The Democratic presidential nomination process isn't even over, yet on Tuesday CNN's Wolf Blitzer raised the media's favorite shorthand for vicious Republicans never forgotten from 1988, a name journalists can be counted on to resurrect every election season in order to discredit criticism of a liberal candidate, as he asked a guest how “worried” he was about Republicans energizing “elements of racism” by producing “Willie Horton kind of commercials...potentially against Barack Obama?” This, just a week after possible racism by Democratic voters was suggested by Obama's ten-point loss in California's primary after polls showed him up by 13 points. Columnist Bob Novak observed: “The way Obama lost California raises the specter of the dreaded Bradley Effect.”
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin bizarrely objected to Rudy Giuliani's choice of words in his speech endorsing John McCain when the former mayor argued that McCain should be the next "Commander-in-Chief of the United States," instead of "Commander-in-Chief of the military," as the CNN analyst called the former mayor's statement "pretty outrageous." Toobin further contended that Giuliani's words were an example of his "militaristic, authoritarian approach that I think is just not right. ... That's not what the President does. He doesn't run the country." (Transcript follows)
At about 6:40 p.m. on the January 30 show, host Wolf Blitzer led Toobin, Gloria Borger and Jack Cafferty in a discussion that included reaction to Giuliani's speech, which had run live earlier that hour. After Borger gave a positive review of the speech, Toobin responded:
You can tell a lot about how the news media feel about conservatives by watching how they talk about Rush Limbaugh. They want his influence curbed. They pine for the day his career hits the skids. They’re constantly looking for a moment where they can declare that conservatives no longer have – that Rush Limbaugh no longer has -- the Grand Old Party in a menacing trance. They don’t want Republican candidates seeking a Limbaugh endorsement.
CNN correspondent Carol Costello’s report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room" would have you believe that Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio have "lost influence," and the supposed proof is John McCain’s success up to this point in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
During the report, which aired at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour, Costello proclaimed that Republican primary voters have "betrayed" conservative talk show hosts, and the evidence that this is the case is John McCain’s primary victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina. She used a sound bite from former Republican Congressman Bob Barr to reenforce her point. Barr opined that McCain’s success is "a sign that no one or two talk show hosts really wield the influence that they did two or three [election] cycles ago."
The Establishment Media hailed the study's lead "finding" -- 935 false statements by Bush Administration officials in the two-year period leading up to the launch of the War. The Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and -- of course -- the New York Times were all exhilarated to once again climb aboard the "Bush Lied - People Died" Express.
AP, MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times on Wednesday all promoted a “study” by a couple of affiliated far-left groups, supposedly documenting “935 false statements” about Iraq made by Bush officials, but in hyping the proof of “lies” which led to war, the news outlets disguised the ideology of the groups -- led by a former ABC and CBS reporter/producer -- and how many of the “false” statements were about Iraq possessing WMD, which FNC's Brit Hume pointed out was “a concept nearly universally accepted by most of the world's intelligence services at the time.”
Keith Olbermann, who in 2006 slammed the Media Research Center as a “rabid right-wing spin group,” Wednesday night on Countdown with “935 lies” on screen on top of a picture of Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, described the Center for Public Integrity and Fund for Independence in Journalism as merely “two non-profit groups” who have “done the algebra” on “the administration's countless lies about Iraq.” Last September, CNN's Jack Cafferty accurately described the MRC as a “conservative media watchdog outfit,” but he euphemistically tagged the left-wing groups as “two non-profit journalism groups” with a study which “found President Bush led the pack with 260 lies.” Cafferty's labeling echoed AP's reference to “two non-profit journalism organizations.”
MSNBC's Dan Abrams lent the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) credibility as “a non-profit, non-partisan investigative journalism group.” On WashingtonPost.com, Dan Froomkin hailed the “non-profit group pursuing old-fashioned accountability journalism” and a Wednesday New York Times story cited CPI as “a research group that focuses on ethics in government and public policy.”
Cafferty, who commented on the study during his regular "Cafferty File" segment eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, bluntly referred to the supposed "false statements" made by these officials as "lies." He also repeated a line from the study that the "lies" "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." With that last phrase, one cannot doubt the political leanings of these "nonprofit journalism groups," as Cafferty referred to them.
On Wednesday's The Situation Room on CNN, during the roundtable segment, Jack Cafferty charged that Hillary Clinton's recent contention that she would be best prepared to deal with a terrorist attack amounted to "the same boogeyman fearmongering garbage we've had from the Bush administration for the last five years." He added that "it isn't the terrorists that are going to take this country down. We're doing a good job of that all by ourselves." (Transcript follows)
Cafferty also lamented that Republican candidates were talking about issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the Confederate flag, which he called "the same crap that we hear every election cycle." He went on to recommend both spending cuts and tax increases to improve the economy. Notably, Cafferty's reference to the Confederate flag gave an impression that he saw one of the candidates pushing the issue, when in reality, as reported by CNN's John King at about 4:30 p.m., the discussion of the Confederate flag consisted of a few people protesting outside, and a man in John McCain's town hall meeting audience bringing up the subject and complaining about the Arizona Senator's opposition to the flag's display above South Carolina's state capitol, with McCain defiantly standing by his opposition. Cafferty also neglected to mention that McCain has been talking about fighting against wasteful spending, which is consistent with some of what Cafferty was pushing for.
Taking a page out of Chris Cuomo’s play book on covering Barack Obama and race, CNN’s Carol Costello on Friday’s "The Situation Room" speculated whether Obama can continue to get whites to vote for him, or whether his second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary points to "the undercurrent about race that exists in this country."
Costello repeated a theory proposed by Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, that Hillary Clinton’s victory could be partially attributed to "poor, uneducated whites who don't participate in polls and who often don't vote for blacks." She also pointed out the fact that there are nine female governors, but only one black governor in the United States; as well as the fact that there are 16 female senators, but Barack Obama is the only black in the Senate.
Would a Mike Bloomberg presidential candidacy be the Dems' worst nightmare? Yes, according to Bill Schneider. The CNN Senior Political Analyst described the NYC Mayor in terms that should make Hillary Clinton's blood run cold: "a Ralph Nader, with money."
Schneider offered his analysis at 4:40 PM ET today on the Situation Room.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty went out of his way to compliment Hillary Clinton for "becoming emotional at a diner in New Hampshire" on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room." " In a brief, unguarded moment yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave us a peek behind the curtain, and it was terrific." He went on to say that Hillary "became one of us, just for a minute."
Cafferty’s lauds for Clinton came eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room" during his regular "Cafferty File" segment. Besides offering these words of praise, Cafferty leveled some criticism of how Hillary had handled herself up until that "unguarded moment."
CNN's Jack Cafferty on Monday advanced former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern's call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, posing as his “Cafferty File” question in the 6pm EST hour of The Situation Room: “Why won't Congress impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney?” Highlighting McGovern's bombastic op-ed in the “Outlook” section of Sunday's Washington Post, “Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse,” Cafferty quoted McGovern's contention Bush and Cheney “have repeatedly violated the Constitution,” “have lied to the American people time after time” and have carried out a “murderous, illegal, nonsensical war.” So “illegal” that the House and Senate, controlled by Democrats, continue funding it.
All six of the posted answers, read later in the hour by Cafferty, castigated Congress for not following McGovern's advice. One argued “the Democratic Congress will not move on impeachment because we have nothing but cowards in Washington,” another Cafferty chose to spotlight asserted that “the collaborators who gave Bush everything they wanted won't condemn themselves now by impeaching him” and Cafferty ended with this sarcastic take from Sally, a neighbor of the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia: “Because all they did was cause death, destruction, torture, defiling of the Constitution and decimation of the nation's finances. Thank goodness they didn't have sex with an intern.”
On the bright side, during Friday's The Situation Room, one day after CNN's Bill Schneider ludicrously called Democratic voters in Iowa "pretty moderate," the political analyst labeled Barack Obama as "liberal," and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin later called Obama "very liberal" as he recommended that the Hillary Clinton campaign should be attacking the Illinois Senator's voting record. Toobin further said that, as a state senator, Obama "had one of the most liberal voting records in a fairly liberal state." (Transcript follows)
Instead of leading with the Iowa caucuses, Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" began its broadcast covering attorney general Michael Mukasey’s decision to open an investigation into the destruction of interrogation tapes by the CIA. Host Wolf Blitzer, during a segment with CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, compared this investigation to the investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald that led to the obstruction of justice conviction of Scooter Libby. "Whenever they [Bush administration officials] have to go testify, whether before a grand jury or to the FBI, and tell what they know... they fall into that dangerous area where they might not necessarily tell the whole truth, and then they could be charged with a cover-up, if you will, sort of along the lines of Scooter Libby."
Secularized networks keep making mountains out of Christian-symbol molehills on the campaign trail. At CNN.com on Monday, reporter Rebecca Sinderbrand highlighted how a new Mike Huckabee ad has a Christian ichthys or fish symbol in it, on a banner for the Iowa Christian Alliance: "For the second time in two weeks, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has aired a commercial in which a Christian symbol appears in the background." The ad script itself talks about defending "our values" and the worth of the unborn, but mentioned religion (rights endowed by "our creator") only in passing.
On Tuesday's edition of The Situation Room, CNN reporter Mary Snow implied incorrectly that the Iowa Christian Alliance was "backing" Huckabee when it's made no endorsement. An ICA officer had to apologize for making positive comments about Mitt Romney that sounded like an endorsement. Here's what Snow reported:
When Jimmy Carter pulled the Persian rug out from under the Shah, we wound up with the Ayatollah Khomenei and a line of spiritual/political descendants culminating in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Terence Jeffrey has now pointed out that by her highly-critical statements undermining Pervez Musharraf, Hillary Clinton could be precipitating an even worse disaster in Pakistan. The editor-in-chief of CNS News.com, NB's sister organization, has thus described Clinton as "Jimmy Carter on steroids."
At about 4:15 PM ET today, CNN aired a Wolf Blitzer interview of Clinton notable for these two statements by her.
You remember Ponytail Guy, who during a 1992 presidential townhall pathetically implored the candidates to "treat us as your children." I don't know what's become of Ponytail Guy, but his Big Mommy Government-loving spirit was celebrated on CNN this evening.
At 5:40 PM ET on the Situation Room, anchor Suzanne Malveaux asked congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin what she was seeing out on the Dem campaign trail in Iowa that the TV cameras might be missing.
I'm calling this the Day's Daffiest Question Award. Suzanne Malveaux, come on up and accept it on behalf of CNN. You asked the question, after all.
Malveaux was interviewing Mike Huckabee this afternoon and talk turned to a tough editorial a New Hampshire paper had written about Mitt Romney.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Saturday, New Hampshire's Concord Monitor broke with tradition. They're not endorsing someone, but they certainly took a slap at your opponent, calling him "a phony that must be stopped." Do you think that they went too far?
On CNN’s The Situation Room on Monday, CNN political reporter Candy Crowley publicized a new website started by the Hillary Clinton campaign at the address www.thehillaryIknow.com, designed to warm up Hillary’s cold, calculating image. Crowley touted how a combination of personal friends and New York constituents and "some names you would recognize" like Wesley Clark would spin for the candidate’s personal warmth.
Some of it was low on the relevance meter: "Today, we heard from a longtime – one of her closest friends in elementary school, who told us Clinton was captain of the crossing guards in elementary school." But go on the actual website, and on the front page is Jim Blair, described only as "A very close friend of Hillary’s whose wife passed from cancer in 2000." Political junkies should know that name: Jim Blair is the Tyson Foods lawyer who mysteriously set rules aside and massaged Hillary’s $1,000 investment into a $100,000 bonanza in the cattle futures market over nine months in 1978 and 1979.
Blair’s video testimonial is summarized underneath his video screen: "I’d like to tell the story of the last of Diane’s life...Hillary was in a Senate race in New York. Hillary called Diane every day for the last 90 days of Diane’s life...Hillary gave her comfort and the strength to keep going." Blair also tells of Hillary standing up for the couple as their politically correct "best person" at their 1979 wedding, but says nothing, obviously, about the quick six-figure commodities miracle.
CNN’s Carol Costello, in a segment on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," highlighted the reaction of some fans of Oprah Winfrey who expressed anger at the TV host’s endorsement of Democrat Barak Obama. At the beginning of the segment, Costello voiced her surprise to this development, and all but deified the daytime TV star. "Who knew that Oprah Winfrey, super celeb, might suffer the same fate as mere mortal celebrities -- backlash."
The segment, which aired 43 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room," focused on the racial component to the issue. Costello opined that the Oprah viewers’ comments were "telling about how many Americans feel about African Americans, even those popular among all races." She later went on to say that some comments left on Oprah’s website were "especially interesting," because some said Oprah was "pitting white against black, because of how she stumped for Obama."
Cafferty, quoting from a piece by Bloomberg’s Albert Hunt, went on to say that the same focus group found that if Hillary won the presidential election, she would be "demanding, difficult, maybe even a little scary." Hunt’s piece also described some apparent "political strains" within the Hillary’s campaign, such as Bill Clinton "bouncing off the walls" at her campaign’s "ineptitude."
Just in case you thought Paul Begala's boorishness knew any bounds . . .
Bill Clinton's former adviser was a guest on the Situation Room this afternoon on CNN. Talk turned to the strategy Republicans should adopt in upcoming special elections.
WOLF BLITZER: How much of a lightning rod -- you're an expert on this subject -- will Hillary Clinton be for Republicans out there, cause they're already, in some of these special elections that are coming up, they're already pointed to her to try to help Republican candidates?
Matthew Balan's item on CNN describing (unlabeled) Planned Parenthood and the "conservative" Heritage Foundation is all too common. It happens almost daily. It's even worse when radical leftists are unlabeled, and conservatives are described as "hard line." Liberals can't even describe their own ideological brethren as ideological.The difference in Wolf Blitzer’s labeling of Seymour Hersh and Pat Buchanan on Tuesday’s edition of The Situation Room is merely the latest lesson. Blitzer plugged upcoming segments this way:
How did the Bush administration apparently get it so wrong [on Iran] -- the intelligence community -- even as they were turning up the war rhetoric?I'll speak with Sy Hershof The New Yorker magazine. He broke the story, actually, a year ago and got slammed by the White House for reporting it. Plus, Pat Buchanan, the hard-line conservative -- you're going to find out why he thinks immigrants are right now destroying the American way of life. Pat Buchanan is standing by to join us live this hour.
CNN, in a report on the Centers for Disease Control’s finding that the teen birth rate increased in 2006, focused attention on what liberals surmise is a partial cause of the increase - President Bush’s advocacy of abstinence-only sex education. CNN correspondent Mary Snow, in her introduction to her report, noted that, "no one is saying for certain whether the rise in teen pregnancy is in fact a trend, but it is bringing attention to abstinence-only programs, and the roughly $176 million the federal government spends on them each year."
The report, which aired during the 4 pm Eastern hour of Thursday’s "The Situation Room," featured three sound bites from both sides of the debate. Two came from Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, whose political leanings are never mentioned. The third came from Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation, which is described as a "conservative think tank."
[Update, 12:20 pm Eastern: Kristen Fyfe of MRC's Culture and Media Institute pointed out the biased reporting of the New York Times and the Washington Post on the CDC report.]
Sometimes, newspapers bury the lede on purpose. Today’s Exhibit A? The Washington Post Style section profile of Chris Weitz, the director of the new anti-religious movie The Golden Compass. The Post’s anodyne headline was "‘Golden Compass’ Director Seeks True North." David Segal’s story takes eight paragraphs and a sentence before it gets to the point, why the publicity: The trilogy of books behind the movie "attacks the concept of organized religion -- more specifically, any religion that rules by fiat and claims an exclusive pipeline to the truth."
Weitz has done quite the comedy routine in defending the film. In a soundbite on CNN’s The Situation Room on Tuesday, he claimed: "I don’t think the books are a threat to organized religion. First of all, I think organized religion is strong enough to stand on its own. Secondly I don't think that Pullman is aggressively anti-Catholic or anti-religious." Come again? This is like Weitz claiming his American Pie movies weren’t about teenage sex.
In the wake of the new National Intelligence Report which found that Iran apparently halted its nuclear weapons program, some in the media rallied around a single word to describe the revelation - "embarrassment"
‘Face the Nation’ anchor Bob Schieffer, in a conversation with anchor Russ Mitchell following President Bush’s press conference on Tuesday, thought the finding rose to a level higher than embarrassment.
Two days after the CNN/YouTube Republican debate, where the news network failed to mention a questioner’s affiliation with Hillary Clinton’s homosexual steering committee, "The Situation Room’s" Jack Cafferty, in his "Cafferty File" segment, asked whether "it is time for the U.S. to rethink ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ when it comes to gays in the military," and featured statistics from the New York Times and the top homosexual advocacy group in the country, without verbally attributing these sources.
The "Cafferty File" segment began 10 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour, and in the midst of the two breaking news stories of the evening - the train crash in Chicago and the hostage standoff at Clinton’s campaign office in New Hampshire. Cafferty began by citing that "twenty-eight retired generals and admirals say that it's time for this country to repeal the U.S. military's policy of 'don't ask, don't tell.' On the fourteenth anniversary of this being signed into law, they've signed a letter calling for Congress to get rid of it." He then cited two statistics, which were also displayed on the screen - that there are supposedly 65,000 gays and lesbians in the military, and that there are more than 1 million gay veterans.
A report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room" tried to make an issue out of the fact that President Bush’s name was only mentioned a few times at the Republican presidential debate that they organized with YouTube. CNN correspondent Carol Costello compared the President’s name to a curse word in her introduction to the report. "It sure seems like Bush has become a four-letter word you don't want to mention if you are a Republican running for office. They've taken to talking about him in code, not daring to say 'Bush,' but not shy about promoting his agenda."
During the report, which aired at the bottom half of the 5 pm Eastern hour, Costello went on to say that "the Bush moniker [was] uttered just four times in two hours." This is indeed the case if you look at the CNN transcript of the debate. But this doesn't tell the entire story.
Cafferty made the comments just before the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday's "The Situation Room." Two minutes earlier, as part of the "Political Ticker" feature on CNN, host Wolf Blitzer read a brief about the sometimes-retired singer's plug for the former First Lady. This prompted a question from Cafferty as he prepared to read the viewer responses to his 'Question of the Hour' for the 4 pm Eastern hour. "Give me a hand with something. What exactly does the Streisand endorsement represent?" Blitzer responded, "It means that Barbara Streisand, great singer, is supporting Hillary Clinton." This prompted Cafferty's "reclusive, neurotic" line.