Giving a pass to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her failure to cajole enough Democrats to vote for the bailout agreement, Newsweek's Daniel Gross blamed the minority Republican conference, accepting without skepticism the argument that a partisan speech by the San Francisco Democrat caused some Republicans to vote "nay" out of spite alone:
Was the bailout bill killed by malice or by incompetence? It's hard to argue against incompetence, since it has been so rampant, especially on the Republican side of things in Washington. The congressional leadership and the White House clearly lacked the heft-or the energy-to whip recalcitrant members into line.
In a September 29 blog post aimed at "Placing Blame" for failure of the bailout package in the House of Representatives today, Time's Joe Klein began by tossing, "I don't blame John McCain for not rounding up enough Republican votes to get this bailout bill through the House of Representatives."
Klein added a few other reasons he doesn't blame the Arizona senator:
...he's never held a leadership position and therefore doesn't know how to whip votes and finally--well, uh--there is one tried and true method for getting members of Congress to vote aye and McCain opposes it: a sweetener, like say, funding for a bridge in their districts. That is one reason why we have earmarks. McCain is opposed to giving away baubles for the greater good.
Yet he left out one key fact. It was Democratic, not Republican votes that doomed the bailout agreement.
Joe Biden's FDR gaffe was noticed, but with a shoulder shrug, by Newsweek's October 6 edition of "Conventional Wisdom." The same feature cheered Obama's debate performance as "presidential," gave the thumbs up to Dave Letterman's tirade against Sen. John McCain, and reveled in Gov. Sarah Palin's "moose caught in the headlights" interview with CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
"Most popular YouTube video of the week: Katie Couric field-dressing Palin. Sometimes it takes a woman to expose a woman," read the introductory caption for the "First Great Debate Edition" of the weekly CW digest.
Yet when it came to Obama's gaffe-prone running mate, the CW only assigned a sideways arrow to the Delaware senator:
As your humble correspondent noted earlier today, one needs to have some training in reading liberal tea leaves in order to determine which candidate actually wins presidential debates. In the case of this Newsweek article, written by associate editor Andrew Romano, absolutely no such training is needed. The title flat out tells us: "McCain Won." However there is also one highly laughable caveat added on: "But Will It Matter?" First Romano tells us why he thinks McCain won (emphasis mine):
Tonight, John McCain was the more effective combatant.
Is it just me or does everything seem to be broken?
Our credit markets are scared of their own shadows. Our political system looks oxymoronic. Our balance sheet is drowning in red ink. We are dismissed, laughed at or reviled in much of the world. The Russian Navy is sailing into our hemisphere. No one trusts anyone else, especially in the media, to tell the truth.
It's the perfect moment for me to start a presidential campaign blog!
Yes, folks, no burden is too heavy to bear for the busy Newsweek staffer and MSNBC contributor:
At that time, Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom toasted Kim Jong-il, the dictatorial "Dear Leader" of the radical Communist state, on the agreement, which would have removed North Korea for a list of state sponsors of terrorism:
"North Korea: U.S. to take it off the terror list after nuclear declaration. More cognac for the Dear Leader!"
Here's the Newsweek CW for today's online edition:
[Down arrow] By planning to restart nuclear plant, the country shows it's more volatile than Wall Street.
Newsweek’s loathing of Sarah Palin comes through loud and clear in the September 29 issue, which awards most of four pages to atheist author Sam Harris to attack her religious "ignorance" and dismiss her as "a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history." (Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson defended Palin’s background in a sidebar.) Newsweek’s headline was blunt: "When Atheists Attack: A noted provocateur rips Sarah Palin—and defends elitism." The highlighted quote is "The joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance – it’s what’s so unnerving about this pick." That shortens the actual quote, in which Harris claims Palin supporters "celebrate" her ignorance.
It’s hard to escape the idea that Harris is speaking for the vast majority of the Newsweek editorial staff as he ripped Palin as the McCain campaign’s "Rapture-ready extremist" being led around like a "pet pony." (People who think the media were sexist toward Hillary probably can't find her described as a "pet pony.") Picking up where the passage starts that Newsweek liked best, Harris mocks Palin with an imaginary Charlie Gibson interview:
Borrowing from the nickname for a federal earmark that would have built a multi-million dollar bridge for an Alaska town of 50 people, Newsweek's Mark Hosenball offers readers of the September 29 print magazine a look at "[Gov. Sarah] Palin's Pipeline to Nowhere."
Hosenball suggests that Palin's $500-million "principal achievement" as governor "might never be built after all." But while the headline evokes images of the "Bridge to Nowhere," this isn't a case of government waste as much as it is of the endless red tape of lawsuits.:
Approximately half of the proposed pipeline would run through Canada; native tribes who live along its route complain they haven't been consulted about it and are threatening to sue unless they are compensated. Representatives of the canadian tribes, known as First Nations, say Palin and other pipeline proponents are treating them with disrespect. The tribes' lawyers warn that the courts are on their side and say the Indians have the power to delay the pipeline for years-or even kill it entirely by filing endless lawsuits.
Not long ago, many in the mainstream media were bemoaning the deterioration of public discourse in this year's presidential campaign. Stories of lipsticks and pigs and other nongermane matters were irrelevant and time-wasters, they tut-tutted. Let's get back to the real issues.
So the September 29, 2008 Newsweek strikes a blow for substantive journalism and giving voters information they really need to know. "All the Candidates’ Cars" begins:
When you have seven homes, that's a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.
NewsBusters is, of course, a site dedicated to exposing liberal bias in the press. But, once in a while the liberal press gets something right and this is one of those cases. On Spetember 20, Newsweek hosted an article by FactCheck.org that exposed the outright lies contained in the claims Barack Obama made against John McCain's record on Social Security in order to scare as many elder citizens as he can. Obama may have expected every Old Media outlet out there to cover for him, but Newsweek didn't oblige this time. So, I thought I'd highlight this piece and give Newsweek the thumbs up for hosting the FactCheck.org article.
Over the weekend, Barack Obama appeared in the battleground state of Florida and made to scare citizens over McCain's votes on Social Security. Obama claimed that McCain voted for a plan that would have seen the Social Security benefits of "elderly women" at risk in the stock market during the recent wildly fluctuating market. Telling his audience, "if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week," Obama tried to claim that the elderly would have lost their money because of John McCain. FactCheck.org called these claims "not true."
If at first you don't succeed in making Americans open to same sex marriage by highlighting monogamous gay couples in their 20s and 30s, try to guilt them into it by finding elderly gay people who are all but "invisible and overlooked" in America.
That's essentially what Newsweek's Jessica Bennett did with her September 18 Web exclusive deadling with the "growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens" who "[seek] recognition for their unique needs and challenges."
Bennett started off with a man whose complaint is virtually indistinguishable from countless single or widowed elderly men:
The racist Reverend Wright wanted God to "damn America." Jesse Jackson called New York City "hymie town." Various Evangelical preachers have been heard to utter some pretty nasty comments here and there, as well. So, flawed as we are, apparently being religious doesn't preclude a venomous diatribe now and again. And now comes hate wrapped as political commentary from another supposed person of faith, this time in Newsweek. Wendy Doniger is a columnist for Newsweek's "On Faith" beat and is also the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. But that doesn't seem to have made her less of a venom spewing, wiled-eyed Republican hater, unfortunately. Naturally, like all women such as herself, all her hate is directed at Governor Sarah Palin -- also showing that these sorts of women aren't interested in helping strong women to public influence but only their kind of mindless ideologue is acceptable.
Doniger starts her hate-filled rant in All Beliefs Welcome, Unless They are Forced on Others with what will shortly turn out to be a lie compounded by a blind assumption based on no proof to shore up her claims that Sarah Palin's exclusively allows her religious beliefs to direct her public actions.
Newsweek reporter Suzanne Smalley declared on MSNBC shortly before 1 PM EDT this afternoon that “over the past few weeks, the McCain campaign has really gotten down and dirty. A lot of their ads have been flat-out lies.” So, she pleaded: “Obama needs to really take the steering wheel back. Many Democrats in Washington are worried.”
Smalley was encouraged, however, by how at Thursday night's National Service Forum “McCain gave Obama a present on a silver platter by talking about the fact that he's divorced from the every day challenges that people in America face. So I think Obama is going to be using that in the coming days.”
On August 31 at Newsbusters, Warner Todd Huston caught NBC political correspondent Andrea Mitchell's assessment about the kind of women who would be supporting the McCain-Palin ticket:
..... they (McCain-Palin) think that they can peel off some of these working class women, not college educated, who, the blue collar women who were voting for Hillary Clinton and may be more conservative on social causes.
Combining Mitchell's take with the statement by Eleanor Clift (noted by NB's Brent Baker) that "in many newsrooms" McCain's pick of Sarah Palin was "greeted by "laughter," you get the distinct impression that the media believe that women who are supporting McCain-Palin aren't very smart.
The Mitchell-Clift Maxim isn't passing the smell test in Ohio, at least if the results of the University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll released earlier today (a PDF can be retrieved at this link; HT to NB commenter Dee Bunk) are to be believed.
Republicans aren't racist per se, but they'll use the law to disenfranchise black voters who overwhemingly cast their ballots for Democrats.
That according to Newsweek's Jonathan Alter in a September 11 article on "Jim Crawford Republicans." Crawford was the losing party in a Supreme Court case earlier this year upholding Indiana's Voter ID law.
[W]ith the help of a 2008 Supreme Court decision, Crawford vs. Marion County (Indiana) Election Board, white Republicans in some areas will keep eligible blacks from voting by requiring driver's licenses. Not only is this new-fangled discrimination constitutional, it's spreading.
Jacob Weisberg of Slate.com, and a contributor at Newsweek, told David Schuster of MSNBC yesterday that President Reagan would be “rolling over in his grave” if he knew that Sarah Palin brought her unwed pregnant daughter on to the stage with the family at the Republican National Convention.
I was shocked to see her unmarried pregnant teenage daughter on stage with the Republican nominee. It seemed to me that Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave if he saw the Republicans embracing unwed motherhood this way. And I think, really, the issue there is about the pro-life absolutism that has come to dominate the party.
Do you ever get the impression the liberal media disdain Gov. Sarah Palin not just because she's a strong conservative addition to the McCain ticket, but because she's a mother of five who practices the family values she preaches? I would submit that's a strong likelihood, at least in the case of Slate's Jacob Weisberg, who posits in the September 15 Newsweek that (emphases mine):
Palin's pro-life purism is as ethically flawed as it is politically damaging to the GOP. By vaunting their pro-life agenda over everything else, conservatives are abandoning one of their most valuable insights, that intact, two-parent families are best for children and the foundation of a healthy society.
Weisberg is so skeeved out by Gov. Palin's "purism" on abortion that he practically waxes nostalgic for the days of Vice President Dan Quayle:
In a Newsweek Web exclusive, Lisa Miller and Amanda Coyne set out to find something juicy about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's house of worship, Wasilla Bible Church. But finding a "staid" worship environment that "steer[s] clear of politics" and whose main attraction is Biblical preaching, they opted to focus on where the governor used to worship regularly years ago, an Assemblies of God church:
Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing branches of Christianity in the world, and the Assemblies of God is one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the country, claiming 1.6 million members. Pentecostals are generally characterized by a strict adherence to moral codes--no tobacco, no alcohol, no social dancing, no sex outside of marriage--and by their belief that the Holy Spirit bestows upon some the gift of "speaking in tongues," a reference to Acts 2: "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues." A spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign has said that Palin attends many churches and does not consider herself to be Pentecostal.
I'm slightly perplexed by the various Republican efforts to express outrage over the press and Democratic reaction to Bristol Palin's pregnancy. Maybe I'm missing something, but I haven't heard or read a single journalist--or Democrat--say that this was anything other than a private matter. In fact, Barack Obama, the son of an 18-year-old mother, was vehement and eloquent on that subject yesterday. I've got to think this is a McCain smokescreen to divert attention from the real issue here: how and why McCain selected this tyro.
On Tuesday's "Morning Joe," Newsweek's Jonathan Alter appeared as a guest for a discussion about Governor Sarah Palin's pregnant 17 year old daughter, Bristol. Alter defended the media's actions in heavily reporting on the pregnancy, saying of the Palin's: "This, to quote the Godfather, this is the business they have chosen."
Alter also defended the media's lack of reporting on former Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards's affair. The columnist argued that Edwards was no longer running for president when the scandal broke and therefore the media was right in avoiding stories on it. However, in regards to Governor Palin, Alter scoffed, "They know it's all gonna come out if they're running for president or vice president. If they don't want it to come out they shouldn't get in the ring, I hate to tell you that." It seems Alter forgot that Edwards's affair began in 2006 according to his own admission, just before Edwards announced his candidacy for president. Nevertheless, as Joe Scarborough pointed out, Edwards was going to play a big role at the Democratic National Convention and was even slated to speak when the story broke. But Alter stuck with his argument that Edwards's affair was not as newsworthy as Bristol's pregnancy.
We've noted how CNN's John Roberts asked it last week, only to get politely rebuked by colleague Dana Bash, and how ABC News's Bill Weir picked up on Saturday with a similar question about whether Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) can handle being vice president while also being a mother of five, only to have colleague Cokie Roberts object:
Without mentioning Weir, Roberts said questions "about who's taking care of the children...traditionally has very much angered women voters when women candidates are asked those questions and male candidates never are."
But rather than the question getting old and stale and falling into disuse, the liberal media are using the revelation of Palin's daughter's pregnancy to breathe into openly questioning whether the Alaska governor should be running for vice president at all.
As Newsweek's Andrew Romano noted in a September 1 Stumper blog post covering a luncheon with former Sen. Fred Thompson:
Jonathan Alter has had enough of James Carville not being a team player and boosting Sen. Barack Obama and he has a working theory that centers around a cynical, quasi-conspiratorial view of the Carville-Matalin marriage.
Wild swings in polling results have been an ongoing big story this election cycle. The LAT, as Dave Pierre pointed out a week ago, experienced a huge shift in their polling away from their man, Barack Obama, and were left scrambling to come up with a solution. But the LAT is not alone. Last month, P.J. Gladnick highlighted a similarly drastic shift in the Newsweek poll.
What, then, are we to conclude from this polling data? Are Newsweek and the LAT biased in favor of Barack Obama and other Democrats?
Joe Biden's insulting remark about Indian-Americans and Dunkin' Donuts franchises didn't indelibly taint the Delaware senator not because the media don't hype Democratic race gaffes but because "no one ever accused Biden of being a racist."
That according to Newsweek's Jonathan Alter in an August 23 column exploring why some politicians' gaffes stick and go on to practically define them -- Dan Quayle's misspelling of "potato" for example.
Argued Alter, "[t]he most common standard for [a meme's] stickiness is whether it fits into a pre-existing impression."
On the roundtable segment of Sunday’s Meet the Press, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham exclaimed that the Democratic Party should be elated that for years, the Democrats "wanted a prize fighter. And they have two right now." The NBC show was discussing Meacham's interview with Obama in the September 1 Newsweek, in which Meacham supportively volunteered to Obama that while some worry he won’t be tough enough, "I think a careful reading of your life, even a cursory one, suggests the opposite. I just don't think you get to where you're sitting when you're 47 years old by being soft."
The Newsweek interview is all about the touchy-feely matters of Obama’s upbringing, and the absence of his father Barack Obama Senior, a theme Meacham highlighted on Meet the Press:
That didn't take long. Exactly five minutes before Obama's official text message went out this morning, Howard Fineman had an article up at Newsweek praising the process by which Obama picked his running mate. He even turned lemons into lemonade, claiming Hillary really didn't want to be considered and that Obama "did her a favor" by not doing so. R-i-g-h-h-t.
First, the praise:
The minute-by-minute story of how Obama handled the selection is interesting, and revealing of the way the Democratic nominee works. He insisted on the utmost secrecy; he paid the losers the courtesy of essentially telling them "no" to their faces--not an easy thing to do. And he swallowed his considerable pride and all but confessed his lack of knowledge of foreign affairs by selecting as his running mate the Senate's senior Democratic leader on that topic.
But then came the challenge for Fineman: finessing Obama's brush-off of Hillary—in which it was reported that he had never paid her the courtesy of considering her—into a plus. The Newsweek correspondent managed to square the circle [emphasis added]:
Leave it to the liberal print media to find some way to kill everyone's Olympics buzz.
For instance, did you know that the choice by the U.S. Olympic Committee to have Ralph Lauren stitch the threads for Team USA's opening ceremonies uniform was an unfortunate nod to racism and classism and a futile, nostalgic clinging to America's waning WASP empire? That according to Sameer Reddy (pictured at right, photo via Newsweek) in an August 20 online exclusive for Newsweek (emphasis mine):
The biggest sports-related news stateside has been the redesign of the U.S. uniforms by Ralph Lauren, who took the reins from Canadian company Roots. Lauren has built an empire by becoming the unofficial outfitter of the American Dream, marketing an idealized image of America's former ruling class to the nation at large. However, the WASP aesthetic he sells-think of characters from "The Great Gatsby," clothed in tennis whites and delicate tea dresses-has come to represent a classist and racist set of ideals, hardly representative of the current multicultural social fabric of the United States. A strange choice then, to redefine the U.S. team's visual identity in this way, even as it marches further away from the 20th century, when WASP power reached its peak. But if one stops to consider America's shaky status as the world's preeminent superpower, Lauren's nostalgic, retro creations begin to make more sense.
The crisis in Georgia is all Bush's fault, the Republicans offered America a soft-pedaled version of George Wallace's racism, and Obama-voting Southern Democrats are intelligent, defiant people living in occupied territory. I learned all that from just one Newsweek column.
I may have to watch "The View" to earn back some I.Q. points.
Yes, Christopher Dickey enlightened Newsweek readers on "The Defiant Ones," his August 14 Web exclusive, the subheader of which noted that:
The Russia-Georgia conflict is yet another example of why a leader caught up in the romance of resistance should not rely on Washington. What Saakashvili should have learned from history--and the American South.
According to Dickey, the real problem is America and its ally, Georgia, a partner in coalition forces in Iraq, not Vladimir Putin's Russia.
So where does the American South come in? Dickey's thread ran from the nation of Georgia to the Peach State by examining the psychology of defiance (emphasis mine):