If ever a story had the earmarks of being agenda-driven from the get-go, Mackenzie Weinger's writeup at the Politico on Glenn Beck published Saturday morning fits the bill.
Weinger's premise is that Beck will never be as influential as he once was as long as he doesn't have a cable news program and continues to branch into entertainment-related ventures consistent with his beliefs. Excerpts, evidence which easily refutes Weinger's wishful thinking, and further commentary from yours truly follow the jump.
Today another New York state court upheld an earlier decision in March that invalidated outgoing Mayor Mike Bloomberg's much-maligned "soda ban" which restricts many establishments in the Big Apple from selling soda cups larger than 16 ounces in capacity. As the media report on the court ruling, watch for a) the media to paint the ruling as a "blow" to an "ambitious," well-meaning effort by Bloomberg to save the city from corpulence and b) the ruling as a victory for Big Soda, even though the litigants in the case happen to be the New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
For two examples of this media narrative, I submit for your consideration two wildly different publications, Politico and, sadly, the Wall Street Journal. First Politico. Here's how Kyle Cheney opened his July 30 post, "Appeals court cans N.Y.C. soda ban" (emphasis mine):
Organizing For Action claims that its mission is to "support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012." Presumably, on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis, that means it's able to divine the President's priorities and follow them (you see, OFA is "independent," so there can't pooooossibly be any communication between its officials and the White House, cough, cough).
Well, if OFA really is following the President's priorities, one of those priorities is decidedly not the economy, despite Obama's promise in his weekly address on Saturday to "spend every minute of every day doing everything in my power to make this economy work for working Americans again." And yes, I would expect a vigilant establishment press, which we definitely don't have, to notice, and of course they haven't. Edward-Isaac Dovere at the Politico has a list of OFA's "Action August" key event days, which follows the jump:
Has Glenn Thrush at the Politico thrown up the white flag on Democrats regaining control of the House until 2022, the first election cycle after the next wave of congressional and statehouse redistricting? If so, he clearly underestimates Republicans' ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but I digress.
It would appear that Thrush has thrust himself into the throes of despair, based on the bolded sentence seen after the jump from his Friday report on how 2010 losses of control of the U.S. House and especially control of so many statehouses and state legislatures "still haunt" Dear Leader Barack Obama:
Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico's home page this morning -- one which is there, and one which isn't.
The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between "Big Marijuana" -- it seems like "Big Pot" would be a more succinct nickname -- and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn't there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing "IRS."
The TalkLeft blog noted last night that the American Civil Liberties Union, after encouraging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to pursue civil rights charges against George Zimmerman the day after he was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, reversed course just four days later.
Though it's no longer available at its national web site, the Associated Press ran the organization's press release. Various searches at the AP's national web site indicate that there has been no coverage of the organization's reversal. Several center-right blogs have noted the reversal, but no one in the establishment press besides Josh Gerstein at the Politico, where stories the rest of the establishment press would prefer to ignore tend to go and all too often die, has noted it. So did the organization have a change of heart? Or did it attempt to manipulate its media exposure with a politically correct initial press release followed by a legally and constitutionally correct reversal it hopes few will notice?
Imagine that FDR, in his first inaugural, instead of rallying Americans with the notion that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," had stoked the nation's unease by harping on how bad the Depression was. If Mike Allen had been around in 1933, perhaps he would have defended FDR by writing "there was plenty of unease before the speech, so it's hard to blame the President."
For that is the same approach that the Politico's Allen took in his Playbook this morning in defending President Obama's divisive remarks of yesterday on Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman trial. Wrote Allen [emphasis added]: "Many conservatives are complaining that the remarks will stoke division and dissension. But there was plenty of that before, so it's hard to blame POTUS." Some might accuse Allen of the soft bigotry of low expectations. More after the jump.
Imagine if you will a conservative Republican mayor used public employees' work time to advocate stricter state-level abortion regulations throughout the country? The Left would, and to an extent rightfully so, raise a fit, and the liberal media would, again, rightly so, beat the drums and make the abuse of power a major national story.
But when it's liberal independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg doing the same thing to push a gun control agenda, the media are not-so-strangely silent, given the media's push for ever-more-restrictive gun laws.
Today, as the wire service AFP reported in a story carried at Yahoo.com, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in the question and answer exchange after his prepared testimony, told the House Financial Services Committee that "If we were to tighten (monetary) policy, the economy would tank."
That assessment of the economy's fragility qualifies as news, especially given the Obama administration's continued claim that the economy is "continuing to recover at a promising rate." Outlets besides AFP virtually ignored Bernanke's soundbite, which should be considered scary to anyone who realizes that Big Ben can't go on "stimulating" at his current rate forever.
On ABC's This Week yesterday, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- who resigned in 2008 when caught dead to rights illegally purchasing the services of prostitutes but was never prosecuted because, as announced two days after Election Day in 2008, the Department of Justice decided that "the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges" -- called the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial "a failure of justice."
Of course, Politico's Juana Summers provided none of the background yours truly just did while only referring to Spitzer as "the former Democratic governor of New York who's now a candidate for New York City comptroller." Another statement Spitzer made on the same program deserves further scrutiny, which will arrive after the jump:
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was predictably unhappy with Saturday's verdict in the George Zimmerman case. He used it as an opportunity to go after what he calls "shoot first" laws, which people in the real world refer to as "stand your ground" laws.
It was an irrelevant rant, as Politico's Maggie Haberman pointed out: "In the Zimmerman case, neither the defense nor the prosecution ultimately used “Stand Your Ground.” Zimmerman’s attorneys ... presented a conventional self-defense strategy." Problem is, Haberman waited until her final paragraph to note that, and gave readers every impression that the case was about "stand your ground" up until that point (presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
Joe Scarborough might want to reflect on people in glass houses, casting the first stone, beam in your eye—all the adages counseling against hypocrisy, against condemning others for sins without considering one's own wrongs.
In a Politico piece brimming with self-righteousness, Scarborough bemoans the "vulgar state" of American politics and condemns "hyperbolic political pronouncements" about the case. Hyperbolic? We got your hyperbole right here. Does Joe not remember that in 2012, long before all the facts of the case were available, he eagerly condemned George Zimmerman as a "murderer"? More after the jump.
Imagine if -- and you'd have to imagine it, because it never happened -- the George W. Bush administration had sent members of its Justice Department to a city where a black man charged with murder was claiming self-defense in the killing of a non-African-American for the purposes of ginning up protests against the accused. Establishment press coverage and would have been justifiably intense.
On Thursday, Judicial Watch revealed that it had obtained documents showing that "a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman." In other words, DOJ did to Zimmerman what I just noted Bush 43 administration never did and would never have considered doing. JW's bombshell is not news at the Associated Press or at the Politico.
While the station deserves plenty of blame for failing to catch the obviously phony names before airing them, at least half of the blame goes to the National Transportation Safety Board which fed it the improper information, as Politico's Nick Gass reports:
Rush Limbaugh inadvertently set off a media firestorm Monday when he advised a caller to his popular radio program not to get bothered by left-leaning TV commentators on Fox News Channel.
Those remarks were quickly miscontrued by several online publications including Politico, Huffington Post and Mediaite as the conservative radio host recommending that his listeners avoid watching FNC entirely.
Josh Gerstein at the Politico is on the opposite of a roll today. This afternoon (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Gerstein was barely done covering how "U.S. eases away from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi" when the military announced that Morsi had been deposed by the military, ultimately in favor of, according to the Associated Press, a temporary "government of civilian technocrats."
This evening, he's trying to position Obama as a great thinker weighing his options instead of as the guy who has been on the wrong side of freedom and democracy ever since Morsi assumed dictatorial powers in late November of last year, which should be brought up every time someone falsely claims that Morse headed a legitimate, democratically elected government (bolds are mine):
Apparently, one pathetic last-minute speech by Eqypt's Mohammed Morsi was sufficient to convince President Barack Obama, who has spent several days and untold amounts of worldwide capital defending the Muslim Brotherhood leader's staying on the job in the face of what may have been the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in human history.
The Politico frantically tried to run interference for Obama opportunistic change of heart today, running an item which was apparently called "U.S. Eases Away from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi." The item was up so briefly that it was quickly replaced, while the headline just mentioned still remains in the browser window's title bar:
News organizations gotta pay the bills. Nothing's more normal than a newspaper, magazine or website—NewsBusters included—selling advertising, including ads by political or issue-advocacy groups.
But somehow it felt different to have opened my morning email from Mike Allen's "Politico Playbook" and find this message [screencap after jump] at the very top: "POLITICO Playbook, presented by the Rights and Responsibilities Tour by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly." Allen's column often features ads from issue-advocacy groups, ranging across the issue spectrum. But to so identify the column with sponsorship by one side of a controversial political issue would seem to raise serious journalistic issues. More after the jump.
As of 9:15 p.m. (saved here for future reference), the home page at Politico had no story on developments in Egypt, even though story teases on unrelated matters from Thursday and Friday were still present. A browser search on "Egypt" within the home page came back empty. As millions protest in Egypt, some claiming in banners that "Obama Supports Terrorism, the most important story this evening is "5 messaging challenges for Obamacare."
On Tuesday June 25, Penny Pritzker became the 38th Secretary of Commerce after the Senate voted to confirm her 97-1. Oddly enough, Pritzker has a Romney-esque business background. The well-connected friend of Obama is worth millions, has previously understated her income, and is not well liked by Big Labor. She also benefited from offshore tax havens. Despite all that, in the end, her confirmation process was a love fest and the media have been completely AWOL, failing to hit the president on the nomination.
Where was the outrage? That’s what, to it's credit, Politico has asked concerning this nomination. After all,the $80 million which Pritzker didn’t declare in income is much less than the $34,000 that Tom Daschle forgot to declare back in 2009 when he was nominated by the president to be HHS secretary.
Netroots Nation, the leftist annual convention currently in progress in San Jose (next year it's in Detroit; can't wait), bills itself as a "connector of awesome progressive activists."
Based on Emily Schultheis's Saturday morning report at the Politico on the viewpoints of those in attendance, the gathering's slogan should really be, "Blame it on Bush and Boehner." The Politico reporter also professes surprise that these largely angry leftists aren't angry at President Barack Obama, as if anyone would have really expected that (bolds are mine):
In a tired Politico item on how President Obama plans to carry out his January State of the Union threat to go around Congress on "climate change" -- no surprise, his moves will be a "power plant clampdown," pouring more money into solar, wind, and geothermal, and micromanaging lamps and refrigerators -- Andrew Restuccia quoted a statistic on the production of certain "renewable" energy sources which actually understated their degree of increase during the past four years. He cited a "60 percent increase in renewable electricity produced from wind, solar and geothermal sources between 2008 and 2012."
The increase is much greater than that. But Restuccia shouldn't gloat. As seen after the jump, those three renewables still represent a pathetically small percentage of all U.S. energy production, and he should have informed his readers of that quite inconvenient fact:
Norah O'Donnell boosted Politico's slam of the Republican-led House of Representatives on Friday's CBS This Morning, after the body voted down a proposed farm bill. The anchor made the attack in a question to CBS News political director John Dickerson: "John, one more sign of dysfunction in Congress and Washington – the farm bill, which, for two years straight, has failed to pass the House. Explain why this matters to people."
Dickerson hyped how the rejected bill "affects all kinds of different parts of the economy", and asserted that the vote "shows that basically, the House leadership is weak."
In a four-paragraph "Big Story" item time-stamped 10:48 a.m. ("CURRENT, FORMER OFFICIALS BACK SECRET SURVEILLANCE"), Stephen Braun at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, names several Sunday news program guests who he writes are "are supporting the government's collection of phone and Internet data following new revelations about the secret surveillance programs aimed at disrupting terrorist plots." Meanwhile, the Politico is hyping former Vice President Dick Cheney's characterization of Edward Snowden as a "traitor."
Both outlets, and thus far most of the establishment press, are ignoring a report by CNETs Declan McCullagh Saturday afternoon which I believe would be dominating the news by now if anyone except Barack Obama were President. It directly contradicts an assertion Obama made -- "Nobody is listening to your phone calls" -- shortly after the NSA-Snowden story broke, and one of Congress' most liberal Democrats is the source (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Although there are stories at Fox News and the Daily Caller, there appears to be almost no interest on the part of the establishment press in covering the Treasury Department's failure to report over 99% of its conference costs when Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn asked for an itemized listing a year ago.
The Politico, the repository for stories which cause Democrats and the left discomfort that the rest of the press would prefer to ignore ("Oh, the Politico did something with it, so we don't have to"), buried the item in a "Morning Tax" report Thursday. Writer Lauren French held off as long as she possibly could presenting how the $50 million in omitted IRS costs dwarfed the measly $500,000 which was reported (paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):
A Google News search on ["Susan Rice" "executive privilege"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returns two stories. The main one is at Fox News, where K.T. McFarland pointed out that President Obama, now that he has appointed Susan Rice to be his National Security Adviser, can invoke executive privilege to keep her from testifying before Congress. The second is at Mediate, and notes that McFarland said the same thing to Fox News Channel anchor Martha MacCallum earlier today.
Among those who conveniently didn't catch this: Frank James at NPR, who didn't identify the executive privilege dodge in his "5 Takeaways From Obama's Susan Rice Appointment"; the Associated Press, whose three Wednesday items on Rice (here, here, and here) don't mention it, and where a search on "executive privilege" (not in quotes) returned nothing relevant; and the Politico, where a search on "Rice executive privilege" (not in quotes) also returned nothing relevant. Excerpts from McFarland's column, with harsh words about Rice's lack of qualifications, follow the jump (bold and italics are hers except final paragraph):
Politico's Katie Glueck must have been really desperate for something newsworthy as a Saturday column topic.
She apparently believed it was worth devoting over 1,500 words to a writeup whose key point was that "at least one Republican" doesn't like Texas Governor Rick Perry's aggressive attempts to persuade companies in other states to relocate to or expand in the Lone Star State. She cited only one. Even that person person's criticism was very mild, and it came from someone who, because of his position, couldn't say that what Perry is doing is great even if he wanted to without risking his job. Despite the overdose of verbiage, Glueck also never provided any details of Texas's outsized contribution to the nation's overall mediocre post-recession job growth.
Politico's Evan Thomas went where few journalists dare on Friday.
Appearing on PBS's Inside Washington, the former Newsweek editor called Barack Obama "dishonest" and said he was guilty of commiting a "huge act of hypocrisy" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Add this to the seemingly endless list of things which would be considered news and denounced far and wide if a Republican or conservative were involved.
In early February, the Politico's Tarini Parti and Kenneth P. Vogel noted the insistence on its "About" page by Organizing For Action, the non-profit 501(c)(4) successor to Organizing for America, President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, that it "be involved in any way in elections or partisan political activity." That didn't last long. In fact, the quoted language is no longer on OFA's "About" page. Instead, OFA now exists, despite growing evidence that a mountain of information which could have swung the election to Obama's opponent was deliberately kept from the public, "to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012." Accordingly, OFA has no compunction over sending its members emails from Obama himself.