Ken Vogel, the Left Whisperer The Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel was today a poor excuse for a journalist. He was, however, an excellent excuse for a public relations flack for President Barack Obama and his Administration.
Recall if you will the brouhaha that arose after C-Span Chief Executive Officer Brian Lamb publicly released a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner asking that the electronic media be allowed access to the health care legislation conference meetings.
(Currently, they are being conducted behind closed doors with only Democrats allowed to participate - no Republicans, no media.)
This became a bit of a problem for President Obama as well. Here we have eight times during the campaign where he pledged on camera to have all health care meetings televised - on C-Span, by name. Yet he has thus far refused to demand greater openness of or for the health care legislative process.
UPDATE BELOW THE FOLD - THE ESTEEMED MR. CALDERONE RESPONDS.
CORRECTION: I said the Washington Post was on the hook twice on Calderone's list. H/t to NBer Dean who pointed out it's three - #s 2, 7 & 10. A thousand apologies, and thanks to The Man from the People's Republic of Maryland.
I for one think he did a fully fair and more than fairly good job of it. Media Research Center Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham for two thinks so as well.
On his list were the likes of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, the New York Times's Maureen Dowd and CNN. And the Washington Post - twice. Targets all for which you'll find a rich environment here on NewsBusters. And he slammed the traditional media in totality for remaining dockside while the Good Ships ACORN and Van Jones set sail on alternative media seas. He hailed the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck and website mogul Andrew Breitbart by name for captaining those stories when the Jurassic Press stood down.
Calderone clips Fox News for what he calls their "Tea Party Trifecta," but he's hardly bashing meritlessly here either. An FNC producer was caught on tape rallying a Tea Party crowd. That is quite a bit over the top. And Sean Hannity did run B-roll from the wrong rally - a more populous one - and was forced to apologize to the world generally and Jon Stewart particularly.
Though Hannity's probably was an honest mistake. The Pulitzer-winning Dowd's excuse for "borrowing" a paragraph from the liberal website Talking Points Memo - that a "friend" had sent it to her - bends the credibility curve downward quite a bit.
Someone at Politicoworn-out horsed (See: Definition #3) Calderone on the photograph composite accompanying his article, however. (Said snapshots appear below the fold.) We don't think Calderone chooses what goes with his pieces. Perhaps he should.
A number of the conservative movement's prominent online figures are battling to be the right's equivalent of Talking Points Memo or Huffington Post--political organizations that report hard news. Many believe that to truly harness the power of the Web, political organizations must report their own news, rather than comment on reporitng from traditional outlets.
"The left needs Daily Kos, but they also need the Huffington Post," Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis told Politico. He praised the roles of activists and opinion commentators on the right such as Red State's Erick Erickson, but noted that the conservatives have not yet matched the left's capability for original reporting.
Though HuffPo, TPM, and other politcally stilted but journalism-oriented sites, liberals "have the ability to amplify stories into the mainstream media conversation," according to Politico. Conservatives have a large void to fill when it comes to producing original content, rather than solely commenting on what is already out there. There are conservative sites providing original reporting, but there are so far no center-right equivalents to the left's powerhouse online news operations.
Here's another entry for the revolving door file: Politico's Jonathan Allen (pictured at right), formerly of Congressional Quarterly and former Sen. Paul Sarbanes' office, will take over as the top staffer at Debbie Wasserman Schultz's DWS PAC, according to Roll Call (h/t e-mail tipster Bob Foster).
For his part, Allen, whose wife works as the communications director for freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), found it an offer he couldn't refuse:
"I wouldn't go work for just anyone," Allen said. "She wanted me to come work for her, and it was impossible for me to say no. She has a heart of gold and resolve of steel. ... I find that inspiring."
Roll Call's Steven T. Dennis has the story here, but only the lead paragraph is available to non-subscribers. Below is an excerpt, courtesy of Foster:
Near the end of the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer discussed the ClimateGate scandal only to claim there was no scandal in the emails that seemed to show climate scientists manipulating global warming data: “I mean is someone using differences in semantics to try and play up a controversy that’s not really there?”
Brewer spoke with Politico reporter Erica Lovely about the emails in which scientists referred to a “trick” to conceal evidence that contradicted predicted warming trends. Brewer explained: “...there’s a Penn State scientist Michael Mann....He says the word ‘trick’ doesn’t actually refer to any kind of deception, but to a very well-known accepted data technique.” Lovely saw nothing improper in concealing data: “They wanted to keep it out of some of the international reports that the United Nations would be looking at, you know, just to – to move the global talks forward.”
After Brewer suggested the use of the word “trick” as “just semantics,” Lovely agreed: “Sure....They’ll use language that maybe to us would look like, you know, something fishy is going on. But to them this is just everyday speak.” Lovely again defended their actions: “...they’ve been working so many decades trying to get some traction on the global warming science that they really can’t afford to have much detracting science get out.”
For the dog-bites-man news category: Joe Scarborough had a moment of intellectual schizophrenia today.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Willie Geist and Politico.com executive editor Jim VandeHei were discussing a Politico story about internal political pressures at National Public Radio (NPR). Apparently, NPR's top political correspondent Mara Liasson was asked by NPR executives to reconsider her appearances on Fox News, for concerns over Fox's perceived political bias.
An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that John Harris and Mike Allen of Politico declined to ask former vice president Al Gore about controversial emails from climate scientists who support the idea of anthropogenic global warming after knowledge of those emails was publicly disclosed.
In fact, the interview with Gore occurred before the emails were public knowledge, therefore Messrs. Harris and Allen could not have asked Gore about them. NewsBusters regrets the error.
The White House's decision to include prominent left-wing blogs in its reporting pool has some journalists worried. Since members of the rotating pool often base their reports off of reports from outlets that attend, they worry that the presence of openly partisan news outlets could skew coverage of the White House.
“This is really troubling,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker told Politico's Michael Calderone. “We’re blurring the line between news and punditry even further and opening ourselves to legitimate questions among readers about where the White House press corps gets its information.”
The White House has decided to include reporters from the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo in its rotating group of press correspondents.
Ed Chen, who reports for Bloomberg News, noted that many consumers would not consider mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times or the Washington Times "objective" outlets.
When outrage erupted this week over a government panel's recommendation that women have fewer mammograms, health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius was prepared with the Obama administration's favorite talking point: It's all Bush's fault. Appearing Wednesday on CNN's The Situation Room, Sebelius told anchor Wolf Blitzer:
This panel was appointed by the prior administration, by former President George Bush, and given the charge to routinely look at a whole host of services to make sure that new preventive services which had benefit were being looked at by health care providers and that things that they felt did not have as much benefit as we move forward were also looked at by health care providers.
Senate majority whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) continued the theme on Friday as reported by Politico:
“The recommendation by this medical panel has been rejected by virtually everyone, including the current administration,” Durbin said. “They were appointed by President Bush.”
With the holiday season approaching, the latest liberal fashion in media bias by omission will be papering over any hard feelings about White House holiday celebrations. Already (as Patrick Gavin of Politico has pointed out), the Jerusalem Post reported that the guest list of the annual White House Hanukkah party is being shrunk in half, from 800 to 400.
Hillary Leila Krieger wrote "Though several Jewish leaders expressed understanding for the economic and other reasons behind the cut, they acknowledged that it would likely help feed feelings in some quarters of the American Jewish community that the White House is giving them the cold shoulder."
It comes as a different attempt at outreach to Jews -- an Obama appearance before the General Assembly of North American Jewish Federations last week -- was cancelled so Obama could attend the Fort Hood memorial service. Krieger added:
"The clergy should stay off Capitol Hill," MSNBC's Chris Matthews flatly declared on the November 10 "Hardball." Matthews fumed with disgust as Politico's Jonathan Allen told him that Catholic bishops lobbied Democrats to pass the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill last week.
"I understand the [pro-life] argument" that the bishops brought to the table, Matthews added, but huffed that they should not "show up" on the Hill.
After the commercial break, Matthews took to the air again to clarify that it was not in fact bishops but staffers with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) who lobbied the Democrats. Such a distinction, he insisted, was important.
"Conservatives say they pushed Dede Scozzafava out of the House race in New York's 23rd District a week ago because of her left-of-Republican social views - and not because she is a woman. But the growing schism between the Republican Party's ascendant right wing and its shrinking moderate core has clear gender undertones..."
So wrote Politico's Meredith Shiner and Glenn Thrush Monday in another attempt by a liberal media outlet to completely misrepresent what Scozzafava's ouster as Congressional candidate was really about.
As NewsBuster Candance Moore reported Thursday, ABCNews.com tried the same disgraceful, underhanded tactic last week.
Unfortunately on Monday, Politico didn't even try to be subtle with its attempt to fabricate sexism where it clearly doesn't exist (h/t Jennifer Rubin):
Coverage of Tuesday's election night took place during prime time, giving cable news partisans the responsibility of tracking and reporting details on the elections. Many observers, fed up with the substandard coverage of the networks' opinion commentators, turned to Twitter for up-to-the-minute coverage.
Election followers on Twitter displayed their discontent towards cable news stations throughout the night. Twitterer Some1ToShoutFor lamented, "I know this isn't a huge election, but you would think CNN would be covering it a little bit."
Another, with the ironic username msnbcwatcher, complained of hyper-partisan Ed Schultz's coverage: "What makes @MSNBC think that Ed Schultz should be on TV more? Is there no 1 else to do election coverage? Wheres @DavidShuster?"
"Last night was a triumph for the conservative movement and repudiation to those who said Republicans had to move away from the conservative ideology to achieve victory," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell declared today.
"I hereby grant the Dewey Defeats Truman Awards for the most incompetent political reporting of the year to the following journalists for their impeccably inept coverage," Bozell noted in a press release earlier today before listing Politico's Mike Allen, CBS's Katie Couric, National Journal's Ron Brownstein, and the entire New York Times editorial board as the recipients of the (dis)honor.
"Congratulations for embarrassing yourselves, your news organizations and the industry for a backfire that only President Truman himself could truly appreciate," proclaimed Bozell.
For the full press release, including the quotes that were the catalysts for the Deweys, click here.
When Mike Allen appeared on Morning Joe today, the very first thing he did was tweak Joe Scarborough over the 3:1 odds, described below, that Joe had offered to those wanting to bet against Doug Hoffman. Joe responded that no one, including Allen, had taken up the bet. While Allen apparently didn't plunk down any dollars, it must be mentioned that at the end of the original segment, the Politico correspondent did say "we're in" on Scarborough's offer.
So let me acknowledge that in calling the race in the 23rd a toss-up, Mike Allen was right--not ridiculous.
Looking back, my two cents say the turning point might well have been the under-reported fact that when Hoffman, who does not live in the district, was interviewed by the Watertown newspaper, he demonstrated surprising unfamiliarity with issues important to the district including a major highway proposal and changes to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Not the kind of thing that gets national headlines, but important to people who live and work in the area. Candidates everywhere, take note.
The results should also be a rebuke to the New York Republican establishment. Remember that Dede Scozzafava was foisted on Republicans as their candidate by party chairmen meeting behind closed doors. If instead there had been a primary, Republicans would almost surely have chosen someone who would have won this race.
When you're an MSMer, you're an MSMer all the way--even when faced with facts that might make you like, well, ridiculous . . .
Mike Allen, appearing on Morning Joe, has declared the NY-23rd race a "real toss-up" despite a new poll from a respected organization showing Doug Hoffman with a 17-point lead.
The claim by Allen, Politico's chief political correspondent, was so absurd that, on the spot, host Joe Scarborough offered 3:1 odds to Allen and anyone else wanting to place a few kopeks on Dem Bill Owens.
In deciding which Sunday talk shows to focus on, I typically tap into Politico's Sunday talk show tip sheet, which provides a helpful round-up of the Sunday line-up.
Scrolling there today, I came upon the photo you see here. Of all the innumerable images of the three men, these are the pictures Politico chose to announce the appearance of Joe Lieberman, Rush Limbaugh and David Plouffe on Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press, respectively.
You don't suppose Politico's pic picks might reflect its biases, do you? Let's break it down . . .
The Obama administration continues to push its "jobs created and saved" theme, taking credit for up to a million jobs on account of its $787 billion economic stimulus package (roughly a quarter of which has been spent). But some in the media remain skeptical.
Politico.com announced on Oct. 30 that White House officials planned a Friday afternoon announcement for the same day claiming "at least 1 million jobs" had been saved or created.
Other news outlets, including NPR and CNN, focused on a lower White House claim the same day saying that "more than 650,000 jobs have been saved or created" under the stimulus.
The higher claim of 1 million was based on extrapolation - the White House report examined the first $150 billion of $339 billion stimulus funds spent so far.
Mike Allen has dumped on Doug Hoffmann's candidacy. Again. Yesterday, as noted here, Allen said Republicans would be "crazy" and "suicidal" to support the conservative in the special congressional election in New York's 23rd CD. Today, Politico's chief political correspondent has claimed that a Hoffman victory would spell "chaos" in Republican ranks.
And check the video for Mike Barnicle making an elitist crack about the upstate NY district, and Chuck Todd trying to embarrass RNC Chairman Michael Steele . . .
Mike Allen might not be a Republican political strategist, but he tried playing one on TV today, telling the GOP it was "crazy" and "suicidal" to be supporting Doug Hoffman over Dede Scozzafava in a special congressional election in northern New York.
Politico's chief political correspondent offered his unsolicited advice on today's Morning Joe.
This wouldn't be particularly important if not for the fact that the press made a point of criticizing our previous president for overindulging in exercise and recreation and supposedly "vacationing" too often at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
But they did, so a Tweet from CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller is worth noting:
Politico's Click blog picked up the story and put this twist on the tweet: "President Obama Ties George W. Bush on Golf."
Meanwhile, an unbylined Associated Press piece gave Obama backhanded props for finally including a woman in his golf foursome, but failed to mention the new First Linkster's fore-play frequency Knoller had cited earlier in the day:
This is a Politico congressional race story that should have been labeled "WARNING: Read this story with a huge grain of salt." Why? First of all because the poll of the New York 23rd Congressional District was mostly taken before the big events of this past week were well known there. And even more importantly, the source of the poll was the Daily Kos which endorsed the very liberal Republican in the race, Dede Scozzafava. However, before we go into how absurd this poll was, let us watch Josh Kraushaar of Politico get all breathless about this highly questionable story:
The Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll provides some encouraging news for Scozzafava, who remains in second place – and within striking distance of Owens – despite a week of bad publicity. It shows her leading Hoffman among Republican voters, 46 to 27 percent.
If there was any question which side of the ideological blogosphere a lot of the inside-the-beltway media establishment go to regularly, Politico may have just cleared that up.
In an Oct. 11 Politico story headlined "Think Progress makes its mark," which was the top story on its Web site that evening, Daniel Libit paid reverence to the left-wing Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog.
"Can a liberal blog launched in the midst of the Bush era - a blog that once obsessed over Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and the outing of Valerie Plame - still make its mark in the age of Obama?" Libit wrote. "In the case of Think Progress, the answer so far is yes."
Hours after the Senate Finance Committee rejected the public option as part of the proposed health care “reform” plan, CNN’s Campbell Brown couldn’t seem to find any conservatives to discuss the vote on her program on Tuesday. Her discussion segment brought three liberals to the table- former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich, Roland Martin, and senior political analyst Gloria Borger.
Brown first turned to Borger, who flatly stated that she thought the public option is dead: “I think it’s pretty dead, Campbell. I think it’s safe to say that right now it looks like it’s a goner.” The analyst continued that “the President has to settle for something less- something that may be a down payment on a public option, if the insurance companies don’t behave themselves. So, I think the President’s going to have to settle for less, and I think he’s signaling that he will settle for less.”
The Politico's Jonathan Allen reported last night that Democratic Congressment Alan Grayson of Florida let loose on the House floor. (UPDATE: Politico now has a YouTube video of Grayson's performance at the link.)
Hopefully, Allen himself was only being sloppy with his own wording:
Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., warned Americans that "Republicans want you to die quickly" during an after-hours House floor speech Tuesday night.
His remarks, which drew angry and immediate calls for an apology from Republicans, were highlighted by a sign reading "The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly."
"Warned"? As if "Republicans want you to die quickly" is a fact?
Americans who fail to pay the penalty for not buying insurance would face legal action from the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
The remarks Thursday from the committee's chief of staff, Thomas Barthold, seems to further weaken President Barack Obama's contention last week that the individual mandate penalty, which could go as high as $1,900, is not a tax increase.
Under questioning from Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Barthold said the IRS would "take you to court and undertake normal collection proceedings."
Ensign pursued the line of questioning because he said a lot of Americans don't believe the Constitution allows the government to mandate the purchase of insurance.
Friday, Brown reported that Ensign got a clarification on what the result of "normal collection proceedings" might be, and got it in writing (HT Hot Air):
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante highlighted President Obama’s latest media blitz on health care reform and touted a new piece of the PR arsenal: "The President does have a new partner in his nonstop effort to sell health care, it’s the First Lady....Michelle Obama will be more like a stealth weapon in the battle for health care, giving it a softer touch."
Plante further explained the logic behind using the First Lady to promote ObamaCare: "With a favorable rating of around 70%, well above her husband’s, and the background of a hospital executive, Michelle Obama will counter balance her husband’s hard sell." A clip was played of Politico’s Nia-Malika Henderson exclaiming: "They feel like she can give a different voice, because as you can see, a lot of the folks out there are very partisan." Unlike Michelle Obama’s completely non-partisan approach.
The Politico is threatening blogger Stephen Gutowski with legal action to wrest control of his TheCollegePolitico.com domain on trademark infringement grounds.
Gutowski -- full disclosure: he serves as the content editor for the Media Research Center's EyeBlast.tv -- gives readers details and offers his argument for why the claim by Politico is specious here at his blog.