Although the term isn't used, it's clear that the Obama campaign sees itself and their candidate as victims of a vast conspiracy of right-wingers.
Going all the way back to the 1988 presidential election, Obama's "Fight the Smears" chart (featuring the campaign's new sort-of "presidential seal," replacing the one that was "dropped," at the top left) purports to tell us "Who's Behind These Lies."
If the page's historical starting points are any indication, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there may not be "a whole lotta smearin' goin' on" among the current "smearing" parties it identifies:
CNN carried KDKA footage showing that Murtha has grudgingly acknowledged the obvious: That the troop surge in Iraq has, in his words, "in the short-term ..... certainly reduced incidents," but that "I'm not sure whether it's because of the Iraqis are just worn out, but certainly the way they're doing it today makes a big difference."
What KDKA decided to keep from TV viewers is arguably at least as important as what the station showed.
In interview footage left on the cutting room floor, Murtha falsely claimed that less than 1/3 of the Iraqi benchmarks have been met, and that the majority of Americans "want us out" of Iraq as fast as possible. But most explosively, the Pennsylvania congressman claimed that a major reason why the troop surge has been successful is that before that time "we broke down doors, we went in and we killed people inadvertently."
When it comes to fawning over Barack Obama, it seems that no media outlet is too obscure for bias. The Old Bridge Observer, a small, weekly newspaper published in Northern Virginia, printed a gushing account of Barack Obama's recent swing through Virginia and the candidate's desire to "bring his message of change to the voters in the traditionally red state."
The article, which appeared in the June 14 edition and read like it was pasted from an Obama press release, dutifully touted Obama's message of "change." Observer staff writer Gretchen L.H. O'Brien recounted on page one of the paper: "In his speech, [Obama] spoke of change. Change to make everyday people's lives better included making it easier for middle-class people to make ends meet, caring for the environment, improving schools and bringing troops home from Iraq."
Summarizing Obama talking points, Ms. O'Brien spun, "Now is the time, Obama said, for Virginians to vote for change and unite to elect him with Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'fierce urgency of now.'"
Once again, it's time to play "Name That Party." As the Massachusetts State Legislature debates "Jessica's Law" -- named after Jessica Lunsford who was raped and murdered in Florida by a repeat sex offender -- one representative who is against the law expressed his displeasure on the floor of the House. Really expressed his displeasure. The representative, one James Fagan, said he'd
“rip apart” 6-year-old victims on the witness stand and “make sure the rest of their life is ruined.”
In a fiery soliloquy on the House floor, Fagan said he’d grill victims so that, “when they’re 8 years old they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”
Another representative, Karyn Polito, "a Republican from Shrewsbury who supports Jessica’s Law," understated the case when she said about Fagan's comments, “The words speak for themselves. I think there’s a large part of the (House) membership that doesn’t agree with that.”
Press coverage of Barack Obama's Social Security proposal in Columbus, Ohio last week made many of the usual mistakes any time there's a story about the government's "third rail" program. But in this case it missed what would be a historic de-linkage of payments made into the system from benefits paid out.
Sen. Barack Obama promised senior citizens Friday that as president, he would protect Social Security benefits and provide universal health care.
To extend the life of Social Security, Obama proposed applying a payroll tax to annual incomes above $250,000, affecting the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans. The Democrat also proposed eliminating income tax for any retiree making less than $50,000.
..... Obama said it is unfair for middle-class earners to pay the Social Security tax "on every dime they make," while millionaires and billionaires pay it on only "a very small percentage of their income."
With the traditional media admitting they find it hard to curb their enthusiasm for Barack Obama, John McCain demonstrated again today that he is reaching out to the new media, giving blogging critics from the right and left the opportunity to participate in the blogger conference calls he has been regularly conducting. The Washington Times noted the phenomenon in an article of May 16, McCain widens dialogue on blogs, reporting that three of the seven questions in the May 15 conference call were posed by liberal-leaning bloggers.
Of the half-dozen or so questions McCain took in today's blogger call [in which I participated], one was from a blogger from the left. James Kirchick, a New Republic assistant editor/blogger [and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association 2007 Journalist of the Year], quizzed McCain on his position on the proposed amendment to the California constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman [McCain expressed support for the amendment and for the ballot initiative giving citizens the right to vote on it].
The most barbed question actually came from the right. Quin Hillyer of the Washington Examiner began by expressing "all due respect," eliciting a wry "I always like that beginning" from the senator. Hillyer went on to describe what he characterized as "one of the most frequently aired complaints from conservatives," to wit, that "when you disagree with conservatives you seem to use the anger and the language of the left, and to question not just conservative positions but motive or integrity." Hillyer asked for assurances that McCain would "avoid that tendency" if he were elected President. McCain fundamentally disagreed with the premise, stating that he treated all people with respect.
It has been nearly three years since the Kelo v. New London ruling by the US Supreme Court, and just short of two years since the city of New London, CT settled with the final two Fort Trumbull holdouts, Susette Kelo and the Cristofaro family.
The Supreme Court's majority, in their June 2005 Kelo ruling, declared that "public use" as stated in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution really means "public purpose" -- that is, instead of the government being able to take land through eminent domain only for the purpose of building a public structure or creating a public service (road, bridge, school, park, etc.), the government can take land for any reason it believes a worthy one. In the case of New London, the city believed that demolishing occupied, functioning houses that had stood for over 100 years and developing "something else" that would garner the city more tax revenues was a worthy public purpose.
What has been done with the property since then?
As a development-related deadline loomed in mid-May, a Hartford TV station filed this report, and gave us the answer:
Plans Stall In Fort Trumbull Land Remains Barren After Homes Torn Down
Also see the compare-and-contrast example in the final paragraph.
A city councilman in Lorain, Ohio, a city of about 75,000 west of Cleveland, was arrested during a prostitution sting on Friday.
Of the six stories I found covering the event (the Google News search is for May 22-26), only one referred to the political party of councilman Dennis Flores, who is a Democrat (scroll down to "Second Ward Council;" HT to an e-mailer).
The Cleveland Plain Dealer set the tone for ignoring Flores's party ID, with a Saturday Breaking Metro Blog entry and Sunday story, which presumably made the print edition. Each story notes that Flores "serves as captain of his block watch."
While two others who gave the story attention without providing a party identification for Flores could perhaps be excused because they only gave it five or six paragraphs (specifically, Cleveland's WEWS and WKYC.com), writer Scott Allyn at the Morning Journal, whose main office is in Lorain, clearly had to go out of his way to avoid naming Flores's party. In the process, he also failed to identify the party affiliation of the mayor and two other city council members:
Ah, Memorial Day in Ithaca, NY, a town that looks upon Berkeley, CA as suspiciously conservative. OK, perhaps not quite, but Ithaca is so liberal than in her 2006 Senate primary [bet you didn't know there even was one], Hillary lost the City of Ithaca to a [very] little-known far-lefty named Jonathan Tasini. So liberal that a certain NewsBuster lost a 1990s mayoral bid to the then incumbent, a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
So how does our hometown newspaper celebrate Memorial Day? What does it choose as its biggest headline on the front page? "Military Faces Growing Need for Therapists: Private pyschiatrists offer free services for returning troops." You get the idea, but here are the opening paragraphs to the AP story [emphasis added]:
Obama conceded that he has a steep challenge to get his message and background to voters in states such as Kentucky — where he trails Sen. Hillary Clinton by 27 points, according to a poll published earlier this week — and West Virginia, where voters chose Clinton over Obama by 40 points on Tuesday.
"What it says is that I'm not very well known in that part of the country," Obama said. "Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it's not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle."
Trouble is, as a look at a US map (with territories) shows, Arkansas may be "nearby," but Obama's home state of Illinois is "adjacent":
I think he meant it as a compliment. But Bill Clinton's praise for his wife might send a shiver down the spine of people who like to live their own lives, thank you very much. His remarks reinforce the image of Hillary as a big-government busybody, an It Takes a Villager, a smarty-pantssuit who wants to lean over your shoulder and kibitz on every decision you make.
Bill made his comments while campaigning recently for Hillary in West Virginia. If he had made the remark once, it might be written off as a slip of the tongue. But as per this article by Tom Searls in the Charleston Gazette, he did so twice. Here it is:
"This woman has spent a lifetime changing people's lives," the former president said.
"She's a genius at making changes in other people's lives," Clinton said.
Why does it seem that, when a Democratic politician's career is on the line, Old Media reporters find a way to make it look like it's only Republicans who want to push him or her out the door?
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, who for a while was seen as the Buckeye State's version of New York's now-disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer, is fighting for his political life.
In a Friday press conference statement (a JPG transcript of statement, opening in a separate window, is here), Dann admitted to an extramarital affair with an unidentified employee and announced that he was discharging three of his closest advisers over formal complaints of sexual harassment. Storm clouds potentially loom over the fallout from this, plus other events and incidents too numerous to detail here, occurring on Dann's watch.
Dann declared Friday that he has no plans to resign.
By mid-Saturday, two of Ohio's major newspapers, and many of its smaller ones, had issued editorial calls for Dann's resignation. It was clear that many others would follow on Sunday -- and they did. Ohio's left-leaning blogs are also mostly in the Dann-must-go camp.
In a Wednesday story on food stamp program participation in West Virginia that is still being linked at Drudge this evening, Charleston Daily Mail writer Justin D. Anderson fell into the same trap reporters have been falling into for nearly a year, but later largely made up for it by acknowledging that the program is a supplement, and is not designed, or intended, to pay for all of its beneficiaries' food costs.
Here are paragraphs 1, 5, and 6 of Anderson's report:
"Food stamps provide only about $1 per person, per meal. Who in the world is buying groceries with that?" asked Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Bank.
On average, food stamps are now providing less than two weeks of groceries.
"There's the presumption that folks have the cash to make up the rest. Well, they don't" .....
Sigh. As noted time, and time, and time, and time again, the benefits (called "Maximum Allotments" by the government) for families with no other resources are higher (graphic link is to related page at the USDA web site):
Yesterday, Gateway Pundit noticed what he called an "Uh-Oh... This wasn't supposed to happen" event for presidential candidate Barack Obama:
An amazing article appeared in the mainstream news today. McClatchy actually reported that Obama's church merges Marxism and Christian Gospel and preaches that the white church in America is the Antichrist because it supported slavery and segregation.
That they did. But how did they headline it, and how many McClatchy newspapers actually ran the story?
Margaret Talev's Thursday, March 20 description of the fundamental doctrines of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) does get right to the point. Talev even goes so far as to question the candidate's motivations for his involvement with the church.
Most importantly, which I why I've bolded the related text, Talev notes that while TUCC's radical and racist philosophies will survive the Rev. Wright's retirement, their continued presence will not deter Obama from continuing to attend:
Fort Trumbull Developer Asks FHA To Back $11.5M Loan
Faced with a tight lending climate, the Corcoran Jennison company has asked the Federal Housing Authority to back an $11.5 million loan to fund the long-delayed construction of housing on the Fort Trumbull peninsula.
The worm has certainly turned when Bill Clinton's former press secretary goes on a local TV show, calls Hillary a b---- in so many words . . . and a national news show then chooses to air the footage. It happened on today's Good Morning America in the course of a conversation that co-anchor Robin Roberts conducted with Cokie Roberts and Matt Dowd.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Many are wondering how far she can go in attacking Barack Obama. Even President Clinton's former press secretary Dee Dee Myers made a comment about it being harder for a woman to walk that fine line. This is what she said.
Cut to clip of Myers in a recent appearance on NY1, the NYC cable news channel.
DEE DEE MYERS: I think so many women in positions of authority -- and she's certainly one of them -- have to walk that fine line between being authoratative and being a bitch [worded bleeped during GMA airing]. And she you know, she hasn't always succeeded. I think it's hard for a woman to succeed.
During the four weeks preceding February 20, New York Times Company stock had been staging a nice comeback.
Lord only knows that the company's long-suffering shareholders, who before then had seen the share price drop more than 70% since June 2002, a point in time that roughly coincides with the onset of the Old Gray Lady's seemingly intractable case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, welcomed any kind of reversal of fortune.
For a while, they had it. From a intra-day low of $14.01 on January 23, the stock rose over 50%, closing at $21.07 last Wednesday.
But on Thursday and Friday, that climb was halted abruptly, and partially reversed. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% in those two days, and the S&P 500 dipped 0.5%, NYT stock dove almost 9.7%, closing Friday at $19.03.
(See Update below for correction and clarification re Google News.)
This one has an interesting twist relating to Google News that I will get to later.
It should be no surprise that the so-called "newspapers of record" did very little with the news earlier this week that the actiing director of an Iraqi psychiatric hospital had been arrested for allegedly supplying mentally ill patients for use as, for lack of a better description, unwillingly co-opted "suicide bombers."
Iraq Hospital Chief Allegedly Supplied Patients for Bombings
The acting director of a Baghdad psychiatric hospital has been arrested on suspicion of supplying Al Qaeda in Iraq with the mentally impaired women it used to blow up two crowded animal markets in the city on Feb. 1, killing about 100 people.
On Saturday, Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber, yours truly (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), and many others dealt with the now-national story of how Glass City Mayor Carty Finkbeiner had turned away Marine Corps Reservists who had been given prior clearance to conduct weekend urban warfare exercises in the city.
The Toledo Blade's Sunday and Monday coverage of the story clearly showed sympathy towards the still-unrepentant mayor, while taking a "what's the big deal?" attitude towards those who don't appreciate what he did.
Sunday's report by JC Reindl started its defense in its headlines ("Finkbeiner taking flak over Marines; Mayor defends his decision to cancel urban war games"; bolds are mine throughout), and continued into its text:
VACATE THE PREMISES Mayor to Marines: Leave downtown He says urban exercises scare people
A company of Marine Corps Reservists received a cold send-off from downtown Toledo yesterday by order of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.
The 200 members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., planned to spend their weekend engaged in urban patrol exercises on the streets of downtown as well as inside the mostly vacant Madison Building, 607 Madison Ave.
Toledo police knew days in advance about their plans for a three-day exercise. Yet somehow the memo never made it to Mayor Finkbeiner, who ordered the Marines out yesterday afternoon just minutes before their buses were to arrive.
"The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people," said Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesman.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer apparently decided to do something wtih a story it was dragged into kicking and screaming last fall -- one that it seemed at the time to be wishing would go away.
Saturday, David Briggs, the paper's religion reporter, did something with a near non-story relating to previous events that he and his paper failed to do twice when it counted: He followed up, reporting on the difficulties a Cleveland mosque is experiencing in finding a new imam.
That contrasts starkly with how Briggs and the PD handled the story of the guy who was on the verge of becoming that mosque's imam last fall.
For personal and professional reasons, it gives me absolutely no pleasure to say that I saw this coming, and that it came sooner than I thought it would.
Here's the news, assembled from wire reports by the Cincinnati Enquirer, in an article that should be entitled "Ford to Workers: Go Away" (bolds are mine throughout) --
Ford Motor Co. will offer buyout and early retirement packages to 54,000 U.S. hourly workers, or 93 percent of its hourly work force, in an effort to cut costs and replace those leaving with lower-paid workers. Thursday's announcement came as Ford said it narrowed its losses in 2007 but warned that the outlook for U.S. sales in 2008 remains grim.
An article in Wednesday’s Albany Times-Union carried the deceptive title "35 years pass, but not debate: Demonstrations mark 1973 high court ruling affirming right to abortion." Instead of covering any of the various pro-life or pro-choice demonstrations over the past few days, the Times-Union spent the bulk of article discussing a ceremony at a new Planned Parenthood facility in Albany where local clergy "blessed" the clinic. Only two sentences mentioned that "Capital Region activists joined voices with their counterparts nationwide to mark the day" and that the annual March for Life was being held in Washington, DC.
The article, written by Times-Union staff writer Carol DeMare, quoted several "pro-choice" clergy who took part in the "blessing" ceremony. Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady, New York's Emmanuel-Friedens Church described the new Planned Parenthood center as "sacred and holy ... where women's voices and stories are welcomed, valued and affirmed; sacred ground where women are treated with dignity, supported in their role as moral decision-makers ... sacred ground where the violent voices of hatred and oppression are quelled."
Terri Burke, former editor of the Abilene Reporter-News, has been named executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
Burke, 56, will begin work at the ACLU of Texas on Tuesday. Her duties will include lobbying, fundraising, administering the organization and communicating with the public.
Burke said her new job seems like a continuation of her work in the newspaper business.
"I wanted to be a journalist because I thought journalism was a way to further the democratic process," Burke said. "At its heart, journalism is about the First Amendment. All my life, I've been interested in those kinds of issues."
I will suggest that no one in Old Media will think of Burke's move as the least bit odd.
Funny, that's not how they saw it in 1998 when the late David Brinkley retired and became a spokesman for a large corporation.
In an article about the status of Massachusetts's health care system on January 6, Associated Press Writer Steve LeBlanc seemed to be auditioning for a spot at the BBC.
Until just a few years ago, when the cost, sanitation, treatment and other problems at the British National Health service (NHS) became so obvious that they could not be ignored, the BBC could be counted on to give glowing reports on the NHS, regardless of the reality.
LeBlanc's opening paragraphs, carried in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, could have been taken straight from 1990s-and-prior BBC missives:
Massachusetts is facing a daunting goal as it enters the second year of its grand experiment of extending health care coverage to nearly all citizens - reining in spiraling costs that could threaten the landmark law.
"The sustainability of reform depends on our ability to restrain or constrain or moderate the increase in costs," said Jon Kingsdale, executive director of the Health Insurance Connector Authority, which oversees the health care law.
"That's going to take a huge concerted effort by all players in the health care area," he added.
For Massachusetts residents deemed able to afford health care, but refuse, that means facing new monthly fines that could total as much as $912 for individuals and $1,824 for couples by the end of the year.
That's because Californians relying on Old Media for their news about the Golden State's dire financial situation are being conditioned to believe that only a tax increase will solve the state's problems.
The latest offering in that regard is a Field poll covered at the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined "Many voters think deficit fix will require higher taxes" and "Voters resigned to higher taxes to solve budget crisis," respectively. Those headlines conveniently obscure the fact that the margin of those believing that tax increases are necessary vs. those who think that the answer is totally in spending cuts is only 48%-43%.
How thoughtful of the AP to give NewsBusters a Christmas contestant for “Name That Party.” Consider this post our thank you note for the timely gift!
In this December 25 article, the AP buried the party affiliation of Democratic Philadelphia mayor John F. Street in the very last sentence of a ten-paragraph article about the mayor taking an extra $111,000 in pay raises that he rejected while in office. He now wants to take the money through a program he he once vetoed, claiming the city couldn't afford it. He then played the race card and asked as a politician elected mainly by "poor black people" "what will I do" without the extra money.
Not only did the AP bury Street's party, it didn't label him a Dem outright, instead indirectly referred to a “fellow Democrat” as the only party identification. (Thnx to NBer DaBird)
Also missing are references to Street's financial troubles, some relating to his office, and several corruption scandals, earning him a 2005 Time magazine award as one of the worst top-three big city mayors. Note the many spots for a label:
Barely four years after California's historic recall of sitting Governor Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger's landslide election to replace him, the Golden State is, again, in a budget crunch of its own making.
The state's Old Media, as would be expected, is moaning about cuts that might have to be made, obsessing over the possibility that "universal health care" might be derailed, and of course giving visibility to anyone and everyone who thinks even more taxes will solve the problem.
As has been the case for well over a decade, nobody that I know of in California's Old Media is considering the idea that the state is paying the price for failing to sufficiently go along with the rest of the country in aggressively reducing welfare rolls. But the numbers support the idea that if the state had done what the rest of the country has "somehow" done without visible suffering, it would be in a much better situation.
(A table and graphs illustrating the situation are after the jump.)