Despite all claims to the contrary, President Obama has not been very vigilant about pursuing that idea of "transparency" he ballyhooed during the recent campaign. Politico reported on a host of documents, proclamations and executive orders that Obama has made in the last month and none of them were online. In fact, many were not even released at all to the press by the White House.
So, where is the drumbeat of outrage about the "secret presidency" we heard for the last 6 or so years?
Remember all the mavens of the Old Media establishment that kept claiming that Bush was too secretive? Along with the Old Media, the nutrooters also took up the claim as a battle cry against the evil Bush administration. Of course, Bush was trying to fight an intelligence war where keeping secrets means life or death for our soldiers. But, regardless of Bush's reasons, the media and the left were constantly apoplectic over this supposed "secrecy."
UPDATE: We have been reminded that Senator Stabenow's husband, Thomas Athans, is the co-founder of the liberal TalkUSA Radio network and is now the Executive Vice-President of liberal Air America. Liberal talk radio has of course failed miserably every time it has been tried, all the while watching it's conservative counterpart's success soar.
Which might lead one to believe that Senator Stabenow, in addition to her zealous will to slam the fist of government down upon her opponents, has some business skin in the game as well. If you can't beat 'em, censor 'em.
Michael Calderone in today's Politico reports on the latest liberal politician -- Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow -- openly touting their intent to silence their talk radio opposition with a reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine.
"Whether it’s called the Fairness Standard (sic), whether it’s called something else – I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves."
Senator Stabenow was speaking on the air with liberal talk radio host Bill Press and to his eleven listeners nationwide. She insisted that she "think(s) it’s absolutely time to pass a standard" and indicated she had "already had some discussions with colleagues" about Fairness "Standard" hearings and that she "feel(s) like that’s gonna happen. Yep."
Mr. Calderone delivers us the exchange (audio here):
By now most people have heard that Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, has backed out due to some major tax problems. Many have probably even heard that the bulk of his problems involve his affinity for free limo service, not to mention the inevitable limousine liberal jokes that followed. However, most have no idea exactly who was paying for Daschle's free rides.
That company is a media investment firm named InterMedia Partners. They own or have controlling stakes in a variety of media platforms from outdoor magazines to Spanish language television to Christian publishing companies. On top of providing him with the now troublesome transportation they also paid Daschle a million dollar annual salary for his advice. Here is how Fox News described Daschle and InterMedia's car troubles:
Senator Daschle is a limited partner in InterMedia Partners of Englewood, CO and Chairman of its Executive Advisory Board. Senator Daschle also is an independent consultant to InterMedia Advisors, LLP of New York City. He entered into a business relationship with InterMedia in February, 2005. Beginning in April, 2005, the senator was provided the use of a car and driver by Mr. Leo Hindery, the Managing Partner of InterMedia. In addition to being business partners, Mr. Hindery and Senator Daschle have been personal friends for many years. Charges for the car and the services of the driver were billed to InterMedia. InterMedia did not issue Senator Daschle a Form 1099 for the value of the car service and Senator Daschle did not report the value of the car service as income on his original tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007.
As noted Friday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Jake Tapper at ABC's Political Punch blog revealed that former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle, Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, had failed to pay over $100,000 in federal income taxes for 2005, 2006, and 2007, because he did not originally report the "the services of (a free) car and driver" provided to him by his employer, private equity firm InterMedia Advisers.
At 11:24 last night, Tapper posted a separate update (HT to NB commenter "slickwillie2001") indicating that Daschle's tax problems involve larger amounts, go well beyond the matter of a "mere" car and driver, and are not completely resolved (bolds are mine):
What motivated Politico to take a two month-old story about South Carolina GOP Senator Jim DeMint (picture at right is from that story) out of mothballs and put it out there right now?
That question inevitably occurs to a careful reader of Manu Raju's "Republicans Chew on DeMint" story that appeared at the site Tuesday. It primarily covers the goings-on at a November 18 Republican Conference meeting in Washington. There is another reference to summer votes on global AIDS and housing bills.
So why is that news now? Well, it's not hard to believe that it's because DeMint's mindset is making headway with fellow Republicans in Washington. Beat reporters, as well as turf-protecting and mostly unnamed senators and senate aides, are likely not at all happy about that.
I realize it's the other chamber of Congress, but yesterday's unanimous GOP "no" to the stimulus/"Porkulus" bill by House Republicans is a sign that the Party of Lincoln may be on the road back to its roots. By holding the line, Minority Leader John Boehner and his colleagues, at least for one day, made it clear that core beliefs mean something. Jim DeMint surely welcomed that result.
The same can't be said for Senate GOPers sniping about DeMint, as Raju reports (bolds are mine):
For 8 years, life was good and easy for the liberal political cartoon community--they had George W. Bush & Dick Cheney to kick around. With hardly a care in the world, they boldly spoke truth to power, at immense personal risk to themselves, and quietly stacked their Pulitzers for being so bold and courageous and funny.
Then along came Barack Obama--the cool, handsome, African-American incarnation of JFK & Abraham Lincoln (no less). What were the professional sketch satirists to do?
"I had all my villains in place for eight years and they've been taken away," lamented Pulitzer Prize winner Pat Oliphant, one of the most widely syndicated cartoonists. "I don't know that I've ever had this experience before, of a president I maybe like. This is an antagonistic art. We're supposed to concentrate on finding things wrong. There's no point in drawing a cartoon that's favorable."
President Barack Obama is taking far-reaching steps to centralize decision-making inside the White House, surrounding himself with influential counselors, overseas envoys and policy "czars" that shift power from traditional Cabinet posts.
Not even a week has passed since he was sworn in, but already Obama is moving to create perhaps the most powerful staff in modern history – a sort of West Wing on steroids that places no less than a half-dozen of his top initiatives into the hands of advisers outside the Cabinet.
A Muslim religious leader with alleged ties to the terrorist group Hamas is scheduled to address President Barack Obama's inaugural prayer service on Wednesday.
Given the recent hostilities in Israel surrounding Hamas, irrespective of a just-announced ceasefire, one has to wonder how much attention this matter will get from Obama-loving media which are also largely pro-Palestinian.
Although Politico is getting credit for breaking this story, the American Thinker appears to have been the first to unveil the truth behind Ingrid Mattson Saturday (photo courtesy AP via Politico):
All in all, I like Politico's list of the Top Ten Media Blunders of 2008, by staff writer Michael Calderone, appearing on the website this evening. How can you be too tough on a list that includes, among other faux pas:
MSNBC's use of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as election night and convention co-anchors;
The New York Times's suggestive but unsubstantiated story about John McCain and lobbyist Vikki Iseman; and
The MSM's lack of curiosity despite the National Enquirer's solid reporting on the John Edwards affair?
But no story about a list would be complete without some beefing and second-guessing, and I have some. Here's blunder #6 on the Politico list [emphasis added]:
Politico announced a new partnership with Reuters on Monday that will provide political, government and business news from both organizations to newspapers across the United States.
In September, Politico launched the Politico Network, a partnership whereby member publications could run Politico content in print or online, while sharing in the profits from online advertisements.
Now, members of the Politico Network—which includes 60 newspapers and 40 broadcast outlets—will be able to run a broad selection of Reuters’ wire copy for free, while similarly sharing in the revenue from online advertising that’s sold by Politico.
And Reuters will distribute Politico stories worldwide through the news organization’s subscription-based wire service.
President-elect Barack Obama's transition website Change.gov is censoring questions offered by readers about disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Although the "Open for Questions" page was launched Wednesday stating "The Obama-Biden Transition wants to hear from you," readers have been quick to shelter the president-elect from inquiries relating to Blago.
When promises candidate Barack Obama made to voters during the campaign get tossed aside like so much rubbish, will media hold his feet to the fire?
Such is an important question given how many pledges Democrats and their leaders made to garner the public's support in 2006 which ended up being completely irrelevant once the 110th Congress was sworn in.
For the most part, as each campaign commitment was tossed on the trash heep, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and all their accomplices were given a pass by "journalists" from coast to coast.
With this in mind, Politico on Monday published a list of campaign promises the president-elect has already gone back on -- or appears to be in the process of doing so -- that an honest media, despite their complicity in getting him elected, should be aggressively reporting if getting the policies enacted were more important than getting the person they liked in the White House (h/t Hot Air, photo courtesy AP via Politico):
This particular Palin report is funny for it's cluelessness, but a spokesman for the Internet search engine company Lycos is astounded that people are still interested enough in Governor Sarah Palin to put her name in the search field of an Internet search engine like Lycos or Google. After all, we have Obama, now, the spokesman says. Why do we need Palin info still?
The quotes from Kathy O’Reilly, a spokeswoman for Lycos, were reported by Politico last week and goes to show that the appeal of Sarah Palin is still little understood in many quarters.
Sarah Palin has stayed in the list of the top 5 Internet searches since she was chosen as John McCain's running mate in October.
It may not be an automatic disqualifier for an Obama administration appointment, as Ed Morrissey at Hot Air suggested on Friday, but it's certainly an affront to the personal privacy rights of individuals and families.
The Politico reported Thursday evening about the fallout resulting from an intrusive question on the president-elect's 63-question personnel form:
President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is asking potential appointees detailed questions about gun ownership, and firearms advocates aren’t happy about it.
The Politico reported on November 22 that Time Magazine's Mark Halperin scolded the media for it's sycophantic treatment of Barack Obama during this election cycle calling the favorable treatment "the most disgusting failure" of the press he's seen for years. "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage," Halperin said at a Politico/USC conference held on Friday.
It's all pretty amusing, though, to see Mark Helprin complain that his fellow journalists didn't do a good job reporting on Obama's record because back in March, NewsBusters reported on how Halperin himself was claiming that Obama represented a "centrist" politician despite the fact that Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate! What happened to being tough on The One then?
Imagine if you will, President Bush or Gov. Sarah Palin saying the following in a sit down interview or a Sunday morning show appearance:
We had a crisis, we kicked it down the can.... These are – just taking those two examples, these are crises you can no longer afford to kick down the can.... The crisis we have here, the American people know we have one and they are ready and willing to start to tackle those problems. You cannot afford now to kick those down the can any longer.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would have their share of guffaws at the gaffe. The Daily Show might use it as a "Moment of Zen" and other broadcast and print outlets would be sure to get their licks in.
Yet neither President George W. Bush nor the Alaska governor said those things. President-elect Barack Obama's chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel did, much to Politico's delight. Yet rather than heap scorn on Emanuel, reporter Carol Lee found the Illinois Democrat's "Rahmbonics" endearing, comparing them favorably to beloved baseball icon Yogi Berra's way with words:
The November 12 story by staffer Michael Shear began by noting that Obama "campaigned as an anti-Washington candidate" and that his transition team "made it clear" that the president-elect "would seek to build on that theme over the next two months."
As evidence of that, Shear explained the transition team's rules "that restrict how federal lobbyists can participate" in the Obama transition. Yet Shear failed to note how the standard has shifted over the course of Obama's campaign (emphasis mine):
Busybody Keith Olbermann couldn't wait to see how Saturday Night Live was going to portray him. So, says Politico.com's Michael Calderone, he apparently breached the show's (I thought) tight security to find out.
And of course, when contacted, the MSNBC host took yet another cheap shot at his personal obsession, Sarah Palin. It was just a few weeks ago on NBC's Sunday Night Football that Olbermann made a Palin Derangement Syndrome-betraying allusion when describing the mental condition of a just-injured NFL quarterback.
John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei were important players on The Washington Post’s political team when they left to start The Politico newspaper and website. But they don’t think that most "mainstream" reporters are liberals or partisans. Now they’ve written an article provocatively titled "Why McCain Is Getting Hosed by the Press," noting their own mothers think the media’s in the tank for Obama.
Harris and VandeHei declared: "OK, let’s just get this over with: Yes, in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press, and at Politico." But to critics, they can only say: "our sincere answer is that of the factors driving coverage of this election -- and making it less enjoyable for McCain to read his daily clip file than for Obama -- ideological favoritism ranks virtually nil."
They proclaimed that reporters are far too professional to let their personality show:
Apparently the Washington Post thinks it has an ethics violation to hold against Cindy McCain, wife of GOP presidential candidate John McCain. The Post is trying to claim that Cindy McCain somehow illicitly got a portable cell tower delivered to her remote Arizona ranch so that their phones would work there. The truth is, however, the Secret Service ordered up the portable cell tower, not Cindy McCain.
Even the words the Post uses to report the story prove somewhat weasely because, as the Post can't find any actual wrong doing, the story relies on vague ways of implying wrongdoing without actually saying it. In the end, there doesn't seem to be much there, there, but I suppose the Post had to justify the money it spent by publishing this non-story anyway.
Politico's Roger Simon claimed Sunday that John McCain and Sarah Palin are responsible for the anger being expressed towards Barack Obama by their supporters.
Unfortunately, he had nothing to say about who's responsible for the hatred being expressed towards Sarah Palin on television, at rock concerts, and even at sporting events.
I wonder why.
Appearing on Sunday's "Reliable Sources," Simon gave the following response to host Howard Kurtz's question concerning whether or not it's fair of the press to blame McCain and Palin for some recent ugliness at campaign events (file photo):
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Palin on the hot seat as she readies for her debate. Some conservatives want Sarah Palin off the Republican ticket." In the segment that followed, co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly proclaimed: "...the question a lot of Americans are asking this morning, including some prominent Republicans, is whether Sarah Palin is ready." Correspondent Jeff Glor then explained: "Sarah Palin has mostly been kept away from reporters but the interviews she has done are raising eyebrows."
Glor went on to cite one conservative columnist calling for Palin to step down: "But even some conservatives are concerned, including syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker who said 'Palin is clearly out of her league' and called for the Alaska governor to leave the race." Based on that, Alex Burns from politico.com concluded: " I think there are a small number of people who will publically say that they're worried about her abilities as a candidate. I think there's a larger number of people who privately express kind of muted criticism and concern."
Even the crossword puzzles in The New York Times are biased in favor of Obama and Biden finds David Levinson Wilk in Politico. Wilk did a little research to see how many times McCain has been an answer in the NYT puzzle since 2005. He came up with zero entries. When he looked for Obama he found the name "regularly appeared" in the puzzle. Does this prove that the Times is "150 percent in the tank" for Obama as McCain adviser Steve Schmidt recently claimed?
I find it a bit amazing that neither McCain's name, nor Palin's name (unless it is referring to Monty Python alum Michael) appears in the Times puzzle. But, there you have it. Wilk gives us his findings but tries to make light of the whole thing.
In some of the strongest criticism of the media yet during this campaign, John McCain's senior adviser Steve Schmidt on Monday blasted the New York Times for being an advocate for Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In a scathing attack, Schmidt said the Times had "cast aside its journalistic integrity and tradition to advocate for the defeat of one candidate, in this case John McCain, and advocate for the election of the other candidate, Barack Obama."
During a press conference call, after CNN's Dana Bash asked campaign manager Rick Davis about a Times article accusing him of getting paid for doing advocacy work that benefitted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Schmidt jumped in to absolutely lambaste the Gray Lady for its clearly biased reporting during this election cycle (audio available here, picture courtesy New York Times/AP):
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" opened its most recent installment with a John McCain-bashing skit believed to be the idea of Senate Democrat candidate Al Franken.
In the segment, McCain, played by Darrell Hammond, approved numerous campaign ads making absolutely absurd claims about Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.
One accused the junior senator from Illinois of wanting to provide health insurance for everyone in the universe including Osama bin Laden, while another said Obama approved tax cuts for pedophiles (video embedded below the fold).
Yet, according to Politico, this was all the brainchild of Franken:
One or more people hack Sarah Palin's email account and publish her private correspondence on the web. So MSNBC and Politico naturally want to know if. . . Palin did anything wrong and whether there might be anything embarrassing to her in the purloined e-letters. Discussion of possible negative implications for Barack Obama? Zilch.
Talk about blaming the victim. Norah O'Donnell, subbing for Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC's 1PM EDT hour, interviewed Politico's Jim VandeHei.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.