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:
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.
Does the liberal senior editor of State, Dahlia Lithwick, secretly want the Democrat ticket to lose this year? You have to come to that conclusion when you read the complex mosaic of debate "tips" that she provides to Joe Biden including, get this, imitate the perpetually annoying Campbell Brown. This is just one part of an array of tips Lithwick provides in a Slate article condescendingly titled, "How To Debate a Girl, and Win." Lithwick starts out by sneering at Sarah Palin (emphasis mine):
The liberals have already come up with their excuse for why Barack Obama might lose the election in November. It wouldn't be because of his inexperience, poor judgement, or far left political views. No, the real reason according to Slate's Jacob Weisberg is racism.
The proposition is put in the title of his article, "If Obama Loses," with his answer given in the subtitle, "Racism is the Only Reason McCain Might Beat Him."
And, of course, Obama's recent poll plunge can only be attributed to you-know-what:
On July 16, Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times's Top of the Ticket Blog wrote the following (bold is mine):
When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, (Barack) Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse," a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.
This YouTube video (different from the compare/contrast video at the bottom of the LAT's link) shows Obama reciting the lines just quoted.
The LAT Blog notes earlier in its entry that "The parts (of Obama's web site) that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared."
Something else disappeared this week. Team Obama, for all its posturing, probably saw something like this coming -- which explains their web site scrubbing.
Hopefully this event will repeat itself frequently. You have to get all the way to the end of an apparently weekly routine Associated Press report to see it, but there it is:
How many times will The New York Times publish a disreputable reporter's work before it learns its lesson?
Perhaps the third time will be the charm. Alexei Barrionuevo has under come under fire for plagiarism on two separate occasions, but the Times printed a story March 27 ("Salmon Virus Indicts Chile's Fishing Methods") by Barrionuevo anyway, prompting a response from the salmon industry.
Barrionuevo quotes Adolfo Flores in his article, identifying him as Port Director of Castro, Chiloe Island. But in a letter to the Times May 2, Eric McErlain, writing on behalf of Salmon of the Americas Inc (an industry group), pointed out major problems with the report.
"In actuality, Mr. Flores is simply a security guard who works for a third party contractor," McErlain wrote. "I've enclosed an English translation of a letter from Patricio Cuello, the general manager of the Port of Puerto Montt, which administers Castro, confirming this."
For a moment, let's step away from the commentary, per se, and focus on the commentators. Liberals love to chide Fox News for its alleged conservative bias. So why don't we see, when it comes to being fair and balanced, how this morning's Fox News Sunday panel stacked up against that of its main competitor, Meet the Press?
Update: Reaction from document examiner Emily Will added at bottom of post (April 3 | 13:02 EDT)
Mary Mapes (file photo at right), the former CBS producer behind the Bush National Guard memo scandal that eventually felled Dan Rather's career has a post up at the liberal Nation magazine's Web site insisting that comparisons between Memogate and the L.A. Times falling for fake documents about Tupac Shakur's murder are "simplistic, unfounded and unfair." (h/t Patterico)
Apparently, there's a profound difference between trying to sway a presidential election with questionable documentary evidence and messing with Tupac.
Mapes defended her work in Memogate before turning, predictably, to fire on the Bush administration. Of course in doing so, Mapes, who had just finished defending her reliability as a journalist, laid out at least two commonly-repeated falsehoods propagated by the Left about the Iraq war. First, Mapes insisted that:
The greatest fraud perpetrated in modern journalistic history was the Bush Administration's linking of Iraq to September 11.
But the Bush administration never argued such a thing in the lead-up to the war. As the BBC, hardly a Bush cheerleader, rightly noted in September 2003:
Weisberg linked it back to a pattern of dyslexia in the Bush family.
"I agree with that," Weisberg said when presented the possibility that Bush has a "learning disability." "The other thing I've done is collect ‘Bushisms' over the years and I sort of joke this book is my penance for doing that, because one of the things ‘Bushisms' do is I think they make Bush sound stupider than he is, or stupid in a way he isn't. And I do think he does have some sort of language processing impairment that is probably akin to dyslexia, and dyslexia does run in the family. But, I don't think it is dyslexia because if you watched the State of the Union, you could see he has no trouble reading a teleprompter."
Times columnist David Brooks blew a hole into the left-wing myth of Ronald Reagan appealing to Southern racists to kick off his 1980 presidential campaign. What makes Brooks's Friday column doubly valuable -- it's a bank-shot sinking of fellow Times columnist and Republican-hater Paul Krugman.
Brooks's "History and Calumny" defends then-candidate Ronald Reagan from leftists like Krugman who have long slurred his 1980 campaign kick-off in Philadelphia, Miss. as a racist appeal.
"Today, I'm going to write about a slur. It's a distortion that's been around for a while, but has spread like a weed over the past few months. It was concocted for partisan reasons: to flatter the prejudices of one side, to demonize the other and to simplify a complicated reality into a political nursery tale.
See update at foot -- ESPN teases football player for dressing like Tinky Winky.
Like a youngster stubbornly unwilling to admit that the Tooth Fairy isn't real, Keith Olbermann seems unable to accept that Tinky Winky is gay. Perhaps the MSNBC host should check with some of his more sophisticated friends.
What is a divorced father with a devout Evangelical Christian daughter to do when his anti-religious beliefs come between his daughter and his visitation? If you are mainstream media advice columnist from Slate.com he should discuss his views about science and homosexuality; even though he never mentioned that he had such views.
In addition to furthering her "open minded" views on religion and homosexuality the columnist quips with the typical broad brushed generalization of how rude these religious people can really be; “I get a disturbing number of letters from nonreligious relatives of religiously raised children saying that the kids have been warning them of eternal damnation, and even threatening to stop seeing them, unless the relatives repent their Godless ways. Isn't it rather devilish, however, to raise children to be rude, and cruel, to loving family members?”
As NewsBuster John Stephenson reported Monday, a Politico column by Ben Smith revealed that the Clinton campaign apparently forced GQ magazine to not publish a negative piece about Hillary if they wanted future access to Bill.
It certainly shouldn't come as a great surprise that there are people who think human beings are the worst species on the planet, and that Earth would be a much better place without us.
However, though Slate's Daniel Engber did add some skepticism to his "Global Swarming: Is it time for Americans to start cutting our baby emissions?" article, his conclusion made it quite clear his answer to this question was "Yes":
We know that babies add more to global warming than anything else in our home. Isn't it time to cut back?
For those with a strong stomach, here are some of the lowlights (emphasis added throughout, h/t Ken Shepherd):
Slate magazine found out that Rudy Giuliani's daughter Caroline has a crush on Obama.
Well, maybe not a crush, but she had joined a pro-Obama Facebook group and describes herself as "liberal" (but then that's also how many Republican voters would describe Caroline's father).
The article, complete with evidentiary screen grab, was written this morning by Lucy Morrow Caldwell, like Caroline Giuliani also a student at Harvard University. Caldwell has a profile on Facebook in the Harvard and Washington, DC networks, and has poor taste in sunglasses, as the screencap below shows:
Slate is no tool of the "vast right wing conspiracy," for sure (and neither is its parent company the Washington Post), so it is pretty amazing to see a Slate contributor take his fellow liberal journalists to task in so stark a manner. But, for once, Slate is dead right on this one, folks. The "Journalism" biz never takes their plagiarizing miscreants to task and never makes them pay, but Jack Shafer sure did last Friday.
This time Shafer's ire is leveled at writer Michael Finkel who is famous for having invented a story that appeared in National Geographic about the slave labor of a small boy purportedly living on an Ivory Coast cocoa plantation. Yet here he is getting work once again in the MSM as if he was trustworthy and professional.
Story after story about Rupert Murdoch’s purchase offer for Dow Jones & Company, which owns The Wall Street Journal, has criticized the prospect as a threat to journalism, questioned the media mogul’s “editorial integrity” and attacked his character.
Journalists, media critics and the union representing the Journal were up in arms.
“[P]robably not quite as frightening as the day we learned Kim Jong Il has the bomb, but close … very close. It could be worse. We might have discovered, for example, that Saddam Hussein had stashed all those missing weapons of mass destruction in a Pasadena storage locker rented to Osama bin Laden,” said a Los Angeles Times column.