Gregory Ferenstein has an excellent post this evening entitled, "Who Said It? President Obama Or An Infomercial?" wherein the TechCrunch contributor drew quotes from the president's Monday morning Rose Garden presser and threw in some lines from infomercials. "In the past, I’ve been exceedingly complimentary of Obama’s approach to innovation and transparency. But the press conference today was a bizarre mix of propaganda and crass salesmanship unbecoming of a president," Ferenstein groused, adding, "The American people deserve an explanation, not a 1-800 number."
This is the sort of mockery and outrage that pundits in the network news media would be bestowing on President Obama if he had an "R" after his name. At any rate, here's how Ferenstein began his piece (h/t my colleague Geoff Dickens):
Just behind the "war on women" and charges of racism, MSNBC's third favorite bogeyman is the specter of "voter suppression." The network was obsessed with that meme in 2012 and will doubtless pound the pulpit on it in the congressional midterms, but it's been relatively quiet about it in 2013. That changed today when MSNBC Live anchor Thomas Roberts brought on Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez of The Advancement Project to forward the complaints of Virginia Democrats against a state voter registry clean-up that has removed about 38,000 from the state's rolls. Liberal Democrats in the Old Dominion took the state to court for daring to kick off the voter registry folks who had registered to vote in other states after having registered in Virginia. Federal judge Claude Hilton turned down their request to reverse the move.
Moments earlier, President Obama wrapped up a petulant, whiney Rose Garden harangue in which he defended ObamaCare while insisting no one was more frustrated by the botched roll-out than he was.
Earlier this morning, Time magazine took it upon itself to counsel that the chief executive "has to get mad" about the failures of the ObamaCare web portal. "Political reality, unlike actual reality, is malleable stuff," writer Michael Scherer offered, adding:
Like many a liberal blowhard, Fox’s Geraldo Rivera grabbed estimates from financial analysts that the government shutdown cost the economy billions of dollars. On his radio show Thursday, Geraldo decided he wanted to send the entire bill to Sen. Ted Cruz.
Geraldo also hosted CNN anchor Don Lemon who claimed to disavow “any political affiliation,” and then trashed the Republicans for holding “the American people hostage,” which is “not the American way”:
Western states where a majority of land is owned by the federal government were disproportionately harmed by the closure of national park lands during the partial government shutdown. Local economies in those states suffered as small businesses dependent on tourism to those parks took a big hit. Some of those states kicked in donations to reopen a few parks during the shutdown, you may recall.
Washington Post GovBeat blogger Niraj Chokshi noticed how some of those states have passed laws calling on the federal government to turn over control of "millions of acres of federal public lands to the states," and how some Western politicians believe that the shutdown bolsters their case. Chokshi's October 15 story was picked up for print by Post editors, but the 13-paragraph item was buried on page A18 in Friday's paper.
ObamaCare is "the ultimate survivor," exults a headline at the newly-redesigned MSNBC.com website today.
But the article actually teased by that headline -- "The challenges facing Obamacare" -- went at lengths to detail challenges facing the implementation of President Obama's signature health-care overhaul and to, what else, blame Republicans for anything that is already or may proceed to go wrong with the rollout. "With enemies like John Boehner, a president hardly needs friends," writer Geoffrey Cowley whined in his lead paragraph:
After yet another contentious debate with CNN’s bombastic anti-gun talk host Piers Morgan this Monday, he demonstrated to the entire nation during a subsequent interview on CBS that he doesn’t even know which constitutional amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms. This is yet another reason neither I nor anyone else can take him seriously about guns.
On CBS This Morning, Morgan stated, "I have no problem, in a country with so many guns in circulation, with a family exercising their First Amendment [sic] right to defend their families with a handgun at home."
A Nebraska judge standing in the way of a 16-year-old obtaining an elective abortion is a "shame" worthy of national scorn, according to Fox News and Daily Beast contributor Sally Kohn, in her October 17 Women of the World blog entry, "Nebraska Abortion Shame."
Daily Beast editors highlighted Kohn's rant, placing it in the number 7 slot in the lightbox this morning. "A 16-year-old foster teen asked for an abortion-- only to have her request denied by a radical judge," complained a teaser caption on the Beast's front page, adding that Kohn explains "why America should be outraged by the case." Kohn began:
No major legislation has ever been passed like Obamacare -- and I'm using the word "passed" pretty loosely.
It became law without both houses ever voting on the same bill. (Say, is the Constitution considered "settled law"?) Not one Republican voted for it -- and a lot of Democrats immediately wished they hadn't.
Sweet set out to convince readers that while the White House veggie garden was the first lady's "signature project," she was powerless to thwart the ravages of Mother Nature as the shutdown furloughed gardeners who tended to the plants. Apparently the First Lady can't work the garden herself with some capable volunteers from local charities like Miriam's Kitchen helping her, even though she used those folks for a harvesting photo-op in October 2009 (emphasis mine):
Tea Party conservative Republicans like Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Ted Cruz (Texas) are nothing more than a racist "clavern of sociopaths" who are eager to saddle the country's first black president with a default on the nation's debt. That was the latest foaming-at-the-mouth bile from ultra-liberal Daily Beast's contributor Michael Tomasky this morning.
"Clavern," of course, is not a real word, but "klavern" is the term the KKK uses to refer to one of its local chapters. Of course, Tomasky would have to conduct a seance to talk to the last member of the U.S. Senate who knew what a klavern was from person experience -- former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) -- and the only black member of the U.S. Senate is conservative Republican Tim Scott (S.C.) -- a staunch opponent of ObamaCare -- but those inconvenient facts don't fit Tomasky's simplistic boil-everything-down-to-Republican-racism narrative (emphasis mine)
For someone whose job title is global business editor, Daniel Gross seems far more concerned with bashing businessmen for not toeing the liberal line than reporting business news. Then again, perhaps we shouldn't expect that much from The Daily Beast.
Gross, who has slammed Apple's penchant for legal tax avoidance as being "too greedy for its own good" turned his attention today to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, lambasting him for daring to blame both Republicans and Democrats for the government shutdown, rather than use the work stoppage as an occasion to spout liberal talking points demonizing the Tea Party. The Yahoo! Finance alum seems particularly miffed because of Schultz's push for socially liberal stands in the past:
We've seen it with how the liberal media treats Joe Biden. The vice president's gaffes and erroneous statements are legendary, yet the press give ol' Uncle Joe gauzy treatment, celebrating rather than mocking him for his foibles and admiring his penchant for "retail politics." It's arguable that the Washington Post's Laura Vozzella did much the same for the Democrats' gubernatorial candidate in Virginia in her Metro section front-pager today, "When McAuliffe speaks, facts may take a back seat."*
Sure, the Post staffer noted, "McAuliffe's tendency to stretch the truth stands out even by the standards of politicians," but the Chicago-born Democratic politician owns it, by golly!
In the current fight over the government shutdown, Republicans are simply representing the views of the American people.
Americans didn't ask for Obamacare, they don't want it, but now their insurance premiums are going through the roof, their doctors aren't accepting it, and their employers are moving them into part-time work -- or firing them -- to avoid the law's mandates.
Pro-life sidewalk counseling outside of abortion clinics is "bullying" and should not not accorded First Amendment's "free speech" guarantees agreed the panelists on Thursday's edition of Now with Alex Wagner.
The panel in question was addressing the Supreme Court's decision to hear oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley, a case which challenges a Massachusetts law which bars anyone but abortion clinic staffers from "enter[ing] or remain[ing] on a public way or sidewalk” that is within thirty-five feet of an entrance, exit, or driveway of an abortion clinic. [Listen to the MP3 audio here; Watch the video and read the relevant transcript below the page break]
So here's an angle on the federal government shutdown that you're not getting from the liberal broadcast media.
With non-essential personnel furloughed, federal regulators have not been at work, which is a huge blessing to an overregulated American economy, the Wall Street Journal's editorial board noted today. Indeed, new regulations published in the Federal Register have slowed to a trickle since the work stoppage began on October 1:
The big talk in conservative radio on Thursday is Barack Obama’s 37 percent approval rating in the latest AP poll. Hosts are also making fun of how AP announced this number: buried in paragraph eight of a story headlined “Poll: No Heroes In Shutdown, GOP Gets Most Blame.”
Guess what? Brent Baker reported when an AP poll found President Bush's approval rating hit a new low of 37 percent on March 10, 2006, NBC's Brian Williams led the newscast with it. When an NBC News poll found the same number on March 15, Williams led the program with it again, turning to Tim Russert to say, "let's start with that all-important benchmark for presidents, the approval rating." Now, the networks are trying to avoid this Obama number.
Shortly before the conclusion of the October 9 edition of his MSNBC Live program, anchor Thomas Roberts treated Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to a softball interview regarding the pro-amnesty Camino Americano rally held Tuesday on the National Mall, which she attended. Roberts failed to pose any tough policy-oriented questions to Schakowsky on the matter of immigration reform, nor did he bring on another guest who disagreed with the Democrat-favored approach to the policy.
But what takes the cake is how, at the end of his brief chat with the liberal congresswoman, Roberts cheered Schakowsky for getting arrested Tuesday subsequent to the rally, gushing that "it's good that your rap sheet is getting longer for a great cause." Schakowsky was arrested for blocking a public street near the Capitol, not for expressing her views on immigration reform legislation [MP3 audio available here; watch the video below the page break].
"They have one month," announced Time magazine's Kate Pickert. "If the officials running the new Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges cannot fix crippling computer glitches by then, the health law’s future could be imperiled, according to a former high-ranking health care official."
“By November—certainly the middle of November—the sites have to be able to handle major traffic for people to be able to set up accounts and purchase coverage," Pickert quoted Joel Ario, former director of the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. "[T]he longer it takes to repair problems with exchange web sites, the harder it may be to enroll Americans who want coverage," Pickert noted. [Helpful suggestion for Pickert: For the office Halloween party you really should dress up as Captain Obvious.]
Trade-offs apply to our economic lives, as well as our political lives. That means getting more of one thing requires giving up something else. Let's look at some examples.
Black congressmen and black public officials in general, including Barack Obama, always side with teachers unions in their opposition to educational vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools and other measures that would allow black parents to take their children out of failing public schools. Most black politicians and many black professionals take the position of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is on record as saying, "We shouldn't abandon the public schools."
Ideologically-driven conservatives on the Supreme Court seem determined to nix a campaign contribution limit in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, thus dealing a blow to the fight against corruption of American politics.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has put the kibosh on a book by whistleblower John Dodson not because he would disclose any sensitive, classified information but rather "because the agency says it would hurt morale," reported Washington Post staffer Sari Horwitz in Tuesday's paper in her 16-paragraph story, "ATF rejects 'Fast and Furious' book."
While clearly such a story is worthy of front-page coverage, editors shuffled it off to page A8. Among the stories on A1 today, the story least-worthy of front-page real estate was William Wan's "Apple for the teacher? In China, many think bigger." Wan's story focused on how bribery was crucial to procure slots at the better public schools in Communist China. An interesting story, but of less import to Americans than a federal agency quashing a book by a whistleblower.
Poor Carl Bernstein: he's suffering a bad bout of MSM nostalgia. He longs for the good old media days when the news was dominated by the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the then three broadcast networks. They could slam Republicans with impunity, without any conservative media counterweight.
In covering the shutdown, today's media culture, kvetches Carl, is just too darn fair and balanced in its treatment of those lying, McCarthyite Republicans. That's why President Obama and the congressional Dems' poll numbers are surprisingly bad. Such was Carl's complaint on today's Morning Joe. View the video after the jump.
Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments on a campaign-finance case that will "test the justices' willingness to buck public opinion," Wall Street Journal Supreme Court correspondent Jess Bravin noted in his page A4 article about the open of the high court's October 2013 term. Bravin devoted the first several paragraphs of his October 7 story, "Campaign Giving Tops High Court's Docket," to painting the Court as highly unpopular when it comes to campaign finance case law following Citizens United.
It wasn't until the 8th paragraph that Bravin actually explained to readers what the new case before the court, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, was all about:
You have to give credit where credit is due. In Saturday's Washington Post, columnist Melinda Henneberger did readers a favor by relaying the nastiness and misogyny that some liberal male voters in Virginia have exhibited towards female campaign volunteers for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
"[A]s Greater McLean Republican Women's Club President Anne Gruner was setting up her table Friday, laying out her 'Women for Ken' stickers and fact sheets, a man walking by suddenly swooped close to her face and started screaming, cursing and calling her a 'terrorist,'" Henneberger noted in the fourth paragraph of her Metro section front-pager. Later in the same story, Henneberger noted that:
Republicans are godless anti-government zealots responsible for a federal government shutdown that will literally kill people, MSNBC's Martin Bashir charged in the closing "Clear the Air" commentary on his Friday, October 4 program.
But in a not-so-clever twist, the ever-sanctimonious Bashir -- who has a penchant for selective Bible-thumping to push liberal agenda points -- sought to enlist the nonpartisan Senate chaplain, Dr. Barry C. Black, to condemn Republicans for him. The relevant transcript is below the page break, as is the video of the segment:
If Republicans were smart (I know, but stay with me) their focus during the Obamacare debate should have been less on blocking its implementation and more on a page they might have taken from the Democrat's playbook, which is to rally the country to its side by use of sentimentality and the threat of impending doom. The good news for Republicans is that there's still time.
It's a sure bet Democrats are right now writing sob stories of tearful children barred from the Lincoln Memorial because of the government "shutdown." The National Zoo in Washington inexplicably turned off its unmanned Panda Cam, which showed video of the newborn panda cub on the Internet. Boohoo.
The political stalemate leading to the so-called shutdown of the federal government has shown with devastating clarity how official Washington is consumed with symbolism over substance.
The symbolism begins with the word shutdown itself. Despite the noise and fury in Washington, the vast majority of Americans haven't noticed any change in their daily lives because most of the federal government has not shut down. It is functioning as normal. Social Security checks go out, and the military is still on duty.
Are you happy now, Republicans? You went and forced the president to cancel his trip to Asia and with it an important foreign policy overture.
That's the message Time magazine is sending readers with Michael Crowley's October 4 post, "Shutdown Dents Vital Obama Foreign Policy Goal," which was plugged on the Time.com front page with a photo of a frowning President Obama given the teaser headline, "Grounded by the Shutdown." "President Obama cancels a long-planned Asia excursion as the standoff continues at home, yet again putting off U.S. goals to recharge relations with the continent," complained the front-page caption [see screen capture below the page break]. Here's a taste of Crowley's story (emphasis mine):
Imagine that Jeff Bezos asked his vice-president for sales IT how many people had purchased products from Amazon the day before, and the veep said he'd get back to him "in a few weeks." How many nanoseconds do you think that hapless employee would last in his job?
But on today's Morning Joe, there was the Obama admin's David Simas, sporting the lofty title of Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy, smiling insouciantly while saying that it would be a "few weeks" before the Obama admin would say how many people had signed up for Obamacare. Conclusion: either: 1. the Obama admin's information technology planning and implementation is grossly incompetent; and/or 2. President Obama doesn't want Americans to know just how few people have signed up for Obamacare--particularly in the young-and-healthy demographic, upon whose willingness to make the uneconomic choice of signing up the entire house of cards hinges. View the video after the jump.