The media have repeatedly stated how "angry," "hostile" and "ugly" town hall meetings across America are becoming. They are of course largely ascribing the nastiness to conservatives voicing their opposition to (among other things) President Barack Obama and Congress' proposed government takeover of the health care system.
The press has been particularly offended by the "extreme" use of references to Adolf Hitler specifically and Nazis generally. One image they have repeatedly used as an example of this alleged right-wing extremism is a poster of President Obama - on whose face a Hitler mustache has been Photo Shopped - bearing the caption "I've Changed."
We have compiled a video montage (at right) of just some of the recent news programs that have ascribed this Obama-with-Mustache poster to conservative town hall attendees. (The Obama-with-Mustache image itself appears just below the fold.)
Blogs on both sides of the political aisle exploded last night, as first reports rolled in about a union event breaking out at a fight. That’s an exaggeration, of course. However, here are the facts, as far as we’re able to tell.
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) scheduled a last-minute town hall meeting for yesterday evening, essentially tagging along on Florida State Rep. Betty Reed’s (D) already-scheduled town hall meeting. This meeting was also officially hosted by the Service Employees international Union, a highly politically active union that is a reliable ally of liberal Democratic politicians. Between RedState.com and conservative talk-radio king Rush Limbaugh, local conservative activists found out about this meeting and decided to crash the party.
The first reports came in through the Tampa Bay local media, depicting a rowdy town hall meeting interrupted by conservative activists demanding to be heard. This was a fairly straightforward story which contained simple quotes and facts, written by one William March. There was one quote which was particularly intriguing:
UPDATE: We have some video of the attack. It appears that it is members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) doing at least some of the dirty work.
But it's conservatives who engage in violence and hate speech, right?
The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that one of their own, reporter Jake Wagman, was one of six people arrested in connection with the beating of a conservative activist outside of a town hall forum held by Democrat Congressman Russ Carnahan.
According to Dawn Majors, a Post-Dispatch photojournalist who witnessed everything unfold, an officer said that Wagman had been "interfering."
From the article:
Kenneth Gladney, a 38-year-old conservative activist from St. Louis, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with “Don't tread on me” printed on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room of the St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was waiting to be treated for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face that he suffered in the attack. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack started.
"It just seems there's no freedom of speech without being attacked," he said.
That is some list of injuries, which means it must have been some beating. And Gladney says he was attacked by "some of those arrested," which means there were probably more in the mob than just that.
And let us not overlook nor forget the racial slur Gladney additionally endured.
In an open letter sent today to ABC News President David Westin, NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell questioned the ethics of ABC as a "news" network and wondered "how in the world can anyone take ABC seriously" after it was announced that ABC News has hired Democratic donor Dr. Richard Besser to be their new Senior Medical Editor.
The letter begins here, and continues in its entirety below the fold.
July 30, 2009
Dear Mr. Westin,
It was reported today that you have hired Dr. Richard Besser as your new Senior Medical Editor. By now you also know Besser is a Barack Obama donor, having contributed $400 to his campaign in 2008.
As your new senior health correspondent, he will play a pivotal role in your coverage of the health care debate going forward. How in the world is this ethical?
A Buyers' Market It is a bit of an understatement to say that when it comes to dominating the media, President Barack Obama is perhaps unequalled by any politician ever. Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, Obama the King of Pols.
The Publisher of NewsBusters.org, Brent Bozell, wrote his syndicated column about the media's full-court Obama press just this week. In which he accurately points out that while the journalistic class remains utterly infatuated with the man, it appears that the American people are begining to reach their saturation point.
Lawrence O’Donnell failed spectacularly on today’s "Morning Joe" this morning. The Democratic pundit wasn’t alone in that effort, as co-host Mika Brzezinski, and journalists Martin Savidge and Mike Barnicle all failed to correct his gaffe.
Apparently, the MSNBC political analyst is under the impression that Sarah Palin’s selection as Vice President drove down female support for the John McCain ticket – and claims that polling numbers back him up.
CNN daytime anchor Tony Harris has a bit of a different perspective on the Henry Louis Gates arrest.
Around 12:31 PM, after the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition held a press conference defending Sgt. Crowley’s conduct in the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Harris spoke to the CNN reporter on the scene, Don Lemon. Having been informed that one of the reasons the union decided to hold the press conference was a sinking morale among officers after President Obama’s remarks on the matter, Harris said:
Spreading the Word Media Research Center President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell today responded to a poll conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Zogby International that finds that 84 percent of Americans, including 46 percent of Americans without health insurance, are "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the health care they currently receive.
Released on Wednesday, the poll was glaringly absent from most news reports late last week and over the weekend.
Bozell today called on the media to stop reporting on the American health care system as a "crisis" situation, as the facts simply belie the claim.
When you claim that a grassroots group isn't a grassroots group -- beware of actual grassroots activists.
That's the lesson reporter Sharon Male of Parade Magazine learned when she attacked Patients United Now, the health care project of the free-market Americans for Prosperity Foundation, in the July 12 magazine. Under the headline "Are Grassroots Activists for Real?" she claimed that some "so-called grassroots campaigns" "are actually sophisticated marketing campaigns financed by businesses and special interest groups." Male cited the leftist Public Citizen's accusations of "astroturf" campaigns led by "ultra-wealthy individuals who have little in common with regular Americans," and the reporter bemoaned the fact that "grassroots movements are unregulated."
AFP Foundation let its members know Parade was questioning their existence, and they responded by overwhelming Male and her editor with nearly 5,000 e-mails.
Catching up on a short item I noticed over the weekend, conservative columnist George Will has finally found a bright spot to the media's wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson over the past couple of weeks: at least it's time not spent pushing a liberal big government agenda. Will pointed out on ABC's This Week: "When the mainstream media is preoccupied with this, it's probably doing, on margin, less damage than when it's dealing with public policy."
At that, longtime ABC newsman Sam Donaldson interjected, "Oh, thanks a lot!"
During the July 12 roundtable, host George Stephanopoulos opened a segment on the media's coverage of Jackson (under the graphic headline "Michael Jackson: Media Overkill") with a clip of Republican Congressman Peter King decrying the lavish coverage given over to Jackson, who faced trial four years ago over charges he molested a young boy. Here's the full exchange:
Have you ever met someone that just can't stop talking about a particular topic or person regardless of the subject of conversation? Folks like that slip their obsession into every conversation until people just don't even want to start up a conversation with them any more. And when an unsuspecting person starts talking with such a person, everyone in the know around them just roll their eyes and avoid eye contact. It is beginning to get like this when reading anything in the Old Media these days because it seems that regardless of the topic under discussion, start struck love for Obama is slipped into the piece somehow.
Detroit News columnist Marney Rich Keenan gives us a perfect example of this in hers headlined, "Whatever happened to simple phone etiquette?" It's supposed to be a piece lamenting the loss of the formal way of answering a telephone and really has nothing to do with politics. Keenan waxes nostalgic for that formal way of talking to folks and seems to say this loss is a cultural coarsening that is something to mourn... except when Obama does it, of course. Yes, when The One does it, why it's cool and hip and makes her "go weak in the knees."
The New York State Senate, it appears, has reached an all-time low.
One might possibly overlook the legislative wrangling, the blatant power-playing, the use of thuggery to enforce a particular party’s control over the Senate. One might also overlook the unbelievable childish behavior of the Senate, in which even New York Governor Patterson, owner of the lowest approval rating of any governor in the United States, looks positively Lincolnian. And one might even ignore the dearth of media coverage – after all, one can be thankful that the national media is not as fixated on this as they are on the burial arrangements of Michael Jackson.
But there is a new development that should not be ignored – something so heinous, the media would prove themselves worthless, if they do.
Put plainly, the New York Senate Democrats’ behavior, over the course of five months of Senate control, appears to be blatantly racist.
On July 6, CNN’s American Morning may have positioned themselves as a fly in the White House’s public health-care ointment. In a story on Senator Mitch McConnell’s recent comments regarding Canadian national health care, CNN traveled to Canada to investigate whether this vision of long queues in health care was warranted. In investigating, however, CNN neglected to ask an important question of their own story, regarding the possible rationing of the healthcare of cancer patients.
The hospital singled out for Senator McConnell’s rhetorical wrath is Kingston General in Ontario, Canada. CNN’s Dana Bash traveled there under guise of inquiring whether McConnell’s view of Kingston was accurate.
Senator MITCH MCCONNELL: Knee replacements. Well, at Kingston General, the average wait is about 340 days.
BASH: Zelt's response, McConnell is exaggerating.
DR. DAVID ZELT, Chief-of-staff, KINGSTON GEN. HOSPITAL: Average time to get a knee replacement here is 91 days.
This may prove to be an accurate assessment. Oddly, however, this seems to be almost an afterthought in Bash’s report – choosing instead to highlight two anecdotes within Canadian health care.
By this time, the NewsBusters connoisseur will have surely heard about yesterday’s unofficial celebration in the White House press briefing. Like many parties, it was somewhat louder than normal, a bit tense at points, and the press – specifically Chip Reid and Helen Thomas – topped off the early Independence Day festivities by roasting (figuratively, of course) Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
That, incidentally, does not normally happen at parties – even at the White House.
The Robert Roast was, of course, in reference to the recent spate of staged White House press events. The White House press corps, apparently, do not enjoy heavily produced events, such as the “town hall” meeting with DNC volunteers and union members. However, Carl Bernstein, appearing on the July 2 Morning Joe, did not take kindly to the gentle press-corps broiling:
For the Matador Media, One Side Fits All As the media walk hand-in-hand with the Left towards their fantasy-addled government medicine Utopia, they routinely forget that there is another perspective out there as to whether or not the government should commandeer the nation's private health care system. A perspective on which they, had they not already chosen sides on the issue, would (and should) be reporting.
The most recent high-water mark in media health care bias was last Wednesday, when ABC broadcast on four separate occasions from the White House during what they said was a day of their "moderating" a health care "conversation" with President Barack Obama. Good Morning America, World News and Nightline all satellite-beamed their video images from within the confines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And all of that was in addition to a one hour prime time special entitled Questions for the President: Prescription for America. During which the queries posed to Obama were for the most part fairly difficult, but given the home-field advantage format he was able to deviate from the intent of each question as much as he wanted, filibuster as long as he wished and in every instance had the last word on each issue.
This all-day Obama domination of the "conversation" ABC was claiming to "moderate" inspired in us a notion. After all, one doesn't "moderate" a "conversation." What IS moderated - and what is certainly called for on something as important as the decision whether to allow the government to shanghai nearly 20% of the private sector (and arguably it's most important portion) - is a DEBATE. And ABC wasn't having one.
So we decided to offer up the other side of the deliberation in which ABC - and the media as a whole - aren't engaging. Working with Americans for Tax Reform and the Health Care Freedom Coalition, we put together a rock star panel of legislators and health care experts to put forward free market-based health care reforms. And to identify the myriad problems with and debunk the many myths and canards about government medicine - which the Left repeatedly offer up and the Matador Media let go by them with barely a wave of the cape.
The Vanity Fair national editor most recently known for publishing a withering criticism of the Clintons during the 2008 presidential race has chosen a new target for summary destruction: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
This is no mere attack on the Governor’s policy positions, nor on her performance during the 2008 campaign – nor even on her performance since. Purdum, in this article, plies his very best Luca Brazzi impression – hopelessly pathetic, yet reliably purposeful in ‘whacking’ the opposition.
In spinning his yarn, Purdum goes well below the belt:
For Time Magazine, Kevin O'Leary has decided that he's figured out why California is in such a budget mess. Is it because the state indulges over generous social programs, or always has some of the highest taxes in the nation, or because the denizens of its capitol in Sacramento are paragons of waste, fraud and theft? Nope. It's because California has Proposition 13, a measure that prevents state government from too easily raising taxes. Yep, O'Leary thinks California is in a mess because it doesn't have high enough taxes. And it's all Reagan's fault.
With some of the highest taxes in America, California is a hard place to make a living. According to the Tax Foundation, on average it takes a citizen 110 working days to earn enough money to pay his yearly tax bill. That is the fourth worst in the country. California consistently ranks in or near the top 10 worst states for its tax burdens from property taxes, to corporate taxes, to individual taxes and fees of all sorts. So, how can O'Leary imagine that taxes aren't high enough in California?
I am wondering when the euthanasia folks are going to start touting this one? I mean, it sure seemed to me as if the most caring, most civil, most intelligent president evah just said that healthcare could be cheaper if we don't give old folks and the infirm the full measure of care they now get. It appeared that Obama said we should just let them die or suffer because they aren't worth the effort. Imagine if Bush had said something like this? The left wouldn't have hesitated to call him any manner of names. Oddly, though, the Old Media have not had so much as a raised eyebrow over his statements on Wednesday.
Obama said during the ABC Special on Wednesday night that a way to save healthcare costs is to abandon the sort of care that "evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve" the patient's health. He went on to say that he had personal familiarity with such a situation when his grandmother broke her hip after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Obama offered a question on the efficacy of further care for his grandmother saying, "and the question was, does she get hip replacement surgery, even though she was fragile enough they were not sure how long she would last?"
But who is it that will present the "evidence" that will "show" that further care is futile? Are we to believe that Obama expects individual doctors will make that decision in his bold new government controlled healthcare future? If he is trying to make that claim it is a flat out untruth and he knows it.
With the very first question of its prime time special, Questions for the President: Prescription for America, ABC set the tone that essentially confirmed for viewers that the president was right in his desire to radically remake America's healthcare system. As the infomercial began, "moderator" Charles Gibson asked a seminal question of the doctors and other participants that were about to hear the president speak: "How many of you agree with the president that we need to change our healthcare system?" Naturally they all raised their hands.
Imagine that? This handpicked crowd all agreed with ABC and Obama that "change" was paramount. Surprised? Hardly.
So, as the viewer is introduced to the infomercial, they start off with the unanimous affirmation that the president is right, radical changes have to be made. The premise is set and even the sharp questions to the president later in the show are blunted by the assumption that some major change is needed. And since the president is the only person allowed to offer any plan during this ABC special, the further assumption promulgated is that he is the one that must affect that change.
For viewers of this healthcare infomercial, Obama wins thanks to an assist by ABC. The viewer is deftly led to the desired conclusion.
Froma Harrop may have once been called Heartland Institute's "favorite lefty" journalist, but lefty she is and her use of a lopsided New York Times poll to urge President Obama to "act fast" on a government healthcare policy is a perfect example of that.
With her June 23 article, Harrop was frustrated that Obama was not "stepping on the gas" to institute publicly funded healthcare and she wondered why he is dragging his feet when "85 percent of Americans want 'fundamental changes' in American healthcare." This factoid she gleans from a very flawed NYT poll that is so badly skewed to the left that it is amazing anyone takes it seriously.
Harrop makes no bones about the fact that she wants a nationalized healthcare policy to be forced on the nation and she also doesn't think that anyone needs to listen to Republicans, effectively disenfranchising the roughly half of the American electorate that votes that way. Amazingly, Harrop is supposed to be a "financial reporter," yet she still wants this disastrously expensive, jobs killing, cost spiraling sort of plan anyway. This doesn't say much about her grasp of economics.
As if the press hasn’t already been fawning over Obama enough, the White House resorted to coordinating a question with the Huffington Post at today’s press conference.
Against White House protocol, the communications department contacted Huffington Post blogger Nico Pitney and asked him to query Obama on the specific subject of Iran for the second question of the press conference.
In their watchdog role of keeping the public informed, the New York Times has over the years disclosed government secrets regarding anti-terrorism tactics, overseas prisons, interrogation tactics, and military tactics, that critics contend have harmed the effectiveness of the programs and put America and our military at greater risk.
In fact, in 2008, the Times even published the name of an interrogator who got Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to talk, against the wishes of the interrogator’s lawyer and the CIA. The interrogator and his family fear for their lives, but that’s okay, because the public has a right to know.
So when Times journalist David Rohde was captured by the Taliban and held for seven months, the Times was going to report that, right? After all, doesn’t the public have a right to know about the threats they may face while traveling in Afghanistan?
As it turns out, the New York Times doesn’t think we do.
Some attention has been paid to the fact that the microblogging service Twitter had decided to push off its scheduled maintenance Tuesday morning as the situation in Iran became steadily more embroiled in conflict. As it happened, Twitter was a major source of information coming out of that repressed society as news was happening. Twitter had, though, scheduled a few hours down time just when Iran was at a peak of activity. So, in order to keep the flow of communication to the outside world flowing, Twitter announced it would not turn off its service until Iran calmed down.
This is pretty interesting news, that a mere social networking site was so deeply involved in momentous news of the day and that it became so relied upon by people hungry for news and interested in discussing a major democratic movement is definitely a new thing. It is especially interesting because the U.S. media so badly fell down on its job of reporting activities in Iran making Twitter a vital tool for communication. But what was even more interesting was that Obama's State Department tried to claim credit for Twitter's decision to stay in operation during the day. Worse, the Old Media seemed to swallow the State Department's claims whole.
So, not only is ABC not planning to include opposing voices to President Obama's health care proposals during its special presentation next week -- though ABC does claim "those in the audience" will ask questions of the president -- it is refusing to even allow groups that oppose Obamacare to purchase paid-for advertisements to air during the healthcare special.
Rick Scott, chairman of Conservatives for Patients Rights, contacted ABC and inquired about purchasing some ad time during the Obama infomercial, but was refused the sale. Scott wanted to air his 60-second ad before the healthcare show started. Though it was refused by the national network, apparently it is still possible for Scott the buy time on local affiliates should he desire it.
The Associated Press posted an "analysis" piece by writer Tom Raum on June 15 to address the GOP strategy against Obamacare and other administration policies but the APs characterization of the GOPs efforts almost seem meant to belittle and de-legitimize that opposition as opposed to describing it. The entire GOP argument against Obama is boiled down to a use of "buzz words" as far as AP's Raum is concerned. Apparently, no political truth or ideological disagreement really enters into it. Only "tactic," and "strategy" built on "buzz words" and "fear" is offered by the GOP instead of real issues according to the AP.
In "GOP using buzz words to taunt Democrats," with a subhead of "Republicans claim Obama embraces 'socialism,'" Raum never once admits that Republicans just might have a principled ideological opposition to Obama's policies leaving readers to get the vague feeling that the GOP is trying just anything to find a winning issue. Further, the entire article is premised as if the Democrats are correct and the GOP is just trying to chip away at their essentially correct stand on the issues. AP even presents a lefty professor to shore up the AP point of view -- naturally the professor's propensities are not divulged.
This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough broke the news that – are you sitting down? – the media are biased against Sarah Palin.
The comic potential for this revelation is nearly unlimited.
The Morning Joe Brew Crew provided some very interesting insight, however. Scarborough led Brzezinski into talking about the insider’s view of the main-stream media attitude toward Palin after her introduction as the Republican VP candidate:
For example, Ann Coulter is responsible for yesterday’s tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum.
Bill O’Reilly is responsible for the shooting of well-known abortion doctor George Tiller.
Oh, and the coup de grace: Sarah Palin and all of her supporters are raging racists.
That’s not to mention the implication that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and all of Fox News were the favorite news sources of James von Brunn, now-infamous shooter at the Holocaust museum.
Idiotic though these claims most certainly are, liberal bilge of this magnitude demands confrontation. First, examine what Rowe wrote on Ann Coulter:
Reports on Governor Sarah Palin's appearance at the National Republican Senatorial Committee dinner in D.C. on Monday nearly all mention that she was quite the center of attention with dinner attendees. Well, all agree with that characterization but Politico's Alex Isenstadt, that is. Isenstadt seems to have been the only one to report that her attendance was a dud. This spurred our friend Videmus Omnia to wonder if Isenstadt went to the same dinner as everyone else? After looking it over, I have to ask the same question.
For Politico, Isenstadt snorted that Palin's appearance at the dinner "went little-noticed." He also stated that, "If she hadn't walked quickly across the stage the outset and if her presence hadn’t been mentioned briefly in the remarks of some of the evening's speakers, it would have been hard to know that she had, in fact, shown up." So there you have it. No one cared a whit that Governor Palin attended the dinner.
But wait. A perusal of other media accounts says just the opposite.
Ed Frank created an interesting little video that serves as a stark reminder of how harsh the Old Media was on Bush's "faltering" economy in comparison to today's hearts and flowers style of reporting during the age of Obama, even though the stats are far, far worse under Obama than they ever were under Bush.
Frank's video is shocking for its revelation of how Bush was slapped around and how every economic indicator during his tenure in the White House was deemed as obvious proof of the supposed though times we then faced. Yet now, every dismal indicator is celebrated as if recovery just around the corner. Under Bush the Old Media was sure the economy was a wreck, now the wreck proves we will surely be saved by Summer!
If you would like a great example of how the Old Media takes a story that has no legitimacy at all and uses it as the basis for a smear job, the Associated Press offered a wonderful sampling of the tactic for you on June 8. From a headline that makes the issue seem more weighty than it is, to the lack of competent reporting from both sides of the matter, AP employed this favorite Old Media tactic by taking another swipe at Governor Sarah Palin with little by way of substantive evidence. It's another "seriousness of the charge" story despite the complete lack of evidence as well as a lack of any gravitas on the part of the original source of the charge.
At issue is the false charge leveled by a Huffington Post blogger that Governor Palin "plagiarized" a section of her speech as she introduced talk show host Michael Reagan in Anchorage, Alaska on Wednesday, June 3. HuffPo blogger Geoffrey Dunn charged that Palin lifted several sections of Newt Gingrich's work without attribution, and AP ran with the story even as they allow Palin's lawyer to point out that she cited Gingrich twice in her speech.