Time magazine's Jeff "The pope's a Scrooge" Israely is at it again, lecturing Benedict XVI on his "inflammatory rhetoric."
Israely joins CNN's Jack Cafferty, Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith", and PBS's Bonnie Erbe in the bash-Benedict choir's latest oratorio. His March 19 article evaluated the pontiff's recent comments on condoms and HIV/AIDS as "candor over P.R.", lamenting Benedict's word choice and seeming lack of concern about how liberal secular media outlets parse his statements (emphases mine):
Amidst the outrage and consternation lies the question: Why? If we already know the basic tenets of church teaching — not to mention the extent of the AIDS epidemic and disproportionate ignorance about condom use in Africa — why did the Pope say what he said, when and where he said it? What do this and other recent episodes tell us about how the modern papacy operates at that unique nexus where philosophy meets public relations? And why, nearly four years into his reign, does this hyper articulate and well-versed Pope continue to see his attempts at mass communication blow up in his face?
Former President George W. Bush is a "classy guy" who might "mature into a proper elder statesman" some day.
That's the verdict of NBC and Wonkette contributor Sara K. Smith in her March 18 article about how Bush refused to publicly criticize his successor to the presidency when given the chance at a Q&A session following at a luncheon in Canada. (h/t Twitter tipster @Thatcher):
The one thing he has not been doing, thank goodness, is following Dick Cheney's lead and attempting to inject himself into public affairs again. When asked today to comment on President Obama's performance in office, Bush said, "I'm not going to spend my time criticizing him. [...] He deserves my silence."
An Associated Press account noted that President Bush also said, "I love my country a lot more than I love politics.... I think it is essential that he be helped in office." Smith left those lines out of her story.
President Obama may need to call out Israel on its compromised "moral standing" in the world, Time's Joe Klein [file photo at right] argues in a March 17 Swampland blog post.
So what does Klein see as Israel's sin? Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu's choice of the hawkish Avigdor Lieberman for foreign secretary.
Lieberman's campaign for prime minister was distinguished by his call for a loyalty pledge that citizens would have to sign in order to vote in Israeli elections:
Jeff Goldberg on Avigdor Lieberman. I second the motion--and add this: I suspect that President Obama is going to have to say something about Israel's selection of a politician who has frequently made racist noises as its Foreign Minister. He should be very clear that this severely compromises Israel's moral standing in the world.
Going on right now: the first-ever "Twitterview" between Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and a mainstream journalist. McCain is being interviewed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos. You can follow the debate by checking out the @SenJohnMcCain and @GStephanopoulos feeds on Twitter.
Update (12:53 EDT): Below is a transcript of the interview, courtesy of MRC intern Mike Sargent. Sargent also noticed that at least one conservative observing the interview shot a message to Stephanopoulos objecting that Sen. McCain was misrepresenting his votes on the AIG bailout.
MCCAIN: Twitter interview with George S at noon.
STEPHANOPOLOUS: @SenJohnMcCain Happy St Patrick's Day! First things first: How do u tweet -- dictate or type? Blackberry or pc?
Josh Brahm of Right to Life of Central California has done the definitive dissection of the comprehensive media failure in reporting on President Obama's recent Executive Order (EO) allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Brahm's "9 Things the Media Messed Up About the Obama Stem Cell Story" (HT to an e-mail from LifeNews.com) is an exceptional magnum opus that must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated. It identifies each of the nine errors, links to well over 40 specific instances of media bias and/or ignorance, and tell us why those errors are significant. I thought I was reasonably knowledgeable in this subject area until I read Brahm's work.
(CNS News has reported that the EO will apparently not going into effect until October 1 or later, because the supplemental appropriations bill he just signed [but apparently didn't read] "explicilty bans federal funding of any 'research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.'" That fact doesn't change the correctness of Brahm's "9 Things.")
Here are the nine items (absolutely no substitute for reading the whole thing), accompanied by brief quotes from Brahm's article:
The Associated Press wire relayed a short item on Friday about how outgoing Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman (D-Salisbury, Md.) recently slammed bloggers as the greatest threat to her fair Eastern Shore city.
SALISBURY — In her final State of the City address, Salisbury Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman warned residents of what she sees as a great danger to the city: malicious bloggers.
Tilghman said in her address Thursday that over the last five years, the presence of a small group of suspicious, mean-spirited people focused on the negative has grown, endangering the city's vitality.
Tilghman says some people are avoiding serving their city because it's not worth chancing the scorn of bloggers. But Tilghman says they need to stand up for the city.
Tilghman's final day in office is April 19, but she says she plans to remain active in the city. She says she plans to give a less formal farewell address before leaving office.
As you can see, Tilghman's Democratic Party affiliation is curiously missing from the story, even though her party affiliation is no mystery to mainstream journalists such as Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun, who took note of her retirement in a December 15, 2008 blog post:
What's a little salt on the wound after a seemingly humiliating performance by CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer on Comedy Central's March 12 "The Daily Show?" At least that's the way White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acted when he took the opportunity to comment on last night's "Daily Show" during his March 13 press briefing.
[Update: Erbe appears to be factually inaccurate, to say the least. Reader Tim Lindell passed on an L.A. Times article from last year noting that in a 2006 debate, Palin called herself "pro-contraception" and added that "kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues."]
With the writing style and gravitas worthy of a high school newspaper columnist, PBS "To the Contrary" host and US News & World Report columnist Bonnie Erbe slammed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her March 12 column, pitting her against her daughter Bristol who "displays a lot more personal maturity and decision-making ability than her mother" as evidenced by the breaking off of her engagement with boyfriend Levi Johnston.
Although Erbe is not a relationship expert or couples therapist, she plays one on the Internet (emphases mine):
[T]he youthful pair never looked like a loving couple. They looked like what they were: two sexually active teens who happened to "hook up" but had nothing beyond that in common. Besides, who wants to marry the son of a woman who's brought up on drug charges?
There seems to be a wall of silence surrounding the sudden withdrawal of H. Rodgin Cohen (pictured at right) from consideration for the Number 2 job at the Treasury Department.
The party line, according to ABC's This Week host and former Clinton administration adviser George Stephanopoulos, is that "an issue arose in the final stages of the vetting process." David Cho at the Washington Post reports that "two sources familiar with the matter" confirmed this, but that they "declined to identify the reason."
Perhaps the press is not really interested in finding out that reason, or reasons. Or worse, they've got a pretty good idea, and they'd rather not dig; because if they don't dig, they won't have to tell us. Stephanopoulos appears to be giving away that he knows more than he's willing to reveal when he writes that "Cohen has been a counsel to just about every major player on Wall Street, which perhaps complicated his nomination."
"Perhaps"? A review of some of Cohen's known history makes it clear that he carries quite a bit of potentially heavy baggage.
In case you were worried, former Time magazine staffer Jay Carney has "had very little trouble adapting" to his job as Vice President Biden's director of communications. From a recent interview with Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers published in the March 12 paper:
[Akers]: You left journalism after 20 years with Time. How is life on the other side?
Carney: It's great. I have had very little trouble adapting to this new role, which is completely different from what I was doing before.
Carney also insisted that while he was just sort of swept into the Obama administration during the post-election transition period, he never was a leg-thrilling puddle of drool like others in the media:
After the attacks were known to all, James Carville told assembled Washington reporters at a hotel conference room breakfast where he and Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg spoke (photo is from the May 20, 2004 Christian Science Monitor) to "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!"
The assembled press apparently understood that as something each and every one of them should take to the grave.
The rage among some Italian dioceses is to call on Catholics to shut off the Internet connection, put down the I-pod and chill out on texting for the Lenten fast.
This may contradict the pope, who just recently extolled social networking to forge worldwide understanding and approved a Vatican channel on YouTube. (I wonder if they shut that down for Lent?)
Grossman apparently has trouble reconciling the Vatican's desire to engage social media outlets to reach out to young Catholics and evangelize potential converts with the pastoral counsel from priests and bishops that fasting from too much of a good thing -- such as text messaging -- may help sharpen one's spiritual devotion during the Lenten season:
An early review of press coverage relating to this morning's warning by General Motors that "there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern" shows no coverage of the reason why, despite $13.4 billion in taxpayer money (NOT counting bailout money going to GMAC), things have gotten so much worse so quickly.
The reason is that sales in the two full months since the Bush-approved, Obama-cheered bailout took place have tanked (see graphic at this NB post yesterday):
December 2008 (last [mostly] pre-bailout month) — down 31.2%
January 2009 (first full bailout month) — down 48.9%
February 2009 (second full bailout month — down 53.1%
Press reports I have seen are saying nothing about this frightening decay in the past 60 days:
Taxpayer-subsidized journalist Bonnie Erbe has some advice for Democrats: use the 2010 Census and subsequent redistricting to your maximum advantage to gerrymander and "gender-mander" the Congress chock full of left-wing constituencies.
Depoliticize the Census? Surely they jest! Taking politics out of the Census is like taking milk out of the cow or coal out of Newcastle or diamonds out of Tiffany. Politics is the lifeblood of the Census—without politics, there is no Census.
The Census is part of the spoils of victory for whichever party controls the White House at the turn of each decade. Gerrymandering—using Census data to create voting districts that artificially lean toward one end of the political spectrum or the other—is as uniquely an American tradition as Thanksgiving. The thought of trying to depoliticize the census is, well, decidedly un-American.
Though there was never any announcement on this side of the Atlantic that there would be a full-blown joint news conference today when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stops by to meet with President Obama, some British journalists are rather cranky this morning about the fact that there won't be one. Some who flew over with Brown last night thought there would be an Obama-Brown newser, and were surprised to hear when they arrived that there wouldn't. They see it as a snub.
"Mr Brown might lament," writes Toby Harnden of The Telegraph, "that despite the so-called 'special relationship' Britain is now getting the same treatment as the president of Uruguay but he need not despair. I'm told there's a chance he might get drinks with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening."
Blogger and former Washington Times staffer Robert Stacy McCain has an article over at The American Spectator's Web site that blows away the stereotype many in the MSM seem to have about Rush Limbaugh's audience being nothing more than "angry white men."
In "Taxi Driver Dittos, Rush", McCain relays a brief story of his interaction with a D.C. cabbie originally from Nigeria who loves Limbaugh.
Here's an excerpt:
Cabs lined up with engines idling outside Washington's historic Omni Shoreham Hotel about 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Drivers were waiting to sweep away thousands of guests who soon would depart the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), but nobody was leaving yet, and so the drivers waited.
"When does Rush speak?" asked a stocky driver in a blue hooded sweatshirt.
"He just started speaking," I answered.
"Oh, man, I wish I could be there," the driver said. "He is great."
Maybe it was just too easy to assume the worst of the news network most others in the press love to hate. Or perhaps it was deliberate.
Whatever the reason, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) wire service's Wednesday story about reaction to Barack Obama's sort-of State of the Union Speech the previous evening spent four of its last five paragraphs pinning a report harshly critical of various claims in the speech on Fox News.
True, Fox News's web site carried the story ("Fact Check: Obama's Words on Home Aid Ring Hollow"). But it was actually written by the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward and Jim Kuhnhenn. (Yes, the AP actually wrote an Obama-critical story. More on that in a bit.)
Here are the four paragraphs in question from the AFP report, which otherwise lavishes praise on Obama's speech and rips into Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's GOP response performance:
Washington Times White House correspondent Christina Bellantoni has online conservatives a-Twitter with some overheard snippets of a Helen Thomas interview, including what may well be a racially-tinged joke about Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.).
breaking Helen Thomas tells filmcrew Bush worst POTUS in history, "too many people are dead" in Iraq sez Kennedy, Johnson best #whpresscorps
Coming from someone who constantly complains about how many soldiers President Bush "killed" by invading and occupying Iraq, it's odd that Thomas considers two Vietnam era presidents to be among the best presidents in American history.
A few moments later Bellantoni added a tweet that hinted at a racially insensitive crack Thomas may have made about Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R):
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Well, glory be, sometime in the past couple of months, ABC has made changes to the montage. Now each profile except for Bill Clinton's (which is excusable) identifies the politician's party. Additionally, two factual errors at the original profiles have been corrected. The year of Clinton's Lewinsky scandal which ultimately led to his acts of perjury and impeachment has been changed from 1995 to 1998, and an incorrect statement that sex-scandalized Florida Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney had conceded to GOP opponent Tom Rooney before Election Day last year has been removed.
Here's the lineup of the "Faces of Political Scandal," and how their status changed:
Amy Sullivan’s article on Time.com on Thursday, “The Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill,” tried to downplay President Obama’s past and current support for abortion, and tried to use a technicality to “prove” that there is no chance of passage for the staunchly pro-abortion Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA): “...FOCA has also provided ammunition for those on the right who want to paint Obama as ‘the most pro-abortion president ever.’ It’s been less than a month since he took office, but so far the President has given social conservatives little evidence to back up that charge. He did repeal the Mexico City policy banning federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provide abortion referrals or services — but so did Bill Clinton.” In reality, the Obama adminstration’s record on the issue consists of much more than merely support for legislative proposals and signing executive orders.
Whether it's a shot at competitor Newsweek for putting Markos Moulitsas on the payroll, or a brief moment of clarity, Time magazine has named the disgustingly liberal website Daily Kos as one of the most overrated blogs on the Internet.
I kid you not.
Such a revelation seems even more odd given the absence of any conservative websites in Time's "25 Best Blogs of 2009."
But before we get there, here's what the magazine had to say about DK:
About half-way through President Obama's press conference Monday night, he had an unscripted question of his own. "All, Chuck Todd," the President said, referring to NBC's White House correspondent. "Where's Chuck?" He had the same strange question about Fox News's Major Garrett: "Where's Major?"
The problem wasn't the lighting in the East Room. The President was running down a list of reporters preselected to ask questions.
In other words, the preselection by the President's team of who would be allowed to submit a question to His Excellency was obvious to anyone paying reasonably close attention, and his unfocused answers rambled on and on and on.
Now the American Spectator's Prowler reports that the White House's communications crew is trying to do something about that. Not the preselection, no-no-no. They're trying to use high tech to hide that element of the briefings as much as possible, and further, to assist the supposed "greatest orator of his generation" in handling the questions he receives (bolds are mine):
If you haven't figured it out yet, the fact that lawmakers in Washington who voted for the mislabeled "stimulus" bill championed by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid did so without reading it, let alone understanding it, means that in the coming weeks (or months?) we'll be learning about all manner of items in the legislation that "nobody" knew about. But that didn't stop House and Senate majorities from passing the legislation. My educated guess is that you won't hear much about these buried provisions from Old Media, because they're largely designed as stealth advances of longtime liberal agenda items.
Remember "net neutrality"? It's back, after probably a year or so of neglect.
Declan McCullagh at CNet explains that whoever wrote the legislation (will we ever know?) is attempting to force anyone who receives government money for broadband expansion to comply with something that isn't law, or even a regulation (links were in original):
A health policy expert who Keith Olbermann eviscerated during Thursday's "Countdown" (video embedded below the fold) has officially challenged the disgraceful MSNBC personality to a debate concerning provisions in the soon to be enacted stimulus plan.
If Keith Olbermann of MSNBCcould defend the health provisions slipped into the stimulus bill on their merits, he wouldn't be resorting to personal attacks on me. Olbermann calls me a shill funded by the drug industry (2-12-2009). That's not true...If Keith Olbermann has the courage, I invite him to debate me on his program...Mr. Olbermann, do you have the backbone (and the facts) to debate me?
Our story began last Monday when McCaughey published the following at Bloomberg:
This "Name That Party" situation has many of the usual elements. There are several stories about two Democratic judges involved in criminal behavior in Pennsylvania, and, with one exception, they "somehow" don't get around to identifying their party.
But this saga is different for two reasons:
The crimes to which the judges have pleaded guilty involve "thousands" of juveniles.
In one lonely exception, the Associated Press's coverage prominently identified the judges' party. But in what was apparently a subsequent longer revision, their party identification disappeared.
What follows is a side-by-side picture of the first four paragraphs of a February 11 AP story carried at topix.com (also saved at my host for future reference), and of the five paragraphs of the story as it now appears at MSNBC (also saved at host; red and green boxes are mine; portions of the Topix link were moved from their original locations on the page for demonstration purposes; MSNBC graphic is of the printer-friendly version):
That's how Chicago Tribune religion blogger Manya Brachear began her Feb. 11 The Seeker blog post, practically considering the Pope to be another politician who must watch out for how his PR blunders affect his poll numbers (emphasis mine):
Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI quelled concerns last week regarding the excommunication of a Holocaust denier, he caused another stir closer to home. He reportedly tapped a bishop who once described Hurricane Katrina as God’s punishment for sin and debauchery in New Orleans.
According to the Times of London, Father Gerhard Maria Wagner, an ultraconservative parish priest at Windischgarsten in Austria, published his theory of divine retribution in his parish newsletter four years ago.