"A strong Democratic majority in Congress does not mean a strong abortion-rights majority," Newsweek's Sarah Kliff lamented in a March 31 "Web exclusive," the subhead for which asks "[W]hy is there an anti-abortion-rights majority in the House?"
"That fact became painfully clear during the health-care-reform debate, when intraparty fissures over abortion threatened to derail the Democrats' legislation, arguably more so than any other issue," the Newsweek staffer continued, going on to paint the Democratic Party as more tolerant on dissent than Republicans when it comes to the stance of its politicians on abortion-related issues.
In fact, Kliff griped, it's the Democrats' fielding of pro-life candidates in conservative congressioanl districts that gums up its ability to "govern," she concluded, pointing to how pro-life concerns over federal subsidies for abortion impacted the ObamaCare legislative debate. Notice in the first line below how Kliff cribbed from pro-choice activists' language about abortion rights (emphasis mine):
Democrats clearly support a woman's right to choose in their party platform. But when it comes to candidates in swing states and more-conservative districts, the party often supports people who oppose abortion rights. It's a strategy that has helped Democrats take over Congress and amass a commanding majority in the last two elections. But the health-care debate shows the challenges it presents for them when trying to govern.
At Newsweek, the global warming crusade remains an important mission. The magazine's latest push came in an interview by CNN contributor Fareed Zakharia of Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Zakaria threw softballs to Chu throughout the article, as Newsweek showed it was simply a matter of when - not if - the administration should continue to pursue a drastic environmental agenda.
It was revealing which questions were - and were not - asked of the president's Energy Secretary. Zakaria made zero reference to ClimateGate, the economic consequences of cap-and-trade and alternative energy, and no mention of the actual validity of climate change.
"Do you think that having a price on carbon is crucial?" Zakaria asked.
"I absolutely believe a price on carbon is essential - that will send a very important long-term signal," Chu said. "[But] if it's five years from now, I think it will be truly tragic, because other countries, notably China, are moving ahead so aggressively. They see this as their economic opportunity to lead in the next industrial revolution."
Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller has two big articles in this week's issue. "The Bad Shepherd" is another piece trashing Pope Benedict over the sex-abuse charges emerging in Europe. But Miller even trashed Jesus Christ as a "typically cranky" religious figure. This came in an excerpt from Miller's new book on Heaven, as she explained how implausible the religious concept of resurrection is:
Resurrection presented credibility problems from the outset. Who, the Sadducees taunted Jesus, does the man who married seven wives in succession reside with in heaven? The subtext of their teasing is obvious: if the resurrection is true, as Jesus promised, then in heaven you must have your wife, and all the things that go along with wives: sex, arguments, dinner. Jesus responds in a typically cranky way: "You just don't get it," he says (my paraphrase). "You are wrong," he said in Matthew's Gospel, "because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God."
It's easier to pitch Jesus as "typically cranky" when one paraphrases the Bible in contemporary lingo. Miller concluded that she doesn't buy this tall Easter tale:
Newsweek's Liz White took to her magazine's The Gaggle blog today to decry how conservatives critical of the Democratic health care bill have slapped it with "the ominous-sounding term ‘Obamacare.'"
You see, most mainstream media sources only use the term when quoting opponents of the bill or when "carefully placed in quotations or alongside an explanation that Obamacare is how opposition refers to the bill."
This prompted me to investigate how Newsweek dealt with the term "Reaganomics" during the Gipper's early presidency compared to how Newsweek's print pages have used the term "ObamaCare" thus far. The results are telling.
A Nexis search yielded only one reference to ObamaCare from January 20, 2009 through March 25, 2010: a Michael Hirsh article that said that in 1994, "as now, the Republicans were trying to exploit a backlash against big government. It was Hillarycare in '94; now it's Obamacare."
By contrast, a Nexis search for "Reaganomics" from January 20, 1981 through March 25, 1982 yielded 65 hits, many of which had the term Reaganomics used by a Newsweek staffer himself and in a manner to cast the term in a negative light.
I've included some examples below, including some by journalists who are still working in the media today and actively cheering on ObamaCare:
Newsweek knows who they hate. Its section "The Take" in the March 29 edition begins with a full-page picture of Pope Benedict with this nasty sentence imposed above his head: "I would argue that the pope is already sufficiently tainted to trade his Prada shoes for a hair shirt for the rest of his life." Turn to page 24, and Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller’s hate-filled column is titled "Save the Children: Benedict & Co. need to do penance." The "hair shirt" quote is not in the article.
This is the same activist/journalist Lisa Miller who wrote the incendiary (and ridiculous) cover story on how the Bible supports gay marriage. This is not the first time Miller has bashed the Catholic Church in a column in 2010. Just two weeks ago, she was raging against the American Catholic bishops standing in the way of ObamaCare. There, she also declared the Catholic leadership was incapable of standing as a moral example:
"Let's just get it out of the way right off that bat that Al Qaeda madmen don't actually want to blast through bridges, skyscrapers, and subways in righteous protest of the First Amendment," an exasperated Katie Paul began her March 23 tirade about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
"It's mind-boggling that politicians still consider this nonsense an effective enough talking point as to employ it in their keynote speeches to national audiences--until, that is, you realize they usually only bring it up when they're after something else," the Newsweek reporter added in her The Gaggle blog post, going on to argue Netanyahu's AIPAC speech was just red meat tossed out to a pro-Israel audience to bolster his closed-door meeting with President Obama over the Middle East peace process.
To be fair, it is true that politicians can and do simplify complex matters into sound bites that don't do justice to the issues at hand, but in this case, Paul is far too dismissive of the argument that al Qaeda's real complaint is not just with particular foreign policies of the United States and/or Israel but with the whole Western concept of secular, pluralistic liberal democracy.
Indeed, Paul doesn't have to take any politician's word for it, she need only look at al Qaeda's own pronouncements. From a February 4, 2005 Congressional Research Service document entitlted "Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology" (emphases mine):
Appearing on Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman – also of Newsweek – dismissed Republican promises of working to repeal ObamaCare, suggesting that because it would be nearly impossible to have the numbers in Congress to do so after the next election, Republicans are merely using the issue as a fundraising and political ploy: "This isn`t about mathematics, Keith, it`s about theology – and fundraising, as you pointed out. ... But the Republicans aren`t interested in fixing anything. They`re interested in holding out this kind of almost anti-messianic hope that they`re somehow going to be able to repeal the thing."
Fineman also argued that because the ObamaCare bill does not include either the government-run "public option" or a single-payer system, that in reality it is a "preservation and enhancement, if you will, of the existing system."
As he listed factors that helped Democrats successfully pass ObamaCare, Fineman at one point seemed to make Olbermann a little nervous that some would tie the "birther" conspiracy theory in with his contention that President Obama "comes from a country of long-distance runners and was one," as he credited Obama with "persistence."
It's gooey enough that Newsweek awarded Michelle Obama its cover story this week, titled "Feed Your Children Well: My Fight Against Childhood Obesity." On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams added to the popularity-boosting effort by determining that she is not anti-Twinkie:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: On the same subject, first lady Michelle Obama today continued her campaign against childhood obesity in this country. She's on the cover of Newsweek this week, as you may know. And today the magazine's editor Jon Meacham asked her, in fighting the obesity epidemic, would she go so far as to put warning labels on products like Twinkies and Froot Loops?
MICHELLE OBAMA: That strikes me as extreme because, you know, a Twinkie is not a cigarette. You know? And what, you know, what parents need is just information about what's in the Twinkie and, `How much of this can we eat?' It's not that we can't have a Twinkie, you know? And our kids would be pretty upset.
"Hot on the heels of Kucinich's declaration of support for health-care reform, the Associated Press is reporting that Catholic nuns are urging Democratic lawmakers to support health-care reform," Newsweek's Katie Connolly informed readers of the magazine's The Gaggle blog this morning.
"This is a major break with the church's bishops, who have strongly opposed the legislation on the grounds that some federal subsidies may end up funding abortions," Connolly gushed, later closing her blog post with the conclusion that "[a]t the very least, the letter damages the validity of [pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart] Stupak's argument."
Both Connolly's post and the underlying AP story failed to delve into this, but the letter in question was not simply cobbled together by apolitical nuns. It was pushed out to the media by a group with a left-wing agenda, reports CatholicCulture.org:
Newsweek's Howard Fineman has some stellar advice for President Obama in his recent column: stop governing for the press. Though Fineman makes the right diagnosis for Obama's ailment -- his "journalistic" style -- his assessment of its consequences is facile and ignores the intricacies of electoral politics.
Fineman insists that it is not really important to cater to the journalistic establishment, as the public's dismal perception of the news media as an institution -- Gallup ranks it in the realm of banks and Congress, according to Fineman -- renders it irrelevant in the political sphere. "Obama needs to stop caring what we all write and say," Fineman insists, as voters are absolutely sickened by Old Media. "If we attack you, it only proves you must have some redeeming qualities," he adds.
The reality of Old Media's role in the process, however, is more complex. It boils down to the candidate's style. If the candidate is a George W. Bush -- with strong political credentials and less reliance on rhetoric -- the media exert a lesser influence. Voters can decide for themselves whether the candidate is qualified. But for a Barack Obama, who relied on rhetoric and idealism due to his lack of political credentials, Old Media has much more sway over the views of the electorate.
If anyone was looking for a self-righteous extreme feminist, they found one in Angie Jackson. This is a woman who was so proud she was aborting her baby that she announced she would "tweet" her chemical-cocktail abortion live, as it happened, on Twitter. The liberal media found this made-for-TV slaughter fascinating, and not at all a controversy worthy of discussing with two sides.
Newsweek’s Sarah Kliff proclaimed: "One hundred thousand people have watched Angie Jackson's abortion. Late last month, Jackson posted a video of herself to YouTube, recorded after she took RU-486, a medication used to end pregnancies." Kliff asked only "why shame remains" about the act of killing one’s baby. Jackson was honored for her courage in "demystifying" and "destigmatizing" the procedure: "We need 10,000 more of her," proclaimed Peg Johnston, chair of something called the Abortion Care Network. This desire for 10,000 more unashamed abortions is what "pro-choice" is all about.
Overall, this was just another classic tale from the "news" magazine that lamented 20 years ago that "Sadly, many home [abortion] remedies could damage a fetus instead of kill it." What about the pro-life side?
“Despite persistent violence and a critical election coming up, President Obama hardly ever mentions the war in Iraq,” Joseph Curl reports in today’s Washington Times, and the news media are largely aiding in this neglect. Curl discloses that “the last time a White House reporter asked about the Iraq war was June 26,” while ABC, CBS and NBC aired just 80 minutes of coverage in all of 2009.
The near-media blackout means that the success of President Bush’s “surge” policy in 2007 — a policy opposed by President Obama and Vice President Biden when both were presidential candidates and ridiculed by the networks as a "Lost Cause" — has gone virtually unreported in the past year. This week’s Newsweek is an exception, with a big Iraq War cover story declaring “Victory at Last.”
Why can't President Obama get a health care bill through Congress? Nope, it has nothing to do with the fact that a clear majority of the country doesn't want the federal government overhauling seventeen percent of the economy. The problem is he is just too darn reasonable.
So posits Newsweek's Andrew Romano, who notes that Obama could have gone wholesale-government-takeover on health care and a number of other legislative proposals during the past year. He opted for mandates and regulations rather than single-payer and hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful stimulus spending instead of a trillion plus.
"Obama has chosen to support what he believes to be the best possible proposal instead of what he believes to be the best imaginable proposal," Romano states. Reasonableness in this context is simply a moderation in the president's march towards statism. He COULD be sprinting towards socialized medicine. Instead, his movement towards government control is more of a leisurely stroll. Unfortunately for the president the American people have rejected that approach as well.
On Wednesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough pointed out the cover of the latest edition of Newsweek magazine, which proclaimed "Victory At Last; The Emergence of A Democratic Iraq" and featured a picture of President George W. Bush walking the deck of an aircraft carrier. However, the image of Newsweek that appeared on screen cropped out President Bush's face entirely (h/t George Miller).
The magazine cover showed Bush on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in 2003, after making his "Mission Accomplished" speech following the successful invasion of Iraq. While Newsweek cropped the picture to include half of Bush's body and face, MSNBC further cropped the image to leave only the arm of the former president visible (See original Newsweek cover below).
One of Scarborough's guests, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, reacted to Newsweek's declaration of victory in Iraq: "Too positive....For sure. We're going to take months to see a new government formed and we don't know how well the new government's going to operate....Too soon to take out the champagne, if ever." Show co-host Mika Brzezinski added: "Still a lot of controversy as to why we went in."
At The Corner on NRO, former Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner greeted the new "Victory at Last" Iraq cover story in Newsweek by throwing a hardball back at Iraq pessimists in the media, like Time’s Joe Klein and Tom Ricks of The Washington Post, who insisted the Iraq war was a "fiasco" and the surge was ridiculous:
Those like Joe Klein and Tom Ricks, who claimed the Iraq war was "probably the biggest foreign policy mistake in American history" (Klein's words) and "the biggest mistake in the history of American foreign policy" (Ricks's words), were wrong. Ricks went so far as to say in 2009 that "I think staying in Iraq is immoral."
Now, if we had followed the counsel of Klein and Ricks and not implemented the surge, their predictions might have been closer to the mark. (Bush's decision was one of "adolescent petulance" and "the decision to surge was made unilaterally, without adequate respect for history or military doctrine," Klein wrote on April 5, 2007.) As it is, if the positive trajectory of events continue and Iraq does end up reshaping the political culture of the Arab Middle East, the Iraq war will, on balance, have advanced American interests in the region.
That was the reaction of Newsweek's Sarah Ball to Navy physician Capt. Jeffrey Kuhlman noting ongoing "smoking cessation efforts" by President Obama in a publicly-released memo regarding the results of Sunday's physical exam of the commander-in-chief.
After going over a few takes from other media outlets about the story, Ball shared with readers of the magazine's The Gaggle blog her favorite headline:
But Huff Po's Andy Borowitz wins the Headline Award: OBAMA TO GOP: I WILL QUIT SMOKING IF YOU WILL QUIT BEING DICKS.
In the February 22, article, "The Quiet Dignity of Rielle Hunter," Newsweek columnist Jonathan Darman praises Rielle Hunter, the mistress of John Edwards who gave birth to his baby, and suggests that her silence during the scandal has reflected favorably on her character.
Out of all this irresponsible suffering, Newsweek has found an unlikely hero: Rielle Hunter. Columnist Jonathan Darman argues that it is in her silence throughout the entire ordeal that the public can see her true "dignity," and that she is unlike most mistresses of the modern era in that she has not used her new-found fame for financial stability or to generate more fame for its own sake.
In Darman’s article, he summarizes how he sees the "character" of each major player in the scandal:
It's no secret that America's going through a difficult time - sky-rocketing debt, a struggling economy, and the highest unemployment rate in two decades - but, according to Susan Jacoby, we have bigger problems. Our nation's "greatest failing" - our nation's "social disease," she says, is our patriotism.
On the blog "The Spirited Atheist," which is co-hosted by the Washington Post and Newsweek, Jacoby wrote that NBC's pro-American coverage of the Winter Olympics is just another example of our "provincial, reflexively nationalistic mindset." To Jacoby, the Olympics isn't a time to wave the American flag and proudly sing the national anthem; it's a time to wipe out our "delusion" of "superior American morality."
"American television has unwittingly, by omission more than commission, presented a portrait of a nation clinging to the stories it tells itself about the superiority of American morality, culture, and education," Jacoby wrote.
As my colleague Tim Graham brought to my attention this morning, Newsweek is not content to let its advocacy for ObamaCare lie in the realm of biased writing. Nope, it appears the gang at Newsweek wants to help along President Obama by lampooning earnest Americans who expressed their displeasure last year at town hall meetings.
Why Newsweek chose now to roll out its photo gallery on "The Town Hall Face" now is anyone's guess, but I believe it's part of an effort by Newsweek to deride the skeptical American public as too deranged to understand how good ObamaCare will be for them.
Here's how the editors prefaced their 23-image slideshow, wherein most targets of derision were ObamaCare critics:
On Monday, Newsweek’s website featured a strange headline. "Poll: Most Favor Health Care." It would be interesting to find out who opposes health care. (It's like a headline that says "Most Favor Food.") The headline wasn’t just strange, it was misleading: it suggested the Democrats’ proposals were favored by most. That’s not what they found.
Newsweek took an Obama-defending poll. Here was the headline once you clicked on the link: "The Polling Contradiction: In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, the majority of Americans are opposed to President Obama's health-care reform plan -- until they learn the details."
That’s called a "push poll." It’s just like Newsweek calling up people and insisting they should really support ObamaCare, because it embraces abstract liberal principles like requiring insurance companies to insure everyone. After they pushed, Newsweek touted how they yanked voters into Obama’s column:
On Friday’s Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Newsweek contributor Jerry Adler was shown reciting a poem in which he lamented all the agenda items that are unpassable because of the Senate filibuster rule that gives Republicans the power to block action by the Democratic majority. Host Maddow set up the clip: "Every week, Jerry Adler turns a story from the news into a verse for Newsweek. So now, without further ado, we present Newsweek`s Jerry Adler reading his latest opus, ‘59 to 41: Filibuster this Poem,’ with a special assist from our own Kent Jones." Jones playing the bongo was used as background music as Adler read his poem.
Below is a complete transcript of the relevant segment from the Friday, February 19, The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC:
On Thursday, Newsweek's politics blog The Gaggle shamefully linked Austin kamikaze pilot Joseph Stack to a laundry list of right-wing stereotypes, and then, just for good measure, threw in a warning about death threats against President Obama.
Writer David Graham made one passing mention about liberal elements found in Stack's manifesto before launching into a full-blown effort to blame it all on conservatives anyway.
Graham got right to the point with his headlined blog post "Joseph Stack and Right-Wing Terror: Isolated Incidents or Worrying Trend?" What followed was a disgusting effort to mention as many conservative bogeymen as possible (emphasis mine throughout):
In a February 17 online article entitled "Charity Case," Newsweek's Issac Stone Fish declared: "Whether they like it or not, China has been very good for Tibetans." Fish's outrageous claim came on the eve of President Obama's Thursday meeting with Tibet's religious leader, the Dalai Lama.
While Fish noted how: "Tibetans feel chafed by the restrictions on their political and religious freedoms; many are dissatisfied with Chinese rule....They want self-determination; fair enough." But then dismissed those concerns as he praised Chinese communist rule: "For China's many blunders in mountainous region, it has erected a booming economy there. Looking at growth, standard of living, infrastructure, and GDP, one thing is clear: China has been good for Tibet."
Fish touted China's investment in Tibet's infrastructure: "Since 2001, Beijing has spent $45.4 billion on development in the Tibet Autonomous Region....Infrastructure improvements have not only helped grow the economy but also have aided in modernizing remote parts of the Tibetan plateau." Fish quoted Columbia University Tibetan studies professor Gray Tuttle, who boasted: "Cellphone service in parts of western Tibet is better than in parts of New Jersey."
If there was an award for the journalist least skeptical of the official reason Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has given for his decision to retire rather than seek reelection in November, I'd nominate Jonathan Alter for it.
Keith Olbermann Wednesday claimed that conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin are trying to kill us all by disinforming the public about the dangers of global warming.
Speaking with Newsweek's Howard Fineman about how conservatives are using the recent snowstorms in the Northeast to refute Al Gore's catastrophic climate claims, the "Countdown" host said, "[L]ife on earth is going to be threatened because the people who recognized and warned about climate change did not just go with that phrase, climate change, and instead chose global warming, opening this opportunity up for Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin to kill us all."
Earlier the factually-challenged MSNBCer declared, "And, of course, we have Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, the Wall Street water carriers, the corporate clowns, who get rich by tricking listeners into voting against their own interests, laughing about how silly it is to believe in extreme weather change in the middle of extreme weather" (video embedded below the fold with full transcript and commentary, h/t Story Balloon):
Always beware when a liberal journalist praises a conservative. It's almost always for when said conservative (or in this case neoconservative Bill Kristol) says or does something that is or can be spun to be helpful to liberal Democrats.
Syndicated columnist Jonathan Kay wrote an exclusive piece for newsweek.com about the TEA party convention in Nashville - not to report on the speeches or the goals of the movement, but to smear attendants as kooky, paranoid fringers who believe 9/11 truther theories.
Conveneniently, Kay just happens to have a book scheduled for release next year that chronicles the spread of trutherism in America. How fortunate he found so many believers.
Kay began his piece with the all-too-cute headline "Black Helicopters Over Nashville." It was just the beginning of an endless rant about unhinged conservatives, culminating in an explicit effort to place trutherism at the TEA party convention: