As President Obama prepares to deliver his 29th speech on health care, this time before a joint session of Congress, it recalls Bill Clinton’s September 22, 1993 speech to Congress on the same topic. Back then, media liberals hit some of the exact same points journalists are making today: “reform” would end the “shame” of America being the only industrialized nation without universal coverage; that a bigger role for government would cost nothing or even save money in the long run, and that government bureaucrats were preferable to insurance companies.
After a year of media cheerleading, however, Congress finally scrapped Clinton’s health care ideas. But the unpopularity of Clinton’s government-based solutions contributed to the election of the first Republican-led House of Representatives in more than four decades. That’s not to say history will play out the same way this time, but the media spin on behalf of ObamaCare certainly echoes the language of the 1990s. A review:
"[I am] against this most monstrous of all meddling on the part of authority: the meddling with the subsistence of its people. . . . [One must] manfully . . . resist the very first idea, speculative or practical, that it is within the competence of government . . . to supply the poor with necessaries. . . . To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government. It would be a vain presumption in statesmen to think they can do it." -- Edmund Burke, 'Thoughts and Details on Scarcity', 1795.
Jon Meacham strikes me as a knowledgeable man. Surely the author of a well-regarded biography of Andrew Jackson knows his history. Ignorance thus cannot explain how the Newsweek editor could with a straight face describe Barack Obama as "the real Burkean in American politics right now." Yet on today's Morning Joe, Meacham effectively depicted Obama as the bearer of the torch of the man often described as the father of modern conservatism . . .
"Rationing is already here," done by insurance companies, so why not "start rationing useless interventions right out of medical practice?" asks Newsweek's Sharon Begley in a September 2 "Web exclusive" entitled "Health-Care Rationing: Bring It On."
Begley made clear that her complaint is with how patients under the current health care structure can easily order up expensive tests (MRIs, CAT scans, etc.) that she argues are often times wasteful or unnecessarily adminstered (emphasis mine):
[L]et's figure out what treatments and diagnostic tests make a difference to people's health and longevity, and which are insanely overused to no good end. The latter is what we need to ration, restricting their use to the patients and conditions where they can make a difference or abandoning them altogether.
Begley continued with criticism that practically hinted that a government middleman would be better able to "ration" health care efficiently (emphasis mine):
Outraged by Sen. Charles Grassley’s worries that Democratic health care proposals would "pull the plug on Grandma," Newsweek columnist Jacob Weisberg (who also worked as a reporter for Newsweek early in his career) turns the tables and suggests the Republicans are urging the deaths of the elderly in a myriad of ways:
It's not preposterous to imagine laws that would try to save money by encouraging the inconvenient elderly to make an early exit. After all, that's been the Republican policy for years.
It was Grassley himself who devised the "Throw Mama From the Train" provision of the GOP's 2001 tax cut. The estate-tax revision he championed will reduce the estate tax to zero next year. But when it expires at year's end, the tax will jump back up to its previous level of 55 percent. Grassley's exploding tax break has an entirely foreseeable, if unintended, consequence: it incentivizes ailing, elderly rich people to end their lives—paging Dr. Kevorkian—before midnight on Dec. 31, 2010. It also gives their children an incentive to sign DNR orders and switch off respirators in time for the deadline. This would be a great plot for a P. D. James novel if it weren't an actual piece of legislation.
Mark Hemingway at the Corner followed up on an item at Jules Crittenden's blog late last night.
What perked Hemingway's interest was Mr. Crittenden's relay of the following yesterday concerning an exchange during NPR's Diane Rehm Show:
Newsweek’s Ed Klein (told interviewer) Katty Kay about Kennedy’s love of humor. How the late senator loved to hear and tell Chappaquiddick jokes, and was always eager to know if anyone had heard any new ones. Not that Kennedy lacked remorse, Klein quickly added, seeming to intuit that my jaw and perhaps those of other listeners had just hit the floorboards. I gather it was a self-deprecating maneuver on Kennedy’s part, exercised with the famous Kennedy charm, though it sounds like one of those “I guess you had to have been there” things.
Hemingway went and listened. There is a 1:40 YouTube posted of what he heard.
Here is the transcript of that clip, without wrap-up niceties:
"Edward Kennedy, perhaps more than any United States senator in the past half century, cared about the poor and dispossessed. Though he was relentlessly mocked by the right as a tax-and-spend liberal, he kept the faith."
Thus wrote Newsweek's Evan Thomas of the late Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy today in an obituary that acknowledged and in places excused the late senator's sins even as it remembered him as a saint of secular liberalism.:
Kennedy became known on Capitol Hill for his antics. In a Washington Monthly essay titled "Kennedy's Woman Problem, Women's Kennedy Problem," author Suzannah Lessard accused Kennedy of "a severe case of arrested development, a kind of narcissistic intemperance, a huge babyish ego that must be constantly fed." More like it, a huge sadness that needed to be blotted out by sex and alcohol.
Thomas did acknowledge Kennedy's actions in the Chappaquiddick incident and how his delay in alerting police may have cost Mary Jo Kopechne her life, but then ridiculously added:
Early in Saturday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor reported: "Tonight there are new allegations of torture by the CIA. Newsweek magazine is reporting that a secret 2004 report reveals that interrogators used mock executions to intimidate prisoners."
Glor went on to talk to Newsweek reporter Mark Hosenball, who claimed: "And in the case of one detainee that we know about, somebody named Abdel-Rahman al Nashiri, who was an alleged architect of the USS Cole bombing, this report alleges that at some point CIA interrogators, whether contractors or CIA staff officers, brandished a gun in front of this guy in an effort to frighten him and also took a power drill in front of him and turn turned it on and went ‘bzzz,’ implying therefore that they were going to use it on him."
Meanwhile, neither the Saturday nor Friday Evening News programs made any mention of reports that ACLU attorneys defending Guantanamo detainees illegally showed terror suspects photos of CIA personnel in an effort to implicate interrogators in acts of torture. On Friday, the Washington Post reported: "The Justice Department recently questioned military defense attorneys at Guantanamo Bay about whether photographs of CIA personnel, including covert officers, were unlawfully provided to detainees charged with organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to sources familiar with the investigation."
A shoddy and slanted profile of late-term abortionist Dr. LeRoy Carhart by Sarah Kliff in Newsweek magazine contains misrepresentation of the practice of late-term abortion. It also omits a serious episode in the career of Dr. Carhart that resulted in the tragic death of a 19-year-old woman.
In writing about the grisly practice of late-term abortion, Kliff falsely claims, "Past viability, no doctor will terminate a pregnancy without a compelling reason." This has been proven completely false in recent testimony by Dr. Paul McHugh, one of the leading psychiatrists in the country, who examined the medical records of patients seen by deceased late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller.
Last year, the Harvard-educated McHugh relayed that some women stated that their reasons for wanting a late-term abortion included "not being able to go to a rock concert." According to Dr. McHugh, Dr. Tiller performed late-term abortions for "mostly social reasons."
While some in the media have been dusting off their love beads, bell-bottoms and broomstick skirts in an effort to wax nostalgic about Woodstock, the VFW has reminded its members that the world did not stop for those four days in August 1969.
In fact, for 109 American soldiers, the world ended that weekend.
Much has been made over the "half a million strong" that flocked to a dairy farm in rural New York to celebrate music and peace. Richard K. Kolb instead compared the coverage Newsweek and Time gave to the festival while shortchanging American efforts in Vietnam.
According to Newsweek, polyamory is here to stay and “the traditionalists had better get used to it.”
Polyamory, reporter Jessica Bennett explained in her July 29 article, is the act of “engaging in loving, intimate relationships with more than one person – based upon the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.”
While Bennett acknowledged that keeping track of multiple partners’ (and their partners) needs and wants isn’t for everybody, she concluded, “perhaps the practice is more natural than we think: a response to the challenges of monogamous relationships, whose shortcomings – in a culture where divorce has become a commonplace – are clear.”
Bennett offered Terisa Greenan’s arrangement as an example of a successful polyamory situation. Terisa, who is married to Larry, is also the girlfriend of Matt and Scott. Matt is married to Vera, who is dating Larry, Terisa’s husband. Matt and Vera have a child together. Terisa, Larry and Scott live together in a house in Seattle, which Matt, Vera and their child visit during weekends.
Sound creepy? Not to Bennett. And she reassured critics in both the conservative and gay movements who expressed fear of polyamorists seeking government benefits and harming their respective causes. “The majority of them don’t seem particularly interested in pressing a political agenda; the joke in the community is that the complexities of their relationships leave little time for activism.”
Subtitled: "Washington is spending $60 billion to create the careers of the future, but not a single green job yet exists. Obama's 'green czar' explains."
The Leftist publication deserves some plaudits for exploring this $60 billion gaping hole in the $787 billion "stimulus" package President Barack Obama signed into law in February. But there are many points in the article where they could have done better.
It would have been nice, for instance, if Newsweek had exhibited some of the scrutiny they show here in advance of the massive plan's passage. They begin with an interesting realization:
With the revelation that Newsweek Washington bureau reporter Daren Briscoe will start a new job on Monday as Deputy Associate Director of Public Affairs for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (earlier NB item), my list of journalists who have jumped to the Obama administration -- plus one who traveled through the revolving door from helping the Obama campaign into a news media slot -- is up to a dozen:
Three each revolved through CNN and the Washington Post; two through ABC News; and one each via the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and Time magazine.
For the second weekday in a row, Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News on Monday night by delivering President Obama's aggressive retorts to critics of his health plan as reporter Chip Reid pitched in to help, discrediting critics by disparaging their perspectives as “harsh” and “incendiary” attacks -- all before Couric caught up with ABC and NBC from the night before and promoted Ted Kennedy's “We're Almost There” Newsweek cover story.
Couric teased: “The President takes on critics of his health care reform plan. He vows to move forward and says trying to fix a system that's breaking American families.” (Friday night she touted “a warning from the President,” leading into Obama's claim: “If we don't get health care reform done now, then no one's health insurance is going to be secure.”)
Reid declared that “in some of his harshest comments yet, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele said the President's plan for a public insurance option is socialism.” But this is all Steele said in the clip Reid played: “This reckless approach is an ill-conceived attempt to push through an experiment and all of us should be scared to death.” Reid continued: “In one of the most incendiary comments, Republican Senator Jim DeMint, in a conference call with conservative activists, recently said:” Viewers then heard audio of DeMint making a tactical political point: “If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
While the big liberal media usually find it hard to skip any news related to the Kennedy family, ABC, CBS and NBC breathed not a word about Saturday’s 40th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. On the night of July 18, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy left a party with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne and later drove off a bridge. Kennedy left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
The Saturday and Sunday New York Times and Washington Post also had nothing about Chappaquiddick. Several newspapers did carry a brief, if inadvertent, mention, since on Saturday the Associated Press made it the day’s “Highlight in History” in their re-cap of big news events that happened on a July 18, beating out the start of the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64 and the death of naval hero John Paul Jones in 1792.
Filmmakers, do you want to impress critics at The New York Times, Newsweek and Time Magazine, while alienating vast legions of moviegoers? Then "Humpday" has the formula for you!
Have your two “straight” male leads have sex with each other in a video for an “experimental homemade pornography” film festival. Oh, and in order to impress those writers (whom you may run into at a Manhattan cocktail party) make sure to stress that it’s not gay and it’s not porn either. It’s art masquerading as “bromance” comedy. Don’t worry, they’ll understand that you’re critiquing straight men or straight society or our uptight Puritanical culture or something. After all, they’re smart like you.
Newsweek engaged itself deeper in the battle for nationalized health care by turning over its cover story -- “We're Almost There” -- to Senator Ted Kennedy for his lengthy personal recitation of “the cause of my life.” ABC and NBC on Sunday night dutifully championed his cause as World News anchor Dan Harris highlighted how “Kennedy is using his own battle against brain cancer to make an emotional pitch for health care reform” and NBC reporter Mike Viqueira touted:
Today, another dramatic push, this time from an ailing Ted Kennedy, absent from Washington but appearing on the cover of Newsweek and writing: “This is the cause of my life. We will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.”
This wasn't the first time NBC has enlisted Kennedy to trumpet Obama's quest. Back in early March when the White House held a summit on health care, reporter Chuck Todd appropriated the coach who inspired “win one for the Gipper” by touting on NBC Nightly News how “the President's drive to pass health care got a Knute Rockne-like boost with a surprise appearance” by Kennedy.
Newsweek falls back on conventional liberal narratives in a gooey profile of attorney general Eric Holder titled "Independent’s Day." The magazine is delighted that Holder wants to investigate and prosecute Bush officials for harsh interrogations. Holder is trying to strike a balance on the independence meter between so-close-it’s-crooked (Alberto Gonzales) and almost irrelevant (Janet Reno):
Alone among cabinet officers, attorneys general are partisan appointees expected to rise above partisanship. All struggle to find a happy medium between loyalty and independence. Few succeed. At one extreme looms Alberto Gonzales, who allowed the Justice Department to be run like Tammany Hall. At the other is Janet Reno, whose righteousness and folksy eccentricities marginalized her within the Clinton administration. Lean too far one way and you corrupt the office, too far the other way and you render yourself impotent. Mindful of history, Holder is trying to get the balance right.
Newsweek didn’t offer harsh judgment on Janet Reno when she started. One caption called her "Integrity Jane." Their Holder profile concentrated on the less-than-harsh judgment of Holder’s buddies:
For Hank Stuever of the Washington Post, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest movie, "Bruno," is a reflection of America's "giant case of sex phobia."
Cohen's movie tells the tale of Bruno, a gay Austrian fashionista who embarks on a quest for fame (to become "the most famous Austrian since Hitler"). Its depictions of gay sex and a gay man flamboyantly flaunting his sexuality caused worry among gay activists about an increase of homophobia, despite a statement from Universal Pictures that the film aimed to "shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia."
Stuever offered Post readers an inside look on July 9 at what it felt like to be a gay man watching "Bruno" and concluded that the movie didn't teach anything "other than sex is basically a total gross out."
Newsweek took their criticism of Pope Benedict XVI to the next level on Thursday- not only did guest columnist Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend affirm that the pontiff could learn from President Obama (something Newsweek and their partners at the Washington Post agreed upon back in April), but also blasted the Bishop of Rome and the Catholic hierarchy for their supposed “disdain” towards women and homosexuals.
The former lieutenant governor of Maryland began her column, titled "Without a Doubt: Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does," with the context of the pope’s upcoming meeting with the American president, and how it was “much anticipated and in some circles frowned upon by American Catholics in the wake of Obama’s controversial Notre Dame commencement speech in May.” She then laid out her central thesis about these two leaders: “In truth, though, Obama’s pragmatic approach to divisive policy...and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists...[T]hey’ll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won’t care, because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s.”
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz reported Thursday on black females on the Michelle Obama beat, and whether their shared race and gender produces gauzier coverage. "Indeed, most write with enthusiasm, in some cases even admiration, about the first lady as a long-awaited role model for black women." Kurtz found:
"Without a doubt, I identify with her as a brown-skinned African American woman," [Newsweek’s Allison] Samuels says. "Now we have Michelle and see her as a mother, a lawyer, a wife, and she's doing it fabulously." Samuels got to interview Obama during the campaign and "we had a girlfriend-to-girlfriend moment. We did connect."
Post writer Robin Givhan, one of the most syrupy writers on the Michelle beat, tried to suggest "news" wins out:
"We all bring the full depth of our experiences to the facts we emphasize, the questions we ask, the stories that get us excited," says Givhan, who was a year behind Obama at Princeton, although their paths did not cross. "But in the end, news is news."
In today's "You're Not Going to Believe This" segment, Barack Obama has gone back on his promise of creating an open and transparent administration, and the good folks at Newsweek not only noticed it, but reported it.
Yes, the magazine that seems to have Obama on its cover every week actually exposed the object of their affection for not only going back on a campaign promise, but also for contradicting his own highly-publicized decree made the first full day he was in office.
Maybe even better, the author, Michael Isikoff, was the same reporter who was about to break the Monica Lewinsky story in January 1998, but was stopped by Newsweek higher-ups.
Readers are advised to tighten their seatbelts and prepare themselves for an alternate media reality:
CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered on Friday: "Lots of politicians get caught having affairs, as you know. The trick, though, is making a comeback. It’s happened before, but the question is does John Edwards have a political future?"
Rodriguez later introduced the segment by citing Edwards’ recent comments about his political future in a Washington Post interview: "Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, just two of the high profile politicians who’ve survived the scandal of having an extramarital affair. Now John Edwards is speaking out for the first time, since his affair, about testing the waters for a possible political comeback. But is it too late? Is the damage done?"
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes quoted Kenneth Vogel of Politico on the topic: "His cancer-stricken wife knew about the affair, asked him not to run for president. He did anyway. He kept it from his staffers. His political committees may have paid hush money. All of these things put together just make it that much more difficult for him to find a way to rehabilitate himself in the public eye." Cordes responded to that seeming political obituary by declaring: "Not so fast. Lots of politicians, after all, have had affairs and gone on to successful careers. Crisis management experts say Edwards may be testing the waters and could still have a political future."
I don't just put my foot in my mouth on television -- I do it at dinner parties, too -- but at least, in that case, it doesn't show up on YouTube. Appearing on Hardball With Chris Matthews on June 5, I compared President Obama with God.
Or at least that's how it seemed to some bloggers and talk-show hosts, who made me a poster child for the argument that the liberal press is hopelessly in love with Obama.
If you've ever wondered why the mainstream media didn't show much curiosity about how 20 years of attending Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church shaped President Barack Obama, there is a perfectly logical explanation. Obama wasn't really there.
According to Richard Wolffe, an MSNBC contributor and former Newsweek columnist that covered the Obama presidential campaign for the weekly magazine, people don't have to worry about the rantings and ravings of Obama's controversial preacher having any impact on his world view because he wasn't there.
Fineman wrote that Republicans have an affinity for "disgraded or discarded" leaders, and Gingrich and his "ruthless" caricaturing of liberals represent the "old-school insult" in stark contrast to the new, somehow nonpartisan cool of Obama:
At the dawn of the Obama era, Gingrich has remade himself as the anti-Obama. He is arguably the GOP's most influential strategist and cheerleader, and a provocative scold of the administration. Where Obama exudes the new Washington equanimity, Gingrich exalts in the old-school insult. He is ruthless in caricaturing anyone who gets in his way as a "pagan" or "statist" or "socialist" or "racist" – all words Newt has hurled in recent days.
This is pretty rich territory for a man who’s a regular guest of Keith Olbermann’s. It continued:
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift seemed flabbergasted on this weekend’s McLaughlin Group as fellow panelists Pat Buchanan, Monica Crowley and Mort Zuckerman all criticized President Obama’s speech to Muslims in Cairo. Perhaps reflecting the mindset of her Newsweek colleagues, Clift exclaimed: “Until I came on this set, I heard nothing but rave reviews for this speech. I feel like I’m in a total parallel reality.”
The McLaughlin Group tapes on Friday afternoons, which means that for the better part of two days Clift was completely insulated from the various criticisms of Obama’s speech which were easy to discover on talk radio, many newspapers, and the Internet. She seemed particularly enraged by the group’s consensus that Obama has been “badmouthing” the United States by repeatedly emphasizing past misdeeds and ignoring America’s valuable contributions to the rest of the world.
The good folks at National Review are absolutely skewering Newsweek's disgraceful Obama fixation with a delicious parody of the magazine including "New, improved, andlonger articles extolling the First Family!" (h/t Hot Air, larger picture below the fold):
Newsweek editor Evan Thomas brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC: "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
Thomas, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, was reacting to a preceding monologue in which Matthews praised Obama’s speech: "I think the President's speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful...But what I liked about the President's speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility...The question now is whether the President we elected and spoke for us so grandly yesterday can carry out the great vision he gave us and to the world."
Matthews discussed Obama’s upcoming speech marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day and compared it to that of Ronald Reagan. He then turned to Thomas and asked: "Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?" Thomas replied: "Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn't felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We're seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial."
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cast doubt on talk show host and major Obama supporter, Oprah Winfrey: "And call it the ‘Oprah Effect.’ She speaks, people listen. But is her show actually leading her audience astray?" Oddly, no mention was made of Winfrey’s very public endorsement Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign.
Later, co-host Julie Chen also teased the upcoming segment with similar declarations: "Still ahead in this half hour, it is no secret that Oprah is a great sales person, but just because she's selling, the question is should you be buying?...Well up next, the Oprah Winfrey seal of approval. Is it all that it's cracked up to be? We're going to look at the pros and the cons of Oprah's power." During the latter tease from Chen and briefly in the report that followed, footage of Oprah speaking at an Obama rally was shown, but not discussed.
The report, by correspondent Michelle Miller, featured Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson, who explained: "She has managed to put the Oprah seal of approval, which is a really powerful seal of approval, on some things that I think most people would call real crackpot ideas." Miller cited Newsweek magazine’s reporting on the topic and quoted senior editor Weston Kosova: "Some of the advice she gives on the show, especially with regard to health matters and medicine, is not good advice. Sometimes the advice that guests give on the show could actually hurt you."
Appearing on the June 3 "America's Newsroom" program, Graham discussed Newsweek economics columnist Robert Samuelson's gripe that the media's "Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time."
Samuelson "is a reasonable guy" who "has got to know that we've had years of pro-Obama bias, and certainly in the pages of his own magazine, where there are syrupy pictures of Barack and/or Michelle almost weekly," Media Research Center (MRC) Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham told "America's Newsroom" host Bill Hemmer. [audio available here]