It's the season of good cheer and if you want a really good belly laugh then check out David Weigel's August prediction in Slate that the Democrats in the lame duck session of Congress would NOT attempt to ram through legislation in the final days as their term winds down. Here is Weigel proving he is something less than another Nostradamus with his August assertion that the conservative suspicion at the time that Congress would attempt such a maneuver was really nothing but silly political paranoia:
...The latest attack comes from Republicans who demand that Democrats promise not to 1) call a lame duck session after the election or 2) pass anything substantial if they do call it.
Anxiety was pretty high in the heat of battle with the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. However, a lot of that tension exists beyond the state of Delaware and there have been self-proclaimed conventional wisdom wizards critical of how the electoral process in Delaware has worked itself out.
"This is absolutely pathetic," Weigel wrote of Levin's critique. "No, Mark, when reporters investigate female candidates, they are not ‘obsessed,' any more than you're obsessed with Hillary Clinton when you call her 'her thighness' and ‘Hillary Rotten Clinton.' They're reporting. For all of your posing about legal theory and the Constitution, you make it pretty clear here that you're a political hack."
Imagine for a moment you were the editor of a magazine owned by the Washington Post and Newsweek. Would you a day before the ninth anniversary of 9/11 publish an article with the following headline:
The Talibanization of America Viewed from Pakistan, the rise of U.S. Islamophobia looks depressingly familiar.
Seems rather inflammatory hours before such a solemn day in America, don't you think?
Yet, such was published Friday by Foreign Policy magazine, an affiliate of the Slate Group.
Sadly, the contents - which in paragraph three equated former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with prospective Koran burner Terry Jones - will likely be even more offensive to the vast majority of Americans especially on September 11:
If Anne Applebaum is to be believed, the existence of primary sources is in and of itself the reason the dead-trees should be kept around. She writes for Slate:
I didn't think it was possible, but Julian Assange has now done it: By releasing 92,000 documents full of Afghanistan intelligence onto the laptops of an unsuspecting public, the founder of Wikileaks has finally made an ironclad case for the mainstream media. If you were under the impression that we don't need news organizations, editors, or reporters with more than 10 minutes' experience anymore, then think again. The notion that the Internet can replace traditional news-gathering has just been revealed to be a myth.
Ironically, that passage shows one of the key problems with the mainstream media: they don't know anything. The Afghanistan documents collected by Wikileaks are not "intelligence," but field reports from regular combat units and special forces. Also, the notion that Wikileaks is some kind of news organization when it is really an online repository of documents-i.e. sources instead of reportage-shows the kind of unfamiliarity with basic facts that people like Applebaum, in the mainstream media, wrongly attribute to Wikipedia and ignore in themselves.
Managing Editor's Note: What follows is an open letter from NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell to Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli about the controversial [now defunct] e-mail listserv JournoList, founded and operated by the Post's Ezra Klein.
The JournoList scandal is getting worse every day and The Washington Post is at the center of it. Blogger Ezra Klein ran the operation and at least three other staffers were members. (Blogger Greg Sargent claims he wasn't a member after he joined the Post.) In addition, at least one member of Slate and two from Newsweek, also owned by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, were members.
The almost constant revelations of political activism and journalistic conspiracy raise an enormous number of questions about Post policies, professionalism and ethics. As a conservative, and therefore a member of the movement JournoListers sought to demonize, I feel Post readers are owed full disclosure.
Any understanding of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics makes clear this list and the Post's involvement violate a number of ethical guidelines. In fact, much of the code seems to have been ignored. Here are just a few examples from the code.
Barely a month after Dave Weigel resigned from the Washington Post, he has been hired by…the Washington Post.
Well, to be more specific, by Post subsidiary Slate Magazine. Michael Calderone tweeted the news this evening, and Weigel confirmed shortly thereafter.
Weigel's resignation came after it was revealed he had made derogatory and highly offensive comments towards prominent conservatives on the liberal media listserv JournoList. Those included suggesting that Matt Drudge should set himself on fire, wishing death on Rush Limbaugh (incidentally, he wasn't the only JournoLister to do so), and dubbing Newt Gingrich an "amoral blowhard."
It wasn't the first time Weigel got in trouble for offensive comments. It wasn't the first time he took heat over comments made about Matt Drudge. He also called gay marriage opponents bigots, sparking outrage from some on the right.
Since Weigel had been hired to cover the political right, most conservatives believed he would be a counterweight to Ezra Klein, who covers the liberal beat on his own WaPo blog. Weigel's comments confirmed (though anyone who had read his work already suspected) that he would not bring that hoped-for balance.
"It's called legwork, it's called immersion journalism, and it doesn't look pretty. But it should come as a surprise to only naive newspaper readers that every day journalists treat the subjects of investigations the way [Joe] McGinniss is treating Palin," Slate's Jack Shafer argued in a May 26 post subheadlined, "In defense of a journalist's stalking of a politician."
Shafer wrote his post because, after all, he felt he had to in some way publicly "commend the writer for an act of journalistic a**holery —renting the house next door to the Palin family in Wasilla, Alaska."
Far from crossing any ethical lines, to Shafer, McGinniss's move "honors a long tradition of snooping" and is worthy of applause from hard-bitten gumshoe reporters everywhere:
Does anyone remember when the liberal intellectuals decried populism coming from the likes of Glenn Beck and other conservatives that was aimed at the direction the country is going under the leadership of President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress?
Apparently it is OK to cry foul on so-called populist rants when the mouthpieces tend to be right-of-center. But now, with Congress debating financial regulation, this sort of above-the-fray approach has gone by the wayside, at least for Slate.com. On Slate's Political Gabfest podcast for April 22, moderator John Dickerson asked his panel consisting of Slate editor David Plotz and Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon, if Wall Street banks had a responsibility to self-regulate and do what's right as opposed to solely relying on legislation to set the boundaries. That inspired an "impassioned" populist response from Plotz.
For years, pop culture hyped "hooking up" as fun, easy and largely without consequences. Teens and young adults bought into the hype, much to the chagrin of educators and parents, but some young women who experienced the consequences of these casual sexual encounters are now rejecting the "hook up" culture.
CNN took notice of the changing behavior among college women - and some pop stars like Lady Gaga - in an April 19 article and attributed the shift to "the emotional devastation of many college students, particularly girls whose hearts are broken by the hook up scene."
"Hooking up" refers to anything from kissing to sexual intercourse with a stranger, an acquaintance or a friend. No matter what the activities or with whom, a lack of commitment is the defining trademark of a hook up. Studies have shown that 75 percent of women have "hooked up" with another person while in college. As CNN noted, "the number is usually higher for men."
Newsweek's Dahlia Lithwick and law professor Sonja West wrote for Slate.com about how empathy is a much better quality than diversity in Supreme Court justices: "If we can't in fact have a court that looks like America, we should seek a court that feels for America." But this push grew really weird when they suggested retiring Justice John Paul Stevens was somehow a Latina:
He grew up white, male, heterosexual, Protestant, and wealthy. At no point in time was he a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay or a frightened teenage girl. And yet, over the decades, his rulings and written opinions repeatedly showed us that he could see the world through the eyes of those with very different life experiences from his own. In other words, he tapped his inner 'wise Latina woman' when the case called for it, and we are all better for it.
Perhaps they've also imagined him having the ability to take the lead away from Jennifer Lopez in the movie Selena. Lithwick and West concocted the idea that the media threw a fit against the "empathy" principle, somehow confusing the media and their "war on empathy" with objections from the Republican minority:
Slate's William Saletan must hate happy endings. At least that's what you'd think after reading "The Invisible Dead." No, that's not the title of some new horror best-seller - it's the headline of his article about football star Tim Tebow's pro-life ad.
In it, Saletan argued that the Tebows were "lucky" and went on to expose the "grisly truth about the Super Bowl abortion ad." That "truth" was the idea that dangerous pregnancies carried to term often kill the baby and the mother.
"On Sunday, we won't see all the women who chose life and found death. We'll just see the Tebows, because they're alive and happy to talk about it," Saletan wrote.
How can journalists possibly claim to be "objective" (in the Old Media, I-have-no-opinions sense of the term) when they get their news only from hyper-partisan sources on one side of the political spectrum? To do so should make any reporter blush.
But David Shuster, apparently, has no issue with undertaking such objective journalistic endeavors as "fact checking and analyzing", while gathering information from the left's most prominent online talking-point repositories.
Not content with simply relaying those talking points to his viewers, he makes sure to direct them (via Twitter) to websites where they can get their fills of the latest lefty banter. Johnny Dollar took the liberty of compiling a chart of the sites to which Shuster directed his Twitter followers throughout the month of January. The results are striking:
On Sunday’s CBS Evening News, political analyst John Dickerson brushed aside criticism from former Vice President Dick Cheney that the Obama administration was “dithering” on Afghanistan: “...it puts Cheney out there as a kind of boogie man the administration can point to. He’s not terribly popular outside of conservative circles...in some ways, Dick Cheney is a gift for the White House.”
Dickerson, who is a contributing writer for the left-leaning blog Slate.com, has also filled in for Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer twice in the last six months, on the October 18 and July 5 broadcasts. He was responding to a question from Sunday Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell, who cited Cheney and wondered: “Are you hearing other sentiments out there along those lines?” Dickerson claimed: “Well, there’s been some elite opinion about the pause in the President’s thinking.”
An October 9 CBS News poll showed that there was more than simply “elite opinion” on the subject: “President Obama has a slide in his approval ratings on his handling of the situation in Afghanistan. In April, 58 percent approved of his handling of the conflict; by August, that number had fallen to 48 percent. In the most recent survey it has hit its lowest level yet, 42 percent.” An October 18 ABC News/ Washington Post poll placed public approval of the President’s handling of Afghanistan at 45 percent, with 47 percent disapproving of his handling.
A new Pew Research poll has much of the left and the mainstream media in a bit of a panic. And at least several media outlets are about to try something new to address it.
With cap-and-trade legislation stalled in Congress and an important climate change summit coming up in Copenhagen in December, Americans just aren’t as convinced as they should be that a) there’s evidence the planet is warming (57 percent), b) that warming is a serious problem (35 percent) and c) that humans cause it (36 percent). All those numbers have fallen significantly from their peak a couple of years ago.
Luckily, a there’s no shortage of “journalists” standing up to fight this deplorable trend. Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, co-editors of the left-wing magazine Mother Jones, announced on the publication’s Web site that “we’re forging a collaboration with a range of news organizations – magazines, online news sites, nonprofit reporting shops, multimedia operations.’ The purpose? To “synthesize disparate data points” and coordinate coverage of “the most important story of our time.”
Further down, the editors wrote:
We're also part of a team reporting effort focused on the critical Copenhagen talks; visit MotherJones.com for details. And while you're there, create your own climate message: You can make a Mother Jones cover featuring a picture of your child (or grandkid/nephew/cat), add a note [imploring action on global warming], and send it to your friends, your members of Congress, and your president. We'll feature them on our site.
Can you say "bitter"? That's the vibe Slate.com Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg gave off in an Oct. 17 column, which will appear in the Oct. 26 issue of Newsweek, about Fox News headlined "The O'Garbage Factor."
Weisberg, who once diagnosed former President George W. Bush with a learning disability, contends the Fox News Channel goes beyond just making liberal media elitist like himself cringe - it's actually un-American. Weisberg alluded to the recent rift between the White House and the Fox News Channel.
He contended, with an almost-overdone effort to be self-righteous and snarky, that the analysis of the feud, done on a recent broadcast of "The O'Reilly Factor," was all just too slanted for his tastes. He went along with the left-wing noise machine's notion that Bill O'Reilly, who isn't exactly a Reagan Republican, is some sort of tool of the right-wing.
When in doubt blame conservatism, even when it comes to the struggles of a media outlet - and ignore the possibility that liberalism might be to blame.
Ever since Nielsen came out with the July numbers for CNBC that showed the network had suffered a 28 percent ratings decline over a year ago, some of the financial media intelligentsia have been eager to point to what they perceive are the right-leaning political shortcomings of the network as a possible reason.
According to Daniel Gross, the Moneybox columnist for Slate.com and a columnist for Newsweek (and a known proprietor of "teabag" double entendres), there's been a decline in interest in financial news since the markets haven't been as volatile. But Gross is also convinced there's a component of the network's "rightward, anti-Obama tilt," despite its efforts to placate the left.
Remember when the alarmists were taking the premise that anthropogenic global warming was more of a threat to the planet than just polar bears and penguins, but also sea levels and catastrophic weather patterns?
"A lot of premises have turned out to be wrong lately," Weisberg wrote. "I'm not talking about evanescent bits of conventional wisdom, but about overarching assumptions that were widely shared across the political spectrum."
The Washington Post published an extensive investigative piece about Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Friday which was a collaboration with the far-left media outlet ProPublica (h/t Carter Wood).
As NewsBusters executive editor Matt Sheffield and I reported last September, ProPublica was founded by Herb and Marion Sandler, the California billionaires that have contributed millions to liberal causes and entities such as MoveOn.org and the Clinton front-group Center for American Progress.
Readers might recall the Sandlers being lampooned by "Saturday Night Live" last October for having a hand in the financial crisis. NBC later caved to pressure from the couple and edited out any reference to them in the video of the skit posted at the network's website (Pat Dollard still has the full video here).
In October 2007, shortly after the Sandlers announced their new media venture, Slate's Jack Shafer expressed concern:
He may not have healed the planet and made the oceans recede yet, but Barack Obama has definitely brought sexy back for some fawning lefty writers. Just check out these headlines: “Have the Obamas Spawned a Sex Frenzy?” and “How long has it been since a first couple seemed to want each other?”
The American left – particularly women writers on the American left – have conjured up the idea that the relationship between President Barack Obama and his wife is somehow novel. Stacy Schiff of New York Magazine writes “…only now are we discovering what a functioning marriage between equals actually looks like.”
Seriously? The marriage between Barack and Michelle is the best and most recent example she can come up with? Schiff is obviously smitten, but before she reached for her smelling salts, she did manage a swipe at the Bush administration.
A holiday change of pace from your humble correspondent here. Instead of taking a non-political article and looking for a political theme, I am taking this Slate article about political media divas who refuse to appear with other guests and transferring it to a non-political pet peeve of mine...people in the entertainment industry who have such bloated egos that they never appear on a show with other guests. Nowadays this means almost everybody in the entertainment business. However, check out this video from almost 40 years ago. It features Bob Hope, Dean Martin, and George Gobel together on the Johnny Carson show. All major celebrities at the time and they had no problem sharing the same interview couch. Nowadays it would be almost impossible for something like this to happen which is why such talk shows have become incredibly boring. Mostly they consist of solo performances by celebrities pitching their latest project.
Slate political writer, Christopher Beam, has some "friendly advice" for Republicans: Go Green and become just like Democrats. Your humble correspondent previously chronicled Beam's earlier advice suggesting that John McCain could "rehabilitate" himself by angering Republicans and disowning Sarah Palin. Therefore you can take Beam's latest suggestions about Republicans becoming like Democrats with a huge grain of salt:
If the Republican Party wants to recover from the Great Drubbing of 2008, it shouldn't waste too much time worrying about how to turn blue states red. It should be thinking about how to turn itself green.
And becoming just like Democrats. Of course, you will never hear Beam suggest that Democrats become more like Republicans.
Dahlia Lithwick, a Slate senior editor, is newly miffed at the constant Obama fundraising emails she's received. Oh, she didn't mind them as the campaign was going on, she says, but now that Big "O" is fairly elected, Lithwick is tired of them. One gets the feeling, of course, that this has been building in her for some time -- a sneaking dread mounting with each demand for cash. She even ends her Slate piece telling Obama that as far as she is concerned he should consider himself "cutoff" from her wallet.
Too bad she seems completely clueless that his constant grubbing for donations have moved from the voluntary stage to the mandatory stage now that she has helped elect him. She even mentions that she wants to get back to "panicking about her 401(k)" which is also amusing since the party she supports is now saying that they want to take possession of her 401(k)! Does she even know this?
Lithwick's Slate posting seems to say a lot about a media that really never did get to truly see Barack past his glitzy exterior. It was all hope-n-change. Only the "change" ends up being that every last penny in her pocket AND her 401(k) is going to go to her email buddy, Barack.
Slate political reporter, Christopher Beam, has some advice on how John McCain can "rehabilitate" himself: become more like a Democrat and admit that his choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate was a mistake. In a report reminiscent of how people who differed slightly from the party line in Stalinist Russia or Mao's China could rehabilitate themselves by admitting the "error" of their ways, Beam comes up with some "helpful" tips on how McCain could become liked by the mainstream media again. As you can see in his Slate article, the advice that Beam offers pretty much boils down to the fact that McCain must become a liberal:
PHOENIX—One major casualty of the 2008 race is the McCain brand, as a big chunk of his former fans have turned critical. The media, a group John McCain once called his "base," have fallen off the boat. Independents who admired his stances on immigration and Bush's tax cuts have drifted away. Veterans of the 2000 campaign have said they barely recognize the 2008 Republican nominee. Mark Salter, McCain's co-author and confidante, has said that Obama has "dinged up" the McCain brand.
Well, now is the time to rebuild. McCain may have lost the election, but in the coming weeks and months, he'll have an opportunity to fix a damaged reputation. Here are a few things he can do:
Beam should be more specific by suggesting, "Here are a few LIBERAL thing he can do:"
A beyond overwhelming 96 percent of the staff of Slate.com, the online news magazine site owned by the Washington Post, plan to vote for Barack Obama. A Tuesday posting, “Slate Votes: Obama wins this magazine in a rout,” reported 55 staff members plan to cast their ballot for Obama, a mere one person will vote for John McCain, the same number (one) who support libertarian Bob Barr. Another staffer replied: “Not McCain.” It's hard to imagine such left-wing uniformity isn't matched at many other media outlets. In a Wednesday posting, Slate Editor-at-Large Jack Shafer (the Barr backer) quipped: “I doubt that Obama will garner 96 percent even in his home precinct of Hyde Park.”
This year's annual staff survey matches the last two presidential contests when nearly every editor and reporter voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 (2004 MRC CyberAlert item). Slate.com headlined an October 26, 2004 article: “At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!” In 2000, 12 of the 13 in the top editorial positions voted for Gore, with the 13th going not for Bush but the libertarian. In all three years, the Democrat earned the vote of Slate's chief editor, Jacob Weisberg, a former Newsweek reporter.
You know that old saying about "Don't count your chickens until they hatch?" Well, Slate senior writer, Timothy Noah, decided to discard that advice and gloat over the "inevitable" Barack Obama victory this November. Yes, Noah's gloating does grate on the nerves but we should thank him for the enormous public service he has performed for us by providing a look at what liberals will be able to say out loud "when" Obama wins. First, you need to sit through the annoying gloating on Noah's part but I assure you the payoff will be huge when we get to the revelatory part of his article:
There's a new scent in the air. If you're a Democrat, you haven't felt it tickle your nostrils since October 1996, when everybody knew that Bill Clinton was about to beat Bob Dole. The perfume hasn't been this strong since October 1964, the eve of Lyndon Johnson's landside presidential victory. It's the sweet smell of success that you can take for granted.
Taking liberal media audacity to higher levels, John Heilemann would have you believe that the loss of support from liberal journalists is itself evidence the wheels are falling off the McCain campaign. Heilemann recently wrote about a "shift" in the attitudes and opininos of the media away from John McCain and towards Barack Obama. His examples are, well, typical.
Jonathan Alter, Joe Klein, Richard Cohen, David Ignatius, Jacob Weisberg: all former McCain admirers now turned brutal critics. Equally if not more damaging, the shift has been just as pronounced, if less operatic, among straight-news reporters. Suddenly, McCain is no longer being portrayed as a straight-talking, truth-telling maverick but as a liar, a fraud, and an opportunist with acute anger-management issues.
By a show of hands, how many of you knew these guys were, as Heilemann reports, "former McCain admirers?"
Slate political reporter, Christopher Beam, has come up with a bizarre analysis of Joe Biden's many gaffes: He is immune to the effects of gaffes because he makes so many of them.
I kid you not as you can read Beam's own words in defense of Biden (emphasis mine):
When Joe Biden described an Obama ad attacking John McCain's inability to use a computer as "terrible," the world acted as if the Joe-pocalypse had finally arrived. Jonathan Martin of Politico called it "perhaps his most off-message statement yet." Newsday dubbed him "gaffe-a-minute Joe." National Review's Victor Davis Hanson said it raised "serious concern whether Biden is up to the job."
"I don't believe that the Times is pulling for Barack Obama." Jack Shafer, Slate, 9-23-08
There's actually much to agree with in Jack Shafer's column today regarding McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt's criticism of the New York Times. Consider this observation by Shafer, for example:
The press corps does adore Barack Obama. They like his story. They like writing about him. They like the way he gives speeches. They like the way he makes them feel. And they don't mind cutting him slack whenever he acts like a regular politician—which he is.
But Shafer, Slate's resident media critic, also expresses the to-me mind-boggling belief cited at the top of this item, that the Times isn't pulling for Obama. So stunned was I by Shafer's claim that I wrote him, seeking clarification. He was nice enough to reply, and I'm setting forth our exchange here: