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.”
The popular photo sharing website Flickr has taken down the original version of the now famous Obama Joker poster that's been sweeping the nation.
Apparently, management is concerned about a copyright infringement issue due to the appearance of the Time magazine logo in Firas Alkhateeb's parody that ended up being reprinted with the word "Socialism" at the bottom.
Oddly, a quick search of Flickr identified a number of Bush parodies with Time's logo present (vulgarity alert below the fold).
As such, one has to wonder if Flickr's decision is actually censorship. According to Read Write Web (h/t Ken Shepherd):
Time magazine’s Joe Klein complained about the legal appearance of openly-carried weapons at protests against President Obama during a segment on CNN’s Newsroom on Monday, and labeled the protests against ObamaCare as a “celebration of ignorance and misinformation.” Anchor Rick Sanchez and his other guest also falsely characterized one of the guns carried at a recent protest.
Sanchez first asked Klein about the appearance of guns at several recent protests against President Obama outside his health care town hall events or speeches: “Joe, I don’t remember people protesting against President Bush showing up with weapons. Do you?” The Time columnist answered, “No. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this. There should be like a Second Amendment equivalent of the First Amendment- shouting fire in a crowded theater.”
While some in the media have been dusting off their love beads, bell-bottoms and broomstick skirts in an effort to wax nostalgic about Woodstock, the VFW has reminded its members that the world did not stop for those four days in August 1969.
In fact, for 109 American soldiers, the world ended that weekend.
Much has been made over the "half a million strong" that flocked to a dairy farm in rural New York to celebrate music and peace. Richard K. Kolb instead compared the coverage Newsweek and Time gave to the festival while shortchanging American efforts in Vietnam.
"The cruelty inherent in scaring the elderly to score political points is beyond reprehensible.... [T]he sort of scurrilous campaign they are conducting--the seditious fear-mongering that is the main staple of their public diet--is a matter of profound disrespect and incivility toward the individuals whose rights they claim to cherish."
So huffed Time magazine's Joe Klein, in an August 12 Swampland blog post seething at rumors of "death panels" being provided for in health care reform legislation before Congress. Klein expressed disgust at Republicans who would seek political advantage by scaring the elderly with inaccurate and misleading rhetoric.
But one might wonder where Klein's moral indignation was during the 1990s, when the liberal media, including Time magazine, were complicit in bolstering the Democratic meme about drastic Republican "cuts" to Medicare.
As MRC archives show, the liberal media was complicit with liberal Democrats in the 1990s in scaring seniors into fearing non-existent "cuts" to Medicare. From the July 1996 MediaWatch (emphasis mine):
On today's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough was shocked to hear from Mark Halperin of Time and co-host Mika Brzezinski that most people in the MSM don't admit that the press is biased, and to the contrary most in the MSM see themselves as "right down the middle."
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So you're saying that most people in the mainstream media don't admit that the press is biased?
MARK HALPERIN: I don't think so. You take a survey around the news room --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: No, they don't admit it: I agree that.
"Shop Sold Guns to Pa., Va. Tech Shooters" blares the headline for an August 7 Associated Press story carried on Time.com.
But Time's headline for the accompanying AP story is woefully inaccurate and worse, deceptive. Pittsburgh fitness center shooter George Sodini, whom police say purchased his firearms legally, did not purchase them from online accessories dealer TGSCOM, Inc.
The same story accessed at Google has a more accurate headline, "Pa. gunman used same Web store as Va. Tech shooter."
Harold Pollack dispenses with them (and their sources) here.
Tumulty failed to mention the liberal bent of either TNR or Dr. Pollack (Ph.D., not M.D.), which would have been helpful considering her terse blog post practically amounted to an unqualified stamp of approval of Pollack's August 4 item.
Albeit in kinder, gentler language, Pollack posited that opposition to socialized medicine among American senior citizens was due to racism, xenophobia, and homophobia (emphasis mine):
So how unusual is it for a new President to be featured seven times on Time’s cover, as Barack Obama has been (with First Lady Michelle Obama snagging her own solo appearance)? A look back at Time’s covers finds Bill Clinton matched Obama’s celebrity in 1993 — seven covers for himself, one for Hillary. But the last three Republican Presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush — were given relatively short shrift. (Larger images below the jump.)
Indeed, looking at the covers from when those three Republicans won the presidency through early August of their first year in office, Reagan and the two Bushes combined were only featured seven times — and it would have been only six if Reagan hadn’t been shot by an attempted assassin (April 13, 1981 cover story).
Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, more popularly known as "Rev. Ike", has gone to his reward. The 74-year old prosperity gospel huckster died on July 29 in Los Angeles.
But in covering the story, the Associated Press and the Washington Post have carelessly tarnished legitimate preachers of the Christian Gospel by association, by lumping in Eikerenkoetter with more biblically orthodox Protestant preachers as an "evangelist."
Time magazine's August 10 edition with President Barack Obama on the cover (“Paging Dr. Obama”) trying to heal the nation in a photo illustration as a physician, wearing a white smock with a stethoscope around his neck, brings to seven the number of issues the magazine's cover has featured Obama just since November's election -- make that eight for the First Family if you add in June 1's genuflecting “The Meaning of Michelle.” Amongst the seven of President Obama: “Person of the Year” and Obama as FDR.
The frequent cover appearances led even Jon Stewart, a Bush-hater who was thrilled by Obama's election, to quip Thursday night on his Comedy Central show: “Time magazine is like O magazine, like Obama has to be on the cover -- it is like Oprah magazine. I think he's been on like thirty times this year.”
Well, not thirty, at least not yet, though at about once per month Time will hit thirty Obama covers well before the 2012 vote. To illustrate Time's predilection, I did some graphics work of my own and created an image displaying the eight covers since the election. Go below the jump for a larger jpg.
Time magazine's online staff certainly undermined any notion of impartiality in how they littered the posted version of this week's cover story, “Inside Bush and Cheney's Final Days,” with the links they chose to display between paragraphs and at page breaks of the article. Some were innocuous, such as “See TIME's George W. Bush covers,” “See TIME's politics covers” and “See pictures of presidential First Dogs.”
Others, however, reflected hostility and/or derision toward the two key players in the story, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, starting with “Visit RottenTomatoes.com for reviews of W., Oliver Stone's 2008 portrait of George W. Bush” and “Read 'Leahy's Plan to Probe Bush-Era Wrongdoings.'”
So what's the biggest obstacle to Mideast peace? Hamas terrorists who refuse to accept Israel has a right to exist? Perhaps the Iranian government that finances anti-Israel terror operations? Neither, according to Time's Joe Klein (shown at right in file photo), who insists in a July 20 Swampland blog post the fault lies with Israel:
Benjamin Netanyahu's phony flexibility on a two-state solution was always transparent--and it's now becoming apparent that Israel is the prime impediment to progress in the Middle East. Over the weekend, the State Department asked Israel's Ambassador Michael Oren to convey U.S. displeasure over continued Israeli settlement expansion in Jerusalem, which Netanyahu rejected out of hand.
Although Netanyahu and his coalition government won their February election -- some three months after Obama won his and just weeks after his inauguration-- fair and square, Klein makes clear he has no use for the will of the Israeli people and the decisions of their duly-elected government if and when they peeve the Obama administration:
Filmmakers, do you want to impress critics at The New York Times, Newsweek and Time Magazine, while alienating vast legions of moviegoers? Then "Humpday" has the formula for you!
Have your two “straight” male leads have sex with each other in a video for an “experimental homemade pornography” film festival. Oh, and in order to impress those writers (whom you may run into at a Manhattan cocktail party) make sure to stress that it’s not gay and it’s not porn either. It’s art masquerading as “bromance” comedy. Don’t worry, they’ll understand that you’re critiquing straight men or straight society or our uptight Puritanical culture or something. After all, they’re smart like you.
It looks like Time Magazine’s Karen Tumulty is getting scared that we could be losing the healthcare battle so she is urging Obama to “step in” and fix it all for us. Why, only the dulcet tones of The One could save us all from… wait, isn’t this whole thing his deal in the first place?
What is curious with this piece is the fact that Tumulty seems oblivious to the possibility that if healthcare is failing to win the day, that failure could be squarely laid at the president’s feet. After all, it is his campaign promise and his “highest priority” that we tackle healthcare. Yet Tumulty, while mildly scolding Obama for not being hands on enough, is all too willing to blame everyone but Obama for the floundering of the debate.
Time magazine’s July 20 edition includes a “Ten Questions” interview with New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, and he took on hardballs from the left and right. But he was willing to admit to the left that the Times was soft on Bush before the Iraq War (“we floated along with the conventional wisdom”) but objected to suggestions that the Times isn’t patriotic (“Journalists at the Times love their country just as much as anybody else.”)
The first question out of the box slammed away at media softness on Bush:
Why do you think the press gave the Bush Administration a free pass on the misleading statements it made to get us into the war in Iraq? Randal Davis, PORTLAND, ORE.
The Washington Post called it an "orgy of praise" and an "exercise in excess." They were referring to the star-studded, mega-televised Michael Jackson memorial service in Los Angeles. It just as accurately described the supposedly serious national media’s weeks of outsized hyperbole concerning the life and death of a man who was a pop sensation, to be sure, but also highly controversial, even scandalous.
There certainly was the exercise in excess on the "news" programs. On the night of July 6, ABC, CBS, and NBC, paid twenty times more attention to Jackson (more than a week after his death) than to the deaths of seven brave soldiers in Afghanistan.
They were only tip of the excess iceberg. Jackson dominated every "Access Hollywood" and "Entertainment Tonight" show for two weeks. The memorial service aired on 19 different networks, drawing 31 million viewers. At least that exposed one piece of hype from the Jackson camp: that "a billion" global villagers would tune in.
Republicans, particularly those who are the biggest fans of Gov. Sarah Palin, are stuck in the vestiges of the 1984 "white-bread fantasy" of Reagan's "Morning in America," huffs Time magazine's Joe Klein in a July 6 Swampland blog post on "Sarah Palin's America":
All this talk about Sarah Palin's constituency being "real Americans" raises the question, yet again, of who the unreal Americans are. Last September, when the Governor burst upon the scene like a head-on collision, I wrote that Palin's America--white folks, small towns, traditional values--was a Republican fantasy, a vestige of Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" hornswoggle in the 1980s. (This fantasy was reinforced by John McCain's fetishizing of Joe the Unlicensed Plumber.)
Real America is much different from, and more interesting than, that white-bread fantasy, a problem the Republican Party--the party of immigrant bashing--will be wrestling with for the immediate future.
Klein conveniently omitted that 2008 presidential nominee Sen. John McCain was hardly an immigrant basher, heavily criticized by conservatives in the GOP for his push for amnesty for illegal immigrants. What's more, it was President Reagan who signed the last amnesty bill in 1986, another inconvenient fact that cuts against Klein suggesting Reagan was a quasi-racist xenophobe.
As if to bolster his own cosmopolitan credentials with which to better slam Gov. Palin as provincial, Klein casually dropped a reference to a party he recently attended in the Islamic Republic of Iran:
The recent midterm election drubbing of leftist legislative allies of Argentinan power couple President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and husband (and former president) Nestor Kirchner is partly thanks to the imperial designs of power-hungry former U.S. President George W. Bush and the consensus-building ethos of Barack Obama.
Time magazine’s Michael Grunwald attempted in an article on Time’s Web site to make connections between two of the most prominent issues facing America and congress today, healthcare and energy. But he put forward a flawed argument that lacked balance and fell into the doomsday language so common in the main stream media.
“Everyone knows we use too much energy,” lamented Grunwald, “Our addiction to fossil fuels is torching the planet, empowering hostile petro-states and straining our wallets.”
To justify his crisis language, Grunwald cited studies by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory which “suggest that more than half of our energy is lost through inefficiencies, calculations that don't even include the energy we fritter away through wasteful behavior like leaving lights on or idling cars.” He failed, however, to mention that Livermore is not an unbiased source. According to its Web site, “More than 40 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers were key scientific contributors to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which, along with former Vice President Al Gore, won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.”
The White House denied Time's Monday report that the Obamas have ended a search for a church home in the nation's capital. Here's Politico:
The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama continues "to look for a church home," and said a magazine report that he has stopped is erroneous.
White House deputy press secretary Jen Psaki said by e-mail: "The president and first family continue to look for a church home. They have enjoyed worshiping at Camp David and several other congregations over the months, and will choose a church at the time that is best for their family."
The Obamas haven't faced much questioning from the White House press corps about when they're going to make a church decision. With most presidents, this might not be a big deal, but the establishment media's reluctance surely reflects its sensitivity to Obama's political problems with choosing radical, ranting Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Chicago and staying in his church for 20 years.
Time’s Amy Sullivan, who worked tirelessly to sell Barack Obama as an acceptable choice for Bible-toting Evangelicals -- a choice that most evangelicals didn't accept -- reported Obama has refused to pick a D.C. church as his religious home. In his latest move copying George W. Bush, he’s going to designate the Evergreen Chapel at Camp David as his official church. Now go away, she insists to people still disturbed by his longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright.
She quotes Obama religion adviser Vashti McKenzie: "Everybody needs to just back off and settle down. Let him choose where he's comfortable, choose where he and his family are going to be spiritually fed, and then let it be his choice." Sullivan added her own "Amen."
Between the lines, a cynic can see all the political convenience on display: no flashy minister, and not much ministerial contact either:
For Time Magazine, Kevin O'Leary has decided that he's figured out why California is in such a budget mess. Is it because the state indulges over generous social programs, or always has some of the highest taxes in the nation, or because the denizens of its capitol in Sacramento are paragons of waste, fraud and theft? Nope. It's because California has Proposition 13, a measure that prevents state government from too easily raising taxes. Yep, O'Leary thinks California is in a mess because it doesn't have high enough taxes. And it's all Reagan's fault.
With some of the highest taxes in America, California is a hard place to make a living. According to the Tax Foundation, on average it takes a citizen 110 working days to earn enough money to pay his yearly tax bill. That is the fourth worst in the country. California consistently ranks in or near the top 10 worst states for its tax burdens from property taxes, to corporate taxes, to individual taxes and fees of all sorts. So, how can O'Leary imagine that taxes aren't high enough in California?
The protesters admire our freedom, but they are appalled--and insulted--by our neocolonialist condescension over the past 50 years. The reformers, and even some conservatives, consider Ahmadinejad the George W. Bush of Iran--a crude, unsophisticated demagogue, who puts a strong Potemkin face to the world without very much knowledge of what the rest of the world is about. This was an anology [sic] that came up in interview after interview, with reformers and conservatives alike.
Klein doesn't explicitly reference the "axis of evil" remarks in then-President Bush's 2002 State of the Union address as an offense, although he quite probably has it in mind. Yet a review of the relevant passage from that speech shows Bush was dead-on and arguably eerily prophetic about the iron-fisted repression that the world is witness to presently on the streets of Tehran (portion in bold is my emphasis):
In the midst of his June 16 Swampland blog screed leveled against the "unhinged" Sen. John McCain for his criticism of President Obama's low-key response to the Iranian election, Time magazine's Joe Klein [shown in file photo at right] also worked in a comparison of hardliner Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's support base with former U.S. President George W. Bush's core supporters:
It is not even clear that Ahmadinejad--who has significant backing from the sort of people who support Republicans here (the elderly, the religious extremists) plus a real following among working-class Iranians--would have lost this election, if the votes had been counted fairly. (I tend to believe that they weren't counted at all, but that's just my opinion.)
Twelve days earlier, Klein more subtly made the Ahmadinejad/Bush connection in a comparison that favorably compared Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi to Bush's 2004 rival Sen. John Kerry (emphasis mine):
The second hottest item on Time.com on Tuesday morning was an article titled "Barack Obama, Stop Ruining My Marriage." Time reporter Sean Gregory’s shtick is that the President’s date nights with the First Lady are setting too high a standard for the average American husband. It begins with the obligatory compliment:
The list of reasons to admire Barack Obama is longer than Pennsylvania Avenue. But please, and I'm begging here, let's not hold him up as an exemplary husband simply because he takes his wife out on a date.
On Sunday, the New York Times did just that, with a story headlined "If They Can Find Time for a Date Night ..." The gist: If the Obamas — with Mom committed to her various causes and Dad trying to save the free world — can still find time for each other, hey, lame husband sitting on the couch watching sports, time to step it up. The writer suggests that the President has placed an "elbow in the ribs of husbands," while Jon Stewart has joked, "Take it down a notch, dude."