Time's cover story denouncing the Bush era (plus a year of Clinton and a year of Obama) as "The Decade from Hell" is overwrought. But Time's guru Andy Serwer tries to claim it's not:
Calling the 2000s "the worst" may seem an overwrought label in a decade in which we fought no major wars, in historical terms. It is a sadly appropriate term for the families of the thousands of 9/11 victims and soldiers and others killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the lack of a large-scale armed conflict makes these past 10 years stand out that much more.
This decade was as awful as any peacetime decade in the nation's entire history. Between the West's ongoing struggle against radical Islam and our recent near-death economic experience — trends that have largely skirted much of the developing world — it's no wonder we feel as if we've been through a 10-year gauntlet.
Americans may have the darkest view of recent history, since it's in the U.S. that the effects of those trends have been most acute. If you live in Brazil or China, you have had a pretty good decade economically. Once, we were the sunniest and most optimistic of nations. No longer.
The mistakes President Obama has made in recent months that have led to his plummeting poll numbers aren't his fault.
According to Time's Joe Klein, it's all being caused by -- and I quote! -- "the media's tendency to get overwrought about almost anything."
Yep. After withholding from the public material information about Obama last year that almost certainly would have doomed his candidacy, the press today are focusing too much attention on silly things like his: response to the Fort Hood massacre; not spending enough time on unemployment; accomplishing nothing in Asia, and; allowing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be tried in New York City.
As one reads Klein's Wednesday column, you get the feeling he dearly misses the good old days when anything Obama did or said was met with thunderous applause, and anything that could take the bloom off the rose was squelched:
Life was hell under Bush. But hang in there: things'll get better under Obama.
Class dismissed: that's really all you need to know about the latest Time cover story—The Decade From Hell And Why The Next One Will Be Better. But just to drive home the Manichean message, Time editor Rick Stengel and Andy Serwer [of Time stable-mate Fortune], who wrote the cover story, appeared on Morning Joe today.
Of course there's the inconvenient detail about Barack Obama having been elected in this decade. But not to worry. Serwer suggests we "see Barack Obama being elected as the beginning of the next decade."
You could call it progress in media bias. For years, liberal journalists have blamed Team Bush for the death of hundreds in Hurricane Katrina. The major media found that theme of fatal incompetence simply irresistible. Time’s Michael Grunwald, who has written in-depth articles and a book about the Army Corps of Engineers, is bringing the focus back to long-standing government policies over decades.
But even Grunwald is using harsh language that Time magazine would usually disparage as talk-radio bluster. He said "Hurricane Katrina was a man-made disaster. And some of us have been screaming about that for several years...those of us who have followed this -- you know, we‘re angry about the Army Corps killing 1,000 people."
The occasion to revisit Katrina came from federal District Judge Stanwood Duval, who ruled in favor of plaintiffs who sued the federal government for compensation over hurricane damage. Duval charged the Army Corps with "monumental negligence" in its maintenance of a man-made shipping channel called the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet:
Time magazine appears to be throwing caution to the political correctness wind by placing a picture on the cover of its soon to to be released November 23 issue with the word "Terrorist" written across the face of alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan.
Straddling the fence slightly, the magazine chose to put a question mark after the word.
Even so, given media's discomfort portraying Hasan as anything more than an overwrought, over-worked soldier petrified of heading to Afghanistan, Time's "The Fort Hood Killer: Terrified ... or Terrorist?" was so uncharacteristicly un-PC you could almost call it a Mac.
Just count the references to Islamic extremism in the first paragraph alone:
Here we go again: a liberal journalist feeling Barack Obama's pain, that he would be instantly judged by the media. Wait, the Obama-mythologizing, pinch-me-history-is-happening media? Yes. Time's David Von Drehle wrote an article titled "Obama's Fort Hood Speech: Lost in Translation." Von Drehle compared it to...the Gettysburg Address:
Lincoln was lucky. His speech at Gettysburg wasn't televised, and so he wasn't subjected to hours of commentary in advance of his address, setting expectations, or hours after his speech, analyzing his every word.
No one tried to tease out the difference between his "Commander in Chief moment" and his "pastor-in-chief role," as various TV pundits undertook to do while waiting for President Barack Obama to speak at a memorial service Tuesday for the men and women killed last week in the massacre at Fort Hood. Televised speeches now come larded in so much analysis, before and after, that it becomes almost impossible to connect with them in a genuine, visceral way.
Time magazine is beating its collective breast: we are not the makers of glorious Obama history! We are the blabby pundits that prevent a "genuine, visceral" connection with Obama's eloquence!
Saturday's vote to pass ObamaCare out of the House of Representatives was a nail-biter, passing with two votes to spare over the bare-minimum majority of 218. The final vote, 220-215, had 39 Democrats join all but one Republican in voting no.
Yet while a solid 15 percent of the Democratic caucus bucked the party leadership with their no votes, the media have latched on to the sole Republican defector: pro-life, social conservative Catholic Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.), who has a tenuous hold in a solidly liberal Democratic district once held by the corrupt William Jefferson.
Time's Jay Newton-Small made much of the solitary Republican defection in Swampland blog post on Saturday, painting it as an abject failure of House GOP Whip Eric Cantor's "promise" to keep the opposition unified. Newton-Small had to add an update later clarifying Cantor made no such explicit promise:
The Republicans may have won huge victories in New Jersey and Virginia on Tuesday, but Time's Joe Klein still thinks the GOP is "an extremist shard of a party that is essentially a regional southern party in the country."
I guess the 66 and 60 percent of independents who voted for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Virginia and New Jersey respectively on Tuesday are also part of this extremist regional southern party.
Alas, such facts didn't enter into the discussion on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" when Klein showed how one's political biases can easily trump logic (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 4:18, file photo):
The latest Pew poll found people see Fox News as conservative, but Time media writer James Poniewozik noted large numbers also thought the major networks were liberal. That must mean it’s time to assert the media has a "moderate bias." This is defined, as liberals usual define it, as pretending conservative idiocy isn’t idiocy:
As anyone following health reform knows, centrism is a political position too. And you see moderate bias — i.e., a preference for centrism — whenever a news outlet assumes that the truth must be "somewhere in the middle." You see it whenever an organization decides that "balance" requires equal weight for an opposing position, however specious: "Some, however, believe global warming is a myth." (Moderate bias would also require me to find a countervailing liberal position and pretend that it is equivalent to global-warming denial. Sorry.)
As readers of Cal Thomas’s latest syndicated column already know, the Media Research Center is releasing a new report today on the media’s coverage of communism, timed to coincide with the 20 anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Monday. Sad to say, but before, during and after those momentous events two decades ago, many in the liberal media continuously whitewashed the true nature of communism, or suggested free-market capitalism was somehow worse.
For our report, Better Off Red?, Scott Whitlock and I combed through the MRC’s archives; the quotes (and 19 audio/video clips) we pulled together show some liberal journalists utterly failed to accurately depict communism as one of the worst evils of the 20th century, and often aimed their fire at those who were fighting communism rather than those who were perpetuating it. The full report has more than 70 quotes; here's a sample from the Executive Summary:
■ Before it collapsed, these journalists insisted those enslaved by communism actually feared capitalism more. "Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy," CBS anchor Dan Rather asserted in 1987.
With condescension reminiscent of Peter Jennings - in 1994 the ABC anchor characterized the Republican takeover of Congress as the electorate having a "temper tantrum" - Lindenberger portrayed same-sex marriage opponents as stubborn children, saying, "Maine voters insisted on having their say on an issue that simply will not go away." Rather than just report and analyze the outcome, the article simultaneously sympathized with gay activists and emphasized, by way of many pro-gay quotes, the futility of fighting against an "incredible campaign" that simply wants justice.
Maine defenders of traditional marriage only had one quote in the nearly 1,200-word article: "What's the hurry [for gay marriage]?" That's six words, if you count the brackets.
The article also reassured same-sex marriage proponents that this rejection will leave no lasting scars:
The liberals at Time magazine would never want to impose their sexual morality on you – unless it involves environmentalism. The October 26 issue features an article headlined "Sex and the Eco-City: Look out, petroleum jelly. Getting it on is getting greener." Writer Kathleen Kingsbury began:
In many ways, choosing a sex toy is not unlike buying a car. Walk into most adult shops, and the new-car smell is undeniable. Salespeople tout motor speed and durability. And then there are emissions to consider.
That's carbon emissions, of course. As the green movement makes its way into the bedroom, low lighting is a must--to conserve electricity--but so are vegan condoms, organic lubricants and hand-cranked vibrators.
The captions beneath a collection of "eco-friendly" offerings to go "Green Between the Sheets" included the promo "Nonleather whips are cruelty-free (to cows, that is)."
The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news," and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.
Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be "more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."
The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as "Fox Lies," and "even more Fox lies." Time calls Dunn the "general" of this anti-Fox campaign.
Last week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to U.S. Senators about current health reform legislation. The USCCB has supported the goal of universal health coverage for decades, but the letter made clear that they do not yet support the Senate Finance Committee's bill because of concerns about affordability, coverage for immigrants, and financing for abortion. I'd like to focus on that last point, because I think it's here that the bishops may be moving the goalposts on what they can and cannot accept.
Sullivan lamented that the bishops are not accepting the word of the Obama administration as the gospel truth when it comes to abortion:
A year ago Time magazine's David Van Biema wrote up a short, favorable take on the so-called Green Bible, an edition based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) that placed "green references" in "a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus." But wait, there's more, The Green Bible also includes "supplementary writings" several of which "cite the Genesis verse in which God gives humanity 'dominion' over the earth" and "Others [which] assert that eco-neglect violates Jesus' call to care for the least among us: it is the poor who inhabit the floodplains."
Even though The Green Bible is risible both from a commercial standpoint as a marketing ploy and theologically as a bastardization of the real heart of Christian doctrine, neither charge was entertained as a valid criticism by the Time staffer. Van Biema even hinted that evangelicals, 54 percent of whom "agreed that 'stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost'" might embrace the translation despite strong reservations from conservative theologians.
Time’s so-called humorist, the columnist Joel Stein, wisecracked in the latest issue that the time for an American dictatorship is here. He began "Dictator of My Dreams" by praising New York mayor Michael Bloomberg for banning smoking in bars, which now "seems insane." He joked that it’s time for an Obama dictatorship, sick as liberals are of attempts at bipartisanship:
President Obama should probably get a little bit dictatorial up in here. He's the only person in the U.S. unaware that we elected him dictator, giving him both houses of Congress and the major television networks whenever he wants them. Instead of ignoring people's objections until they get socialized medicine and realize they like it, as England's leaders did, Obama is worried about seducing Olympia Snowe so he can say his health bill is bipartisan. Do you know how long it takes to charm people from Maine? They're uptight white people coated with a hard exterior made from other uptight white people.
One sign your news magazine might be out of touch with average Americans is when you take a look at abstinence-only sex ed guidelines and declare that, in the Obama administration's hands, it's "not the end of the world."
Time's Amy Sullivan, however, aims to reassure skittish liberals weary of the Bush administration's socially conservative tack on sex ed funding:
There's a side of America that scares Frenchmen, French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand was quoted by Time magazine Paris-based writer Bruce Crumley, and it's the side of American determination that doesn't let a 32-year-old rape case die, even if the perpetrator is an elderly survivor of the Holocaust.
Seeking to explain the "cultural divide" that's as "wide as the Atlantic" between America and Europe, Crumley noted that Europeans are "shocked and dismayed that an internationally acclaimed artist" such as Roman Polanski "could be jailed for such an old offense."
Of course, at no point did Crumley cite any public opinion polls with empirical data to back up his argument about the U.S.-European cultural divide on pursuing fugitives who jump bail after drugging and anally raping 13-year-old girls.
As NewsBusters reported Thursday, Time magazine this week published a rather lengthy article entitled, "Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?"
It turns out this piece is in the upcoming September 28 issue with Beck himself on the cover next to the headline, "Mad Man: Glenn Beck and the angry style of American politics" (pictured right).
Apparently, this is somewhat of a retread for Time, for back in 1995, the magazine asked more positively on its January 23 cover, "Is Rush Limbaugh Good for America?"
The sub-headline read, "Talk radio is only the beginning. Electronic populism threatens to short-circuit representative democracy." The interior article offered some rather ominous insights concerning the direction of this medium and how the Left might combat it (h/t City Journal via Hot Air):
Time Magazine's Joe Klein leveled another accusation of racism against Tea Party protesters today, employing fallacious arguments that could be torn apart by any student of basic logic.
Tea Party protesters, by Klein's account, are similar to the caricature of the 1990s religious right: "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command," in the words of the Washington Post. Klein takes that WaPo adage and adds 'racist' to the end.
The Tea Party protesters are scared above all, Klein asserts, "by an amorphous feeling that they [sic] America they imagined they were living in--Sarah Palin's fantasy America--is a different place now, changing for the worse, overrun by furriners of all sorts: Latinos, South Asians, East Asians, homosexuals...to say nothing of liberated, uppity blacks...
As Glenn Beck's popularity and ratings increase, so does the attention he's getting from the Obama-loving media.
To be sure, most of the recent articles and news reports have been scathing, especially after his comment on FNC's "Fox & Friends" this summer about President Obama being a racist.
Yet, despite the headline, "Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?", Time magazine's David Von Drehle actually managed to offer some positive insights to the man that is taking radio, the book industry, and cable news by storm (h/t NBer kevcad):
In the declining glossy-paper pages of Time magazine, columnist Joe Klein suggests that our national character and the passage of socialist health care expansion are inherently linked. (Insert here: every time Anonymous Joe makes claims to "character," remind everyone of how he lied for months about his authorship of Primary Colors.)
Near the end of the piece, he decried "demented" speakers at town hall meetings, and engaged in wishful thinking:
The Republicans could well find that their recalcitrance and ugly misinformation are a millstone in the next election.
But it is also possible that the Limbaugh- and Glenn Beck–inspired poison will spread from right-wing nutters to moderates and independents who are a necessary component of Obama's governing coalition.
According to the polls, Obama has lost 20 points among independents in recent months. It would be a good thing if the President's speech turns the tide, and the remainder of this historic debate is conducted on higher ground, but I'm not sure that it will. As the man [Obama] said, it is a test of our national character ... in more ways than one.
After plugging his latest column in a September 10 post on the magazine's Swampland blog, Time's Joe Klein (shown in file photo at right) pegged Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) as "vile" before defending taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants:
On this whole question of whether illegal immigrants will be included in the plan, which caused the vile Congressman from South Carolina to shout "You lie" when the President said they wouldn't be covered. Why shouldn't they be? After all, when an illegal immigrant cuts his hand while chopping cabbage and goes to the emergency room, the rest of us pay for it. Isn't the point to expand the risk pool as much as possible, to lure the insurance companies into concessions and lower prices?
I know it 's not going to happen. Congress will never vote to subsidize the health care of those who arrived here illegally. But, given the fact that we're already subsidizing them through the back door, it does make sense, doesn't it?
As President Obama prepares to deliver his 29th speech on health care, this time before a joint session of Congress, it recalls Bill Clinton’s September 22, 1993 speech to Congress on the same topic. Back then, media liberals hit some of the exact same points journalists are making today: “reform” would end the “shame” of America being the only industrialized nation without universal coverage; that a bigger role for government would cost nothing or even save money in the long run, and that government bureaucrats were preferable to insurance companies.
After a year of media cheerleading, however, Congress finally scrapped Clinton’s health care ideas. But the unpopularity of Clinton’s government-based solutions contributed to the election of the first Republican-led House of Representatives in more than four decades. That’s not to say history will play out the same way this time, but the media spin on behalf of ObamaCare certainly echoes the language of the 1990s. A review:
Time’s Belinda Luscombe has the skinny on how hard it was for ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars" to land former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay: "When [casting director Deena] Katz reached out to former Texas Congressman Tom DeLay via his book agent, she didn't soften up the ground in advance. ‘It was a Hail Mary pass,’ she admits. Twenty minutes later, DeLay was in."
They’ve tried to hard to cast a politician. "I’ve made no secret of the fact that Bill Clinton would be my ultimate get," said executive producer Conrad Green. "I think we got as far as 'Hello, this is Dancing wi--'" Luscombe added:
Absent Clinton, DWTS's ideal political candidate is an elected official with a national profile, who has the time and stamina for five hours of rehearsal six days a week. Most incumbents are too busy, most retired politicians are too frail, and most losing candidates are too forgotten. That pretty much narrows it down to someone whose political career was cut short after a big scandal and -- since the show's core audience is older women -- preferably one that didn't involve infidelity. (Put the tux back in storage, John Edwards.)
The September 7 edition of Time magazine features a brief article up front on "A Brief History of the U.S. Deficit." Writer Claire Suddath claims that the quadrupling of the deficit under Obama is somehow a good news/bad news story:
The good news is that the Obama Administration has scaled back its estimate of this year's budget deficit to an estimated $1.58 trillion (down from $1.84 trillion in May). The bad news is that this is by far the largest budget shortfall in U.S. history — nearly $900 billion more than last year's deficit — and it accounts for 11.2% of GDP, the largest percentage since 1945.
But the "brief history" really goes off the tracks when Suddath recycles every liberal Time magazine myth about fiscal policy in the last two decades of the 20th century:
President Ronald Reagan's economic and foreign policies — tax cuts combined with substantial increases in Cold War-era defense spending — led to a string of deficits that averaged $206 billion a year between 1983 and 1992. An economic boom and increased tax revenue under President Bill Clinton reversed the trend, and in 1998 the U.S. notched its first budget surplus in nearly 20 years.
“We're the only industrialized democracy that doesn't cover every citizen” and “that is immoral,”Mark Halperin, editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time magazine where he oversees “The Page” blog, declared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight in illustrating the prism through which journalists view the debate over the proper role of government in health care.
Halperin's contention occurred back on Thursday, August 6, but I'm just now catching up, following a vacation, thanks to a tip from Steve Allen of the Gentleman from Lickskillet comic strip, which had a liberal media bias theme a couple of weeks ago involving “Group Think” magazine.
When Dobbs challenged Halperin's premise -- “That's immoral?” -- the political director at ABC News for ten years until jumping to Time in 2007, affirmed: “Yes, to be a country this wealthy and be the only industrialized democracy that hasn't figured out how to cover everyone.”