Here at NewsBusters, we usually ignore commentary and op-ed pieces because there is no pretense that such items are objective news reports. But from time to time we come across something so egregious, so over-the-top, that it merits exposure and derision. Such is the case with Roger Simon's latest screed in Politico, "Save the sequester, crush the children!" which cranks the crazy up to 11 right out of the gate.
"If American politics has but one purpose in modern times, it is to crush the hopes and dreams of young people everywhere," Simon opened melodramatically, "And this is why President Barack Obama’s closing of the White House to public tours makes so much sense." The Politico opinion writer groused that the tour cancelation was a way to "[bring] the problem "home" to ordinary Americans who caused the sequester crisis in the first place." Only, in truth, "Ordinary Americans did not cause the sequester crisis in any way, shape or form," Simon added, before launching into a dizzying screed that blamed congressional Republicans as much as the president, if not more so, for the sequester:
President Obama handily defeated congressional Republicans in the political fight over his health care law. But the law will now face a much tougher opponent — the creativity of Americans determined to gain more control over their own health care decisions. The end result will be a system much different than the president hopes for — and his opponents fear.
To understand why, consider how the nation's 50 million 401(k) retirement accounts came into existence. It was not what Congress intended when it passed the Tax Revenue Act of 1978. Congressional summaries of the legislation listed dozens of its "major provisions" without mentioning what would become its most lasting legacy. At the time, even reducing the top tax rate from 48 percent to 46 percent was considered more important.
Is it possible that Obama's arrogance, personal pettiness, sanctimoniousness and egotism (for starters) could finally be his unraveling? Even the liberal media are starting to notice, but will it last?
Up to this point, they've dutifully played along with his Alinskyite tactics — converting the office of the presidency into a headquarters for community organizing at a federal level and a position to organize and fund a perpetual campaign against his political opponents instead of governing.
I have long contended that public policy issues are as complicated as they appear because the giants of Capitol Hill like it that way, particularly the giants of the left. Bills can be written more simply. Decisions can be phrased with a certain lucidity. Yet, if they were, the electorate would mull them over and, after a cup of coffee, make a decision on them. As things stand today, with talk of budget imbalance and of esoteric matters such as "sequestration," voters scratch their heads, blink their eyes and walk away. Who gives a hoot? It is time for my morning nap, perhaps, two naps.
This is another anti-democratic way that Washington politicians have bootlegged our legislative process. Make policy so confusing to normal people that they will take little or no interest in it. It is all a game reserved exclusively for the political class. Al Gore in his new book, prosaically titled "The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change," bangs on about the power of lobbyists and giant corporations in shaping legislation — do you know anyone who sits on more corporate boards than Gore? Has he considered the unwieldy nature of the legislation in the first place? Debt piled atop debt that even Warren Buffett cannot conceptualize. Sequestration, indeed — why not segregation or constipation? It is a geek to me.
"The Obama administration couldn’t have made its cheerleaders at ABC, CBS, and NBC look any more foolish," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted earlier today in reaction to a new study by the Media Research Center's (MRC) Geoff Dickens showing that 66 percent of the broadcast network news coverage of the budget sequestration that took effect on Friday advanced Obama White House talking points but failed to include any rebuttals from skeptics.
"Thanks to the bogus sequestration panic pushed by the administration and the liberal media, the American people recognize that the networks are nothing more than an adjunct of the Obama White House press office," the MRC founder added in a March 4 statement. “Like squawking parrots, ABC, CBS, and NBC mindlessly repeated the administration’s phony, over-hyped doomsday talking points during the two weeks leading up to sequestration. That a full two thirds of their stories didn’t include a shred of skepticism is an abomination." Below are just some of the most outlandish claims made on the networks:
President Obama told a meeting of the National Governors Association: "At some point, we've got to do some governing. And certainly, what we can't do is keep careening from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis." Really?
Yes, really. He added, referring to the sequestration: "These cuts do not have to happen. Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little bit of compromise."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell stayed true to form in conducting a tag team-style, confrontational interview of a conservative/Republican, this time House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The anchors pressed Rep. Rodgers about a recent Pew Research/Washington Post poll that, in their words, indicates "the public is going to blame Republicans" for the sequester.
At one point in the segment, Rose wouldn't let the Washington representative complete an answer, interrupting her twice in the course of just 20 seconds. On the second occasion, he raised the poll, which found that 45 percent point the finger at congressional Republicans for the impending across-the-board spending cuts:
"They're dumb and they're lazy, they're also dishonest." That's how NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell assessed the liberal media's parroting of President Obama's sky-is-falling predictions regarding the pending federal sequester, which, of course, the media are largely failing to remind folks was the president's idea.
The $85 billion in cuts amounts to a mere "two percent of the budget," Bozell noted, but in reality, "it's more like $22 billion," in discretionary cuts, which is about 0.25 percent of the budget. "This is just typical fearmongering" from the left, the Media Research Center founder told the audience of the February 22 Hannity. Also discussed on Friday's "Media Mash" was MSNBC's Chuck Todd dismissing the "mythology of the liberal media." [video follows page break]
It seems the liberal media are more concerned about Sen. Marco Rubio's midspeech sip of water than about President Obama's State of the Union commitment to double down on his disastrous policies.
What will it take for once-reasonable people to become alarmed at the state of this nation's fiscal condition, its stagnant economy and its egregious unemployment? Is there no number of irresponsible liberal policies from an extremist liberal president that will exceed their willingness to tolerate? Do liberal media — and rank-and-file Democrats, for that matter — believe that this recklessness can go on forever?
President Obama must have been stunned at the "audacity" of Dr. Benjamin Carson in challenging his core assumptions right to his face in front of thousands of people at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Obama is not used to being challenged, especially in public, even if indirectly and without being specifically named. From the look on his face, it was obvious Obama was none too pleased with Carson's message or with his "presumptuousness" in presenting it in that forum, while he had to sit still and — remain silent.
President Obama's approach to so-called "climate change" appears to include recycling old ideas.
In his State of the Union address, the president recycled the idea of spending more on education, though we are still getting unsatisfactory results. A fact he inadvertently acknowledged by saying we're not keeping up with other countries in science and math. He maintained there are tens of thousands of jobs available but companies can't fill them because public schools aren't teaching students what they need to know. We spend huge sums on education already, so money and achievement must not be related.
Imagine the firestorm of outrage that would be ignited in the liberal media were a conservative paper like the Wall Street Journal to hire a Republican pundit who insulted First Lady Michelle Obama during last year's campaign, even if said pundit subsequently apologized. Now compare that to the silence that most certainly will greet the Washington Post hiring Hilary Rosen as an opinion contributor.
Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner notes that Rosen -- who infamously snarled that Ann Romney "didn't work a day in her life" -- will co-author" the paper's 'Insider's' column with Republican strategist Ed Rogers" (emphasis mine):
Previewing the State of the Union address, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley repeatedly scolded Republican House Speaker John Boehner for daring to criticize President Barack Obama’s commitment to reducing the deficit. “There will be a great deal said about compromise and bi-partisanship, but in reality there seems to be very little mood for it,” Pelley despaired, before citing the Speaker as the culprit. He relayed a Boehner quote: “When it comes to the heavy lifting that has to be done, he doesn’t have the guts to do it.”
Pelley expressed disbelief, recounting: “Those of us in the room asked the Speaker if he really meant what he said and he repeated it.” Turning to Bob Schieffer, Pelley mimicked the Obama campaign line, fretting: “He didn’t seem open to change.”
Dr. Ben Carson has received little coverage in traditional media outlets for a speech he gave last Thursday at a prayer breakfast in which he advocated a flat tax and health savings accounts to improve the American economy and the health care system, respectively. The little attention he has gotten has been negative, with the media indignant that the world renowned neurosurgeon dared to "disrespect" the president by offering policy proposals that deviated from the government-centered ones of Mr. Obama's liking.
Even so, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on the Tuesday edition of Varney & Co., because of talk radio, and the Internet, "the toothpaste is out of the tube" and while it may take longer for more people to become aware of it, "This story will not stop growing." "This proves why the networks are becoming increasingly irrelevant," the Media Research Center founder told the Fox Business Network anchor Stuart Varney. [MP3 audio here; video of segment follows page break]
An unsigned and undated Justice Department white paper, obtained by NBC News, reports The New York Times, "...is the most detailed analysis yet to come into public view regarding the Obama legal team's views about the lawfulness of killing, without a trial, an American citizen who executive branch officials decide is an operational leader of Al Qaeda or one of its allies."
The proviso is they must pose "an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." If "an informed, high-level official" of the government decides they are a threat, the paper says, and if capture is not feasible, they may be killed.
Today's "On Faith" page in the Washington Post featured a puzzling contrast that shows the left-wing media's schizophrenia when it comes to traditional religious faith. The paper's religion section editors ran these two items side-by-side: a Religion News Service (RNS) article that was thoroughly positive about Muslim women who want to design and/or model fashionable yet modest clothing, and Post religion writer Lisa Miller's attack on Catholic bishops for their stances on Christian sexual ethics in general and opposition to the ObamaCare contraception mandate in particular.
In "A Muslim fashion statement: Agency connects modesty-minded models with designers," Omar Sacirbey of RNS opened his 23-paragraph feature with the story of Savannah Uqdah, a devout Muslim woman who at one time aspired to be a fashion model but "didn't want to violate Islam's tenets on modesty." As such, Uqdah "shelved her modeling dreams and instead expressed herself through the fashions she wore." But now that modeling agencies eye a lucrative market in fashionable yet modest attire, Sacirbey notes, women like Uqdah are excited at the potential to live out their dreams.
At his keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson laid out some ideas he had for improving health care in the United States of America. Seated to his right was the president of the United States, who appeared to not care much for the good doctor's market-oriented idea of tax-free Health Savings Accounts. [h/t email tipster Brian Plunkett for bringing this to my attention]
Under pressure from religious and conservative groups, the Obama administration has offered another compromise on the issue of birth control coverage within the Affordable Care Act. While exempting churches and some religiously affiliated institutions, such as hospitals and universities, from supplying the coverage, the new proposal calls for their employees to receive stand-alone private insurance policies providing birth control coverage at no cost. Insurance companies will foot the bill, but only the naive can possibly think the cost won't find its way back to the institution in the form of higher health premiums.
Numerous lawsuits filed against this and other portions of "Obamacare" will proceed and for good reason: the federal government seems intent on setting rules on matters of conscience and worse, defining what constitutes a church, or religious institution.
The Senate's "advice and consent" role doesn't require it to rubber-stamp a presidential appointee for secretary of defense who senators believe would weaken America in this increasingly dangerous world.
Notwithstanding former Sen. Chuck Hagel's diminished view of the post — "I won't be in a policymaking position" — the secretary of defense is an exceedingly important position and must be filled with someone who understands the complexity and gravity of the threats we face.
Williams conceded the the court had ruled correctly, but rather than chiding the president for violating his oath of office with unconstitutional appointments, he blamed Senate Republicans for driving Mr. Obama to do so. For his part, Roberts agreed, mumbling "mm hmm" in reply to the ex-lobbyist's partisan swipe [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]:
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker touted President Obama gearing up for his second term: "An invigorated President Obama joined in a prayer service this morning....On Monday, resolve, defending entitlements and calling for action on climate change and gay rights, a broad liberal agenda."
Welker then heralded Obama appeasing the Democratic base in his inaugural address: "The President, once criticized by his own party's left for caving into Republicans, seemed emboldened by his reelection and ready for a fight." A sound bite followed of Time's Michael Duffy happily declaring: "Yesterday's speech at the Capitol was not about bipartisanship. It was about the agenda that Barack Obama, a Democrat, the direction he wants to take the country. Republicans can come along if they'd like."
Newsweek stopped its print edition at the end of 2012, but they still tried to scandalize the country by producing a fake cover honoring Obama’s second inauguration as “The Second Coming.” This absurd attempt at myth-making is a natural progression. The “cover” story was written by Evan Thomas, who proclaimed on MSNBC a few years ago that Obama was “sort of like God” in being above the gritty political fray.
It was just as absurd when Newsweek writer David Frum, the formerly conservative Bush speechwriter, tweeted this piece of media-elite nonsense: “First term Obama: punchee, 2nd term Obama, puncher.”
Native and long-time Washingtonians see presidential inaugurations every four years, and, for them, they're pretty run-of-the-mill, regardless of one's party affiliation. This is especially true when they're the second go-around for a given president. Washington proper is heavily liberal Democrat, and the outlying suburbs are so too, to a lesser degree, but still, enthusiasm for a presidential inauguration in the nation's capital region is bound to be less intense for natives and long-time residents than visiting out-of-towners.
So in 2005, the Washington Post devoted 1,345 words to this phenomenon in a January 21 page A29 story headlined, "Away From Capitol, It's Just Another Day; Many Locals Choose Routine Over Ritual." Staff writers Paul Schwartzman and Karin Brulliard dutifully worked their way around the capital region talking to area residents who were not too thrilled about all the fuss and bother, some of whom hinting Bush was to blame for their unemployment. No similar article appeared in the paper's pages eight years later with Obama's second inaugural (emphases in article mine):
Detecting media bias is often an exercise in contrasting two analogous events to see how the media worked to write the narrative in the public's imagination. We at NewsBusters have already looked at how the media love the party atmosphere of the Obama inaugurals but groused at the expense of Bush's second inaugural, for example.
So it's instructive to see how Washington Post veteran journalist Dan Balz greeted President Obama's entry into his second term with how he looked at the dawn of President George W. Bush's second term. "[T]his Inauguration Day comes at a time when there is far greater realism about whether the president, or perhaps any leader, can transcend political divisions and unite the country," Balz noted in his front-page January 21 analysis piece, "This time, the idea of a new beginning seems optimistic."
Conservatives have long joked that the national press corps see Barack Obama as the second coming of Jesus Christ. Today, Newsweek – at least what’s left of it, an online product for tablets and e-readers – made it official.
Next to a side shot of Obama’s head, the “Inauguration 2013” cover story pronounces: “The Second Coming.”
"The far left is making [the average American gun owner and NRA member] a villain for abiding by your Second Amendment rights," and they're finding willing accomplices in supposedly objective journalists like Bob Schieffer, Brent Bozell argued on the January 17 edition of Fox News Channel's Hannity. The Media Research Center president was reacting to a soundbite in which the CBS anchor compared the political challenge of President Obama taking on the NRA to defeating the Third Reich in World War II.
"Surely passing civil rights legislation as Lyndon Johnson was able to do, and before that, surely defeating the Nazis was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby," Schieffer noted on January 16 shortly after President Obama's press conference on gun control. "This is a turning point in this country.," Schieffer insisted, concluding, "Unless we figure out a way to make sure that something like Newtown never happens again, we're not the country that we once were." [watch the full Hannity "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
ABC News had to wait two weeks to get on air Barbara Walters’ interview with the Obamas -- and then the network’s evening newscast decided to focus on her asking Barack and Michelle Obama about their sex life.
“An ABC News exclusive,” fill-in World News anchor David Muir teased, “Barbara Walters at the White House, asking Michelle Obama if she’ll run for office next. And a personal question, too.” Viewers were then treated to a clip of Walters with the Obamas: “How do you keep the fire going?” The two laughed as Mrs. Obama giggled: “That’s a good question!”
In one of its last print issues, Newsweek mocks Bill O’Reilly in an article titled “The War On Christmas Is Over: Christmas Won.” Christian groups are pleased that retailers have mostly gone back to using “Christmas” instead of the more neutral “Holiday” patter. Religion reporter David Sessions asked: “How did this cultural flash point slide into oblivion, with Bill O’Reilly virtually the last person continuing to fight?”
Here’s where the magazine is doubling down on stupid. This brief article appears in the December 17 issue – which features a cover story by agnostic leftist scholar Bart Ehrman titled "The Myths of Jesus." He's clearly fighting the Christmas story as un-historical.