Catching up from Friday night, on the last Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO until September, Maher insisted “I’m not trying to be a conspiracy theorist,” but then proceeded to assert the Defense Department “uses more oil than anywhere else to kill people in the Middle East to get fuel to fight wars,” so “I do think there’s something -- just the way the pharmaceutical companies sometimes come up with a pill before they come up with the disease -- I think maybe we need a war all the time so we can wear out equipment and buy oil.”
Maher’s claim came during a one-on-one with far-left film director Oliver Stone, who is producing a ten-hour documentary for Showtime, Secret History of America, about how, as Maher agreed, “America always does seem to need an enemy.” When Stone maintained the Cold War was fueled by an exaggerated fear of communism, Maher jumped in: “I’d like to blame it on oil.”
Thomas has been widely admired by the liberal establishment in the media. NBC’s Ann Curry, for example, last year saluted Thomas as “a woman who inspired me....I’ve tried to emulate her.” CBS’s Harry Smith has described her as “legendary,” adding: “What she does day after day after day, I’m not sure we value enough.”
Thomas has not been shy about expressing her left-wing views and reliably anti-Israel opinions since she became a White House “columnist” in 2000, after a lengthy career as UPI’s straight news White House correspondent. But a review shows Thomas was expressing solidly liberal opinions even as a supposedly neutral reporter:
Deacon Greg Kandra was an interesting presence on the CBS staff in the Katie Couric era. He edited her blog Couric & Co. as he was ordained a Catholic deacon in 2007. At his Beliefnet blog The Deacon's Bench, he responded to the blog Creative Minority Report claiming Couric is a modern Margaret Sanger, the controversial eugenics-endorsing founder of Planned Parenthood. (The label came from Couric's recent subsidize-the-contraceptives commentary.) I expected Kandra might offer some defense to the CBS star. Instead, Kandra wrote:
CMR calls Katie a "modern Margaret Sanger."
I know what CMR is talking about. And boy, do they have Katie nailed.
True story. A few years ago, when Katie first came to CBS News, I worked as the editor of her blog "Couric & Co." One afternoon, I had a meeting with her in her office overlooking the CBS newsroom. Her suite of offices is gorgeous: white-on-white, with a marble desk and gorgeous black-and-white prints on the walls.
Looking ahead to the upcoming week, on Tuesday actors Morgan Freeman, the voice of the CBS Evening News, and Robert DeNiro, Ed Harris and Cherry Jones (“President Allison Taylor” on Fox’s 24), will narrate “the world premiere performance of The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers – the centerpiece of the Boston Pops’ 125th anniversary season celebration,” a production which“combines quotes from speeches by the Kennedy brothers with original text and video, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral and choral score” so it “pays tribute to the towering achievements and singular spirit epitomized by the Kennedy brothers – the call to public service, drive for social change, and the legacy of optimism for America's future.”
Actor Alec Baldwin will take the lead for a July 18 performance at Tanglewood and actor Chris Cooper will narrate a Hyannis Village Green event August 1. Plus, “The Dream Lives On will receive additional performances” on July 4 “at the Charles River Esplanade as part of the annual Pops Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular concert,” an event usually broadcast by CBS and hosted by the Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson.
Now on the rain-slicked streets of Boston and across the wind-swept Cape Code sea, over the din of Washington's halls and down the halls of history, their passionate words can still be heard, their highest ideals a clarion call; these three American brothers inspiring the best in us all.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air asks a good media question: why doesn't anyone care about the Soviet archives? He refers to a Claire Berlinski article in City Journal. But for media watchers, the strongest possible revision would come in the reputation of one Mikhail Gorbachev, Time's Man of the Decade, the one they called the "commissar liberator," the "communist pope and the Soviet Martin Luther," and on and on. Some files suggest he was ruthless and cavalier about human life. What a shock:
The narrative among popular academics and media is that the Soviet Union collapsed out of a too-generous sense of glasnost and perestroika, with Mikhail Gorbachev as the benevolent national leader whose love of freedom inadvertently ended the Soviet empire. The documentation of the Kremlin’s activities and transcripts of Gorbachev’s own conversations put an end to that mythology. For instance, Berlinski quotes this passage from Politburo minutes of a discussion of the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989:
Lukyanov reports that the real number of casualties on Tiananmen Square was 3,000.
Gorbachev: We must be realists. They, like us, have to defend themselves. Three thousands...So what?
“In a nation that has entertained and appalled itself for years with hot talk on the radio and the campaign trail, the inflamed rhetoric of the '90s is suddenly an unindicted co-conspirator in the blast,” charged Time magazine Senior Writer Richard Lacayo in the May 8, 1995 edition of the news weekly, the first quote cited in a “Special Purveyors of Hate & Division Issue” published at the time of the MRC's Notable Quotables newsletter.
We also featured this gem from Bryant Gumbel on the April 25, 1995 Today show:
The bombing in Oklahoma City has focused renewed attention on the rhetoric that's been coming from the right and those who cater to angry white men. While no one's suggesting right-wing radio jocks approve of violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is being questioned by many observers, including the President....
Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Bob Grant, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, and others take to the air every day with basically the same format: detail a problem, blame the government or a group, and invite invective from like-minded people. Never do most of the radio hosts encourage outright violence, but the extent to which their attitudes may embolden and encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue.
Catching up with an HBO sports documentary which ran several times in March: ‘Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals,’ painted Boston Celtics basketball star Larry Bird as the victim of a racist national milieu exacerbated by President Ronald Reagan -- a formulation which relied on the expert assessment of a journalist who a few years ago contended that if only Senator Ted Kennedy hadn’t killed her, he “would have brought comfort...in her old age” to Mary Jo Kopechne. Over video zooming in on Reagan at his Oval Office desk, HBO’s narrator intoned:
But as Magic enjoyed his image as a crossover star, it was Bird, the one-time great white hope, who had further emerged as the polarizing racial figure due in part to that era's increasingly conservative political climate.
Then, the Boston Globe’s Charles Pierce argued “the triumph of the movement” that supposedly “rolled back” civil rights “took place in the 1980s” and that caused “sublimated frustration” amongst black Americans “and I think one of the ways it got sublimated was into basketball” with Bird catching those “lingering resentments.” On screen as Pierce spoke, this New York Times headline:
STUDY SAYS BLACKS HAVE LOST GROUND Finds Reagan's Policies Have Hurt the Poor and Imperil Emerging Middle Class
Liberal commentator Nancy Skinner conceded there is one issue the right is right on - the value-added tax (VAT) is an absurd idea.
Skinner who is a regular guest on the Fox Business Network, stated April 7 that the VAT will do absolutely nothing to help the ailing economy, concurring with the "Bulls and Bears" panel.
"Everybody, you're going to be surprised: I finally found a tax I don't like, and it's this VAT tax!" Skinner exclaimed. "Here's why - it doesn't produce any behavioral changes - it's hidden as Gerri Willis said. What you want in a tax is a tax that changes behavior."
As Reuters reported April 6, White House adviser Paul Volcker - of the Larry Summers school of economics - threw out a trial-balloon recently, saying the U.S. may need to consider a European-style value-added tax to raise revenue and bring the deficit under control.
In a textbook case of liberal-hysteria, Henry Rollins and Vanity Fair fear the Texas Board of Education will wipe Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Charles Darwin, the Civil Rights movement, and even the outcome of the Civil War from the pages of history in the "Great Texan Rewrite."
At question is a recent victory by conservatives on the Texas Board of Education to adopt more traditional curricula to be used in writing history textbooks. Due to its size, books adopted by Texas tend to be used extensively throughout the nation.
To Rollins, any attempt to restore balance to the teaching of history is an attempt to turn back the clock.
"I fear for the New Deal reforms and any other bits of history that may somehow be seen as inconvenient truths to the architects of the Great Texan Rewrite," Rollins wrote. "I cringe when I think that the Civil Rights movement may magically vanish from the state's history or be seen as an uppity peasant uprising. What will become of the Emancipation Proclamation? The outcome of the Civil War?"
I dream that my 10-year-old son of pale skin hue will one day grow to maturity in a nation where he won't be dismissed by liberals as some old white guy with a fetish for firearms. Rather, that my son will be judged by a still-revered belief in the singular importance of character.
Agreed, such an expectation is probably more delusion than dream, seeing how often left-wingers in positions of influence gratuitously invoke race.
Here, for example, is Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show this past Thursday talking about a volunteer law enforcement effort called "Operation Exodus" (the segment can be seen in its entirety here) --
MADDOW: These folks, these guys are volunteers in something called Project Exodus in Bossier Parish, La. The sheriff in Bossier Parish, Sheriff Larry Deen, put out a press release recently announcing the creation of this Operation Exodus group. It's now been reported by the Shreveport Times and that local reporting has been picked up nationally by Zack Roth at Talking Points Memo.
ABC squeezed in a short item Wednesday night on a House resolution to put Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill, a report most notable for the enticing mock-up ABC’s graphics artists created. Anchor Diane Sawyer announced on the March 3 World News:
All right, quick, who is on the $50 bill? If you said Ulysses S. Grant, you’re right. But if some people have their way, that’s going to change soon. There's a move afoot to put Ronald Reagan on the $50, led by 14 Republican Members of Congress who are sponsoring a new bill calling for the change in honor of the 100th anniversary of Reagan's birth next year.
Republican Patrick McHenry of North Carolina (10th Congressional District, west of Charlotte) submitted: “H. R. 4705. To require the Secretary of the Treasury to redesign the face of $50 Federal reserve notes so as to include a likeness of President Ronald Wilson Reagan.”
You'd think the money man behind an array of left wing organizations wouldn't need CNN to get out his message about the death and "bankruptcy" of free-market capitalism, but there was left-wing billionaire and financier George Soros on "GPS" Feb.18
Interviewed by Fareed Zakaria, Soros said he disagreed with President Obama's decision to bail out the banks. Soros would have nationalized them. Soros also advocated for capping CEO pay, and imposing additional taxes on financial transactions and for banks based on size.
Zakaria offered praise for Obama, saying "You can look at any (issue) all by itself, but I think he's done pretty well and in some ways hasn't gotten the credit for it because the crisis was averted. So now the Republicans can say ‘there was no problem, we didn't need to spend all this money."
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.
In fairness to Rachel Maddow, at least she sounds convincing, even though her earnest assertions invariably collapse under scrutiny. Maddow embodies the smarmy belief that sincerity is all that matters -- fake it well and you've got it made.
Here's Maddow, for example, appearing as a panelist on Sunday's "Meet the Press" and on her MSNBC cable show Monday night (first and second parts of embedded video), weighing in on interrogation of terrorists --
MADDOW: There's, there isn't in this case and there hasn't been in any known modern terrorism case any correlation between the usefulness of an interrogation and whether or not somebody gets read their Miranda rights. It just isn't the case. And in every single instance, every single terrorism case where there's been an arrest in this country in a terrorism case since 9/11, every single one has been handled, the person has been handled as a civilian criminal.
There was a moment when Jose Padilla and Ali al-Marri were handed, handled in military custody. There's nothing magic about the time that they were in military custody. They didn't do any more magical forms of talking that they wouldn't do when they were civilians.
On Feb. 6, former President Ronald Reagan would have celebrated his 99th birthday. Since he's thought of as a conservative icon, some have wondered what he would have thought of the modern conservative movement, specifically the tea parties and the rise of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
If you listen to Reagan's son Ron, who has recently appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball" and HLN's "The Joy Behar Show," and tends to have a left-of-center perspective, one might think Reagan would have looked down upon the tea party protests and Palin. That's not the case according to his other son Michael.
The Washington Post championed a new documentary on Friday, a film airing only at one art theater in town. It’s still championing America-bashing radical leftist whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg in a new film titled "The Most Dangerous Man in America."
In a large spread that starts at the top of the front page of the Style section, film critic Ann Hornaday celebrated Ellsberg’s "moral courage" for damaging the war effort by leaking the so-called "Pentagon Papers" to the New York Times in 1971. Hornaday insisted Ellsberg’s radicalism is still "astonishingly germane" today (although the Post never described him with any ideological label, or described the Vietnamese enemy as communists.)
Hornaday lectured that today’s blogosphere-besmirched media might not emphasize and celebrate the "elegant calculus" and "formidable logic" of Ellsberg’s acts today, like the uniformly liberal "mainstream media" of the Vietnam-Watergate era did:
What's going on out there in the Republican Party is kind of a frightening, almost Cambodia re-education camp going on in that party, where they're going around to people, sort of switching their minds around saying, if you're not far right, you're not right enough.
Matthews was on the program to discuss President Obama's live televised exchanges with Republican Congressmen earlier in the day at the House GOP retreat in Baltimore.
His comparison is, of course, patently offensive not just to conservative Republicans but more importantly to the survivors of the Khmer Rouge, many of whom became refugees in the United States and who still bear in their souls hellish nightmares of the regime as well as survivor's guilt for being among the fortunate to have escaped with their lives.
Rush Limbaugh is so reviled by the left, that even when he agrees with liberals and issues facts supporting their arguments, they criticize him and demand an apology.
The latest such group to deride Limbaugh for supposedly offensive comments that they themselves have supported is the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL has called on Limbaugh to apologize for suggesting that the Obama Administration's anti-banker populism has troubling anti-Semitic undertones. He did not suggest that Obama is an anti-Semite, nor that is policies specifically single out or target Jews. He did suggest that Jews who voted for Obama may be feeling "buyer's remorse" now that the administration is using language that has so often--historically--been used to demean and discriminate against the Jewish community.
Here is the quote in question: "To some people, banker is a code word for Jewish; and guess who Obama is assaulting? He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's - if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there."
More than a year before the end of “the first decade of the 21st century,” Katie Couric on Monday night eagerly publicized a non-CBS News poll which, she relayed, found that “as we get ready to close the chapter on the first decade of the 21st century, most of us are ready to say 'good riddance.' In a poll released today, Americans 2-to-1 expressed a negative view of the past ten years.” (The 21st century began with 2001, not 2000, so the decade will not conclude until the end of 2010.)
In reciting the numbers from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Couric managed to avoid targeting former President George W. Bush, though in reporting the hardly-surprising finding that “more than half of people surveyed said 9/11 was the biggest event of the decade,” she marveled: “More than Barack Obama's election, the financial crisis or the war in Iraq.” Going beyond the Pew poll, Couric highlighted how Time magazine declared “it was 'The Decade from Hell.'”
Though the decade included Couric's elevation to the CBS Evening News anchor chair, she endorsed the revulsion toward the past ten years, concluding: “We may not know what to call this decade yet, but at least we can call it done.”
Beginning his last week as anchor of ABC's World News before retiring on Friday, Charles Gibson ended his final Monday newscast by reminiscing about the political stories he's covered over his career. But he displayed distinct favoritism toward liberals over conservatives.
Gibson hailed Jimmy Carter as “always gracious in an interview” and humanized Barack Obama and Joe Biden by commiserating with their tribulations while re-playing archive clips demanding Ronald Reagan address Iran-Contra, George H.W. Bush accept he was “out of touch” and Sarah Palin explain “what insight into Russian actions...does the proximity of the state give you?” -- all before Gibson heralded Tip O'Neill as “the most memorable character” he's ever covered. (Gibson covered Capitol Hill during the late 1970s and into the 1980s.)
Gibson highlighted this question he posed to Reagan: “Once and for all, were you trading arms for hostages?” And Gibson to Bush: “There is a feeling in people's hearts that you, George Bush, are in any way out of touch?” After those questions from the archive, Gibson pulled out more favorable ones to show the “personal side” of Obama and Biden. “One of the great gifts that my mother gave to me was a positive impression of my father,” Obama maintained, prompting Gibson to empathize: “He didn't care enough to stay. How did you internalize that?” Gibson recalled Biden was “moving when he talked about the tragic death of his young daughter and first wife.”
In an interview with actor Matt Damon on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed the star’s role in a liberal documentary on American history: “‘The People Speak,’ based on one of Damon’s favorite books, ‘A People’s History of The United States’....examine’s America’s founding and expansion from the perspective of the revolutionaries, rebels, and rarely heard voices of dissent.”
Damon described the left-wing revisionism as “an honest look at – at where we’ve come from and the idea that all of these changes have been struggled for by everyday people.” Smith also spoke with the book’s author Howard Zinn and wondered: “Does it seem like this is an extra good time to be making a version of this book into a movie?” Zinn replied: “we want this history to speak to our present situation. What is our present situation? War. So in many ways the film, I think, speaks to things that are going on now.”
On Wednesday, Zinn proclaimed his anti-war views on NBC’s Today: “I believe the best way to support the troops is to bring them home. You’re not supporting them when you’re keeping them there and for not a good reason.”
NBC's Brian Williams took time Thursday night to show video a statue of President Barack Obama at age 10, then known as Barry, being unveiled in Jakarta, near where he attended school at that age. “The statue was put there to remind children in Indonesia to follow their dreams and remind them their future is without limits,” Williams helpfully explained.
The life-size bronze replica of Obama in a T-shirt and shorts is adorned with what Politico suggested “appears to be a Nobel medal around his neck” and what the AP described as “the young Obama smiling at a butterfly that has landed on his upheld left thumb.” The AP dispatch also reported: “The statue's pedestal carries an paraphrased quote from former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reading, 'The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams.'”
This wasn't the first time the NBC Nightly News found inspiration in Obama's time in Indonesia. Back during the campaign in March of 2008, the newscast ran a celebratory piece about how excited Obama's childhood friends in Indonesia were about his candidacy in a story which began and ended with a picture of Obama's classmates in front of huge “Good Luck Barry!” lettering.
Before the Democratic primary vote on Tuesday in Massachusetts to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy, a chance to catch up with how just before Thanksgiving, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin -- a Bay State resident and a favorite of NBC News where she regularly pops up to deliver conventional liberal wisdom in the guise of historic insights -- crossed into partisan politics to campaign for one of the four liberal candidates.
As part of an ongoing retrospective of the the first decade of the 21st century, Newsweek has ginned up a boatload of top 10 lists and assigned some Hollywood celebrities and Washington politicians to pen brief blurbs to accompany some of the entries. One such list, the top 10 "History-Altering Decisions" of 2000-2009 has at least two such entries that are worthy of addressing here: Actor/comedian Dennis Leary's "Florida Uses Butterfly Ballots" [ranked #6] and Sen. John Kerry's self-congratulatory "Kerry Picks Obama to Give Keynote 2004 DNC Address" [ranked #1].
Befitting Newsweek's biases, Leary and Kerry's entries point to Obama as an almost messianic figure, as though he were the literal object of history, or at least the last 10 years of American history.
First, Leary opined about how one dramatic moment can set in motion a chain of events can profoundly affect history, in effect comparing the assassin's bullet that ended John Kennedy's life with the butterfly ballots used in 2000 in some Democrat-friendly Florida counties:
There’s liberal hypocrisy on the part of New York Times economics columnist and left-wing blog-follower Paul Krugman in his Monday nytimes.com blog post, "Proposed extensions of Godwin’s Law."
Leading into a discussion of how he thinks people should discuss inflation and interest rates, Krugman said:
Godwin’s Law -- which says that in any sufficiently long online discussion, someone will compare his opponent to Hitler -- is often interpreted to mean that if you do, in fact, start making Nazi comparisons, you’ve lost the argument and can no longer be taken seriously. I’m all for that. (Does this mean that we should no longer take any significant figure in the Republican Party seriously? Yes, it does.)
Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of a unique political speech. On November 13, 1969, Vice President Spiro Agnew questioned the network news divisions' domination of the political debate, and the "narrow and distorted picture of America [that] often emerges from the television news."
Despite the very different times we lieve in today compared to the Old Media days of the late 1960s -- a time when the Big Three were a very dominant force in determining what Americans saw and discussed -- much of what Agnew said then remains a compelling critique of TV news today:
Setting the Agenda: "We cannot measure this power and influence by traditional democratic standards. They can make or break -- by their coverage and commentary -- a moratorium on the war. They can elevate men from local obscurity to national prominence within a week. They can reward some politicians with national exposure and ignore others. For millions of Americans, the network reporter who covers a continuing issue, like ABM or civil rights, becomes in effect, the presiding judge in a national trial by jury."
Tom Brokaw made an appearance on this morning's edition of Morning Joe this morning, plugging his interview with the former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Brokaw was, of course, reporting from the historic Brandenburg Gate this morning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Brew Crew were gathered in their studio with national security expert Dr. Richard Haas, discussing such weighty subjects as the American response to the fall of communism, the geopolitical advantages and disadvantages of that event, and so on. And which of these subjects did Brokaw use to segue into the subject of his interview?
Noting tomorrow’s 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Sunday’s Today show, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw claimed East Germans were “still adjusting to the harsh economic realities” of life after communism. But a recent poll of former East bloc countries by the Pew Research Center actually discovered that the people of what was East Germany are actually the biggest enthusiasts of the shift to capitalism, with 82% approving, higher than any other ex-communist country.
Brokaw did note, however, that the current “center-right” Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, was “born and raised in East Germany,” implicitly acknowledging that her youth spent under communism obviously did not make her a fan of leftist economic policies.
The suggestion that capitalism is somehow “harsh” compared to communism echoes what many liberal journalists argued after the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. “The transition from communism to capitalism is making more people more miserable every day,” CBS reporter Bert Quint argued in 1990.