Whether it's deliberate obfuscation or just plain laziness is up for debate, but the media have a penchant for misleading news consumers with the meme that Blue Dog Democrats are politically "conservative." While the Blue Dog caucus is decidedly more moderate than Democrats as a whole -- you could individual members are "conservative for a Democrat" -- they rarely if ever qualify as conservatives when you look at the entirety of their voting records.
In the Bush years, the hottest, most telegenic politician in Washington was a Republican (or “pro-defense” Democrat) who would oppose President Bush in Iraq. Democratic Rep. John Murtha was red-hot, and so were critical Republicans like Chuck Hagel. But in the Obama years, backing away from Obama’s war policy doesn’t exactly give you the same cachet.
On Friday, on the front page of Politico, reporter David Rogers wrote “Top Dem Becomes War Critic: Obama ally losing faith on Afghanistan.”
New York Magazine apparently believes that opposing foreign aid is literally xenophobic - rooted in irrational fear of foreigners - and is willing to engage in some pretty sketchy journalistic practices to make its case. Those are a pair of lessons Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., learned on Tuesday.
In their coverage of Herman Cain's official announcement that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, Associated Press reporters Shannon McCaffrey and Greg Bluestein limited their description of Cain's tenure as chief executive of Godfather's Pizza to the following:
He worked at Coca-Cola, Pillsbury and Burger King before taking the helm of the failing Godfather's Pizza franchise, which he rescued by shuttering hundreds of restaurants.
That's all he did, eh? Guys, if that's all you could cobble together about Cain's time at Godfather's, you should have ended the excerpted sentence after "franchise" (for which a better word would have been "chain").
The AP pair also omitted a couple of key elements of Cain's resume, specifically his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association and his involvement as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, where he ultimately was elected chairman.
Here is a description of Cain's tenure at Godfather's found at a site called PizzaDominoes.com:
MSNBC's Chris Matthews is clearly not going to tolerate anyone on his program saying Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich isn't racist.
Politico's Jeanne Cummings had the nerve to do exactly that on Thursday's "Hardball," and for her sins Matthews relentlessly browbeat her until she finally gave up (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
Today's Morning Joe offered an interesting contrast of MSM takes on Donald Trump. Politico honcho John Harris proffered the conventional Beltway wisdom, writing off Trump as a "silly season" candidate who adds only entertainment and amusement value to the race.
Meanwhile, Mark Halperin was surprisingly respectful of The Donald. Halperin opined that beyond the birther issue, Trump was doing a lot of smart things that other candidates should study. Among them, Trump is the only candidate, according to Halperin, willing to "get in Barack Obama's face."
In a Monday opinion piece at Politico (HT Hot Air) entitled "NFL players need Obama's support," Blackistone criticized the President of the United States for not supporting the players in their dispute with the league's owners, and -- I kid you not -- said it "differs very little" from the recent public-sector collective-bargaining controversy in Wisconsin. Blackistone even brought Martin Luther King into the mix (bolds are mine):
On Monday evening, the AP reported that a suspicious package destined for Rep. Peter King's (R-N.Y.) Washington congressional office was intercepted at an off-site mail facility and "contained a pig's foot and a note laced with several anti-Semitic references, according to a person with knowledge of the incident who requested anonymity because of the ongoing police investigation."
King, the AP noted, is "[t]he Republican congressman [who] chairs the House Homeland Security panel which held hearings last month on Islamic radicalization."
But a search of Nexis reveals that major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post failed to report the story. The same appears to be true of the three broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. ABCNews.com's "The Note" blog, however, did report the story Monday evening.
When conservatives gather behind closed doors, the left plans protests and counter events. When the left plans a closed-door meeting, it gets almost no attention at all.
Politico reported briefly on Feb. 16, that Democratic operatives will gather in early March for a private strategy conference. That has gotten little attention or criticism, yet when conservatives gather at the semiannual Koch conference the left mounts elaborate protests.
“Participants include Obama campaign pollsters Joel Benenson and Paul Harstad, the 2010 executive directors of the DSCC, DCCC, and DGA, Organizing for America deputy director Jeremy Bird, SEIU political director Jon Youngdahl, and current DSCC executive director Guy Cecil,” Politico’s Ben Smith said.
When the latest “semiannual confab of conservative activists” hosted by Charles and David Koch took place, people on the left from environmentalists to unions held a counter-meeting called “Uncloaking the Kochs.” The Los Angeles Times covered the protests and even linked to streaming video of the lefties’ event, but didn’t quote a single conservative in that story.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough thinks the GOP's house is already on fire in his latest Politico column, where he thrashes the party's leadership for a poor showing at CPAC. He ridiculed the gathering as "a conference cursed with dull speechmaking and intraparty battles."
"Like most Egyptians, the conservative movement still has no idea who will lead it through the next election," Scarborough writes. What is the biggest reason candidates have not entered the field, he thinks? They are scared to run against Obama.
Jay Carney just assumed his new post as White House press secretary yesterday, but he already finds himself embroiled in controversy.
Despite leaving Time magazine shortly after the 2008 election to work for the Obama administration, Carney continued collecting payments from his former employer in 2009, Politico reported today.
According to newly released financial disclosure forms, Carney was paid $270,000 by Time while serving as Vice President Joe Biden's communications director, consisting of a $58,000 bonus for work during the 2008 presidential campaign and a $212,000 severance payment.
According to Politico editors Jim VandeHei and John Harris, Barack Obama is currently "playing the press like a fiddle" by "exploiting some of the most long-standing traits among reporters who cover politics and government — their favoritism for politicians perceived as ideologically centrist."
VandeHei and Harris pointed out journalists such as Christiane Amanpour for lauding the President as "Reaganesque." They then oddly portrayed Obama's good press as a new thing.
The co-authors of February 7 piece flatly denied a hard-left tilt in the media: "Conservatives are convinced the vast majority of reporters at mainstream news organizations are liberals who hover expectantly for each new issue of The Nation. It's just not true."
"[F]or all the surface civility [of the State of the Union], Obama wants to pick a fight, or at least draw a stark contrast, between his jobs-centric philosophy and the GOP’s determination to cut government first and ask questions later."
Of course, Obama's State of the Union address carried a fresh call for soaking the nation's richest taxpayers and plowing millions into white elephant spending projects such as high-speed rail, but it apparently didn't occur to Thrush and Budoff Brown that Obama's prescription may be to "grow government first and ignore questions later" given the failure of the first stimulus package of his administration.
In an interview with CNSNews.com last week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) referenced President Obama's African-American heritage last week and "found it remarkable" that he could be pro-abortion. Santorum, later clarifying his comments under media scrutiny, said he meant he is dismayed that a President who "rightfully" fights for civil rights ignores the civil rights of the unborn in America.
Santorum, speaking of President Obama's position on abortion, said in the interview "the question is--and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer--is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people."
The media picked up on the comment and, without publishing what Santorum said leading up to the segment, questioned if he had racial motivations. Jennifer Epstein's Politico piece was headlined "Rick Santorum plays race card on President Obama." Epstein labeled Santorum's remark "eyebrow-raising."
"Bipartisanship" is one of those buzzwords that proponents of a policy will invoke whenever possible. But a rush to demonstrate that the policy appeals across party lines can often obscure partisans' real motives in endorsing it.
Since former Senate Majority Leaders Bill Frist and Tom Daschle teamed up to endorse ObamaCare this week, plenty of media outlets have touted the "bipartisan" backing of the law.
Daschle is of course a Democrat so his support isn't as newsy as Frist's. But when a credentialed Republican, a former Senate GOP leader comes out in favor of a piece of landmark liberal legislation, the keen observer is a bit suspicious. Why the ideological shift? In Frist's case - and this fact has amazingly gone unmentioned in reports by MSNBC, NPR, and Politico - it seems to be due to his significant financial stake in ObamaCare's preservation.
Carrying his sermonizing from his MSNBC morning show to Politico, Joe Scarborough railed against inflammatory political rhetoric in his latest Politico column – but hit conservative talk while ignoring leftist vitriol.
Calling them out by name, as he did recently on his show "Morning Joe," Scarborough pleaded with conservatives that if they can't be civil out of righteousness, they could at least practice civility for the sake of the Republican Party. "It's time to grow up," he lectured the Right, specifically pundits Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
Of course, Scarborough made no criticism whatsoever of inflammatory rhetoric from the Left – such as his MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz, who in 2009 joked about ripping Dick Cheney's heart out and playing political football with it, nor from vicious left-wing dilettante Randi Rhodes, nor from Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida who called his 2010 Republican opponent "Taliban Dan."
During her 1PM ET hour show on MSNBC on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell sympathized with exiting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, remarking that the California Democrat having to hand over the gavel to John Boehner in January has "got to be painful," but that Pelosi is "doing it with class."
Mitchell made the comments after talking to Politico's congressional bureau chief Martin Kady about a recent interview Pelosi conducted with the political website. Mitchell cited excerpts: "Pelosi says quote, 'I'm obviously devastated by the loss we had' but she also says she 'feels serene' and is already working on getting Democrats to win back the House, a tall order." Kady portrayed Pelosi as defiant: "I mean she's really still promoting the accomplishments of the Democratic congress, even the accomplishments that some believe, you know, may have cost her some seats in this House."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough slammed President Obama Tuesday for not standing up to Republicans but rather compromising over extending the Bush tax cuts. Scarborough called the tax cuts for millionaires "inefficient" and agreed with co-host Mika Brzezinski that the Republicans are "complete hypocrites" when it comes to dealing with the deficit.
The deal includes an extension of the Bush tax cuts for all income brackets, including millionaires. In return, the Democrats get the extension of unemployment benefits that they were pushing for.
"Ideologically, I've always voted for tax cuts," Scarborough claimed, recalling his tenure as a Republican congressman from Florida.
"But when we are this deep in debt, and we have this many people unemployed, and we need to get working class people back to work, I can't imagine a more inefficient way to spark a recovery than giving tax cuts to people like myself who will put it in the bank and feel better about myself because I'm saving some money."
In a Politico column written just before the deal was struck between the president and Republicans, Scarborough implored Obama to survey the situation and realize that he could still fight the GOP. Obama's concession, he argued, would be harmful to America.
During Tuesday's 1PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Andrea Mitchell highlighted a new poll from the left-wing pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood that claimed that voters do not trust Sarah Palin on so-called "women's health issues": "A new poll suggests that she may have a tough time getting voters to trust her on at least one front....54% of registered voters do not trust Palin on those issues."
Later in the same segment, deciding to get in a few more shots at Palin, Mitchell claimed that the former Alaska governor's new book, 'America by Heart,' had not appeared on the New York Times best seller list: "All of a sudden, Sarah Palin, with a new book, is not on the list....unless there was something wrong with my edition of The New York Times, she's not on it, with a book that's just come out." Well, apparently there was something wrong with the Times' Sunday December 5 best seller list, because its December 12 list had Palin's book debuting at number two behind George W. Bush's 'Decision Points.'
Chris Matthews on Friday made the absurd claim the "compassionate" Left is too soft on Republican wrongdoers, and that by contrast the Right puts it's "heel into the back of the guy's head when he's down."
The "Hardball" host - with a straight face no less - said this to guests Ron Reagan and Politico's Roger Simon with reference to how the "right-wing press played up [Charlie] Rangel's censure" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews on Wednesday called Republicans that are skeptical of man's role in global warming Luddites, referring to the 19th century movement in Great Britain that was opposed to changes associated with the Industrial Revolution.
Clearly missing the absurdity in his analogy, the "Hardball" host arrogantly stated (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Suggesting that Nicolle Wallace engaged in feline fisticuffs might be called sexist. But when Wallace actually accused Sarah Palin of seeking to "claw" critics, illustrating her assertion with a cat-like hand gesture, well . . .
It's no secret that Wallace is no fan of Sarah Palin. But the former Bush communications director and McCain campaign aide perhaps took things to another level with her attack on Palin on today's Morning Joe. Wallace was on to comment on Joe Scarborough's astonishing claim of yesterday, noted here, that "all" conservatives and talk radio hosts with whom he's spoken are harshly critical of Palin off the record, but are afraid to express their views publicly.
Wallace opined that if it ever looked as if Palin were close to copping the Republican presidential nomination, many GOP leaders who have to date been too timid to criticize her would step forward to expose Palin's putative shortcomings. In the course of propounding her theory, Wallace unleashed a hail of criticism of her own:
"Mistakes were made [by McCain in choosing Palin]."
"Her troubling deficiencies."
"Her incredible cynicism, her bitterness, her aggressive attempts to claw [makes clawing hand-gesture] anyone" who criticizes her.
Liberal internet publisher Arianna Huffington is being sued by two Democrat consultants for allegedly stealing their website idea.
Politico reported Monday evening the suit filed in New York State Supreme Court claims James Boyce and Peter Daou originally presented the idea for the Huffington Post to Huffington and her partner Ken Lerer, and the four made a handshake agreement to develop the website together (h/t NBer acaiguana):
MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann indefinitely … after news broke that he had given the maximum allowable contribution to three Democrats without disclosing it to his employers.
With Olbermann out, MSNBC needed a fill-in, so in steps Chris Hayes, editor of the liberal magazine, The Nation. MSNBC pegged Hayes to fill in for the suspended Countdown host on Friday. His gig was short-lived however.
Several hours after the announcement, Hayes had been dropped. (h/t Weasel Zippers)
For a series of donations to Democratic campaigns in recent years.