sunday Morning program, anchor John King revealed that he thought comedian Wanda Sykes’ barb at Rush Limbaugh at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was in poor taste: “You know, I don’t give personal opinions that often, but I give you one here. I think that one was probably a tad over the taste line, and you could sense that around the room. Even Democrats, who are no fan [sic] of Rush Limbaugh -- a lot of them had a little bit of a cringe at that moment.” King later brought up the issue with Republican operative Mary Matalin and the Huffington Post’s Hilary Rosen on his own State of the Union program, where Rosen defended Sykes’ off-color joke.
King brought up Sykes during a segment with anchors T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen just before the bottom half of the 8 am Eastern hour. After briefly mentioning some of President Obama’s act at the dinner, King mentioned how the comedian “did cause some groans and some -- some uncomfortable moments in the room.” Nguyen replied that “we’ve gotten a lot of traffic on our Twitter and Facebook pages” about Sykes’ attack on Limbaugh, and asked how her act went over. The State of the Union anchor answered:
KING: Some people were laughing because most of the jokes leading up to it were very funny, and people were laughing, and then you could sort of sense a little bit of the oxygen come out of the room -- people start to cringe a little bit. You know, I don’t give personal opinions that often, but I give you one here. I think that one was probably a tad over the taste line, and you could sense that around the room. Even Democrats, who are no fan [sic] of Rush Limbaugh -- a lot of them had a little bit of a cringe at that moment.
Recycling the mid-1990s liberal smear campaign against grassroots conservatism, CNN has posted an article on the new DHS threat report complete with a Getty Images photo (shown at right) of neo-Nazi and white supremacist flags.
If the report were about Nazi extremists, that picture would be warranted. However, the DHS report warns against an amorphous “right-wing extremism,” failing to mention by name any particular threatening group or intelligence of any planned attacks.
The DHS report did cite returning war veterans as at-risk for recruitment by right-wing extremist groups. It seems strange to think that those men and women who risked their lives to protect this country and their government could be or become Nazis, but that seems to be the implication.
Moreover, one wonders where exactly the CNN report on the other extremism report was.
"Metro faces a more than $50 million budget gap, two dozen bus routes are being eliminated, others shortened or put on less frequent schedules," host John King said. "Light rail is also being cut back, leaving riders in the working class community surrounding St. Louis like Darren Berryl, asking, why me?"
California congresswoman Ellen Tauscher is vacating her Bay Area seat to serve under Hillary Clinton at the State Department.
Tauscher, a moderate Democrat and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a message to her constituents that Clinton had asked her to serve as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
Let's briefly examine the congressional voting record of the "moderate Democrat" Ellen Tauscher. According to interest group evaluations compiled by Project Vote Smart, for 2007 the congresswoman received a zero from the American Conservative Union and the National Right to Life Committee, an F from the National Taxpayers Union, an F- from Gun Owners of America, and a 4 from Citizens Against Government Waste.
New York Times "visual op-ed" columnist Charles Blow remains giddy over Republican failures in his latest column, "Three Blind Mice." Blow's mice (aka "the axis of drivel") are Republican governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, RNC chairman Michael Steele, and talk show giant Rush Limbaugh (the latter of whom controls "Limbaugh-tomized minions of the far, far right").
All these insults are packed into one puny-sized column in Saturday's edition, accompanied by a graph (that would be the "visual" part) demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that among citizens at large, the newly elected President of the United States is more popular than a conservative talk show host. This apparently proves something or other.
...the Republicans have dissolved into a querulous lot of nags and naysayers without a voice, a direction or a clue, and we are not amused.
And who has surfaced as their saviors? Bobby Jindal, Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh -- the axis of drivel.
It’s not surprising that despite this incendiary remark, Hughley is still considered to be a “valued colleague.” As my fellow NewsBuster Tim Graham reported earlier on Thursday, it was none other than CNN president Jonathan Klein who put the comedian on the network, and gave him the green light to “run amok” on his program.
CNN host D.L. Hughley turned to the standard left-wing tactic of playing the Nazi card against Republicans on his program on Saturday evening: “The tenets of the Republican Party are amazing and they seem warm and welcome. But when I watch it be applied -- like you didn’t have to go much further than the Republican National Convention....It literally look[s] like Nazi Germany.” He went on to say that blacks weren’t welcome in the party: “It just does not seem -- like not only are we not welcome -- not only are we not welcome, but they don’t even care what we think.” He later described the GOP as “reactionary.” [audio available here]
The stand-up comedian-turned-TV host made the remark during a segment with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Chuck D, a former member of the hip-hop group Public Enemy. Unfortunately, Steele did not verbally react to Hughley’s Nazi characterization. Chuck D, on the other hand, expressed his agreement with the host about blacks supposedly not being welcome in the Republican Party: “I covered the Republican convention in ‘96 for MTV...and -- seriously, their agenda was totally somewhere else, which totally -- you know, didn’t have black people or people of color in mind.” He then expressed his belief that there should be more major parties in the U.S.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. We do want to thank you for starting with us. It is the 21st of February, and we do want to begin with some breaking news.
HOLMES: Yes, and kind of a -- a shocker that went through the -- the newsroom this morning.
Yes, you remember that name and you remember that face in all likelihood. That is Chandra Levy, the 24-year-old who went missing some nine years ago now -- eight years ago, more specifically. An arrest, we're being told now, is imminent in this case. This is coming to us from our CNN affiliate out in the Bay Area, KGO. This is one of the most infamous D.C. cold cases out there. Again, some eight years old.
Just a little background on this case. You remember this young lady went missing in D.C. Got a lot of attention for one reason because of her relationship that it came out that she had with Congressman Gary Condit, who is no longer a congressman now. But a relationship that came out.
He was never -- there he is there -- never officially a suspect in the case.
HOLMES: But that was a reason this case got so much attention. And now, Betty, as we're hearing, an arrest...
HOLMES: ...is imminent in this case.
NGUYEN: The case not only ended Condit's career, but we are learning this morning that there is a suspect, a man who is indeed behind bars at this hour.
CNN’s two senior political analysts, Gloria Borger and David Gergen, reacted favorably to President Barack Obama’s performance at his first press conference on Monday night. Borger highlighted how the Democrat apparently “came across as a real pragmatist.” Later, Gergen stated that it was a “classic and shrewd exercise of presidential power.”
The two analysts participated in the network’s post-press conference programming, which took up the entire 9 pm Eastern hour on Monday night. Five minutes into the hour, Borger made her “pragmatist” comment, and continued with what she gathered from the president’s remarks: “What I heard tonight was somebody who kept saying I can’t afford to see Congress play the same usual political games. But the interesting fight that we’re setting up here is whether the new president really understands the role or can cope with the role that ideology now plays in our politics today.”
On Thursday’s Newsroom program, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta indirectly compared the Obama family to the pregnant Virgin Mary and St. Joseph looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem during a report about the unavailability of the Blair House: “...[I]t’s still not clear why there wasn’t enough room at the inn for the Obamas. The 70,000 square foot complex is actually bigger than the White House. There are 119 rooms, 14 guest bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, four dining rooms, dry cleaning facilities, an exercise room, and a fully-equipped hair salon.” Acosta also played clips from two sympathetic liberals who bewailed the situation.
Acosta began his report by presenting the lack of accommodations at the presidential guest house as a “Washington mystery.” He then played his first clip from Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University who unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Maryland in 2006. The on-screen graphic described Lichtman, who ran on anti-war, pro-abortion platform in the primary, as merely a “presidential historian.”
PHILLIPS: Oh, Lord, Joe The Plumber's got a new gig. It's got nothing to do with the pipes, it's got everything to do with Gaza.
And later again:
PHILLIPS: You've seen the last of this guy? Not. Now Joe The Plumber wants to flush out the truth as a war correspondent. I know, there are just no words. Stay here for details on his Middle East trip.
Minutes later she reported:
Hey, Joe, what do you know? No, seriously, what do you know? Since that whole plumbing thing didn't work out, I mean. Now, Joe Wurzelbacher is decamping to the Middle East. That's right, the plumber slash author slash singer.
His latest career gambit? War correspondent. He's going spend ten days in Israel reporting for the conservative Web site pjtv.com. And he says he hopes to air Israelis' views on the Gaza offensive. Lord, help us.
CNN sided against the expansion of health care workers’ right to not participate in controversial medical procedures like abortion and in-vitro fertilization during a report on Friday’s Newsroom program by including only one pro-life voice amongst several statements and clips from pro-abortion groups. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent for the network, also criticized this expansion, which was recently made by the Department of Health and Human Services: “...[I]t’s a bit of a slippery slope. I mean, when you say, I’m not going to provide care based on my own conscience...you can imagine that opens up a whole wide range of possibilities, in terms of what is going to be treated and what is not.”
Gupta began the report, which aired 22 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, by immediately trying to cast doubt on the need for the new regulation from the HHS, which protects the right of conscience of health care workers, so they aren’t forced to participate in any procedure they object to: “There were laws already in the books, but these laws are stronger, and they involved all health care workers -- so doctors, nurses, anybody who works in a hospital can decide that they can refuse care -- they can refuse access, consults, referrals, and without any discrimination against them. And they can do this based on their conscience.”
On CNN anchor Campbell Brown’s “No Bias, No Bull” program on Monday evening, New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis and Time magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin agreed that there was no problem with the transition team of President-Elect Barack Obama delaying the release of their internal findings into their contacts with the office of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Louis saw “nothing but pluses” over this decision, as it would push the release into Christmas week, a time where there “won’t be a lot of viewership.” Halperin emphasized that as long as “there are no embarrassing contacts or politically-sensitive contacts, they’re fine.”
Louis and Halperin participated in a panel discussion, which began 18 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, along with Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard. Brown first posed the following question to Louis: “As we have been talking about, the U.S. attorney asked Barack Obama, the transition team, to delay releasing their internal findings for at least a week, until they have had a chance to do interviews of their own -- probably some pluses to that for Obama, as well as minuses. What do you think?”
During a report on Monday morning’s Newsroom program, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta used a clip of Sean Hannity from Fox News Channel, along with clips from two of their resident Obama defenders, to outline how Blagojevich corruption scandal was a “distraction” for President-Elect Barack Obama. The graphic on-screen throughout the report even stated how the scandal was “Distracting Obama.”
Acosta began his report with an online ad from the Republican National Committee, which highlighted “Obama’s past ties to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and questioning the president-elect’s handling of the scandal” and how “[c]omplete with eerie music -- this...website video has the feel of a campaign attack ad.”
The CNN correspondent then noted how “not all Republicans approve the message,” including Senator John McCain, who suggested that Republicans “should try to be working constructively together” with the incoming administration instead of focusing on possible connections to Blagojevich. Acosta continued on this point by introducing the Hannity clip: “Even conservative Sean Hannity has noted what federal prosecutors have made clear, that there are no allegations of wrongdoing facing the next president.”
QUIJANO: But, Betty, the question remains, when is it exactly that the president-elect and his team will disclose what contacts there actually were between their camp and people within the governor's office? What is taking so long? The president-elect said yesterday his staff was looking into it and would release that list in the coming days. So we continue to wait for that -- Betty.
I have never spoken to the governor on this subject. I'm confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat. I think the materials released by the U.S. attorney reflect that fact.
I've asked my team to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor's office about this vacancy so that we can share them with you over the next few days.