Is there any industry that elite liberals in the media don't want to regulate? Perhaps it's a little tongue-in-cheek, but The Washington Post's Robin Givhan opened her fashion column in the January 19 Style section thusly:
"If anyone ever needed evidence of why industries should not be allowed to police themselves, the Council of Fashion Designers of American just provided it."
You know we've progressed as a society when our modern-day Upton Sinclair is a clothing critic concerned about models strutting down the catwalk rather than the slaughterhouses that produce the hamburgers they won't touch with a 10-foot pole.
What's become of multiculturalism? Isn't it an entrenched tenet of liberal dogma that all cultures are to be "celebrated" as equally worthy? Yet in recent weeks I've noticed a countervaling trend in the liberal establishment. Western values are exalted, as here and here. Then, even Thomas Friedman, bien-pensant hero of the foreign policy establishment, indulged in some negative Arab stereotyping that would have had the PC police screaming had the author not been, well, Thomas Friedman.
Today comes another certified MSMer, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, suggesting that Iraqis might be fundamentally different from Americans, so much so that what they require is a brutal dictator. Muses Cohen in his column of today, Our Tunnel Vision .
What's this, the Saddam News Service? The Washington Post published a story on the front page today thoroughly soaked in the perspective of Saddam Hussein's relatives and supporters that their "heroes" were insulted by hangings yesterday. The headline was "Iraqi Hangings Bring More Denunciations: Head of Hussein's Half-Brother Is Severed." Reporters Joshua Partlow and Muhanned Saif Aldin began with the "mourners" denouncing the botching hanging as a "calculated insult" by the Maliki government, as the front page carried this quote:
"We knew that he would be executed and would join a parade of heroes, but Maliki, why did you behead him?" asked Salam al-Tikriti, 41, a relative of Ibrahim [and probably a relative of Saddam]. "Why did you insult his body? Are you still afraid of him even after he is dead? We will cut your heads the same way that you are cutting the heads of the heroes of Iraq." Nowhere on the front page was any explanation of the crimes of the executed men.
As everyone knows and Andrea Mitchell has confirmed, Chris Matthews is no liberal. Don't let the fact that he describes the goal of the impending Iraq surge as "ethnic cleansing" fool you.
Matthews discussed the impending surge into Baghdad on this evening's Hardball with David Ignatius of the Washington Post and Gary Berntsen, the former CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora.
Said Matthews, speaking of the role of US troops:
"If they are forced to do patrol duty in the streets of the Sunni areas where they are expected to basically be part of the ethnic cleansing because they will be shooting at Sunnis, they are going to get shot back at."
In his Monday "Media Notes" column, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz promotes the Bill O'Reilly vs. NBC/MSNBC feud as the media-bias equivalent of the Donald Trump vs. Rosie O'Donnell "smackdown." O'Reilly declined to comment, but Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti says he "has exposed media bias for the last 10 years. This is nothing new. We don't know why NBC finds the label 'liberal' so insulting."
The strongest voice in the Kurtz piece is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Joe Scarborough, once again proclaiming how he's more liberal (ahem, "independent") than any other supposedly conservative commentator on the tube:
Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who has been trying to demonstrate his independence from the GOP, says in an interview that O'Reilly "really does toe the party line more than I ever have."
The front of Sunday's Style section in the Washington Post carried an article titled "Dead End," wishing for an end to capital punishment, or at least the odd pursuit of painless execution. Post staff writer Neely Tucker clearly implies America is barbaric for keeping it. No one in the piece really argues for it. Tucker even reports with dismay that 67 percent of Americans support capital punishment, "though their betters -- newspaper editorial writers, the French -- tell them they shouldn't."
Tucker's essay began by joking about killer Gary Gilmore, executed in Utah in 1977 for killing a motel manager the year before:
Gary Gilmore, patron saint of the modern American execution, hear our plea.
What is it about the Washington Post where they can't even do reviews of TV shows without attacking some Republican or another?
This time it is the TV series 24 that gets used as a platform to attack the Bush administration, namely in the target of choice, Vice President Dick Cheney.
In a review that is mostly a light hearted take on the adventures (and implausibilities therein) of Jack Bauer and the constant threat to national security -- that always seems to happen only in Los Angeles -- The WaPost slips in a shot at Dick Cheney.
The surprise after five full seasons is that "24" can still surprise. Its theme -- that tough times require unpleasant choices -- remains relevant and compelling (although the series does tend to resolve its national security questions in a way that would please Dick Cheney). More important, its multilayered story lines ripple with suspense; its twists still shock and satisfy.
(My bold for emphasis)
I needn't remind everyone that Vice President Cheney has been under NO indictment for the outrageous and anti-Constitutional sort of proposals that the WaPost imagines for him. In fact, the whole charge against the VP has no provable grounding and is but partisan carping and assumptions.
This is the kind of gratuitous, but sadly prosaic, shot that is meant merely as an expression of the Post's hatred for the administration, adding nothing salient to the piece in question.
For Chris Matthews, there is one constant to be considered in analyzing the prospects of the presidential contenders on both the GOP and Dem sides: the presumed bigotry of his fellow Americans.
Kibitzing about '08 on this afternoon's Hardball with a conservative-free panel composed of Chris Cizzilla of the Washington Post, Mike Allen of Time and Howard Fineman of time immemorial, Matthews first handicapped the Dem field in these terms:
"Is the low estimate of [Democrats'] belief in [Hillary's] electability low enough thatthey think that an African-American guy has a better shot than she does? I mean that's a statement, I think, of pessimism about her shot if you shift to him for electability reasons."
The Washington Post wanted to send one message loud and clear today: almost nobody supports Bush's Iraq surge. The top front-page story was headlined "Bush's Iraq Plan Meets Skepticism On Capitol Hill." That's true. From there, the Post took the odd step of promoting columnist Dana Milbank (is he a reporter? or an editorial writer?) to the front page to joke that Team Bush "finally succeeded in uniting Congress on the war in Iraq. Unfortunately for Rice, the lawmakers were united in opposition to President Bush's new policy." Exhibit A was "a seething Sen. Chuck Hagel." Milbank, like other journalists, failed to note Hagel is a long-standing Bush-basher on Iraq, even before Saddam fell. Milbank did note Sen. Johnny Isakson said supportive things, as well as noting Barbara Boxer's dig at Condi the Spinster.
From a 72-degree January day in Manhattan to "polar bears in peril," the media have done anything but chill about the weather lately.
"Never has good weather felt so bad. Never have flowers inspired so much fear. Never has the warm caress of a sunbeam seemed so ominous. The weather is sublime, it’s glorious, it’s the end of the world," wrote Joel Achenbach on the January 7 Washington Post Style section front.
"We see his well-defined pecs, his perfectly hairless torso, just a bit of padding around the abs and a drawstring dangling from his form-fitting surfer trunks. The aspiring presidential candidate splashes through the water and squints into the distance; he is transformed into Burt Lancaster in 'From Here to Eternity.'"
In case you haven't seen it, over on The Corner, Jonah Goldberg shared correspondence on the AP's Jamil Hussein problem from Michael Schrage, a former reporter for the Washington Post and columnist for the Los Angeles Times unleashing on the "mainstream" media:
Subject: You are, indeed, missing something -
I wrote this piece for the washington post a year ago. It speaks for itself...but the jamail hussein saga is a classic example of unprofessional, plame-like hypocrisy by the AP...
They named their source - many, many times - and it was challenged...there was a myriad of ways they could have handled the query: they could have called in a favor and gotten one of the AP-member newspapers in iraq to 'interview' the guy to vouch; they could have done a podcast with the guy; if the bloggers still insisted the guy was a fraud, then AP itself would be literally accused of not just perpetrating a hoax but perpetuating one...
In his weekly "Critiquing the Press" chat at washingtonpost.com, Post media reporter (and CNN "Reliable Sources" host) Howard Kurtz oddly suggested that when bar patrons insist on turning off Fox News, a nice, less polarizing compromise would be Comedy Central. (When the left-wing Stewart/Colbert "fake news" is on?)
New York, N.Y.: True Story. Recently I am sitting at an airport bar reading my paper. Fox News is on the TV. A couple walk up to the bar, sit down, and tell the bartender that if he wants their business he needs to turn off Fox News. The bartender walks over to the TV when another man at the bar says 'don't turn on MSNBC!' The bartender looks around not sure what to do. He turns the TV off and goes back to serving drinks. I guess this is what we've come to.
Washington Post political reporter Shailagh Murray professed shock at the lack of attention Congressman Bill Jefferson has drawn, even as she protested the Post has done that story. From today's Political Chat at washingtonpost.com:
Alexandria, Va.: I understand Congressman Bill Jefferson was given a standing ovation from his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, despite the $90,000 the FBI found in Tupperware in his freezer. Why do these details of Democratic ethics problems seem left out every time media personnel recount how Speaker Pelosi will bring "ethics reform" to the House?
Shailagh Murray: I once met the friendliest bank robber. Just because you're a crook doesn't mean you're not thoughtful or interesting or fun to hang out with. Not that I'm referring to anyone in particular. Regarding Rep. Jefferson, I take issue with your observation. I've written or co-written numerous stories, including for the front page, on this case, and we have included it in numerous other stories, including a page one piece last week (not by moi) on how Pelosi handled this case.
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's law that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls is not too burdensome, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said Thursday in a 2-1 ruling that upholds the 2005 law.
..... The 7th U.S. Circuit Court questioned arguments that Indiana's rule is unfair to poor, elderly, minority and disabled voters, and pointed out that opponents could not find anyone unable to cast a ballot under the new law.
..... Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who pushed for the voter ID law, said the ruling was a victory for election reform.
"The seventh circuit affirmed what we have seen from four successful elections in Indiana under the photo ID law - this is a common-sense way to protect honest voters and to improve voter confidence," he said.
Judge Terence T. Evans dissented with the majority opinion, which affirms an earlier decision of U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker. Evans said there was no evidence of voter fraud in Indiana that could be avoided with the photo ID law.
"Let's not beat around the bush," Evans wrote. "The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."
The distinctly liberal Dan Froomkin writes the "White House Briefing" column for the Washington Post's web site. Here, in its entirety, is the last item in Froomkin's Friday column:
How long did your New Year's Resolutions last?
Bush's didn't make it a day.
Bush was telling reporters last week about how his thoughts were with the troops when he volunteered: "People always ask me about a New Year's resolution -- my resolution is, is that they'll be safe. . . . "
The Department of Defense reports: "Sgt. Thomas E. Vandling Jr., 26, of Pittsburgh, Pa., died Jan. 1 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle while on combat patrol."
Dana Milbank's column in the WashPost today does occasionally dare to unwrap little tidbits that won't please Democrats. In the midst of yesterday's Pelosi-palooza, he chose instead to cover the Senate swearing-in. He reported that Senate President Pro Tem Robert Byrd was effusive at being sworn in yesterday, yelling "Hallejujah!" And "Yeah man!" Milbank added:
"His colleagues were amused. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) at one point pretended to tilt a bottle into his mouth, though it was unclear whether Byrd was the target of that gesture."
Milbank reported Reid was not only overshadowed by the new female House Speaker, but by Senate spouse Bill Clinton, who attracted a wave of press attention by using the bathroom in the Senate press gallery.
Blogger Mary Katharine Ham of Townhall.com was none too pleased with The Washington Post's biased, inaccurate treatment of her church, The Falls Church Episcopal, in a front page article of the January 4 paper.
Are the moralists of the Washington Post Style section really the kind of people who believe Kenneth Lay, the CEO of the collapsing racket of Enron, is a viler historical figure than Saddam Hussein? A review of the documentary evidence would suggest yes. Rich Noyes remembered Style essayist Henry Allen's rather savage take on Mr. Lay last July 6 after he died before justice kicked in:
But now that he's died of a heart attack in the luxury of his Colorado getaway while awaiting sentencing for his crimes, none of his victims will be able to contemplate that he's locked away in a place that makes the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel look like Hawaii; that he might be spending long nights locked in a cell with a panting tattooed monster named Sumo, a man of strange and constant demands; and long days in the prison laundry or jute mill or license plate factory, gibbering with anguish as fire-eyed psychopaths stare at him for unblinking hours while they sharpen spoons into jailhouse stilettos.
Then compare that to Style essayist Philip Kennicott on New Year's Eve, feeling only a marginal distaste for Saddam, who was apparently just a paper tiger manufactured by Team Bush. He was a bad guy, yadda yadda, but he has nothing to do with Iraq now:
This morning the Washington Post published a story about how the Democrats are going to exclude Republicans from participating in the "First 100 Hours" plan that the Democrats intend to implement when they officially become the majority in the House of Representatives this week. And, while they do clearly state that the Democrat majority is going against a campaign promise to be less partisan, the Post just cannot help but make it seem as if it pains those poor Democrats that Republicans are so mean that they cannot include them in compliance with their promises.
On the Federal Page in Tuesday's Washington Post, Jeffrey Birnbaum, who covers lobbying, suggests it's not "genuine" for the National Rifle Association to sound the alarm on threats to gun rights at the moment: "No one expects gun legislation to pass this year." But in dismissing the "not-so-imminent threat" (as the article's headline describes it), Birnbaum goes too far:
The document is filled with sinister-looking caricatures of supposed anti-gun figures such as filmmaker Michael Moore, comedian Rosie O'Donnell, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) and CBS News anchor Katie Couric.
Washington Post arts writer Sarah Kaufman, who just two weeks ago celebrated the new ballet where George W. Bush assaults women and kills them, mentioned that and other "anti-war" (not "Bush-hating") dance works as her highlights of 2006 in the Sunday Arts section:
In the past year dancers have given the term "antiwar movement" new meaning. One legacy of the bloody, intractable Iraq war may well be its role as an artistic inspiration.
Starting with American Ballet Theatre's revival of Kurt Jooss's "The Green Table" at the Kennedy Center last February, protest works have made an impact, as company directors have put uneasy -- even brutal -- views of war onstage.
Two of the works felt especially political. ABT performed Jooss's 1932 treatise on bureaucrats with blood on their hands the very night that President Bush was delivering his State of the Union address. A coincidence, probably, but a particularly delicious Washington moment nonetheless.
It was artistically rich as well. This work, a historical treasure of enduring relevance, is full of drama and outsize characterizations: the stuffed-shirt politicians who drive the conflict but remain at a safe distance, soldiers in battle, mourning women and the magnetic figure of Death, which dancer David Hallberg injected with arrogance, charisma, menace and seductiveness. He was a stalker and a lover: the ultimate predator. This work makes its point with eloquent economy: What begins at a conference table ends in hell.
They also followed that party line in Kansas City. But Googling also found that Sarah Kaufman also whacked at Bush and the oblivious people who voted for him on December 9 in telling readers what to go out and see:
IF THE SEASON IS getting too predictable -- too many Sugarplum Fairies, too much "Messiah" -- the Paul Taylor Dance Company offers a tempting antidote. Never sweet, sometimes sour, often sardonic, Taylor puts a refreshingly clear-eyed spin on things in his upcoming program of four works. His 2005 work, "Banquet of Vultures," takes on the cruelties of war, dogmatic leadership and an oblivious populace. (Hmm, what could have inspired that?)
He writes: "Everything was in place for Gerald R. Ford's state funeral last night -- everything, that is, but the statesmen."
The third paragraph continues:
"President Bush sent his regrets; he was cutting cedar and riding his bike on his ranch in Texas. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his deputy, Richard Durbin, couldn't make it, either; they were on a trip to visit Incan ruins. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a pass, too -- as did nearly 500 of the 535 members of Congress."
Reading this, one might conclude that while the lack of interest in paying respects to the late President is bipartisan, the failure of the current President, a man of the same political party as Mr. Ford, is particularly egregious. How dare Mr. Bush opt to cut cedar and ride his bike rather than participate in a state funeral for another Chief Executive?
There were more guess-what-I'm-liberal picks of the Washington Post arts writers in Friday's Weekend section, so since it's a slow Sunday morning, here's the others. The movie critics listed their favorite actors of the year. Ann Hornaday closed out her list with this flippant pick:
5. Ted Haggard in "Jesus Camp." In this documentary, the evangelical preacher leers at a camera operator and says, "I know what you did last night." Well, it turned out what he had done last night was score some crystal meth and get together with a male prostitute. Meanwhile, this prevaricator and moral hypocrite had thousands of followers convinced he was a straight and sober man of God. Well played, sir!
Newspaper cultural critics often seemed to be bringing their politics and not just their artistic senses to the table when judging the "best" products of 2006. Friday’s Weekend section of The Washington Post compiled a set of lists of the best in art, music, and movies, and some of the Post critics were dropping some liberal (and radical, even Marxist) politics into their choices. The music critics were the most political. Curt Fields had two liberal/radical Bush-hater favorites on his Best list:
7. Dixie Chicks. The trio had several quality moments, including its defiant "Not Ready to Make Nice" single and the intriguing "Shut Up & Sing" documentary. But best of all was the way the Dixie Chicks appeared onstage at some of their live shows to the strains of "Hail to the Chief."...
9. The Coup, "Pick a Bigger Weapon." This Oakland, Calif.-based act mixes revolutionary politics, humor and sweet beats. Smart and catchy, a rare double. Plus, it has the song title of the year, "Babyletshaveababybeforebushdosomethingcrazy."
At the top of the Saturday Washington Post Style section is the headline "The Hard Core of Cool: Confidence, Grace, And Underneath It All, the Need to Be Recognized." Right next to the headline is a Reuters photo of Sen. Barack Obama, his head tilted up and eyes gazing toward the heavens. It's an essay by Metro section columnist (and former Post reporter) Donna Britt, part of the Post's ongoing "Being A Black Man" series.
Britt theorized that while white, Latino, and Asian men "have been deemed cool, black men remain cool's most imitated, consistent arbiters. I mean, there's cool -- and then there's brothercool. (Italics hers.) Think of Barack Obama's instantaneous ascension to 'coolest man in Congress.'"
For months before Election Day, Americans were brainwashed by the media concerning a Republican “culture of corruption,” and the need for the Democrats to clean it all up. Unfortunately, in the middle of this web of lies, the press chose to ignore the misdeeds of any politician with a “D” next to his or her name.
Sadly for America, some of the content in this front-page article by Jonathan Weisman has been available for almost a year and a half. But, investigative reporting like this that might out a Democrat was specifically verboten by members of the drive-by media before November 7 (emphasis mine throughout):
When Santa came to Wall Street this year, the media cried and pouted.
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average at an all-time high and commodities markets experiencing one of their best years in decades, Wall Street firms were feeling especially merry this year. The media responded as if they had seen Jacob Marley’s ghost.
NBC’s John Seigenthaler gloomily downplayed Wall Streeters’ good fortunes by stating:
President Bush submitted to a 25-minute interview Tuesday with the three Washington Post White House correspondents: Peter Baker, Michael Fletcher, and Michael Abramowitz. The transcript in today's Post leaves the definite impression it was another game of asking "when will you submit to the will of the Democrats, er, the people?" The tone of questioning suggests Bush is denying the reality that America is now in the capable hands of a MoveOn.org majority, and demands that he "listen" to their wish list, since his wishes are no longer viable:
Given the election results, is increasing the troop level in Iraq even a viable possibility or option?
Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne attempts to redefine the "real America" as the new headquarters of liberal chic, and picks the fake-newscasters of Comedy Central as the trendiest of left-wing gunslingers:
When the right seemed headed to dominance in the early 1990s, the hot political media trend was talk radio and the star was Rush Limbaugh, a smart entrepreneur who spawned imitators around the country and all across the AM dial.
Now the chic medium is televised political comedy and the cool commentators are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Their brilliant ridicule of the Bush administration and conservative bloviators satisfies a political craving at least as great as the one Limbaugh once fed. Stewart and Colbert speak especially to young Americans who rely on their sensible take on the madness that surrounds us. The young helped drive their popularity, and the Droll Duo in turn shaped a new, anti-conservative skepticism.