Does anyone remember anybody in the establishment press speculating over who might hold Cabinet positions during a second Bush 43 term in the fall of 2004 without qualifying it with "if Bush is reelected"? Neither do I.
But at the Politico on Thursday, the closest Josh Ragin got in an item found at the web site's "The Cable" section speculating on whether John Kerry or Susan Rice is better positioned to be Obama's nominee to be "America's next top diplomat" (i.e., Secretary of State) was quoting a Republican Senate aide who merely referred to the possible fireworks "if it's the beginning of a second Obama term." That doesn't even qualify as a qualifier either, because a victorious Obama might attempt to confirm a new nominee to replace Hillary Clinton during a lame-duck session. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
From the Department of Damned if You Do, Damned If You Don't . . .
The MSM delighted in raking Mitt Romney over its coals [solar cells?] for his 47% remarks. So how do they react when Romney issues an ad saying that whereas both he and President Obama care about the poor, his plans will actually help them? With scorn, of course.
Check out the headline from today's Morning Score at Politico: "Mitt Oozes Empathy In New Ad." View the ad after the jump.
This one requires a reality check before proceeding. First, a long list of Democratic Party candidates (per ABC on September 4, five for the Senate and eight for the House) -- including many incumbents, chose not to attend the Democratic Convention in Charlotte because (let's get real) they wanted to put distance between themselves, Barack Obama, and Obama's policies (and still do). Candidate absences from the Republican Convention were relatively rare. Second, six of the most recent seven polls listed at Real Clear Politics as of 10 p.m. ET showed Obama leading Mitt Romney nationally by three or fewer points. Third, state polls have turned in a couple of surprises this week showing Obama leading by just two points and one point, respectively in Pennsylvania and Ohio -- despite Ohio's poll giving Democrats a 10-point sample advantage.
It would therefore seem that you must live in a tightly sealed, Obama-loving bubble to believe that it is Mitt Romney's campaign which is "faltering" and that GOP House candidates would therefore try to avoid being seen with him. Politico's Alex Isenstadt lives in such a bubble (bolds are mine):
On Saturday, President Obama spoke at a campaign rally in Wisconsin. As I noted on Sunday, contradicting a local Milwaukee Sentinel crowd size estimate of 5,000, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press reported that 18,000 were on hand, with the AP further claiming that the event was "the largest yet of Obama's reelection campaign."
Charles Spiering at the Washington Examiner believes he has learned why the national press reported that the crowd was 18,000. It's because Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told them it was, and the press's pool reporter took his word for it:
He clearly doesn't suffer from a shortage of chutzpah.
According to the Politico's Josh Gerstein, President Barack Obama was asked the following question by The View's Barabara Walters in a Monday appearance to be broadcast on Tuesday: "What would be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? Would it be disastrous for the country?" His response: "We can survive a lot. But the American people don't want to just survive. We want to thrive. I've just got a different vision of how we grow an economy. We grow fastest when the middle class is doing well."
Saturday, Joel Pollak at Breitbart's Big Journalism observed that President Obama is having some trouble drawing big crowds these days, and that the national press is exaggerating the turnout at his events.
He specifically cited the situation this weekend where Politico and the Wall Street Journal claimed there were "18,000 people inside a 5,000-seat arena at an Obama event in Milwaukee on Saturday." I looked at the Associated Press's national site, and the AP did the same thing, while adding that the crowd with the made-up size was "the largest yet of Obama's reelection campaign." Really.
Gosh, those were the good old days. Or so Meghan Barr at the Associated Press apparently believes.
As what's left of the Occupy Wall Street mobs from last year staged a pathetic anniversary protest in New York on Monday, Barr, in one of the most embarrassing reports I've seen emanate from the self-described "essential global news network," described them as "celebrating" and "giddy." At the end, in a desperate attempt to show that the movement actually accomplished something, Barr cited vague and I believe completely unrelated statements from two banks about "working with their customers." For those with strong stomachs, the first five and final paragraphs of Barr's beclowning follow the jump.
Clay Waters at NewsBusters has already exposed the passive-aggressive anti-Semitism in Maureen Dowd's Sunday rant ("Neocons Slither Back") at the New York Times. So did Politico's Dylan Byers, who nonetheless thought that the Obama campaign's tweet supporting Dowd's column via its "Truth Team" (and, by inference,their endorsement of her "neocon puppet master" premise) was so unimportant that he didn't mention it until his final paragraph. Excerpts from Byers weakly headlined item follow (HT Twitchy):
Like their colleagues on NBC's Today show, Monday's CBS This Morning forwarded a recent Politico report about supposed "turmoil inside the Romney campaign," which was stuffed with unnamed sources. Norah O'Donnell spotlighted "this finger-pointing that's going on...and whether or not they mismanaged the messaging in terms of Romney's big convention speech." John Dickerson hyped that "what's extraordinary about this, is that it's all happening in public."
O'Donnell also touted "four different national polls that show that Obama now has the lead on the issue of taxes over Romney. I mean, that has traditionally been where most people trust Republicans more than Democrats."
Pushing the narrative of Mitt Romney losing the presidential election on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seized on an article in Politico that "details squabbling among Romney advisers, a lot of blind quotes, anonymous quotes." She turned to political director Chuck Todd and wondered: "Is this a fairly ominous sign for the campaign, that they're already blaming each other anonymously in print?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd proclaimed: "Well, this certainly doesn't happen in winning campaigns, right, Savannah? This is the type of thing you read about losing campaigns. It reads like a pre-bituary, if you will, as if people are looking to see who's going to get the blame for blowing the Republican Party's best chance at knocking off an incumbent president in nearly 30 years."
After reading Ben White's "Morning Money" report at the Politico this morning, I went back to Real Clear Politics to make sure that I was up to date on the current polling. Currently, RCP has Barack Obama up by 3.2 points over Mitt Romney in an average of the five most recent polls -- and at least two of those polls are cooked.
But if we're to believe White, "bankers and their lobbyists" are already talking "about what went wrong with the Romney campaign, as if there is no chance the GOP nominee will turn it around and eke out a close win over President Obama."
In a rare moment of reluctant semi-journalism which didn't name names, the Politico's Reid Epstein, in reporting about the God-Jerusalem debacle at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night, buried the lede, waiting until his third paragraph to tell readers (belated HT to Weasel Zippers) that "While the campaign at first said Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, it later said he did not learn of the issue until Wednesday morning, when he became aware of seeing news coverage of the issue." (Sidebar: Does that mean Dear Leader watches the despised Fox News?)
Then Epstein just let the disclosure sit there with no additional follow-up. His story has what is in my view a deliberately "this is boring" headline ("Division over platform at DNC" ... zzz). However, it would appear that the folks over at the Associated Press got to Epstein's third paragraph, and went into full-keister-covering mode.
If you have tickets for the Democratic National Convention and wanted to see President Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech this Thursday at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium, you’ll be greatly disappointed. Despite the official excuse of severe weather -- forecasters put the chance of storms at 20-30 percent -- the change in venue really seems to be because Obama campaign officials fear they can't fill the 74,000-seat stadium.
Reporting that, of course, is unfathomable for the lapdog broadcast media, but some print and online reporters are skeptical.
Well, it looks like we have a bit of evidence that, contrary to an assertion by a pair of Politico reporters, it's not the media elites who can "powerfully shape" the narrative coming out of party conventions (the issue in question there was how Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech would be spun).
After all, as Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters noted earlier today, the three major networks have totally ignored the omission of "God" in the Democratic Party's platform, and have only lightly covered the platform's failure to name Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Despite that, and therefore obviously because of center-right media pressure (and semi-sensible Dems sensing disastrous election fallout), those issues now are both like Prego spaghetti sauce -- i.e., they're in there. Associated Press reporters Julie Pace and Steve Peoples seemed a bit unhappy with this turn of events in the version of their dispatch which appeared shortly after 6 PM ET, and tried to pin the entire blame on Republicans:
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the press's gushing and fawning over Michelle Obama's speech Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte has been almost sick-making.
So over the top was the praise that Politico's co-founder and executive editor Jim VandeHei said on C-SPAN early Wednesday morning, "The mainstream media tends to be quite smitten with the Obamas" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For sheer arrogance and self-importance, it's pretty hard to top a pair of political pundits at Politico on the power they believe media "insiders" have to tell Americans what Mitt Romney really said and meant in his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican convention Thursday night.
I daresay that most Americans, almost six years after the web site's founding (January 23, 2007, according to Wikipedia), don't even know what the Politico is ("Oh, is that the new bar downtown?"). But by gosh, Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris, in an "analysis" updated early Friday morning, clearly believe that a couple hundred of their colleagues in the media (possibly including themselves), also largely unknown, will be able to take control of Americans' perceptions of Romney's presentation -- and, ultimately, of his campaign (bolds are mine):
"GOP rejects rape exception in platform," blared a Politico headline yesterday. "Even as Mitt Romney sought to quash the furor surrounding Todd Akin’s 'legitimate' rape comments, the Republican platform committee here approved an abortion plank that includes no exemptions for rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother," James Hohmann noted in the lead paragraph of his August 21 story.
"On Tuesday, not one of the 100-plus members on the GOP platform committee introduced amendments. They kept the identical language from 2004 and 2008," Hohmann groused, comporting to the media's quadrennial fixation on how the GOP is supposedly too extremely pro-life. By contrast, as I noted yesterday, the 15-person Democratic platform committee -- one member of which is NARAL Pro-Choice America's president -- earlier this month stubbornly refused to mildly soften their party's stringent pro-choice abortion plank. Politico, of course, failed to cover that controversy.
Mere hours after Politico reported on Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder's admitted skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee in Israel, CBS highlighted the story on its Monday morning newscast. By contrast, the network was slow to report on former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner's lewd photo scandal in 2011. On June 1 of that year, ABC and NBC's morning shows reported on the "underwear uproar," while CBS's Early Show punted on the story.
The following day, CBS played up conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart's early role in spreading word of the New York liberal's indecent Twitter pic: "Supporters of Weiner note that it was right-wing blogger, Andrew Breitbart, who broke the story. But Breitbart tells CBS News he had nothing to do with the supposed hack." Of course, Weiner would go on to admit that he sent the photo.
To get an idea of the Politico's priorities, first do a search on "Corzine." You'll find nothing from last week other than a reference to him as the defeated former Governor of New Jersey in an item about current Governor Chris Christie speaking at the upcoming Republican National Convention. So apparently no one cared to take notice of a New York Times story about how Corzine and apparently all other major players at bankrupt MF Global, which raided customers' accounts to the tune of $1.6 billion as it attempted to avoid its visit to death's door, will not face criminal prosecution.
Then go to something really, really important -- so important that it merited its own special breathless breaking news email a few hours ago. The nearly 1,400-word story from Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan that couldn't wait (actually, I believe it did, but more on that in a bit) is that a U.S. Congressman swam in the nude in Israel. Seriously -- I mean, unseriously (bolds are mine):
Appearing as a panel member on Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, Politico's Evan Thomas brought up the term "death panels" as he advised that America will some day have to stop "spending so much money" on people who are near death. As he brought up a few examples of reforms for American health care, he ended up proposing:
It might seem like a bad time for a reporter to marvel over Joe Biden’s political gifts, after the load of gaffes this week, but not for Politico reporter Jonathan Martin. He wrote a story headlined “Mission Impossible: Managing Joe Biden.” But he meant that to be positive.
Just days after slamming Paul Ryan’s background driving the Wienermobile and “slinging cheap margaritas,” Martin began the story in awe of Biden’s campaign prowess:
The controversy surrounding Vice President Joe Biden’s offensive claim that Republicans want to enslave black Americans has become such a concern to the Obama White House that the veep’s staff have resorted to trying to directly censor the news coverage about him.
In what is widely believed to be an unprecedented move, the Biden press shop has severely restricted access to vice president and begun telling journalists what they should write about his activities as they write them up.
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press's Steve Peoples and Politico's Juana Summers could only find hundreds of people attending GOP vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan's Wednesday appearance at Oxford, Ohio's Miami University. Perhaps even more troubling is how they somehow chose an odd angle for their coverage, namely that Ryan has supposedly avoiding talking about Medicare in his stump speeches -- and both wrote "that changed" in describing its first mention.
It seems more than a little odd that two establishment press reporters from supposedly separate and independent media outlets both apparently focused for four days on when Ryan would mention the word "Medicare" on the campaign trail. Summers even made it her headline, while Peoples seemed to want to convey the impression that Ryan has been afraid to mention the word:
UPDATE: In its video report, but not in its accompanying text, Cincinnati Local 12 News reported that the crowd was over 6,000, and that "a whole line of people were turned away, because there wasn't enough room."
It would appear that Politico's Juana Summers and the Associated Press's Steve Peoples have an unusual and nearly identical problem with math. Yesterday, they could have and should have gone to the Secret Service for help. (Also, go to this subsequent post about how the pair also played a very odd duet in supposedly independently written stories, both attempting to portray Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan as avoiding the topic of Medicare on the campaign trail.)
Summers wrote that Ryan's appearance yesterday at Miami University drew "several hundred supporters gathered for an outdoor rally." Peoples claimed it was "hundreds of supporters." After the jump, I will note several media outlets which reported that the crowd numbered in the "thousands" -- including one which cited a Secret Service estimate of 5,500.
If you thought the Democrats would be satisfied with the fact that a solid phalanx of liberals have been chosen to moderate the presidential (and vice-presidential) debates, you would be wrong. Now they want to dictate what questions will be forbidden from being asked at the debates. I kid you not. The Politico reports on the question that the Democrats want to make taboo:
Some Democratic lawmakers want to make sure that one question does not get asked at the upcoming first presidential debate - about Simpson-Bowles.
This was how it started: "Flipping burgers at McDonald’s, steering the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, slinging cheap margaritas, and toning abs and pecs. That’s about the extent of Rep. Paul Ryan’s private sector experience." Again, this from the liberals who weren't in the habit of mocking Barry Obama slinging Bubble Gum ice cream?
NewsBusters reported Friday that Politico's Roger Simon, appearing on PBS's Inside Washington, accused the Romney campaign of employing a racist "dog whistle" in its anti-Obama welfare ad.
Also appearing on the program was syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer who scolded, "Any time a real issue is brought up here, all of a sudden it’s a silent dog whistle that only liberals hear...Clinton’s the guy who passed the law in the first place. Was that a dog whistle? Was he a racist?" (Video follows with transcript and commentary).
Appearing as a panel member on Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, Politico's Roger Simon claimed to see racism in a campaign ad against President Obama which criticizes the President for granting waivers to some states to loosen work requirements for welfare recipients.
After host Gordon Peterson recalled that fellow panel member Charles Krauthammer had called the ad "accurate," Simon launched into race-baiting: