Andrea Mitchell might be a doyenne of the liberal media, but she has her reporter's pride and principles, which have been trampled by the way the Obama campaign has managed the media during the candidate's current trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Mitchell let loose on this evening's Hardball, speaking of "fake interviews," and decrying that she was unable to report on pertinent aspects of the trip because the media has been excluded and that the video released is unreliable because it's impossible to know what has been edited out.
Before Mitchell made her displeasure known, Roger Simon of Politico, Chris Matthews's other guest during the segment, depicted the images coming out of the war zone as all Obama could have dreamed of.
ROGER SIMON: The optics are all very good on this trip. I mean, the beginning of this trip is so good, Senator Obama might just want to call off the end and just keep running the videotape.
Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is walking a "minefield" on the abortion issue with recent hints that he's taking baby steps to the right on the issue. By doing so, he's risking the alienation of the absolutist activists in the abortion rights movement, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico reported today.
But given Obama's much-reported efforts at courting evangelicals and other historic constituents of the GOP coalition, it certainly makes sense that the Illinois senator would seek to soften his image with pro-lifers to win over a few of them, or at the very least dampen the outrage among the pro-life community that might swell their ranks at the polls voting for Sen. John McCain.
Yet instead of considering how a potential problem at the polls for Obama and other Democrats in swing states might be abortion rights extremist activists, Budoff Brown painted Obama as facing danger by straying too far from the strict NOW/NARAL/Planned Parenthood line (emphasis mine):
For the second week in a row, CNN's Howard Kurtz, while hosting Sunday's "Reliable Sources," seemed absolutely befuddled by the media's lack of interest in reporting presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's campaign flip-flops.
Last week, it was the junior senator's change of heart concerning public campaign finances. This Sunday, it was Obama's curious reversal on handguns.
After two weeks, Kurtz finally got his answer: the press think flip-flopping makes Obama a great politician. I kid you not:
Imagine, if you will, that former Arkansas Gov. Mike "majored in miracles" Huckabee had won the Republican nominating contest and in the rapture of exhuberance at the historic moment, a Republican congressman who is also the son of a famous religious right clergyman exulted that "the event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance."
That would certainly get widespread attention in the MSM, being so over-the-top and messianic pronouncement about a Republican presidential figure. Not so much when the hallelujah chorus is coming from the son of famous left-wing preacher Jesse Jackson. (h/t Michele at Reformed Chicks Blabbing)
Aside from some blogs picking up on the item as originally reported by Politico's Josephine Hearn on June 5, I'm aware of no media scrutiny about Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s hosannas song of praise over fellow Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama (emphasis mine):
Chris Matthews looked at Barack and Michelle last night, and saw Jack and Jacqueline. Opening this evening's Hardball, the host was almost overcome by emotion in describing the scene of Obama's victory speech last night in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Here was Chris, discussing the matter with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Roger Simon of Politico, and Ed Gordon of BET.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's dwell for one moment at least on the man who won last night. I swear. I had no idea this would ever happen in America. I don't know if it will ever happen again. This is a trend, I don't know, this is an odd occurrence. But it was . . . spectacular.
. . .
Last night's magic moment for a lot of Americans. In fact, me included. I, that picture is right out of Camelot, as far as I'm concerned.
Have the media fallen down on the job in pressing Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) about her war on terrorism bona fides? If silence over the 1999 pardon of 16 FALN terrorists is any indication, yes.
A Google News search for "Clinton FALN clemency" yielded but one result, this May 24 item from Politico's Ben Adler (emphasis mine):
[Y]ou have to look back roughly a decade to find the last time Puerto Rico played a starring role in mainland politics - the summer of 1999, when President Bill Clinton drew sharp criticism by offering clemency to 16 imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalists who belonged to an organization responsible for more than 100 bombings in the U.S. and Puerto Rico between 1974 and 1983.
At the time, Clinton was accused of attempting to curry favor with the large Puerto Rican community in New York, where Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing to run for an open Senate seat. In response, the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly passed a resolution stating, "President Clinton should not have offered or granted clemency to the FALN terrorists." The political backlash proved severe enough that Mrs. Clinton, then the first lady, ended up publicly opposing her husband's offer, saying she had nothing to do with it.
Is it when something really important happens, and media share it with the public? Or, is it when press members jump on what appears to be a juicy tidbit and broadcast it over the airwaves and in print for a solid 24 hours until every American has heard about it?
Consider the media firestorm set off Friday when Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, while discussing the history of nominations not being decided until June, mentioned the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.
According to Politico editor John F. Harris, this was "set aflame by a news media more concerned with being interesting and provocative than with being relevant or serious" (emphasis added throughout, h/t Hot Air Headlines):
Conservative activist, author, and political consultant Craig Shirley, contrary to Politico.com's reporting, was not "ousted" from his job advising the McCain campaign. In fact, he's not been on retainer since March. That according to Townhall.com's Matt Lewis today:
John McCain's campaign asked a prominent Republican consultant, Craig Shirley, to leave his official campaign role Thursday after a Politico inquiry about Shirley's dual role consulting for the campaign and for an independent "527" group opposing the Democratic presidential candidates.
I'm told by a reliable source that Shirley was not asked to leave. Instead, he was given the choice and decided to stay with the 527.
In an update, Lewis noted that he talked to Shirley, and far from being ousted, his services haven't been employed recently:
Update: I just spoke to Shirley and according to him:
Update (14:11): Video is no longer up on YouTube, so we pulled the embed. For more coverage, see Ed Morrissey's post at Hot Air.
Just in time to prove a major migraine for the Clinton campaign for the May 6 Hoosier State primary, a YouTube video alleges Clinton backer Mickey Kantor once derided Indianans as "sh*t" and "white n****rs." Fellow NewsBuster Seton Motley and I reviewed the video. There's no doubt Kantor actually said "It doesn't matter if we win. Those people are sh*t," but there is a dispute over who "those people" are and if the second slur is doctored. [see video embed below fold]
Ben Smith at Politico.com reports that D.A. Pennebaker, director of "The War Room" from which the clip is taken, insists the "white n****rs" comments were doctored. Au contraire, says the editor of the video, who insists he merely "enhanced" the audio to bring out the barely whispered epithet.
What's more, Smith reports, Pennebaker says Kantor was referring to then-President George H.W. Bush's political advisors as "sh*t", not the people of Indiana themselves:
The Politico, in an April 18 headline, stated the obvious "Obama’s secret weapon: The media," though it’s not much of a "secret" weapon. John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei noted the backlash against ABC for daring to ask the tough questions, and many mainstream journalists rallying behind Obama after the debate.
"Last fall, when NBC’s Tim Russert hazed Clinton with a bunch of similar questions — a mix of fair and impertinent — he got lots of gripes from Clinton supporters.
"But there was nothing like the piling on from journalists rushing to validate the Obama criticisms and denouncing ABC’s performance as journalistically unsound."
John Harris, formerly of the Washington Post, called for many journalists to "go through detox, to cure their swooning over Obama’s political skill" and noted even co-writer Jim Vandehei "seemed to have been bitten by the bug after the Iowa caucus." Vandehei admitted he found Obama to be "pretty electric myself."
If you didn't know any better, you might think ABC correspondent Lisa Stark has a personal vendetta against airline mergers.
For the second consecutive night, Stark gave viewers every reason to oppose a merger between Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and Northwest Airlines (NYSE:NWA) on the April 15 "World News with Charles Gibson." This time it came in the form of opposition on Capitol Hill.
"But there was swift opposition," ABC correspondent Lisa Stark said. "A powerful lawmaker from Minnesota, where Northwest is based, called it one of the worst developments in aviation history."
Update (16:54): Schroeder Mullins added links to our videos on EyeBlast.tv. The old Politico had a dead link to our livecast from last evening. She also corrected the error about last night's function being the 20th anniversary. MRC is in its 21st year.
Politico gossip columnist Anne Schroeder Mullins picked up on the 2008 MRC Annual Gala in her April 11 "Shenanigans" feature. The column is devoted to "[s]hifting the spotlight from the buttoned-up, straight-laced world of politics to the fun, tawdry side of Washington."
We're pleased to make the cut, particularly since she mentioned the portion of the program that honored posthumous Medal of Honor recipient Michael Murphy.
Typical of too many Northern based media outlets, Politico indulged in a little South-bashing today with a story on a remark about Pennsylvania spoken in 2006 by Clinton Democratic operative James Carville (pictured at right in file photo). In attempting to explain the political climate of the Keystone state, Carville basically said that state looked like Paoli (a suburb of Philadelphia) and Penn Hills (a suburb of Pittsburgh) with Alabama in between. Despite Carville's claims that he didn't mean it as any sort of slam, Politico and many Pennsylvanians are acting as if being compared to the culturally conservative and religious parts of Alabama is an outrageous insult. This incident just shows once again that the political elite and the media are utterly biased against the American Southland in general and religious Americans in particular.
Representative of the hate for the South imbued in our nose-in-the-air political operatives is public affairs consultant, Larry Ceisler who has "ties to the Democratic Party" in Pennsylvania. Ceisler told Politico that being compared to Alabama is a "slander."
Roger Simon, chief political columnist for The Politico and former White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and political editor of U.S. News & World Report, acknowledged on Sunday's Face the Nation that Barack Obama won over “his base,” which he identified as “the American media,” in his Tuesday speech in reaction to Reverend Jeremiah Wright's anti-American rants:
Obama really won over his base, he won over the American media. They loved that speech.
Indeed, over on This Week's roundtable, ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman trumpeted: “He gave a great speech, I think it was a brave speech.”
Fill-in Face the Nation host Chip Reid followed up Simon's observation by fretting about what Republicans, who managed to “swift boat John Kerry” when “many people believed [he] was a war hero,” might “do with what Reverend Wright said in the fall?”
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked about race in the Democratic presidential campaign with Republican Ron Christie, author of "Black in the White House," and the Politico's Mike Allen, who declared that: "...there's a certain percentage of what Geraldine Ferraro said that's simply factual, and that is the pioneering nature of Senator Obama's candidacy is clearly part of his appeal. But there's a certain part of it that's very dark, right, the Archie Bunker side."
Just prior to this odd comparison, Allen explained that: "Until now, we had been looking at the historic side of race and gender in this race. But with this episode, these clips we just saw, we're seeing the dark side of it." Allen’s analysis of Ferraro’s "Archie Bunker dark side" followed yesterday’s "Early Show" coverage, which fawned over Obama while interrogating Ferraro.
Allen was not done yet, when asked by Smith, "...is there any safe harbor here?" Allen responded by observing: "One of the most interesting discoveries in exit polls, is among voters for whom race is most important, they're voting for Senator Clinton. That shows you something very ugly is going on out there."
It's turning into quite the morning for, uh, outing double-standards in the media. First was my item mentioning that Bob Herbert of the NYT had accused Hillary Clinton of "opening a trap door" under Obama. Readers are invited to imagine the PC outrage if a conservative had expressed the desire to do the same to the Illinois senator.
Now comes Mike Allen of the Politico. In his Playbook column of this morning, Allen offers this quote from Jann Wenner's over-the-top endorsement of Obama in Rolling Stone:
We have a deeply divided nation . . . A new president must heal these divides . . . Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon 'the better angels of our nature.'
Allen's suggestion to Wenner in reaction to his breathless prose: "Get a room!"
Unless you were paying very close attention you likely missed the change in a recent Politico headline from "Obama support soft among Catholics" to "Obama slow to gain among Catholics".
The change itself may seem innocent enough until you learn that it was done in response to the furiously angry efforts by the Obama campaign to change the perception of Politico readers in advance of yesterday's primaries in Catholic rich Ohio and Texas.
It's enough to make Hillary yearn for a tough hit piece about herself . . .
If there's anything worse for a candidate than being attacked by the press, it's being ignored. Yet that is precisely the fate that's befallen Clinton, as per Charles Mahtesian's item in this morning's Politico: Clinton Seeks to Regain Spotlight.
Opening lines [emphasis added]:
There was a time not long ago when Hillary Clinton dominated the discourse in both parties’ presidential contests.
Now, she’s struggling to get her message out and remain part of the campaign conversation . . .
Barack Obama has been running his campaign in the style of a revolutionary. Just how radical and liberal Obama is has been well hidden by the campaign. If you haven't heard about his friendship with the leaders of the radical group, the Weather Underground, you can thank the media. (Video Here.) Just how radically left this man is can be seen in what company he keeps.
In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
…“I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers’ house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress,” said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care, of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. “[Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor.”
Former Washington Post reporter John Harris, now editor-in-chief of the political newspaper The Politico, engaged in an interesting blog debate yesterday with his Politico colleagues Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei about whether or not journalists lose their impartiality by voting. Harris insisted that having opinions or voting “does not compromise me as a journalist,” and that the key requirement is “self-discipline in the public expression of those opinions so as not to give sources and readers cause to question someone’s commitment to fairness.”
“As to whether I and other reporters and editors really are fair, the only test of that is the work itself,” Harris insisted.
Over the years, MRC has caught numerous instances in which Harris has seemingly tilted in ways pleasing to either Bill or Hillary Clinton. Back in February 1999, Harris suggested the Wall Street Journal was behaving as a partisan in reporting the on-the-record charges of a woman who said Bill Clinton raped her two decades earlier. “I think we need to be highly skeptical of the story,” Harris announced on PBS’s Washington Week in Review. The next day, Harris’s Washington Post joined the Journal in reporting Broaddrick’s story.
Pop quiz, hotshot: If you win more states and more delegates than your competitor on Super Tuesday, is this a tie?
It is if media say so.
Consider if you will Barack Obama winning thirteen of the 22 states up for grabs Tuesday (New Mexico being still too close to call), and, according to multiple sources, taking home the most delegates. Isn't that a win?
ThePolitico.com continues to publish hatchet hackery on Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, with today's false coverage of Sen. Thompson's speech to supporters after his third-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses.
Politico reporter Roger Simon recently lied in The Politico about an incident at an Iowa fire hall involving Sen. Thompson and a fire helmet - an "error" that The Politico has never corrected even though video of the event clearly exposed the error.
Today, video again shows The Politico to be publishing fiction about Fred. This time, it is writer Ben Adler's coverage of the Thompson campaign's Iowa Caucus after-party, which uses words like "resignation" and "lackluster," though the video of the event clearly contradicts that depiction.
Credit Chuck Todd for candor. The NBC News Political Director has acknowledged that the media is poised to take a third-place finish by John McCain in Iowa, declare him the winner and catapult the Arizona senator to victory in New Hampshire. Todd appeared with the Politico's Roger Simon on this afternoon's Hardball.
Politico is having some snarky fun, running a "populist pop quiz" challenging readers to guess whether it was John Edwards or Mike Huckabee who made the variety of class-warfare claims listed. You'll find a sampling of four of the questions below, but I'd encourage people to take the entire eight-question quiz and report back your scores. A cyber-statue of Karl Marx to the winner!
1. “No young person is more equal than another person because he has a higher IQ, or a higher net worth, or because he lives in a nicer home, or his clothes have a label of a designer that the other guy doesn’t have. That’s not what gives us equality.”
2. “There is unfortunately some disconnect between people who have never struggled and those for whom everyday life is a struggle.”
Despite his war wounds, can Bob Kerrey still kick Chris Matthews' butt? We might soon find out, because on this evening's Hardball Matthews lumped Kerrey into a group of Clinton sycophants he derided as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus."
Chris was kvetching about the way a variety of Hillary Clinton supporters including Kerrey have lined up to take shots at Barack Obama. In endorsing Hillary yesterday, the former Nebraska senator went out of his way to draw attention to Obama's Muslim background.
At the summit of national power, politicians and bureaucrats are terrified at the idea of endorsing the religious views of the majority of Americans. Our First Amendment forbids the establishment of a state religion, but many of our governing elites are taking it a step further, outlawing its very existence from the public conversation.
Congress can turn this into an unintentional comedy of manners. On December 11, the House considered a rather meaningless resolution "recognizing the importance of Christmas" – and nine members of the House voted "nay." The roll call of Grinches are, surprise, largely from blue states: Gary Ackerman and Yvette Clarke of New York were on the list, as were California’s Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, and Lynn Woolsey. The Politico newspaper applauded with "God bless them!"
In Monday’s Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz is noting how Rudy Giuliani uses the "liberal media" as a foil in his campaign, and also offers the latest in a trend of adding prominence to his old WashPost colleagues at The Politico website for their scoop on Giuliani’s use of public money (for his security detail) for his messy private life (visits to his mistress in the Hamptons). Giuliani called the story "totally false," five years old, and a "debate-day dirty trick."
Kurtz did not ask about that "liberal media" and their double standard: that the public moneys wasted on enabling adultery was always a distasteful right-wing trash-for-cash story when the Clintons were in the spotlight (Troopergate, anyone?), and that a five-year-old Clinton adultery story was always something the liberal media would regard as news no one needed to read. Kurtz went to his long-time Post colleague John F. Harris for a rebuttal:
We had a little campaign drama yesterday as a disturbed man (who claimed he had a bomb) took hostages in the Rochester, New Hampshire, headquarters of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Over a period of several hours, all of the hostages were released. And eventually the hostage-taker, Lee Eisenberg, surrendered without incident (but not before calling CNN ... maybe he had a debate question?).
When the incident began, Hillary Clinton was in the Washington area. She cancelled her campaign schedule for the day and immediately travelled to New Hampshire, where she met with law enforcment and the families of the hostages. Clinton made at least two public statements during the day, and she held a news conference (video) after the ordeal ended. Clinton's actions were certainly appropriate for the incident, and her statements were sober and direct. But in the end, her actions were no different than what any other politician or candidate would have done.