On Tuesday’s Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter couldn’t imagine why anyone would see conflict-of-interest troubles if Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State while her husband the ex-president has a sprawling international foundation with its mitts in a long list of countries. Alter insisted all of Clinton’s work is "very, very positive. It’s been for great causes around the world." Alison Stewart guest-hosted for Maddow, and pushed the button that started Alter’s Bill-burnishing remarks:
STEWART: Is Bill Clinton a stumbling block for Hillary Clinton getting the Secretary of State gig?
ALTER: You know, I don’t think he really is, unless, for some reason, they just refuse to disclose as much as the Obama people want them to. There’s nothing that's all that terrible here. Most of the money that Clinton has raised, in fact, it's very, very positive. It's been for great causes around the world. Fighting poverty. Fighting AIDS.
Sarah Palin is an airhead proclaims the very dim Joy Behar. The same "View" co-host who blames earthquakes on global warming and just the previous day could not define the term "suffrage," snidely said of Sarah Palin "we all know that the woman is an airhead." Behar then continued to label those Obama critics "unpatriotic" (this of course after she considered dissent in the Bush years "patriotic") [audio excerpt here]
Joy Behar’s comments were sparked by a discussion on recent "Newsweek" and "Time" covers comparing President-elect Obama to Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt respectively. Elisabeth Hasselbeck felt it was premature to judge the Obama presidency before he is even inaugurated. Hasselbeck declared it was another example of the media "coddling" Barack Obama has they have done throughout the entire campaign.
To quote tennis player John McEnroe, "You cannot be serious!"
Newsweek is exploring the possibility of a baby boom being sparked by the "euphoria of Obama fans."
Jessica Bennett of Newsweek comes firing out of the gates with the somewhat disturbing headline, "Change You Can Conceive In." She quickly follows that up in the sub-headline, posing this question: Could euphoric Obama fans be sparking a baby boom?
Creepiness factor aside, does this really constitute serious journalism?
The opening for some reason feels it important enough to find out if Barack Obama himself, was conceived on the day that John F. Kennedy was elected.
Displaying for the magazine world his characteristic deficit of humility, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham offered the assignment of the Big Picture post-election essay on "The Age of Obama" to himself. He offered two strange theories that fly in the face of evidence: that Barack Obama ran a "centrist" campaign and that he in some way already resembles Ronald Reagan. For starters, this is odd because Newsweek hated Reagan while he was president, and rarely found him to be enough of a centrist. Meacham insisted President Obama will disappoint the hard-core ideologues:
The Democratic Party's success in 2008 is not a straightforward revenge-of-the-left drama. Many true believers say this is the dawn of a new progressive era, a time of resurgent (and in many ways rethought) liberalism. The highly caffeinated have high hopes. At the same time, many conservatives – most, it seems, with a show on Fox News – see things the same way, and believe an Age of Obama will be a grim hour of redistribution at home and weakness abroad.
Were John McCain to have won the election and the Dow have dropped the same extent it has in the immediate aftermath, it's highly unlikely the media would not draw the message that Wall Street was taking a nosedive due to the indefinite continuation "of the failed policies of the Bush administration." But with Obama as the victor, the media are not suggesting the markets may be wary of the incoming Democratic administration's tax, spending, and regulatory agendas.
Yet the "Conventional Wisdom" for Newsweek is that the Dow's record-breaking post-Election Day dive is simply a sign that "a new president alone won't settle [the] markets.":
Stockholders [down arrow]: Election Day euphoria gives way to harsh reality that a new president alone won't settle markets
The two-day loss in the Dow since Tuesday is roughly 10 percent, reports the Associated Press. As financial news wire Reuters noted on November 5, the 486-point drop the first day of President-elect Obama's victory lap "marked Wall Street's biggest loss ever on the day after a presidential election."
Catching up with Newsweek's Howard Fineman on Wednesday's Countdown, he came across as a parody of an in-the-tank for Barack Obama journalist as he gauzily proclaimed: “Obama's changing everything as he moves. His victory speech last night in Grant Park...was so memorable on so many levels.” Asked by host Keith Olbermann to predict “an overarching theme” for Obama's appointments, such as “competency, bipartisanship, diversity, newness,” Fineman went beyond Olbermann and trumpeted:
Well, it's going to be all of those. But I think, if you had to pick one, it would be excellence. Barack Obama is a guy who appreciates excellence and focus. He's a guy who appreciates results.
Before the networks had even declared Barack Obama the winner Tuesday night, CBS historian Douglas Brinkley announced that the “Age of Ronald Reagan” was “coming to an end tonight.” Shortly before 11pm EST, Brinkley told anchor Katie Couric: “We're looking at a historic victory for the Democrats and Barack Obama. I think you have to go back to 1964 when Lyndon Johnson had such a landslide over Barry Goldwater to see how momentous this is.”
In a Tuesday night piece wrapping up yesterday’s election, Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh sought out liberal historian Robert Dallek, who similarly declared that Obama’s win “is probably going to mark the end of the Reagan era — this whole conservative impulse that has dominated the country's politics for the last generation....I think you're going to see a whole new era of federal progressive activism.”
In the last Conventional Wisdom feature before the election, Newsweek magazine assigned a sideways arrow for the Democratic vice presidential contender while giving the thumbs down to Gov. Sarah Palin for "sink[ing]" the campaign with a "lack of gravitas."
In doing so, the CW feature dismissed the damaging impact of Sen. Joe Biden's "rhetorical flourishes." Yet among Biden's recent foot-in-mouth moments was one that inadvertently broadcast the Democratic ticket's tax-hiking designs by significantly lowering the $250,000-a-year tax bar the Democratic campaign previously had set.
As the Wall Street Journal noted on October 29, the "'tax cut' threshold keeps falling":
As longtime NewsBusters readers are painfully aware, the supposedly objective news media have showered Barack Obama with fawning press coverage throughout his campaign for the White House. (That, plus a $600 million war chest, will apparently get you pretty far in politics.) The Media Research Center has assembled a special Campaign 2008 edition of our bi-weekly Notable Quotables, chock full of journalists’ most adoring pro-Obama quotes. The full collection can be found here, but here are a few of the choicer quotes and along with a memorable video:
Love at First Sight
“I think the real breakout tonight is [Illinois Senate candidate Barack] Obama. I mean, Teresa [Heinz-Kerry] is a fascinating story, but Obama is a rock star!” — NBC’s Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC’s live coverage of the Democratic convention, July 27, 2004.
Republicans should always beware liberal media outlets offering them political advice. In "The GOP's Palin Problem," Newsweek's young Jonathan Darman (the liberal son of the late George H.W. Bush aide Dick Darman), suggests "far right" Sarah Palin could have a future if she focused like Pat Buchanan on the disgruntled white people who don't like foreigners much:
Democrats, having witnessed Palin's wobbly 2008 performance (31 percent of registered voters in the new NEWSWEEK poll say Palin makes them less likely to vote for McCain), will no doubt relish the prospect of Palin lingering on the national stage. They should be careful what they wish for. For all her problems now, Palin has the biography, the ideological sympathies and the charisma to be what the Republican Party lacks: a populist, far-right politician with intense celebrity appeal.
Seven days before America elects a new leadership team,Newsweek is making a last-ditch attempt to portray GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin as a religious nut.
In her article "Jesus and Witches," Newsweek Religion Editor Lisa Miller suggests Palin believes in witchcraft, thinks the world is coming to a fiery end in her lifetime, and may have a "special sense of destiny" fueled by her "apocalyptic theology" and Alaskan "Last Frontier identity." Miller even hints Palin may be anti-Semitic.
America’s either racist, or it will elect Obama. So writes Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, who focuses in his weekly column on imagining the "horror" scenario, titled "Why McCain Won: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory: how that scenario could (but likely won't) play out." Alter’s theory in a nutshell: If McCain wins, racism is the answer. "Millions of people in the rest of the world assume that Barack Obama cannot be elected because he is black," but Alter hopes "the common sense and decency of the American people will prove the skeptics wrong."
It sounds a little like Bryant Gumbel, who declared in 1989 that his NBC News special on racial attitudes "is not going to tell you whether or not you are a racist or a liberal." Alter thinks less educated (and more racist) voters will be the difference if Obama loses:
Time’s Joe Klein interviewed Barack Obama again for the November 3 print edition, and hailed his utter lack of drama and his steadiness. Left unasked: isn’t it easier to appear calm and steady when your interviewer doesn’t want to upset your no-drama image? Klein went on an extended exploration of how Obama showed great respect for Gen. David Petraeus, but made no mention (and as far as a reader can tell, hurled no question) about his supporters at MoveOn.org taking out an ad skewering the general as "General Betray Us." Likewise, he praised Obama’s deftness in handling the "black-nationalist sermons" of his minister Jeremiah Wright, but never seemed to press the candidate on any of the contradictions in his I can’t dissociate myself/oh yes, I can routine last spring.
In an article helpfully titled "Why Barack Obama is Winning," Klein began by describing Obama as a superior commander-in-chief to President Bush already:
Spreading the WordAs we reported earlier, former Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings drops one rhetorical bomb after another on the media in a new article for GQ magazine. All of them reinforcing what we already knew, best summarized by Hastings himself: the press's "objectivity is a fallacy."
It has been a horrendous year for the media's credibility, and Hastings's statements only make it worse. "If (it) sounds like I had some trouble being ‘objective,' I did. Objectivity is a fallacy. In campaign reporting more than any other kind of press coverage, reporters aren't just covering a story, they're a part of it-influencing outcomes, setting expectations, framing candidates-and despite what they tell themselves, it's impossible to both be a part of the action and report on it objectively."
Hastings is utterly derisive of both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator and Presidential nominee John McCain, both of whom he covered during the Republican primary. He in fact dreamed repeatedly of doing Giuliani harm as some sort of warped civic duty.
Michael Hastings, formerly of Newsweek, has written a sometimes too truthful but often funny account of his one year on the campaign trail with various presidential candidates during the primary season. Hastings' assignment was to write behind-the-scenes stories for Newsweek about the campaigns which he recounts in GQ magazine in a story titled, "Hack: Confessions of a Presidential Campaign Reporter." So just how truthful was Hasting's account? Well, he admits upfront that "objectivity is just a fallacy" for reporters. And just how unobjective was Hastings? Well, check out this fantasy he had while covering Rudy Guiliani on the campaign trail (emphasis mine):
When a McCain campaign representative told David Shuster today that the source of much of Barack Obama's fund-raising is unknown, the MSNBC host scoffed, claiming only "right-wing" blogs could believe that and challenging the spokesman to cite a credible source.
Instead of fulminating about the conservative blogosphere, David might want to pick up a copy of Newsweek, which last time I looked had a news-sharing arrangement with . . . MSNBC. None other than Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported those very facts about Obama's fund-raising last week.
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt was Shuster's guest during MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour today.
Not that it's any big surprise given his well-established liberal views and contempt for conservative policies, but in what is an unusually blatant abandonment of basic journalistic pretenses, CNN on Sunday -- and Newsweek in this week's issue -- provided time and space for Fareed Zakaria to outline why he will be voting for the “steady and reasoned” Barack Obama. Along the way, he denigrated Sarah Palin as “a rabble-rousing ultraconservative.” At the end of his Sunday (October 19) CNN program, Fareed Zakaria: GPS, Zakaria told his viewers of his choice, concluding:
John McCain represents the best of America's past, and Barack Obama the hope of the future -- the hope of a country that can make big changes and live out one of its greatest promises, of equal opportunities for all Americans, of every caste, creed and color. And America has always been a country that looks forward. So, I will be voting for Barack Obama on election day this year. (CNN.com video)
The Editor of Newsweek International was more explicitly hostile to McCain and Palin in the October 27 domestic edition of Newsweek where, in a piece titled “The Case for Barack Obama,” he made clear his disagreement with conservative policies and his left-wing view of past campaigns.
In an October 16 Web exclusive today, Newsweek's Sarah Kliff looked at the "chorus of disapproval" that met Sen. John McCain's use of air quotes when dismissing the "health of the mother" exception that swallows the rule in some late-term abortion bans. Of course Kliff hit her readers with complaints from such unbiased, neutral observers as Chris Matthews and NARAL Pro-Choice America, which endorsed Sen. Obama in May. She concluded by citing a pro-choice Biden backer insisting that pro-lifers would be turned off too.
Kliff then went on to dive into what the health exception is in federal case law and conceded that:
McCain is correct when he suggests that the law does not specify which conditions or complications should be included in the legal definition of what constitutes a threat to the mother's health. That decision is left up to the doctor.
Tony Dokoupil, who once asked "is journalism ready for a black president" in the Columbia Journalism Review -- he also excerpted it in a blog entry at Huffington Post -- gave Newsweek readers a look at what the presidential candidates' neckties say about the men who wear them.
You may scoff now, but Dokoupil sure finds it a knotty problem (emphases mine):
So what does the knot say about today's presidential candidates? In McCain's case, it screams old-guard Washington establishment, like a bolo screams cowboy. According to his top adviser, Mark Salter, the Arizona senator wears his tie with either a Windsor or the related half-Windsor knot--a configuration long favored by Beltway elites and, at least judging by the photos, nearly every U.S. president in the 20th century.... McCain's Windsor might seem like an odd choice for a self-proclaimed maverick, but it reflects the senator's public struggle to remain true to himself despite the distorting pressure of the presidential campaign. [...]
Liberal director and conspiracy theory-loving Oliver Stone was actually "fair" to President George W. Bush in his new film "W." Indeed, Stone is practically a "historian" when it comes to chronicling the life of the nation's 43rd president, that is if you ask Newsweek's Alan Brinkley. Of course when measured up against his prior films about American presidents, it's probably not that high a bar to clear.
From his October 11 movie review, "From Man to Mockery, and Back Again":
Through most of the undistinguished history of films about American presidents, concern for truth has been in short supply.
Oliver Stone, whose new film, "W.," is his third examination of a modern president, has aspired to be different.
Oh, it gets better. You see, "W." is "sunny and sympathetic":
For the third time in less than six months, Newsweek religion reporter Lisa Miller has informed the world that Kirbyjon Caldwell, an African-American pastor from Texas who formerly supported President George W. Bush, has “given himself heart and soul” to Democratic nominee Barack Obama.
Miller, whose latest Caldwell feature is a three-page spread in the current issue of Newsweek, writes "last summer he aligned himself with a man who he believes better represents the Christian ethics and American values he preaches." Miller wrote effectively the same story about Caldwell in June and July of this year, following closely on the heels of Obama’s break with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright at the end of May. The article in June, "His Mobile Ministry," prominently featured Caldwell as one of many pastors who were part of a telephone prayer ministry for Obama. The July article "Finding his Faith" was about Obama’s search for religion. In the third article, Miller describes Caldwell as a former Bush supporter who, "when he talks about Obama, he can barely keep the emotion out of his voice."
The story in question took the skilled labor of a grand total of four ABCNews staffers, chief among them Martha Raddatz. In her lede she noted the Dow dropped 107 points in the course of the seven minutes President Bush spoke from the White House on the ongoing financial crisis.
But it seems Raddatz, along with Lisa Chinn, Jon Garcia and Kate Barrett wrote too soon. The market rebounded from its deepest losses earlier in the day to close down only 128 points.
In a rapid fire display of flip-flopping that would make even the staunchest of liberals proud, Newsweek's Howard Fineman manages to change his opinion on the justification of an Obama-Lincoln connection three times in just under 900 words.
The random logic is hard to see through all the gooeyness behind the concept of such a ridiculous comparison in the first place, but once you wipe the screen, you'll be able to spot it clear as day.
Fineman starts by asking himself a few questions:
Is there any reason, other than the lean frame and knack for giving good speeches, to compare the two men? Is there any reason to see in Obama a Lincoln-like ability to unite a "house divided" in our perilous times? Is that even a fair question to ask or comparison to make?
While most of us would scoff at the notion, Fineman concludes otherwise:
Update's Update: I have been assured by IT that we are FINALLY ready to go with this.
The American people in poll after poll and in greater and growing numbers are railing against the egregious liberal bias of the press. And nowhere are the media more horrendously slanted than in their coverage of the presidential campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. They are (to say the least) very, very sweet on him.
The MRC has put together this college basketball tournament-style bracket event, the Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen Media Bias Tournament, so that you, the angered members of the media’s audience can vote for who gives Sen. Obama the most loving and fawning coverage of all.
Newsweek's Jon Meacham thinks that Governor Sarah Palin is too much a commoner and too stupid to be allowed to become vice president of the United States of America and apparently his employer agrees with him. The October 13 cover of Newsweek features a close up photo of the Governor with the headline "She's One of the Folks (And that's the problem)," and Meacham writes the accompanying cover story. Be clear about what this means: This is a direct attack on Mr. and Mrs. America. We are all too stupid to be president in the elite opinion of Jon Meacham and Newsweek magazine.
Meacham finds Palin to be incurious, unprepared, and even finds it "dangerous" if she were to become our vice president but he offers us nothing but his opinion to judge by. And it's all because she doesn't measure up to his personal standards. Sadly for Meacham's elitism, however, Palin easily satisfies the standards that the Founding Fathers set as criteria for stepping into the highest office in the land. Curiously, Meacham does not once mention the actual Constitutional requirements to run for office in his entire sarcastic attack on Sarah Palin. Like most of his ilk, the Constitution seems meaningless minutia to him.
Osborn Elliott, the top editor of Newsweek from 1961 to 1976 and Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism from 1979 to 1986, passed away last Sunday at age 83 (Monday, September 29 Washington Post obituary). He was retired when the Media Research Center was founded in 1987, but he didn't hesitate in 1992 and 1995 to express his hostility to conservatives and he serves as a reminder that the Angry Left populated the highest levels of the mainstream news media long before the blogosphere gave them new venues.
He helped to organize a “Save Our Cities” rally in 1992 where he accused Republicans of having “savaged our urban schools, our housing, our health care, our social services,” denounced “Democrats who have collaborated in this butchery” and charged: “We hold accountable those who waste our billions on a military with no enemy to fight.” (Screen shot is from that Saturday, May 16, 1992 event.)
Three years later he equated “Reaganism” with “social Darwinism” as he castigated journalists for being too nice to Reagan: “By failing to...adequately expose the inane contradictions of supply-side theories, aka Reaganomics, I believe journalism deserves some of the blame for ills that now afflict us.”
Evan Thomas, Editor at Large with Newsweek, on Friday night likened Sarah Palin to Louisiana's infamous demagogic Democrat of the 1920s, Huey Long. On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, Thomas reacted to Palin's suggestion in the VP debate that the Vice President has a legislative role:
Here's what's disturbing: Either she didn't know, because actually the legislative role is just about zero as Biden says, or scarier she has a little bit of Huey Long in her. The kind of -- you could see her being a demagogue, saying “I got to do this, the rules are in the way, to heck with the rules, let's do it.”
Earlier on the October 3 show, Thomas (Newsweek's bio), until 2006 Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor and before that the magazine's Washington bureau chief, contended she reflected the worst aspects of President George W. Bush:
CNN world affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria, in a column published in the October 6 issue of Newsweek, condescended towards Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, labeled her "utterly unqualified to be vice president," and complimented Katie Couric for her "smart question" to the Alaska governor in a recent interview. He later asserted clairvoyantly that"she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start."
As a result of this slam, CNN host Wolf Blitzer interviewed Zakaria on Monday’s The Situation Room, in which the analyst referenced Tina Fey’s nearly word-for-word quotation of Palin from the Couric interview on last Saturday’s SNL program, which was played earlier in the program: "The scary answer was on the economy -- the one you displayed switching back and forth between Saturday Night Live, because it was absolutely clear, that she simply did not understand any of the issues involved. She did not understand the question."