President Barack Obama's second nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, is drawing fire from both liberals and conservatives to such an extent that her challenge in the confirmation hearings "will be to show that while she may hail from Harvard, she has the heart of an empathetic, all-American patriot."
At least that's Stuart Taylor Jr.'s take in a May 10 Newsweek "Web exclusive" that garnered prominent real estate on the magazine's Web site today (see screencap above at right).
Taylor presented Kagan more as a technocratic "establishmentarian" than an ideologue or partisan, despite her current and former affiliations with the Obama and Clinton administrations respectively:
Political junkies under 30 might not be so familiar with Willie Horton, the murderer who stabbed a gas station attendant like a pin cushion. He became a major issue in the 1988 presidential race when supporters of George H.W. Bush noted that under Gov. Michael Dukakis, Horton was let out of jail on weekend furloughs, and on one, he abducted and raped a woman in Maryland.
Ever since then, liberal reporters have pounded those TV ads as the depths of Republican race-baiting. Some still do. The May 10 edition of Newsweek brings that agenda to the Arizona immigration law, with an item headlined "A 'Willie Horton' replay in Arizona?"
Reporter Mark Hosenball relayed the news that Arizona may want to deport aliens, but sources inside the Department of Homeland Security say they won't get much help from Team Obama. The only danger is the race-baiting potential if the alien is a criminal:
One of the worst ways that the lack of ideological diversity in America's newsrooms shows forth is in the media's treatment of sensational accusations against the current president.
Oftentimes, explosive allegations against presidents are either untrue or drastically overstated: George W. Bush deliberately lying to get the U.S. to war so he can cash in or deliberately ignoring Hurricaine Katrina due to his hatred of black people (a la Kanye West), Bill Clinton's supposed involvment in the drug trade, truthers, birthers, so on and so forth.
Journalists do the public a service by rebutting absurd conspiracy theories and wacko charges. In recent memory, though, they have taken a much greater zeal toward stamping out allegations against Democrats, particularly President Obama, a stark contrast to the kidglove or even promotional attitude they took toward books by liberal authors alleging all sorts of anti-Bush absurdities.
World Net Daily-affiliated author Aaron Klein recently discovered this when he sent his new book, "The Manchurian President," to members of the media he hoped would review it. He got some very angry responses. Here are some of the more colorful ones:
NewsBusters on Wednesday shared a truly heartbreaking video with its readers dealing with the Nashville flood that so many people in the nation hadn't heard about due to the media's focus on the Gulf oil spill and Faisal Shahzad.
News outlets are beginning to try to explain to their patrons why such a devastating event got so over-shadowed.
On Thursday, Newsweek's Andrew Romano offered his view on why this disaster was a tad swept under the rug.
Unfortunately, I think many people not only aren't going to buy his explanation, but will likely find it quite offensive:
On Wednesday, Newsweek's Andrew Romano celebrated news out of Indiana that "establishment" Republican Dan Coats fended off two conservative opponents in the Senate primary.
Romano's obvious delight came through loud and clear starting with the headline, "The Tea Party is Now Irrelevant in Indiana." You see, one loss in a Senate primary was enough to declare the movement DOA - and Romano was anxious for the rest of the media to play along.
The real headline in Indiana was that 52 percent of Republicans went in favor of Tea Party challengers, but two of them in the mix was enough to split the vote, and Coats squeaked by at 39 percent.
A few media sources, including Politico, reported that Coats limped out of the primary "bruised" by anti-incumbency. Romano, however, insisted that 39 percent was a clear victory. Why the stark difference in coverage? According to Romano, some in the media were glorifying Tea Parties to apparently advance some selfish narrative.
Try not to cough from the smell of irony as you watch a Newsweek writer complain about dishonest narratives being perpetrated by the media:
News today that the Washington Post Company has put the money-losing Newsweek up for sale reminded me of how during the last presidential campaign the “news” weekly repeatedly showcased their favorite candidate, Barack Obama, on the cover.
Might such obvious blatant liberal advocacy, which anyone could see in the grocery store checkout line, help explain its decline in fortunes – in credibility followed by finances?
NEW YORK—The Washington Post Co. is putting Newsweek up for sale in hopes that another owner can figure out how to stem losses at the 77-year-old weekly magazine.
While magazines in general have struggled with steep declines in advertising revenue because of the recession, news magazines such as Newsweek face the added pressures from up-to-the-second online news. Once handy digests of the week's events, they have been assailed by competitors on the Web that pump out a constant stream of news and commentary.
While the vast majority of national media stories from the controversy over Arizona's new immigration law are sympathetically centered on the plight of the illegal alien, Eve Conant offered a stunning contrast inside the pages of Newsweek based on reporting from Arizona last year. She said you might think the suburbs of Phoenix "were a safe and friendly place to raise kids. Ask me now and I'd say: think twice."
This piece must have been controversial inside the magazine's offices. Conant wrote:
Arizona has outraged the nation with a new immigration law that obligates authorities to check the documents of anyone they believe is in the country illegally, based on a "reasonable suspicion" during a "lawful" stop. Some accuse lawmakers and the 70 percent of Arizonans who support the bill of acting like Nazis, or of turning Arizona into an apartheid state. But spend some time in Arizona, and you may come to see why so many Arizonans want this.
Newsweek will go to some pretty silly lengths to paint Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as no liberal hippies on foreign policy. Their cover story promoted Hillary as "Obama's Bad Cop" and a "steely messenger." The cover story by Michael Hirsh went further, comparing Hillary and Obama to the 1970s TV buddy cops "Starsky and Hutch."
Hirsh began at the Copenhagen global-warming summit, which most people saw as accomplishing little. But Hirsh was scripting for Hollywood: "It was almost like one of those moments in a buddy-cop movie when the two partners who dislike each other at the beginning finally bond while taking on the bad guys."
The bad guys were the Chinese, but not because they were communists, but because they weren't bending to the world on carbon reduction targets. Hillary and Obama barged in on premier Wen Jiabao: "The former political rivals suddenly morphed into a diplomatic version of Starsky and Hutch."
News outlets across the country have latched on to a survey that suggests TEA party supporters tend to be resentful toward minorities. Newsweek published two different pieces on the same item, while a handful of newspapers also gleefully relayed the findings.
There are just a few problems. First, the survey was conducted by a University of Washington professor bent on proving racism exists against President Obama. Second, his entire sample of white TEA party supporters comprised exactly 117 people. Finally, many of the questions had nothing to do with racial resentment.
But we can't have facts getting in the way of a media narrative.
As soon as the survey was released April 7, news outlets were all over it pushing the survey results as empirical evidence, and many not even pretending to sound neutral on the subject. The leader of the study, Political Science professor Christopher Parker, was not asked about his own political leanings or his apparent pre-occupation with finding racism afoot.
First up to bat was the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose blog writer Scott Sunde promoted the survey without question on April 8:
Newsweek's article "The Right to Love - and Loss" pretends to fight for gay couples' "right" to divorce. Instead, it is simply a transparent ruse to fight for gay marriage. How else could gay divorce be legal unless gay marriage preceded it?
In a shining example of journalistic bias, reporter Eve Conant included seven different sources in favor of the government recognizing gay divorce (and hence, recognizing gay marriage) and quoted them 14 times in her article. Opponents, however, were represented by a single, bland quote - a two-sentence statement from the spokesman for the Texas Attorney General. "Under the Constitution and law of the State of Texas, marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. Thus the parties' arrangement from another state is not a marriage under Texas law and therefore cannot be terminated by divorce."
Newsweek continued its campaign against the Catholic Church on Friday by letting one of the leading atheist (not to leave out anti-Catholic) voices internationally, Christopher Hitchens, spout half-truths and smears about Pope Benedict XVI and the Church. Most egregiously, Hitchens inaccurately stated that Vatican City "was created by Benito Mussolini," thus trying to tie Catholicism to fascism.
Does anyone out there remember the Coffee Parties?
You can be forgiven if you have forgotten them. They made a brief appearance due to media driven hype over a month ago and then quickly disappeared from view when they inspired a collective yawn from the public. The photo at right shows a typical Coffee Party "rally" from back then. Typical in that few people showed up to protest against private ownership (aka free enterprise). Even the organizer of the Coffee Party non-movement, Annabel Park, seems to have lost her enthusiasm for the cause as evidenced by her Twitter page. After an initial flurry of posts, Park's interest pretty much petered out as you can see.
However, despite the utter failure of the liberal Coffee Parties to counter the popular Tea Parties, the MSM continues to hype them to the point of absolute absurdity. And the latest entry in this category comes from Steve Tuttle of Newsweek with his claim that the Coffee Party now has 200,000 members and that they had 500 meetings one day recently.
Here is Tuttle in the midst of extreme hype mode. Please be prepared to have your BS meters fly off the scale while reading:
For more than two decades, the so-called mainstream media have preached the dangers of manmade global warming, insisting American businesses and consumers must make massive economic sacrifices to ward off a global climate catastrophe. Not even last November’s exposure of e-mails from leading scientists on the alarmist side of the debate — showing them conniving to fudge or suppress data, discredit critics and distort the peer review process — has caused journalists to finally take a skeptical approach to radical environmentalists’ doomsaying.
A new study from the MRC’s Business & Media Institute documents how ABC, CBS and NBC have been just as strident in their advocacy in the months following “ClimateGate” as they were in the 20 years that preceded the scandal. At the same time, a review of the Media Research Center’s archives going back to the late 1980s shows just how strongly reporters have pushed the liberal line on global warming. Here are just some of the many examples:
Last month I noted Newsweek's Liz White's complaint about the term "ObamaCare" being used as shorthand for the Democratic health care legislation. White griped that the term was "ominous-sounding" and favored by the legislation's conservative opponents as reasons why mainstream media outlets should eschew the term.
Now a full 27 days later, White is back at it with her complaint about the term "ObamaCare." This time, she's citing none other than liberal Comedy Central "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart to back her up:
Stewart immediately jumps on O’Hara’s slip, calling him out on using the “derogatory” phrase and firing back by referring to O’Hara’s book as a “tea-bagger book.” O’Hara stammers for a few seconds and tries to defend his word choice, but concedes to calling it the health-reform bill instead. (It’s a law, by the way.)
Last month, I took on this same issue. Should the bill be called Obamacare, or is that phrase, as Stewart puts it, derogatory by nature?
President Obama has extensive ties to Goldman Sachs. Yet even given record-breaking financial contributions and sketchy relationships between Goldman executives and Obama officials at the highest level, the mainstream media will not afford Obama the same scrutiny it gave to George W. Bush during the collapse of Enron.
Obama's inflation-adjusted $1,007,370.85 in contributions from Goldman employees is almost seven times as much as the $151,722.42 (also inflation-adjusted) that Bush received from Enron. Goldman was one of the chief beneficiaries of the TARP bailout package -- supported by then-Senator Obama -- and has been a force for -- not against -- Democratic financial "reform" proposals currently under Senate consideration.
Despite the extensive connections between President Obama and Goldman Sachs, the same media that vaguely alleged unseemly connections between the Bush administration and Enron after its 2001 collapse have barely noticed the Obama administration's prominent ties to Goldman (h/t J.P. Freire).
In her April 26 piece, the Newsweek staff writer cranks up the melodrama volume knob to 11, lamenting that Democrats are not the reliable vehicle for the pro-abortion lobby that they were 30 years ago (emphasis mine):
It's quite clever and misleading for Newsweek and The Washington Post to name their religion site "On Faith." It's a little like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals starting a website simply called "On Meat."
Author Donna Freitas, called "The Stubborn Catholic," is absolutely thrilled with the idea that two very publicly vicious atheists want to arrest the Pope when he visits the United Kingdom. She declared "warm and fuzzy" feelings for them.
Have you heard? Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins want to arrest the Pope when he visits England! I know it's more or less a publicity stunt and that theoretically I should be shaking my head in disapproval because it sounds so off the charts outrageous to do such a thing.
But to be honest: I'm kinda excited about it. I kinda want to be shouting, "You go, boys!" A part of me is chuckling about this. In a Mwa mwa mwa sort of tongue-in-cheek way.
Newsweek's Dahlia Lithwick and law professor Sonja West wrote for Slate.com about how empathy is a much better quality than diversity in Supreme Court justices: "If we can't in fact have a court that looks like America, we should seek a court that feels for America." But this push grew really weird when they suggested retiring Justice John Paul Stevens was somehow a Latina:
He grew up white, male, heterosexual, Protestant, and wealthy. At no point in time was he a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay or a frightened teenage girl. And yet, over the decades, his rulings and written opinions repeatedly showed us that he could see the world through the eyes of those with very different life experiences from his own. In other words, he tapped his inner 'wise Latina woman' when the case called for it, and we are all better for it.
Perhaps they've also imagined him having the ability to take the lead away from Jennifer Lopez in the movie Selena. Lithwick and West concocted the idea that the media threw a fit against the "empathy" principle, somehow confusing the media and their "war on empathy" with objections from the Republican minority:
The April 19 Newsweek cover that's shamelessly selling the "remarkable" tale of our economic recovery also promises a story on "Hate on the Right." In fact the word "HATE" takes up half a page, white letters on a black background, with the subhead "Antigovernment extremists are on the rise – and on the march."
Evan Thomas and Eve Conant utilize the usual liberal experts – Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who unloads his usual line about militias "roaring back," and historian Alan Brinkley, who opines that "the current surge of fear and loathing toward Obama is ‘scary,' he says. ‘There's a big dose of race behind the real crazies, the ones who take their guns to public meetings. I can't see this happening if McCain were president.'"
Combining bleeding heart bluster with soak-the-rich envy, Newsweek's Ben Adler savaged liberal billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an April 14 The Gaggle blog post for his green-lighting city homeless shelters to levy a monthly rent on residents who hold down jobs:
Don't complain about your taxes today, they are surely less than the 44 percent of one's income that homeless New Yorkers are about to start paying.
New York City, whose mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is worth an estimated $17.5 billion, has announced that it is going to charge homeless people for staying in city housing shelters.
Adler went on to briefly cite the New York Daily News before snarking that "[a]nyone who has spent a minute in a homeless shelter knows better than to buy the preposterous idea that people who could afford an apartment would rather stay there."
Of course that's an unfair assessment of the argument for charging rent of homeless shelter residents who have jobs. From the Daily News article Adler himself cited (emphasis mine):
In Howard Fineman's mind, the real "sordid" story behind the now infamous RNC/Voyeur Club kerfuffle is not the inappropriateness of the venue or the expensing of the outing on the donors' dime, but the whole system of raising money from large-dollar private donors in the first place.
Talk about bondage. It feels like we are in thrall to cash and the pursuit of it as never before. I know senators in both parties who spend every spare minute in the soul-shrinking exercise of dialing for dollars. Donors are just as trapped. Once they're on a list, they're on every list.
Fineman went on to add a new boilerplate complaint from the Left as well as to mourn the demise of the media's favorite Republican "campaign finance reformer":
The anchor of "NBC Nightly News" asked just that question, pointing out the cover of the April 19 issue of Newsweek magazine that pronounced "America's Back!" On his April 12 broadcast, Brian Williams asked CNBC's David Faber if it was a little premature to make that declaration.
"I'm looking at the copy of Newsweek magazine out today," Williams said. "It says America's back and we have this classic disconnect. We hear numbers out of Wall Street. We see covers of magazines like that. People watching at home, millions of people in the grips of unemployment and poor financial times wondering when they're going to start feeling some of this."
Retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is actually a conservative according to Newsweek columnist Andrew Romano, who apparently hasn't read any Supreme Court decisions in the last 20 years or so.
Romano rejects the notion that Stevens is a liberal, going so far as to chastise his fellow members of the media who frequently get suckered by "whichever shorthand, cheat-sheet label gets repeated most frequently." Romano further writes that the current coverage is "myopic" and that the lowly uniformed "laypeople are being given little choice but to remember the hunched, bow-tied Stevens, 89, as really, really liberal—Dennis Kucinich in robes."
Why does the mainstream media keep trotting out the Boy Who Cried Right-Wing Terrorist?
Better known as Mark Potok of the hard-left Southern Poverty Law Center, he has been trumpeted by a number of media outlets seeking to promote the notion that "right-wingers" are lurking behind every corner to overthrow the federal government.
The fact that he is consistently wrong about, well, just about everything -- from the political views of the supposed right wingers to the supposedly violent nature of conservative groups to the mere presence of violent crime -- does not seem to dissuade Old Media from using him to smear conservatives.
Potok's latest target for fear-mongering is a group called the Oathkeepers. The group consists of military veterans who pledge not to follow orders that would result in the violation of Americans' constitutional rights. I know, this is really radical, extremist, right-wing nutjob stuff.
Unsurprisingly, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham bowed deeply to New Yorker editor David Remnick and his new book on their agreed-upon hero, Barack Obama: "envy gives way to admiration" of Remnick’s skills, he wrote in his "Top of the Week" commentary in the magazine. Meacham hyped the notion that when asked about the "racial component of the opposition," Obama told Remnick "I tend to be fairly forgiving about the anxiety that people feel about change."
Neither Obama or the journalists who adore him seem to grasp that conservatives aren’t anxious about "change" – they’re anxious about crushing debt, and America’s lunge toward European-style socialism. Meacham found Obama’s words to Remnick admirable, where most conservatives would find them patronizing, about our slowness to recognize the greatness of the "evolution" unfolding:
President Obama is staking out "middle ground" on the new Nuclear Posture Review, Newsweek's Liz White insists in a 3-paragraph-long April 6 The Gaggle blog post.
White concludes so because Obama is getting flak from allies on his left and critics on his right.
While it's true that in that sense, Obama is in the middle of criticism from both sides, in a broader historical sense, Obama is forsaking a post-Cold War bipartisan consensus on nuclear policy, hardly a "middle of the road" policy that tinkers around the edges.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Keith Payne explains the "Disarmament Danger" in the April 22 print edition of National Review (emphases mine):
Our secular liberal media elites are never more poisonously insincere than when they recommend that conservatives should move closer to liberals, for their own good. Witnessing the relentless media attacks on the Catholic Church, no member of the flock should assume that the agitators at Newsweek or the New York Times know best how to steer the faithful – or even believe they want to help the faithful. Much like Ted Turner, who called Catholics “losers,” his media colleagues see Catholics – and particularly Pope Benedict XVI – as loathsome political obstacles.
One can conclude from all the coverage of sexual-abuse charges that those charges aren’t really the primary point for the “truth” seekers. These leftist media elites have hijacked those heinous actions for a much broader goal. Theirs is a very political crusade, with the goal of sacking Pope Benedict and “reforming” the ancient church in their hipster image, one that celebrates gay bishop Eugene Robinson’s Episcopalian gospel of “tolerance” and “inclusion” and “pluralism.” That kind of church would pose zero threat to the global goals of the left. In that kind of church, there is no stained-glass ceiling to untrammeled abortion and unlimited “marriage” of everyone to everyone.