As we have seen, the television networks have avoided the controversy of President Obama unilaterally delaying another Obamacare provision in the law yet again. Even more absurd is when a newspaper writer whose main task is to cover healthcare also neglects to mention that same elephant in the room. Such was the case with Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post who breezily reported on the details of the latest delay in the employer mandate but does not address the obvious presidential overreach of ignoring the provisions of the statute.
It was left to the readers of the Kliff article to go where Sarah dare not tread. It was another case in which the comments section was way more informative than the article itself. Here is Kliff defining "rewriting" as "relaxing":
How deep in the tank for Obama is The Washington Post? On the front of Monday’s Style section was article headlined “The ring of truth: Aiming to inspire, Obama candidly share his story with at-risk young men from inner-city Chicago. Can he make a difference?”
Bizarrely, the Post put “The ring of truth” over an article where Obama relates to students by referring to his memoir “Dreams From My Father,” so much of which has a ring of falsehood. We know this directly from Washington Post assistant managing editor David Maraniss, whose historical research into Obama's life story informed his view that the memoir was “literature,” not history.
A Christian man was savagely killed Sunday morning by a Muslim lynch mob in Central African Republic, right in front of a Washington Post reporter. "They cut his neck like a cow," Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan quoted a relative of the victim, Polin Pumandele.
Post print edition editors assigned the story to page A6, giving it a rather bland headline, "Solutions elusive as sectarian violence spreads." By contrast, earlier this morning, WashingtonPost.com editors promoted the story prominently on the paper's landing page, using "They cut his neck like a cow' as the teaser headline and accompanying it with a photo of women mourning his death (see image below the page break):
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple has cried foul against a New York Observer article titled “The Tyranny and Lethargy of the Times Editorial Page." Wemple is right that this article by Ken Kurson is loaded with negative attacks from anonymous Times “insiders,” but stops short of saying this is exactly what the Times (and the Post) do to politicians they don’t like. (See the Vicki Iseman debacle of 2008.)
But perhaps the funniest part is after finding “17 problems” with the Observer article, he writes he cannot find any problem with people finding columnist Thomas Friedman is a tiresome blowhard:
Leftist delusions can be amazing things. One of them is that the financial deck is stacked against their candidates and causes.
Reid Wilson at the Washington Post attempted to explain it all on Friday. On the plus side, at least he didn't try to pretend, as Evan Halper at the Los Angeles Times did in late December, that there's no one donating to Democrats and progressive causes with the financial clout of the Koch brothers except billionaire and relative newbie activist Tom Steyer. But while Wilson recognized the existence of large Dem donors, he bemoaned the fact that they are supposedly not as well organized, and that their motives, unlike the Kochs, are pure. Really (bolds are mine):
With rapidly rising debt and an unprecedented credit downgrade, Puerto Rico is facing a looming default with terrifying implications on American bond markets, though you would never know about it watching broadcast news.
The leading credit rating firm Standard & Poor’s Rating services downgraded Puerto Rican debt to “junk” status on Feb. 5, with further downgrades likely. Despite Puerto Rico having more than three times as much debt as Detroit did before bankruptcy, the broadcast networks paid no attention to this looming crisis in the six months before Feb. 1, 2014.
Puerto Rico, with $70 billion in debt and 14.7 percent unemployment, edges closer to a default. Regardless, ABC, CBS and NBC did not air a single story covering this crisis between Aug. 1, 2013 and Feb. 1, 2014.
Yesterday afternoon three red state Democratic senators -- plus Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) -- joined a number of Republican legislators and the Canadian ambassador to the United States at a press conference called to publicly press President Obama to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Such a show of bipartisan and international agreement on an economic-development issue is surely worthy of attention by the broadcast news media, and yet ABC, CBS, and NBC all ignored the development on both the February 4 evening newscasts and the February 5 morning news shows. Here's how Matthew Daly of the Associated Press reported the development in his Tuesday afternoon piece, "Broad coalition backs Keystone XL oil pipeline" (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday, staunchly liberal Rep. Robert Andrews (N.J.) -- lifetime ACU score of 13.5 -- announced he's retiring from Congress. For his part, reporter Jason Horowitz of the New York Times noted in the lead paragraph of his Wednesday morning print article that the 12-term Democratic congressman's legacy was dogged by his "alleged misuse of his campaign funds."
On Monday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, during a discussion of FNC host Bill O'Reilly's interview with President Barack Obama, MSNBC host Al Sharpton and Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank dismissed the possibility of Obama administration wrongdoing in the IRS and Benghazi scandals.
After linking the IRS commissioner's many White House visits to ObamaCare, Milbank deceptively asserted that President Obama had labelled the Benghazi attack as "terrorism" the day after it happened when, in reality, the President blamed the attack on an anti-Muslim video on YouTube rather than a premeditated attack by an organized terrorist group. Milbank:
In spite of the massive half-trillion dollar price tag, the farm bill didn’t get much attention from the broadcast network news shows, although a compromise version may get congressional approval very soon.
Since Jan. 1, 2013, when they reported that the nation was facing a “milk cliff” in which dairy prices would skyrocket if a farm bill wasn’t passed, ABC, CBS and NBC network news programs only mentioned “farm bill” in 20 reports. The vast majority (16 stories) of those reports aired on CBS.
In Tuesday’s Washington Post, political reporter Aaron C. Davis promoted radical Iraqi-American Muslim restaurant owner Anas “Andy” Shallal in his dark-horse campaign for mayor of Washington. The headline on the front page of Metro for this “scientist turned poet, painter, activist, and multi-millionaire restaurateur” was simply “Novice making unconventional bid.”
Shallal wasn’t a radical, apparently, but is “pushing a resolutely populist agenda, promising to close the gap between the District’s rich and poor in terms that echo the winning pitch of recently elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.” They barely put the word “liberal” into the story.
You could call it bias-by-boring-headline. This typically happens when liberal Democrats do something scandalous or at the very least questionable and a major newspaper covers the story and publishes it, but headline editors give it such a milquetoast headline as to essentially tell the reader,"You'll fall asleep reading this. Move along."
That's essentially the case with the Washington Post's headline* this morning for a story about how Democratic state legislators in Maryland are circling the wagons to protect 2014 gubernatorial front-runner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) from a steady stream of bad ObamaCare-related news which could sink his chances for the Democratic nomination and/or the governor's office in November.
Imagine, if you will, it's the midterm election year of 2006 and President George W. Bush's secretary of state making careless remarks which seem to lend moral validity to an economic boycott of the United States's staunchest ally in the Middle East. The Washington Post would surely glom onto such an embarrassing gaffe and play it up as much as possible.
Yet when John Kerry made such remarks about the State of Israel, the Post's William Booth spun the gaffe as best he could, seemingly exasperated that Israeli statesmen were even complaining about the remarks. For their part, Booth's bosses dutifully shuffled to story to page A8 of the February 3 edition, rather than give it more prominent coverage (emphasis mine):
Some 47 percent of uninsured Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 are now unfavorable towards ObamaCare, the highest negative marks among that demographic since May 2012, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That number could be considerably higher as the margin of error is plus/minus 8 percentage points.
Nevertheless, reporting on the newly-released Kaiser survey, the Washington Post's Sandhya Somashekhar buried those statistics towards the end of her 11-paragraph page A4 story, while spinning the news as largely a PR challenge for the Obama administration and ObamaCare backers on the Left (emphasis mine):
Philip Rucker and Scott Clement sure are "Ready for Hillary." The Washington Post scribes dutifully pounded out a January 30 front-pager that furthers the Hillary-is-inevitable meme discernible throughout the liberal media. "Clinton holds big Democratic lead" thunders the print headline, with a subhead noting she enjoys "strong support in all demographics" while the "GOP field shows no clear front-runner."
Nowhere in their 25-paragraph story was the term "Benghazi" used -- indeed, it was also not referenced in the Post/ABC poll, while Bridgegate was -- although clearly it is the former secretary of state's blackest mark on her record. By contrast, potential GOP opponent Chris Christie was depicted as critically if not mortally wounded by the bridge-lane-closure scandal, while opponents to his right were dismissed as unlikely to beat Hillary (emphasis mine):
The PJ Tatler recently reported on the case of Larry Brinkin, for many years an “icon” on the Human Rights Commission in San Francisco: “A former high-ranking San Francisco government employee convicted of felony possession of child pornography will continue to receive his government pension because, according to city regulations, evidence of ‘moral turpitude’ is required to revoke a pension yet viewing violent kiddie porn does not qualify as moral turpitude." (Emphasis theirs.)
Michael Chapman of CNSNews.com also noted shocking racist remarks in Brinkin’s e-mails about "nailing" black toddlers. The media that loves riffing on pedophile Catholic priests have done nothing on this pedophile story. But 25 years ago, Brinkin was hailed as a gay-rights hero for instituting the “domestic partnership” rules in San Francisco.
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank utilized the kind of violent imagery that would make liberals howl if uttered by anyone on the right as he suggested that President Barack Obama needs a "cattle prod" and a "baseball bat" in dealing with Republicans.
When President Bush gave his fifth State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, he sat at 43 percent approval in the Gallup tracking poll, in no small part because of public perception regarding his administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last night, his Gallup approval number was lower a mere 41 percent, doubtless impacted in no small part by the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare and the public's disapproval of the health care overhaul. What's more, some 53 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll slammed the administration as incompetent and 47 percent expressed the belief that President Obama doesn't pay attention to what's transpiring on his watch. As to more objective metrics, the job situation is worse at this point in Barack Obama's presidency than it was the same point in George W. Bush's with higher unemployment (6.7 percent to Bush's 4.9 percent) and a woefully low labor force participation rate (62.8 percent to Bush's 66 percent).
Yet when you compare the Washington Post's front-page treatments of Mr. Obama's January 28 speech and Mr. Bush's January 31, 2006 one, it becomes all too apparent that the Post is eager to help the former spin his way to resetting the narrative for the midterm election year while the paper was all too happy to pound out a drumbeat about how President Bush was an abject failure, a lame duck roasting in the waters of public disapproval. Here's how Post staffers David Nakamura and David Fahrenthold opened up their January 29 front-pager "Obama: I won't stand still" (emphasis mine):
As I noted last week, when the Washington Post in mid-October issued their endorsement of Democrat Mark Herring for Virginia attorney general, the paper's editorial board hailed the then-state senator as someone who, unlike his "doctrinaire conservative" opponent Mark Obenshain and predecessor conservative Ken Cuccinelli would "hew to the former Virginia tradition of offering restrained and responsible advice" for the state government. After all, the attorney general is responsible for managing the "office that functions as the law firm for the governor, legislature and agencies of state government" and as such should be above ideological or partisan hobby horses, the paper argued.
Fast forward to last week. Herring, on the job barely two weeks as Virginia attorney general, announces he will not only refuse to defend the state's constitutional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman but that his office will file a brief in federal court arguing that the state's definition of marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. Feeling the need to defend their man Herring from charges by Republicans that the AG is not only shirking his duty, but flaunting his intention to do so, the Post editorial rides out to the rescue with a six-paragraph defense of his "strategy," excerpted in full below (emphasis mine):
After a recent high-school graduate killed two people and then killed himself at Columbia Mall in suburban Maryland on Saturday, The Washington Post added to its mall-shooting package at its PostTV site with the focus on advice: “Protecting yourself in a shooting event.”
Utterly left out was the idea of protecting yourself with a gun. Instead, the Post suggested all the sensible get-away scenarios – move to safety, take cover, look for an exit. In a video repurposed from 2013, Post reporter Nia-Malika Henderson interviewed former Navy SEAL Matt Maasdam for a minute and disputed the notion that anyone should fight a shooter with a gun or anything else:
For snobby liberal film critics, few match A.O. Scott of The New York Times. I remember giggling at this puff on PBS for a George Clooney message movie: "I liked 'Syriana.' I thought it was very hard to follow in a way that I found very engaging and bracing. I felt like the arguments it was making and the connections it was making were very interesting."
So it’s no shock that Scott would slam the new pro-life movie “Gimme Shelter” on Friday as “a crude, earnest parable that uses some of the techniques of indie filmmaking to deliver a culturally conservative message.” Then he slammed it as ideologically ferocious:
On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order in Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Sebeluis et al. It told the Sisters that for the case to continue with no enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they need only to inform the government in writing "that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services." That's easy, because that's what they are, and that's their position.
As a result, the government has been "enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition." In other words, the Sisters will get their way until the case is decided. After the jump, I'll present a bit of the sane coverage by the Washington Post's Robert Barnes, followed by portions of the reality-avoiding writeup of Jesse Holland found at the Associated Press.
On Friday, January 17, President Obama unveiled the rough outlines of his plan to modify but maintain the National Security Administration's ability to collect telephony metadata from American civilians. For its part on the front page the following morning, The Washington Post exulted that "Obama moves to rein in surveillance" as he "[o]rders limits on phone data." Another front-pager sought to flesh out "A candidate's promises vs. a president's duty," essentially justifying the president's departure from his pre-presidential rhetoric about civil liberties. [see screen capture below page break]
Fast forward to January 23 and scathing report by the congressionally-sanctioned Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, wherein the PCLOB attacked as unconstitutional, illegal, and ineffectual the spying agencies metadata collection program. Post editors opted to place Ellen Nakashima's story on the matter on page A2, pitched in such a way as to practically beg the reader not to dive in. "Obama disagrees with report on NSA," noted the headline, with the subhead adding, "Phone-collection program is legal, administration says." Well, there we have it. Nothing to see here. By contrast, Post editors opted to rake the Bush/Cheney administration over the coals with a front-pager examining "A CIA prison''s secret history in Poland." Staff writer Adam Goldman looked at a CIA "black site" in Poland that was, according to the subheader, "shrouded in mystery, though it cast a long shadow":
Democrat Mark Herring pulled out a squeaker of a win last fall, narrowly besting Republican Mark Obenshain to become Virginia's attorney general. In October, the Washington Post endorsed Herring, then a state senator, insisting that Herring "would hew to the former Virginia tradition of offering restrained and responsible advice" to the governor and state agencies and by refusing to "[turn] the office into a platform for ideological crusades."
He's not even a month into the job, and yet Mr. Herring is set to do just that, announcing yesterday his intention to file a brief in federal court attacking the state's 2006 voter-approved constitutional definition of marriage as an institution consisting of one man and one woman. Although it's a stunning, bold-faced repudiation of his constitutional duty to defend the state constitution, you'd be hard-pressed to get that by reading Post court reporter Robert Barnes's coverage in Thursday's paper (emphasis mine):
Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when the content of one's character, not the color of one's skin, was how Americans would evaluate each other. So when NAACP official and African-American clergyman the Rev. William Barber made statements fundamentally violative of the spirit of that dream on the Sunday preceding the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, you'd think it noteworthy for the liberal media. Not so much. At least, not when the target is conservative Sen. Tim Scott.
On Sunday evening at a church in Columbia, South Carolina, the Palmetto State's junior Republican senator was compared to a ventriloquist's dummy by Mr. Barber, who heads up North Carolina's chapter of the civil rights organization. For his part, Washington Post reporter and Post Politics blogger Aaron Blake hacked out a brief entry just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday which simply relayed to readers the controversial remarks, but failed to do any significant follow-up to add anything of value to the story, like say trying to pin down the national NAACP leadership for comment. Blake did, however, add an update which included Sen. Scott's reaction, and it reads as follows:
With his papal audience, Mr. Obama has "an opportunity to highlight the problem of economic inequality, an issue he has placed at the forefront of his second-term agenda" and what's more the visit gives "the president a chance to frame one of his signature domestic issues in largely moral terms." (emphasis mine)
Surprise! The Washington Post on Wednesday profiled two young female pro-life activists on the front of the Style section. Not a surprise? The headline: “Antiabortion forces’ rising young stars.” Reporter Krissah Thompson wrote “Kristan Hawkins, 28, and Lila Rose, 25, are central players in the antiabortion movement’s resurgence.”
In the same corner of the front page yesterday, the Post oozed all over Gloria Steinem without a single opposing word. (Or consider past 100-percent goo for Planned Parenthood boss Cecile Richards.) The profile on Hawkins and Rose was heavily dosed with abortion advocates denouncing them as unethical or extreme.
On Friday, as I noted on Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told public radio's Susan Arbetter that "extreme conservatives" – that is, people who are pro-life, understand the clear meaning of the Second Amendment, or wish to keep marriage as it has traditionally been defined – "have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are." Note well that Cuomo's remarks are still not news at the Associated Press's national site.
On Sunday, Cuomo's people sent and released an "open letter" containing a very inaccurate transcription of the original interview accusing the New York Post's Aaron Short of being "entirely reckless with facts and the truth" in his report ("Gov. Cuomo to conservatives: Leave NY!"). As I demonstrated on Monday, the only reasonable interpretation of what Cuomo said is that Republican Party members who hold any one of the three positions noted in the previous paragraph "have no place in the state of New York." In the past several days, the matter has escalated. The Post has continued to cover the story – that's what newspapers are supposed to do – while, in an extraordinary move, the Counsel to the Governor has entered the fray with what can only be interpreted as threatening language.
This is a "Can't Make This Up" item on two levels. The more obvious of the two is an incredibly tone-deaf statement issued by Texas Democratic guberatorial candidate Wendy Davis, whose Republican opponent is paraplegic Greg Abbott, that "I am proud of what I’ve been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn’t walked a day in my shoes."
The second "Can't Make This Up" aspect relates to Nia-Malika Henderson of the "She the People" blog at the Washington Post and Jon Herskovitz at Reuters. You see, they both failed to do what establishment press members usually do, i.e, they failed to filter out the damning sentence; maybe they didn't know better. A mini-grab of Davis's statement yesterday follows the jump:
Tuesday was a big day over at the Washington Post with the announcement of the departure of one blogger and the bringing in of another. Left-wing blogger Ezra Klein who had been overseeing a supposedly ideologically neutral section of the paper’s website called “Wonkblog” will no longer be working with the Post. Supposedly, he was in a dispute with the paper’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, over some large-scale online project for which he wanted funding.
Joining the paper will be the blogging team put together by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, known in the web world for his libertarian-conservative political views and his love of data and free speech. Unlike Klein, however, Volokh and his co-bloggers will not make the pretense that their ruminations are utterly devoid of ideological thinking.