Newsweek’s Jonathan Darman lamented this week that the John Edwards poverty tour/publicity tour didn’t passionately grip America, that it did not immediately become a mythic event, like filthy-rich Bobby Kennedy's poverty tour in 1968. In a dramatic flourish, the young Harvard-educated whipper-snapper blames this tragedy on not-very-compassionate America:
"There is something tragic about Edwards's failure to break through. Today, 37 million Americans live below the poverty line, 12 million more than at the time of Kennedy's death. And yet Edwards's call of conscience has not resonated. By all rights, Edwards, the son of a millworker, should have an easier time talking about poverty than did Kennedy, the son of a millionaire. His difficulty speaks to the candidate's inability to connect. It also speaks to the nation's inability to be moved."
Outrageously, Newsweek has published a so-called "special report" in which Muslim Americans are called "one of this country's greatest strengths," but, Newsweek worries, that they are now "vulnerable as never before." Yes, America, as far as Newsweek is concerned it is YOU, not Islam, that is the problem.
As to the first claim, Newsweek offers not a single reason in their report why Muslims might be one of our "greatest strengths," but of the claim of how "vulnerable" they are, Newsweek drones on and on. Naturally, Newsweek puts the onus on Americans to bend over backward for Muslims, but doesn't once take Muslims to task for their barbarities and radicalism.
The "BeliefWatch" column in the front section of Newsweek magazine is often better described as a "Non-BeliefWatch," offering the latest supportive coverage of atheists, humanists, Unitarians, free-thinking leftist dissidents, and "blasphemy challengers." In this week’s "BeliefWatch," Newsweek's Lisa Miller highlights leftist Rocky Anderson, the mayor of Salt Lake City, running down Utah as deluded and denouncing Mitt Romney as a sellout to right-wing handlers.
"There is a culture of obedience in this country, but it's probably no more evident than in most parts of Utah," Anderson told NEWSWEEK in an interview. "That's why we've seen the highest approval ratings here for this entirely corrupt, disastrous presidency." As for Romney, his "opposition to abortion and stem-cell research is a very different Mitt Romney than the one who ran for governor of Massachusetts. I felt that Mitt Romney was a man who could really bring people together in a nonpartisan fashion, who would always stand up for the highest ideals and not worry about the polls ... I can only think this is a man who's caving to what his handlers want him to say."
Newsweek writer Jerry Adler penned an environmental-extremist quote for the ages in the last issue of 1990, writing "It's a morbid observation, but if everyone on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem." More than 16 years later, Adler’s on the morbid anti-human bandwagon again in this week’s Newsweek with an entire page-long article reporting "If humans were evacuated, the Earth would flourish." The hatred for man’s apparent ruination of the Earth comes right through in his coldly casual discussion of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement:
Environmentalists have their own eschatology—a vision of a world not consumed by holy fire but returned to ecological balance by the removal of the most disruptive species in history. That, of course, would be us, the 6 billion furiously metabolizing and reproducing human beings polluting its surface.
The 2008 presidential campaign could be one of the most critical in recent history. As things now stand, it could also be one of the most tiresome. Nowhere is media snobbishness more evident than when the big picture begins with the snide liberal elitist take on America: is the country "ready" to elect a black like Barack Obama or a woman like Hillary Clinton?
If Americans reject the icons of liberalism and vote Republican, apparently they will be proving the country is stuffed with benighted bigots who refuse to "expand America's sense of possibility." Those gauzy words came from Newsweek in their Barack-and-Hillary cover at the end of 2006. Obama's back on the cover of Newsweek again for the July 16 edition, photographed in black and white, with another question from left field: Will Obama be black enough for blacks and yet conciliatory enough for whites?
On this afternoon's "Tucker Carlson" on MSNBC, the eponymous host mentioned that Barack Obama had travelled to NYC to seek the support of Charles Barron of Brooklyn. Carlson knows Barron well, the NYC Councilman being a frequent guest on Tucker's show. Carlson described Barron as a "pretty straightforward racist, pretty straightforward black nationalist, anti-white character, exactly the kind of person you would not expect Obama to be courting." He then asked guest Jonathan Alter: "What is Obama doing?
SENIOR NEWSWEEK EDITOR JONATHAN ALTER: "Well, I think Obama wants the support of everybody, and I think the question is whether he can have a tent that's actually as big as the United States . . . The whole point of his campaign Tucker is to say "don't judge me by any one of my supporters, I'm trying to get a super-big tent here" . . . I think it would be unfair to hold any of his supporter's politics, you know, hold him accountable for what Charles Barron thinks.
Tucker wasn't buying, and drew the logical analogy.
MSNBC HOST TUCKER CARLSON: If Rudy Giuliani went down and asked David Duke for his support, would you say, "you know, it's unfair to hold Rudy Giuliani accountable for what David Duke said?" No, of course not! You'd write a cover story attacking him. That's a ludicrous point.
June 19 edition had an interesting web-exclusive “Mind Matters”
column by Wray Herbert called “Toothless
which was about social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot
Aronson's new book, “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me).” The
book and the column concerned the “psychological process known as
cognitive dissonance.” Sound like an unlikely candidate for bias?
Cognitive dissonance is “the extreme
emotional discomfort we feel when two important beliefs, attitudes or
perceptions collide. Humans cannot tolerate dissonance for long, so
they ease the tension by making a change in belief or attitude—and
justifying the change.”
Newsweek and Herbert, a fellow at the [Jimmy] Carter Center for
mental health journalism still managed to somehow throw in a little
liberal bias, with a vague reference that does not make clear whether
Newsweek or the study's authors named only Republicans (surprise!) as
examples of public figures with cognitive dissonance. After naming a
series of recognizable GOPers, Newsweek also got in dig at Bush and
those who still support the “misbegotten war”(emphasis mine):
Part of a regular web-only health-centric column, "Tip of the Week," Newsweek ran a June 14 piece written by Ruth Olsen, called “How to shop for organic foods without breaking your budget,” that hit many of the usual myths and wishful thinking about organic foods, such as, organic foods taste better than conventional foods (which are labeled “nonorganic” in the article, implying they deviate from the norm and are somehow lacking), organic produce lasts as long as conventional and organics can be comparable price-wise to regular produce in supermarkets (emphasis mine throughout):
If you do manage to get more organic into your diet, you won't regret the extra effort. Organic produce isn’t just healthy and better for the environment, it tastes better, too, according to Charles Benbrook, chief scientist for The Organic Center. And that flavor boost might just make it easier to convince your children to eat their veggies, or to introduce them to new foods.
Only a few days later, Newsweek's latest issue chose to print a quote from the Republican governor of Alabama in their "Perspectives: Quotes in the News" section.
"In Alabama we have had experience turning corn into alcohol for years."
-Gov. Bob Riley, joking about the state's history of moonshining as he filled up a Chevrolet Impala with ethanol-based fuel. About 2,000 state vehicles will start using alternative fuel to save money and help the environment.
With congressional Democrats' approval ratings in the basement (lower than President Bush's), some in the media are attributing this to the fact that the Dems have not succeeded in cutting off the war in Iraq. Trouble is, while that strategy may be beneficial in the short run, it makes Democrats play to their stereotype of being soft when it comes to foreign policy.
To help his fellow liberals out, Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter offers Democrats a way to surrender, "without looking like surrender monkeys:"
Iraq is President Bush's war, [something Alter would never have said about Kosovo] but the Democrats are quickly getting
tagged with some blame for it. One of the reasons Congress is in such
bad odor—less popular even than Bush in recent polls—is that Democrats
look feckless on how to proceed in Iraq, and not just because they lack
the votes to cut off funding. Are they neo-isolationists, determined to
exit the region as soon as possible? Democrats like Pennsylvania
freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, who saw ground action as an Army captain,
insist not. They want to get out of Iraq and get tough on Al Qaeda at
the same time. But the idea isn't getting through. [...]
The cover of this week’s Newsweek touts a story inside on "Hillary’s Likability Gap." That’s not exactly how it’s pitched inside, where the magazine tries another attack on right-wing Clinton haters titled "The New War on Hillary." Reporters Jonathan Darman and Mark Hosenball ponder the "haters’ fury," and remember the bad old days of First Lady Hillary: "Installed in Washington, Hillary morphed into a comic-book villain for her detractors – a man-eating feminist, they claimed, who allegedly threw lamps at her husband, communed psychically with Eleanor Roosevelt and lit a White House Christmas tree adorned with sex toys. The narrative of depravity – a tissue of inventions by conservatives – was often hard to follow."
But wait, wait: who "invented" Hillary’s seances with Jean Houston conjuring up Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House? That story emerged from the keyboard of Bob Woodward – no conservative – in 1996. Newsweek wrote an article lamenting the story, hailing Hillary as a persecuted "Joan of Arc figure." And what about the lamp-throwing? Newsweek really launched those rumors nationwide (albeit with sympathy toward poor Hillary) in the April 5, 1993 edition:
Update: Regardless of your religious views, the point of my post here is to lampoon the silly false choice posed by the poorly-worded question. I think I know what Quinn and Meacham are getting at. Allow me to be their oracle as to what they meant to ask: "In obtaining salvation, in your faith perspective, which is more important, faith or good works?" That wasn't so hard, now was it?
The May 14 issue of Newsweek proclaimed that some descendants of famous Republicans--Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater--are thinking about changing parties and voting Blue. In an article titled, “Generational Tensions: Thesons and daughters of some iconic Republicans (Ike! T.R.!) are contemplating crossing the aisle,” reporter Michael Hirsch set up the improbable idea that the logical move by unhappy "fiscally conservative" Republicans is to the Democratic Party. According to Ike's granddaughter Susan Eisenhower, “moderate ‘Eisenhower Republicans’ “ are not content, but Newsweek did not fully explore the illogic of this proposed alternative (emphasis mine throughout):
Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency—and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers—is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP.
Debatably, the dissatisfaction of moderate Republicans with the Iraq war and with what the article categorized as religiously influenced issues surrounding topics like Terri Schiavo, abortion and homosexuality can be answered by the Democratic Party, but not the problems of bloated bureaucracies and out of control spending. The article did not state the obvious; a Big Government GOP is still smaller than the modern Democratic Party.
On page 23 of the June 4 edition of Newsweek, there's a subtle bias on the "Perspectives" quotes-of-the-week page this week. Note the editorializing by using quotation marks suggesting progress will never happen in Iraq:
"It could be a bloody -- it could be a very difficult August." --President George W. Bush, on what is in store for U.S. troops in Iraq in the months before a "progress report" due in September (emphasis mine).
On page 33, there's a story by Melinda Liu on actual progress in Iraq, headlined: "Gathering the Tribes: U.S. field commanders are finally beginning to tap the traditional networks that helped Saddam stay in power." Liu reported from Ramadi that "Marines and Iraqi tribesmen and police are sitting together, swapping jokes and stories. Some of these Iraqis were probably shooting at Americans less than a year ago. Now they and the Marines are fighting side by side against Al Qaeda."
News magazines love to float above the real news and focus on nebulous trends, and perhaps none are more nebulous than the sudden popularity of the "beta male," as represented by Al Gore. The "cultural dispatch" by writer Jennie Yabroff celebrates Gore as "the proto beta male" who’s "having the last laugh as a movie star, an ecosavant, a best-selling author, and a potential dark-horse presidential candidate."
Yabroff’s article in the June 4 edition was headlined "Betas Rule: What do Jim from 'The Office,' Shrek and Al Gore have in common? They're beta males—losers who are winning. Look out, alpha dogs." While the grasping, ambitious "alphas" are out, Gore and Bill Clinton are singled out as the hottest political embodiments of sensitively surrendering men, as if they have no ambitions at all:
All three news magazines devoted a page to remembering Jerry Falwell this week, but Time and Newsweek were each obnoxious in their own way. Time ended their article with a dismissive quote from leftist Jim Wallis: "the Evangelicals have left the Right. They now reside with Jesus." Newsweek displayed false generosity in saying sometimes he was a demagogue, and sometimes he was the ringmaster of a circus: "He could be a demagogue, but he was as much a P.T. Barnum as anything else."
Time magazine, in a back-page article titled "Jerry's Kids" -- which could be an insulting reference to Falwell followers, but is probably intended to bless his more palatable, "more moderate" successors -- Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs suggested that Falwell thought party labels were more important than the social issues:
Is President Bush mentally ill? Sharon Begley is a senior editor for science at Newsweek, which apparently entitled her to conduct a tired psychoanalysis of President Bush and his state of denial about the war in Iraq, suggested earlier in his life by his comforting his mother as his sister Robin died of leukemia at age three, and his alcohol abuse as an adult. It "could all be dismissed as psychobabble," Begley wrote, but she marshaled experts to diagnose him from afar for his "pathological certainty that things are going well."
In an article titled "The Truths We Want to Deny," Begley, a longtime Newsweek writer (recently returned to the fold after five years at the Wall Street Journal), overcame the awkwardness of diagnosing mental illness from a distance:
This week’s Newsweek cover story on political courage ("Wanted: A New Truman") is truly baffling. Evan Thomas has a strange way of assessing what marks courage in our presidential contenders. He easily acknowledges that John McCain’s long tenure as a prisoner of war trumps everyone else. But he writes "All the candidates will use their life stories to show a sense of moral purpose." How did Hillary display her sense of moral purpose?
You may not believe it, but Thomas claimed: "Hillary Clinton had a stark moral choice: whether to stay with her husband when President Clinton's philandering with Monica Lewinsky was exposed. Her decision to stand by him could not have been easy." Inside the media-Democrat complex, moral courage is not displayed by condemning adultery. It is displayed by tolerating adultery and maintaining political viability for the party in power – not to mention nicely setting up your own senatorial and presidential campaigns down the line.
Newsweek’s April 30 article by Eleanor Clift recycled old gun-control mythology and misleading statements with a renewed call for something to be done in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting. The article mixed the usual anti-gun talking points with some subtle pining for the good ol’ days of President Clinton’s Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) that supposedly made the streets safer by taking the extra, extra, super-scary looking guns out the hands of all Americans (except for the criminals who obtained them illegally, of course). Clift starts off with one of the more ridiculous statements (emphasis mine throughout):
Rahm Emanuel was once a fierce gun-control advocate. As a top aide to Bill Clinton, he helped push the president's assault-weapons ban. At the time, Emanuel argued there was little reason for anyone to have a military-style weapon designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest time.
As noted by Matthew Sheffield and Tim Graham, elements of the left run a massive campaign to destroy major media figures that do not ideologically march lockstep with them. This story appeared on the April 16 edition of "The O’Reilly Factor" when former Los Angeles area NOW president, and self proclaimed liberal Tammy Bruce appeared to expose that agenda.
Host Bill O’Reilly noted that he is investigating with Sean Hannity how leftist distortions and smears find their way into the mainstream media. Tammy Bruce noted that elements of the left take phrases out of context to demonize not only conservatives, but anyone who is not a complete liberal ideologue and they started with a test case on Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Newsweek’s cover story also carried a half-page feature on page 29 about the "Leaders of the ‘Shock Jock’ Pack." (I could not find the article online.) Writer Jessica Ramirez wrote, "Don Imus’s world imploded last week after he made racist and sexist remarks." Ramirez used data from Talkers Magazine, including a list of "Up-And-Comers." Note the labeling contrast:
Mark Levin was "An ultraconservative in the Sean Hannity style. This best-selling author’s show is syndicated through ABC Radio Networks."
Stephanie Miller was "One of the most popular and funny liberal radio hosts in the country. Miller is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks."
Ed Schultz was "A dominant liberal voice with a political bent similar to Al Franken’s. Schultz is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks."
Newsweek’s cover story on Don Imus this week carried a confessional tone, offering penance from Newsweek bigwigs for enabling the I-Man due to their hunger to be a part of the "in crowd." Weston Kosova’s story lectured about how the Imus incident compares to Hurricane Katrina and the O.J. Simpson verdict in showing "media power is still concentrated largely in white hands and, as a result, racism is sometimes tolerated and enabled in ways that many white Americans are unable, or unwilling, to acknowledge."
Newsweek is also contrite this week its coverage of the wildly mishandled Duke lacrosse rape allegations, but they offered no broad Big Picture moral about how that shows a media too willing to believe in racism in every legal case. In fact, the story has a strange subheadline, with the notion of "innocence" in quotes, as in you shouldn't quite believe it, and it prides itself that all the injustice done to the three accused white boys wasn't just a nightmare: "It was also maturing."
This is unfortunate timing, no? Deirdre Imus, the wife of ex-MSNBC personality Don Imus, is featured in a symposium on page 92 in this week's Newsweek lecturing to evangelicals that they shouldn't be behind the curve on global warming the way they were on civil rights for blacks in the 1960s:
Environmentalism is the civil-rights issue of the 21st century, and one doesn't have to look too far back to see that evangelicals sat on their hands when it came to civil rights for blacks. I refuse to sit on my hands and allow the evangelical heritage to be sullied again, because the very reputation of the evangelical witness is at stake. It's crucial that we not make the mistake of our fathers.
There is no more consistent stack of baloney in the national media than Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom Watch" manufacturers claiming they represent what all of Washington is thinking -- instead of the liberal fraction of Washington. This week's edition (called the "Executive Privilege Edition") begins with a typical down arrow for President Bush: "Conditions for aides to meet Congress: No oath or transcripts. Sounds like one of Cheney's covert ops." They compare Bush to Nixon, but not to Bill Clinton, who also tried to block congressional ans special-prosecutor investigations with executive privilege claims. But there are three "Up" arrows for Democrats:
Here's how Rev. Randall Balmer yesterday blogged his decidedly unorthodox read of Scriptural texts:
fundamentalist, I spent a lot of my childhood thinking and worrying
about the end of time as predicted in the New Testament book of
Revelation. I was taught that history would come screeching to a halt
and the world as we know it would dissolve in some kind of apocalyptic
Rush H. Limbaugh, Sr., only had a storied legal career, the respect of Missouri Democrats and Republicans, and a stint of service to his country as Eisenhower's ambassador to India.
But to Newsweek's Holly Bailey, President Bush signing a bill naming a federal courthouse in honor of Rush Limbaugh's grandfather was a substantial distraction from the real "people's business" in Washington:
Never mind the whole U.S. attorneys' mess: President Bush is busy doing
the work of the people. What's he up to? On Wednesday afternoon, the
White House press office forwarded reporters this nugget from the
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
On Wednesday, March 21, 2007 the President signed into law:
342, which designates the United States courthouse in Cape Girardeau,
Missouri, as the Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Sr. United States Courthouse.
Bailey cleared up any confusion for readers who might be unaware that Rush Limbaugh is the third in a line of Rush Hudson Limbaughs, and that his grandfather was a hard-working and well-respected pillar of the legal community in southeastern Missouri who died 11 years ago at age 104.
But in closing her March 21 "Gaggle" blog post, Bailey snarked that it's "Good to know that the president isn't letting another little scandal distract him from the people's business." [continued...]