White House staff aren’t the only ones looking for sob stories about folks affected by the government shutdown. The media are doing what they can to assist. Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, lends a hand with “Shutdown becomes real for local residents.” The article begins:
Edgar Mullins, of Richton Park, and Justin Jones, of Chicago Heights, became victims of the federal government shutdown on Thursday.
They lined up early in the morning in front of the Social Security Administration office in Chicago Heights.
The office was open for business but wasn’t offering new or replacement Social Security cards, the reason Mullins and Jones were there.
In advance of a month full of events oriented towards demonstrating displeasure with lawmakers who won't give carte blanche to President Obama's healthcare, gun control, "climate change," and immigration agendas, Organizing for Action Executive Director Jon Carson claimed that "We will own August." New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns also anticipated high levels of support during this months's "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" tour.
It hasn't happened in either case. If right-wing, tea party, or social conservative efforts fizzled as OFA's and MAIG's clearly are, those failures would be making headlines, and shown as proof that support for the related causes is weak. By contrast, the national establishment press is mostly ignoring and in some cases obscuring these left-wing implosions.
Controversial sex columnist and liberal political activist Dan Savage was treated to a hero’s welcome—courtesy in part to taxpayer funding— by NPR’s mega-affiliate (staff of 55) WBEZ in Chicago. He appeared June 28 on WBEZ’s interview program "Afternoon Shift" to promote his most recent book on politics, "American Savage." WBEZ business reporter and interim Host Niala Boodhoo acted more like an adoring fan than an impartial journalist.
Even though the 24-minute interview was primarily about political matters, never once did Boodhoo challenge the incendiary Savage. She didn’t ask him about his many outrageous actions and statements over the years (such as wishing cancer on Sarah Palin, calling the Pope obscene names, and calling for political opponents to perform sexual acts on him; see NewsBusters' archive for a partial list), or about him then broadly painting all opponents of same-sex marriage as “haters.” In fact, Boodhoo sympathetically brought up what Savage calls “Bigot Christmas,” where Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage went to Savage’s house for dinner (and debate).
On Monday, the Insitute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability (IIFS), an outfit associated with the Civic Federation, a "nonpartisan" organization which appears to have leftist instincts and funding, warned that the state government's $8 billion stack of unpaid bills will grow to $22 billion in five years. IIFS correctly blames out of control pension costs, and recommends several reforms which don't seem to match the urgency of the situation.
One thing the report doesn't do, concerning which the press appears to be completely incurious, is estimate how long it will take vendors in President Barack Obama's Democrat-dominated home state to get paid if the backlog of unpaid bills really becomes that large. The answer, in brief, is: "so long that no one with a brain will want to do business with the state, likely causing its government to completely collapse."
All three morning shows on Monday covered the massive teachers strike in Rahm Emanuel's Chicago that left 350,000 students in the lurch. However, only CBS This Morning explained that the teachers, through their public sector unions, are already well compensated, making an average salary of $71,000 a year (plus benefits).
Reporter Dean Reynolds informed viewers, "That a dispute involving public sector employees would erupt in Chicago was somewhat surprising, given the generous packages unions here have won in the past." He noted that "Chicago's public school teachers make an average of $71,000 a year." Good Morning America and the Today show ignored these facts.
From the Obama Adoration Department: AP reports the managers of a shopping center in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood installed a 3,000-pound granite marker this week complete with a plaque reading, "On this site President Barack Obama first kissed Michelle Obama."
They’ve said the first kiss came in 1989 and the Obamas will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in October.
Monica Davey and Steven Yaccino reported for Tuesday's New York Times from Chicago, the site of the NATO summit and left-wing protests and put the best spin on the violent clashes that led to 90 arrests over the course of a week: "Day of Subdued Protests Follows Night of Clashes in Chicago." The text box: "The prospect of widespread chaos does not materialize."
Apparently left-wing protests are graded on a curve, as "about 90 arrests" is considered "an uneventful weekend." And the Times decided it was safe to mention the Occupy movement's involvement in the protests, after conveniently leaving them out of its previous reporting on terror threats and violence against cops in Chicago.
The NATO summit meeting in Chicago this weekend was the target of a diverse collage of left-wing groups as people with the Occupy movement streamed into Chicago for protests that culminated in violent clashes with cops and 45 arrests on Sunday. Before the summit the Times reported the protest would be a sign of how strong Occupy remained. Yet once the violence and terrorism charges began flying in Chicago, the Occupy movement all but disappeared from the paper's coverage.
Saturday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appeared alongside Rev. Jesse Jackson on his weekly Rainbow PUSH program, prior to her endorsement of Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) in this month's Democratic primary. The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, WLS AM, and the local affiliates of NBC and ABC all covered the the event.
Moments after saying it's "a badge of honor" for President Barack Obama to be known as the food stamp president, Pelosi made an incredible assertion (video here):
Yesterday, NewsBuster Kyle Drennen detailed how NBC Today co-host Ann Curry fretted about the latest Kennedy scandal's impact on Caroline Kennedy. "What about Caroline, who is still alive? " she asked John F. Kennedy mistress Mimi Alford.
Last night on Fox Chicago News, anchor Bob Sirott picked up on the same theme in his "One More Thing" opinion segment:
I wonder if she (Alford) feels guilty now about how President Kennedy's only living child Caroline might feel about her story?
Just a guess, but I imagine the daughter, now older than her father was when he died, didn't go into a state of shock. Yet the mainstream media worry about her as though she were a teenager, like Alford was when the 45-year-old Kennedy took her virginity.
The Brian Williams MSNBC debate in Florida was not only dreadfully boring – I never thought I could ever long for commercials – it was pathetic. Freed of the fear of triggering an avalanche of applause against loaded questions, Williams and his co-moderators couldn’t bring themselves to utter one single question asking the Republican candidates to respond to Obama mistakes. For almost two hours, not one Obama failure was cited. Apparently, his record is spotless.
Instead, the candidates (especially Rick Santorum) were thrown four questions surrounding the 2005 legal battle in Florida over pulling the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo, which pushed all the liberal media hot buttons about “far right” religious conservatives throwing their religion around where it didn’t belong. This isn’t breaking news. But like the ABC debate fixated on contraception, it’s evidence that liberal networks are focused on their agenda, not on the voters’ concerns.
New York Times reporters Jennifer Steinhauer and Steven Yaccino unfurled a hit piece (accompanied by a severely unflattering photo) on Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, conservative freshman congressman and Tea Party favorite, on the front of Tuesday’s National section: “G.O.P.’s Freshman’s Fiscal Message Clashes With His Finances.” It’s not the first time the paper has gone after a Tea Party conservative on such personal terms.
It's not very often that you run into a story that so perfectly captures both the sheer contempt which many reporters hold for the public and their desire to enable Democratic politicians. That's what happened in Chicago earlier this week when conservative journalist Bill Kelly had the temerity to ask Illinois Democratic senator Dick Durbin if he felt that he shared any responsibility at all for the recent U.S. debt downgrade.
As a coddled and protected Democrat, Durbin certainly wasn't used to a tough question and he proceeded to ignore it, turning instead to a more compliant journalist, one Jim Anderson of Illinois Radio Network, for a different question. Little did he know just how helpful Anderson would be, even going so far as to threaten Kelly with expulsion from the news conference. Read on for video and summary of the disgraceful encounter.
Let’s not imagine Anthony Weiner was the only Democratic embarrassment of the last week. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was back on trial in Chicago last week “offering an enthralling and self-immolating primer on American government,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor James Warren.
“In talking about his mulling appointing himself to Obama's senate seat, Blagojevich even said that it would have enabled him to go to Afghanistan and ‘hunt down’ Osama bin Laden,” wrote Warren. But the networks carried none of this entertaining blather. In fact, ABC hasn’t mentioned Blago since October 26, 2010. The others touched on him once each briefly in May:
Tim McCarthy, a former Secret Service agent who took a bullet intended for President Ronald Reagan, will observe the 30th anniversary of the attempted assassination on Wednesday by going to Springfield to oppose legislation that would repeal Illinois's ban on concealed carrying of firearms.
McCarthy said he's alarmed that an Illinois House Committee approved a concealed carry proposal. The full House could vote soon.
As happens so often, the fact McCarthy, now the police chief of Chicago suburb Orland Park, is a Democrat isn't reported. In 1998, he sought his party's endorsement for Illinois Secretary of State.
The Huffington Post reported "An anti-abortion group behind a controversial New York billboard targeting African Americans is now taking its message to the South Side of Chicago, in a billboard targeting supporters of President Obama." Next to Obama's face is the words "Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted." The group Life Always will unveil the billboards on Tuesday.
"Our future leaders are being aborted at an alarming rate. These are babies who could grow to be the future Presidents of the United States, or the next Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington or Maya Angelou," said Life Always Board Member Reverend Derek McCoy.
On Sunday, Rahm Emanuel declared his candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Instantaneously, he had problems with his campaign, not the least of which is that he is as much a resident of Chicago as I am. So on Monday, I declared my candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Why not? I did it on the national television show of the estimable Sean Hannity, who immediately threw his support behind me. I was born in Chicago, come from a long line of Chicagoans and, like Rahm, am occasionally in town. The place is a gastronomic paradise, a cultural delight with great museums and a fine orchestra, plus opera; surprisingly, Rahm and I never have crossed paths while in town. Supposedly, he attends rock concerts. He could attend the Chicago Symphony, but he opts for Bruce Springsteen.
My candidacy already had the national endorsement of The New York Sun, which tapped me the day before I declared. I have a new book out, "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery," to provide Chicagoans — and Americans generally — with a blueprint for getting out of our present political and economic fix. The blogs are alive with support (and occasional rudeness), and more newspaper support is rumored to be on the way. All Rahm has are a few big names and our mutually held residency problem. Rahm still is seeking newspaper support, and his "listening tour," begun Monday, has gotten off to a rocky start. A lot of Chicagoans do not like him. He has a reputation for yelling at underlings and for profanity.
As for me, I am free of any hint of Chicago corruption, certainly no hint of a connection to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Frankly, I could not pick him out of a police lineup — at least a police lineup of gaudily dressed gigolos. Rahm is recorded on the telephone with Blagojevich suggesting deals shortly after President Barack Obama's election. All of this and any other questionable dealings will be rehashed over and again during the run-up to the February election. When it comes to political connections with the Chicago machine or, for that matter, almost any connection at all — my family lives in the suburbs — I am clean as a hound's tooth.
Maybe it's the sheer joy of celebrating recovery summer along with The Anointed One and Plugs Biden. Perhaps they're just Blagoed out. Whatever the reason, most of the mainstream media failed to report something intriguing said by the usually most quotable former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. From an FBI tape recorded last November and appearing on Fox Chicago News's Web site, Blagojevich spoke of president-elect Barack Obama:
BLAGOJEVICH I thin-, you know, it's really, I get that I'm a big boy and I can handle that, but it's really f***ing galling, this guy is more Tony'd up than I am. And it's almost like they f***ing conspi-, made a concerted effort and they got the Chicago media to f***ing make me wear Rezko more. To f***ing dilute it from him.
Blago's disillusionment with Obama stemmed from a rebuff conveyed by a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) official used by the president-elect to let the Gov know of Obama's interest in Valerie Jarrett filling his Senate seat.
An 80-year-old Chicago man recently defended himself and his family from an armed burglar, using a firearm banned under the Windy City's stringent gun ban. Despite the robber getting off the first shot the elderly man was unhurt:
In a bizarre attempt to demonstrate how vital gun control is in his city, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley threatened to stick a bayonted rifle up a reporter's rear end and pull the trigger. Of course if a Republican had done the same to demonstrate the conservative position on gun control, there would be a media bonanza. Not so for the Democratic mayor.
"If I put this up your—ha!—your butt—ha ha!—you’ll find out how effective this is!" Daley told Mick Dumke of the Chicago Reader. Dumke had posed the very sensible question of how the city's draconian restrictions on gun ownership had helped, given that firearms are still widely accessible, and used in violent crimes throughout the city.
Daley didn't seem to understand the question; he went on about how many lives the confiscation of guns saves, while ignoring the reporter's point that gun control doesn't take firearms out of the hands of criminals. Or, for that matter, politicians peeved with reporters for asking inconvenient questions (video of the exchange below the fold).
CBS's local affiliate in Chicago today threatened to stop covering the Illinois Senate race if the Republican candidate continues to harp on an issue extremely damaging to his Democratic opponent.
If a candidate for the United States Senate was a senior loan officer for a bank that made over $20 million in loans to convicted bookies and pimps (while he was employed as a loan officer), is that candidate's opponent in the wrong for harping on the issue?
Chicago's CBS affiliate apparently thinks such connections should be off limits. A reporter from Chicago's CBS Channel 2 told Mark Kirk, the Republican opponent of former Broadway Bank loan officer Alexi Giannoulias that his channel is "not going to cover the Senate race, if it’s consistently only in your terms, is about Broadway Bank." (H/t Big Journalism, via Steve Gutowski)
On February 14, CNN aired both segments of its special series “Black in America," and used the opportunity to perpetuate a harmful racial myth.
In the first installment, reporter Soledad O’Brien took viewers to Project Brotherhood, a clinic in the south side of Chicago offering free medical care and advice to its black residents.
“We are seeing an increasing amount of men with resources, who are just reluctant to access services elsewhere,” Dr. Pete Thomas, a clinic doctor told O’Brien.
“Why the reluctance? Dr. Thomas says black men are afraid of being exploited – a fear caused by history and the revelation that for forty years unsuspecting poor black men were used as medical guinea pigs in the infamous Tuskegee experiments,” O’Brien said.
The gubernatorial race in Illinois is heating up. Conservative Republican candidate Adam Andrzejewski has, according to some reports, surged from relative obscurity to within 2 points of the lead for the GOP nomination. And last week Andrzejewski was endorsed by Lech Walesa, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and former President of Poland.
If you live in the Chicago area, however, may be unaware that such an important historical and political figure was just in your town, endorsing a candidate for governor of your state. The only local television coverage the endorsement event received was from Chicago's ABC News station, which showed Walesa and Andrzejewski on stage while covering a Tea Party rally at the event, but never even mentioned the former president by name (see video below the fold).
The only print coverage in local newspapers the event garnered was from the Tribune, which ran a 113-word AP story, and the Sun-Times, which mentioned Walesa in a 2-sentence caption, right below a blurb headlined "Family of boy found hanged sues schools" and above one headlined "New Schools Expo today". So the latter paper decided the death of a child in a local suburb was more important than a political endorsement from a man at least partially responsible for the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The former decided it couldn't spare a reporter for such a monumental figure (h/t Founding Bloggers and Race 4 2012).
On Thursday, Chicago-based New York Times reporter Monica Davey reported on more controversy over Rod Blagojevich, the corrupt former Democratic governor of Illinois who tried to sell off the state's U.S. Senate seat that was left empty after Sen. Barack Obama assumed the presidency. In "Top Blagojevich Aide Pleads Guilty to Fraud," Davey managed to totally ignore Blagojevich's Democratic affiliation -- the word "Democrat" was nowhere to be found.
Turn the page, and one could read John Schwartz's story about the latest wrinkle in the bribery and corruption case of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. But in this case, Schwartz made the partisan lines clear, quickly identifying convicted governor Siegelman as a Democrat and his prosecutor as a Republican, heightening the contrast and reinforcing the paper's long-standing, unfounded suspicions of a high-level anti-Siegelman conspiracy on the part of the GOP.
A Department of Justice whistle-blower who accused prosecutors of misconduct in the closely watched federal corruption trial of former Gov. Donald E. Siegelman of Alabama has been fired, and claims retaliation is the reason. The government denies that it was retaliating.
The whistle-blower, Tamarah T. Grimes, worked as a legal aide with the team prosecuting Mr. Siegelman and Richard M. Scrushy, the former chairman of HealthSouth, on bribery and corruption charges.
Both men were convicted in 2006 in a case that Mr. Siegelman, a Democrat, and supporters say was politically motivated.
I hate to pull an "I told you so," but... well, I told you so. Remember just three days ago I showed how an unsubstantiated rumor becomes political "fact" in the Old Media? I reported that CNNs Peter Hamby found one woman that wondered if actor Gary Sinise might make a great GOP candidate and based an entirely fictional run for office on that wild speculation. Also you'll recall that at the end of my piece I said that it won't be long until this one person's rumination will suddenly turn into the "fact" that Gary Sinise is running for president. You may have laughed at that. But now I present to you this I told you so moment.
You might ask upon what basis this CBS report claimed that Gary Sinise is now running for president in 2012? Was it an interview with Sinise? How about a statement by any group representing Sinise? How about some statements from a PAC or fundraising group or other draft Sinise effort? Nope, none of those. It was the same ONE person that CNN's Hamby used for his false claim that Sinise is a sudden candidate for office.
Shoot, he's only talking about pulling $8 billion in state-controlled money because a bank won't go easy on a business borrower who can't pay. What's the big deal?
Well, the story involves the company that makes suits for President Barack Obama (pictured at right). Beyond that, the union at that company is citing the US Treasury Department's Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) as a reason that company's bank should in essence bail it out.
You might think that these two factors, combined with what I'm characterizing as a loyalty oath all financial institutions who do business with the State of Illinois must soon agree to (covered later), might make the Treasurer's and union's threats a national story. You would be wrong.
Here is most of the very short AP item, carried at the Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register, and referred to me by a NewsBusters commenter:
Update at end: NBC5's Bob Sirott responds to this post
Persuading Americans that Barack Obama is an effective president won't be easy. So local news outlets are lending a hand when they can. This was obvious last night on Chicago's NBC5 News at 10. Anchor Bob Sirott reported:
And now to a sign the president's economic stimulus is working. Bank of American today announced a $2.8 billion profit for the first quarter. That report was much better than expected and followed positive results from other banks. It also comes after a loss of more than $2 billion for the last three months of 2008. Bank of America received $45 billion as part of the financial rescue package.
Sirott's positive assessment of Obama's plan isn't justified. The big profits he touted are largely illusionary. Andrew Ross Sorkin explained why in "Bank Profits Appear Out of Thin Air," which appeared in yesterday's New York Times:
In February, in the build up to the ultimate passage of President Barack Obama's $787-billion stimulus package, there was a lot of discussion about how much the stimulus was going to help the ailing economy. And to promote the bill, Obama visited a Caterpillar plant in Peoria, Ill.
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., who represents the 18th Congressional District of Illinois, where the Caterpillar plant is located, described Obama's visit and how he used it to lobby him to vote for the bill. It was another side of the story that went unreported by the media.
This is why newspapers deserve to be buried in the dust bin of history, at least unless they clean up their act. For well over 20 years a southwest suburban Chicago newspaper called The Reporter has employed a columnist named Michael M. Bates -- who is also a long time NewsBusters contributor. He has been their local conservative columnist for many years until, that is, his latest column on Barack Obama was altered to add malicious content aimed at the columnist by the paper's editor.
Bates was one of those conservatives (like myself) that wrote that he hoped that Obama would not succeed as president IF success meant that all sorts of socialist, unAmerican policies would be implemented. Bates was not wishing the president to fail except in implementing policies that Bates felt would be bad for America and even more to the point Bates was not saying he wished the U.S. as a whole ill. But it seems that "nuance" is not something that Bates' editor understands because the editor decided to add some things to Bates' column that Bates did not say.