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):
In our ongoing series "What's Happening at the Washington Post," today's "I Can't Believe I Saw This There" moment is a rather lengthy article by Joel Achenbach, conspicuously placed on the cover of Sunday's section B, and conspicuously skeptical about the liberal bogeyman known as global warming.
Maybe more surprising, Achenbach took on media representatives that feel the need to blame every catastrophic weather event on climate change.
In fact, without naming names, he even picked on our friend at Newsweek, Sharon Begley, totally debunking her claim that global warming was responsible for the June floods in Iowa (emphasis added):
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and Newsweek Washington correspondent/MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman went after John McCain for his recent ads attacking Barack Obama, and the Arizona Republican's charge that Obama was "playing the race card" because the Illinois Democrat has repeatedly joked that his opponents will try to discourage people from voting for him because "he's black." Olbermann started off the show suggesting that McCain's ad against Obama featuring Britney Spears and Paris Hilton exhibited "almost subliminal racism, a black man with two women," and that the ad "intermixed footage of that black candidate with images of two young white women."
Fineman charged that McCain is using negative attacks to distract from the "substantive issues" Obama is "trying to raise in the campaign," and suggested that McCain is in danger of seeming as "obsessed" as Jack Nicholson's character in "A Few Good Men" as the Arizona Senator is planning to "demonize Obama to draw out the Republican base." Fineman further characterized McCain as being "in survival mode. It's not quite like the prison years, but he's a tough character in a tough spot, and he's going to use anything he can to survive."
Fineman also seemed to voice agreement with Obama's joke that Republicans will try to use race against him. After noting that Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs was not telling the truth in denying that Obama was referring to race in his controversial joke, Fineman suggested that Obama was being "honest" in warning that "the country needs to be on guard," and the Newsweek correspondent recommended that Obama "should have all of his advisors and spokespeople be honest, too." (Transcript follows)
After Barack Obama’s more-than-enthusiastic greeting by many attendees at the UNITY convention for minority journalists in Chicago on Sunday, some in the media have expressed outrage that some have now questioned their objectivity, despite the appalled reactions from some of their own peers to the display and the live video shown on CNN (at right).
April Yee wrote on Andrew Romano’s blog on Newsweek.com on Monday about the question of whether minority journalists can cover the Illinois senator objectively. She quoted Ernest Suggs of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who objected to this question even coming up in the first place: "That mindset needs to change.... It is offensive that because we have the same color or the same agenda, our journalistic ethics and responsibilities go out the window."
Suggs might have a point, since two of the biggest cheerleaders for Obama in the media are white men: Lee Cowan and Chris Matthews.
Between now and Election Day, we're sure to see—and chronicle at NB—plenty of MSM sycophancy for Barack Obama. But between the thrills going up assorted media legs, evidence is emerging that some in the media are beginning to assess the Dem candidate in a clearer light. Take for example, Gabriel Sherman's piece at the New Republic which as its title—End of the Affair—suggests, has as its thesis that at least for some of its members, the MSM's puppy-love stage might be coming to an end.
Today comes Howard Fineman's admission, hesitant as it might be, and mitigated by his suggestion that Obama came close to hitting an absolute home run with his European trip, that yes, well, after all, the guy is—how can I put this?—arrogant.
Newsweek's senior DC correspondent was a guest on this afternoon's Hardball, with Mike Barnicle sitting in for Chris Matthews. The jumping off point was Obama's cancellation of his plans to visit injured American troops in Germany.
More than three times as many Americans see a media tilt in favor of Democrat Barack Obama than toward Republican John McCain. A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey released Monday, of 1,000 likely voters, “found that 49 percent of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44 percent a month ago,” compared to a piddling 14 percent who “believe most reporters will try to help John McCain win” while “just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.”
Exactly half, 50 percent, “believe the media makes economic conditions appear worse than they really are,” a separate Rasmussen Reports telephone survey posted on Monday determined. That poll discovered “a plurality of Americans (41%) similarly believe that the media has tried to make the war in Iraq appear worse that it really is, while 26 percent say reporters have made it look better than reality and 25 percent think they’ve portrayed it accurately.”
Free market capitalism is a much-despised bogeyman to the mainstream media, as our friends at MRC's Business & Media Institute can attest.
So it's somewhat refreshing to find one article in a major media publication -- okay, it's actually Newsweek -- that seems to lament the entrepreneur-choking nature of government regulation.
Of course, the regulatory state in question happens to be the highly undemocratic Communist China, but in the July 28 edition article, "Taking Away Olympic Fun," Mary Hennock and Manuela Zoninsein lament that "Visitors to the Games will find the newly spruced-up Beijing cleaner -- and blander.":
Gee, how can that be? Just last month, the Newsweek poll showed Barack Obama with a large 15 point lead over John McCain which Newsweek announced as "Barack's Bounce." However, there is now trouble in River City as you can tell by the headline of the latest Newsweek poll story, "Glow Fading?" Yes, poor Obama has taken a big tumble in the latest Newsweek poll:
A month after emerging victorious from the bruising Democratic nominating contest, some of Barack Obama's glow may be fading. In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, the Illinois senator leads Republican nominee John McCain by just 3 percentage points, 44 percent to 41 percent. The statistical dead heat is a marked change from last month's NEWSWEEK Poll, where Obama led McCain by 15 points, 51 percent to 36 percent.
Newsweek seems to find this dramatic poll drop for Obama very puzzling (emphasis mine):
Newsweek's Sharon Begley, who earlier this week had the unscientific gall to blame the Midwest floods on global warming, continues to offend more and more people with her every keystroke.
The object of her current disaffection, comedian/magician Penn Jillette, isn't taking her affront lying down. In fact, he published a response at the Los Angeles Times Thursday to her recent attack on his global warming skepticism.
To set this up, here's what Begley posted at her Lab Notes blog last Friday concerning June's "Amazing Meeting" conference sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation (emphasis added throughout, h/t Reason):
There's no political bias here, but given the interest many of our loyal readers have for college football, the relatively slow news week we're having, and the fact that's it's fun to beat up on Newsweek, here goes.
In a recent "CW Look at Summer Fashion Trends" Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom feature promised a look at "what's hot for this year's hot weather." Among the nods of approval, an up arrow to jean shorts:
They're back like Indiana Jones. Tuck a T shirt into a high-waisted pair.
While it sounds facetious, could this be a subtle ploy to boost readership by University of Florida alumni? [click here, watch intro] If so, isn't that a poor move that could alienate other readers in the SEC?
For more background into the "Gators Wear Jean Shorts" taunt, check here.
How strange does Newsweek get on the subject of religion? See this week’s appreciation of the late George Carlin by director Kevin Smith (who cast the obscenity-laced comedian as a ridiculous Catholic bishop in "Dogma"). Smith concluded: "He was, and will likely remain, the smartest person I've ever met. But really, he was much more than just a person. Without a hint of hyperbole, I can say he was a god, a god who cussed." That was Newsweek’s headline: "Remembering a God. A God Who Cussed." (Online, it was simply "‘A God Who Cussed’.")
Stranger than that was Smith’s anecdote right before that ending. As his film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" wrapped, Carlin responded to Smith’s thank-yous by saying:
"Just do me a favor: Write me my dream role one day."
When I inquired what that'd be, he offered, "I wanna play a priest who strangles children."
Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom for its July 7 dead tree edition gives an approving up arrow for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), noting that he is "[s]urging in national polls" before adding the cautionary note to "beware looking like just another politician."
But the real CW in DC this past week, which saw the Supreme Court affirm the individual's right to keep and bear arms, is that Obama has flip-flopped on the Second Amendent, something the editors at Newsweek most certainly must know.
Newsweek's senior editor Sharon Begley has taken it upon herself to publicly declare the recent floods in the Midwest are being caused by global warming.
Those familiar with her work shouldn't be even slightly surprised by this, as Begley was the person responsible for the August 13, 2007, Newsweek cover story "Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine" which evoked widespread criticism including from one of her fellow editors.
Given how fundamental Barack Obama's former position was to his credibility as a candidate during the Democratic primaries, I'd say it's yet another a full-fledged, full-throated flip-flop, accompanied by a fundamentally flawed reading of the Bush Administration's current policy -- both of which we can be confident Old Media will try to ignore.
Hegseth explains (link to transcript added by me; other links are in original; bolds are mine):
Recent reports and rumors have indicated that Senator Obama plans to aggressively move to the middle on Iraq in the coming months. This is a good political move for Obama, if only because he’s finally starting to recognize reality. However, it's no surprise that he will continue to try and have it both ways: moderating his withdrawal language without giving any credit to surge/Petraeus advocates.
Just two weeks after getting into a brouhaha with Huffington Post editor Rachel Sklar, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has found himself in a tussle with one of the chairmen of the Netroots, Salon's Glenn Greenwald.
At the heart of this dogfight between two shameless liberal pols was Barack Obama's recent flip-flop on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and how Olbermann altered his own views on this subject in order to shelter the Democrat presidential nominee from criticism.
Grab some popcorn, folks, and let's get ready to rumble (h/t TVNewser):
The ink was hardly dry on the June 26 ruling overturning Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban when Newsweek started the hand-wringing about how the city's political establishment would react.
Rather than profiling D.C. resident Dick Heller, the victor in the lawsuit, or officials from gun rights groups on their next move in challenging other gun bans with yesterday's precedent, Newsweek sought to press D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) on how he can blunt the scope of the Heller decision.
The teaser headline and caption from the Web page read:
That's right, the high court ruled that a near-total gun ban is a blatant violation of an individual's right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Given the mainstream media's history of vigorously defending its freedoms of speech and press from any abridgement or "common sense" restriction, you'd think consistency would compel a little bit of a slant or a tip of the hat to the court upholding the plain language of another article in the Bill of Rights.
At right you can see a screen capture of the up arrow. The caption reads, "North Korea: U.S. to take it off the terror list after nuclear declaration. More cognac for the Dear Leader!"
Putting aside for a moment the matter of the wisdom or folly of the deal, since Newsweek CW clearly judges it wise, it's telling that the Bush foreign policy team is not given the thumbs up here instead of Kim Jong-Il.
Newsweek is at it again (see here, here, and here for starters). Virtually any positive angle its writers can come up with for Barack Obama, it'll take. The latest comes from "special guest columnist" Alan Ehrenhalt who argues -- and then doesn't argue (you'll see what I mean) -- that Barack Obama's experience as a state legislator makes him more qualified (to be president) than John McCain's twenty-two years as a U.S. Senator (and his four years as a U.S. Representative before that).
But here's something I bet you didn't know: If Obama becomes president, he will have spent more time serving as a state legislator (eight years) than anyone who has occupied the White House since Abraham Lincoln.
Want to know just how in the tank MSNBC's Dan Abrams is for Barack Obama?
On Thursday's "Verdict," the network's former general manager actually tried to deflect criticism from Michelle Obama by bringing up statements John McCain made concerning his experience as a Vietnam POW making him realize how much he loves America.
This is how Abrams began the program: "Tonight: We have uncovered comments from John McCain on camera that could undermine the steady right-wing attacks against Michelle Obama."
Is that Abrams' role as a journalist: to undermine attacks against the wife of a presidential candidate?
Readers are warned that the following transcript is likely to offend them in a fashion that might not be desired on a Saturday (video embedded upper right, use scrollbars to center, h/t Hot Air via NBer Thomas Stewart):
Democrats (including Democrats in the media) are unhappy the presidential race is within five points, so they're eager to find wider polling margins than that. Yahoo! readers saw this headline at the top of the news on Saturday morning: "Obama widens lead over McCain by 15 points in latest poll."
In 1992, reporters like Joe Klein and Sidney Blumenthal were mocked as Clinton Conformity Cops, telling other journalists that the goal of electing Bill Clinton was too important to create any obstacle of objectivity that might get in the Democrat's way. This came to mind when watching MSNBC on Thursday night, but Keith Olbermann took it a step further. He attacked ABC’s Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos for having "bigger IQs" than to make the apparently simple-minded statement that Barack Obama reversed himself on accepting public financing for his campaign.
His guest, Newsweek political reporter Howard Fineman, also played Obama Conformity Cop by completely agreeing with and hailing Obama’s lame line that taking millions of small private contributions really is "public financing." He claimed Obama wasn’t really flip-flopping: "I don't think of it as an 180-degree reversal. I think of it as a recognition of reality, and one he's been signaling for a long time. This guy cares about changing the system, paradoxically in his mind and I think to some extent, he's right. This is what he has to do to try to change the system."
Doesn't this sound like they're desperately spinning that Obama has to burn the McCain-Feingold village in order to save it?
Today's Conventional Wisdom at Newsweek.com gives the imperial thumbs down for public campaign financing system, and all because the all-but-anointed Democratic champion is foregoing federal funding.:
[Down arrow] Public campaign financing: Obama decision to forgo funds could signal the end of system.
Besides being entirely too premature to make a pronouncement like that, it's a blown opportunity for the snarky editors at Newsweek to blast Obama for breaking a campaign pledge. Rather than assign the Illinois Democrat a down arrow for backing out of his pledge to run on public financing, Newsweek is heralding the demise of a system Obama seemed to favor just months ago.
A new study shows women and minorities are more satisfied in general with their jobs than white men in the military and that military women are generally much more positive about their career and career prospects than their civilian counterparts, according to a new study.
Newsweek's Sarah Kliff has the story in a Web exclusive (emphasis mine):
Presumptive GOP nominee John McCain granted an interview to Newsweek’s Jon Meacham and Holly Bailey, and in the first sign of a long, uphill campaign with the media, McCain was asked how he could defeat such a "hugely gifted politician" in a "brutal year on a clinical level for any Republican to be running." Newsweek’s duo (or most plausibly, Newsweek editor Meacham) lectured McCain not to use a line about change we can’t believe in: "Watching, it struck me that fighting on somebody else's rhetorical field and offering a negative as opposed to a positive is not the most vigorous way forward." When asked about his critiques of the media, McCain buckled under pressure and pledged not to say anything critical about his press coverage.
NEWSWEEK: Sir, Senator Obama is a hugely gifted politician. This is a brutal year on a clinical level for any Republican to be running.
So what's the strategy? How do you overcome those two things?
Scott McClellan is a truth-teller when he whacks President Bush today. George Stephanopoulos couldn't find the truth in bright lights with two hands when he attacked his boss in 1999. These are both stands taken by Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter. But on Thursday night's Verdict with Dan Abrams on MSNBC, he slapped conservatives around as the pathetic partisan position-shifters. When Abrams asked how McClellan had just performed in his interview with Keith Olbermann, Alter was impressed:
I think he did very, very well. This guy is a truth-teller. He might not have been telling the truth from the podium in the press room all of the time, but what he said rang true with a lot of the other accounts we have of what‘s gone on inside the Bush administration.
You know, the test here on whether he should have done this or not -- go back to the Clinton administration when George Stephanopoulos wrote that book. If you weren‘t against Stephanopoulos telling the truth from his perspective about the Clinton administration, you can‘t be against this. You can‘t have it both ways.
That sleazy yet hallowed HBO television series "Sex and the City" is now in theaters as a feature film, and the cultural elites are having a religious experience. Newsweek previewed the movie by reporting how an estimated 50,000 people, some from far-away lands like Australia and Japan, "make the pilgrimage each year to the shrine," the fictional New York City home of "Sex" protagonist Carrie Bradshaw. The magazine chronicled a tour group standing silently, some weeping.
Am I the only one who thinks that those estimated 50,000 people out there make the Trekkies look sane by comparison? But Newsweek seems to lament how the movie isn’t outrageous enough. The headline is "Girls Gone Mild," and the trailer is all about our protagonist getting married – maybe. Writer Julia Baird was amazed at "how many people speak of it in hyperbolic terms: as a revolution, a phenomenon, a cataclysm, almost an insurgency."